by Peter Freyne
Connecticut Democrat Christopher Dodd was in Burlington, Vermont Thursday to plug the congressional candidacy of Peter Welch. Freeps reporter and blogger Terri Hallenbeck showed. So did Mary Morin from Plattsburgh, N.Y. headquartered WPTZ Ch. 5. (They have a satellite bureau in Colchester, Vermont.)
South Burlington, Vermont headquartered WCAX-TV, Ch. 3, did not attend the Welch-Dodd presser. We’ve heard Vermont's beloved WGOP-TV "doesn’t do endorsement press conferences.”
But news, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
I looked at it as a golden opportunity on a beautiful sunny summer morning to hop on the two-wheeler, pedal down to the 60 Lake Street location and question one of those Democrats who I’ve seen pontificate ad nauseum on the Sunday Morning TV panel shows for years!
Sen. Dodd, unlike any member of Vermont's congressional delegation, was one of those blind, stupid, asleep-at-the-wheel Democrats who on October 11, 2002 gave President George W. Bush the green light to ignore both international law and the truth and send our American troops into harm’s way.
Turns out I was a half-hour early this morning. It was actually scheduled for 10 a.m.
To kill time, I rode down to the King Street Ferry Dock restaurant for coffee. Took it outside to admire the boats. And right in front of me, a 50-something dude was soaping up on the top deck of his cabin cruiser. Then he dove in to rinse off the suds. When he came back up, we started chatting.
He was from western Massachusetts, was in great shape and had big tattoos on his biceps. Big biceps, too. Ex-football player. In town for an annual get-together with some old college buds - class of 1976. Remembered when UVM had football.
He has three grown kids, he told me. Two girls and a boy. The boy, a 24 year old former Marine, did four years in the Corps, nine months of it in Iraq. But something happened to the kid in Iraq, said his father, attired only in a black Speedo bathing suit, as he toweled himself off from his morning wash on the bobbing King Street dock.
“He’s not the same,” said the tattooed parent. "He's being treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” he said shaking his head. “Just like Vietnam. Didn’t the military learn a goddamn thing?”
"The military did," I replied. "I've heard 'em say it that they'd never let it happen again. Never let a White House lie like LBJ and Tricky Dick did back in the 1960s."
NEVER allow another dishonest president to send our young folks (now sending a lot of the old ones in the National Guard, too) to be killed and maimed fighting a war they could not win. Not even the mighty U.S. can just beat down the local rebels anywhere it chooses, install a White House chosen head-of-state, and leave. In Hollywood, maybe, but reality just doesn't work that way.
Several prominent generals did object. Their advice was completely disregarded. The White House was always able to find its "Yes Man" in uniform to run the Joint Chiefs.
Ol’ Pops from Massachusetts touched a chord. Vietnam always does and always will for this writer. Forty years later, a fresh set of flag-waving liars have pulled off another one. Needless to say, Pops got me primed for Sen. Christopher Dodd's upcoming live appearance.
We waited patiently for Candidate Welch's 20-minute Dog & Pony Show to end - endorsements from Angelo Dorta of the state teachers union and others. Then we got to pop the question we came for: "Sen. Dodd, how did you vote on the Iraq War resolution?"
“I voted for it. I’ve said over and over again over the years that had I known then what I know now, there wouldn’t have been a vote, in my view. But had there been one, I would have voted against it.
"I don’t know why politicians or people in public life have a hard time saying they made a mistake. It’s something we ought to get over. I believe very deeply and strongly that there was information that said that the possession of weapons of mass destruction existed. And if I thought that was still true, I would embrace that vote.
"It turned out, of course, that it was fabricated information and we were all misled and I regret that deeply. And my view today is we ought to be trying to figure out a way to disengage. We’re now there in the middle of a civil war. We’re spending $250 million a day - almost $2 billion-a-week of taxpayer money to sustain something that, frankly, we can’t resolve. It’s now up to the Iraqi People. It has been for some time. "
Now as I transcribe the tape, it hits me - Sen. Dodd the Democrat did not utter a single negative attack on the dishonest Republican president who lied to Congress and to you and me about Iraq from day one!
And continues to lie!
According to CNN as of five seconds ago, there have been 2,839 “coalition” deaths so far since King George declared war on this country that neither threatened nor attacked us or had anything whatsoever to do with 9/11. Of that total, 2,612 were Americans.
The future through Dodd's rather cloudy eyes?
"I’ve used the analogy of Benjamin Franklin walking out of Independence Hall in 1787 and Mrs. Powell confronts him and says, What have you given us?
"And he said, 'A Republic if you can keep it.'
"In a sense that‘s what we’re saying today, those of us who disagree with the president on this issue. We’ve given them the opportunity. It’s up to them to keep it now. And there’s no treasury big enough, nor army large enough that can do that for them."
P.S. This just in: Invitations to the Fall Republican Dinner On Sunday September 17 just went out. Sen. John McCain, who due to rain could not land in Rutland a few weeks ago, is returning to Vermont to headline the event. The GOP invitation reads:
"You are cordially invited to attend the annual Fall Republican Dinner
with special guest
U.S. Senator John McCain
Gov. Jim Douglas and House Candidate Martha Rainville"
No mention about rookie Republican Senate Candidate Rich Tarrant, a man who will be remembered for, so far, spending $5 million of his personal fortune on the slimiest, dirtiest, most expensive and most out-of-touch statewide political campaign Vermont has even seen!