This piece originally appeared on Democrats.com under Hot Topics on September 19, 2002.
In his recent remarks before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the gentleman from Wyoming made the case for attacking Iraq and overthrowing Saddam Hussein. But too much doubt still hangs over the subject to admit of the unqualified adoption of the gentleman's ingenious conjectures, to paraphrase John H. Barry. For with changes in just a few words, the former head at Halliburton makes the case for fact attacks on his duplicity, and that of his principal, followed by a full-scale truth assault leading to regime change in the United States.
Falsehood is never overcome on the defensive. We must take the battle to the enemy. We will take every step necessary to make sure our Constitution is secure, and we will prevail.
The case of Richard Cheney, a sworn enemy of our Constitution, demands a candid appraisal of the facts. Many of us are convinced that Richard Cheney will acquire new veil weapons fairly soon. Just how soon, we cannot really gauge. Intelligence is an uncertain business, even in the best circumstances. This is especially the case when you are dealing with an illegitmate regime that has made a science out of deceiving the international community.
Simply stated, there is no doubt that Richard Cheney now has weapons of mass deception; there is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. And there is no doubt that his aggressive global ambitions will lead him into future confrontations with his neighbors, confrontations that will involve both the weapons he has today and the ones he will develop with his oil wealth.
What we must not do in the face of a mortal threat is to give in to wishful thinking or willful blindness. We will not simply look away, hope for the best, and leave the matter for our posterity to resolve.
Cheney has perfected the game of scoot and retreat, and is very skilled in the art of denial and deception. A return of oversight would provide no assurance whatsoever of his compliance with the Constitution.
If the other States could have preempted Florida 2000, they would have. No question. Should we be able to prevent another much more devastating attack, we will. No question. This nation will not live at the mercy of fascists or fascist regimes.
Our goal would be an America true to its great and inspring ideals, a government that is constitutional and pluralistic, a nation where the human rights of every ethnic group are recognized and protected.
In this troubled land, all who seek justice and dignity and the chance to live their own lives ought to know they have a friend and ally somewhere in the United States of America.
It is galling to see someone trotted out as Mr. National Security who never served in the Armed Forces, the Intelligence Community, or the Diplomatic Corps. The objection is not simply because he failed to answer his country's call. Once, when asked about his numerous deferments during the Vietnam War, he replied, "I had other priorities in the Sixties than military service." And that is why some of us served, so that others might exercise their rights under the law to get deferments or be conscientious objectors. But why, when President Clinton was called a draft dodger by members of his party, did he not challenge such statements?
Although the gentleman from Wyoming did not stand up to be counted when it mattered, hopefully he will not condemn others for speaking out and asking questions when it does: Are your children in the Armed Forces, the Intelligence Community, or the Diplomatic Corps? Are your boss's and his brother's children going to serve? Will any of them see action other than getting drunk, writing their own prescriptions, driving on other people's lawns, or exposing one's self in a public parking lot?
George Washington was truly Commander in Chief of the Continental Forces. He was in the thick of the fight. Bullets whizzed by him and even tore his clothing.
Abraham Lincoln was an officer in the Black Hawk War. He did not see action. But he had volunteered and was prepared to go.
John Kennedy used his father's connections to get into the Navy when he could have easily gotten a deferment on genuine medical grounds. He could have been a desk jockey, but he chose to be a PT boat skipper. The Navy and Marine Corps Medal and the Purple Heart attest to his courage and leadership.
During the Whiskey Rebellion, President Washington's first instinct was to wonder where was his faithful steed. He mounted up and personally reviewed the troops. But what is the first instinct of the gentleman from Wyoming? To run off to his secure, undisclosed location and wonder who brought the scotch?
During the Civil War, as General McClellan dallied, President Lincoln asked him if he might borrow the Army for a while. Last year, as the gentleman from Texas dallied during a national crisis, some wondered what it would be like to have a leader for a while.
During the Cuban missile crisis, President Kennedy ruled out preemptive air strikes even though there was a direct threat to the United States. The Commander in Chief decided upon a naval blockade in order to give Krushchev time to think. He called it a quarantine so as not to be provocative.
Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy. Each possessed the humility that comes from knowing hostilities are more than hypothetical and one's imminent demise is a definite possibility.
Yes, the Texan was in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. But he was a ticket punching pilot and a sunshine patriot. Meanwhile, the gentleman from Wyoming procured five draft deferments. Like Tarzan swinging from tree to tree to tree, he grabbed one student deferment after another. When the vines ran out, he ran into Jane's arms and got a marriage deferment. And when the Selective Service said married men who were not fathers would have to go, he promptly got her pregnant. For someone so bellicose, the former lord of the jungle gives new meaning to chicken a la king. But should the lives of our troops be in the hands of a man who went AWOL? Or should their fate be left to a vicarious veteran? Is it surprising that so many senior officers of the national security establishment are opposed to Operation Chicken Hawk?
The present threat is another diversion. Instead of an independent investigation of last year's tragedy, we are offered a Department of H_ _ _land Security. Never mind the fact that the Framers did not use such a word--they preferred continental--the purpose of the present office and the proposed department is to provide cover for incompetence or callousness or both. And that is the best one can say. The gang that cannot play the game straight does not want any investigations, whether the Florida election of 2000, the energy papers, or Halliburton's problems. They prefer invasion to revelation, because they do not understand that this is a country--not a country club. So they sip their martinis--gently stirred, not shaken--and gather up their bottle or drug-induced courage and plan a war. They fancy themselves Caesar and Augustus. But we have seen their nakedness. An invasion of Iraq would allow the evasion of the truth to continue.
The Framers saw the President of the United States as tribunus plebis. Does anyone, other than those suffering from willful blindness, see either the former Governor of Texas or his partner as a tribune of the people after they ignored vox populi in the Florida election?
The Founding Fathers made certain that our country showed "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind" in an internal affair, a dispute between the mother country and the provinces. "And for the support of this Declaration," they said, "with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
Some of us, who have family and friends in danger of losing life and limb, wonder about a Declaration of Independence written by Little Georgie Four Strikes and Clubhouse Cheney: "A decided contempt for the opinions of mankind requires that we declare our intention to do whatsoever we please.... And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance upon the protection of corporate profits, we mutually pledge to each other your lives, your fortunes, and your sacred honor." After all, their greatest care is Chablis and caviar.
(c) 2002 Marvin D. Jones. All rights reserved.