Friday, July 01, 2005

Senators: Temper your words, as the enemy is using them

When American politicians make speeches, they seldom consider whether or how the rest of the world will use their words.

Al Jazeera's ample coverage of Democrat Senator Dick Durbin's comparison to American terrorism-fighters with the Nazis and the Soviets is a case in point.

But Durbin is far from alone. Some of his Republican colleagues also use sloppy rhetoric that the enemy uses against our country.

Take Republican Senator Chuck Hagel.

Just as President Bush was preparing to rally the country not to become demoralized over the daily terrorist attacks on our troops, Hagel pre-empted him.

America is losing the war, Hagel declared to US News & World Report. He might as well have told Al Jazeera directly. This is what he said:
"Things aren't getting better; they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality. It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

A soundbite made to order for enemy propagandists. Few statements are more powerfully exploited than careless morale-busting comments from a member of the president's own political party. Al Jazeera editors loved Hagel's comment so much that they highlighted it as a sidebar.

Other senators, including Republican John McCain and Democrats Christopher Dodd and Joseph Biden, were more temperate in their criticism of the administration and its portrayal of the war.

Senator Hagel - he decorates his website with important-looking pictures of himself with American servicemen, including our troops in Iraq - ought to follow their example. He can criticize the administration without subverting the war effort. Comments like his only undermine our nation's will and reassure the enemy that its attrition strategy is working.


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