Which Democrats Believe Terrorists Can be Appeased?

On yesterday’s FOX News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked a question of Senator Elizabeth Dole that I asked no one in particular earlier in the week: “Senator Dole, which Democrats, and I’d like you to name them, which Democrats running for the Senate this year believe the terrorists can be appeased?” Her answer was long but did not name any Democrats, running for the Senate or otherwise, who believe the terrorists can be appeased. (Full transcript and video at Think Progress).

Now, in fairness, I don’t think that Dole has ever made this allegation; that was Don Rumsfeld. Perhaps the question would have more appropriately been directed at him. Still, she is chairing the Republican re-election effort on the Senate side and should be prepared to defend the official talking points–or be ready to distance herself from them.

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FILED UNDER: Campaign 2006, Media, Terrorism, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Now, in fairness, I don’t think that Dole has ever made this allegation; that was Don Rumsfeld. Perhaps the question would have more appropriately been directed at him. Still, she is chairing the Republican re-election effort on the Senate side and should be prepared to defend the official talking points—or be ready to distance herself from them.

    Clearly, forcing that that separation was the intent of the question.Such an intent from Wallace should surprise nobody.

    However, it shoudld be pointed out that the question could also have a fairly involved the denizens of the Democratic Underground for example. Or, Kos, or FireDog or any of the other Democratic Party hate sites.

    And just as fairly we could ask what Democrat senators have tried to separate themselves from such not cases? The answer, of course is ‘none’… which is perhaps why those kind of questions don’t get asked. After all, you never ask the question you really don’t want the answer to.

  2. James,

    In all fairness, can you point to the part in Rumsfeld’s speech that said ANY democrats running for congress this year believe the terrorists can be appeased. It is hard to be prepared to defend a charge that wasn’t made.

  3. James Joyner says:

    John: Rumsfeld’s charges were purposefully vague so that he could smear wtihout being subject to falsification. Clearly, though, he was suggesting that those on the other side are appeasers. And he was suggesting that this was a commonplace position of administration opponents, not just something relegated to Michael Moore and the Democratic Underground. Otherwise, the American Legion would have been an odd venue.

  4. James,

    Given your expansive view of Rumsfeld speech (you admit he didn’t say what you claim he said, but feel you know what he meant), I think you can make a good claim for appeasement with a similar expansive view of the democrats position.

    Many democrats, including several in the senate, have said that the Iraq war is creating new terrorist. Democrats, including several in the senate, have advocated withdrawing from Iraq on a fixed time schedule. Linking those two together, you see that they believe terrorists could be appeased (i.e. fewer would be generated) if we left Iraq. Given the propaganda coup our leaving Iraq before the job is done would be for the terrorists, I think their logic would be faulty. Now the senators haven’t said they would specifically appease the terrorists but their proposed actions would be appeasement (i.e. doing something the terrorist wants in hopes that it would make them less likely to attack the US in the future).

    In Beirut and Somalia we left after suffering casualties. This has been cited by AQ as examples of the US being a paper tiger and why they think they could be successful against the military strength of the US. How much more would Iraq be used as the rallying cry that the ‘great satan’ can be defeated.

  5. Kent G. Budge says:

    “…which Democrats, and I’d like you to name them, which Democrats running for the Senate this year believe the terrorists can be appeased?”

    Bill Richardson. His performances in North Korea, Syria, and elsewhere makes it clear that he thinks you can make nice with anyone. Except Republicans.

    Oh, okay, he’s not running for Senate … merely the Presidency.

  6. Bithead says:

    Many democrats, including several in the senate, have said that the Iraq war is creating new terrorist. Democrats, including several in the senate, have advocated withdrawing from Iraq on a fixed time schedule. Linking those two together, you see that they believe terrorists could be appeased (i.e. fewer would be generated) if we left Iraq. Given the propaganda coup our leaving Iraq before the job is done would be for the terrorists, I think their logic would be faulty. Now the senators haven’t said they would specifically appease the terrorists but their proposed actions would be appeasement (i.e. doing something the terrorist wants in hopes that it would make them less likely to attack the US in the future).

    They haven’t come right out and said that, because they know full well that while they would get support from the net roots, that would about the extent of of their support. About everybody else with a pulse and a couple brain cells to rub together, would be screaming for their resignation, and arrest.

    Their comments thus far have been sufficiently vague so as to avoid falsification. (Gee, seems I’ve heard tha just recently in another context)

    Democrats like Schumer find themselves in a pickle. They can’t very well say what the president is doing is right, because without he is doing something wrong they have nothing to run on. On the other hand I can say what he’s doing is wrong, because everybody knows what he’s doing is right. So, and that results in their having to make a lot of noises about how he’s not doing it right, but never saying precisely what it is he’s doing wrong.

    But where are the Democrat senators, saying that bush has gotten it right? Where are the senators saying that we should stay in Iraq and see the job finished?

    Oh, wait, I remember; Lieberman, or something, wasn’t it? That was his name, I think.

  7. Michael says:

    Bithead,
    I’ll turn Wallace’s question to Dole around a bit and direct it to you. Which Left-leaning bloggers believe that terrorists can be and should be appeased? I’d like you to name names here, so we can verify with those bloggers.

    John:

    Democrats, including several in the senate, have advocated withdrawing from Iraq on a fixed time schedule … they believe terrorists could be appeased (i.e. fewer would be generated) if we left Iraq.

