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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Howard Dean silliness a disservice to party, nation

Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean needs to speak responsibly or get out of the way.

Mr. Dean has been an outspoken opponent of the U.S. decision to invade Iraq since President Bush first aired the idea. As the war progressed and more Americans died, his early opposition appeared prescient. Even at the comparatively low death rates preceding the Democratic presidential primary, Mr. Dean's perceived wisdom almost got him a spot on the ticket.

Ever since, however, he appears to be on a crusade to convince Americans that his supposed prescience was merely the luck of the draw. Oppose everything the president does and, every once in awhile, you'll get it right.

Mr. Dean confirmed his knee-jerk contrarian reputation Sunday when he accomplished a rhetorical pirouette. On the one hand, Mr. Dean is opposed to the Iraq war because American troops have discovered no weapons of mass destruction.

Then, in the same discussion, he said, "we need to ... make sure that to the best of our ability we can influence the writing of the constitution. It looks like ... women will be worse off in Iraq than they were when Saddam Hussein was president of Iraq."

Is it Mr. Dean's belief that we should remain in Iraq until women are treated equally? We have already lost 1,852 Americans to the war. How many more should we sacrifice in the interest of women's rights? If this goal merits military action, why stop at Iraq? South America is ripe with countries that mistreat women, as is Africa. And, of course, there are Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and China and Japan. Should we invade those countries immediately, or hold off until Iraq's constitution grants equal treatment to females?

The Democratic Party need not shoot from the hip. The Republican Party has more Achilles' tendons than a bucket full of centipedes. Our nation is in desperate need of new ideas and new strategies. Mr. Dean is spewing silliness while Americans want alternatives. That is a disservice to the party and the nation.

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