By the time this paper hits the streets Wednesday, a group calling itself Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change will have already launched its campaign-at a National Press Club event in Washington, D.C.-to see to it that President Bush is defeated in November.
If you missed the advance story in the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere-the Union-Tribune carried the Associated Press version Monday on Page A3-26 former foreign diplomats and military leaders from the Carter, Reagan, Bush I and Clinton administrations have come out en masse to urge Bush II's ouster. They say, basically, that Bush's quest for American global domination-which is only a very slight exaggeration-has alienated the United States from the rest of the world, threatening to undo decades of diplomacy, and put us in peril.
Few will recognize their names, but they're banking on their former lofty government positions carrying some weight with fence-sitting voters. We hope moderates in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Arizona and New Mexico are listening, because we agree with this group.
Many of these 26 people held ambassadorships across the globe, and a few were high-level military leaders, including a Marine general, an Air Force chief of staff and a commander of U.S. Central Command in charge of all American forces in the Middle East. Some are Democrats; some are Republicans. A few have pledged explicit support for John Kerry; the rest are implicitly backing his candidacy because he's the alternative to Bush, who they've come to consider unacceptable.
The group's statement wasn't released until after CityBeat's press deadline, but one member, William Harrop, ambassador to Israel under the first President Bush, told the L.A. Times that it "calls for the defeat of the administration."
Added another member, Jack Matlock Jr., appointed as ambassador to the Soviet Union by Reagan: "Ever since Franklin Roosevelt, the U.S. has built up alliances in order to amplify its own power. But now we have alienated many of our closest allies, we have alienated their populations. We've all been increasingly appalled at how the relationships that we worked so hard to build up have simply been shattered by the current administration in the method it has gone about things."
The initial response from Bush supporters is to, once again, use Sept. 11, 2001, as a crutch, citing the attacks as evidence that all foreign-policy decisions leading up to that day were failures. That logic implies that these 26 people are idiots, incapable of understanding that the events of Sept. 11 changed the global political and military landscape.
Raising the specter of Sept. 11 also shows that Bush supporters are still using the attacks as justification for the invasion of Iraq. It should be common knowledge by now that any linkage of Sept. 11 and Iraq is a lie. Hasn't it been made crystal clear that the neo-cons who have the president's ear pounced on Sept. 11 as a convenient public rationalization for their long-desired overthrow of anti-American regimes in the Middle East?
Bush supporters also point to the president's reformed attempt to internationalize the Iraq effort, but everyone knows he launched the invasion in the face of near-global condemnation and that the international community has little choice at this point but to recognize the interim government in Iraq.
Undoubtedly, Karl Rove is busy digging up dirt on members of this group to undermine their credibility. We, on the other hand, hope their efforts are rewarded in November.
We welcome county Supervisor and mayoral candidate Ron Roberts back from his vacation in Boston, where he must have had a fine time watching his beloved Padres play the Red Sox.
Roberts chose an interesting time to take a vacation, in the middle of gut-wrenching county budget hearings during which people are making impassioned pleas to the supervisors not to fire public-defense lawyers or cut mental-health services, among other difficult budget decisions.
So last week, as dozens of people were giving sometimes-emotional testimony, Roberts' seat was vacant, its usual occupant having a fabulous time in Beantown.
His chief of staff told a U-T reporter that Roberts would be sure to watch the meetings on videotape when he returned, an assurance that shows no understanding of how people might feel pleading for mercy to an empty chair.
Surely, when it comes time to cast a ballot for mayor, the San Diego voters among those folks will remember where Roberts was-and wasn't-back in June.