Sunday, November 05, 2006

AAPAC's Bizarre Bouchard Endorsement

Endorsing John Dingell for Congress is not the only bizarre decision by the Arab American Political Action Committee (AAPAC) this year. AAPAC also chose to endorse Republican Michael Bouchard in the Michigan US Senate race. Not endorsing incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow was a no-brainer but Bouchard also gives every indication that he supports the general thrust of America's current war on Arab and Muslim peoples. According to AAPAC's November 2006 newsletter (page 6) :
During his interview with AAPAC, Bouchard was asked many questions about the "Republican" issue and the fact that many members of our community today are skeptical towards the Republican Party because of the failed policies of the Bush Administration. Bouchard stated that while he is a committed Republican, he is "his own man" and that he has no problem departing from his party's line if he disagrees with it. He did not give specifics on some foreign policy issues stating that he still needs to learn more about these issues. He stated several times that he would be receptive to listening to this community and taking our input when dealing with foreign policy issues that affect our community and our families.
The fact is that Bouchard has steadfastly refused to depart "from his party's line" on the Iraq war, its support for Israel, etc. His refusal to "give specifics on some foreign policy issues" is a dodge--plain and simple. On his web site Bouchard states: "As your U.S. Senator, I will work to secure our borders, improve emergency response planning, and ensure we have an unconditional victory in the War on Terror."

Here's Bouchard's response to a question from the Detroit News:
Q: Do you support the idea of leaving Iraq by a date certain?

A: I have a problem with (that). A date certain is going to be an arbitrarily concluded date. ... Is that because that's when we feel we have to be out of there because we no longer think we can be there politically? Or have we met any benchmark-driven goals that relate to either the safety of America or Iraq? That's where you have to step up sometimes and admit that the boots on the ground, the generals and commanders have a better idea in terms of what we need to do to stabilize the situation. It may even require us to move our troops around or do something different.
Anyone who believes Bouchard would change his tune once in office simply because his grandfather came from Lebanon is probably dreaming. When Lebanon was brutalized this summer by Israel and thousands of Arab Americans and others protested in the streets of Dearborn and Detroit, Bouchard was missing-in-action. Below are the apparent entirety of his public remarks.

From his campaign web site:
"I have had several conversations with leaders in Washington over the last few days about the need to expedite the evacuation of American citizens, many of whom are from Michigan, from the dangerous situation in Lebanon. I was relieved to learn that the evacuation process is moving forward and that the State Department is waiving fees for those in harm's way.

"I am grateful for the immediate and effective action taken by U.S. Senator John Sununu, Representative Ray LaHood, and Representative Nick Rahall on behalf of the American citizens in Lebanon, many of whom are from Michigan. This bipartisan effort to meet with high level officials from the State Department was the best way to ensure that American citizens are brought home safely and without delay."
From the Arab American News:
Bouchard said: "When war is the choice, all sides lose, especially when it is preventable. The recent conflict in Lebanon was due, in part, to the fact that the United Nations did not properly enforce U.N. Resolutions. Had these resolutions been properly enforced, both Lebanon and Israel would have been able to avoid the deaths of innocents on both sides. I have numerous family members living there and I support a free, sovereign and independent Lebanon.
Bouchard also got the thumbs up from James Zogby's Arab American Institute (AAI). These are the same people who were behind Madeleine "We think it's worth it" Albright's controversial visit to Dearborn last May on Nakba Day. The AAI profile of Bouchard mentions his service on an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. Ann Arbor Muslim leader Rabih Haddad was arrested with aid of a JTTF.

On the Albright visit, see also:

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