As a medical student, I spent a couple of months in Cuba on an international elective. Castro may be a dictator, but he is very benign as far as dictators go. The Cubans I lived with were very comfortable expressing their opposition to Castro and his policies. They laughed at state propoganda. They also liked many things about him, especially his willingness to stand up to US interference. I was amazed by the social support programs in Cuba. A primary care doctor for every 500 people. Guarantee of medical care, education, and employment for everyone. Literacy, immunization and infant mortality rates all better than US levels. Also, no slums, no drugs, no violence in the streets. People leave Cuba for economic reasons, not because they are miserably oppressed as the Cuban exiles tell us. When democracy does come to Cuba, the country will be a paradise.
Now to Venezuela, Chavez was elected president (and his legitamacy was confirmed in a re-call election) with a promise to use the country's vast oil wealth to support social programs like those in Cuba. So far he has kept his promise. I know doctors in Cuba who were dispatched to Venezuela to establish clinics and provide care to the poor. So what's the problem? Before Chavez, the oligarchs of Venezuela kept the oil money, sent a lot of it overseas, and they did not support programs to improve living conditions for the poor. These oligarchs have been vicious in their attacks on Chavez, and have been successful in painting Chavez as a dictator. I dont know why it has worked. The poor of Venezuela (the majority) may not have the right PR people, or CIA connections, but they clearly support Chavez. And so long as Chavez maintains democracy, he should have the full support of the US government.
While the bush administration has made clear their oppostion to Chavez, they get into bed with brutal vicious dictators like the Saud' s and Mbasogo of Equitorial Guinea. EG has an income of billions due to oil, and all of it goes to the ruling family, their court, and their overseas bank accounts. The population of EG is just over half a million, small by any standards, and these people are among the poorest and most disenfranchised in the world. If just 10% of the oil income went to the people, it would transform their lives. But none of it does, pretty disguisting, isn't it? Of course, Mbasogo and his family enjoy the support of the bush administration and often travel to DC. Nice priorities.
I also dont like the comparison, for a different reason. American involvement in Vietnam began in the 1950's and lasted until the 1970's. When exactly did the war start, why was it necessary, and who started it? There are really no perfect answers to these questions. It was a slow gradual build-up of support to a military ally, South Vietnam, during the course of three presidential administrations.
Iraq is very different. I have answers to all three questions.
When did it start? March 19, 2003.
Why was it necessary? It wasnt. The neocons wanted to establish a permanent military occupation of oil-rich Iraq, so they lied to the American people by blaming Sept 11 on Iraq, and by claiming that Iraq was an immediate threat to the US. They ignored Iraq's compliance with UN demands for restoration of weapon's inspection teams, and Hussein's agreement to dismantle a class of missles in the weeks preceding the invasion.
Who started it? George Bush, and ultimately he and he alone must assume responsibility for every death and consequence of this "catastrophic success."
The neocons will not discuss a withdrawal because central to their Iraq plan was the establishment of a permanent military presence in the country, a la other conquered/liberated countries: Japan, Germany, Kuwait.
I suppose they were so naive that they actually thought they would be able to prop up a stable puppet government to secure domestic tranquility in a short time, and that being stationed in Iraq would be seen by soldiers and the American people as like being stationed in Germany.
Anyone with half a brain knew that this would never happen, and the longer the US stays in Iraq, the most volatile the situation will become. I wonder what the neocons are thinking now, as they watch attempts to forge a stable, legitimate government unravel before their eyes, and the insurgency become entrenched. They show no signs of backing down on their initial plans, and all military/political decisions regarding Iraq will continue to have a permanent military presence as a key goal.
The war is the top issue because the media has made it the top issue. War makes great news, and what helped bush early, will continue to drag him down. I doubt any issue will trump the war for the forseeable future, unless we suffer a terrorist attack- bush's dream scenario.
I would like to see an opposition party make the criminal mismanagement of the economy a bigger issue in the minds of the people. For the federal budget to go from a 200 billion dollar surplus in 2000 to record deficits now is unbelievable. When the congress raised the debt ceiling I dont remember the Democrats reminding us that we have to raise the debt ceiling to afford tax cuts for the rich and the war in Iraq.
The irony of bush's declining approval is that the decline is due to the inevitable outcome of his insane policies, and not because the American people have to chose between two alternative plans. The democratic party's tacit approval of bush's policies is almost as disguisting to me as the policies themselves.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - In the shadow of Bill Clinton and his gleaming new presidential library, leaders of the struggling Democratic Party held informal discussions this week of how to come back from their devastating Election Day losses.
Big decisions loom, such as who will replace outgoing Chairman Terry McAuliffe and on a basic ideological direction. According to one senior Democrat, Lottie Shackelford, the party's vice chairman, party leaders decided to "pull back" and reflect.
LET ME MAKE MY POINT VERY CLEAR. I WAS SECRETLY HAPPY THAT BUSH WON RE-ELECTION. THAT MEANS THAT HE, HIMSELF, WILL NEED TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CATASTROPHES THAT ARE UNFOLDING. BUT THIS ONLY MAKES SENSE IF THERE IS A RESPECTFUL VOICE OF OPPOSITION, STATING ALTERNATIVES VIEWS, AND CALLING THE MAJORITY PARTY ON THEIR MISTAKES.
NEVER IN MY LIFE HAVE I SEEN A WORSE STREAM OF BAD NEWS FOR THE USA THAN I HAVE OVER THE PAST 2 WEEKS, ALL OF WHICH IS DUE TO OR MADE WORSE BY THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION. I DONT HATE REPUBLICANS. I LOVE MY COUNTRY. I WANT TO BE PART OF THE OPPOSITION, BUT WHERE ARE THEY?!
