The First Casualty of War

Article excerpt

* Our thanks to Michael Kelly, who recently used his Washington Post column to associate this magazine with Representatives David Bonior, Jim McDermott and Michael Thompson, Democrats who traveled to Baghdad to assess the possibility of reinstituting weapons inspections in lieu of war. Railing against these legislators, Al Gore and unnamed Democrats, Kelly thundered: "This is not a little cabal of contributors to The Nation telling the world that the American President is not to be believed and that he wishes to send Americans off to fight and possibly die in Iraq because war is good for his party. These are men in the leadership ranks of the Democratic Party."

We reply: If only. Most Democrats have been supporting Bush. On the day Kelly's column appeared, House minority leader Richard Gephardt--a senior Democrat, last time we checked--enthusiastically worked out with the White House a resolution that would give Bush the power to launch war on Iraq. Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, another prominent Democrat, has only questioned--not challenged--aspects of Bush's rush to war. And most of the Democratic 2004 contenders have encouraged Bush's actions.

But let's stick with the remark that sent Kelly into his fury: McDermott's assertion that Bush was willing to "mislead" the American public to win backing for his war. …