I admire Senator Joseph Lieberman. I admit it without the slightest bit of hesitation. I can’t think of anyone in public life, or at least in public political life, who is as far to the left on some social issues as Lieberman is, and yet at the same time inspires me personally to hope and believe that non-partisanship and true courage is not dead in America. The way he responded to his defeat in the primary election in 2006, the way he responded to the radical fringe of his own party during that time, and the way he has practiced his faith in public and in private have all inspired me. This man is a real American hero, period!
Yesterday, Senator Lieberman lashed out at what he called the politically paranoid, hyper-partisan role the Democratic Party has developed in opposing Republicans concerning a strong foreign policy. Lieberman suggested that the guiding conviction in foreign policy is not pacifism or isolationism. (When I first read this I thought to myself, "Joe, this time you must be wrong.") No, Lieberman believes that the guiding policy of his party, if he is still a Democrat (technically he is not), is distrust. Lieberman said the Republicans, during the 1990s, were reflexively blinded to the good the Clinton administration did in some areas of policy because of their partisan politics. (I also agree with him on this point.) He now believes, especially since 9/11, that the reverse is clearly true. Lieberman told a forum, hosted by Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, that the party he grew up in was unafraid to make moral judgments. That is no longer the case. He cited a recent resolution calling on the administration to support freedom movements in Iran as one example. (Senator Clinton voted for the resolution but Obama voted against it, thus Lieberman’s remarks were seen by the media as a rebuke of Obama.) Lieberman argues that there is something profoundly wrong when leaders feel they must oppose the Bush administration even when there is clear evidence that our troops are now winning in the field and Iran’s murder of our troops is a serious threat to us.
Say what you will about the reasons for our being involved in Iraq, and for that matter the entire region, the fact is that our troops are there and we ought to have a military strategy that supports them and protects them. You fight a war to win it. Have we forgotten this simple fact? But when right and wrong are blurred by political ambition we all suffer. I say, "Thank you Senator Lieberman for having the guts to say and do the right thing time and time again." This man is not a hawk. He is simply an American patriot who believes the ideals and general policies of this country are still worth supporting, even if you are not in the party that presently holds power. Holding power is not the most important thing. Doing what is best for America still matters.
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For the specific vote, I believe that Lieberman is right, most Democrats voted against the measure because they distrust the White House.
But I don’t believe that that is what is behind Democrats in the long term. Except for Edwards, who is running on an anti-war, anti-globalization platform, the Democrats are not promising to rush out of Iraq. But they are very concerned about both the tone and results of Bush policies. I think that is reasonable. Virtually everyone is concerned about the tone and results of Bush policies.
I am concerned about your point in the last paragraph. It seems you are saying that because we are now in the middle east we must stay in the middle east, because our mission is now to protect our troops. Isn’t that just circular? Our troops our there because we need to protect our troops. I hope we have more of a reason to be there than that.