Dear Congressman Kucinich,
Recently, you wrote an open letter to Howard Dean
- that I believe even for you is oportunistic and misleading. You of all people should know not to quote others out of context, and misrepresent their intent, intelligence, meaning and message. If you simply commented from reading a couple of news reports, I invite you to please listen to the full speech and the Q&A session at the Minnesota Public Radio website - available here
. The reason I ask you to do so is that your quote of Howard Dean simply is not the whole truth.
Howard Dean's comments that we cannot simply pull out of Iraq right away, and that we're going to be there for a while is not the right wing rah rah of the Bush administration. It is rather a thoughtful collection of the incredible insight and intelligence of this man. Let me quote Howard Dean in full in the relevent part:
Press Question: What is your position on Iraq and pre-emptive strikes on other countries by the US?
(laughter in the audience)
Howard Dean: I think my position on those issues was well known during the campaign. Actually, my position on Iraq right now is that we can't get out. Because if we do, we - uh, look, I opposed the president bitterly. I think I was the only person of the major candidates who really did think what the president did was awful. It was just bad, dumb policy. And - however, now that we're there, we're there. So, here's - here's one of the reasons I opposed the president, it wasn't just because he wasn't telling the truth. It was because this is a part of the world which has no experience in democracy in 7,000 years of culture. And the idea that we're going to go in there and in two years, turn everything around and everybody was going to sing Kumbaya and elect a president was, I would say, naive at best. So here we are now with 135,000 troops on the ground. We've had an election. It was modestly successful, I think. But we're going to stay there for a while. Because if we leave, here's what happens: first of all, we'd probably end up with a Shiite theocracy that's allied with Iran, which was always a much more dangerous nation for America than Iraq. Iraq never posed a danger to the United States. That was a crock, and everybody who read the 9-11 Commission [report] now knows that. Saddam Hussain was a horrible person, but he wasn't a danger to the United States. Iran is a danger to the United States. [If] they develop atomic weapons, that's a serious problem. To have created an additional half a country that's now sympathetic with Iran was - what I think [is] likely to happen - is foolish. The second thing is if we leave, the Kurds may become indpendent. If that happens - even though I am very much a fan of national self determination - if it happens, you're going to see turmoil in the entire area because a Kurdistan of course is not just the Kurdish portion of Iraq, it also goes into Turkey, Syria and Iran, which will destabilize those areas. And there will be an additional war, and the Turks will be involved, and therefore NATO will be peripherally involved. That's a huge problem for us. The third and even worse problem if we withdraw immediately is the the Sunni triangle will become the next Afghanistan, prior to when we invaded. And that is where Al Queda will set up independently to begin to attack America again. So the president has created a security problem for the United States where none existed before.
(applause from the audience)
But - I wish I could say we should bring the troops home as fast as we can - I believe we should bring the troops home as fast as we can - but we cannot do it at the expense of the security of the United States. And I think - what I think is actually going to happen, which I wish it wouldn't, and I hope I am wrong, and I hope the president is incredibly successful with his policy now that we're there. But what I think is going to happen is [that] the American people are going to get tired of having our kids killed one by one by roadside bombs, and sometime well after this president is out of office, we're going to have to bring the troops home. But this time, unlike what happened in Vietnam, where we have a[n] authoritarian government set up that's not a danger to America, what comes after is very likely to be huge national security problem for America. And I think it will underline why historically George Bush will be the worst president, certainly in my lifetime, and may be the worst president in the history of the United States of America.
(applause from the audience)
Please notice how far apart the two parts of the speech you put next to one another is in the actual response from Howard Dean to the reporter asking the question. You take Gov. Dean's very articulated response and bunch it into a theme that you want to arive at (but which cannot be reasonably arived at from Dean's answer): that he is somehow sweeping the Iraq war under the rug. I will let Gov. Dean speak for himself, but as you can see, his concern - which he outlines point by point - is the safety and national security of the United States - a security problem created by the president, no doubt, but one that we have in our hands now and we must deal with.
I believe that Gov. Dean's points are very well made. The middle-east, which is a volatile place, has been thrust into an experiment of democracy amid daily violence by a thick headed American foreign policy. But we're in it, and it's not going to be short and sweet. As Dean said, a Shiite theocracy likely to result from an immediate withdrawal (without some other peacekeeping means in place) allied with Iran does not bode well for the United States. A Kurd-Turk-NATO war in the midst of all these is not exactly the blue alert the US Dept. of Homeland Security is looking for, either. Also turning what is now a battleground in a breeding ground for Al Queda makes little sense from a US national security prospective.
You will also notice Dr. Dean's dire predictions of what will eventually happen and how it will be a security danger to the US. It's here
where he says he hopes he is wrong - anyone in his place would - who wants to be right in predicting a dire safety threat to his or her country? It's here
where he says he hopes the president succeeds in his policy - obviously, the policy he is referring to being the goal of a stable, democratic Iraq with all the checks and balances of a modern democracy that wouldn't blow up in everyone's face just as soon.
Congressman, I am not saying that reasonable people can't disagree with the position Dean has taken, and the reasons he has given for it. We can have a debate about how much merit those reasons hold (although I am predisposed to believe him since he has turned out to be right and effective on so many things - and I am not
just talking about Iraq). But his thoughtful comments do not deserve your mistreatment that Howard Dean is trying to sweep the Iraq issue under the rug or your insinuation that Gov. Dean is succumbing to pressures and doing the Bush administration's bidding on the war in Iraq, or that he is anything less than dedicated to representing the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.
Please reconsider your rhetoric, Mr. Kucinich. By bashing Howard Dean and accusing him of being complicit beyond reason, you are not doing anyone any good - not the Democratic Party, and not the peace movement.