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John Boehner's Crying Game | The Nation

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John Nichols

John Nichols

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John Boehner's Crying Game

House Minority Leader John Boehner wept Thursday night, as he delivered the final Republican appeal on behalf of funding President Bush's perpetual war in Iraq.

This is obviously a serious matter for the tear-inclined Ohio congressman, who last lost his composure during a February soliloquy on the need for "solemn debate" in the House.

Unfortunately for Boehner, he is seriously misinformed about the issue that is bringing him to tears.

Perhaps we can help Boehner compose himself.

The minority leader made clear that he believes it will be necessary to sacrifice more U.S. lives in Iraq as a response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Speaking of the 19 religious zealots from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon who have been identified as the perpetrators of those attacks, the ranking Republican in the House was shaking with anger at Democrats who had delayed the dispatch of the latest billions to fund the president's Iraq adventure.

"After 3,000 of our fellow citizens died at the hands of these terrorists, when are we going to stand up and take them on? When are we going to defeat 'em?" demanded Boehner. "Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you, if we don't do it now, and if we don't have the courage to defeat this enemy, we will long, long regret it. So thank you for the commitment to get the job done today."

It appears that Boehner is suffering from some confusion about the reason why President Bush dispatched U.S. troops to Iraq.

In a moment of such confusion, perhaps it is best to turn to the commander in chief for clarification.

In August, 2006, when President Bush was explaining how the 9/11 attacks inspired his "freedom agenda," Cox News reporter Ken Herman of Cox News, interrupted to ask what Iraq had to do with 9/11. And the president set things straight once and for all.

"The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East," said Bush.

"What did Iraq have to do with it?" asked Herman.

"What did Iraq have to do with what?" responded a confused Bush.

"The attack on the World Trade Center," explained Herman.

"Nothing," admitted Bush, who went on to say that "nobody has suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack."

For emphasis, Bush repeated, "Nobody's ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq."

Hopefully, this will come as some comfort to Congressman Boehner. Debates about Iraq funding have nothing to do with September 11 or fighting terrorism. They are about whether young American men and women will continue to die in another country's civil war, and that does not seem to bother Boehner or the Congress.

So there's no need for tears here, except perhaps for the republic.

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John Nichols' new book is THE GENIUS OF IMPEACHMENT: The Founders' Cure forRoyalism. Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson hails it as a "nervy, acerbic, passionately argued history-cum-polemic [that] combines a rich examination of the parliamentary roots and past use ofthe 'heroic medicine' that is impeachment with a call for Democraticleaders to 'reclaim and reuse the most vital tool handed to us by thefounders for the defense of our most basic liberties.'"

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