May 22, 2006

Will the Democratic Party become uniformly anti-war?

The Wall Street Journal has an editorial about Joe Lieberman's troubles with his party and John McCain troubles at The New School commencement:
We doubt all of this will help Democrats with the larger electorate, which whatever its doubts about Iraq does not want a precipitous surrender. Americans haven't trusted a liberal Democrat with the White House during wartime since Vietnam, which is when the seeds of the current antiwar rage were planted. The great mistake that leading Democrats and anti-Communist liberals made during Vietnam was not speaking up against a left that was demanding retreat and sneering at our war heroes. Will any Democrat speak up now?
The WSJ also has the full text of the speech McCain gave at The New School. It reads well on paper, but it must have been dreadful intoned as if the room were not in disarray. A funny thing is that it's titled "Let Us Argue." He got a little more argument than he had in mind.


MadisonMan said...

I will suggest that pro-war Democrats, or maybe even those who think the war was a mistake but now that we're there we just can't up and leave, face a problem similar to Republicans who support, say, extending civil unions to same-sex couples or a woman's right to control her own body. The most active fund-raisers in the party are opposed to their viewpoints, and such moderate candidates therefore have trouble finding the money necessary to win elections.

I'm also chuckling at McCain's speech's title.

Scott W. Somerville said...

I'm betting on slow but steady success in Iraq, without any real recognition by the mainstream media. But I'm contrarian enough to think this is going to work to the advantage of the GOP this fall.

I'm cynical enough about the MSM to think there will be doom and gloom reporting no matter how good things really are on the ground, and I'm cynical enough about what used to be my party to think the Democratic leadership will fall into the trap of thinking they can win by running against the war. But I think Americans are (1) increasingly skeptical of the media and (2) suspect that the Democrats have no plan other than criticism.

The Democratic challenge will be compounded, I fear, by the fact that the Kossacks and their ilk don't listen to "liberal hawks" like you. If they only listen to those who agree with them, they're in trouble...

Too Many Jims said...

"The great mistake that leading Democrats and anti-Communist liberals made during Vietnam was not speaking up against a left that was demanding retreat and sneering at our war heroes."

I don't know about the "demanding retreat" part (because I suspect the Editors define "retreat" as supporting any policy for Iraq with which they disagree) but I do think "the left" has learned that "sneering" at war heroes is not a great way to influence the debate. (Unless Bush, Cheney and Rumsfield are "war heroes".) I can't remember the Vietnam Era and I am sure that some here will point me to comment threads at Kos (or other places) where soldiers are derided, but in general my sense is that the opposition to the war is being directed at the civilian leadership of the operation.

Simon said...

"I suspect the Editors define "retreat" as supporting any policy for Iraq with which they disagree"

That is quite a stretch. It is far from an uncommon view on the left that we should withdraw from Iraq forthwith, which is precisely what is commonly understood by the term "retreat". Now, there may be some debate over whether retreat, in this case, is synomymous with surrender, but it is surely readily apparent that retreat is very specifically what the Democrats - and, to be fair, some Republicans - would have us do in Iraq.

Jacques Cuze said...

Sneering at war heroes is wrong? You mean like what Bush and Rove did to Kerry and McCain?

dklittl said...

The problem with this particular war, is the question of who we are fighting and what are we fighting for? Bush has so muddled the waters as to the mission of this particular war that Democrats, who didn't trust him much anyway, have decided that this war isn't worth the sacrifice.

Scott, bets on a success (Can I say Bill Bennett at the slots), but the question still remains what success? Is it to just have a government in place in Iraq, is it to send a message to Al Queda, is it to defeat Al Queda, or maybe the message is just to the entire middle east? Most Democrats just don't see what is to be accomplished in Iraq, especially by this administration, and aren't willing to support a war in perpetuity just for the sake of?

So the simple answer is Somewhat.

Palladian said...

"He got a little more argument than he had in mind."

No, he didn't get argument. He got hisses and jeers and heckling and back-turning. That's not argument. Perhaps Monty Python said it best:

"Man: An argument isn't just contradiction.

