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This time, it's real ones who aren't trying to sell the view through the administration's rosie-hued anything. James Wirtz of the Naval War College, John Mearsheimer, Juan Cole, and Stephen Biddle spoke at the APSA conference, and Robert Farley reports. The most discouraging assessment comes from Mearsheimer:

Mearsheimer argued that Iraq has been and will continue to be a disaster, but that because of domestic politics and institutional dynamics we'll still be there in five years and beyond. The stab-in-the-back narrative that's being prepared by the Republican Party will succeed in scaring a Democratic president and Democratic congress from taking any decisive steps to end the war. At the same time, the senior theater leadership in the armed forces are committed to not losing, due to their perception of the institutional disaster that resulted from the Vietnam War.

It doesn't have to be this way. And it particularly doesn't have to be this way when we're facing the weakest president in a generation and a Republican congress reeling from the 2006 loss and seemingly no end to scandals. This is a Republican party that can be faced down, and the urgency of ending the Iraq debacle demands that it happen.

Which demands leadership. Atrios nails it:

And while the Senate Leader is technically Harry Reid, the real leaders of the Democratic party at the moment are Senators Obama and Clinton. They can get press (if not always fair and accurate press) any time they want. They have a prominent platform and a large megaphone which they could use not simply to inspire voters but to browbeat their colleagues, plot a course of action, enlist their supporters into helping push through a legislative agenda, etc.

They could, you know, lead instead of campaign. The former might even help the latter.

Don't run on past decision or judgements. Don't run on what you're going to do about Iraq in 2009. Run on what you are doing now, in 2007, to lead us out of Iraq. Show us that leadership, now. That doesn't go for just the presidentials, but for every incumbent Democrat who is going to be asking for our vote in 14 months.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 06:41 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  First Pin them down (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boilerman10, 4Freedom, Vodalus

    When you say National interests and you mean the Oil would it Kill you to say Oil

    Why are we staying in Iraq to protect a Vatican Sized embassy when it's uninhabitable?

    Be careful what you shoot at, most things in here don't react well to bullets-Sean Connery .... Captain Marko Ramius -Hunt For Red October

    by JML9999 on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 06:43:03 PM PDT

  •  Clinton and Obama (19+ / 0-)

    The money quote:

    They could, you know, lead instead of campaign. The former might even help the latter.

    This way-too-long extended campaign is dragging away energy and focus from what should have been a concerted, unified fight by the Dems in Congress  against BushCo's escalation.

    The frontrunners could use their spotlight to get this going - if they aren't too worried about "alienating" some hypothetical potential voters.

    •  It's so frustrating (18+ / 0-)

      From out here, we can see so clearly how critical it is for the Democrats to do everything in their power to end this mess. How desperately the country is looking to them to lead.  Why can't they see?

      •  I believe that they know it, but they also know (5+ / 0-)

        what happens to candidates that don't stick to the media-approved script. Ask Barack Obama what the media says when he dares to speak the truth on nukes, Pakistan, bin Laden, etc.

        •  I agree, blue...but I think they probably want... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gogol, annefrank, 4Freedom

          it to continue rather than have it ended.  Sorry, but I am very skeptical and expect nothing but expert triangulation from these Clinton and Obama.

          Remember - they've had hubby Bill and Holy Joe, respectively, from whom to learn!

          •  Here's the money quote from Obama (5+ / 0-)

            "The argument is not that I'm pristine, because I'm swimming in the same muddy water," Obama said. "The argument is that I know it's muddy and I want to clean it up."Obama Pledges to Clean Up Washington

            I know you don't like Obama, I've seen your comments on him before. But in my opinion he's a person doing the best he can to try to stick to his principles while getting into the position to make changes for the betterment of this country. It's the same for all candidates. Even if you want to speak your mind, you have to be politically mindful fo saying something that will keep you from getting into the position to make those beliefs a reality.

            Obama was given Lieberman as a mentor, and yes he did back him in the Primary. But he did raise money for and back Lamont in the general. And on ethics, he's taken on the entire Illinois Senate and led on the issue in DC.

            No one's perfect, and that goes for Obama. But can we at least try not to move past the talking points? Can we acknowledge that we put politicians in the position of having to triangulate and then hold it against them when they do?

