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November 1, 2003 -- You've got to admire the Bush administration's restraint in refusing to be goaded by Hillary Rodham Clinton's latest sputterings about Iraq. Because New York's junior senator has gone way over the line of what constitutes legitimate political debate.
Maybe she's just hoping to keep her name in the headlines that otherwise have been dominated by the Gang of Nine running for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Or maybe she's trying to keep one step ahead of the latest polls.
Either way, what Clinton said was pretty outrageous.
The senator this week accused the White House of trying to cover up the visual impact of U.S. casualties in Iraq by refusing to let Americans see "the sight of caskets coming home" to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware and by "refusing to release" timely casualty figures.
As far as the latter point is concerned, it's hard to understand what Clinton is talking about.
Given that each U.S. casualty has gotten reams of immediate news coverage, both in the newspapers and on TV, how can she suggest that the figures are being hidden?
But if that accusation is just mystifying, her suggestion about keeping the press away from Dover approaches the malignant.
In fact, preventing the media from filming the arrival of dead servicemen at Dover has been government policy for the past decade.
Including when Bill Clinton was president - and Americans came home in coffins from places like Somalia and Haiti and Bosnia/Herzegovina and from the port of Yemen, where USS Cole was attacked by Osama bin Laden.
We don't recall either Hillary or her husband inviting press photographers to Dover to film the arrival of those coffins.
Just as we don't recall congressional Republicans ever criticizing Bill Clinton for not doing so.
But then, Sen. Clinton - like the rest of the Democratic Party - is in search of a real issue as Campaign 2004 heads into full swing.
The recession is rapidly disappearing as an issue - which leaves Iraq, on which so many Democrats are increasingly risking their credibility.
But unless they're prepared to argue that the world would be better off today if President Bush had not toppled Saddam Hussein from power, all they really have left to offer is quasi-sedition.
Or maybe the real thing.
"There is too much at stake to treat war as a political spin zone," said Clinton last week in a speech to the mostly deserted Senate floor.
Time for the senator to start practicing what she preaches.
-------------------- You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers
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