Meet the Domestic Enemy
By: John Perazzo
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, March 20, 2007
No foreign enemy could have engineered a strategy more likely to cripple America’s war effort in Iraq than has the homegrown political Left. Modeled after the age-old technique of inducing "cultural pessimism" by means of relentless criticism, it is a strategy that casts the U.S. as a nation motivated by nothing more noble than a dual lust for oil and empire; a nation guilty of unspeakable war crimes and human rights violations; a nation morally unfit to impose its will on any other government in the world; and a nation doomed to fail militarily against a foe whose resistance is allegedly inspired by a high-minded, inextinguishable yearning to free itself from the yoke of American oppression. Promoted by political charlatans and sympathetic media outlets, this depiction aims to demoralize the American people and crush their political will to do what is necessary to win the war.
A significant element of this strategy was hatched on June 16, 2005, when 41 Democratic members of the House of Representatives formally announced that they had established the Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus (OICC), an entity dedicated to agitating for a swift withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Iraqi theater of war – alleging that the 2003 American invasion had been launched on the pretext of lies and deliberately manipulated intelligence. The nominal co-founders of OICC were Maxine Waters (who chairs the organization), Lynn Woolsey, John Conyers, Charles Rangel, Barbara Lee, Jan Schakowsky, William Delahunt, and John R. Lewis.
Today OICC is composed of 75 House members, all Democrats. Forty-two of those 75 individuals belong to the Progressive Caucus, the Democratic Party’s socialist wing. Seeking to radically transform American society, the Progressive Caucus advocates socialized medicine, wholesale redistribution of wealth, the elimination of numerous provisions of the Patriot Act, dramatic reductions in the government's intelligence-gathering capabilities, and the quick withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. In a 1999 position paper on economic inequality, the Progressive Caucus openly rejected capitalism:
Economic inequality is the result of two and a half decades of government policies and rules governing the economy being tilted in favor of large-asset owners at the expense of wage earners. Tax policy, trade policy, monetary policy, government regulations and other rules have reflected this pro-investor bias. We propose the introduction or reintroduction of a package of legislative initiatives that will close America’s economic divide and address both income and wealth disparities.
Such are the values to which nearly 60 percent of OICC members subscribe.
Announcing OICC’s formation on June 21, 2005, Maxine Waters charged that nearly 2,000 U.S. soldiers had already lost their lives fighting on behalf of untruths the Bush administration had told them. "Many of them went to serve because they thought that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11," said Waters. "But, of course, we know now that Saddam Hussein was not responsible for 9/11, and many of the soldiers know that now…We all know now there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction." (Waters’ false implication was that President Bush had blamed Iraq for 9/11. Moreover, she apparently was unaware of former Iraqi General Georges Sada’s monumentally important account of how Saddam shipped his WMDs out of Iraq in late 2002.)
Waters then quoted an assertion made by no less an authority than Cindy Sheehan: "The leadership of this country rushed us into an illegal invasion of another sovereign country on prefabricated and cherry-picked intelligence." Conspicuous by its absence was any mention of the fact that during the pre-Iraq War period, there was no country on earth whose intelligence agency did not believe unequivocally that Saddam possessed such weapons. Neither did Waters mention that during that same period, a large number of major Democrats had publicly declared their certainty that Saddam’s WMDs posed a grave threat to American security (see here, here, here, and here). Nor did Waters mention that every Democrat serving on the Senate and House Intelligence Committees had access to the same information as President Bush. Instead, she implied that the president had somehow hidden from those Committee members some vital nugget of evidence that, had they only been made aware of it, would have convinced them that the WMDs did not exist.
Add to this the fact that she long accused the CIA of selling crack to American ghetto children, and one is forced to conclude that Maxine Waters is a lying, deceitful political hack.
In that regard, she is not alone among OICC’s co-founders. At the same event on June 21, 2005, Representative Barbara Lee said, "We know that the administration misled the American people and the world that there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. We knew that then."
In a similar spirit, Lynn Woolsey stepped to the microphone and accused the Bush administration of sending soldiers "to do a job that was not necessary…There is no excuse for the United States to have started a war in Iraq." It was vital, she added, to "work with the international world, get them all involved, so we can be doing the right thing for Iraq and the Iraqi people who are also being destroyed by this war." She did not elaborate on how the U.S. might suddenly be able to harness the goodwill and involvement of an international community that has repeatedly shown itself, by and large, to be content to let America lead the way in dealing with every international crisis that arises, and, like a pack of bloated, imbibing spectators at a football game, do nothing more productive than ridicule America’s every move from their proverbial sideline seats.
OICC co-founder Charles Rangel, for his part, took a swipe at the entire system by which the U.S. military’s ranks had been filled, suggesting that new recruits came disproportionately not "from communities that chief executive officers live in," but rather from "where the hopeless are in terms of unemployment." Accusing the United States of "rattling swords in North Korea" and "threatening Syria and Iran," he recommended the softer approach of "go[ing] to the international community…and persuad[ing] those countries that terrorism is not just an American problem, it is an international problem, and with mutual respect, sit down and talk with them to see how we can bring peace to the Middle East." It would be most fascinating to see Mr. Rangel try to "persuade" Kim Jong Il, Bashar al-Assad, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to take up the cause of "peace."
To determine whether OICC’s leaders are worthy of the American people’s trust vis-a-vis matters of national security, it is instructive to examine what those leaders have actually done thus far to earn that confidence. Following is a synopsis of how the eight co-founders of OICC have voted on some of the most crucial security matters of the past decade:
- On September 29, 2006, seven of the eight voted no to the Military Commissions Act of 2006, a bill authorizing military commissions to try unlawful enemy combatants charged with war crimes and acts of terrorism. (John Lewis did not cast a ballot on this bill.)
- On September 28, 2006, all except Lewis (who again cast no ballot) voted no on the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act, a bill authorizing the government to use electronic surveillance to investigate potential terrorists (provided that the President notifies the congressional intelligence committees and a Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act judge), and empowering the Attorney General to initiate emergency electronic surveillance (so long as he applies for a judicial order within one week of launching such an investigation).
- On September 21, 2006, all eight voted no on the Immigration Law Enforcement Act, which affirmed the authority of state and local police to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.
- On September 14, 2006, all except Delahunt voted no on the Security Fence Act, a bill calling for the construction of 700 miles of double-layered fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, and authorizing the Secretary of Homeland Security to take all necessary steps to prevent the unlawful entry of immigrants into the United States.
- On June 29, 2006, all eight voted no on an Intelligence and Law Enforcement Resolution "supporting…programs to track terrorists and terrorist finances" and "condemning the disclosure and publication of classified information that impairs the international fight against terrorism and needlessly exposes Americans to the threat of further terror attacks by revealing a crucial method by which terrorists are traced through their finances."
- On June 16, 2006, all eight voted no on a Global War on Terror Resolution, which stated that it was not in the interest of American security to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, and which committed the U.S. to the "completion of the mission to create a sovereign, free, secure and united Iraq."
- On December 16, 2005, all eight voted no on a Border Security bill calling for the construction of 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexican border; requiring the Secretary of Homeland Security to upgrade border surveillance and control; establishing an employment eligibility verification system forbidding the hiring of illegal aliens; facilitating the deportation of illegals; and earmarking $250 million annually to help state and local police agencies assist federal authorities in enforcing immigration laws.
- On July 21, 2005, all eight voted no on the USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act, whose purpose was to extend the FBI’s authority to conduct "roving wiretaps" and access certain business records through December 31, 2009, and to make the remaining provisions of the PATRIOT Act permanent. (Incidentally, fully 71 of OICC’s 73 members voted no on this same bill. The other two caucus members did not vote for it because they were forbidden: Donna M. Christensen and Eleanor Holmes Norton are non-voting Delegates from the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia, respectively.)
- On February 10, 2005, all eight OICC co-founders voted no on the Real ID Act, which was aimed at preventing people from abusing the state driver’s license process to obtain false identification, and expanding the legal definition of "terrorist organization" and "engaged in terrorist activity," as those terms pertain to U.S. immigration law.
- On May 18, 2004, all except Rangel (who did not cast a ballot) voted no on the Homeland Security Department Authorization Act, a bill requiring hospitals to provide information on undocumented immigrants seeking emergency medical care; making employers of some illegals financially responsible for the medical treatment of the latter; and facilitating the deportation of illegals.
- On March 17, 2004, all eight voted no on the War in Iraq Anniversary Resolution, which proposed the adoption of a resolution stating that the world and the United States were safer with Saddam Hussein having been removed from power in Iraq.
- On October 24, 2001, six of the eight voted no on the USA PATRIOT Act, which was designed to increase law enforcement’s authority to search homes, tap phone lines, and track Internet use of those suspected of terrorism; to allow law-enforcement and intelligence agencies to share grand jury and other information about suspected terrorist activities; and to strengthen security on American borders. (Rangel and Delahunt voted in favor of the measure.)