            •  Neither Obama nor HRC showed leadership on... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gogol, annefrank, ShaShaMae

              the last Supplemental.  They kind of snuck onto the Senate floor at the last moment, and presidential politics played a major role in their nay votes.  I don't expect them to show more leadership this time.

              I like Obama, and I'd take him over HRC in a heartbeat.  What reason, however, do you have to see him show leadership this time?

              Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

              by RFK Lives on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:11:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I'll keep an open mind, blue, if you will... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              annefrank, edgery, Carbide Bit

              please not repeat that Obama supported Ned in the general.

              He gave only token "support" and snubbed CT and Ned at every chance.  He gave a token amount of money and threw a hissy fit when a last minute e-mail he "allowed" to be sent out went to more than 5,000 people.

              Please - he hurt the Lamont campaign, he did NOT help it as he could - and should have.

              And I promise to try and keep an open mind.  But I'm still not with you on this one.

              •  OK. (0+ / 0-)

                I've seen lots of speculation on Obama's lack of support for Lamont. I've also seen a lot of mistakes that Lamont and his supporters made in his campaign.

                So if Obama was being politically smart, but not ideologically pure, would putting his neck on the line for a campaign that was wasn't going to win make him a bad candidate to back for President? Don't we want a candidate who knows how to survive to live another day? Don't we want a nominee who picks the right battles to fight?

              •  The email only went out to 230 people (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                His campaign was upset to suggest it went further in case Lieberman was upset.

                He sponsored a weak environmental bill with Lieberman and McCain to welcome him back to the Senate.  

                Leadership is stepping forward when it is risky.

                But being against Bush is only risky in upsetting the war machine and Haliburton.

                It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin

                by pioneer111 on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:42:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Lamont's campaign says you are wrong. (0+ / 0-)

         Regardless of whether it was not enough support, can we at least get the facts right on what Obama did do for the campaign?

                  •  Nope that is NOT what happened according to (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    ttagaris in this diary CT-Sen: So You Wanna Know What Really Happened?.  I think he as the campaign manager, would know, don't you.  I followed this one closely.  

                    Our Press Secretary, Eddie Vale, was asked how many people the email went to.  He looked on the back-end of the website and saw the number of click-throughs to the landing page I created.  He answered "about 5,000."  Within minutes of the Associated Press piece going on the wire, I received several phone calls from Obama staff.  They were none to pleased about the 5,000 number.  Essentially, Obama could be seen as helping, but not helping THAT much.  His staff apparently made it clear that the email only went out to 225 people in Connecticut.  That's it.  The next day we were subject to a correction in the papers and ridicule from Lieberman's campaign and corners of the right-wing blogosphere.

                    It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin

                    by pioneer111 on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 08:10:19 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You're right. (0+ / 0-)

                      I read that diary, and I forgot about the number of emails Tim Tagaris said went out. But what so many Obama-haters want to conveniently forget is also from that diary:

                      Money didn't matter.  Bodies didn't matter.

                      So they had the money, and they had the bodies. But yet Tim wants to blame Obama for not coming through? Like I said before, if Lamont's campaign can't capitalize on their momentum, why should Obama stick his neck out? Lamont had what he needed, and he had the Democratic primary victory. But he failed to capitalize.

                      I want a presidential candidate that knows how to pick and chose his battles. I want them to know what they should be working on and who with. That's the mark of a true leader.

                      •  I want courage and the ability to do (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        mcmom, ShaShaMae

                        the right thing not the politically expedient thing.  That is what got Lieberman back into the senate.  Lamont took on Lieberman and almost beat him.  He changed some of the dialog on the war.  He was left on his own by the establishment.  Clinton or Obama would have had a greater impact in CT than Edwards the southerner who did come and campaign for Lamont.  That too was a type of political calculation but for me it was in the right direction.  (I was kind of in Clark's camp but looking for an alternative.  Edwards got my attention with that stop for Lamont)  Everybody was doing the political calculation including many of the voters but often it was cynical - what will we get from this.  That is why we are in this bloody endless war.  Ultimately we lose.

