FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Democrats and Saddam

Howard Dean, like most Democrats, has plenty of faults. From his ugly death penalty posture to his Israel fetish, Dean is surely far from ideal. But the governor’s latest comments regarding the US capture of the bearded Saddam have been right on the mark.

On Monday Dean fired up his Democratic opponents, and the White House by stating in a speech to the Pacific Council of International Policy; “The capture of Saddam has not made America safer. The difficulties and tragedies we have faced in Iraq show the administration launched the war in the wrong way, at the wrong time, with inadequate planning, insufficient help, and at extraordinary costs.”

It should be noted Dean would have supported a multilateral invasion of Iraq, but now he is testifying to his groupies that he stands by his early decision of opposing Bush’s unilateral war.

Of course, Dean vowed to keep on fighting terrorism, although he warned Saddam’s demise would not make the US a safer country.

The spiteful reaction from his dreary opponents hardly comes as a shock. Joseph Lieberman, most likely still a bit peeved about Al Gore’s drooling endorsement of Dean, exclaimed in a statement early Tuesday that Dean is in a “spider-hold of denial.” He went on to add that, “Saddam Hussein is a homicidal maniac, brutal dictator, supporter of terrorism and enemy of the United States, and there should be no doubt that America and the world are safer with him captured.” Lieberman must think Hussein’s bunker was Internet ready, tied right into the counter insurgency.

John Kerry, a reluctant supporter of Bush’s war, released a statement on Monday that Dean’s “speech is still more proof that all the advisers in the world can’t give Howard Dean the military and foreign policy experience, leadership skills, or diplomatic temperament necessary to lead this country through dangerous times.”

Obviously these remarks should not come as a great surprise. The Democrats have yet to grasp a coherent platform in their feeble attempt to disarm Bush. But Dean knows he can’t turn his back on the grassroots support that has brought him this far. Most of his early supporters latched onto his campaign in its infancy because Dean opposed Bush’s war plans. And by standing strong, Dean is now turning into a self-proclaimed leader of the angry-wing of the Democratic Party–and if polls are an indication of his support, it’s clear most Democrats hate Bush to the marrow.

However, Dean’s remarks at Monday’s event were far from a peacenik Vermonter’s. Dean bragged about his support for the bloody wars in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, as well as Iraq Uno. And like an earlier statement that would endorse Bill Clinton as the US’s Middle East peace broker–he’s now saying that it’d be sensible to send Clinton over to North Korea as well. Dean said this after alleging that President Bush is “responsible for the fact North Korea has become a nuclear power.” If voters are looking to replace Bush with Howard Dean, we are likely to see a lot of neoliberal Bill Clinton, economically and foreign policy wise.

Of course, right on cue pious Bush challenged Dean’s statement by saying, “I believe, firmly believe — and you’ve heard me say this a lot, and I say it a lot because I truly believe it — that freedom is the almighty God’s gift to every person — every man and woman who lives in this world. That’s what I believe. And the arrest of Saddam Hussein changed the equation in Iraq. Justice was being delivered to a man who defied that gift from the Almighty to the people of Iraq.”

Lord help us.

After the photographs of Saddam, a “prisoner of (an illegal) war,” were paraded on global TV, Karl Rove was in the back-kitchen mixing up a tasty propaganda treat for us all.

Republican’s hope it serves as an ache in the stomachs of the Democrats disheveled foreign policy platform, as well as make their opposition mute. They are also hoping it knocks the wind right out of Howard Dean, and sucker punches the rest of the Democrats on the Iraq issue just like it did prior to the 2002 elections. The Republicans know a broken opposition is no opposition at all.

One can only contemplate the possibility that the Bush team has Osama bin Laden, and Mullah Muhammad Omar, in their waiting room, up next to be examined by US Army doctors. And nope, it won’t be Dr. Dean who will be seeing these fugitive patients. Rove knows this Taliban asshole and Al Queda guru, are the one-two combo that will virtually wrap up a Bush victory in 2004.

Despite Dean’s chicken-hawk pose on North Korea, he’s right-on when it comes to Saddam’s siege. Even as harsh critics, we have to call it as we see it. And it would be smart for the rest of the Democratic hopefuls to do the same. But, as Kerry and Lieberman’s comments suggest–there’s not a chance of that in a cold winter’s hell.

