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Tue, Sept. 17

Democratic hypocrisy threatens our security

Presidential candidates have been shamelessly pandering to a strong streak of anti-war pacifism in the Democratic Party's political base over the past year. But have months of political attacks by the anti-war Democrats achieved any gains for their party in this election cycle? True, Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, and Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri, have tried to stake out tougher national security credentials and, indeed, voted for Congress's Iraq war resolution. But now even they have been catering to the anti-war cries of their party's liberal grassroots activists, who have catapulted former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean to the head of the pack.

Dean says he is now "convinced more than ever" that the war was a mistake and has expressed what the public has interpreted as his doubts about whether the Iraqis are better off with Saddam Hussein removed from power.

Doubt that they're better off? Tens of thousands of Iraqis and Kurds whose family members were imprisoned, slaughtered and dumped into mass graves would disagree.

Desperately trying to play catch-up to Dean in New Hampshire, Kerry has been backpedaling on his own war vote, saying that he only wanted to "threaten the use of force," not actually go to war right away. He wanted to give Hussein more time to comply with the U.N. resolution, which demanded that he give up his weapons of mass destruction. (Yeah, and give him more time to secretly destroy or bury his weapons and help the terrorists who were encamped in northern Iraq under his protection.)

Then there's retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who some Dems saw as that party's savior. Clark once praised President Bush's military policies, but now says he "would never have voted for war. The war was unnecessary, it was an elective war, and it's been a huge, strategic mistake for this country."

The other candidates have been similarly bashing Bush's doctrine of taking military action against terrorist-harboring countries to eliminate the threat they pose to the U.S. Incredibly, they say that such a policy is a destabilizing action that actually makes us less safe. "It's going to cause some serious trouble down the line," says Dean.

Not from Afghanistan or Iraq. They're not going to threaten anyone anymore.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll found last week that after weighing all the costs to the United States, 54 percent of Americans still say that "the war with Iraq was worth fighting," while 44 percent said it was not.

When the voters go to the polls next year, one of the key issues they will have to consider is whose policies will keep America safer from the terrorist threat. The policy that says the best defense is a good offense? Or the policy that says let's keep debating this in the United Nations, let's put them in charge, or, as Kerry proposes, "threaten them" but don't "rush into war."

That's a pretty easy, secure choice.

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