Mr Vibrating: It can be.

Man: No it can't. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.

Mr Vibrating: No it isn't.

Man: Yes it is! It's not just contradiction.

Mr Vibrating: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.

Man: Yes, but that's not just saying 'No it isn't.'

Mr Vibrating: Yes it is!

Man: No it isn't!

Man: Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.

(short pause)

Mr Vibrating: No it isn't."

Simon said...

Palladian - that's hands-down my favorite Monty Python skit. Cleese's innocent delivery is perfect.

I think I like it so much because I've had arguments like that.

As an aside, allow me to once again express my frank and total bemusement that, of all the comedy to ever be produced in Britain, Monty Python strikes me as the least likely to take root in America, and yet it is arguably the one that has been the most successful in doing so. That's always been a source of bemusement to me.

Too Many Jims said...


While it may be "far from an uncommon view on the left that we should withdraw from Iraq forthwith", it may be also the case that it is a "far from a common view on the left that we should withdraw from Iraq forthwith". In fact many prominent Dems have not called for immediate withdrawal and some prominent Dems have explicitly called for some variation of "staying the course" (though I suppose they would prefer it to be competently guided by the administration). It is far from clear to me that a majority of "the left" is for immediate withdrawal.

But what if a Dem were to propose a "timeline for withdrawal" or "framework for withdrawal", is that necessarily a "retreat"? I suspect the editors of the WSJ editors would say yes.

So the Dems have one of three choices: (1) They can propose a retreat, which the WSJ editors will call a "retreat". (2) They can propose a plan to withdraw, which (almost regardless of specifics) the WSJ editors will call a "retreat". or (3) They can pledge "to stay until the job is done", at which point the WSJ editors will say they don't have any different plan than the current administration.

Jacques Cuze said...

Apparently, heckling a war hero during a speech is a despicable act. But it's perfectly OK to waive purple band-aids at decorated, wounded war veterans; and it's fine to accuse them of being soft on Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein even after they voted for the Iraq invasion and co-sponsored creation of the Homeland Security Department; and there is nothing wrong with going to the floor of the House and labeling a war hero a "coward" and then following it up with a year's worth of accusations that they are also a traitor. Calling into question a war hero's patriotism, their courage, the seriousness of their war wounds, and their allegiance to the United States is all perfectly fine. Just don't boo them at a speech.

Ann, so what did you think of Koppel and Krugman's op-eds?

Elizabeth said...

"sneering" at war heroes

Like wearing little purple bandaids and sneering at Kerrys' service?

Like calling Murtha a traitor?

Damn those liberals who hate war heroes!

ShadyCharacter said...

Elizabeth, are you jumping to the defense of the same Murtha who publicly tried and convicted some Marines of war crimes recently prior to the commencement of the court martial proceedings?

Or is there some other poor benighted left-wing war hero you're talking about?

If it's the same guy, would current war heroes have standing in your eyes to challenge his current peacenik dementia or would that still be out of bounds?

Palladian said...

OK, can we cut the "sneering at our war heroes" crap? It's fairly clear that in the context of the WSJ piece, the line refers to people who sneered at war heroes because they were/are war heroes. It doesn't mean that war heroes are or should be immune from criticism for their beliefs or ideas. This is sort of like that stupid line from Maureen Dowd, when she said that Cindy Sheehan has "absolute moral authority" to say whatever she wants about war because she was the mother of a fallen soldier. Well, I don't bestow "absolute moral authority" on anyone, war hero or cleric or politician or whoever, and it's disingenuous to pretend that you believe that Kerry or Murtha or McCain or whoever should be immune from criticism of their policy positions and political ideas because they were "war heroes". That's not what the WSJ is talking about and you (the troll formerly known as Quxxo among others) know it. You're just playing that OMG LOOK HYPOCRISY LOLOL game that some people confuse for intelligent discourse.

Simon said...

"But what if a Dem were to propose a 'timeline for withdrawal' or 'framework for withdrawal', is that necessarily a 'retreat'? I suspect the editors of the WSJ editors would say yes."