                        I want a leader who leads and speaks out boldy, that is what I initially admired about Obama.  Mistakes can be made but can you reassess and do the right thing?  I still like many things about Obama, but will he speak up now boldy against the war?  That is what I appreciate about Edwards, but I will tell you as much as I am a strong supporter, if he backed off on his rhetoric about the war, he would lose me.  It is my main issue. I want us out of Iraq.  UHC is close behind.  Obama could have had me on the war, but lost me with his acquiescence in the senate to continuing the funding.  

                        It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin

                        by pioneer111 on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 08:48:36 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  If we rewarded the politically expedient thing, (0+ / 0-)

                          then President Wes Clark would have led us out of Iraq and have stopped giving our tax dollars to Bush's cronies.

                          Edwards is my number two, but he's more free to say what he wants because he isn't going to face a backlash in the Senate. And he doesn't have to answer to any his current votes on Iraq.

                          But as far as Iraq, I do want Obama to lead.  I want Webb and Wes Clark to be out front writing the policy and Obama, Edwards and Clinton to be supporting it. However, there is no political movement for any Dems to actually come up with a plan. Even in my own diaries, there are many posters who want to argue that we shouldn't do anything more than argue that we should "End the war now". So none of them actually try to solve the Iraq problem, they just try to put the best soundbites out there to make it look like they could solve the problem.

                          In my opinion, the first Presidential Candidate that offers a legitimate, practical plan for ending the Iraq War and provides the opportunity for people to rally around it, will be President in '09.

                          •  Edwards... (0+ / 0-)

                   theory should be the current VP supervising the end of the war.

                            My novel is full of sex, drink, incest, suicides, dope, horseracing, murder, scandalous legal procedure and ends with a good public hanging--attended by 30,000

                            by Salo on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 12:46:14 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

            •  If Obama "raised" any money for Lamont (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              it was during the week before the GENERAL election when he FINALLY sent out an email for Lamont.

              Support Fox News - vote Hillary/Murdoch08

              by annefrank on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:32:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I appreciate your argument, but it is not a (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pioneer111, ShaShaMae

              matter of who "likes" who here. It is a matter of having the guts to take it on. If one of the three so-called front runners would break from the pack by calling on elected Democrats to stand up to Bush, the people would follow. Either Obama or Hilary is the one with the most to gain. People are waiting, and waiting. Meanwhile the campaigns slog on, with most voters waiting, and waiting.

              I think, therefore I am, I think.

              by mcmom on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 09:33:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Guts don't mean electability (0+ / 0-)

                I agree that too many people are waiting. And as an Obama supporter, I wish he'd just say "screw the conventional wisdom" and draft an Iraq War Withdrawal Plan.

                But for his courage on speaking the truth on Pakistan and nukes, he was rewarded with the media and Hillary's spin machine distorting his statement (not to mention Edwards conveniently restating it to say something Obama didn't say). So let's bare in mind what happens to candidates who dare speak against the mainstream media and DC elite when we criticize Barack Obama. Because as much as we'd like him to be campaigning an ideologically pure campaign, our political system precludes him from doing so successfully.

          •  I'm not sure they want to extend it (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Meteor Blades, annefrank, ShaShaMae

            but I am sure that they're focused on winning an election, which is not the same as what's best for the country.

            If the Dems had held off on starting the campaign for even a few months, like say until the friggin' new Congress was at least in session, they could have worked out a unified plan for the coming year.

            Instead, it's just jockeying and gaming and triangulation. These two are not spending a hell of a lot of time doing their jobs as Senators.

      •  Perhaps it is because they aren't leaders? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        andgarden, pioneer111

        All candidates have to face a test of will. Now is their time. Maybe have them read "Profiles in Courage."

        I think, therefore I am, I think.

        by mcmom on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 09:27:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Somebody sees it (0+ / 0-)

        John Edwards is leading right now:

        "Enough is enough. When Congress comes back next week, they should stand firm and make their position clear: No timeline, no funding. No excuses.
        "In October, Congress needs to send the president a funding bill that withdraws all combat troops within the next year and lays the groundwork for a comprehensive political solution that will stabilize the country. If the president vetoes that bill, they need to send him another one—and do this as many times as it takes for the president to finally get the message that he cannot defy the will of the American people, of Congress, and even of many members of his own military who believe it’s time to end this war and bring our troops home to the heroes’ welcome they deserve."

