The Dishonest Antiwar Antitroop Meme Keeps on Trucking...
by Matt Stoller, Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 04:34:27 AM EST
I'm heartened that Democrats, primarily in the House, are going to try to cut off funding for the escalation. Still, there's a whole lot of nonsense in how it's being reported in the Washington Post today. There are two particular examples of Jonathan Weisman and Dan Balz mangling history and the facts so as to explicitly hurt liberals.
Here's the piece.
Senior House Democrats said yesterday that they will attempt to derail funding for President Bush's proposal to send an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq, setting up what could become the most significant confrontation between the White House and Congress over military policy since the Vietnam War.
Senate Democrats at the same time will seek bipartisan support for a nonbinding resolution opposing the president's plan, possibly as early as next week, in what some party officials see as the first step in a strategy aimed at isolating Bush politically and forcing the beginning of a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from the conflict.
The bold plans reflect the Democrats' belief that the public has abandoned Bush on the war and that the American people will have little patience for an escalation of the U.S. military presence in Iraq. But the moves carry clear risks for a party that suffered politically for pushing to end an unpopular war in Vietnam three decades ago, and Democratic leaders hope to avoid a similar fate over the conflict in Iraq.
As this chart shows, it was not the antiwar movement that cripped the Democrats on national security.
Democrats suffered not because they sought to end the war in Vietnam, but because Vietnam was a Democratically initiated war based on lies. The well-known phrase 'credibility gap' came about because LBJ was not trustworthy, and that's why the party fractured and the public stopped trusting Democrats on security. The national security skew started in 1967, and widened considerably in 1968, during the Tet offensive. Tet was not an antiwar movement, it was a military strike by the Vietnamese that showed that Johnson was (a) lying and (b) a bad military commander.
The reason the Democrats suffered is because a towering Democratic figure made a massive mistake and lied about it (sound familiar?), but the notion that the post-Vietnam antiwar sentiment was the cause of Democrats' low credibility on national security is false. I know it's been fun to repeat for thirty years, but it's not true.
The second piece of nonsense is as follows.
House Democratic leaders have said they will not use the power of the purse in any way that would harm troops in the field, a position that had run afoul of the party's liberal activists.
That is a mischaracterization of the antiwar movement, a piece of lazy bullshit. Weisman and Balz should try to find a Democratic or progressive leader that wants to take a position to harm troops in the field. They should try because they won't find one. What we object to is a failure to use all political means to stop Bush's insane war. It's Bush and the Republicans who are hurting the troops (body armor anyone?), and who have zero regard for national security. This antiwar equals antitroop idea is just false and needs to stop. It's lazy, it's not true, and it's a disservice to the public to report it as fact.