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View Diary: Shut Your Fucking Pie-Hole... (381 comments)

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  •  As someone who is opposed to most (none)
    of Kerry's foreign policy positions (but is going to vote for him anyway, and is seriously thinking about volunteering for the campaign anyway) I agree that his vote for the authorization is moot at this point.  I also understand the distinction between voting for authorization and voting "for war".

    What bothers me about Kerry's positions on Iraq are his "I'd still do it today" notion, which suggests to me that he actually supports the idea that some form of regime change was necessary. I'd be more comfortable if he'd talk about his positions on regime change as a policy. That would put some of my concerns/doubts at least to the side, if not to rest.

    I also think the campaign has to take this notion that "because of how he voted he can't criticize the war" straight on.  Anyone can criticize and those who want to must, as part of our responsibility as citizens.  We all have to take up that position vis-a-vis the media, who set the boundaries for public discussion of Iraq far too simplistically along those lines.  

    Everytime some stupid interviewer starts a question or a commentary with that very weak premise, I'd like to hear Kerry, his campaign spokespeople and even other Dems say, "You know Katie (fill in the blank), I don't know how we ever got to this point in our democracy, but don't you think its time we changed the idea that only certain people have the "right" to criticize?  What about learning from situations as they unfold?  The President is not immune from criticism.  And those of us who express our positions through votes or public statements at one moment in history do not forfeit our right and our duty to criticize through the act of speaking.  Politics and policy can never be fixed and frozen lest it become authoritarian.  Rigidity in thought and action are the hallmarks of totalitarianism, not of democracies. I know that we face a difficult and an uncertain global situation at the moment, but we can't let our fear of the uncertainties back us into a politics that runs counter to both our heritage and our interests.  We aren't made safer when we limit our possibilities, in fact, we hand our enemies the trump card they need when we fall into that trap. So, here's what I've always maintained and here's what that leads me to think about the current situation: ..."

    Begin every loaded question with the question, "well, Aaron, don't you think its time we gave up on that fallacy and ...?"

    Take on every frame with a statement that questions the frame. Put not only the Bush Administration but their logic and framing into question.  And if its necessary put the media's framing into question as well.  The best example of this is Aaron Brown's interview of Daniel Ellsberg before the start of the war.  He provides a textbook example of how to do that.  (Sorry no link at the moment, but I'll go look it up and try to add it later).

    "Consult the genius of the place in all things" - Alexander Pope

    by a gilas girl on Mon Sep 20, 2004 at 07:25:47 AM PDT

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    •  completely agree (none)
      Kerry also needs to stop worrying about his votes and go at Bush on Iraq despite them. He has a responsiblity to do so.

      Kerry's "I'd still do it today" statement was absurd and probably the biggest single mistake he's made in a campaign with a number of mistakes. It was an idiotic thing to say, but I don't think he is supporting regime change with that statement. I believe he's supporting the right for the president to have leverage for negotiating with the world. As a person who wants to be president, he thinks presidents should have all these super-powers. I strongly disagree with that position as well, but it's not saying that we needed to take Saddam out no matter what.

      In the debates, I hope he stays much more with the "If I'd been president, I could have kept the pressure up on Saddam and kept him contained without losing lives" position and then turns the issue around on Bush: "What's worse -- a contained Saddam or an unstable Iraq?"

      "I don't want to wake up on Nov 3 with George Bush still president and ask myself if there was anything more I could have done." -- Moby

      by lapis on Mon Sep 20, 2004 at 07:57:53 AM PDT

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    •  some success -- some movement! (none)
      This from his speech this morning:

      Kerry said Monday, "Is he really saying that if we knew there were no imminent threat, no weapons of mass destruction, no ties to al-Qaida, the United States should have invaded Iraq? My answer is no because a commander in chief's first responsibility is to make a wise and responsible decision to keep America safe."

      Thank god.

      "I don't want to wake up on Nov 3 with George Bush still president and ask myself if there was anything more I could have done." -- Moby

      by lapis on Mon Sep 20, 2004 at 08:17:02 AM PDT

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    •  Regime Change Was Necessary (none)
      Just not now and not in the way we did it.

      Regime Change was a Clinton Policy and I shudder to think that anyone familiar with the situation in Iraq would not think that the US should support a new government in Iraq.  

