I saw an interesting roundtable discussion on "Meet the Press" this morning, which was debating the justification for and current strategy in executing the war in Iraq. Panel members were the former (thank sweet jesus) majority whip Tom DeLay, looking as smarmy as ever; my former representative in Congress Tom Andrews; former Vice Admiral of the US Navy and House representative Joe Sestak; and current neocon par excellence Richard Perle. In case you didn't see it, here's a link. It's not very long (you can fast-forward through the first section), and I invite you to watch it, as it demonstrates how pitiful and ugly the rhetoric from the right has sunk in their ever-strident defense of this bad foreign policy. Compare and contrast Andrews and Sestak to Perle and DeLay. The two Democrats come off as calm, rational, and thoughtful; meanwhile, DeLay and Perle really have nothing to say but rehashed lies and the usual name-calling
These are the main points that ran through my mind as I watched it:
1. Why in God's name is anyone giving Tom DeLay a platform for ANYTHING? What could this unethical, immoral, partisan political hatchet man possibly have to say that anyone would take seriously about the strategy for this war? He was as polarizing as ever and added absolutely nothing new to the discourse. I'm going to write Meet the Press and complain about that.
2. I had to shake my head as I listened to Perle and DeLay cough up the same old bloody crap. "Iraq was part of the global war on terror" and "Saddam Hussein posed a dangerous and immediate threat to our national security and had to be taken out" would make me roll on the floor in fits of hysterical laughter if those tired lines hadn't resulted in such death, destruction, and dishonor for our country. We ALL know now that the better part of national security valor was not the forced removal of Saddam Hussein (anyone with a teaspoon of brains knew it then, but that's beside the point). I must admit, it is fascinating to watch, in the sick kind of way a crossburning is. It really takes balls to stick doggedly to the same story you told the cops even after you've been completely busted with the blood on your shirt and the guy's wife in your bed.
a)Watch Richard Perle try to justify his stand on this with a quote by Carl Levin stating Saddam Hussein was a threat to stability. Yes, acknowledges Russert, "but he voted against the war." Perle has no answer for that. Whatever Levin thought of Saddam Hussein, he clearly didn't consider it a big enough issue to send in ground troops for, which is the case Perle is trying to make here.
b)Listen to DeLay try and make the case that he was not simply supporting the removal of Saddam Hussein, but the "global war on terror." What a hoot! We all know that, in all actuality, removal of Saddam Hussein WAS the primary objective of the military action, because a)there was ample evidence that he was not, in fact, a clear and present danger in terms of another strike on America, and b)there was plenty of evidence available (for anyone who really was interested in something other than the political implications) pointing to the fact that the invasion of Iraq would make the region less stable, not more so. No, by removing Saddam Hussein under the cover of WMDs and Al-Qaeda, the Bush administration thought they were paving the way to put in a puppet government and control the area's oil resources. DeLay knew that, the lying prick.
c) Listen to DeLay, who, of course, never served a day in the military, giving military advice to Joe Sestak, a highly decorated admiral and the highest-ranking military officer to ever serve in the House. The sheer arrogance and lack of respect is jaw-dropping, although I don't know why it surprises me. Tom Andrews rightly just blows DeLay off.
3. The talking points are still clearly in place, although Perle apparently didn't get the memo that "cut and run" is just so January; it's now "slow bleed" and "micromanage." Get with it, Dick!
4. DeLay says sanctimoniously at one point in the broadcast that he only cares "about the AMERICAN people." Well, clearly only about the American people who agree with him (last count, it was about four), as Russert challenges him on a statement DeLay recently made in a column where he self-righteously questions the patriotism of those who are opposed to the war effort. There was no greater moment when Tom DeLay stated smugly that he does, in fact, consider those not in support of the war "unpatriotic," such as those who participated in the protest march in Washington, and Vice Admiral Sestak replies mildly, "You know, Tom, I spent 31 years in support of my country..." taking DeLay out at the knees. Amusingly, DeLay, of student deferment, bases his new book on a war slogan, which Russert hocks through the whole program. What a complete phony.
5. Finally, let me tell anybody who will listen that I am PROUD to be called unpatriotic by Tom DeLay! IMO, that's more evidence of my patriotism than a Silver Star. You go, Tom! Keep it up! Please, can you call me a traitor next? How about my sister?