The key point Baird makes is this:
“If the people in our party advocating for an immediate withdrawal of troops last year had gotten their way, it would have been disastrous for the U.S."
But now that it appears he was right — that the
Now nobody much wants to talk to him about
"We say Bush is so blinded by ideology that he ignores the facts in the real world, and that's true," Baird said. "Aren't we doing the same thing? We're being just like Bush."
Baird touched off a furor last August when he effectively switched from the anti-war side by coming out in support of the troop buildup, which Democrats almost universally were trying to block.
Iwent down to
Six hundred people — from veterans to teachers, from a Columbia River boat captain to a lady who plays bagpipes at soldier funerals — spent nearly four hours calling Baird a sellout, Bush's lap dog, a neocon pet. Some told him to resign.
Based on multiple visits to
So he took the plunge, voting to prolong a war his party was trying to end. He knew he would be hammered hard politically. Some fellow congressmen publicly suggested Baird had been brainwashed by the military.
This year, he has been challenged by anti-war candidates on both the left and the right. A "Bairdwatch" Web site was started to mock him. Personally, he says he's lost some longtime friends due to his stand.
As for how, in retrospect, he was more or less correct? Nothing. Crickets chirping.
The silence doesn't just apply to Baird. At the convention here there is very little discussion of the war, other than perfunctory calls to end it. I haven't heard much about how the security picture in
The surge isn't mentioned in the party platform adopted this week. The document does call for a
Baird says there are many reasons why
I asked Democratic congressman Jay Inslee,
"We buried quite a lot of people during the surge," he said. "It was such a titanic misjudgement to start the war in the first place that my belief is the only way to undo that, ultimately, is to leave. Completely."
Perhaps so. But doesn't it matter what we leave behind? We broke it, right?
I'm with Baird. I was hostile to the idea of a troop surge at the time. It seemed a lost cause. It wasn't. How is that anything but good news now?
Democrats ought to meet this issue head on. Because refusing to own up to reality — that's the mentality that got us into this mess in the first place.