Thinking Through Ending the War

Matthew Yglesias has an important post about Hillary Clinton's position on Iraq, essentially thanking her for being honest that a Clinton Presidency means continued war in Iraq in perpetuity.  I admire her for openly admitting that she believes we have 'vital national security interests' in Iraq requiring a continued military involvement, though it's pretty Lieberman-like to say that she wants to end the war in Iraq and bring the troops home.  But sadly, what she is arguing is not that different from what other candidates are putting forward.  There are a number of reasons the war won't end in the next two years, but one of them and probably the most important one is that the public isn't yet ready to repudiate the militaristic posture that brought us there.

Consider these stats, from Tom Hayden, a guy who actually has experience in ending wars.

But what were the peace voters telling us? Post-election polling offers some clues. According to the Washington Post/ABC late February survey:

  • 67% opposed "the way Bush is handling the situation in Iraq";
  • 64% said the war was "not worth fighting";
  • 67% opposed Bush's escalation proposal, including 56% who were strongly opposed.
  • 66% would support cutting US aid to Baghdad if the regime there fails to reach national unity and civil order;
  • 70% blamed the Iraqi government, more than the US, for "failing to control the violence".

So that's what the voters, two-thirds of them, were against. What they were for is stickier.

  • 56% thought the US should withdraw troops to avoid American casualties even if order is not restored in Iraq;
  • 53% believed the US should set a deadline for withdrawal, as against 46%;
  • 51% opposed the idea of Congress "restricting funding for the war" to block Bush's plan, versus 46% in favor.

That's a pretty mixed set of statistics.  70% of Americans blame the Iraqi government more than our own for the violence.  That's nonsensical.  Hayden also points out that immediate withdrawal only has the support of 30% of the public.

A proposal to tie funding to a six-month withdrawal deserves an up or down vote, if only to put Congress members on record. But the number willing to cast that vote should be carefully assessed. If it is less than 70, the size of the Out of Iraq Caucus, another anti-war approach may be needed.

This explains Speaker Pelosi's effort to cobble together a unified, though loophole-ridden, plan for withdrawal by 2008, a plan which at this point may lack the votes to pass the House before it faces possible death in the Senate and a veto from the president. Her measure contains dangerous exemptions permitting US forces to fight any Iraqis alleged to be al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, and Americans to serve as "advisers" to questionable Iraqi security forces, as happened in El Salvador. Those loopholes need more scrutiny than they have received. But at least the Pelosi measure is tying the Democratic banner to the notion of a withdrawal timeline.

The peace movement should remain independent, fight hard for what it can get, take heart from having an impact, but realize that this battle is going to be a long and twisted one.

At stake is not only the substance of the current legislation but the nature of the national debate on Iraq for the coming year. The peace movement has been the key factor in forcing the Democrats to slowly disengage from the two-party coalition that facilitated the 2003 invasion. The pillar of bipartisan support for this war has fallen, and other pillars seem to be going down as well. The troops are stretched thin, the budget squeeze is real, and international support for the "coalition" is heading towards zero. Even the pillar of the Republican Party is shaky, with senators facing re-election in 2008 wondering if Bush has their interests in mind.

We can claim that the 2006 election was a mandate to end the war in Iraq, and it was.  But remember, the 2002 and 2004 were both electoral results that ratified the decision to go war in Iraq, and so the overall mandate is certainly mixed.  More to the point, there is no real political foundation to anti-imperialism - that was destroyed in the anti-Communist purges of 1947-1948, and it never really recovered.  The labor movement, composed of a mix of radicals and business unionists in 1946, had its soul ripped out by liberals, CIA infiltrators, and McCarthyites, and so what should be the basis of the antiwar movement has instead exempted itself from the debate in pursuit of their own narrow economic interests.  There are very few connections between the new activists, who are inherently anti-imperialists but don't recognize ourselves as such, and intellectual elites like Noam Chomsky, who has engaged in a brilliant campaign to marginalize himself for thirty years.  The progressive movement is ridden with racial divides, and we still haven't worked on them in any meaningful way since Bush took office.  And our economists, who know that American is on the verge of fiscal collapse, a collapse Cheney was trying to avert with the war on Iraq and global military supremacy, are similar disconnected from the political process. Wes Clark knows just how much trouble we are really in - imagine our wages sinking to the level of China's. That's the path we're on.