WHAT ARE OUR LEADERS DOING?!>?!?!? PARTY LEADERS DECIDED TO PULL BACK AND REFLECT!!!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!!??!!?
Right after I posted my diary, I got this email from the Democratic Party: (edited)
Last week we asked for your feedback about the 2004 election, and tens of thousands of you responded with your positive experiences, your negative experiences, and your advice for what should come next.
One thing was clear: Democrats are deeply committed to fighting for our values, and the disappointing results of this year's election can't change that.
We're taking in all your comments and ideas and factoring them into the Democratic Party's strategy moving forward.
Here's what's coming up next. As you've been reading in the news, the Bush administration is in the midst of a big staff shakeup.
But the biggest nominations are just around the corner. We have every reason to expect that very soon, George W. Bush will have the opportunity to appoint at least one, and possibly three, Supreme Court justices (including the chief justice), decisions that will affect every aspect of our lives for decades to come.
We will fight for a nominee who will protect the rights and values we hold dear, and you will be a crucial part of that fight.
Thanks for all that you do,
The DNC Internet Team
>>> OH GOOD! Our loyal opposition is having meetings and figuring out how to obstruct supreme court nominations that have not even been made yet! I guess our leaders dont know the difference between right and wrong until we have a few meetings and determine what is politcally expedient.
Now that he's been returned to office, President Bush is going to have to differentiate between his opponents and his enemies. His opponents are found in the Democratic Party. His enemies are in certain offices of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Over the past several months, as much of official Washington looked on wide-eyed and agog, many in the C.I.A. bureaucracy have waged an unabashed effort to undermine the current administration.
At the height of the campaign, C.I.A. officials, who are supposed to serve the president and stay out of politics and policy, served up leak after leak to discredit the president's Iraq policy. There were leaks of prewar intelligence estimates, leaks of interagency memos. In mid-September, somebody leaked a C.I.A. report predicting a gloomy or apocalyptic future for the region. Later that month, a senior C.I.A. official, Paul Pillar, reportedly made comments saying he had long felt the decision to go to war would heighten anti-American animosity in the Arab world.
White House officials concluded that they could no longer share important arguments and information with intelligence officials. They had to parse every syllable in internal e-mail. One White House official says it felt as if the C.I.A. had turned over its internal wastebaskets and fed every shred of paper to the press.
Great Job! We learn from the republicans that if we can define the argument, we win it every time.
Problem is, your basic assumptions dont reflect any historical facts. I am always suprised by how little americans understand the history of the creation of the state of Israel. Doesnt it seem strange that every country in the UN except Israel, the US and its pacific island dependents agree year after year that the occupation is illegal and that the state of Israel should suffer sanctions for its apartheid policies? Are those 180+ nations anti-semetic?
Israel was created to be an ethnically pure religious state, and to achieve that goal, the vast majority of the country was ethnically cleansed. I think that it is a mistake to try to create an ethnically pure state, but to found it in a land full of people who are not made up of the ethnicity is just crazy.
I agree with you, every ethical person must condemn religious extremism that justifies murder. The palestinians undermine their position when they tolerate suicide bombings. They hold the moral high ground, and international law clearly supports them. Maybe if there was a palestinian Gandhi, they would have a resolution.
For what its worth, I dont agree that a two state solution would work. I think that Israel needs to undergo a South Africa-like transition from apartheid to democracy. The fact the palestinian Jews, Christians and Muslims will outnumber the Israeli Jews is just too bad.
And to deconstruct your argument, you arrogant, ignorant idiot, my condemnation of an apartheid state committed to a policy of ethnic cleansing does not mean that I approve of the policies of any dictatorship, nor does it mean that I am apologizing for fanatics that kill children.
I totally agree. I suggested this idea in one or two of my posts last week. The Iraqi people do not want an American occupation, and would vote against it if they could. This would be the best way to get out of Iraq. The problem is the neo-cons do not want a free, democratic Iraq, they want a puppet state. I guess they didnt realize the Iraqis would not accept that.
Simple fact, in the long run there is no "solution". Iraq will get worse. I just hope people end up blaming Bush, and there are consequences.
I think that one of our greatest strengths in the next elections will be the bush agenda itself. What will the country and the world look like in 2 or 4 years?
Iraq: expensive anarchy
Tax cuts: record debt requiring more revenue to pay the interest (to foriegn banks)
Tax "reform": increasing tax burden on the working class
Entitlements (Social Securtiy, et al): bankrupt
Military influence: bogged down in Iraq
Diplomatic influence: marginalized
There will always be a block of voters in every state who will vote for republicans or democrats. But if we are united as a party, and are firm in our believe that the bush agenda is weakening our country we can appeal to the moderates in every state. To do that, we need candidates who can effectively present that message, and our alternative plans, and we need to counter rove's spin machine.
for Pres in 2008. Edwards if for no other reason than association with this campaign, and the other two because they wont pull battleground states, and have already been defined in the minds of the voters by Rove.
I think we need a charismatic, white, male, moderate, christian veteran from a red state. Supreme Commander Clark is still probably the best choice. Who ever it is, I hope we can decide as a party on a presumptive candidate early, and work aggressively to prevent the GOP spin machine from defining whoever it is.
We are already learning the GOP's tricks : )! So how cynical I am?
I thought the arrogance of first 4 years would sink this president, but with this true mandate, i am much more certain that they will go down hard after the next 4 years. Remember when the GOP took the house in 1994. Everyone wrote Clinton off as a one-term president, and he would have been, if the new majority didnt act like arrogant spoiled brats. They closed down the government in the fall of 1995, and subsequently ensured a strong Clinton win.