Yes, it is necessarily a retreat, because such timelines are by definition arbitrary and untethered to events on the ground. Any withdrawal prior to the job being done is, by definition, a retreat under fire. I would even go so far as to say that establishing a broad withdrawal criterion is a mistake, although I'm not sure that would qualify as a retreat, because it defines prospective conditions under which we will leave that again, do not relate to whether troops are still needed.

I think Kerry actually had it right during the debates: the pottery barn rule. You break it, you buy it. For better or worse, we broke Iraq (I think for better), so now we're stuck there until we're no longer needed or until we can no longer accomplish anything by our presence. Any commitment more specific than that broad generality, though, is a mistake, as it announces to the insurgency the circumstances by which they can be rid of the Americans.

Tom C said...

There were Democrats, and Liberals, who thought the war was a bad idea, and opposed it from the start. Some of these now think that we have to stay to glue back together the china we've broken, but most think we should just get out and stop the immediate dying in Iraq.

Others were skeptically supportive of the effort, with poorly defined success goals. Since the administration would not sign up to any, or, as some might say, kept changing them when they failed, it was hard for even well-meaning people in this camp to figure out what's going on and how we're doing. Most people in this camp are now convinced that the Bush administration is so incapable of the basics of governing that anything they do will be a disaster; some say, "Come home", others, "Stay but try not to get more people killed" but they're not happy either way.

But Bush is in trouble not because he's lost the Dems, but because he's lost many center-leaning Republicans. These are people who are totally bewildered by a supposedly conservative president who kicks off war without doing full research, violates privacy at the drop of a hat, runs deficits that make drunk sailors look responsible, and will never admit to a mistake. I can make predictions, too: it's the loss of mainstreet Republicans that will cost the party this year, not any big changes in Dem policy or rhetoric.

Elizabeth said...

Shady and Palladian,

The only time conservatives get exercised over any criticism of "war heroes" is when it suits their politics. When a veteran of war has the audacity to leave the conservative reservation, or to oppose the Republican administration, or criticize the conduct of a war, they're attacked with venom and hate from the right. Let's laugh at Max Cleland! He sure should have been more careful! I'm not playing gotcha; I'm genuinely sick to my stomach at your hypocrisy. Your rhetoric changes nothing.

The Drill SGT said...


previously you said:

Were the students inappropriate if he was inappropriate? He ought to have shown up prepared for the occasion. At the very least, he should have prepared a graduation speech and not a political speech. A genuinely with-it politician would also have come prepared to talk directly and spontaneously to the situation unfolding in front of him.

Having read the full speech now, would you call it a graduation speech or a political speech?

ShadyCharacter said...


"The only time conservatives get exercised over any criticism of "war heroes" is when it suits their politics."

I'm holding up a mirror, Elizabeth. What do you see? =)

Liberals and other lefties on the other hand are known for standing up for our troops (aka baby-killing rapists reminiscent of Ghengis Khan)...

If you have a second, Elizabeth, please RESPOND TO PALLADIAN'S POINT:

"OK, can we cut the "sneering at our war heroes" crap? It's fairly clear that in the context of the WSJ piece, the line refers to people who sneered at war heroes because they were/are war heroes. It doesn't mean that war heroes are or should be immune from criticism for their beliefs or ideas."

Let's take the following statement, made by me:

Each of Max Cleland and Murtha is a demented cut-and-run fool - motivated by their partisan fervor to advocate for destructive policies and to slander our troops and our president.

This statement benefits not only from being undeniably true, but it also does not impugn their "war hero" status or lessen the honor they deserve because they were once honorable men...

Do you follow?

MadisonMan said...

Murtha is a demented cut-and-run fool - motivated by their partisan fervor to advocate for destructive policies and to slander our troops and our president.

I honestly thought that Murtha was a Republican when I read this -- and indeed, if you do a google search on Murtha + Republican, you get about 300000 more hits than with Murtha + Democrat. Clinton Republican yields about twice as many hits as Clinton Democrat. Same ratio for Feingold, 2:1. I'm not sure what that means, but I thought it was interesting.

