IRREGULAR TIMESThe Second Casualty of War is Political Courage
Local and national, Republicans get more and more absurd

Related article: Senator Christopher Bond shows political cowardice in decision to waste billions of taxpayer dollars

Is it just me, or are the Republicans' excuses about Iraq getting more ridiculous by the day? As more soldiers are killed and maimed by Iraqis, Republican leaders can't seem to break away from their old ideas about what Bush's war in Iraq would be like. Thus, their statements about Iraq seem increasingly separated from reality.

Oh, there's the Bush Administration, of course. They've become infamous for their irrationally optimistic descriptions of real problems faced by America's soldiers. Yesterday, Dick Cheney said that he does not "think that the strategy is flawed or needs to be changed" for Iraq.

What does that mean? Is everything going to plan? If that's true, what kind of sick and twisted Vice President would ever come up with a plan that involves American soldiers being picked off one-by-one like ducks in a shooting gallery? Dick Cheney shows his disrespect not only to America's soldiers, but to the entire American public, for so casually dismissing the American deaths in his misguided Iraq war.

When I refer to ridiculous comments about Iraq, I'm not just talking about the Bush Administration, though. Republicans in Congress are making even more absurd statements than what we're hearing from Bush, Cheney and Associates.

I heard an example of this absurdity just this morning. In an interview with radio station WRVO in Oswego, New York, Republican Representative James Walsh of New York's 25th District praised the invasion and occupation of Iraq, saying, "In time, this will be a model."

A model?!? Let's think about that one, folks. When Congressman James Walsh cites the current situation in Iraq as a model, he's implying that he thinks that the United States ought to do this kind of rushed, sloppy, unplanned invasion and occupation of foreign countries more often. Sorry, Mr. Walsh, but we don't agree. We just don't think that sending American soldiers overseas on the basis of forgeries and lies to serve as targets for angry radicals is anything close to a "model" for American foreign policy.

Congressman Walsh makes an excuse for himself by saying, "The chaos, including the guerilla activity that followed, was difficult to foresee." Walsh says that the guerilla warfare against American soldiers in Iraq "would have been hard to anticipate."

Difficult to anticipate my foot! The truth is that Representative James Walsh knew very well about the dangers to American soldiers before he voted to give George W. Bush a blank check to wage war in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

How can I be so sure? Well, for one thing, I was myself part of a delegation of constituents who went to James Walsh's office well before the war. We delivered a petition signed by hundreds of Mr. Walsh's constituents to his staff that day. An identical petition with even more signatures was simultaneously delivered to Mr. Walsh's office in the western part of the 25th District. The petition warned of exactly the kind of messy warfare that our soldiers are being put through right now in Iraq. Now, if hundreds of voters from rural Upstate New York could anticipate this kind of guerilla warfare, how could Congressman James Walsh, who has access to special intelligence briefings and has a huge staff of educated people working for him, fail to anticipate it? The fact is that James Walsh did know about these risks, because we did the anticipating for him.

It wasn't just us, of course. Huge numbers of experts were quoted on the radio, on television and in the newspapers, long before the war ever began, as warning America's leaders that it would be much more difficult to "win the peace" than to win the war. Additionally, there were huge anti-war marches by Americans who were concerned that George W. Bush was needlessly sending American soldiers to death and grave injury. On one day alone there were over one million people marching in the streets of New York City, Washington D.C. and San Francisco. They anticipated problems with a guerilla war, so why couldn't James Walsh?

Even if all these people were not clamoring to warn leaders like Congressman James Walsh of the risks to our soldiers, it should have been easy for Mr. Walsh to anticipate the guerilla attacks that young Americans in Iraq are now the victims of. If he had stopped to think for just one moment, Representative Walsh would have quickly realized that such a guerilla war would be unavoidable. History has taught us that people do not appreciate it when foreign countries invade their land, kill their people, and try to steal their natural resources in order to pay for the military adventure. Think, Mr. Walsh, and you'd realize that the Iraqi people would be quite upset about having hundreds of thousands of their men, women and children killed by American soldiers. Are you really saying, Mr. Walsh, that it was "difficult to anticipate" that some of those Iraqis might fight back?

Republican James Walsh for CongressIt's embarrassing to see a leader as prominent as Congressman James Walsh go along with the outrageous predictions of extremists like Paul Wolfowitz, who predicted that Iraqis would gratefully welcome American soldiers, showering them with flowers, loving them as liberators. Bush's war was so rushed and so unplanned that the American military was not prepared to govern Iraq after destroying it. Our soldiers are being showered with bullets, bombs and rocket propelled grenades, Mr. Walsh.

Given that Representative James Walsh was provided with so much prior warning of the likelihood of a guerilla war in Iraq, the people of New York's 25th Congressional District have got to ask themselves what made it so difficult for him to anticipate that such a war would take place. Was it a lack of information? Clearly not. Was it a lack of intellectual ability? No, Mr. Walsh has a very able staff to help him out even when he fails as an individual.

The only explanation we're left with is that Republican Congressman James Walsh lacked the courage to stand up to a war that he knew was unwise. James Walsh followed along with his political party, even when he knew that doing so would endanger the lives of the Americans he has been elected to represent. I personally talked to many of James Walsh's aides in the months before the war, even before Mr. Walsh had made up his mind about whether to support the war. Those aides assured me that Representative Walsh was deeply troubled by the idea of a war, and had a great deal of doubt about whether an invasion of Iraq would be worth the great loss of American lives that would surely take place. James Walsh knew what the price of war in Iraq would be, but he failed to do what he knew was right. That's not just a lack of anticipation, it's a lack of backbone, a lack of courage.

It seems more and more clear as time goes on that James Walsh is no longer fit to represent the people of New York's 25th Congressional District. When America is faced with difficult times, the integrity and courage of our leaders are tested. Congressman James Walsh failed the test, and it's time for him to go.

In 2004, the 25th District of New York will have the chance to replace James Walsh with a more responsible leader. I will be among those who vote to bring Mr. Walsh back home, where he can do no more harm.



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