I have come here today to reaffirm that it was right to dissent in 1971 from a war that was wrong. And to affirm that it is both a right and an obligation for Americans today to disagree with a President who is wrong, a policy that is wrong, and a war in Iraq that weakens the nation.
I believed then, just as I believe now, that the best way to support the troops is to oppose a course that squanders their lives, dishonors their sacrifice, and disserves our people and our principles. When brave patriots suffer and die on the altar of stubborn pride, because of the incompetence and self-deception of mere politicians, then the only patriotic choice is to reclaim the moral authority misused by those entrusted with high office.
I believed then, just as I believe now, that it is profoundly wrong to think that fighting for your country overseas and fighting for your country's ideals at home are contradictory or even separate duties. They are, in fact, two sides of the very same patriotic coin. And that's certainly what I felt when I came home from Vietnam convinced that our political leaders were waging war simply to avoid responsibility for the mistakes that doomed our mission in the first place. Indeed, one of the architects of the war, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, confessed in a recent book that he knew victory was no longer a possibility far earlier than 1971.
Dissent on issues of war and you are exercising your patriotic duty. Dissent on issues of climate change and you are suddenly unAmerican?
They [Republicans] want to play politics and see if they can keep any achievements from being accomplished that may be beneficial to the Democrats. They're rooting against the country and I think in this case, even rooting against the world because the world needs to get its act together to stop global warming."
Paul Krugman seems to take it one step further.
But 212 representatives voted no. A handful of these no votes came from representatives who considered the bill too weak, but most rejected the bill because they rejected the whole notion that we have to do something about greenhouse gases.
And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a form of treason — treason against the planet.
To fully appreciate the irresponsibility and immorality of climate-change denial, you need to know about the grim turn taken by the latest climate research.
When Democrats dissented on Iraq, they used straw men to protest with righteous indignation that they wouldn't stand to be called unpatriotic. That's because only the fringe on the right actually made such an argument. No serious conservative or Republican said that those that opposed the Iraq War were unpatriotic. If all these folks were really so viscerally hurt by this reference, we'd assume they'd never question someone's patriotism because of a policy dispute, would they?
That the patriotic card is trotted out so quickly, recklessly and totally without class is really just a sign that their argument is weak. Do they really believe that those that oppose cap and trade are really un American? Do they really believe that those that oppose cap and trade really just hate the planet?
After all, those are pretty serious charges. Krugman's argument appears to be the planet is in trouble and so anyone voting against this bill hates the planet. Isn't that a bit of a leap? Waxman takes it a step further and cites opposition to the stimulus as also un American. I expect that Senator Kerry, the beacon of patriotic dissent, will make sure and condemn these two pronouncements.
These two suppositions are both yet two more examples of why people are so cynical about politics. These statements are not only absurd but totally disingenuous. They aren't meant as serious analysis. Rather, they're a way to demonize your opponents. Rather than engaging in serious debate, on a serious issue, these two have decided to simply demonize their opponents in hopes that such demonization will marginalize them. That's really as cynical as it gets.