Given all of this, it's clear why people like Hillary Clinton operates the way they do.  She believes that blaming the Iraqi government - a government we set up - for our problems in Iraq is a politically useful tool and a substantive policy answer.  It's not.  It's immoral and impractical.  But 70% of the public is with her, and that means a lot of Democrats are there with her as well.  And if we do pull out of Iraq, and all of a sudden do have to shut that trillion dollar trade deficit, we will have to build a genuinely new economy based on different legal and economic structures.  That's a huge ask, and there was no mandate for that in 2006.

The Democratic Party is becoming an antiwar party that has been pulled out of the bipartisan imperialist consensus.  But it is not there yet.  And we will have to work hard, first at understanding just how profoundly our system is broken, and then towards fixing it, to move there completely.  Pelosi's compromise is messy, but there's no clean solution here.  The public is against this war, but it is not for complete withdrawal.  Change is still a very scary prospect.

Tags: George Bush, Hillary Clinton, Iraq (all tags)

Comments

46 Comments

Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

Matt:

Part of the problem is that we are siomply not geared up as a populace to end the war.  For out part, we say that we want to stop it in its tracks and bring everyone home.  However, another part of the population, and I suspect part of the population that even says they want to bring them home right now, feels as though this is part of a larger scale battle in the war against terror.  We never argue against the overall methods of our "war against terror".  We never argue that it would take ONLY $150 million to re-open all the business in Iraq that have been shut down because of the war.  

I guess the way I see it is that we are only arguing one side of it and at that we aren't even doing that very well.  We don't come up with a concise to plan to end this aspect of the greater war on terror and thus I suspect that consciouslyor not, people want the troops home, but don't want the war on terror to end.  We need to seperate both ideas.

by Mark J. Bowers 2007-03-15 08:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

Thank you Matt for writing about the other side of the coin on this. All of the Democratic nominees want to end the war and all of them have proposed plans (and/or are supporting some of the party plans) to do so in a responsible way. If a Democrat is elected in 2008 the final plan will likely be some compromise that includes some of the elements of all of the plans and that will be a tremendous improvement over where we are right now being stuck in the killing fields.

by robliberal 2007-03-15 08:09AM | 0 recs
There has to be some sanity ...

I can understand why people like Obey are frustrated.   So many people simply have unrealistic expectatations.

We are still in Bosnia, we are still in Korea.  We will be in Iraq for a long long time for many reasons - to fight the AlQaeda that have been drawn into Iraq due to our invasion, to counter balance Iran, and to protect the oil fields.  

The difference is we don't need 160,000 troops there.   We don't need Guard and Reserve forces there.  We don't have to have our troops getting killed and maimed.  We don't have to be acting as police.  We don't have to be kicking in doors.

The idea that we are going draw down all of our troops in 6 weeks, 6 months, or a year is simply unrealistic.  

by dpANDREWS 2007-03-15 08:14AM | 0 recs
Re: There has to be some sanity ...

"The difference is we don't need 160,000 troops there.   We don't need Guard and Reserve forces there."

Why are you so sure?  You think if our forces move to another part of Iraq that it still will not be seen as an occupation?  If it's not a peacekeeping mission, nor a supposed military mission what is it?

If that oil law goes through with our puppet government you think that will be the end of violence?  I have a feeling it might just be the beginning.

by SandThroughTheEyeGlass 2007-03-15 08:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

This is an excellent post. It's really important to put the actions of our nominal and real allies in Congress into a proper perspective. Our nations militaristic stance to the world is a huge problem, and dealing with Iraq without acknowledging that greater problem is a recipe for ... well, maybe not disaster. But it's not good.