(For the record, Murtha, a war hero and ex-Marine, is a democrat).

Bruce Hayden said...

What is humorous is that the Iraqis know the score much better than the left here does. We will pull our troops out as security allows, and the biggest thing there is the readiness levels of the Iraqi security forces. And that just takes time, men, incentive, and money, all of which we have here. The biggest problem is time, because of just this, the anti-war side here trying to put unrealistic time pressure on us to withdraw before the job is done.

All you have to do is listen to what the Administration says here - they have said the same thing I am saying, repeatedly, from the President on down. They aren't more specific publically, because what they tell us publically is known almost instantaneously by al Qaeda, et al. I do have reason to believe though that they have been much more specific with the Iraqi government.

Setting any sort of time table would be a sign of weakness, that the enemy there would be quick to captialize on. As is, despite them getting some hope from the anti-war contingent here, the fact that the Administration is not seen as yielding one inch is rapidly demoralizing, at a minimum, al Qadea in Iraq. They now realize that we have, by their admission, a 100-1 numerical advantage in both our own troops, and, much more worrying to them, Iraqi security forces - because the Iraqi security forces aren't going away, they are just going to get better.

The Administration is watching this closely, and, in particular, the Iraqi security forces. Every time another battalion goes operational, goes up anoter level of readiness, there is a little celebration, as there is every time our troops turn over security to Iraqi forces for another town, province, etc. These minor events happen continously, and with increased regularity.

The problem is that most of this doesn't make the MSM, and when it does, it is buried. Charitably, I would suggest that is because it has become so routine.

But one way that you get a feel for this is to listen to the troops there now, or who have returned from a second or third deployment to Iraq, and they all say that things are very different now. A couple of years ago, they were having epic battles with insurgents. Now, the insurgents won't stand and fight, ever, unless totally cornered. Units that spent a previous deployment in firefights the whole time, in their latest deployments rarely are involved in such. Their major worry now are IEDs, not because they are more common, because they are less so, but rather because first, they are so much more devastating, and secondly, because the decreased danger otherwise.

I am not worried, because I see no evidence that the President is worried, or will change direction here, and so he has a bit over two years to get things significantly improved over the that time, and by all the indications I see, that will be sufficient to allow him to have brought back home a majority of the troops deployed to Iraq.

Even if the Democrats were to regain the House, they still aren't going to be able to impeach him. Almost all those swing districts that they are planning on carrying this coming election will have moderate Democrats running, people who would most likely lose the next time they ran, if they vote to impeach. And, even if they did manage to impeach the President, they wouldn't convict in the Senate over the War on Terror or the one in Iraq. It is unlikely that they would pick up a majority, and, even if they did, they cannot pick up enough seats for the 2/3 required.

Der Hahn said...

MM ....

Sentences like

"Republicans responded to Murtha..."

"Republicans complained about Clinton..."

(and vice versa for a Democrat politician) seem to me to be more likely than an article that would identify a politician's party affiliation but never mention the opposition.

Maxine Weiss said...

JoeLiebermanJoeLiebermanJoeLiebermanJoeLiebermanJoeLiebermanJoeLieberman !!!!

Peace, Maxine

Simon said...

"Some of these now think that we have to stay to glue back together the china we've broken, but most think we should just get out and stop the immediate dying in Iraq."

Anyone who seriously thinks that an American withdrawal from Iraq is likely to be the same sort of fantasist who insists that Iraq was the land of milk and honey before we went in and broke up the party. And such people are too stupid to engage in any kind of meaningful debate. An American withdrawal from Iraq at this point will not stop the killing, it will - and can only - escalate it.

It seems very possible to me that the main reason some Democrats advocate our withdrawal is because they want to see their fears of a civil war in Iraq turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy. They say that we have created such a mess that a civil war has become inevitable, so they demand the withdrawal of troops, which makes civil war exponentially more likely. Then they sit back and point a finger at Bush saying "he started it! Don't blame us!" It's a foolproof plan.

Bruce Hayden said...

