"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Dear Editor... 

Here's a letter I sent to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer today:

While I generally agree with much that Joel Connelly writes in his columns, his attacks against those of us who question Sen. Maria Cantwell's position on the Iraq war has become very nearly pathological. In today's column, he writes: "Razzing of Cantwell by peacenik absolutists has generated lots of publicity. Empty drums bang loudly."

Leaving aside for a moment Connelly's gratuitous and insulting characterization of Cantwell's critics - including some veterans of the armed forces, and members of the families of some of those now serving - as mere "empty drums," Connelly's thinking on this topic is inconsistent at best and dishonest at worst. Later in the same column, for example, when reciting a catechism of Cantwell challenger Mike McGavick's many faults, Connelly writes: "He believes the U.S. should stay in Iraq until the 'job is finished,' and that setting a withdrawal date 'gives advantage to America's terrorist enemies.'"

I have taken the time to review Sen. Cantwell's most complete recent statement on Iraq, as set forth in P-I correspondent Charles Pope's article from just last week entitled "Cantwell stands ground on Iraq," and I cannot see how her position outlined in that article differs materially from McGavick's. In Pope's article (and in the Senator's press release of June 14), Cantwell says that we "need to get Iraqi security forces to step up so we can begin bringing our troops home." She reiterated the same position in a press release yesterday, when she "underscored the need for Iraqi security forces to step up so the United States can begin bringing our troops home." Whatever else one may say about Cantwell's position on the war, she has been consistent. We must stay in Iraq, she believes, until the job is "finished," lest we "give advantage" to our enemies.

I acknowledge that Sen. Maria Cantwell has been an important force for the environment, against drilling in ANWR, in favor of a reasonable increase in the minimum wage, and in support of holding Enron accountable for its shameful attempted larceny of ratepayers in Washington and elsewhere. I admire her stands on these (and other) important issues. However, as important as each of these issues are, none of them are immediate matters of life and death - while meanwhile, our servicemen and -women are dying every day in Iraq, and Maria Cantwell has nothing of substance to say about the matter.

I will enthusiastically vote against Mike McGavick (which means, presumably, I will vote for Cantwell, since she has no credible primary opponent) for many of the reasons which Connelly outlines in his otherwise fine column. I will not, however, attack McGavick for his position on the war, while at the same time giving Cantwell a free pass for espousing the very same position. I would suggest that Connelly should avoid doing so as well.




As much as her continuing support for the war, I still worry about the "reasoning" that she cited in her statement at the time of the original Iraq war authorization vote. She described a briefing that she got from White House types that "informed" her about Saddam's unmanned drone aircraft armed with chemical or biological weapons. These were supposedly a dire threat to the U.S. because they could be launched from a cargo ship near our shores to attack our coastal cities.

I wondered then and I wonder now just what kind of gullible fool it takes to swallow that oversized bucket of crap. Is this the sort of leadership we want?

Perhaps (to steal a bit from Jesse Ventura) Maria "The Mind" Cantwell lacks the critical thinking ability required for her office. Then again, perhaps she wanted to be duped because deep down she has GOP/neocon instincts that made her favor the war. These instincts were strong enough to overcome her reason and lead her to that very public baffoonery on the Senate floor.

Only her ANWR work will make it possible for me to cast a vote for her, and I'll have to hold my nose while I do it.
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