What we need to do as a party and as progressives is to support infrastructure as close to the "inside" as possible that is working toward the long-term goals we share. We have a very large opportunity here to begin to walk back our national psyche from the Cold War attitude of institutionalized perpetual war. But it's important that we see that that's the goal, not just ending Iraq. As Richardson said, "Iraq is not the disease. Iraq is a symptom." Now, he said that the disease was "arrogance," which is true enough but not the whole truth.

The old saying has a lot of relevance here: "when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." Only in this case, the American people know that the problem isn't a nail now. They just have no idea what it is and what the solution to that problem could be. Because we have no context from which to see any other solution.

That's what we as progressives need to build, the context of a world-view that has different tools with which to deal with problems. An invasion isn't the best solution to almost every problem, and a continued military occupation isn't any sort of solution to the current problem.

by BriVT 2007-03-15 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

Stoller, you have been doing some seriously good blogging lately. This is outstanding analysis.

Except for Hayden, I would argure that his conduct lengthened the war by discrediting the opposition.

by Alice Marshall 2007-03-15 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

Pelosi's compromise is messy, but there's no clean solution here.

i'd feel better if the funding was for 3 months instead of 18 months.

18 months just takes the issue off the table...

by selise 2007-03-15 08:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

Just wanted to say that's an excellent perspective on history, especially the importance of the takedown of the social democratic labor movement in the late 1940s, and how that has continued to hamstring us 60 years later from developing a broadbased and inclusive - and rooted - anti-imperialist movement.

by eugene 2007-03-15 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

Which war did Hayden end? Tom Hayden has always been about one thing - Tom Hayden.

Keep thinking the Democratic party is antiwar or anti-imperial. The war is the failure of six decades of bi-partisan American policy and until that's talked about, we will not be pulling out of Iraq.

You just had an election which for the first time in 12 years gave the Democrats control of the Congress because of the war and all they've done is back pedal. You have an anti-war movement marginalized by their trying to bring back the 60s. When is the anti-war movement going to talk to the old republicans, who were one of the biggest groups against going in and are the most anti-imperial? Maybe when it quits listening to people like Tom Hayden and begins to understand that the Democratic establishment is as responsible for this war as George W. Bush.

by brutus1 2007-03-15 08:51AM | 0 recs
Who here thinks that ALL US troops out will work?

Even in the best case scenario, US troops are going to be needed, to make sure that neighboring countries don't take advantage, and attempt to annex border areas near Iraq.

The US is the only agent preventing that.

With the oil interests in the region, the only way the US will leave - barring Dennis Kucinich elected, and maybe not even then - is if disaster strikes, in the form of several hundred soldiers a month being killed, or nonstop attacks on supply routes.

What the experts see happening, is a much reduced US footprint in the range of 50K, at the borders, away from the cities, to stave off border incursions, and provide a quick strike capability, for Al-Queda/jihadist inspired activity.

If the US leaves completely, then the oil situation, the US, and the Mideast is screwed.  That would mean a regional war.

by jc 2007-03-15 08:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Who here thinks that ALL US troops out will wo

There's already a regional war, which we helped start, which one of the "experts" do you want to run things now?

Over 12 trillions dollars on the military since discovering oil was a finite resource in the 70s. 1980 State of the Union, Jimmy Carter states:

poses a grave threat to the free movement of Middle East oil.

This situation demands careful thought, steady nerves, and resolute action, not only for this year but for many years to come. It demands collective efforts to meet this new threat to security in the Persian Gulf and in Southwest Asia. It demands the participation of all those who rely on oil from the Middle East and who are concerned with global peace and stability. And it demands consultation and close cooperation with countries in the area which might be threatened.

Meeting this challenge will take national will, diplomatic and political wisdom, economic sacrifice, and, of course, military capability. We must call on the best that is in us to preserve the security of this crucial region.

Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.

Carter also meant unfriendly "inside forces." It's been another trillion $ just the last four years with the Iraq occupation and gas at three dollars a gallon. The days of cheap gas are gone. The decades bipartisan policy to secure the remaining global supplies of oil in the Middle East has failed. So now what do you want to do America?

by brutus1 2007-03-15 09:10AM | 0 recs
Not a solution

I think you are right - the bipartisan consensus - and the nation's consensus, actually - is that we "want to keep the oil flowing" in the region.

