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Do Democrats Want to Lose the War on Terror?

Retired fighter Jock Robert “Buzz” Patterson has made a name for himself by churning out books about how Democrats hate America and want us to be weak. His first two efforts, Dereliction of Duty: How Bill Clinton Compromised America’s National Security and Reckless Disregard: How Liberal Democrats Undercut Our Military, Endanger Our Soldiers, and Jeopardize Our Security were New York Times best sellers.

War Crimes Buzz Patterson His latest release is entitled War Crimes: The Left’s Campaign to Destroy Our Military and Lose the War on Terror. While seemingly redundant, Glenn Reynolds is intrigued.

I don’t think that the left wants to lose the war on terror, exactly — they just want Bush to lose the war on terror. I suspect, however, that Patterson’s theme is one that we’ll hear more in the future, especially if things go badly in Iraq.

Now, I don’t doubt there there is a lunatic fringe out there who wants us to lose or is willing to see us lose if it’ll vindicate their view of Chimpy McHitler. But, surely, even the most liberal mainstream Democrats want the country to be safe from terrorist attacks, even if it means Bush goes up in the polls?

Pick your favorite liberal bogeyman. Who among them wants Bush to lose at the cost of failing to secure the county against terrorist attacks?

The book’s cover features four elected leaders: Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and Teddy Kennedy. Certainly, they all stand to gain politically if Bush’s popularity remains historically low. Is there any evidence, though, that any of them actually want the terrorists to win to achieve that?

The fifth person pictured on the cover is polemicist and filmmaker Michael Moore. It’s safe to say, I think, that he is far and away the most extreme among them. He seems to hate Bush and is willing to go to considerable lengths of dishonesty to undermine his foreign policy. (See, for example, Christopher Hitchens‘ dismembering of “Fahrenheit 9/11.”) Yet I’m not sure it could be credibly said even of him that he wants to lose, given the implications of that.

One would hope that Patterson is merely being hyperbolic; arguing only that Democratic policies would lead to defeat, not that they are aimed at defeat. One would be disappointed. From a recent interview with NRO’s Kathryn Jean Lopez:

Kathryn Jean Lopez: Your upcoming book begins with a quote from Cicero about how a nation “cannot survive treason from within.” Surely you’re not calling Democrats traitors. Or are you?

“Buzz” Patterson: I am. They certainly are if their behavior during our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is held up to the light of the U.S. Constitution. Article III, Section 3 defines treason against the United States as “adhering to (our) enemies, giving them aid and comfort. Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin, and John Murtha, amongst others, are guilty of exactly that. […]

It’s not just the Democrats though but many on the Left — its faculties and administrations on college campuses, big media, Hollywood, and left-wing organizations such as the Ford Foundation, Moveon.org, United for Peace and Justice, etc. What is particularly disturbing to me is that these Americans are doing it while their fellow citizens are fighting and dying in combat. The best ally that al Qaeda has these days is the Democrat Party leadership. It’s reprehensible.

But, by that logic, any debate at all during wartime is treason. That view would be absurd if it weren’t so dangerous.

I don’t doubt that Reid, Pelosi, and others are exploiting the unpopularity of the war for political gain and that the recent showdown over funding the Iraq War was motivated more by the next election that actually changing the course of the war. That’s light years, though, from consciously seeking to undermine the war effort.

The overwhelming majority of Democrats opposes the war in Iraq and the way the Bush administration is prosecuting the war on terrorism. A large number have, from the beginning, thought “war” was the wrong construct for building a counter-terrorism policy. A fringe, including Moore, thought Osama bin Laden should have simply been captured and treated like any other accused criminal. None of that, though, constitutes “treason,” let alone a wish to lose.

Kevin Drum, Josh Marshall, and others think these accusations are merely a desperate attempt by some on the right to blame the failure of Bush policies on the left. While I’m sure there’s some of that going on, I fear it’s more sinister than that.

There is a genuine and growing belief, as demonstrated by the continuing boom in sales of books like Patterson’s and Moore’s, that people on the other side of the political aisle are not simply in disagreement or misguided or wrong but genuinely bad people. That notion is more dangerous to the country than all our external enemies combined.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    I do wish that people would stop throwing the word “treason” around. The word has a very specific meaning and what mainstream Democratic politicians have been doing and saying does not satisfy the requirements of that meaning.

