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Jewish World Review Oct. 10, 2002 / 4 Mar-Cheshvan, 5763

Joel C. Rosenberg

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Daschle now sides with president, but signed radical anti-war petition | WASHINGTON Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (S-SD) announced today he will back President Bush and support a vote to authorize the use of force against Iraq if necessary. Why then is he listed as a prominent co-signer of a radical, left-wing, anti-war petition?

"I believe it is important for America to speak with one voice," Daschle said today.

Daschle also issued a statement on his Senate web site explaining his cooperation with and support for the Bush Administration's approach towards Iraq.

"Over the last several weeks, I have worked closely with the President to build a broad bipartisan coalition to deal with Iraq," Daschle stated. "I will continue to work with the Administration in the days and weeks ahead to see that Congress provides the President with the authority he needs to effectively deal with the threats posed by Saddam Hussein."

But it turns out that Sen. Daschle is a co-signer of a defiant anti-war petition distributed nationwide in recent weeks that calls Bush's policies towards Iraq "unjust, immoral, and illegitimate" and urges Americans to do everything possible to resist the Administration's showdown with Saddam Hussein over weapons of mass destruction.

The petition was written by, and is being promoted by, a group called NION -- "Not In Our Name" -- made up of some of the most outspoken and well known anti-war, anti-Bush, left-wing activists in the country.

Among the other NION co-signers: Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden, Oliver Stone, Gloria Steinem, Ed Asner, Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, and Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. NION took out a full page ad in the New York Times on September 19th and in the Los Angeles Times on October 4th fiercely objecting to war against Iraq and denouncing President Bush by name. Sen. Daschle was not listed as a co-signer in either advertisement. His name is, however, listed on the group's web site raising questions of whether Daschle is trying to have it both ways -- publicly support Bush's popular Iraq position while privately courting the Hollywood, big money, far-left elites.

"The signers of this statement call on the people of the United States to resist the policies and overall political direction that have emerged since September 11, 2001, and which pose grave dangers to the people of the world," the NION statement reads. "Thus, we call on all Americans to resist the war and the repression that has been loosed on the world by the Bush administration. It is unjust, immoral, and illegitimate."

"[W]e will resist the machinery of war and repression and rally others to do everything possible to stop it," the statement continues, adding: "President Bush has declared, 'you're either with us or against us.' Here is our answer: We refuse to allow you to speak for all the American people."

That Sen. Daschle is listed as a signer of such a provocative, anti-war, anti-Bush statement comes in sharp contrast with Daschle's newfound support for the war. With the mid-term elections fast approaching, it could also complicate the Democrats' new attempts to position themselves as united with and supportive of President Bush, whose approval ratings hover around 70%.

The Senate Majority Leader's press office was contacted, NION's statement and Daschle's listing as a co-signer was explained, and a request for verification of the validity of Daschle's support for the group's statement and goals was requested. A press staffer, however, would neither confirm nor deny Daschle's involvement with the petition or the group.

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JWR contributor Joel C. Rosenberg is a columnist for World magazine. Comment by clicking here.


010/03/02: Lautenberg's radical record is a GOP challenger's dream!
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12/13/01: PREDICTIONS 2002

© 2001, Joel C. Rosenberg