But recognizing that US's dependency on oil isn't a solution, just recognizing one of the issues.

Energize America is thinking deeply about the issues, and I need to re-read where they are at.  

But again - the solution that is recognized by the "experts" - as you say, the bipartisan community - is regional talks and cooperation (not possible with this f'ed up administration), plus some amount of force to prevent state on state war.

It's NOT a satisfactory solution, just the best of bad options.

by jc 2007-03-15 09:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Not a solution

That is a good way to put it.

<It's NOT a satisfactory solution, just the best of bad options.>

by robliberal 2007-03-15 09:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Not a solution

Understanding we can't militarily secure cheap oil is indeed part of the solution. Of course amongst most talk on the war the question of oil still doesn't come up.

But again - the solution that is recognized by the "experts" - as you say, the bipartisan community - is regional talks and cooperation (not possible with this f'ed up administration), plus some amount of force to prevent state on state war.

No this is wrong, the one solution recognized by biparisan DC imperial establishment is that America should run the world and that in so doing, it now needs to figure out how to "fix" their failed Iraq policy, without really changing it. One part of a real solution is removing our addiction to oil and suddenly the Middle East becomes much less important.

We need to dismantle the empire, pull our troops from all over the world, massively cut the military budget, and reform our democratic institutions, all these issues are part of the Iraq debate, and all are opposed by the vast majority in DC, both sides. The empire has failed, it's destroying our republican institutions and bankrupting us, that is the real Iraq debate, whether we have it now, or a decade from now when it is forced on us, is our decision.

by brutus1 2007-03-15 09:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Not a solution

I would like to see change as well. I think it is obscene to spend $678 billion on the military but I also know it will probably not happen in the way I would like to see it in my lifetime. In 2004 only two candidates ever dared proposing cutting the Defense budget, there were Kucinich and Clark.

The problem with the oil situation is we cannot change the economy of the world overnight and switch to another system especially if there is no other universal system out there that we can switch to. Al Gore and many others talk about long term solutions not short term ones.

by robliberal 2007-03-15 09:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Not a solution

Hah, if we bomb Iran and the Iranians take out Ras Tanura, you'll find out just how quickly we can change our economy to deal with less gas.

Our political system is broken, its run by major corporations including the military-industrial complex, of course no candidate has challenged it, they all play by the established rules. That's why democratic reform goes hand-in-hand with dismantling the empire.

We all talk about this war like its their problem, not ours. Over the last 15 years, we've turned Iraq into a hell-hole, yet America couldn't possibly do anything like cut our oil consumption. We live in a bubble, Iraq has popped it, reality is coming.

by brutus1 2007-03-15 10:12AM | 0 recs
Empire

"We need to dismantle the empire, pull our troops from all over the world, massively cut the military budget, and reform our democratic institutions"

One of the most difficult lessons for progressives to learn is, "a power vacuum will always be filled".

One of the geniuses of our US founders was this insight.  This was somewhat based on the times, of course, but, it is still true today. The balance of powers, between the courts, the Congress, and the executive, was for its time, genius.

If the US removes itself from various power relations, then someone else will fill up that place.  

How does the US move from being the sole superpower, to being, a benevolent first among equals in the community of nations?  (One of the problems with the neocons is, that in the course of pursuing a power grab, (empire US), they have actually hobbled the US's ability to create alliances which create stability and a balance of power).

That really is the question.  But the question won't be answered by abdicating the US role, just by using that role responsibly.  

by jc 2007-03-15 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Empire

How does the US move from being the sole superpower, to being, a benevolent first among equals in the community of nations?  (One of the problems with the neocons is, that in the course of pursuing a power grab, (empire US), they have actually hobbled the US's ability to create alliances which create stability and a balance of power).

That really is the question.  But the question won't be answered by abdicating the US role, just by using that role responsibly.

Phew, that could take days unpacking. Being the sole superpower is another way of saying the American empire. This has failed, come to grips with it, its falling apart in the sands of Iraq. We're bankrupt and our economy is dependent on a substance we have very little of.