    And I do wish that partisans of both parties got out more. The Democrats and Republicans continue to have more in common from an ideological standpoint with each other than either does with any non-American political party. Both of our parties would fit handily from an ideological standpoint into the British Tories. Our disagreements are mostly on means not on ends. And, of course, on jobs. The spoils.

    I think there’s a lesson for the political blogosphere here. Politics is not war. But if we have, indeed, diverged in our opinions on the ends as well as the means, we have problems that won’t be solved at the ballot box or on the editorial page or in the comments section of a blog post.

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  2. Anon says:

    As much as I think Bush and his administration are incompetents, and would like to see his administration go down in history as the miserable failure that I think it is, it cannot come at the cost of innocent lives (American or otherwise), or American prestige or power.

    So I think most BDS-sufferers have this inner conflict. I think the vast majority of us, however, realize that morally and ethically it would be very wrong for even one life to be lost just so we could smugly say, “We told you so.”

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  3. Anon says:

    Dave,

    Completely agree. And one thing about myself that I’ve never quite understood is that in terms of actual policies, I’m probably moderate-conservative as much as I am liberal.

    However, when it comes to politics (as opposed to policies), on a personal level I just tend to like Democrats more than Republicans (present company excepted of course), and have a full-blown case of BDS. And the Republicans that I do like (like Lugar or Joyner), are probably completely unelectable.

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  4. Patrick T McGuire says:

    Finally someone who has both the courage and authority to say it like it is!!! And Harry Reid’s comments about incompetent military leaders who are out of touch with Iraq, the war is lost, and other similar comments do indeed give comfort to our enemies and are treasonous. Even by the liberal mindset who think they have reason to impeach Pres. Bush would this qualify as treasonous.

    I have long said that there is a revolution growing in this country, a revolution no less dramatic than the one that gave us our independence, and this is further evidence of that. For all you people inside the beltway who don’t get out much, there is an ugly mood out here in fly-over country that’s about to explode.

    When it does, there will be a “either you are with us or against us” reckoning, with no room for nuanced discussion of whether Congress’ attempts to dictate foreign policy was patriotic or not. And John Edwards will get to see his two Americas, just not the two he expected.

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  5. Anon says:

    Hm…regarding my statement “…tend to like Democrats more than Republicans”, let me rephrase that to “…tend to dislike Democratic politicians less than Republican politicians”.

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  6. legion says:

    Patterson’s sad pathos is one that’s been obvious in a number of areas for years now… by specifically identifying the GOP with “America” (the brand name, not the country :-), it becomes a very short step in the minds of those who drink deep of the kool-aid to conflate criticism of Bush (or even the GOP in general) with criticism of “America”. Therefore, anyone who works against Bush at any level, for any reason must, in their tiny, dented little minds, be working against America too! Ergo, treason!

    People like Patterson are really the worst enemies America (the actual county) has, because there is really nothing they won’t say – no principle they won’t discard – to score a chep political point & consolidate their own power.

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  7. Anon says:

    So Patrick, let me ask you this. Were criticisms of Carter’s handling of the hostage crisis, or criticisms of Clinton’s handling of Somalia or Kosovo also treasonous?

    Or, let’s say that Hillary Clinton is elected president. Does it mean that you must never criticize her handling terrorism?

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  8. floyd says:

    “”people on the other side of the political aisle are not simply in disagreement or misguided or wrong but genuinely bad people.””

    ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

    So why do we continue to let a system thrive that guarantees a reelection rate that rivals dictatorships around the world?
    The politicians ARE without constraint! Does this make the American people on both sides of the aisle “genuinely bad”or just gullible with contempt for their responsibilities as voters?

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  9. Patrick T McGuire says:

    Anon,

    It is not criticism per se that is treasonous, it is the blantant attacks on those who are trying to fight a war, and on the war itself, by those who are want solely to gain personal benefit while encouraging our enemies that makes it treasonous.

    As for Carter’s mishandling of the hostage crisis, it was his unwillingness to do anything provocative, and thereby avoid any criticism, that kept them in captivity for so long. And I don’t remember us ever being at war with Kosovo. As for Somalia, it was Clinton’s decision to pull out, rather than fight aggressively, that demonstrated weakness that encouraged our enemies to continue their activities.

    As for Hillary, she doesn’t stand a snow flake’s chance in hell of getting elected. This country is finished with opportunistic politicians who avoid taking actions that might upset our enemies.

