Republican Debate Tactics

To the Editor:

In Monday’s debate (“Groups Debate Iraq War,” The Hoya, Oct. 5, 2004, A3) the College Republicans accused us, the Democrats, of abetting a murderous dictator and mocking the Iraqi people. It’s sad, but I’ve heard that nasty rhetoric before from their side, so Monday’s slanders were no surprise to me.

What disturbed me, rather, was that I had just seen the potential future leaders of America take careless liberty with the truth and spin it to fit an aggressive, uncompromising, narrow-minded political ideology that has no place in an academic institution like Georgetown.

Last Monday, we could not reach a common ground between our two sides. But I saw no attempt by the CRs to reach any kind of agreeable conclusion about our differing policies over the Iraq War. Instead, I saw a trio of GOP spin-doctor prodigies that would have made Karl Rove blush with pride.

The CRs touted Iraq’s ties to al-Qaeda as justification for war, as Bush had done two years ago. These false assertions have been so politically damaging to Bush since the end of the war that I was shocked the CRs would dare even mention them in the debate. This is a claim that has been deemed so egregiously wrong by the reports of the 9/11 Commission, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and a new National Intelligence Estimate that the Bush administration has since worked tirelessly to distance itself from its embarrassing prewar assertions.

They then used those same intelligence reports, which undeniably show that Saddam Hussein never had ties to al-Qaeda and never posed an imminent threat, to claim that he did. The CRs claimed that, because he had joined dozens of other countries in supporting Palestinian terrorism, Saddam posed an imminent threat to America.

Sure, Saddam gave money to Palestinian terrorist organizations, as have Bush’s supposed “allies” in the war on terror (e.g., Saudi Arabia). But Saddam and Hamas did not attack us on Sept. 11, 2001. Osama bin Laden did.

This kind dishonesty and exploitation, which the CRs so arrogantly displayed on Monday, is the reason that 36 percent of Americans still believe that Iraq was behind Sept. 11.

I think our own GU Honor Council would frown upon the CRs’ attempt to perpetuate that lie, a lie that even Donald Rumsfeld recognized last week when he told reporters that there’s no evidence linking Saddam and al-Qaeda.

Maybe the CRs don’t realize it, but fighting a war predicated on a mistake means asking someone to die for that mistake. I don’t think they do, because on Monday one of the CRs actually stated that the war is good thing for America because it is so much easier for terrorists to kill our soldiers in Iraq than it is for them to kill civilians here in America. The disrespect for our dying soldiers revealed by that sentiment is appalling. American soldiers are not pieces of bait meant to preoccupy terrorists. Unfortunately, CRs weren’t done with their “shock and awe” quite yet.

They claimed that the U.S. should invade Syria and any other state that possesses the ability to wield a chemical weapon and a hatred of America. By that rationale, the U.S. would have to invade at least half the globe tomorrow.

But hey, more countries under US occupation mean more terrorist attacks on our troops abroad and fewer ones on civilians at home. Thus the homeland will be safer, according their logic. I’ve heard some crazy things from the CRs, but that tops them all.

Now, this is what terrifies me.

If GU students, who are often viewed as the political leaders of tomorrow, are making irresponsible, disrespectful, and dangerous assertions that even the Bush administration knows it can’t back up, then what is the future of American political discourse going to look like?

Ryan Sturgill Press Director, GU College Democrats

Oct. 7, 2004

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