My point is to say we are not going to be the world's sole superpower, that is antithetical to benevolence. We're going to have a world that is run like this country was founded based on equals and we - the world - have to figure out how to do that. The imperial DC establishment doesn't even begin to think that way.

The empire is over, one way or other.

by brutus1 2007-03-15 10:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Empire

I agree with you...

And have you noticed the world is just sitting back with folded arms and watching our demise...

Israel, Iran top 'negative list' (USA Third)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_ east/6421597.stm

The American people need to wake up and realize what our neocons on both sides of the aisle are advocating i.e. that we are, and will be 'alone' in this occupation and war for empire.  The consequences = it will be American kids that will be used in the empire meat-grinder.

From the polls it seems that the American people haven't quite had their fill of blood and gore, and dysfunctional and screwed up for life kids coming back home.  Also, whether via ignorance or denial it's amazes me their lack of concern that our dollar is going to be worth squat and that our military budget will be taking up all of the budget - leaving little or no money for our existing social programs, let alone new social ones.

Ah, but I keep remembering what Scott Ritter said: 65% of the American public aren't antiwar. They're just anti-losing.

http://www.mydd.com/comments/2007/2/7/13 86/12406/36#36

Yo - way to go America!  Walk the tough talk... consequences be damned.

by SandThroughTheEyeGlass 2007-03-15 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Empire

Responsible solutions are what we need, at least on the Democratic side we have candidates who are proposing some.

by robliberal 2007-03-15 10:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Who here thinks that ALL US troops out will wo

Even Kucinich stresses the region has to be stabilized and calls for a multi-nation presence to remain in Iraq after the U.S. combat operations end.

by robliberal 2007-03-15 09:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Who here thinks that ALL US troops out will wo

The first step to stabilizing the region is us leaving. No one in the Middle East has interest in seeing the place go up in flames.

The Pax Americana is over, it will be fought the entire way down by the bi-partisan American imperial establishment, the question is whether they'll bring us all down with them. How does the world gain order and relative peace with American partnership, not American hegemony? Good question, but it starts by understanding the American empire is done.

by brutus1 2007-03-15 09:25AM | 0 recs
Well, while it is possible you are right

You will need to work hard, and explain why leaving the mess that the Bush administration has created, and simply saying "buh-bye!" is the way to go.

by jc 2007-03-15 09:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Who here thinks that ALL US troops out will wo

There is no way to just leave.

Ending the war the wrong way will do nothing but cause a regional war and an economic apocalypse for the rest of the world. What support do you think Democrats would have from the American public if we pulled out and tens of millions of Americans were laid off from their jobs because gas prices skyrocket in a matter of days if not hours? What support would we have from the rest of the world if we created an even bigger mess than Bush has created? If the region became unstable and the U.S. pulled out altogether which country do you think would step in and take advantage of the situation China, Russia, Iran?

We need mature and responsible solutions to Iraq just as we do for other problems in our country and our world. Whether people agree with the most minute specifics of her plan Clinton at least made a large step in the right direction of saying how she would end the war, get us out, and try to do so in a way where we would not have a larger war or an economic meltdown.

by robliberal 2007-03-15 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Who here thinks that ALL US troops out will wo

There is no way to just leave.

Sure there is you just pack up and head home.

Ending the war the wrong way will do nothing but cause a regional war and an economic apocalypse for the rest of the world.

Umm, this is what's happening now, the question is how to get off this course. I know this is real hard, but its a failed policy, decades long failed policy. Quit trying to put the onus on the people of the Middle East, we're the ones that have to recognize and deal with it.

Cheap gas, it's done. The economy most dependent on cheap gasoline, not Iraq or Iran or Israel, but the US. It's reality time folks, time to get a little mature.

by brutus1 2007-03-15 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Who here thinks that ALL US troops out will wo

This is not like Vietnam though which is why the ending will not be the same.

