by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
November 15, 2005
LETTER TO A FELLOW DEMOCRAT
BRADENTON, Fla., Nov. 15, 2005 -- (Editor's Note: The following letter was a response to one by Larry Rossini, a Massachusetts man who serves on the Democratic Executive Committee of Manatee County, Fla., where I am also a committeeman. Mr. Rossini had remarked on the deterioration of support for President George W. Bush on a variety of issues including the environment, and suggested that Democrats seek common ground with these disaffected Republicans. At the same time, he noted how, a few days after the vote that authorized the war in Iraq, a planeload of people landing in Boston gave a standing ovation to Sen. Ted Kennedy as he left the plane; Sen. Kennedy had just voted against the war authorization bill).
That was an eloquent and beautiful commentary, Larry. You have made just the point that I feel is so important to make, that we need to find areas of common ground with Republicans, not only to overcome the vast polarization that exists and to unite our country, but to build a solid majority for 2006, 2008 and beyond.
Apropos of that, Tony Pagan's comments [in an earlier post the Manatee County DEC message board on Yahoo] about "this corrupt Nazi political machine" are the kind that hopelessly alienate so many Americans from the Democratic Party. The Bush Administration is full of bad actors and short-sighted, selfish men, but by no means do they deserve to be associated with the Nazis. Yet this is the language of much of the Far Left of the Democratic Parry, and it goes a long way towards keeping us the party out of power.
Larry, I am sure you recognize just how contentious an issue the war in Iraq really is. When I went to Orlando Saturday night, I met a U.S. Army Sergeant just back from Iraq. I was standing in line for a beer with him, and as he talked about the media and the sense that we are losing the war he grew furious, pumping his fist in the air in anger as he talked about reporters who give away information about unit positions and write stories that suggest the military is losing the war. "They are against the soldiers and against the military," he said.
He apologized when I told him I was a reporter, and yet I had to admit that I was the only writer on The American Reporter who openly supports the war on terror and our presence in Iraq. I was in Vietnam, I marched against that war in the very first 1965 march on Washington and in the very last in 1971, and many in between, and I see all the parallels that people are trying to draw between Iraq and Vietnam.
What did not happen in the first was an elaborately planned and very deadly attack against the United States of America. Today, the Democratic Party is full of people who justify that attack as a just result of our support for Israel against those who fight for the Palestinian cause. As Tony Pagan put it, these Democrats say, hey, they've been fighting each other for two thousand years and no one is going to stop them. He doesn't worry about the nearly 3,000 civilians murdered at their jobs and in the streets of New York and Washington and a cornfield in Pennsylvania. Nor does he much seem to care that 2,000 American soldiers have given their lives to ensure that the people who generated these attacks are stopped from ever doing so again.
While they answer that Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks, they cannot deny any longer that Al Qaeda has come to the battlefield there in full force now and that we are fighting and defeating them with regularity in engagements all across the country. The fact that they respond with car bombs and other terrorist acts that are aimed largely at civilians - a wedding party in Amman, for God's sake! - does not give these Democrats any pause at all.
Larry, we are not fighting an army of national liberation as we did in Vietnam; we are fighting an ideological enemy that is like the "Nazi machine" Tony Pagan talked about - intent on wiping out the Jewish race and destroying their homeland, Israel, and intent on forcing an unjust and heartless medieval set of laws over the heads of hundreds of millions of Middle Eastern peoples. They are a deadly and implacable enemy with whom no negotiation is possible. You either fight and win, or you hide until you die. The development of militant Islamic fundamentalism is not something the United States is secretly responsible for and not something we can ignore. We must fight it.
And while I like Sen. Kennedy very much, Larry, having met him in 2000 at the Democratic National Convention, I respectfully decline to vote with him on the war, I stand with John Kerry; while Bush lied to get us there, we have brought a fierce and terrible enemy to the battlefield, and we must meet and conquer him there. I do not seek a President whose finest virtue is morality; I seek one who has a brilliant strategic sensibility that will outwit and outfight the forces of militant Islam, and whose courage and daring will defeat the armies of Osama Bin Laden.