        Obama and Hillary are acting like Senators, and that's a good way remain a Senator for a long long time.

    •  But who's to blame for that? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annefrank, JanL, 4Freedom, Vodalus

      The media is nominating our Presidential candidates because we are letting them control the primary process.

      It's sad to say, but we are getting the government we deserve. (we= Democrats/Americans)

      •  Of course. (6+ / 0-)

        The truth comes out.  Congress' behavior and the whole presidential campaign thus far are just shining examples of what is wrong with our system of govenment.  No one with enough initiative to actually change things for the better can get their face on CNN, and as such, those Americans who do get off their asses and vote, vote for the media whores.

        Rejection of the state is a precursor to the only freedom that is attainable.

        by Vodalus on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:02:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The only way forward is to bypass the media (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        edgery, pioneer111

        Sounds impossible?  It's a huge job, yet somehow has to be done.

        It took the radical republicans many years to build an alternate media.
        Their own madrassas, if you will. They did this while we were smugly
        investing trust in the mainstream  (think New York Times and "all the president's man"), even when there a reason to not invest -- Think "Manufacturing Consent"

        As mcjoan says

        This is a Republican party that can be faced down

        Its a long road.

        I don't understand why we cannot just all get along.

        by Blue State 68 on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:29:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Radical Republicans own the media, they didn' (0+ / 0-)

          bypass it.

          One can argue that talk radio helped build and sustain the Republican takeover of our government. But it's not independent talk radio, it's corporate-owned.

          And just like the corporate-owned MSM, the numbers, facts and opinions are skewed towards the Republicans because the media is so afraid to be labeled "Liberal". They mistake being apologists for Republican scandals as being "balanced", because as long as they can find at least one Democrat, currently or historically, acting badly then they can justify supporting the fascist movement taking over our media and government.

    •  I'm still undecided (3+ / 0-)

      and what could convince me of who to vote for is to see someone lead- really lead- and get others to follow.  That would be so inspiring- not to mention- essential to saving our democracy.

    •  You know, the generals could LEAD too (0+ / 0-)

      The friggin' lesson Bush learned from Vietnam (aside from the importance of family connections) was that we didn't let enough US troops die by staying longer. Well, okay, he's just a stoopid cheerleader from Texas.  Much more frightening is that the lesson our military leaders learned was that what led to the demoralization of the armed forces after Vietnam was that we cut our losses. The fact that the military leadership allowed the politicians to send the troops into a quagmire that could not be won militarily -- that had NOTHING to do with the demoralization, I suppose.

      Jesus H. Christ.

      Back to the topic, yes, HRC and BHO could do a little more leading and a little less campaigning, and so could John Kerry, who isn't even campaigning.  

      "You are seeing impeachment as a constitutional crisis. Impeachment is the cure for a constitutional crisis." -- John Nichols

      by litigatormom on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 08:09:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Congress is a complete failure (8+ / 0-)

    Congress remains stuck at just a 3% positive rating for its handling of the war

    "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

    by jfern on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 06:47:59 PM PDT

  •  Waiting for General Betrayus's report on 9/11/07 (11+ / 0-)

    Senate, et al, in D.C. waiting for the report.

    That's all.  If I were one of them, I'd go there myself to get a look at the situation.  

    •  General "Betrayus"!!!!! (5+ / 0-)

      ROFL.  Hadn't seen that one before.  Gotta pay more attention.  Thanks for the laugh.

      Right the Wrongs...Gore in 08!

      by creeper on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 06:52:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rescheduled to 9/10/2007 & 9/12/2007 (5+ / 0-)

      Be careful what you shoot at, most things in here don't react well to bullets-Sean Connery .... Captain Marko Ramius -Hunt For Red October

      by JML9999 on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 06:54:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  you can't: go there and get a look (0+ / 0-)

      You go there and get the dog and pony show the military gives you, and talk to the ones that they allow you.

      It is not safe to go anywhere else than the show places -- at the show times -- with a huge amount of protection.

      Maybe if you brought your own interpreter -- who was primed to talk to people off to one side and tell the Iraqis that your person wanted the truth and to tell them in Arabic . . .

