Gary Hart Speaks At Oxford

Josh over at OxBlog heard Gary Hart speak in Oxford a few days ago. He gave the National Security speech we wrote about here. We disagree with Josh's criticism, which mainly seems to stem from a question he asked Hart at the end of the speech that did not get answered to his satisfaction. Josh is also not a liberal, judging from the blogs on his blogroll, and is a Bush and War supporter, judging from a quick perusal of a few posts on his blog that we just read, so again, we're not surprised he didn't agree with Hart.

Josh takes issue with Hart's position that before we go to war, Bush should answer a few questions, for example, how many casualties can be expected and how long will we be there. Josh says the questions are "sophistry" because no one knows the answer to them. We think that's exactly Hart's point--there are no answers and the American people shouldn't back a war where the answers to those kinds of questions are unknown. Here's what Hart said:
There is every reason now to believe that, within days, American forces—possibly with token support from allies—will invade Iraq. Under these circumstances, and acknowledging the unity of America behind our forces once committed, any attempt to outline a national security policy for the future, such as I undertake here, requires several observations to be made.

The American people deserve to know the costs of this commitment. They deserve to know which members of the international community openly support us, including with military resources. They deserve to know, most of all, casualty estimates on both sides. We have been told none of these things. It cost us 50,000 American lives in Viet Nam to learn the lesson that the American people must not be misled, lied to, or treated as incompetent on military engagements.

The United States military does not belong to the president; it belongs to the American people. Our support for its commitment to combat is crucial for its success. That support cannot be granted in the dark and without a candid statement by the commander in chief regarding the probable costs in human lives and national treasure of its commitment.
Further, as Hart said in his response to Bush's SOTUS
The President is still either unable or unwilling to provide concrete evidence of current Iraqi involvement in terrorism sufficient to justify possible substantial loss of American lives in a war in Iraq. He also is unable or unwilling to provide assurance to the American people that our homeland is sufficiently secure from terrorist attacks before such a war is initiated. As our Council on Foreign Relations Task Force Report of October 25 documented, America is still unprepared and still at risk. We should not go to war until America is prepared to defend itself at home from terrorist attacks that the Central Intelligence Agency has said will most probably occur when we go to war in the Middle East.
Josh says Hart's warnings about civil liberties violations and his comments about the growing fears of American Muslims that the WWII Japanese interment camps will be repeated are "hogwash." Not to the Muslims and Japanese. And not to us. The Indianapolis Star recently interviewed a Diversity Ambassador from Indiana University on the issue.
David Suzuki, IUPUI’s diversity ambassador, was born in the Tule Lake internment camp in Newell, Calif., just after the end of World War II His parents, though U.S. citizens, were imprisoned for about three years while the United States and the Allied forces were at war with Japan.

The Star asked Suzuki to compare the treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II to the treatment of Arab-Americans and Muslims since the start of the war on terrorism and in anticipation of military conflict with Iraq.

"What similarities do you see between the internment of Japanese-Americans and the treatment of Arab-Americans and American Muslims today?"

"The extended detention of Arab-Americans without formal accusations, the authorization of military tribunals and the use of racial profiling indicate that we could be heading down the same road that the nation mistakenly took 60 years ago. Then, as now, racially motivated fear and hatred seem to be driving some people's actions."
We'd also point out that Hart never said internment camps are "imminent", a position Josh calls "absurd." However, they are a concern, particularly if another large attack on American soil occurs, and Hart predicts it will. Here's Hart's speech: Read for yourselves and decide.

We also heard Hart speak a few nights ago--on Denver's public television station. We reported on it here. One of the reasons we like Hart so much is for his expressed disapproval of Bush and Ashcroft's treatment of the detainees. We agree with Hart that by detaining American citizens without due process, including access to lawyers and hearings, we are violating our own laws. This issue is of far more concern to us than how Hart would enforce a U.N. peace-keeping mission.

So Rhodes scholar or not (and we certainly aren't one, but then again, Josh likely is neither a constitutional nor criminal defense lawyer,) we think you should consider the biased position from which he comes, listen to Hart yourselves and make up your own minds.

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