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  10. Bithead says:

    The answer is, an unqualified “YES”.

    The left in this country is deeply invested in our losing this war. So deeply in fact, that they will not survive, should we actually win in Iraq. At least, so long as there is a Republican in the White House. And they know it. And so they are working us toward that goal.

    And yes, you’re quite right, Dave, “treason” does have some very specific meanings. Let’s examine a few:

    a violation of allegiance to one’s sovereign or to one’s state.

    Doesn’t working for our defeat qualify?

    Another:
    Violation of allegiance toward one’s country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one’s country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.

    I suggest working for our defeat qualifies here, as well.

    We can even go more deeply into the history of the word, and find a match with the situation described:


    .1225, from Anglo-Fr. treson, from O.Fr. traison (11c.; Fr. trahison), from L. traditionem (nom. traditio) “a handing over, delivery, surrender”

    Demanding our withdrawal from the neighborhood of the Middle East constitutes a surrender on the battlefield, does it not?

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  11. Anon says:

    Patrick, so let’s say for the sake of discussion that I believe that Bush is an incompetent who has mishandled the Iraq war, that it can no longer be won, and that we should get out now. (I don’t necessarily believe this, but assume so.)

    Questions:

    Have I committed treason just by thinking these thoughts?

    If I say this at a party to a small group of people, have I committed treason?

    If I put up a poster saying this, have I committed treason?

    If I put this on a web site, have I committed treason?

    Suppose my congressman is up for election. Am I allowed to ask him if he agrees? Must he refuse to answer the question, or otherwise possibly be guilty of treason?

    Suppose my congressman believes that our current level of involvement is insufficient to win, and that we should either get out now, or do whatever it takes to put 1,000,000 troops in Iraq. Is it treasonous to say so?

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  12. ken says:

    Personally I never took much interest in politics or parties until Richard Nixon came along and I realized just how loathsome republicans actually are as people.

    Then with Reagan we saw conservatives organized to actually bankrupt the country, destroy our cultural icons, and undermine our nations values.

    Conservatives declared war on America a long time ago it is just that most of us never took them all that seriously. Look where that got us.

    We now have Bush/Cheney, people who stole an election, who betrayed the constitution, and who lied us into war running the government. And we have about a quarter of the population willing to throw in with them and turn traitor.

    But we will prevail. America is stronger than our conservative enemies, even if they do win a battle or two, Americans will win in the end.

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  13. legion says:

    Bithead,
    You make the same mistake in logic that Patterson does. Your arguments all begin with the assumption that the course we’re currently on leads inevitably to “victory” (for some definition of victory). If “the left” accepted that same assumption, your argument might hold water; but we don’t, and it doesn’t. A growing number of people in this country firmly believe that:
    – The long-standing strategy of the Bush administration – surge/hit it with a bigger hammer/stay the course/etc – is not capable of defeating the insurgents & establishing a viable state in Iraq
    and/or
    – The clowns that got us into Iraq did so with such little planning and forethough, and have so mismanaged the resultant entirely predictable consequences, that it is no longer possible for the US to have any positive impact on the situation; that the only thing our troops there can accomplish is to stretch out the pain for both them & the Iraqis.

    Criticism is not treason, so long as you accept the possibility, however slim, that you might actually be wrong. Pointing out that the car you’re in is headed towards a cliff & trying to steer it back onto the road is not the same as yanking the car off the road in the first place.

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  14. Anon says:

    .1225, from Anglo-Fr. treson, from O.Fr. traison (11c.; Fr. trahison), from L. traditionem (nom. traditio) “a handing over, delivery, surrender”

    Demanding our withdrawal from the neighborhood of the Middle East constitutes a surrender on the battlefield, does it not?

    So explain how Reagan’s withdrawal from Beirut was not treasonous. We were bombed. Many US soldiers were killed. We withdrew, thus delivering Beirut to the terrorists. Seems like a surrender on the battlefield.

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  15. Bithead says:

    You make the same mistake in logic that Patterson does. Your arguments all begin with the assumption that the course we’re currently on leads inevitably to “victory”

    Not inevitably, no. But there is one “inevitable” about this discussion; when you surrender, you don’t win.

    That the left doesn’t understand that basic means that they are totally unqualified for any position of responsibility.