Cheap gas may be gone but we also cannot handle $10 a gallon gas at this point either without an economic meltdown.

by robliberal 2007-03-15 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Who here thinks that ALL US troops out will wo

Cut our consumption! All fine to turn Iraq into a hell-hole, but of course no discomfort here. American economy as it is can't handle $3 a gallon gasoline, jigs up, change is coming, what's it going to be? Going to talk about it, or keep sitting in your comfy chairs talking about how Pax Americana is going to bring peace and $1 a gallon.

by brutus1 2007-03-15 10:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Who here thinks that ALL US troops out will wo

Change is coming but we need a realistic transition. Otherwise Democrats will end up back in the wilderness for a few decades if not defunct altogether.

by robliberal 2007-03-15 10:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Who here thinks that ALL US troops out will wo

Hah - too late.

by brutus1 2007-03-15 10:34AM | 0 recs
Thanks

for the correction.

by jc 2007-03-15 09:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

Has anyone got a map of the oil fields and where the military bases are?

by SandThroughTheEyeGlass 2007-03-15 09:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

Chalmers Johnson had such a map in a recent book.  I believe it was "The Sorrows of Empire."  A must-read.

by Brad Klafehn 2007-03-15 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

Thanks... I'll look it up...

by SandThroughTheEyeGlass 2007-03-15 08:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

Halfway through this blog I realized the author must be Matt Stoller.  He's the only regular blogger with the youthful arrogance to dismiss Noam Chomsky as someone who has succeeded at marginalizing himself for thirty years.  Matt, you really can be a tool at times.  Why not wait til you've developed more of a substantial record before dissing people who have accomplished oh, let's say, thirty times more than you have--sa a scholar, activist and incisive critic of the U.S. government and imperialism.

by Thaddeus 2007-03-15 09:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

Name a current prominent politician he's mentored.  I'm honestly curious.

by Matt Stoller 2007-03-15 09:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

Uh...Hugo Chavez?

by Brad Klafehn 2007-03-15 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

Thanks for the insightful post, Matt.  I wish some of the comments above appreciated what you mean.  The Clintonites are stuck in the CW.

by jallen 2007-03-15 10:06AM | 0 recs
Take Care of America First

The way to win this argument is to attack internationalist interventionism by stating simply, "We need to take care of America first." "We have problems at home. Protection and safety starts here. Economic development and basic services start here. We need to stop closing bases in the U.S, and start closing them down overseas." This kind of non-interventionist, non-imperialist nationalism will win. I reject the idea that mainstream America wants troops in Iraq forever. If you frame the question as "permanent" bases, progressives win every time. Besides, if Hillary wants to run on a policy continuing the occupation in the primaries...she's history.

by cmpnwtr 2007-03-15 11:13AM | 0 recs
I am not anti-imperialist in the abstract...

...just in the real world applications of it. Because it always ends up biting the imperialist nation in the ass.

by MNPundit 2007-03-15 11:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

It's interesting how the leading Bloggers are now taking on the mantle as chief apologist for the failure of the Democrats to stop the war. They take impeachment and funding off the table and then cry about how there is nothing they can do and people just swallow it without any reflection at all.

by Derek G 2007-03-15 11:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

I have some difficulty viewing things through the historical prism you're utilizing. Labor was undone more by union management greed than all those other factors, but I don't see how that relates to today. I also don't accept the notion that any anti-war folks shut down the Vietnam War. That's a rightwing claim. In reality, Nixon reached an impasse of options. It was either 'nuke 'em' or 'shut it down' at the end.

More recent history deserved your mention.

Clinton's proposal makes permanent her husband's northern No Fly Zone. It not only protects the Kurds, but contains their nationalism for Turkey's sake. It provides a DMZ zone to prevent the feared Shia crescent between Iraq and Iran. It provides Mossad a free-spy zone to keep tabs on Iran.

That it turns its back on the civil war in the rest of Iraq is the only surprise I found in her statements. The rest looks like a continuation of US imperialist strategy to back repressive hardliners in Israel and Saudi Arabia, and we can't be certain if that's tied to campaign donation ambitions.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter's been marginalized, because he has the unfortunate tendency to eschew clever politics in favor of frankness. Most of the country knows who he is; I'd be surprised if 20% know the name of Chomsky.