I actually liked McCain's address, but the impression I get is that its delivery was atrocious - most likely because, as Ann suggests, the protests going on while he spoke.

He really did seem to be reaching out to the other side here, saying that we are all Americans, we share the same ideals, and debate just makes us stronger.

In the end, I see this hurting the Democrats far worse than it hurts the Republicans. As the other WSJ article pointed out, Kerry and Gore are trying to maneuver to the left of Hillary on this to have another shot at the presidency. But if they do get the nomination, it is going to have painted them into such a box on national security issues, that either one would lose much more decisively than they did before (and, yes, Gore did win the popularly vote, only losing on the technicality of the Electoral College). The Democrats best chance at regaining the White House is to sound reasonably adult on Iraq, and these crazies are making that all but impossible.

knoxgirl said...

I have to say, based on the second-hand, trumped up bullsh*t John Kerry said about our soldiers in Vietnam, how can anyone blame people for being reluctant to classify him in the "war hero" category?

He basically was like "I'm an honorable, decorated soldier, but just between you and me, all those other guys over there, they are all a bunch of sociopathic murderers and rapists. Take my word for it, because I'm great, you know, but those other guys stuck in that hellhole still fighting... they're awful people."

What a turd.

Bruce Hayden said...


I don't attribute that level of venality to those pushing for cutting and running from Iraq, even those who want to pull out immediately. Rather, I think it more likely that most of those who are so vocal, and, in particular, those who were so vocal at, for example, the New School graduation, are extremely naive.

McCain talked about how he was so much more naive and sure of his views when he was in their place. Of course, he was on the other side of the Vietnam war, going back after that horrific accident on the flight deck that almost killed him, to be shot down and spend the next couple of years in a cage at the Hanoi Hilton. But, still, I think that he was right. At that age, we know what we know, just not what we don't know. By the time you are his age or mine (though I am a bit younger), you have gained a much better understanding of what you don't know.

Ann Althouse said...

The Drill SGT said...

previously you said:

"Were the students inappropriate if he was inappropriate? He ought to have shown up prepared for the occasion. At the very least, he should have prepared a graduation speech and not a political speech. A genuinely with-it politician would also have come prepared to talk directly and spontaneously to the situation unfolding in front of him."

Having read the full speech now, would you call it a graduation speech or a political speech?

I think it's creditable as a graduation speech now. It has a lot of political content, but they invited a politician to speak and he's speaking about his life. I think the press reports weren't accurate about the content of the speech. I do stand by the position that he should have seized the moment and done some spontaneous straight talking to the students.

SeedFreak said...

I hope that the Democratic Party does not become anti-war. It is foolish for any party to adopt that ideology. Speak softly and carry a really big wonking stick is going to keep us a lot safer than the weakspine ninnyisms of the progressive movement.

Anti-war, anti-security, anti-protective, anti-rational, anti-lucid progressives make the American public, who need a safe world to raise their children in, reach for their antacid.

vnjagvet said...

Knoxgirl has the antidote to Elizabeth and JCQX. I am a decorated VN vet, but not a war hero. I was an active Democrat. But I was against Kerry because he was a decorated VN vet who turned on his fellow troops in an effort to bring an end to the VN war in a manner which was totally consistent with Ho Chi Minh's goals.

Like George Brinson McLellan in 1864, he was not the man to lead this nation in time of war. Hero to some or not.

MadisonMan said...

Chris, Yes, it occurred to me after hitting Publish -- the blogger version of some kind of modest esprit de l'escalier, I guess -- that since most of the proposals set forth in the past 6+ years were from Republicans, of course matches on Republican will prevail. Frist and Republican is also 2:1 over Frist and Democrat, for example.

Simon said...

That's certainly a valid alternative explanation, but I really think that the desire to court the Kossack crowd has quite substantially vitiated the national Democratic Party. Even if they have not, in fact, collectively lost their minds, that is not much better a prospect: that means that they are venal rather than crazy.

