Dan Rather told CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Sunday that the rhetoric surrounding the beheading of American journalist James Foley by the terrorist group ISIS is the same of the rhetoric leading up to the Iraq War in 2003.
Rather told CNN host Brian Stelter that conservatives who say “we have to do something” are running headlong into war.
“As a citizen – let me take my journalist hat off for a moment – as a citizen this worries me a great deal because as a journalist who has seen war up close … the savagery, the brutality of war.”
“All of these people on television, some of whom I have enormous respect for, it unsettles me to hear them say, ‘Listen, we the United States have to “do something” in Ukraine, we have to do something in Syria, we have to do something in the waters around China … we have to do something in Iraq, we have to do something about ISIS,'" he said. "What they’re talking about are combat operations."
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“My first question to anyone who’s on television saying ‘We have to get tough, we have to put boots on the ground, we have to go to war in one of these places’ is: I will hear you out if you tell me you are prepared to send your son, your daughter, your grandson, your granddaughter to that war for which you are beating the drums. If you aren’t I have no patience with you, and don’t even talk to me.”
He said the nation still has a lot to answer for in the lead-up to the Iraq War, “which I think history will judge to be a strategic disaster of historic proportions.”
“I am concerned that once again as the war drums begin to beat and get louder and louder, that there will be a herd mentality saying ‘Well, we have to go to war in Syria, we have to go to war in Ukraine,’” he added.
“I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that we need to be thinking very, very carefully and seriously about this, and journalists have a special responsibility to at least ask the right questions,” he concluded.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons / Ed Schipul