      But that's a whole different ball of wax than invading without a multilateral force, trashing international law, using a pre-emption doctrine, trashing the work of weapons inspectors, and generally destabilizing the middle east while having a war in Afghanistan and trying to diffuse radicalism.

      •  Well shudder away (none)
        since "regime change" is an illegal principle.  The only legitimate form of "regime changes", that is, those that can and should be recognized,  are those that arise from indigenous actions of sovereign people, not ones "encouraged" from the outside, no matter how "humanitarian" it is carried out.

        Its also debatable whether "regime change at some point" was necessary, as Saddam was bound to die at some point.  And given that "government" they have now is basically still Ba'athist, Saddam's dying of natural causes may well have been the appropriate catalyst for a more democratic uprising among the Iraqi people.  No one knows.  

        If what you mean is that Saddam had to be gotten rid of, I would agree in principle that before the Iraqis could even imagine a more democratic future, Saddam would have to go, but given that a more democratic Iraq is not what the US had as one of its objectives (only a Saddam-free Iraq was the objective), there was nothing either urgent or emergent about the status quo with Saddam still in power, except US frustration that they've have to change policies shortly and come up with another approach, I'm less willing to agree that "regime change" HAD to come.  

        "Consult the genius of the place in all things" - Alexander Pope

        by a gilas girl on Mon Sep 20, 2004 at 01:58:51 PM PDT

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        •  Regime Change is not an Illegal Principle (none)
          Changing a regime illegally is illegal.

          There are plenty of ways to do it within the bounds of international law.  

          Given that you may not have been aware of that, I won't get into the rest of it.

          •  But regime change as the Bush administration (none)
            practices it IS illegal.  Elections and popular uprising can lead to regime change and as I said if those come from organic uprisings of sovereign people (rather than being "produced" from the outside) then yes regime change would be "legal" (certainly acceptable and legitimate in the eyes of international law). But "regime change" foisted on sovereign nations by other nations IS not legal, even when the regimes are bad. Humanitarian interventions are legal only when they intervene to stop the ongoing humanitarian crises (i.e. genocide or slaughter).  Other countries don't get to practice regime change on countries, only a nation's own citizens.

            "Consult the genius of the place in all things" - Alexander Pope

            by a gilas girl on Tue Sep 21, 2004 at 05:09:45 AM PDT

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            •  Which is why I said: (none)
              Regime change was necessary, just not in the way that we did it.  I think we're not necessarily in wide disagreement here.  I think that it's just that I won't condemn Kerry for his understanding of the international picture, our policies, and how they could be effected through an international process because I know damned well it wouldn't have been as it happened under Bush.
              •  I guess my problem (none)
                is with the term "regime change", which is this invention of the Bush Administration to legitimize US actions to change other nations regimes.  

                The legal (and legitimate) kinds of regime change
                have different names we call them "elections" or "votes of no confidence" or "velvet revolutions".  Because of its origin and its use in actual practice, "regime change" is kind of solidified around the idea of one nation forcibly changing another nation's regime to suit the changer's interests.

                Admittedly, that's not the dictionary definition, but its pretty fixed in my mind, and I think there's a pretty good case to be made that it does connote that.  

                "Consult the genius of the place in all things" - Alexander Pope

                by a gilas girl on Tue Sep 21, 2004 at 11:05:37 PM PDT

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                •  Not sure (none)
                  I don't think Regime change could have been invented by the Bush Administration, because it was the official policy of Bill Clinton towards Iraq as well--as in, that is what he wished for and what his foreign policy would aim for.  It's just that he wasn't such a warmongering lunatic that he would piss on fifty years of international law to accomplish it.

                  International Law was not the speciality I chose after law school, but it is likely less cut and dry than you may think it is.  There are ways to work within it.  This administration has no idea what those ways are.

                  In the end, I think it boils down to this:  John Kerry is not a big fan of unilateralism or military adventurism.  He opposed it after Vietnam, he opposed our practices with the Contras, and there is no doubt in my mind that we would not be in the same situation with regard to Iraq as we are now with Bush.  John Kerry's recent speech confirms that.

                  Thank you so much for the spirited discussion!

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