In an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorial board yesterday, former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) accused Senate Majoirty Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) of “getting very, very close to treason” by opposing the war in Iraq. When a member of the editorial board noted that treason is a “pretty serious charge,” DeLay shot back, “And I’m serious about it.” He added that he had looked up the definition on his way to the interview (probably a good idea), and it meant “the betrayal of trust.” Watch it:
DeLay specifically attacks Reid, saying that “in the time of war, with soldiers dying on the ground, announcing that we had lost the war, is very close to treasonous.” Here’s DeLay in 1999, stating that the U.S. campaign in Kosovo will fail:
“[Milosevic is] stronger in Kosovo now than he was before the bombing. … The Serbian people are rallying around him like never before. He’s much stronger with his allies, Russians and others.” Clinton “has no plan for the end” and “recognizes that Milosevic will still be in power,” added DeLay. “The bombing was a mistake. … And this president ought to show some leadership and admit it, and come to some sort of negotiated end.”
Of course, none of this should come as a surprise. DeLay, who is currently under criminal indictment for money laundering and criminal conspiracy, has a long history of attacking the patriotism of progressives.
UPDATE: “I cannot support a failed foreign policy. … President Clinton has never explained to the American people why he was involving the US military in a civil war in a sovereign nation, other than to say it is for humanitarian reasons, a new military-foreign policy precedent. Was it worth it to stay in Vietnam to save face? What good has been accomplished so far? Absolutely nothing.” — Tom DeLay on the House floor in April 1999, when US troops were a month into their three-month mission in Kosovo
UPDATE II: Treason, as defined by the Constitution:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
UPDATE III: Greg Sargent: “Judging by the mounting hysteria of their opponents, it looks like [war critics'] aggressiveness is working.”
UPDATE IV: Carbetbagger bravely delves into DeLay’s thinking.
DELAY: I think Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are getting very, very close to treason.
INTERVIEWER: Treason. Now that’s a pretty serious charge.
DELAY: And I’m serious about it. For the Majority Leader of the United States Senate in the time of war, with soldiers dying on the ground, announcing that we had lost the war, is very close to treasonous.
I looked it up while we were driving over here, what the definition of treason is. It’s the betrayal of trust. I have never in my adult life, nor in my understanding of history, seen something so blatantly outrageous for political reasons.