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  16. one bit shy says:

    There is a genuine and growing belief, as demonstrated by the continuing boom in sales of books like Patterson’s and Moore’s, that people on the other side of the political aisle are not simply in disagreement or misguided or wrong but genuinely bad people.

    The comments found here sure seem to support that notion. I’d like to say it’s an aberration, but I see the same thinking routinely. This is among the milder expressions of it.

    That notion is more dangerous to the country than all our external enemies combined.

    The emphasis on a total partisan divide where the opposition is wrong about everything – no exceptions – by mere virtue of being the opposition has been a growing trend for quite some time now.

    One of the problems with that is the potential for it becoming a self fulfilling prophecy. The more politics is treated as war; the more that metaphor thins and becomes the reality of anything being permitted if it’s aimed to subdue the political foe; then the more they become the truly bad people they have been made out to be.

    Are we going to recognize when that line has been crossed? Could we recover if it has?

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  17. ken says:

    There is a genuine and growing belief, as demonstrated by the continuing boom in sales of books like Patterson’s and Moore’s, that people on the other side of the political aisle are not simply in disagreement or misguided or wrong but genuinely bad people.

    But genuinely bad people do exist and are pretty evenly distributed the world over. That means we have our share of them as well.

    If you watch closely you will see that genuinely bad people tend to congregate in the Republicas Party. Why is this so? Well consider the things that a genuinely bad person favors:

    – persecution of minorities
    – militarism
    – expanding domestic police power
    – limitations on personal freedom for others
    – concentration of wealth and power
    – hero worship of a wealthy elite class

    This is only a partial list but as you can see people who favor evil tend to become Republicans.

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  18. bains says:

    Pick your favorite liberal bogeyman. Who among them wants Bush to lose at the cost of failing to secure the county against terrorist attacks?

    Wrong question James. For many opposing this administration, we will lose because of Bush’s policies. They are the naive “heart and minds” crowd that is convinced that radical Islam hates US because of Bush, and because of our support of Israel. These folks truly believe that by getting rid of Bush and stopping aid to Israel, the jihadists would cause an epiphany of sorts, and cease the wanton killing.

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  19. G.A.Phillips says:

    Dave, I’ll throw it right at them, undermining the war effort for an obviously overt attempt to gain political power is treason, plan and simple.

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  20. Bithead says:

    I recognize that Liberals tend to have very short memories. But perhaps a little research is an order;

    Tell me; What kind of “Patriotic resistance” existed during world war two, and what would the outcome have been, had we followed their dictates?

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  21. G.A.Phillips says:

    DUDE WHY- persecution of minorities
    – militarism
    – expanding domestic police power
    – limitations on personal freedom for others
    – concentration of wealth and power
    – hero worship of a wealthy elite class
    Ken, you have just described the Liberals New Nazi Order almost perfectly, you left out Fascist control of the media,forced socialist education, suppression of religion- except for the ones you fear and are your own or allies(evolution and Islam) experimentation on humans, and the murder of the unwanted. You would not know evil if you crept up and bit your self in the donkey.

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  22. Anderson says:

    What a thread.

    It occurs to me that there’s a lot of internet out there, and that I can probably keep up with what intelligent conservatives think without visiting a blog that teems with commenters who think I’m a traitor and should be locked up, or worse.

    Sorry about your fan club, JJ.

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  23. just me says:

    Ken I think you are blinded to the evil that exists within your own party. You seem to be a little het up on the idea that republicans are bad and democrats are good.

    And much of what you list as the bad of republicans isn’t even a consistant badness.

    I know far more died in the wool union oriented democrats that are pure out and out racists than GOP members, but you are more than willing to give the racism within your own party a pass.

    Take off the blinders-neither party has some kind of monopoly on goodness-your position is part of the problem.

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  24. legion says:

    Not inevitably, no. But there is one “inevitable” about this discussion; when you surrender, you don’t win.

    That the left doesn’t understand that basic means that they are totally unqualified for any position of responsibility.

    That’s a pretty pathetic piece of intellectual dishonesty there, Bithead. You’ve put up a false choice between doing what we’re currently doing and doing nothing at all; as though those were the only two options. Then, continuing to ignore reality, you posit that anyone who disagrees with the current course, no matter how ineffective and disastrous, must be unqualified. You fail.

    Dave, I’ll throw it right at them, undermining the war effort for an obviously overt attempt to gain political power is treason, plan and simple.

