'Wash Times' Columnist Uses Fabricated Abraham Lincoln Quote

Article excerpt

The drive by some political and military figures -- and pundits -- to paint those who oppose the war in Iraq as traitors or at least not supporting the troops has hit another low, with a Washington Times columnist trumpeting an incendiary quote from Abraham Lincoln shown to be a fabrication last year.

Frank Gaffney, Jr. opened his latest column with this: "Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged." -- President Abraham Lincoln. He continues: "It is, of course, unimaginable that the penalties proposed by one of our most admired presidents for the crime of dividing America in the face of the enemy would be contemplated -- let alone applied -- today. Still, as the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate engage in interminable debate about resolutions whose effects can only be to 'damage morale and undermine the military' while emboldening our enemies, it is time to reflect on what constitutes inappropriate behavior in time of war."

One problem: Lincoln never said it.

Brooks Jackson at FactCheck.org, the Annenberg Public Policy Center group, studied the sudden appearance of the quote last August. Why?

He had found that his Web search "brought up more than 18,000 references to it."

He reported: "Supporters of President Bush and the war in Iraq often quote Abraham Lincoln as saying members of Congress who act to damage military morale in wartime 'are saboteurs, and should be arrested, exiled or hanged. …