Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Politics is politics and ratings are ratings. But at what point does the non-stop antiwar Iraq rhetoric by many Democrats and many in the media cross the line and morph into outright falsehoods, personal vendettas against the president, and become utterly demoralizing to our troops on the ground in Iraq? I would submit that that line was deliberately and gleefully crossed quite a while ago.

Why? If you are a liberal in the Democratic Party or in the media, there are several reasons why you would twist the facts, try to rewrite history and privately state that “the end justifies the means.” First, and maybe still most importantly, for many on the left, they have never considered George W. Bush a legitimate president. They have an irrational hatred for him and wrongfully feel, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that Mr. Bush somehow stole the 2000 election.

Second, many don’t really care if the Bush administration is right or wrong about Iraq. Because of the constant, pointed and shaded attacks against this president and “his” war, they see his presidency as a wounded animal looking for a place to hide and heal. Because there are important elections coming up in 2006 and 2008, they have no intention of giving up the chase. They mean to kill the animal before it recovers and can fight back. Lastly, and most troubling, is that many liberals in the Democratic Party or the media have an ingrained contempt for our military and the role it must play in the world.

What is most disturbing in this game by the Democrats to cripple this presidency and enhance their chances in the 2006 and 2008 elections is the suspect role some in the media are willing and most anxious to play.

Politics is politics and it’s no surprise that some Democrats are shading the truth to influence the American people. Some Republicans are no better and, as we get closer to the elections, they will shame themselves and our party as well. But in the meantime, journalists are paid to be unbiased reporters of fact. Not to carry water for the Democrats or to insert their own personal bias.

Not only do they incessantly pound the American people with negative story after negative story on the war in Iraq, but when their unfair coverage reaches a crescendo, they themselves “poll” the American people to ask them if they support Mr. Bush and “his” war in Iraq.

They do this and conveniently forget some of that history that they and some of the Democrats are trying to rewrite. History, for instance, that states that in 1998, Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, the Iraq Liberation Act, an act that stated, “It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.” In December 1998, after ordering military action in response to Saddam Hussein’s decision to expel the U.N. weapon inspectors, Mr. Clinton said, “Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference; he has used them… The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.”

Leaving the words of Mr. Clinton aside, many in the media seem to have completely or deliberately forgotten about U.N. Resolution 1441 — a resolution that was unanimously passed by the Security Council and ordered Saddam Hussein to make a “full accounting of his WMD program and to cooperate with inspectors.” Further, the resolution warned that there would be no more tolerance for concealment or obstruction — something David Kay, head of the Iraq Survey Group, found Saddam was doing on a regular basis.

OK, if some in the media will turn their backs on this verifiable history, then I have no doubt that they will also seek to squash or ignore the testimony of those who would remind the American people of the valid reasons for going to war in Iraq — even testimony by Democrats.

How many in the media who oppose this war will report the words of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, when, in speaking recently in opposition to a date certain for withdrawal, said: “It is no surprise to my colleagues that I strongly supported the war in Iraq… we had in our national interest to remove Saddam Hussein from power… He was a ticking time bomb that if we did not remove him, I am convinced would have blown up, metaphorically speaking, in America’s face… The international intelligence community believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.”

Politics is politics, ratings are ratings, but lies are lies. While some Democrats may twist the truth to win the upcoming elections, the media has a solemn obligation to report the facts. And it is on that score that some have failed themselves, our nation, our troops, and the people of Iraq.

Douglas MacKinnon served as press secretary to former Sen. Bob Dole. He is also a former White House and Pentagon official, and an author.

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