What's peculiar about the last six years is that they have given rise to a situation when Democrats can no longer be taken seriously when they complain about the Republican party being in thrall to its base; they are now equally so. It is a strange world indeed where I now find myself branded as a conservative hardliner, despite the fact that if you asked most people who really do fit that description, they would call me a RINO.

The Drill SGT said...

I think I'm on the side of the angels here (or at least knoxgirl and VNJAGVET).

I used to be a democrat and I have a few medals from VN as well. What Kerry did in those Congressional hearings and his subsequent tall tales on the floor of the Senate demonstrated to me that he lacks the character to be President.

I'm saddened by the destruction of the national democratic party by the left. Now it seems they are rooting out resistance on a state by state basis. The result I'm afraid will be a non-competitive anti-war, anti-American rump, that can't compete nationally, and I think that's not good for the country.

Patrick said...

MadisonMan and Chris,

Republican combined with Reagan, Bush, Carter, Kerry, or Gore each turn up roughly 2:1 more hits than the corresponding entry with Democrat.


downtownlad said...

Silly editorial.

Joe Lieberman is pro-war, so why can't he be challenged? Isn't the best way to show that the Democratic party is not uniformly anti-war by actually have an election, and the pro-war guy wins?

That's what will probably happen in Connecticut. Lieberman will win.

But if the anti-war crowd doesn't like him, why should they stay silent? Isn't that why we have elections.

SeedFreak said...

"But if the anti-war crowd doesn't like him, why should they stay silent?"

These venomous spitters don't know how to say it nicely. Part of me wants them to go on spitting acid as it only shows what they are, not what they say, but the other part worries for that their acid spitting is hurting the entire party--that moderates and centrists alike are being (m)aligned with progressives under the same name of Democrat.

Can't we just give them their own boat and let them sink on their own. I can't stand them ruining the Democratic Party with their vile-tongued, rabid fratguy, jump-on-the-bandwagon postings.

Patrick said...

madisonman and Cris,

I think the problem is that Republican is both an adjective and a noun, whereas Democrat is just a noun. Running google of searches of Murtha, Clinton, Fiengold, Bush, etc.. with "Democratic" (instead of "Democrat") produces numbers of hits that are roughly equal to the respective name with "Republican."

For most of the major politicians, the number of hits for "Democratic" is slightly higher, which is to be expected since lower-case "democratic" is much more commonly used that lower-case "republican."

Elizabeth said...

Shady, I'm waving to you through the mirror!

The "war hero" remark in the WSJ is shallow; there aren't crowds of liberal/lefties taunting soldiers returning from Iraq. That image is rehashed, warmed-over Vietnam hysteria. No one's being castigated for being a war hero.

Nor can you dismiss the little bandaids, or the taunting of Cleland for his war injuries as criticism for their current views--those despicable actions were precisely aimed at Kerry and Cleland's wartime injuries. Because your hero stayed home for the war, the only tactic left for your side was to diminish the military careers of the opposition. Stomach-turning, and petty.

But the right takes it particularly hard when an actual war hero comes out against war policy, how the war is waged, problems with the administration's behavior--and it's not motivated, as your callow claim states, by hatred of Bush, partisan fervor and a desire to slander troops. Those accusations are in fact typical of how the right responds to criticism from veterans who aren't drinking the koolaid of Bush worship.

The Drill SGT said...


There are liberal/lefties taunting soldiers returning from Iraq.

I've seen them.

Code Pink conducts a Friday Night "Vigil" outside of Walter Reed Army Hospital in DC where they "greet" returning soldiers from Iraq with flag draped fake coffins and signs like "Maimed for a Lie".

I think that's pretty disgusting myself. I wish they'd head off to Lafayette Park and bother tourists rather than hurt soldiers and their families, but whatever....

I've heard anecdotal stories of protests and sign waving an funerals to attract local media, but have not witnessed those myself. I have seen protests outside of Arlington cemetery though.

Elizabeth said...

Drill Sgt: I don't approve of Code Pink appearing with theatrical props at Walter Reed, but in other venues, I wouldn't be offended. The location makes a difference to me.

As for funerals, you may be thinking of the Fred Phelps family traveling church clan.

