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Restraining the Reach of Dangerous Rhetoric

Tony Beam

I wonder is Senator Ted Kennedy could have seen into the future and witnessed the inspirational success of the Iraqi elections if he would have delivered the same speech three days before at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.  Senator Kennedy's speech was an exercise in political rhetoric designed to undermine the Bush Administration.

When the Senator said the United States was failing in Iraq, I am sure he was hoping to equate President Bush with failure. 

When he said the United States was part of the problem in Iraq rather than part of the solution, I am sure he was trying to paint a political picture that would give the Democrats some leverage in the upcoming policy debates in the Legislature. 

When he said we are losing the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, I am sure he was trying to position himself and his party as the leader of the Left wing of American politics.

Senator Kennedy has the right to promote his party and his personal political fortune any way he sees fit.  A healthy two party system means the minority opposition party should fairly and consistently point out its differences with the majority party. 

My problem with Senator Kennedy's remarks is their timing and reach. I am afraid the good Senator's comments reached the ears of the Iraqi citizens, who must have been discouraged on the eve of their opportunity for democracy to hear a United States Senator speak in such negative terms about their chance of embracing democracy.

I am also afraid his comments reached the ears of the men and women of our armed forces who have performed their duty of preparing the Iraqi people