Friday, May 11, 2007

Manzullo was once an antiwar activist

Nineteen months ago, Republican Don Manzullo, who represents the Rockford area in the U.S. House, suggested that "the time is coming to consider gradually withdrawing U.S. troops" from Iraq.

But that was the one and only occasion on which he ever publicly expressed such thoughts. Maybe some of his constituents called his patriotism into question. Whatever the case, he has since been as steadfast in support of Bush administration policy in Iraq as any member of Congress. Last night, for example, he loyally toed the party line on a war-funding bill.


Manzullo even once said that Americans who dared "second guess" the president with regard to the war "should be put on a ship and sent off for a while."


There was a time, however, when Manzullo didn't subscribe to the notion that patriotism required Americans to unite behind the president when we have military forces in action in some foreign land. On the contrary, he ranted and raved about how wrong it was to send our forces into battle.

It happened in the spring of 1999, when the United States and NATO engaged in a military campaign to protect ethnic Albanians in Kosovo from Serbian aggression. Manzullo, following the cue of his Republican Party leadership, protested that the Clinton administration had "misjudged" the situation.

He lamented that we were "attacking a sovereign state." He condemned the bombing campaign that preceded the introduction of U.S. ground troops. He said the air strikes would only embolden the dictatorship of Slobodan Milosevic. He said efforts to reach "a diplomatic solution" should be pursued.

Concerned that the ground war "will cost hundreds if not thousands of American lives," Manzullo said, "I must do everything I can to stop that tragedy before it happens." Accordingly, he co-sponsored legislation demanding an end to U.S. participation in the war, despite President Clinton's warning that it would "sent the wrong message" to the enemy.

"I support the valiant fighting men and women of our armed forces," Manzullo declared. "That is why I am calling for their withdrawal."

He worried that American troops would be dragged into "hand-to-hand, house-to-house combat against a well-equipped" adversary, including "people fighting to protect their homeland against invasion."

Manzullo even went so far as to sign on as a plaintiff in a lawsuit that accused the president of violating the U.S. constitution and the 1973 War Powers Resolution.

Yes, he was mighty upset about it all, as were lots of his Republican colleagues. He and they were not deterred by any suggestion that dissent from U.S. war policy was somehow un-American.

3 comments:

Sable said...

And this is relevant to the war in Iraq how?

I realize your blog is mainly for entertainment purposes (much like the polls you lamented some time back), but if you're going to discuss serious issues, stick to serious arguments.

What one no-name congressman said or didn't say 10 years ago strikes me as a diversionary tactic.

The Rascal said...

Actually, this "no-name congressman" wasn't the only one dissenting from the war policy in Kosovo. Lots of other Republicans did so, too. My point is to contrast such dissent then with the frequently-heard arguments now that second-guessing our current commander-in-chief is somehow un-American. Besides, Manzullo is not a "no-name" in the area where I live.

Mr. Baseball said...

This is typical Manzullo. Let's not rock the Republican boat. How come he hasn't said anything about withdrawal in the last 19 months? He's been strangely quiet through the entire ordeal and the Rockford-area media continue to give him a pass. Unlike some of his Illinois Republican colleagues in the house, Manzullo won't criticize W. At least he should be upfront and publicly state why he supports the war.