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news & opinion with no titillating non-news from the major non-news channels.


I am: progressive, not a wild-eyed Progressive; liberal, but shun liberals and Liberals; conservative, but some Conservatives worry me; absolutely NOT a libertarian. I am: an idealist, but no utopian; a pragmatist, but no Machiavellian. I am a realist who dreams.


I welcome all opinions.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

   Anti-war rhetoric and corporatism

This is a continuation of the Bush Lied, NOT! debate. No, an offshoot. The first debate died when the other side couldn't come up with anything more original than "Bush is a moron."

Jay Cline Says:
April 10th, 2006 at 9:41 am


I long abandoned the Democratic Party explicitly because of its anti-war rhetoric. I personally favor Ritter’s desire to divorce the anti-war movement from general politics, if only to see the Democratic Party find a way back to my own values.

Being a progressive who believes in a strong defense and the promotion of democratic ideals around the world, I often find myself out in the cold in our two-party system and have to pick which issues de jure are important.


# Snorri Sturlusson Says:
April 10th, 2006 at 1:35 pm

Jay, I couldn’t disagree with you more, which makes for a good discussion. See below.

If you are put off by the Democrats’ “anti war rhetoric,” you are sure listening to different Democrats than, say, the Clintons, Kerry, or Reid. Some of them like Pelosi and Dean try to play both sides, but only a few DP dinosaurs who are at the end of their careers anyway, like Byrd and Kennedy, have taken clear antiwar positions.

I’m sure this issue has been well vented here already but I can’t resist challenging the idea that the US is engaged in promoting democracy in the ME. That would be a 180 degree turn in longstanding American policy, which is to squash any threat to American coprorate interests by sponsoring some of the most undemocratic regimes in the world, like Egypt, Saudi A, Kuwait. When Israel welcomes back all five million 1948 refugees and descendants and gives them the vote, then I’ll agree that the US stands for democracy in the ME.



I think it makes an excellent point of beginning a discussion and I thank you for your offer. I have broken this down into a couple posts, if only to avoid the dreaded, under moderation delay. I am also posting the entirety to my own blog,


"put off by Democratic election rhetoric"

Clinton (the only one that counts in today's debate) - I see her dancing 'round the middle, looking for firm ground, but am not really sure of her real POV. I am not sure she is ready to espouse it.

Kerry - Sorry. I was extremely disappointed by his cut 'n run strategy. I know. Those are fighting words, but we are engaged in a good fight and, for whatever reason, he is hung up on "bring 'em home". I agree with the counter arguments that say declaring a timetable only encourages insurgent intransigence, just as it did during the Vietnam War. The Paris Peace talks were a sham, a shell game that the North Vietnamese played very well. There have been two very good articles recently calling, not for the return of American troops, but the necessity for their remaining in Iraq, in full strength, for the next few years. See below.

Reid and Pelosi are indeed playing both sides, orders of magnitude more than Clinton, but being House and Senate leaders, that is their job. I still don't like the Bush Evil; Saddam Misunderstood rhetoric.

ok, that was indeed hyperbole. But this knee jerk reaction to ignore Saddam’s Evil and oppose Bush just to oppose him not only does not cut the cheese, but is, in my opinion, the single most important reason why the Democrats keep losing elections. The Democrats could take a few lessons in warfare from the likes of Saddam and the Chinese. You don't engage in a frontal assault on the home turf of a stronger opponent, especially when they are at their zenith.

I don't know. Maybe I just don't understand American politics.

Dean is not playing both sides. Not in any serious attempt. He campaigned on a harder anti-war rhetoric than Kerry. And he hasn't changed the CD player.

But, funny you didn't mention Kucinich or Feingold or Boxer as anti-war Democrats.

The Democrats I would like to listen to, and support, are ones like Miller and Lieberman.

"pro-war rhetoric"

Stephen Biddle at Foreign Affairs makes, I think, a compelling argument that we should get more involved, not less, in Iraqi politics, using our military presence to "manipulate the balance of power" among the sectional interests,


[T]he United States must bring more pressure to bear on the parties in the constitutional negotiations. And the strongest pressure available is military: the United States must threaten to manipulate the military balance of power among Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds to coerce them to negotiate.
The only way to break the logjam is to change the parties' relative comfort with the status quo by drastically raising the costs of their failure to negotiate. The U.S. presence now caps the war's intensity, and U.S. aid could give any side an enormous military advantage. Thus Washington should threaten to use its influence to alter the balance of power depending on the parties' behavior. By doing so, it could make stubbornness look worse than cooperation and compel all sides to compromise.

Michael Eisenstadt (now there is a good German name, Iron City - sorry, my ethnic pride is showing...) from the Washington Institute wrote a piece a couple weeks ago, Quelling Iraq’s Sectarian Violence: What the United States Can Do, that touches on this as well,


The violence in Iraq is first and foremost a struggle over who will rule the country. For this reason, efforts to forge a national unity government are rightly seen as the key to curbing the violence.
the United States will have a hard time finding enough troops from its overstretched forces to deal effectively with both insurgent attacks and escalating sectarian violence. The U.S. ability to influence such events, and the forces that sustain sectarian violence, will dwindle further as its forces in Iraq are drawn down in the coming years.

"that ol' time religion - anti-corporatism"

I agree that we have made some unsavory undemocratic bedfellows, ie Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait. I disagree they are completely disagreeable. I also strongly disagree it was strictly out of corporate interests (I didn‘t know our commercial interests in Egypt were that compelling). Geo-political interests and concerns, especially during the Cold War, has been the predominant rationale for that. I also disagree that America is in some sort of exclusive Three Musketeer Club, as much as I admire the moral precepts of honor, loyalty and fealty. The world is what it is. We cannot change it (ie to promote democracy) if we do not engage it.

As far as American corporatism running the show, yeah, they have influence, perhaps, probably, too much. But they also have interests, legitimate interests. Walter Russell Mead, in his book "Special Providence" said that the Jacksonian meme of American thought accepts that politics is always going to be a little corrupt, but as long as the legitimate core interests are being met, as long as that corruption doesn't, well, unduly corrupt the operation of the government, then the Jacksonians aren‘t going to get their undies in a bind about it. I'm all for siccing the FBI on their arse and letting them get what they deserve, but I am not going to let that affect policy.

[Larry the Cable Guy probably personifies Jacksonian attitude the best, "Git R Done!"]

Corporate America is not the only ones running the show. If they were, then there is no point in defending any Democrats in Congress, cuz by that logic they are all on corporate America's payroll. From Kucinich to Miller.


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