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December 21, 2006

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If you're looking for a Presidential candidate that doesn't lick right up Israel's butt, you're gonna have to look a little deeper.

Dennis Kucinich might be the kind of guy who could actually speak plainly to Israel about the cruelty of their Occupation. The problem? People like you and me don't talk about him. John Edwards, while probably not ever the type of guy to support the Palestinian cause, might be persuaded to fight back against these insane free trade deals. The problem? The mainstream media is pretending he doesn't exist.

We have a lot of work to do, and sadly, I don't think the next Democratic primary is going to be very fruitful, except in terms of pushing progressive ideas by voting against Obama and/or Hillary.

I'm beginning to hear some negative things about Obama on progressive talk radio --stuff like he's a DLC corporate Dem-- so I think his image is beginning to sharpen a bit. At least for those who pay attention.

It'll be interesting to see what happens if (or when) he declares his candidacy. I'll be surprised if he still comes across as the anti-Hillary. If so, rest assured that I'll keep talking about him.

What is an "anti-war" candidate?

Do you mean being opposed to having started the war in the first place? If so, Obama was clearly anti-war. So was I.

Or does "anti-war" mean pulling all of our troops out of Iraq immediately? Today, tomorrow? Not even John Murtha proposes that. Nor do I.

No one knows how to fix the mess we have created in Iraq, or even whether it is fixable. Not Obama, not Murtha, not you, not me. But any responsible person knows that you can't simply pack up, go home, and pretend the mess doesn't exist.

To pin labels on someone -- not sufficientlty "anti-war" (whatever that means)-- simply for engaging himself in the discussion of what to do about the mess is ridiculous.

to Craig at 11:46 AM --

What makes you think that pulling out of Iraq now is a bad idea? Why are you afraid of pulling out now? Do you have any idea what our continued involvement there is doing to the Iraqi people?

Every moment we remain there, we earn more mistrust and disgust from the Iraqis.

Every moment we remain there, we further antagonize most of Islam.

Every moment we remain there, we further bloat the already porcine budget for defense etc.

Every moment we remain there, more US troops are placed in harm's way.

Every moment we remain there, more Iraqi people are placed in harm's way.

There is only one sane response right now, and that is to withdraw completely. After we have done that, we can submit the United States to the judgment of the world tribunals, to assess whether we had any justification for getting into Iraq in the first place.

Your insistence that we must stay is like telling a battered wife or girlfriend that instead of saving herself by getting out of the relationship and the house, she should try to stick around and fix the misogynist boyfriend or husband.

It makes no sense.

PS to Craig --

Sorry, man, but I will happily label Barack Obama as pro-war, and as a corporate lackey. Why? Because that's what he is.

You seem like someone who's on the DLC/DNC payroll.

Craig is intentionally playing the role of the innocent naif in questioning my use of "anti-war". It's crystal clear that Obama has been hailed by the media as the "anti-war" alternative to Hillary Clinton.

What does that mean? Nothing, if the only difference is initial support for the war. So unless Obama has plans for extricating the U.S. from Iraq rapidly, there is no difference between his approach to the war in Iraq and that of Hillary Clinton. That was the point of the post.

But there is a difference between Obama and Murtha. And Dennis Kucinich, who would bring the troops home now. That's anti-war.

Actually that's Friedman's solution too. Either escalate by sending in more soldiers, or let the Iraqis fight it out on their own.

I don't recall, as liquified viscera charges, "insisting that we must stay" in Iraq. On the contrary, I support Terry in calling for "extricating the U.S. from Iraq rapidly." But, again, what is "rapidly?" Today, tomorrow? Six months? And what responsibility do we have to try to fix the mess we created.

Try this scenario. We pull out immediately, as viscera advocates. The Sunnis and the Shias go at it big time, the Iraqi government collapses, Iran enters Iraq on the side of the Shias, and Saudi Arabia on the side of the Sunnis. Iraq becomes a killing field that makes Darfur look like a playground shoving match. The world -- including the visceras of the world -- is horrified and calls on the international community to "do something" to halt the killing. Some UN countries sponsor a resolution to invoke Chapter VII, calling for a UN force to enter the war. The resolution comes up for a vote in the Security Council. You, viscera, are asked to advise our UN Ambassador as to how to vote, knowing full well that if the resolution passes, a UN force will certainly include U.S. troops. So, do you vote "no" and allow the carnage to continue, or do you vote "yes" and re-introduce the U.S. troops that you pulled out just months before?

Oh wait, I'm so wrong. The answer, of course, is to nominate Rodney King as our next UN Ambassador so he can go to to New York and repeat his famous plea, "Why can't we just all get along?"

I believe that what most of those who advocate pulling out of Iraq now really want is to turn back the clock to undo the enormous mistake of invading in the first place. I wish that could be done, but time travel remains beyond our powers. As a result, most responsible people deal with the reality that exists rather than the one they wish existed. That reality is much closer to that described by Craig than by Terry. Bad as staying is, pulling out now would be much, much worse. In our heart of hearts, we all know that don't we? A small minority advocating immediate withdrawal have a Fortess America mindset. So long as we aren't there, it doesn't affect us. Wrong. Powell was right; we broke it; we own it. We must stay long enough to try, if there is any possible way, to stabilize the situation and prevent the massive bloodshed that would result if we left now. Dennis Kucinich was great as the boy mayor. Too bad he still thinks like a little boy.

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Good stuff as per usual, thanks. I do hope this kind of thing gets more exposure.

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