News - Serious leader or sitting duck?

Appeasement is no match against Saddam

In the essential struggle to defend America against terrorism and terror states, the Democratic Party has become the Appeasement Party. Even as evil wraiths plot in distant caves to unleash on us unspeakable weapons, many Democrats have lost the nerve to defend our nation, our people and our way of life.

Just one year after 9-11, Beltway Democrats are finding every excuse not to take out Saddam Hussein. With rare exception, they call for more negotiation and more proof of the danger. Like the pea-brained ostrich, they bury their heads in the sand and pretend the threat doesn't exist. Jimmy Carter wants President Bush to hold off until Saddam explodes a nuclear bomb. Carter's plan? Return fire when we see the white of their mushroom cloud.

The patron saint of modern appeasement, Carter last week expressed "concern" not about Saddam's bid to acquire weapons of mass murder but Bush's eagerness to stop him. No surprise here. As president, Carter was more worried about America's "inordinate fear of communism" than the Soviet Union's vigorous spreading of it.

Sen. Tom Daschle, who beat the drums for attacking Iraq in 1998, has greeted Bush's drive to topple Saddam with petty partisanship and knee-jerk obstructionism. What Bush proposes, Daschle opposes, consequences be damned. Oblivious to the obvious, Daschle demands to know what has changed to require U.S. action now, as if he has missed every intelligence report on Iraq and every lesson of 9-11.

Then there's Al Gore. Last week, Gore claimed people overseas are now more worried about America than al-Qaeda. I think Gore is wrong. But if he isn't, shame on the brainless foreigners — not Bush.

Echoing Bill Clinton, Gore said Bush should finish off al-Qaeda before addressing Iraq, which might make sense if we controlled Saddam's timetable. In the real world, Hussein is no less dangerous because Osama bin Laden's fate is uncertain.

Meanwhile, maverick Democratic Sen. Zell Miller firmly supports Bush's drive to de-fang Iraq. Miller did, however, toss a bone to party bosses with a recent op-ed posing mostly pointless questions about things like Bush's plans for post-war Iraq.

Frankly, I'm far more concerned about how the appeasers in Miller's party plan to avoid a post-apocalyptic America. They have no answers, only objections.

While Miller supports Bush's move to take out Saddam now, Sen. Max Cleland is another story. Even as he has tried to link himself to Bush in a pair of deceptive campaign ads, Cleland doesn't support the president — not on the war and not on much else. Firmly in the appeasement camp, Cleland recently ripped Bush as a "Lone Ranger" and said the U.S. shouldn't "rush to judgment" on Iraq. Cleland nonetheless admitted he would probably vote to authorize the use of force against Hussien.

Cleland wants it both ways, appealing to his liberal base by slamming Bush and then grudgingly going along with the president due to widespread constituent pressure. This is a pattern with Cleland, who voted 22 times to cut or delay Bush's tax cut before voting for final passage.

Cleland is a crafty politician. He knows he's more liberal than his constituents, and he likely won't rub their noses in it right before an election. If the Senate votes on Iraq before Election Day, count on Cleland to vote for the war against his own inclinations. If, however, he manages to win re-election and score six more years before he must again face Georgia voters, expect him to return to obstructing Bush and counseling a policy of appeasement toward the likes of Saddam Hussein.

Georgia voters face a critical choice in this year's Senate race. We must decide if we want a vigorous national defense that takes the battle to the terrorists — or a sitting-duck strategy of waiting around for the next spectacular attack before doing anything.

Serious times demand serious leaders.


For the record, Luke Boggs doubts Cleland's leadership, not his patriotism. ??

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