    OK, G.A., I’ll throw it right back at you. Undermining the effort to retaliate against the people who actually attacked us (AQ in Afghanistan) by invading a completely different country that was plainly not a direct threat to us (guess). How about enacting a policy on deliberatly lying to US citizens, first responders, & emergency workers about the safety of Ground Zero simply to make people more confident that Wall Street would get back up & running quickly, directly resulting in the illness & death of numerous Americans (see EPA + Whitman). How about pulling terror alerts & heightening the threat color solely to divert media attention from embarrassments (see DHS + Tom Ridge)? How about systematically subverting the mission of the Dept of Justice to make it nothing more than a tool marginalize opposition voters, intimidate opposition candidates, and maintain the current political party in power, making a mockery of the Constitution (see any living creature in DOJ-HQ)? How many reasons do yo need to call this administration treasonous?

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  25. James Joyner says:

    a blog that teems with commenters who think I’m a traitor and should be locked up, or worse.

    Aside from shutting down comments entirely, or allowing access to only pre-screened commenters, I’m not sure what can be done. Even on the most genteel blogs (say, Kevin Drum’s place) that sort of thing is routine.

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  26. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    What has happened here is, the discussion was over once the congress gave the President the authorization to use force. The loud voices of the radical left screeched on about the dire consequences of these acts having opposed any military action by the United States for any reason. An example was the claiming we were involved in a quagmire during the invasion when a sand storm struck. Leftist media and blogs have constantly beat the drum of defeat. The administration has maintained that this endeavor would be difficult, and indeed it has, but not to the extent that it cannot or should not be sustained. Once the treasonous left had convinced some of the public that the stated goal of democratization of Iraq was not an obtainable goal, by focusing on military losses, slight though they be, and by constantly disparaging the President by saying he is incompetent (does a strong economy, very low unemployment, the freeing of 50 million people from tyranny in an ongoing struggle against radical Islam seem incompetent? Compared to what?).

    Since the left does not believe in freedom, they have no stomach to fight for it. Haters like Ken speak out against Republicans, according to him, based upon the Nixon years. If Nixon had been a democrat, Ken would be claiming there was no harm in the Watergate break in and it was of little consequence anyway. Why the fuss?

    Once no significant amount of WMD was found in Iraq, enemies of this State had the tool they needed to undermine the effort of America to do what the Congress had authorized. Since al Qaeda itself considers the Democrats a valuable ally, who am I to disagree. If you are not on our side, then you are against us.

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  27. Patrick T McGuire says:

    Anon,

    It’s interesting that we agree on some issues. I agree with your statement on Reagan’s withdrawal from Beirut. I lived in Beirut for 3 yrs. just prior to this incident. I have never forgiven Reagan for allowing it to happen in the first place (putting troops in harms way and directing that their weapons be unloaded is treasonous!) and then for pulling out without having accomplished one damn thing, although I am not sure that would be treasonous.

    As for either fighting the war or getting out, again I agree. The lesson we should have learned from Viet Nam is to keep the idiot politicians out of the war process and let the military do its job without restriction.

    With regard to your other questions, my position boils down to this: it is the motiviation behind the statements that I find treasonous. If Harry Reid sincerely believes that our military commander in Iraq is incompetent, why the hell did he vote to confirm him in the first place? How can this commander, who is briefed daily of all aspects of the war, be out of touch with the situation in Iraq as Reid asserts? How can the current “surge” be a failure when it has just begun? And the list goes on with him.

    The facts seem to bear out that Reid is trying to make a defeat from a possible victory. And given that he has made comments to the effect that the Democrats will benefit politically from all this and will win additional seats in Congress, his motivation seems to be narrowly focused on his political future at the potential cost of encouraging our enemies to continue fighting.

    That IS treasonous!

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  28. Bithead says:

    That’s a pretty pathetic piece of intellectual dishonesty there, Bithead. You’ve put up a false choice between doing what we’re currently doing and doing nothing at all;

    That is the choice being presented this by the democrats. Their alternative to what we’ve been doing is cutting and running. Total capitulation. I assume that you’re going to argue that’s not the case; I await your evidence forthwith.

    It occurs to me that there’s a lot of internet out there, and that I can probably keep up with what intelligent conservatives think without visiting a blog that teems with commenters who think I’m a traitor and should be locked up, or worse.

    In all candor, how would we have come to that conclusion, other than what you write?

