The surreal world of “Baghdad Jim” McDermott.
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Prosecutors said they had “no information whatsoever” that the three Congressmen were aware that the trip was underwritten by Saddam’s henchmen. “Obviously, we didn’t know it at the time,” explained McDermott. “The trip was to see the plight of the Iraqi children. That’s the only reason we went.”
McDermott’s spokesman said the congressman had been invited to Iraq by a Seattle “church group,” and had been unaware of Iraqi funding.
What’s fascinating about this from my perspective, and historically, is that it’s a rare case of War on Terror duping that bears a strict resemblance to Cold War duping. What I mean by that is this:
During the Cold War, communists, from Moscow to New York, excelled at carefully manipulating liberals and progressives, prompting these dupes to say and do some really dumb things. These things served the interests of our adversaries, namely, the Soviet Union and international communism. To the contrary, during the War on Terror, when a Ted Kennedy, a John Kerry, a Dick Durbin, a Harry Reid, a Pete Stark, a Jimmy Carter, a Maxine Waters, a Barbara Lee, a John Murtha, a Barack Obama, an Al Gore, or some other liberal, said something really dumb that served the interests of our adversaries, it was rarely (if ever) prompted by those adversaries. Typically, they uttered some irresponsibly outrageous inanity because they couldn’t control their boiling rage at George W. Bush. The enemy, whether Saddam, Ahmadinejad, Osama Bin Laden, or Al-Qaeda, no doubt thrilled in these statements, but they didn’t carefully prompt the statements.
What’s so striking about the Baghdad Jim example, however, is that here was a rare War on Terror case where the statements were triggered, at least in part, through attempted manipulation by the enemy, to the point that Saddam and friends rolled out the red carpet — and opened the TV studios. In other words, the McDermott case sets a precedent for modern-day dupery. In a sane world, or, more specifically, a sane congressional district, voters would be so embarrassed by such actions that they wouldn’t reelect their congressman.
Alas, apparently, Washington’s 7th district functions amid some other plane of existence. Jim McDermott is safe, no longer ensconced by the cold embrace of a dead Saddam Hussein but by the warm, open arms of Seattle’s progressives.
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