MadisonMan said...

Code Pink conducts a Friday Night "Vigil" outside of Walter Reed Army Hospital in DC where they "greet" returning soldiers from Iraq with flag draped fake coffins and signs like "Maimed for a Lie".

I don't consider that to be in the same spirit as, say, spitting on Vietnam Vets or calling them babykillers. I don't think it's appropriate -- but is it taunting? Do soldiers who see that take it personally? I can't know. If it were me returning, I wouldn't, but maybe that's just me. It's certainly not like the Phelpsian taunting that's been in the news in Wisconsin. Phelps and his wretched family are hardly lefties, of course. (Who does get the (cough) honor of claiming them as members of their group?)

dick said...


It is not just the fred Phelps group at the funerals. Code Pink has done some of that as well. Truly despicable.

Michael Moore even without permission photographed a funeral and burial at Arlington National Cemetery and included it in Fahrenheit 911. The family asked him not to include it but he went ahead and did it anyway.

In the current brouhaha of Murtha I think he is being truly despicable. He speaks out in public using his office to claim that these Marines have killed these innocent civilians as a truth. The investigation is still going on and the Marines will face a court martial if this is true. What if it turns out not to be true? How do these Marines get their reputation back after what Murtha has done to them? Any ideas how you can get that back for them now that Murtha has ruined it? If he wants to talk about it after the investigation has concluded, that is one thing. Talking about it as if it were a done deal while it is still going on speaks a lot about his standards and they are not, based on this, very high.

Elizabeth said...

dick, please cite a source or two about Code Pink protesting at military funerals. I find only stories that Sean Hannity mistakenly accused them of doing so. Whether he corrected that report I don't know. It's the Phelps family in every search I've done, but I'm certainly aware that I may be missing information.

Time magazine is reporting on the alleged Marine massacre, and Murtha has responded to that; they've spent 10 months on the story. If Murtha has made unfair allegations, then he should resign his seat.

I don't know what the law is about photographing a funeral at Arlington. If Moore did something illegal, wouldn't the family have grounds to sue, and to make him remove the footage from the movie? Or are you arguing it was in bad taste? We're at war. Our tastes may be offended occasionally.

The Drill SGT said...


1. WRT Murtha, Congressmen should not make statements about incidents based on non-official sources in which they don't know the direct facts

"Rep. John Murtha, an influential Pennsylvania lawmaker and outspoken critic of the war in Iraq, said today Marines had “killed innocent civilians in cold blood” after allegedly responding to a roadside bomb ambush that killed a Marine during a patrol in Haditha, Iraq, Nov. 19."

Those allegations seem unfair to me.

2. Arlington is a public place. Nobody can prevent you from walking up to a funeral and butting in or filming, except common decency, which some folks clearly lack.

Elizabeth said...

dick, I've done more googling, and still no reports of code pink picketing funerals, just one story exposing Sean Hannity's false conflation of Code Pink and the Phelps clan. Are you able to back up that accusation?

dick said...

Sorry, Elizabeth,

I found what I remembered wrongly. The Code Pink women held a jazz funeral with coffin in DC while they were protesting. It was a fake funeral at DuPont Circle.

They did protest outside Arlington National Cemetery while a funeral was going on but it was not directed at that particular funeral.

I apologize for my error abjectly (tugging forelock).

dick said...

Elizabeth ,

You have still not responded to the questions by several of us concerning Murtha's bloviating about the supposed Marine massacre of the innocent civilians prior to the investigation, which is in progress and which will lead to a court martial if true, being completed. Do you think he should make those sort of statements before the ongoing investigation is finished, particularly since he is a congressman and supposedly a symbol of all that is good in the Marines? The Marines that I have read are looking at him as being the equivalent of Kerry speaking to the congress about how all the other soldiers, but not him, were vicious renegades in Vietnam and have essentially said that while there is no such thing as an ex-Marine they are willing to make an exception in the case of Murtha.

Elizabeth said...