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  29. jukeboxgrad says:

    patrick: “I don’t remember us ever being at war with Kosovo”

    Maybe you don’t recall that US forces fought in the Balkans in 1999. Here’s something that Dubya said while 3 Americans were being held as POWs: “Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”

    Here’s something that Tom DeLay said while 3 Americans were being held as POWs: “Mr. Speaker, this is a very difficult speech for me to give, because I normally, and I still do, support our military and the fine work that they are doing. But I cannot support a failed foreign policy. … But before we get deeper embroiled into this Balkan quagmire, I think that an assessment has to be made of the Kosovo policy so far. President Clinton has never explained to the American people why he was involving the U.S. military in a civil war in a sovereign nation, other than to say it is for humanitarian reasons, a new military/foreign policy precedent. … Was it worth it to stay in Vietnam to save face? What good has been accomplished so far? Absolutely nothing.”

    Here’s something else that Tom DeLay said while 3 Americans were being held as POWs: “[In the Balkans] we have a president I don’t trust, who has proven my reason for not trusting him: had no plan … The President is not supported by the House, and the military is supported by the House … While we may not support the President’s ill-advised war, we do support our troops”

    Here’s something that Sen. Inhofe (R) said while 3 Americans were being held as POWs: “(P)resident [Clinton] has decimated our ability to defend ourselves …We should not be in Kosovo, as we should not have been in Bosnia. … this is just depleting and diluting our resources.”

    Here’s something that Sen. Gregg (R) said while 3 Americans were being held as POWs: “I don’t believe that a ground war in Kosovo using American troops is going to be very successful.”

    Here’s something that Rep. ‘Duke’ Cunningham (R) said while 3 Americans were being held as POWs: “This is the most inept foreign policy in the history of the United States.”

    Here’s something that Sen. Lugar (R) said while 3 Americans were being held as POWs: “This is President Clinton’s war, and when he falls flat on his face, that’s his problem.”

    Here’s something that Sen. Shelby (R) said while 3 Americans were being held as POWs: “Obviously, we are not winning the war.”

    Here’s something that Rep. Campbell (R) said while 3 Americans were being held as POWs: “We are presently at war and it is an unconstitutional war.”

    Here’s something that Rep. Kasich (R) said while 3 Americans were being held as POWs: “The fact is the civil war in Kosovo has been raging since 1389. The fact is, our intervening in the middle of an ethnic civil war that has been going on for six centuries is not likely to be successful … Escalating this war doesn’t make any sense because starting this war did not make any sense”

    There are a lot more where these came from.

    Please explain why these remarks don’t fall into the category you defined, as “comments [which] do indeed give comfort to our enemies and are treasonous.”

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  30. jukeboxgrad says:

    james: “I’m not sure what can be done.”

    It’s probably a good thing that these critters are running around in broad daylight, because otherwise I think lots of people would be inclined to think they couldn’t possibly exist. Everyone knows it can’t happen here, right?

    Speaking of critters, it’s interesting to note that at Power Line forum, critics of Bush are often accused of being paid members of al-Qaeda. It’s also not unusual for death threats to be posted. There seems to be more and more overlap with the stormfront crowd. Now that Bush is down to his last 15% or so (those who still strongly approve of him), it’s quite a select group, and getting more and more select all the time.

    anderson: “Sorry about your fan club, JJ.”

    Indeed. You know the old expression: lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas.

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  31. Matthew J. Stinson says:

    Geez, why don’t you people stop commenting here and go out and write your own polemics? I’m sure you can rake in the ca$h from like-minded partisans.

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  32. Jem says:

    It’s unfortunate that this thread has generated so much heat and so little light. I come at this question with a background in the military (18 years so far, mostly on active duty) and International Affairs (academic preparation, both civilian and military schooling) rather than the law.

    However, it seems to me the traditional meaning of treason requires direct contact and coordination with the enemy and the intent to aid the enemy’s cause; Lt Col Peterson’s polemic, on the other hand appears to redefine the term to include disagreement on policy and political disputes. None of the identified Democrats has ever been shown to have committed treason, nor am I aware of any credible indications they have done so. I’m thus highly skeptical of his assertions.

    I’ll also note that the “good” colonel’s biography appears to me to verge on deceit in some respects, inflating his importance and access to President Clinton and overplaying his combat role (for example, I’m not aware of any “combat mission” ever flown over Rwanda in the history of the Air Force or its predecessor organizations).

