A Hawk Among Doves

The WaPo has an intreguing look at Sen. Bob Graham coming out in favor of military action against Syria.

Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who voted against the congressional resolution authorizing the Iraq war, said Syria’s support of terrorism long has represented a far greater threat to the security of the United States than did Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. If diplomatic pressure on Syria fails, he said, the United States should be prepared to take effective military action to wipe out terrorist training camps operating inside that country.

Graham said in a telephone interview yesterday that he hopes the administration will pursue the diplomatic route to force changes in Syria’s behavior, rather than immediately threatening military action. But he said if military action is necessary, something more than symbolic or token gestures — he mentioned the cruise missile attacks launched by former President Bill Clinton into Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan as an example of what doesn’t work — will be needed.

Graham is right – Syria is a major supporter of international terrorism. However, I still say that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is seeing the writing on the wall. This is not a good time to be a state sponsor of terror, and with a sizable military presence still in Iraq, they had better be damn careful about whose toes they’re stepping on.

"We need to be more effective," said Graham, a former chairman of the Senate intelligence committee. Noting that the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, might have been avoided if the United States had moved earlier and more aggressively against bin Laden, he said, "We don’t want to repeat in the first decade of the 21st century the mistakes we made in the last decade of the 20th century."

Graham is a very astute guy, and quite possibly one of the best Democratic candidates in terms of national security issues. Unfortunately for him, the Democrats are shifting well to the left, and someone like Graham stands a snowball’s chance of making it much past New Hampshire. The Democratic left is embracing Dean while the more moderate Democrats are rallying behind Kerry. The Democrats are already split on the issue of the war, and someone like Graham would likely prove too hawkish for the DNC. Still, it is good to know that there are those on the other side of the political aisle who do realize the state of the world requires vigilence and strong action.

8 thoughts on “A Hawk Among Doves

  1. The Democrats are shifting to the left?? Hardly. The Democrats of today are to the right of where the Republicans were in most of the 1970’s.

  2. Figures like Tom Daschle and Nancy Pelosi are far to the left of the American populace on nearly every key issue – especially on issues of national defense. Whether or not they’re liberal compared to the political climate of the 1970’s is both highly debatable and irrelevent. When it comes to the issues that matter in the here and now, the left wing of the Democratic Party is clearly in the driver’s seat of the DNC.

  3. Oh give Daschle a break. As minority leader he HAS to be far to the left on everything. It’s part of the job description. You almost seem suprised about that.

  4. True, Daschle doesn’t have a lot of options if the Democrats want to keep their base (who hate Bush) happy. At the same time, pulling the left alienates swing voters.

    If the Democrats had a strong message backed up by some good legislation they might stand a chance in 2004. However, the only message they have is that they don’t like Bush, which isn’t enough to make anyone switch sides. Maybe Kerry or someone similar can get the DNC all on the same boat, but I wouldn’t be holding my breath for that to happen.

  5. Hah. You would want Kerry to run. I seriously hope it doesn’t end up being that easy for the GOP…

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