Monday, October 09, 2006

Collective Dementia

How different the world looks during an election year…

The National Democratic Party wants to talk about North Korea now that the midget king lit off a nuclear device. More correctly, they want to paint a picture of a government so consumed by the Iraq war that it negligently encouraged the acquisition of nuclear technology by Kim Jung Il.

(All quotes lifted from FoxNews online.)

Harry Reid, that powerhouse of the American political machine, stated that, "[d]istracted by Iraq and paralyzed by internal divisions, the Bush administration has for several years been in a state of denial about the growing challenge of North Korea, and has too often tried to downplay the issue or change the subject."

Fearful that he might be perceived as other than a “team player” during this critical period of toadying, Robert Menendez, Sen-D-NJ, echoes his bosses in asserting that "[w]hile George Bush bogged our military down to topple a regime that had no weapons of mass destruction, a brutal dictator in North Korea has strengthened a nuclear arsenal that has the potential to threaten the West Coast of the United States." (I thought only the Administration engaged in “fear mongering.” The fear of nuclear annihilation must be REAL… After all, a Democrat is saying it. I mean, it is not like we are talking about terrorism… What are the chances that a rag-tag, fugitive army, led by an Islamist fanatic would attack the US on our own soil? What was the Administration thinking by laying out such a far-fetched tale?)

Fortunately, the collective memory of Washington is regularly inhibited by the heady pursuit of power or my Democratic counterparts might be forced to remember that Bush Sr. and Clinton failed to bring that evil Korean Oompah-Loompah to heel. Menendez has a particularly limited recollection of history, leading me to wonder if he has not suffered from some recent head injury. To illustrate, he stated that, “[w]e had the opportunity to stop North Korea from increasing its nuclear power, but George Bush went to sleep at the switch while he pursued his narrow agenda in Iraq. When the world was crying out for leadership, George Bush gave it negligence. The war in Iraq has tied our hands and our enemies know it."

Such noble concern about our enemies’ use of internal dissention and collective ignorance.

But, it is an election year and one can certainly be assured that calmer heads will prevail; that those politicians with a good head on their shoulders will make substantive, pertinent observations, without spin or misrepresentation. Take, for example Claire McCaskill’s observation that "[u]nder the Bush administration, North Korea dropped out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, kicked out inspectors, reprocessed nuclear fuel, flagrantly tested their delivery systems, and built an arsenal of six-12 nuclear weapons they did not have six years ago." (I assume from this idiotic diatribe that McCaskill sees the relationship between Mini-Me and Clinton to have been quite amicable and productive. Never mind the frank, and to their credit, acknowledgement by the former Clinton Whitehouse that Korea is a particularly thorny problem, exacerbated by the ill-will and deceitful character of its leadership.)

It is, however, refreshing to note that international crisis convinced the ever insightful Ted Kennedy to lift his head up from the bar long enough to state "[t]he Security Council should respond quickly and decisively to this act. And it is abundantly clear that the administration must go into diplomatic overdrive, working 24-7 with our allies in the region and the world to advance an effective response and prevent further North Korean tests." Thanks Ted. Where would we be without you? Hopefully your suggestion will be taken to heart and the Administration will replace its plans for the hiring of a voodoo priestess with your sage advice.

Of course, nothing plays better with the American people than a good game of “Nah-ah!!!” Take, for example, Sen. Sam Brownback’s (R-Kan) retort…"The Clinton administration didn't do much and, even while they were negotiating with the North Koreans, the North Koreans were continuing to develop nuclear weapons." Good one Sammy!!! You really got them there. There is NO way the Dems can retort to that! Hah!

So what you got Pelosi?

Well… Ms. Pelosi, House Minority Leader/D-CA, had some well-considered advice too… She noted that the House had ”recently passed [a] defense authorization bill [that] requires President Bush to appoint a high level coordinator for North Korean policy… That appointment should be made immediately and other nations whose policies on North Korea have also so clearly failed, like China, must urgently develop new approaches as well." Finally, some common-sense brought to the table. What we REALLY need is another negotiator. I mean, we’ve just been spinning our wheels for the last twenty years since we didn’t have anyone working on the problem… Oh, wait… We already have, and have had since the Korean War, a “Korean Desk” within the Dept. of State and a sitting team of negotiators in Korea. I’m sorry Madam Pelosi, what was that you insisted we should do again?

Of course, for the ultimate in comments, not based on knowledge or reason, one simply MUST go to Rep. Ed Royce, R-CA. Mr. Royce believes that the best way to deal with North Korea is “to stop every ship coming in and out of North Korea. And on each of these ships there's only two things they export. One are missiles and, two, they export opium. That will cut off the hard currency going into the regime." Of course Mr. Royce reportedly stops house fires by pouring kerosene on them, but I digress…

Not surprisingly, Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis. came out with the most “politically savvy” statement of the day, noting that "[t]his demonstration of defiance shows the weakness of the six-party approach as well as the danger of this administration's hands-off approach to North Korea. It is time for the U.S. to directly engage in this crisis and take strong action with the international community to address this threat to our national security." Note the subtlety of the statement… No direct assertion that the Administration has failed… just the conclusion that if we should NOW “directly engage” and “take strong action,” then we must not have been doing so up UNTIL now.

The most competent assessment in the piece was offered by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA. (I confess I never heard of this Rep before, but an intellect not corrupted by contact with the Hill is a rare find.) Rep. Rohrabacher opined: "[d]uring the Clinton administration we set up a policy and it was continued during the Bush administration, of subsidizing this lunatic regime in North Korea. That regime would have collapsed a long time ago had we not been subsidizing it. And we should immediately cut off that stipend. There is money available, we are in a tight spot now, if we don't get sucked into direct military action against North Korea, which should be the very last thing we look at, we can accomplish this by simply putting limited resources into setting up a missile defense shield now. Second, we are already moving to cut out their access to the banking system. China is now cooperating. They have frozen all the accounts. This means that Kim Jong Il will not be able to pay his generals."

You see? There ARE people in Congress with an IQ of greater than 10, loyalty to something other than their own narrow interest, and a focus on the nation as a whole rather than their respective party. They are just so DAMN rare.


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