    Such things don’t immediately rule out his perspective on the events he witnessed during his White House days…but they don’t help his credibility, either. At the very least, I’d never advise a young officer to take Lt Col Peterson as model for ethical military behavior. Nor would I recommend his books for a view on the proper role of a military officer in the affairs of this nation.

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  33. Dave Schuler says:

    Thank you, Jem, for the first two paragraphs of your comment. In them you expand on the point I made in the comment that opened this thread to which I will only add that treason requires intent.

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  34. Dave Schuler says:

    And on re-reading your comment I see that you did mention intent. Again, thanks.

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  35. G.A.Phillips says:

    Legion……”OK, G.A., I’ll throw it right back at you. Undermining the effort to retaliate against the people who actually attacked us (AQ in Afghanistan) by invading a completely different country that was plainly not a direct threat to us (guess). How about enacting a policy on deliberately lying to US citizens, first responders, & emergency workers about the safety of Ground Zero simply to make people more confident that Wall Street would get back up & running quickly, directly resulting in the illness & death of numerous Americans (see EPA + Whitman). How about pulling terror alerts & heightening the threat color solely to divert media attention from embarrassments (see DHS + Tom Ridge)? How about systematically subverting the mission of the Dept of Justice to make it nothing more than a tool marginalize opposition voters, intimidate opposition candidates, and maintain the current political party in power, making a mockery of the Constitution (see any living creature in DOJ-HQ)? How many reasons do yo need to call this administration treasonous?” Daaa.. cough..cough..spit…..what? NO.1: we never stopped being at war with Iraq and should have done something for the 8 years before Bush while they where shooting at our jets and laughing at U.N. resolutions, and if that’s not good enough for you you might be a liberal. No.2:I salute every single person that helped there but what effect do you think breathing in 3000 pulverised bodies and countless smoldering tons of the contents of the rest of those buildings was going to have, you might have a bit of a point, but when you say ‘Bush administration lied’ it raises a lot blue flags in my mind. NO.3: ya your greatest city just had a major hole blown it by terrorists so you come up with an alert system and what a great stroke of luck you can also use it the way Booty Bill Clinton used million dollar missiles to get the Media off your back, come on dude. NO:4 you have just described again almost perfectly what the liberals have done with their judges and being the shoot a spit wad at the teacher then point a finger at someone else type that all liberals are you can’t tell the difference, because this is what you where taught, now are, and enjoy being. And if I here one more liberal tell me about making a mockery of the Constitution I’m going to start to cry. And what In the Great Blue hell dose this have to do with treason?

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  36. G.A.Phillips says:

    When the Democratic leadership is statement for statement conducting the wishes of our enemy into an even greater propaganda against us then they could have ever hoped to accomplish themselves, and taking every small mishap to extraordinary levels to dishonor our military as a whole, and using the fog of war and the tragedy of battle to second guess and cry foul against our military leaders at every step, and all for what seems to me and many others like obvious political strategy, what would you call it?

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  37. John Adams says:

    Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

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  38. soontohavemytyperburned says:

    “Aside from shutting down comments entirely, or allowing access to only pre-screened commenters, I’m not sure what can be done. Even on the most genteel blogs (say, Kevin Drum’s place) that sort of thing is routine.”
    James, just beat the liberal judges and lawmakers to it and stop letting anyone but liberals voice their opinions.

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  39. jukeboxgrad says:

    jem: “the traditional meaning of treason requires direct contact and coordination with the enemy … Peterson’s polemic, on the other hand appears to redefine the term to include disagreement on policy and political disputes.”

    Thanks for this helpful point. What I want to emphasize is that Peterson has lots of ideological cohorts who go the extra step; they respond to those who express “disagreement on policy and political disputes” by explicitly accusing those parties of indeed having “direct contact and coordination with the enemy.”

    Example.

    Another example:

    its not about anything other than advancing enemy propaganda. That is all that boy does.  I wonder how much the jihadist pay him?

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  40. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    The difference between Kosovo and Iraq is that the Congress signed off on Iraq. Go see the movie, Wag the Dog. I have been reading those with a leftward bias resolve not to answer the question posed here. Is the Democratic leadership in congress as well as others guilty of treason? I don’t know if they meet the classic definition of treason, but they certainly oppose, to the exclusive domain of the executive, in the matter of conducting foreign policy and that includes armed conflict authorized by Congress. I wonder why Pelosi has not been charged with violation of the Logan act. She is not authorized by any reading of the Constitution to conduct foreign policy. Bithead had put forth the definitive argument on this issue and has not and probably cannot be answered by “progressives” (toward Communism) or the other lefties posting here as they are only slightly less shrill than the opinions posted on DK.

