Jewish World Review March 18, 2003 / 14 Adar II, 5763

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Bush critics offer little more than hyperbole


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Criticizing presidents is an age-old national pastime, and I'm an occasional participant myself. But in the last few months, criticism of the Bush administration has moved from pastime to overtime.

Everyone from liberal columnists to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan is making so much negative noise about the president's policies, one might think this White House is filled with complete morons who are incapable of rational thought. Or that it's totally lacking in sincerity, or that it's absolutely ignorant of both history and our national interests. Call it a coalition of the willfully critical.

Kofi Annan's recent remarks have been far more critical of the president than of Saddam Hussein. And Annan has warned President Bush that U.S. military action against Iraq without Security Council approval would be illegitimate. The secretary general is, in my opinion, a little confused. It's the legitimacy of the United Nations that's now at stake. Kofi Annan couldn't have been happy about the latest New York Times/CBS News poll showing that 58 percent of those surveyed believe the United Nations is doing a poor job on the issue of Iraq.

And there are a host of other issues that the United Nations is confused about. For example, the United Nations next week is scheduled to turn over control of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights to Libya. That's right, Libya. And until a month ago, Iraq was scheduled to take over control of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament. That's right, the same Iraq that has refused U.N. demands to disarm for more than a decade.

If Kofi Annan thinks Americans are ready to put our safety at risk and turn over the leadership of this country to France, Germany, Cameroon or Syria, the United Nations has as tenuous a grip on reality as it does on a current claim of relevance.

We reasonably expect Democrats to criticize Republican policies, particularly when those critics originate from hopeful contenders for the party's nomination in 2004. At a campaign fundraiser last week, Senator John Kerry called the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq situation "some of the weakest diplomacy that we've ever seen."

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, recently said, "I believe most sincerely that one of the motivating factors involved in this effort to strike against Iraq is the desire on the part of some to be able to control the oil interests in Iraq. I believe that."

Obviously, Kucinich hasn't consulted closely with fellow Rep. James Moran, D-Va., who has come up with an offensive and asinine charge. Said Moran, "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this."

By my count, editorials in the New York Times about Bush's handling of Iraq have been overwhelmingly negative since the beginning of the year. The thought leaders writing those editorials aren't being incredibly effective if we believe the Times' own poll, which shows that 55 percent would back an American attack of Iraq, even without the support of the U.N. Security Council.

The Times, which has looked down its sophisticated nose at a president it charges with oversimplification of foreign policy, proudly carried the column of Maureen Dowd, who wrote: "Just when you thought it couldn't get more Strangelovian, it does. The Bush bullies, having driven off all of the other kids in the international schoolyard, are now resorting to imaginary friends."

The White House must be grateful for that complex imagery and analysis, which can surely help raise its foreign policy to a higher level - one that I'm sure will meet the lofty standards of the Times' editorialists and columnists.

It kind of makes you proud, doesn't it?

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Lou Dobbs is the anchor and managing editor of CNN's "Lou Dobbs Moneyline." Comment by clicking here.

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