If the Democrats can’t even come together on an issue like Saddam’s capture, the likelihood they can forcefully oppose Bush in any coherent manner, is unlikely. The Democrats are ineffective, because the Kerrys and Liebermans are the voice of the party’s elite. And the loud angry carps bellowing from centrist Howard Dean, often out of tune and off beat, won’t be silencing the ghastly tone of the hopeless Democratic Party as a whole–even if Dr. Dean is right on this one.

JOSH FRANK is a writer living in New York. He can be reached at frank–joshua@hotmail.com

 

More articles by:

JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book, co-authored with Jeffrey St. Clair, is Big Heat: Earth on the Brink. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
November 20, 2019
Vijay Prashad
The Coup in Bolivia Has Everything to Do With the Screen You’re Using to Read This
Kenneth Surin
Labor and the UK General Election
Ron Jacobs
The Trumpists’ Attempts at Snark Define Their Day: Impeachment Day Three
George Ochenski
The Walls are Closing in on Donald Trump
Timothy M. Gill
Towards a Democratic Socialist Foreign Policy
Robert Hunziker
Neoliberalism Backfires
Thomas S. Harrington
Let’s Give Three Cheers for Those “Western Ears” 
Michelle Renee Matisons
Freedom, Valor, Love: On Snowden’s Permanent Record
James C. Nelson
How Trump is Warping the Federal Courts: the Case Against Lawrence VanDyke
Rev. William Alberts
Whistleblowing Religion
Chandra Muzaffar
The Coup That Ousted Morales
Mike Garrity
Trump Administration Ignores Court Order Stopping 85,000 Acre Payette Forest Logging and Burning Project, Conservation Groups Sue
Andrew Moss
Raising the Stakes in the Struggle Over Immigration Detention
Dean Baker
Making Andrew Yang Smarter
Lawrence Wittner
The People of the World
November 19, 2019
Ramzy Baroud
How Western Media Bias Allows Israel to Getaway with Murder in Gaza
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan’s Ethnic Cleansing of the Kurds is Still Happening
Dave Lindorff
Student Protesters are Walking a Tightrope in Hong Kong
Richard Greeman
French Yellow Vests Celebrate First Birthday, Converge With Planned Labor Strikes
Dean Baker
Impeachment is a Kitchen Table Issue
Walden Bello
Is China an “Imperial Power” in the Image of the West?
Jim Britell
Modern Biology and Ecology: the Roots Of America’s Assertive Illiteracy
Sabri Öncü
Non-Financial Private Debt Overhang
John Steppling
Baby Shark Coup
Binoy Kampmark
Open Guidelines: The Foreign Interference Problem in Australian Universities
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Greece and the Struggle for Freedom
Colin Todhunter
Lab Rats for Corporate Profit: Pesticide Industry’s Poisoned Platter
James Graham
Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn on the Eve of the Debate
Elliot Sperber
Scrutiny – From Scruta
November 18, 2019
Olivia Arigho-Stiles
Protestors Massacred in Post-Coup Bolivia
Ashley Smith
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Macho Camacho: Jeffery R. Webber and Forrest Hylton on the Coup in Bolivia
Robert Fisk
Michael Lynk’s UN Report on Israeli Settlements Speaks the Truth, But the World Refuses to Listen
Ron Jacobs
Stefanik Stands By Her Man and Roger Stone Gets Convicted on All Counts: Impeachment Day Two
John Feffer
The Fall of the Berlin Wall, Shock Therapy and the Rise of Trump
Stephen Cooper
Another Death Penalty Horror: Stark Disparities in Media and Activist Attention
Bill Hatch
A New Silence
Gary Macfarlane
The Future of Wilderness Under Trump: Recreation or Wreckreation?
Laura Flanders
#SayHerName, Impeachment, and a Hawk
Ralph Nader
The Most Impeachable President vs. The Most Hesitant Congress. What Are The Democrats Waiting For?
Robert Koehler
Celebrating Peace: A Work in Progress
Walter Clemens
American Oblivion
Weekend Edition
November 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Meet Ukraine: America’s Newest “Strategic Ally”
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Frankenstein Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Ukraine in the Membrane
Jonathan Steele
The OPCW and Douma: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Accused of Evidence-Tampering by Its Own Inspectors
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail