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Joe Lieberman: Statesman By: Patrick Devenny
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, December 02, 2005


The pages of the leftist superblog DailyKos were ablaze on Tuesday with white-hot rhetoric.  Several news stories posted throughout the day evoked hundreds of mini-tirades from Kos denizens. Usually, their juvenile hatred is reserved for the Bush administration, but this time, the target was a senior figure in the Democratic Party: Senator Joseph Lieberman. This influential left-wing site -- hailed by sensible leftist” Allan Colmes as a recommended read -- classified the 2000 Democratic Vice Presidential candidate thus:

“an amazingly clueless, pretentious a**hole.”

 “enthusiastic supporter of the terrorism against civilian populations of Central America.”

 

“one of those people who think that chaos in Iraq is okay.”

Lieberman raised their ire by courageously defying their influence in his party and continuing support for the war effort in Iraq -- in the pages of the “reactionary” Wall Street Journal editorial page, no less. The language of his editorial -- entitled “Our Troops Must Stay” -- is one of the more eloquent defenses of democratization and stabilization efforts in Iraq offered by any American politician, Republican or Democrat. Citing across-the-board progress in Iraq he witnessed first-hand, Lieberman writes a premature withdrawal would kill the possibility of a free Iraq, scolding Democrats and Republicans for denigrating Iraqi efforts and transforming it into yet another partisan mêlée. In Lieberman’s eyes, the conflict can be succinctly described as:

A war between 27 million and 10,000; 27 million Iraqis who want to live lives of freedom, opportunity and prosperity and roughly 10,000 terrorists who are either Saddam revanchists, Iraqi Islamic extremists or al-Qaeda foreign fighters who know their wretched causes will be set back if Iraq becomes free and modern.

Lieberman’s unwavering support for democracy in Iraq is not new-found or cursory; the senator from Connecticut has been one of the most reliable and eloquent advocates for the intervention since 2003. In 1998, Lieberman worked to gain approval of the Iraq Liberation Act, which called for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Four years later, he served as a lead sponsor of the congressional authorization of force, which enabled President Bush to bring about the destruction of the Ba’athist regime once and for all. While other politicians have wavered and been swayed by the horror story of the day, Lieberman has consistently advocated “staying the course.” Lieberman distinguished himself further two weeks ago by voting against a transparently political bill that would have forced thepPresident to set a timetable for the withdrawal of troops -- one of only four Democrats brave enough to defy their party's MoveOn/DailyKos base.

 

Lieberman takes this position at a significant political risk to himself. Polls show public opinion in his dark-blue home state of Connecticut -- which voted for John Kerry by a margin of 10 percent -- running decidedly against President Bush and the war effort. Additionally, he is forced to suffer the barbs of the Kos and Democratic Underground cave dwellers:

“Lieberman is an Orthodox Jew (who are generally very anti-Arab and Palestinian) and an AIPAC whore. This war was fought for O.I.L. (Oil Industry, Israel, Logistics of Military - Military Industrial Complex).  He's not Connecticut's Senator, he's Ariel Sharon's.”

“This is all about Israel wanting a huge U.S. military presence in the ME [Middle East], and nothing more for Liebershitz. I can't blame Israel for wanting a big bully presence at their back door, so draft-dodger Liebershitz should just be honest about his intentions for BSing us about Iraq.”

Such virile hatred exists only among neo-Nazis and the radical Left. Lieberman's party, increasingly defined by an energetic minority of banal activists who hold to Howard Dean’s belief that “what’s bad for America is good for Democrats,” is rapidly becoming inhospitable to men of principle like Joe Lieberman.

 

A prime example of this trend can be found in the latest activities of opportunistic harpy Nancy Pelosi, who recently declared her support for Congressman Jack Murtha’s misguided withdrawal proposal -- although she could not bring herself to vote for a withdrawal resolution when given the chance two weeks ago. (Neither could Murtha.) Delving into military strategy, Generalissimo Pelosi announced her agreement with Murtha’s recommendation to keep U.S. troops stationed in bordering nations -- as though there were no terrorists outside Iraq, or abandoning Iraq to the terrorists would not embolden every would-be terrorist in the Middle East to strap on explosives and find the nearest platoon.

 

Senator Joe Lieberman has shown keen military insight over this call for retreat, defeat, and surrender. In his Wall Street Journal editorial, Lieberman tactics by which Iraqi combat units can be better employed for their own defense, as well as noting their ever-improving training. The senator also encourages the expanded use of “Provincial Reconstruction Teams” -- amalgamated teams of economic and infrastructure specialists who could speed the process of structural renewal throughout Iraq. In other words, he has been on the ground and has made specific recommendations for victory, a concept notably absent from the Murtha-and-Pelosi plan.

 

Joseph Lieberman represents the embodiment of an honest, loyal opposition -- supportive of the common national interest, honest in his appraisal of our war efforts, constructive in his discussions of how to win, and always putting national security above fleeting partisan advantage. In the future, conservatives may find themselves adamantly opposed to many of Senator Lieberman’s positions, especially over his stances on the environment and taxes. That Liberman holds these views only demonstrates his decency. Although he twice ran in opposition to President Bush, he has supported the president because he supports the policy of exporting freedom to the Arab world. In short, Joe Lieberman is everything reviled by the Left. His political civility is increasingly rare, a sad comment on the current state of American politics. This senator’s heart is in the right place, and the security of the Republic foremost in his mind. This wins him no praise from most members of his own party, even from the man who selected him as his running mate in 2000. It has doomed his presidential aspirations. But it wins him the thanks and commendation of the American people.

 

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Patrick Devenny is the Henry M. Jackson National Security Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington D.C.


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