American Enterprise Online
February 21, 2006
By Alan W. Dowd
If it’s hard for Americans to understand the antics of our self-styled ambassadors and quirks of our government, it has to be maddening to those watching from afar.
Consider how, after years of bashing the White House for intervening in the affairs of other countries, Michael Moore lectured Canadian voters not to vote for the Conservative Party. Apparently, Mr. Moore has as much political pull in Canada as in America.
Consider Cindy Sheehan, who recently flew to Venezuela to fete Hugo Chavez and smear George Bush. “I admire President Chavez for his strength to resist the United States,” Sheehan gushed, before adding, “Bush is waging a war of terrorism against the world.”
After returning from Venezuela, the jet-setting Sheehan made more news by declaring, “Anybody who said anything about Saddam and WMDs should be investigated and impeached.” Setting aside the fact that impeachment is reserved for a small handful of government officials, Sheehan’s list of suspects would be a long and diverse one—and perhaps surprising to her: Hans Blix, Jacques Chirac, French intelligence, German intelligence, Jordanian intelligence, the mullahs in Iran, Saddam Hussein, Saddam’s generals, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Richard Clarke, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, ABC, CBS, and the list goes on and on.
Of course, Sheehan made the biggest news splash during the State of the Union, when she was forcibly removed from the House gallery after refusing to cover up an anti-war t-shirt. But never accuse the Capitol Police of being partisan: If the world was watching closely, it learned that Congressman Bill Young’s wife, who wore a “Support Our Troops” t-shirt, was also ejected from the House seating area.
You can almost hear the nascent democracies ask, “Now, why aren’t those shirts protected as free speech? And when the president completes his annual address, why do some of his most vicious critics line the aisle to mob him for hugs and high-fives and autographs? Is it mutual admiration or mutual contempt?”
Consider the sad case of Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector in Iraq who resigned in 1998 to draw attention to what he termed “the illusion of arms control.” In his resignation letter, Ritter concluded, “The sad truth is that Iraq today is not disarmed…the recent decisions by the Security Council to downplay the significance of the recent Iraqi decision to cease cooperation with Commission inspectors clearly indicates that the organization which created the Special Commission in its resolution 687 is no longer willing and/or capable of the implementation of its own law.” He then dismissed the Security Council as “a witting partner to an overall Iraqi strategy of weakening” the disarmament commission.
Today, Ritter travels to places like London to tell a different story. “Ninety percent of the time or more,” he declared during a recent trip to the UK, “we received full co-operation of the Iraqi government.” For good measure, he compared Tony Blair and George Bush to Nazi war criminals. “Both these men,” he explained, “could be pulled up as war criminals for engaging in actions that we condemned Germany in 1946 for doing.”
Still, nothing is more confusing or inexplicable than the behavior of Ramsey Clark—the former US attorney general and son of a Supreme Court justice who spends most of his time defending the indefensible and representing some of the world’s most awful criminals.
Clark is currently defending Saddam Hussein in the latter’s war-crimes trial. But Saddam’s Amman-based legal team is not just on the defense: Last month, it announced plans to sue George Bush, Tony Blair and Don Rumsfeld for committing war crimes in Iraq. Perhaps Saddam’s legal team was inspired by Mr. Ritter’s speech.
Of course, this fits perfectly with the rest of Ramsey’s resume: In 1971, not long after he served in the Johnson administration, he flew to Hanoi to protest the very war Johnson had waged. In the 1980s, Clark defended PLO terrorists against the family of Leon Klinghoffer. Clark later traveled to Libya to commiserate with Moammar Gadhafi after US planes bombed Libyan military and intelligence facilities in response to Libyan terror attacks.
In the 1990s, he visited Saddam after the invasion of Kuwait. He topped that by traveling to Belgrade during the US-led NATO campaign against Serbia to cheer for America’s defeat. Also in the 1990s, he represented one of the main planners of the massacre in Rwanda.
In 2001, he supported the formation of the anti-war group Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, which, in an act of preemptive protesting, actually held its first anti-war rally before the US went to war in Afghanistan.
Hard to explain and harder to understand.