Being antiwar for ideological and moral reasons is not a strategy. It's a personal imperative that has no mass appeal without a charismatic leader.

I think the answer takes looking forward. The Net grants the possibility that anti-war groups on both sides of a war can link their efforts and provide subterfuge to undo the efforts of all governments involved.

If governments won't provide the peace that most people prefer, then maybe we need to bypass governments instead of lending continued aid and support to them.

This isn't meant to criticize nor to state that I have a better answer. It's just to say that persistence and thinking outside the box do leave some pathways open beyond despair.

by KevinHayden 2007-03-15 11:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

There is no reason that all us TROOPS CANNOT BE OUT OF iraq in 18 months.

It is a fallacy to think their will be a refgional war and a blood bath.

I was in the vietnam war and many of the same things were said by the so called experts.

The oil will flow, their has to be buyers for this Oil and the US is a major buyer.

We still have US ships in the area, air bases and bases for ground troops in Kuwait.

Clinton is just plain naive in her proposal which will not work and will not prevent US casualities.

by BDM 2007-03-15 12:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

Amen brother. These are the same people who told us Iraq had WMD.

Please wake-up people.

You are being played once again.

by Derek G 2007-03-15 12:16PM | 0 recs
Fallacy to think there regional bloodbath?

I disagree - look at the struggles between post US Vietnam, Cambodia, China.

"Upon taking control, the Vietnamese communists banned other political parties, arrested people believed to have collaborated with the U.S. and embarked on a mass campaign of collectivization of farms and factories. Reconstruction of the war-ravaged country was slow and serious humanitarian and economic problems confronted the communist regime. Millions of people fled the country in crude boats, creating a humanitarian crisis. In 1978, the Vietnamese Army invaded Cambodia to remove their erstwhile allies, the Khmer Rouge, from power. This action worsened relations with China, which launched a brief incursion into northern Vietnam in 1979. This conflict caused Vietnam to rely even more heavily on Soviet economic and military aid."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam#Pos twar

by jc 2007-03-15 01:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

I think it's just obvious that there's going to be a sectarian bloodbath the minute we pull out.  That's the nettle that no one wants to grasp- Saddam's oppression was what was holding the lid down on it, and we've removed him.

-We're going to leave, as soon as the American people fully realize that our soldiers are dying and getting maimed for life to support Moqtada al-Sadr.  The Walter Reed scandal has only begun to pull away the wool that has been pulled over their eyes, obscuring the American human cost of this operation through rigid control of the media.

-There will be sectarian "ethnic cleansing" after we leave.  It's going on now, just at a reduced scale due to our standing in the middle of it.  There was massive killing in Bosnia and Kosovo before our interventions; when we finally showed up to stop the slaughters, the people were ready for peace.  We also had much better international cooperation, because the interventions were obviously humanitarian and not imperial.  The Iraq internvention was not at all humanitarian and was completely imperial.  Plus we went about it like the arrogant fratboys our leaders were (and are).

-There will be a regional war after we leave, because the Turks won't abide an independent Kurdistan, the Saudis won't abide ethnic cleansing of Iraqi Sunnis and Iran covets the Iraqi Shia area with its natural and human resources.

With all this clearly coming down the pike, it's no surprise to me that our Democratic frontrunners who are trying to show themselves as pragmatists when it comes to foreign policy are reluctant to say that we'll pack up and leave if they're elected.  It's truly a frightening prospect.

by liberalrob 2007-03-15 01:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Thinking Through Ending the War

Great post and excellent discussion. I linked to both on my blog in a post titled Hillary's new Iraq plan has all the clarity, simplicity and political appeal of her old health insurance plan. The plan triangulates by half steps and half measures to perpetuate the morass we find ourselves in. It seems destined to fail. Like her ill-fated health insurance proposal of 1993, it offers bewildering complexity when bold initiatives are called for. If, by some miracle, the plan survives the Democratic primaries, it would most likely destroy any administration that tried to implement it.

by Madison Guy 2007-03-15 03:12PM | 0 recs

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