The Real Side
Send in the Twins ... and Chelsea, Too
An open letter to Sen. Hillary Clinton
By Jim Scarantino
I've been meaning to write to you for some time. I see how you are currently the favorite among Democrats for the party's presidential nomination for 2008. You're already raising money around the country. But before you get to check what Laura Bush has changed while you've been out of the White House, if Gov. Bill Richardson gets an early Western presidential primary, you're going to have to face us lowly New Mexicans sooner rather than later.
So I thought I'd pop my big question now. Why should any Democrat support you as long as you continue to support Bush's war in Iraq?
If you want back in the West Wing, you're going to have to answer that question. We all know you voted for Bush's war, unlike our own Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who had the brains and spine to vote against it. But, Hill (may I call you that?), you're more pro-war than some Republicans, like Sen. Chuck Hagel, who says we need to get out. Or Rep. Ron Paul, from Bush's Texas. He was railing against the idiocy of conquering Babylon while the Bushies were still scaring us with false stories about yellowcake and aluminum tubes. And don't overlook Rep. Walter Jones from South Carolina, the guy once so mad at France he had the Capitol cafeterias rename “french fries” “freedom fries.” Now he posts photos of our dead soldiers outside his office. Unlike you, he's had the guts to damn Bush for tricking us into this mess.
Hill, I heard you on NPR when they tried to get a straight answer about where you stood on this war. You made Donald Rumsfeld sound like a straight-talker. When I scan the press to try to figure out whether you are for or against Bush's war, here's what I find: “I've been asked many times, do I regret that vote," you told an audience in Palm Beach, Fla. "I don't regret the vote based on what I knew at the time, but I regret the way the president used the authority. I also deeply regret our lack of planning; our refusal to use enough troops to stabilize and secure Iraq."
So let me get this right. Bush lies us into a war that has cost us more than 2,000 Americans lives, and the legs, eyes, arms, faces, and blood of over 15,000 more of our sons and daughters. We've lost to death and injury more Americans than live in Las Vegas, N.M., or Taos, two Democratic strongholds you might visit when you're out here stumping for primary votes. But, Sen. Clinton, you're not furious about having been lied to.
America has not seen you on television berating Bush and his cronies for luring us into a grandiose gambit based on scripted falsehoods and half-truths. You're miffed we haven't risked more of our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, policemen, teachers, factory workers, farmers, truck drivers, secretaries, cooks, mail carriers, doctors, cashiers, artists, nurses, store clerks, mechanics, college students, waitresses, carpenters, pipe fitters, computer programmers, electricians, deliverymen, housewives, and high school grads trying to figure out what to do with their young lives. Your only complaint seems to be that not enough Americans have been sacrificed to make Bush's lies work.
You might have a hard time defending yourself out here in New Mexico, where Democrats passed a resolution critical of the war and are demanding that we start getting out of the mess you helped get us into. But you won't be alone in running into trouble. If your fellow pro-war Democrats Joe Biden, Evan Bayh and, heaven help us, John Kerry come this way again, they're also going to have to answer for being chumps for the neo-cons. Or worse, coconspirators.
Thousands—tens of thousands—of Americans have lost life and limb in Iraq. This is serious stuff. The fact that our soldiers are killing and dying every day outweighs all of your favorite, more comfortable issues. To recast a phrase from your husband's 1992 campaign, “It's the war, stupid.”
I happened to be in San Francisco when the nationwide war protests (which you have ignored) erupted again in September. I saw what an antiwar march in San Francisco looked like. It didn't disappoint.
My favorite picket sign read, “Send in the Twins,” referring, of course, to Bush's adored and unemployed daughters, who aren't doing a thing in Daddy's war.
Dear Hillary, the same goes for you and all the other Imperial Dems. If you believe so deeply in Bush's bloody redesign of the Middle East, why isn't your kid facing roadside bombs and snipers to bring the miracle cure of democracy to the fractious tribes and sects of Iraq?
Please bring your answer when you swing through New Mexico looking for money and votes. Thanks.
Postscript: Since this article was submitted, John Kerry has finally stated that he regrets his vote for the Iraq war.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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