Earlier this month, Colin Powell called his 2003 speech to the UN about WMD’s “painful,” saying that presenting false information about WMD’s to the world had left a permanent blot on his record.
During the last two years, the factual arguments for invading Iraq have continually faded away (e.g. – WMD’s, the alleged Al Qaeda-Iraq connection, the argument that invading Iraq would decrease terrorism), leaving only emotional rationales, such as the argument that not supporting President Bush’s unnecessary invasion of Iraq equates to “not supporting the troops.”
Now, Media Matters brings us another interesting story:
On the September 27 edition of Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity and right-wing pundit Ann Coulter told co-host Alan Colmes that they “don’t believe” a report that Army Ranger Pat Tillman was a fan of leftist author Noam Chomsky, opposed the Iraq war, and planned to vote for Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) in the 2004 presidential election. But according to a September 25 San Francisco Chronicle report that Colmes cited, Tillman’s mother said that he had planned to meet privately with Chomsky and that “Pat was very critical of the whole Iraq war.” Tillman, a former pro football star, served in Iraq before being killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in April 2004.
Hannity and Coulter, predictably, tried to blame the “liberal media”:
Responding to Colmes’s statement that Tillman “was a Noam Chomsky fan, was going to vote for John Kerry, was against the war in Iraq,” Coulter insisted, “I don’t believe it.” Hannity concurred, saying, “I don’t believe it either.” After Colmes explained that Tillman reportedly supported the war in Afghanistan but opposed the war in Iraq, Coulter responded, “I think you got that from one of those documents Mary Mapes handed to Dan Rather” — an apparent reference to CBS’ controversial report on President Bush’s National Guard service, which was produced by Mapes and relied in part on unauthenticated memos.
Of course, Hannity and Coulter had absolutely no factual backup for their argument.
However, the Chronicle article, which focused on the military’s alleged efforts to conceal facts about Tillman’s death, quoted Tillman’s mother, Mary Tillman, directly:
Mary Tillman said a friend of Pat’s even arranged a private meeting with Chomsky, the anti-war author, to take place after his return from Afghanistan — a meeting prevented by his death. She said that although he supported the Afghan war, believing it justified by the Sept. 11 attacks, “Pat was very critical of the whole Iraq war.”
The Chronicle also quoted Spc. Russell Baer, who recalled a conversation he had with Tillman during the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. Baer told the Chronicle, “We were talking. And Pat said, ‘You know, this war is so f—— illegal.’ And we all said, ‘Yeah.’ That’s who he was. He totally was against Bush.” Additionally, the Chronicle quoted Senior Chief Petty Officer Stephen White, who “said Pat ‘wasn’t very fired up about being in Iraq’ and instead wanted to go fight al Qaeda in Afghanistan.”
In addition, the Chronicle cited an anonymous soldier who said Tillman had urged him to vote for Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.
It will be interesting to see if the absurd “support all of the President’s poor decisions or you don’t support the troops” argument can last much longer. I wish conservatives would stop treating our troops like a bunch of mindless robots, who can’t think for themselves, and can’t handle anyone disagreeing with their boss.
When you’re in the military, your duty is to do what the Commander-in-Chief tells you to do – regardless of who is elected. When you aren’t in the military, your duty is to make sure that our public servants make the right decisions, and that includes foreign policy, which is one of the President’s most important responsibilities.
A recent poll found that 59% of Americans believe that the U.S. “made a mistake” in sending troops into Iraq, and 67% disapproved of President Bush’s handling of the situation in Iraq. Once Bush is out of office, and Americans no longer feel compelled to defend him, it will be interesting to see how much those percentages increase.