Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve blogged about the Left’s smear campaign against Washington state Democrat Rep. Brian Baird, who initially voted against the war in Iraq but now opposes precipitous withdrawal after visiting the troops there in the summer. See here and here. See also this anti-Baird video attack ad from MoveOn.org that aired last month.
The attacks have intensified. And MoveOn.org’s fingerprints are all over the new offensive. Yesterday, a front group called “Win Without War” placed ads in Baird’s local newspapers pressuring him to reverse his position.
The ads were paid for by the Win Without War coalition in Washington, D.C., and published Wednesday in about 80,000 copies of The Olympian and The Columbian of Vancouver, the largest newspapers in Baird’s 3rd Congressional District. The ads contain an open letter from retired Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, who said the lessons of Vietnam should be heeded.
“We ignore this lesson not only at our nation’s peril but also in destroying the lives of many young and brave soldiers. It is unconscionable to keep them in harm’s way in Iraq when we know that their presence there is a cause celebre for recruiting insurgents and that it inflames and prolongs a civil war that only Iraqis can bring to an end,” Gard wrote.
Gard is the former president of the National Defense University and was assistant secretary to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara in 1967, when McNamara warned President Lyndon Johnson that Vietnam was not winnable. Johnson escalated the war with additional troops in 1968, killing 34,000 Americans, the letter says.
Baird will meet with the public Friday in Olympia. It follows reportedly raucous meetings last month in Vancouver and Longview.
So, who’s behind “Win Without War?” These are the listed coalition members:
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities
Center for International Policy (CIP)
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Council for a Liveable World
Fourth Freedom Forum
Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)
National Council of Churches
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)
Pax Christi USA
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Psychologists for Social Responsibility
The Tikkun Community
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA)
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
United Church of Christ
United Methodist Church: General Board of Church and Society
Veterans for Peace
Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)
Artists United to Win Without War
Musicians United to Win Without War
Who’s funding the anti-Baird campaign? A “Win Without War” spokesperson said MoveOn.org was not the “major contributor” to the ads. I suppose it depends on the meaning of “major contributor.” The Olympian newspaper, which ran the latest attack ad, won’t say what it charged, citing disclosure policies. But I somehow doubt that any of those other groups had the deep pockets to pay for the ads.
In any event, Rep. Baird is holding steady and so far has refused to change his mind or his position that “the troops have earned more time.” He doesn’t deserve the crap he’s getting for sticking to his principles.
Here’s his contact info:
U.S. House of Representatives
2443 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3536
Fax: (202) 225-3478
Vancouver Columbian columnist Elizabeth Hovde comes to Baird’s defense: Baird brave for keeping open mind.
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