    Couldn’t you say the same thing about staying in Iraq? “Republicans, including several in the senate, advocate staying the course in Iraq, they believe fewer terrorists would be generated if we stay in Iraq.” Your whole supposition is flawed because it is based on the idea that “fewer people becoming terrorists” is a win for terrorists, and a loss for the free world. I can’t for the life of me fathom what twisted form of logic you used to obtain that premise.

  8. Michael,

    I think the flaw in your logic is assuming the statement could be turned around. Republicans have argued that it is better to fight the terrorists in Iraq than in the US. To the extent that terrorist come from other lands to fight the US in Iraq, that is a win for us. A US soldier, airman or marine is much better prepared to send the terrorist to their final reward, so opening up a front in the war on terror where we can get at the enemy directly is a good thing.

    The only explanation I have heard on Iraq reducing the number of terrorists falls along the lines of a) we kill them in Iraq which promotes the method of handling terrorists with the lowest recidivism rate, b) that to the extent there is any rational thought on the other side, constantly seeing loss ratios greater than 10-1 may make those who think about becoming a terrorist reconsider the options, c) that since part of the recruitment for AQ rested on their claim that the US was a paper tiger (cause a few casualties and the US will withdraw), the US continued presence in Iraq make the AQ recruiting propaganda into a lie (which in turn may cut down on its effectiveness in recruiting terrorists) and d) that since part of the islamofascist case for the war is that they are doing Allah’s work, seeing that Allah is letting them be cut into ribbons may make even the most fanatical islamofascist reconsider if the Imam back home didn’t get something wrong in his interpretation of what Allah wants.

    If we follow through with Bush’s vision for Iraq (aka a stable Iraq with a democratically elected government, freedoms associated with an open society and economic success), then that certainly could be a long term inhibitor to terrorist recruitment. They could see that the path to their country catching up to the west is not to try and turn the clock back 12 centuries, but to move forward. The alternative of democracy to dictatorship or non-democratic rule can be seen as viable in Arabic countries. The reason why Arabic societies lag the world despite enormous oil riches can be seen to have the same roots as other poor countries (its not lack of resources, but lack of respect for property rights, inhibiting entrepreneurs, etc).

    I don’t see how you interpret my argument as being “fewer people becoming terrorist is a win for terrorists”. What I was arguing is that there are those on the left who think that our being in Iraq is generating terrorists and that if we ran away that the generation of terrorists would stop. I think that is wrong. Our running away from Iraq before the job is done would generate more terrorists because it would reinforce the AQ recruiting propaganda that if you hit the US a blow, the US will crumple and quit like a paper tiger. I think that if the terrorists were seeing a US as united behind the idea of stopping terrorism as the US was behind the idea of stopping Nazism, that there would be fewer people seeing terrorism as a viable path. As it is now, they can hope that they can achieve a victory, not on the battlefield, but through the US voters electing enough democrats who want to cut and run.

  9. Michael says:

    John,
    Very will put, though there are some section I think need to be revisited or at the least clarified.

    1. “Republicans have argued that it is better to fight the terrorists in Iraq than in the US. To the extent that terrorist come from other lands to fight the US in Iraq, that is a win for us.”
    From what I have heard, we are supposedly trying to decrease the number of terrorists in the world, not just keep them across the border. If you have references to the contrary, I’d be happy to check them.

    2.) Please provide examples of A, B, C, or D out of paragraph 2 corresponding to reality. They are all very logical and idealistic outcomes, but I have not seen any evidence that any of those outcomes are actually taking shape, or even trending in that direction. Again, if you have references I’d be happy to check them.

    3.) “They could see that the path to their country catching up to the west is not to try and turn the clock back 12 centuries, but to move forward.”
    I think you need to revisit the premise that people who become terrorists actually want their country to “catch up to the west”, and not in fact to “turn the clock back 12 centuries”. Again, references, check, happy, you get the idea.

    4.) “I don’t see how you interpret my argument as being fewer people becoming terrorist is a win for terrorists.”
    Perhaps this was an error in my interpretation, I thought you were suggesting that Democrats wanted to stop generating new terrorists in Iraq, and that that was somehow bad.

    5.) “if the terrorists were seeing a US as united behind the idea of stopping terrorism as the US was behind the idea of stopping Nazism, that there would be fewer people seeing terrorism as a viable path.”
    I recall that we were united behind the idea of stopping terrorism. In fact, I would be so bold as to claim that the US remains united behind the idea of stopping terrorism. The only point of contention in our national dialog seems to be whether or not being in Iraq is forwarding that goal, or hindering it.

  10. Bithead says:

    I recall that we were united behind the idea of stopping terrorism.

    Yeah, for about 15 minutes anyway. Trouble was, the Democrats needed something to run on.

    In fact, I would be so bold as to claim that the US remains united behind the idea of stopping terrorism

    Not a bet I’d make, were I you.
    Have you noted, for example the number of people trying to downplay, or make fun of the happenings on 9/11? I can show you a few links if you’d like, though I suspect you already know what I’m speaking about, here.

    Now, why would they do that, do you suppose?

    Same answer: the Democrats needed something to run on

  11. Michael says:

    Bithead, links would be very welcome (as I think I stated once or twice. Or three times, but who’s counting), because I don’t recall anyone of importance “making fun of the happenings of 9/11”.

    And please don’t link to little Bobby Jacobs posting an unmoderated comment on some abscure diary on DailyKos’s archives.