Notes: Elephonkey: a politician who is a combination of a Democrat and a Republican.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, (D-Conn.) and House Majority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) aligned themselves with the Bush administration's policy on Iraq last Wednesday to the surprise of other Democrats in Congress. They appeared for TV cameras with the president in the White House Rose Garden to announce their allegiance. Both Lieberman and Gephardt are expected to be candidates for the Democratic nomination for president in 2004.

Gephardt stunned many Democrats by signing onto the deal with the president. Lieberman is conservative and has been a hawk on Iraq so his support was not a shock, but the timing of it was to me. What they probably have deprived us Americans of is the chance for a real debate about the circumstances for and necessity of sending young Americans to battle in Iraq. The Republicans have been talking war jingoism and now we can expect many democrats to do the same. The smart money is that the Bush resolution is a done deal because of Gephardt, Lieberman and some other democrats.

Moreover, Democrats are running scared of this November's elections. The president and his top political strategist Karl Rove have managed to focus Americans on war with Iraq while democrats had hoped the focus would be on the faltering economy. Now most Democrats don't want to be perceived as war wussies. Most will likely join in approving what is basically Bush's resolution on Iraq.

I am opposed to preemptive war where there has been no definite threat shown to America. You may feel exactly the opposite. That is why a real national debate is needed and not the slam-dunk debate that Democrats like Gephardt and Lieberman have forced on us.

I was draft age during Vietnam and served in the Army reserves (similar to Bush). The country was torn apart by a failure of our leaders to articulate a reason for our being Vietnam. I faulted them for allowing thousands of my generation to die without the kind of articulation that brings Americans together in support of a goal. While the Bush administration has been successful at winning over politicos, they have yet to articulate a solid, definite reason for going to war. In fact they have changed their tact several times trying to find a reason that resonates with Americans. A muddled cause is a problem with so-called preemptive wars
. 10.06.02