Hyman & the Fruit Salad
Poor Mark Hyman. He must’ve flunked the analogy section of his SATs. That’s the only conclusion we can reach given the apples to oranges comparisons he makes in his examination of Senate votes.
Claiming to be looking even-handedly at which members of Congress base their votes on using military force on politics rather than the situation, Hyman looks at the votes of current members of the Senate who voted against using force against Iraq in 1991 and 2002, but voted for a resolution authorizing the president to bring Iraq into compliance with U.N. resolutions in 1998. This results in a list of senators (all Democrats) whom Hyman charges with caring more about politics than national security because of the supposed hypocrisy of voting for military force only when a Democrat was in the White House.
Here’s the problem: the 1998 vote had nothing to do with sending U.S. forces into Iraq. It was simply a resolution saying the president should attempt to bring Iraq into compliance with U.N. resolutions. President Clinton hadn’t even suggested an invasion of Iraq. At most, this vote simply reasserted that the president should continue to enforce no fly zones, send in an occasional cruise missile when needed, and continue to work with other nations to bring Iraq into compliance.
We’re guessing that the fact the 1998 vote wasn’t going to result in tens of thousands of U.S. troops being put on the ground in Iraq probably had something to do with it getting near unanimous support, including by some who voted against authorizing the president to deploy troops in 1991 and 2002. Hyman ignores this difference, however, to score political points.
A much better analogy would be to compare the 1991 and 2002 votes to the 1999 resolution to authorize U.S. participation in air strikes in Kosovo. True, Iraq wasn’t the issue, but the circumstances are much closer to those in 1991 and 2002 than those surrounding the 1998 Iraq vote. We were dealing with a ruthless dictator who was responsible for killing civilians en masse. He had started a war of aggression. It was conceivable that he might pose a threat to regional stability. Diplomacy hadn’t brought him to justice. Most importantly, the vote was closely tied to the actual deployment of U.S. forces to a combat zone.
Of course, there were also significant differences. Unlike Iraq in 2002, there was an ongoing war in the former Yugoslavia. Genocide was going on at the time. We hadn’t supported Milosovic in the past, as we had Hussein. Milosovic wasn’t boxed in by no-fly zones. Unlike Iraq, there was widespread international support for striking the Serbs, and the U.S. would be participating jointly with its NATO allies, not taking on more than 90% of the effort itself. Finally, the 1999 action involved air strikes, not a massive invasion using more than 100,000 ground troops.
But it’s still a much better comparison than Hyman’s. The Counterpoint took a look at those members of the Senate who voted to send U.S. troops after a brutal dictator in 1991 and 2002, but voted against using force against a brutal dictator in 1999 (when, coincidentally, a Democrat was in the White House).
Here’s the list. (We’ve left on the names of those who are no longer in the Senate; we figure they still deserve to have their hypocrisy recognized).
An “*” indicates that the 1991 and/or 1999 vote was made as a member of the House.
Smith (NH) (R)
[Votes cited: S.J. Res 2 (1991); S.Con. Res. 21 (1999); H.J. Res. 114 (2002)]
Gosh Mark, where’s the outrage about these politically motivated votes?
Here’s one more analogy for you--
Hyman: hypocrite as Pope: Catholic
And that’s The Counterpoint