I did respond to your question about Murtha. If he's spoken wrongly, he should resign. That would be a career ender, in my opinion. He should have used the qualifies "allegedly" or "if these charges turn out to be true," but if indeed the charges turn out to be true, then the story isn't Murtha, no matter how much you may want that to be the case. I would hope that he knows what he's talking about; I wonder if spoke as he did because he has reason to believe the investigation is offtrack or being held up, or is somehow compromised. But if not, then he should have to take the consequences.

Elizabeth said...

One more thing: if the charges are true, I hope the Marines you speak of will regard not Murtha as an ex-Marine, but the perpetrators of a massacre.

ChrisO said...

It gets a little tiring reading right wingers' comments about the state of the Democratic party when they describe a party that doesn't even exist. And its always with a tone of concern about what has happened to the Dems, as if any of them really cares. I continue to read hateful vitriol at both left and right wing blogs, but somehow hate is portrayed as a strictly Democratic emotion. Do people really think the Dems are going to lose support because of what the New School students did? A voter is going to say "I was going to vote against the Republicans because of their stands on Iraq, healthcare, abortion and immigration, but once I read the comments section at Kos I changed my mind?" It seems its the right wingers I continually see using terms like deranged, crazy and delusional. Witness shadycharacter's claim that Cleland and Murtha are demented, cut and run fools, a statement that is "undeniably true." Thanks so much for elevating the discourse.

And its especially amusing to read these comments in the context of the continuing meltdown of the Democratic party, which is apparently just about to disappear from existence. The same party that seems poised to achieve significant gains in the next elections. The same party that ran even with the Republicans in the last House elections, excepting the five seats Tom DeLay managed to gerrymander in Texas. The same party that took the majority of the popular vote in 2000. I think a quick look around wil show us that the Republicans have a lot more to worry about than the declining state of the Democratic Party.

And Palladian, the WSJ may have referred to people who sneered at war heroes because they were war heroes, but that doesn't mean that's what happened. From the report, it seems one person yelled "war criminal" at Kerry. All of the other protests were aimed at McCain's politics. Much different than some fat lady Republican delegate from Nebraska wearing a purple band-aid because when Kerry got wounded in the jungles of Viet Nam, he didn't bleed enough to suit her. There's no comparison.

And for those of you inaccurately reporting what Murtha said, he didn't try and convict anyone before their court martial. He revealed that the military had done an investigation, and their report concluded the soldiers had taken part in a massacre. Perhaps you should save your vitriol for the people who prepared the report, rather than the man who reported its existence.

Ann Althouse said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
aimai said...

I'm going to post the "concern troll post" and point out that I think the republicans are going to lose the country, if they haven't already, because of their endless willingness to stab every critic--no matter what their credientials--as soon as the person deviates from the Rove/Bush party line.

For people who have not been paying attention to actual history Murtha, although a Democrat, has been not only a lifelong Marine but a lifelong marine and military *supporter.* The reason why his speeches and pronouncements on Iraq and, in this case on Haditha, have been received as at all significant is that insiders know that he has the complete trust and confidence of the pentagon--that military leaders have been going *to him* for 30 years to get done what they think needs to be done. In fact, Cheney himself originally lauded Murtha for taking him in hand and showing him (despite his five deferements. Google it.) the ropes with regard to the pentagon. Far from *betraying them* or *betraying their confidences* or *spilling secrets* Murtha is actually a *conduit* for information the Pentagon wants to get out because the Pentagon is not happy with the way this war is going.

Now we must not be surprised if the Republicans, following their great mascot McCarthey, are preparing to accuse the entire pentagon hierarchy and the soldiers of being comsymps, I'm sorry, I meant islamofascist traitors. This is precisely what McCarthey did with Marshall and it was the army/mcarthey hearings that eventually brought him down.

So please, right wing posters on althouse's blog and elsewhere. Do please continue to attack legitimate war heroes and well known political figures of impeachable probity as "traitors"--it brought down your party before and it will bring it down again.

Oh, and the attack on code pink for being rude? hysterical. I'm a member of code pink and receive their emails--its entirely composed of mothers and women with nothing but sympathy for the families of wounded or fallen soldiers.