Friday, October 04, 2002

The Third One

Well, the third representative to go to Baghdad, Representative Thompson, has explained why he went to Iraq. On its face, his explanation is reasonable. I have no reason to doubt his sincerity. I certainly do not call him a “traitor.” (nor do I call McDermott and Bonior traitors, for that matter) I have sympathy for a man who was reviled for going to fight in Vietnam and is now attacked for doubting we should go to war today. I disagree with him, but he did not provide ammunition to the Iraqis as he tried to resolve his doubts. His experience with the Iraqis cutting off his satellite feed as he condemned Iraqi human rights abuses must surely have been as illuminating as anything else he saw there. In a stage-managed trip that his colleagues fell for, he at least could see in a small way what inspectors faced for years—an Iraq that will put on a dog and pony show and that will cut everything off if the show starts to deviate from the script.

You aren’t sending kids to die in the jungles of Vietnam, Representative Thompson. And the fierce house-to-house fighting the Iraqis threatened is most likely bluster. And more importantly, there should be no doubt that we, the world, and the Iraqis themselves will be better off without Saddam Hussein’s murderous regime.

And you can cheer the busloads of soldiers who come home after defeating Iraq—along with millions of other Americans. Yes, some anti-war activists will call our troops baby-killers. But the warmth and pride of a nation will drown that out this time.

Our country let you down personally by sending you to fight a war and then shunning you when you returned. I am sorry for that. Don’t be hobbled by that horrible experience as you decide the fate of our people, our soldiers, and the safety of the world.

Vote to send our troops to Baghdad. The 33rd parallel won’t stop our troops.

The Washington Post has a good commentary on Thompson’s part in this.

Also, a nice piece on the subject of earlier musings of mine on whether or not striking Iraq would be unprecedented. It isn’t, as I said.