Late Breaking News: Thanks to an intrepid reader and blog owner of Not Watching Television, who informs me of the delicious news that CPD’s “managing director” (is CPD an investment bank or a think tank?), Peter Hannaford, has already resigned under pressure. His crime: to have solicited the business of Austrian neo-Nazi, Jorge Haider for his PR firm. My reader credits Laura Rosen of War & Piece with the scoop. Way to go, CPD!
In yesterday’s New York Times, the Committee on the Present Danger, that Cold Warhorse, published a full page ad, This Generation’s War Must Be Won (see accompanying graphic). The ad announces the second resurrection of the Committee. This present third iteration of CPD is headed by James Woolsey, Jon Kyl and (shock and horror!) Joe Lieberman.
Their ad is full of grandiloquent propaganda masquerading as self-evident statement of fact. This paragraph in particular tickled my fancy:
When faced with a clear and present danger, Americans have always set aside partisan politics to secure this nation and to affirm our common values. The War on Terrorism requires no less.
Where do we start in dissecting this patently self-serving piece of political rhetoric? First, let’s talk about setting aside partisan politics. Apparently, they’re calling on the Democrats to stop attacking the Bush Administration. They’re certainly not calling on Bush to stop his terror-baiting of the Kerry campaign. So who’s engaged in partisan politics concerning terrorism? Certainly not George!
Midge Decter, Cold War harridan and CFPD co-founder
In his inaugural Op Ed piece in the Washington Post, The Present Danger, Lieberman and his bud, right-wing zealot Arizona senator Jon Kyl, make the following questionable claim:
[The] Committee on the Present Danger, a group of citizens of diverse political persuasions, will work to sustain and strengthen bipartisan support for the war on terrorism in Iraq and beyond.
Diverse? Bi-partisan? Howso? I count ol’ Joe and Steve Solarz as the only Democratic signatories on the ad. And Solarz has been out of national politics for decades. Joe is the only one who’s an elected official and politician. So they have one Democratic leader while almost every other signatory works for the American Enterprise Institute or the Heritage Foundation. I counted seven signatories who served in the Reagan Administration. So that’s how CPD defines bipartisanship?
Has Ol’ Joe completely lost his way to throw in with this lot?
All I can say is that the neocons must be really desperate to beat John Kerry to have dusted off this old warhorse. And what can this group, steeped in the rhetoric of the Cold War, bring to our present political situation? It appears possible that CPD sees an opening to transform terrorism into the kind of bugaboo that Communism became in 1950s America. In this way, fear of terrorism would generate endless increases in defense spending (a major goal of previous iterations of CFPD) and a long string of victories of right wing Republicans in Congress and the White House.
Well, to quote Bill Clinton: this dog won’t hunt. Terrorism will not be this generation’s war nor is it the most important issue facing this country in the medium to long term (though it IS a very important issue in the short term). And the severity of the threat that Al Qaeda poses to us depends in large part how we respond to it and to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If we continue with the tin-earred, clueless policies of the Bush Administration then terrorism and Muslim hatred of the U.S. will be significant threats to our nation. But if Kerry is elected and can break the logjam in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and extricate us from Iraq, then many other issues will rise above terrorism as high priorities for this nation. In that eventuality, CFPD will fall by the wayside as another historical anachronism that has outlived its usefulness, if it ever had any.
Finally, what can you say about Joe Lieberman signing onto to this ludicrous project? He has seriously lost his way. I could respect him for being the most hawkish national Democrat regarding terrorism. There is a role for such a figure in the Party. But to fall in with a bunch of Cold War ideological windbags totally strips Lieberman of any credibility in my eyes. He might as well be a Republican.
For some terrific analytical background on CPD, its history and leadership, see the following sites:
The Free Dictionary Encyclopedia article on CPD