Saturday, August 18, 2007

Republicans Have Senior Moments, Too

Victor Davis Hanson is having short-term memory problems:

... We are presently fighting two simultaneous wars under a conservative Republican administration. And that too is fairly rare in the last 100 years, and far more challenging. Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Bill Clinton all at times proved bellicose, bypassed Congress if needed be, and (with the exception of LBJ) largely got a pass from the Left. World War I, Korea, and Vietnam were all controversial in their time. Apparently, the intelligentsia and media felt that no liberal Democrat could possibly have preferred war, and had only fought when forced to — despite the use of Democratic preemption in a variety of instances.

In contrast, it is hard to recall of any war in our history — the Vietnam hysteria aside — that a sitting Senate majority leader declared it lost in the middle of hostilities. We have not previously witnessed senior opposition senators alleging that their own American servicemen were analogous to Nazis, Stalinists, Cambodian mass murders, Saddam’s Baathist killers, or engaging in habitual terrorizing and killing of innocent civilians.

Steve Benen is right there to help:
Now, I suspect Hanson is taking a few liberties when he suggests senior Senate Dems have said U.S. troops are comparable to Nazis, but Hanson may be surprised to go back and look at what senior congressional Republicans were saying as recently as 1999 when then-President Clinton sent American servicemen into Kosovo.

William Saletan noted one specific weekend in May 1999.
Every time the United States goes into battle, anti-war activists blame the causes and casualties of the conflict on the U.S. government. They excuse the enemy regime’s aggression and insist that it can be trusted to negotiate and honor a fair resolution. While doing everything they can to hamstring the American administration’s ability to wage the war, they argue that the war can never be won, that the administration’s claims to the contrary are lies, and that the United States should trim its absurd demands and bug out with whatever face-saving deal it can get. In past wars, Republicans accused these domestic opponents of sabotaging American morale and aiding the enemy. But in this war, Republicans aren’t bashing the anti-war movement. They’re leading it.

Specifically, Saletan highlighted comments from then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi, then-Senate Majority Whip Don Nickles of Oklahoma, and then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay of Texas, who, over the course of a few days, said Milosevic’s atrocities are America’s fault; the failure of diplomacy to avert the war is America’s fault; Congress should oppose the war while troops are in harm’s way; Congress should micromanage war policy instead of the Commander in Chief; and the mission is doomed to failure. If memory serves, Dems didn’t question their patriotism, label them “traitors,” accuse them of undermining the military, or condemn them for aiding and abetting the enemy.

I have a hunch Hanson’s forgotten about the whole period of time. Come to think of it, current congressional Republicans probably have, too.

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