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As Long as We Remember...

July 1, 2005

Screw-ups and Scapegoats

Chris Charuhas

Last week Republican Party leaders said that I want to help America's enemies and hurt our troops. What took them so long? I'd been expecting them to start badmouthing people like me, because whenever they screw up they try and scapegoat someone else.

The war in Iraq is going badly; the Taliban is making a comeback in Afghanistan; Osama bin Laden's right-hand man is still killing Americans; military recruiting is way down; and troops are being told to buy their own body armor. What's the president's solution to these problems? Send out proxies to blame the "liberals."

According to the president's deputy chief of staff: "Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." He accused a senator of putting our troops in greater danger, and said: "No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."

The president evidently endorses his subordinate's comments. When his spokesman was asked whether the deputy chief of staff would apologize for his comments, he replied, "Of course not." The chairman of the Republican National Committee maintained that "what (the deputy chief of staff) said is true."

I'm a liberal. Do I take this personally? Not really. I understand that Republican leaders are just talking trash. As more of the president's screw-ups come to light, and his approval ratings drop below their already abysmal levels, I imagine they'll redouble their efforts to deflect blame by saying even nastier things about people like me.

But, let's do a reality check anyway.

I'm a liberal. Did I want to offer the 9/11 terrorists "therapy and understanding?" No, I wanted to offer them a few 7.62 millimeter bullets right in their noggins. Unlike the people impugning my patriotism - the president's deputy chief of staff, his spokesman, and his party's national chairman - I actually wore combat boots for Uncle Sam.

I'm a liberal. What are the "motives of liberals?" My motive, like the senator who opposes our new torture policy, is to reduce danger for our troops. It's simple: if we torture the enemy's prisoners, he'll torture ours.

Many liberals like me not only support our troops, they are our troops. A lot of liberals are now serving as American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. But you don't have to serve in the military to help strengthen our country. Other liberals are trying to do that by holding our leaders accountable for their mistakes.

The president, his staff, and his party's leaders refuse to even recognize their mistakes, let alone correct them. Instead, they talk smack about "liberals," trying to make themselves look good by making other Americans look bad. As more of the president's chickens of failure come home to roost, expect their rhetoric to get even uglier as they try to turn these chickens into scapegoats.

Am I angry about the trash Republican leaders are talking about me? No, I'm just sad. I'm sad that Republicans - my friends, neighbors, and fellow Americans - have allowed their party to be run by such divisive bunglers.

Think of it this way: we're in a high-stakes game, and our team's leaders have made some big mistakes. Consequently, the team is losing. How have our leaders responded to this adversity? They've talked trash about their teammates. That's pretty weak.

To fight terrorists effectively and keep our military strong, we need good leaders who'll pull the team together, not rip it apart. We need strong leaders who'll take responsibility for their decisions, not blame others for their failures.

Please do your part, Republicans, to replace these losers with leaders who will do your party credit and get our country back on track.

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