- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 10, 2006

McKinney’s ‘infamy’

“[Rep. Cynthia A.] McKinney speaks loudly but has accomplished little in her 12 years in Congress. That’s because her outrageous rhetoric and loopy antics distance her not only from the Republican majority, but even from many of her Democratic colleagues. She has few allies. …

“She doesn’t have the prestige or power to pass a resolution in support of sweetened ice tea.

“By contrast, her colleague, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who represents Georgia’s 5th District, has the moral authority to get things done. He, too, is a vocal critic of the invasion of Iraq. He, too, has frequently disagreed with the policies of President Bush. He, too, is a Democrat — a member of the minority party. But when Lewis threw his determined efforts behind extension of the Voting Rights Act, it passed.

“It’s the difference between infamy and influence.”

—Cynthia Tucker, writing on “Voters can see through McKinney,” July 30 in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Casus belli

“It has become fashionable in recent months to say that the U.S. invaded Iraq ‘for lots of reasons.’ It has been said, variously, that we were seeking to establish an island of democracy in an unstable region; (more nobly) that humanitarian principle obliged us to free an oppressed people; (more crassly) that we had no choice but to protect the flow of oil; (more colorfully) that the president was driven to avenge old man Bush; (more tendentiously) that we were manipulated into advancing Israel’s interests. Pick your ax and grind it. The notion that we invaded Iraq for ‘lots of reasons’ — like so much else in the discussion of Iraq — misses the point. There was only one ‘reason’ that permitted the president to take the country to war: the presence of weapons of mass destruction. …

“Another statement that has been swapped-out by the fashionable in recent months, most famously by Sen. Jay Rockefeller [West Virginia Democrat] of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is this: ‘If I knew then what I know now, I would have opposed the war.’ With great respect, Senator, we know now exactly what you knew then. And to my knowledge not a single datum of U.S. intelligence has been changed over the past three years.”

—Neal B. Freeman, writing on “National Review Goes to War,” in the June issue of the American Spectator

Ancient legacy

“On May 12, 1962, General Douglas MacArthur delivered at West Point the greatest improvised oration in American literature. The cadets heard a prose poem, held together by the refrain ‘Duty — Honor — Country’ and enlivened with vivid images drawn from daily life … and the wisdom of the past. Their profession was not about to become obsolete, he told the cadets. “Always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” ‘

“MacArthur was right to call upon the ancients to reinforce what he had learned from a lifetime spent in the service of his country. … Americans sometimes forget that many of the intellectual and political traditions they enjoy, such as science, history, literature, and self-rule, began life in the ancient world.”

—E. Christian Kopff, writing on “Battlewise History,” in the summer issue of the Claremont Review of Books

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