- On October 12, 2001, all eight voted no on the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001, designed to give the federal government a broad range of powers to combat terrorism; to ease restrictions on government wiretap and surveillance operations; to permit the sharing of such information between government officials; and to strengthen security along the United States/Canadian border. (Note: This bill would be incorporated into the USA PATRIOT Act twelve days later.)
- On April 18, 1996, the four OICC co-founders who were members of Congress at that time all voted no on the Comprehensive Terrorism Prevention Act, a bill whose provisions sought to prohibit fundraising by terrorist groups in the U.S. and to expedite the process of deporting illegal aliens and suspected terrorists.
- On March 14, 1996, the four OICC co-founders who were members of Congress at that time all voted no on an Antiterrorism Bill whose intent was to give the federal government greater leeway in investigating, prosecuting, and punishing terrorists.
Of OICC’s 73 members, 29 were signatories to a May 14, 2005, letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales calling for a special prosecutor to investigate claims that "high-ranking officials within the Bush Administration [had] violated the War Crimes Act…or the Anti-Torture Act…by allowing the use of torture techniques banned by domestic and international law at recognized and secret detention sites in Iraq, Afghanistan Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere." "One year and 10 investigations after we first learned about the atrocities committed at Abu Ghraib," the letter stated, "there has yet to be a comprehensive, neutral and objective investigation with prosecutorial authority of who is ultimately responsible for the abuses there and elsewhere…If the United States is to wipe away the stain of Abu Ghraib, it needs to investigate those at the top who ordered or condoned torture."
There you have it. OICC has covered every angle. It has:
a. branded the Iraq War immoral and illegal, in essence characterizing it as an act of national mass murder;
b. focused an immense amount of attention on the alleged abuses at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and Haditha;
c. showed not only a willingness but an eagerness to embrace in toto the enemy’s version of what occurred at those places;
d. portrayed those U.S. troops who stand accused of wrongdoing as savage, undisciplined marauders whose actions have destroyed America’s image in the eyes of the world; and
e. cited incidents of collateral Iraqi civilian deaths as further evidence of America’s indiscriminate barbarism.
This endless stream of condemnation and accusation has had its intended effect: It has spooked the Bush administration into imposing foolishly restrictive rules of engagement on American troops, tightly circumscribing the conditions under which they are permitted to fire upon the enemy and thereby placing them in great peril. Fearful of the Left’s mushrooming criticism, the administration has sought to placate reporters, activists, and political self-promoters alike by waging a half-hearted police-style occupation rather than winning and finishing the war. Instead of cordoning off and utterly crushing the Sunni Triangle and similar pockets of resistance with an air campaign prior to sending ground troops into those areas, the administration has sought to minimize collateral casualties by deploying soldiers (shackled by the aforementioned rules of engagement) to fight at close quarters against untold numbers of hidden enemies in the streets and alleyways of Iraq. This comparatively restrained modus operandi has succeeded in winning the hearts and minds of no one – either at home or abroad, Republican or Democrat. Its chief effect has been to increase the death toll not only of U.S. troops but also, ultimately, of Iraqi civilians, who are killed each day in the blasts of car bombs and suicide missions carried out by sadists who should have been eliminated long ago.
Yet in a shameless display of political opportunism, OICC’s members now anoint themselves the champions of those servicemen and servicewomen whose lives were snuffed out as a result of the very timidity promoted by OICC.
Because of its positions on the war and how it should (or should not) be waged, OICC has developed a solid alliance with the antiwar group Code Pink for Peace. In July 2006, Lynn Woolsey, to demonstrate her Caucus’s support for Code Pink’s "Troops Home Fast" national hunger strike, announced that she would make the great sacrifice of refraining from eating for one day as a symbol of her antiwar convictions.
Code Pink, it should be noted, was co-founded by the pro-Fidel Castro, pro-Hugo Chavez communist activists Medea Benjamin and Jodi Evans. In 2004, this organization helped establish Iraq Occupation Watch, whose stated objective was to thin out U.S. forces in Iraq by causing soldiers to seek discharges as conscientious objectors. During the last week of December 2004, Code Pink joined Global Exchange and Families for Peace in donating a combined $600,000 in medical supplies and cash to the families of the terrorist insurgents who were fighting American troops in Fallujah, Iraq.
Code Pink and the Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus are ideological soul mates. Unfortunately for America, the OICC can do something Code Pink cannot do: set American policy.
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