Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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Joe Lieberman's Vietnam hypocrisy

Joe Lieberman is a hypocrite

Joe Lieberman's Vietnam hypocrisy

Sen. Joe Lieberman, everybody's favorite Future Republican from Connecticut, had a stunning op-ed in the Wall Street Journal blaming all the perceived woes of his supposed-but-not-really Democratic Party on its supposed weakness in foreign policy that dates back, in his rambling and largely unsupported thesis, to the Vietnam War. He writes:

And this was the Democratic Party of John F. Kennedy, who promised in his inaugural address that the United States would "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of freedom."

This worldview began to come apart in the late 1960s, around the war in Vietnam. In its place, a very different view of the world took root in the Democratic Party. Rather than seeing the Cold War as an ideological contest between the free nations of the West and the repressive regimes of the communist world, this rival political philosophy saw America as the aggressor – a morally bankrupt, imperialist power whose militarism and "inordinate fear of communism" represented the real threat to world peace.

Lieberman's piece is incoherent and/or illogical in a number of ways -- for example, in end the critical battleground against the Soviets was in Afghanistan, under a confrontational policy that begins with one Democrat, Jimmy Carter. and was funded by another, Charlie Wilson. And it's odd that in hanging his entire thesis on Vietnam as a turning point, he barely mentions that war or where it fits in.

Maybe because that's because Joe Lieberman was ultimately one of those dirty freakin' hippies against the war, a fact that he downplays on his resume. As the Boston Globe noted in an article published on Dec. 7, 2003 (via Nexis):

The conclusion: Action in defense of security is a moral imperative.

In his college years, Lieberman chided "peace groups" in print for inadequate support of President Kennedy's dealings with the Soviet Union. He initially supported the Vietnam War, then changed his mind in late 1967, when he decided it was "the wrong place to be." He has firmly backed every military action since then: Grenada, Libya, Panama, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and both Gulf wars. He pushed legislation ordering efforts to oust Saddam Hussein three years before the Sept. 11 attacks.

On one hand, I happen to agree with Lieberman's conclusion: Vietnam was clearly the wrong place to be, just as Iraq is a couple of generations later. Isn't it interesting, though, that with all the military conflicts that Joe Lieberman has supported over the years, that -- after concluding that "action in defense of security is a moral imperative" -- the only war he ever opposed was THE ONLY WAR HE MIGHT ACTUALLY HAVE HAD TO FIGHT IN.

Of course, Joe Lieberman didn't have to fight in Vietnam -- like his new ally Dick Cheney he had "other priorities" in the 1960s. He received two deferments, one to attend college and law school at Yale, the second because he was married with a young child by the time he finished school in 1967. The deferments ensured that Lieberman would live --so he could vote to send younger men off to those other wars that he later supported. You've heard of getting rich with "other people's money," but for Joe Lieberman combat is apparently "other people's moral imperative."

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Will Bunch
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