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  41. cian says:

    I suspect, however, that Patterson’s theme is one that we’ll hear more in the future, especially if things go badly in Iraq.

    Patterson is just a dumb and harmless extremist not to be taken seriously. But Reynolds? Isn’t he supposed to be one of the rights more respected thinkers? ‘If’!!!!!

    How can you debate with people who have sleep-walked through the last five years?

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  42. […] to win in Iraq and in the war on terror as long as a Republican is in office. James Joyner at Outside the Beltway has an interesting article along those lines, as does Confederate […]

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  43. davod says:

    Tell me; What kind of “Patriotic resistance” existed during world war two, and what would the outcome have been, had we followed their dictates?

    Posted by Bithead | June 24, 2007 | 03:02 pm

    Bithead:

    The difference between then and now is profound and critical to understanding the issue. During WWII the Republicans agreed not to be critical for the sake of the war effort.

    Today’s Democratic party feels no such obligation to suborn its political desires for the overall safety of the country.

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  44. jukeboxgrad says:

    zelsdorf: “The difference between Kosovo and Iraq is that the Congress signed off on Iraq”

    Your assertion is both factually wrong and irrelevant. It’s wrong because Congress also signed off on Clinton’s Kosovo policy. It’s irrelevant because it doesn’t address the issue I raised.

    The common assertion, made in this thread and elsewhere, is that criticism of the CinC, especially while US forces are in harm’s way, is an act of treason. Your comment ducks this question: why did this principle not apply when Americans were POWs in 1999?

    “the discussion was over once the congress gave the President the authorization to use force”

    I realize you love to rewrite history, but 100% of the remarks I cited above were made after Congress voted to support Clinton’s Kosovo policy.

    “those with a leftward bias resolve not to answer the question posed here”

    If there’s a legitimate question that hasn’t been answered, you should tell us where you’re hiding it. The one who’s ducking the question is you.

    davod: “During WWII the Republicans agreed not to be critical for the sake of the war effort.”

    During 1999 we were also engaged in a “war effort.” Why did Republicans forget that it’s important “not to be critical for the sake of the war effort?”

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  45. Michael says:

    James,
    I think Anderson was just expressing his sympathy that those who purport to side with you and your party represent you and your party to poorly. I personally think this thread should be left open so that non-extremists on both sides see what can happen if they don’t keep their sanity intact.

    For all those who think that any person or group of people actually is committing treason, why haven’t you reported it? Not reporting know treasonous acts is a crime in and of itself! If you truly believe what you’re saying, and not just showing off your “conservative” credentials, then call up DHS and tell them that Pelosi is aiding the enemy. I’m sure they’ll take you seriously.

    It’s seriously troubling that anybody can take “giving aid and comfort to the enemy” to encompass any action or event that the enemy might find favorable. Retreat is not treason. Surrender is not treason. Avoiding a conflict is not treason. Negotiations are not treason. But all of these might give “comfort” to the enemy. If your action benefits you more than it benefits your enemy, it is a good action. To suggest that anything short of cutting of our noses to spite our faces is treason is not only ridiculous, but does more harm than those actions you denounce. Pelosi, Reid, and just about all of those others you call “traitors” believe that their actions benefit us more than it benefits our enemy.

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  46. Bandit says:

    I think Anderson was just expressing his sympathy that those who purport to side with you and your party represent you and your party to poorly.

    No it’s just his usual childish put downs of anyone who has a different opinion.

    I agree with the basic premise that what the Dems are doing isn’t specifically treasonous but a combination of political expediency, total cowardice, moral relativism and mind boggling stupidity.

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  47. spencer says:

    We are losing this war for one reason, and one reason only — poor decisions by George Bush.

    Now, someone explain to me how the liberals are responsible for this.

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  48. jukeboxgrad says:

    spencer: “explain to me how the liberals are responsible for this”

    Even though the war was implemented by a GOP White House and Congress, Bush wasn’t able to do it properly because he was afraid that Cindy Sheehan and Barbra Streisand were going to say something mean about him.

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