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The latest Congressional candidate to be peddled by the pro-war Democratic establishment, including Howard Dean, James Carville, the Daily Kos, Democracy for America, Al Franken on Air America Radio, etc., is Paul Hackett in southern Ohio. He faces his Republican opponent in a special election this Tuesday, August 2. Hackett goes by the all too appropriate nickname, "Hack," and his claim to fame is that he is a marine who fought in Iraq and will be the only Iraqi veteran in Congress! The truth beneath this silly gloss is a lot uglier. Among his other "achievements," Hack is a proud veteran of the campaign which leveled Fallujah, killing untold numbers of innocent Iraqis and turning hundreds of thousands into refugees.
Here is how he charactizes, on his web site, what he did in Iraq: "I was against the war. It was a misuse of our military that damaged our credibility throughout the world and squandered our political capital. Still, I volunteered to serve, and I have no regrets." Translation "I will mindlessly do what I am told no matter what my brain says." And he has "no regrets" about the slaughter of innocents in Fallujah. On Fallujah, he says: "Religious fanatics and insurgents had seized the city. They had to be stopped."
So what does Hack propose now? Again in his own words, "The good news is we can successfully exit Iraq once the roughly 140,000 Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are adequately trained. The bad news is they are nowhere near the level of skill to accomplish that mission and are likely years away from that goal. No matter what your position on the war, if we pull out now the entire region will spiral into chaos. We must not withdraw our troops before the Iraqis are ready to stand on their own." Translation: "Stay the course." And he also takes a swipe at those who are against the war, saying that "too many liberals who opposed the war want to see the president’s Iraq policy fail." Translation: "Those who oppose the war do so only out of personal hatred for Bush." Both these themes parrot the line of the war parties.
There is absolutely no difference between Hack and his Republican opponent Jean Schmidt on the war or any other issue for that matter. Here is what she says: "The training of Iraqi and Afghan security forces is ongoing and will allow both new governments to begin to assume more responsibility for their security and sovereignty. Our troops should not withdraw from these nations until they can assume these responsibilities on their own and we are making rapid progress towards this end." Translation: "Stay the course." At least, unlike Hack, she did not volunteer to participate in the criminal slaughter of this illegal war.
This latest of Democratic hacks embodies the worst nightmare of another Ohioan, the principled Dennis Kucinich, who cautioned in his presidential campaign that we must not replace a Republican war in Iraq with a Democratic version of it. The Democratic establishment was clearly not interested in another Kucinich when they fielded Hack. He also stands in contrast to Kucinich in another interesting way. During the ’04 primary campaign the Boston Globe ran pictures of the houses of all the Dem candidates. Besides the mansions of Kerry and the others, there stood the little home of Kucinich with a single battered car in the driveway. In contrast Hack, a millionaire who heads a law firm in Cincinnati, is a resident of Indian Hill, a wealthy Cincinnati suburb. His purchase of this property in 2000 made The Cincinnati Equirer’s column of the most expensive real-estate transactions in the area.
Hackett is scheduled to face his Republican opponent in a special election this Tuesday, August 2. Not a bloody dime’s worth of difference between them.
JOHN WALSH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.