      But it is easier to stay right here and read Iraqi blogs and Juan Cole who brings translated reports from all over -- what the Arab media and Iraqis are saying. There was one legislator, I think Jim McDermot who led a conference of Iraqis -- not the prime, America backed leadership, on the situation and what should be done, but I haven't heard much more came from it. Iraqis express that they wanted the troops out.

      The American backed government wants US troops to stay because they know they are dead without them.

      by the way, ttagaris was not campaign director for Lamont; he was web director and blogger.  And it is amazing to me that anyone would think that if only Obama did a little more Lamont would have won. That his loss was Obama's fault! Actually the whole damned republican party focused on that race and keeping one of their own! Bloomberg sent his whole "get out the vote apparatus. R $$ poured in. More was done pro Lieberman than George Allen and Conrad Burns combined.  

      That said the entire Senate (Dem part) except Dodd was Shameful and short sighted. They were scared of a vengeful Lieberthug. The leadership should have stepped up to the plate and said that should Lieberman win, he would not retain seniority or chairmanships since he was not a Dem. L used his seniority and what he could do for Conn as a club in that race. Harry and Kerry, and especially upChuck Schumer et al are at fault in that one.

      One other thing -- and that shows what the problem is now: One think that the Conn papers said that people thought was "If we pull out, then what happens to the Iraqi people?" The "it will be a massacre, a genocide, chaos" argument. That is exactly what the Bushers are throwing out now. That is what is blocking democratic unity now. That is what is blocking a clear path to withdrawal now.

      There is some element of a feeling of responsibility to the Iraqi people, (among decent people, not the oil barons and lackeys who don't give a shit), to make things better, that is blocking us from  leaving. We don't trust that the Iraqis, after a period of continued chaos, of continued bloodbath, of continued uncertainty, actually have the capacity for making things better.


      Impeachment? Only when some Rethugs aboard. Pelosi/Reid can only pass measures they have the votes for. Write/call all: 800-828-0498

      by samddobermann on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:47:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nail them down about an IRAN strike... (14+ / 0-)

    that should keep Cheney's dirty little war from spreading.

    Dudehisattva... <div style="color: #0000a0;">"Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom"&l

    by Dood Abides on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 06:51:05 PM PDT

  •  Our Party Leadership Is In Shambles n/t (10+ / 0-)

    Right the Wrongs...Gore in 08!

    by creeper on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 06:51:12 PM PDT

  •  Mcjoan--you serious? Our prez candidates leading? (5+ / 0-)

    You must be dreaming---campaigning and fund-raising is all they know; sorry to say!!!

    •  Well said, Phil! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      supak, annefrank

      And so true.

    •  Leaders must have their feet held to the fire ... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mcjoan, annefrank, edgery, pioneer111 get them to do what is right and best. mcjoan is properly trying to turn up the heat. No guarantees, of course. I think most of us have viewed magical September for exactly what it is: a snare and a delusion. But just because lots of elected Dems have given up fighting against the war/occupation in ways that matter doesn't mean we should. Being disgusted with the leadership must not mean falling into the paralysis of despair. It should rather heighten our resolve.

      "When shifting paradigms, it is important to put in the clutch." -- Patricia Limerick

      by Meteor Blades on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:38:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  $200B = 2 years of UHC for everyone. (0+ / 0-)

        why are we still pouring money into the coffers of Haliburton who will lobby the congress with our money to keep the war going.

        This is insane.

        It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin

        by pioneer111 on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:56:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well....speaking of Mearsheimer..... (0+ / 0-)

    I need to buy his book "The Israel Lobby".

  •  Does anyone think either Clinton or Obama will... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Donna Z, happynz, 4Freedom, MrJersey, Vodalus

    not be a scared Democrat once the current crew is done with us?

    That's why I pray that someone like Wes Clark steps up IN SOME CAPACITY so that someone with a strong overview of military excursions AND a sharp brain can bring sanity to bear for the sake of our country.

    Sorry, but Clinton and Obama will just be the same-old-same-old.

  •  The only result of our staying in Iraq is more (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    psnyder, 4Freedom, JML9999, echatwa

    chaos and more death. There's absolutely "no win" there for our military leadership now in Iraq, only wishful thinking about their military mind and might.

    Yes, if either or even both would step up and be forceful to actually bring an end to our occupation with a complete withdrawal and allowing other countries and the UN to take over, then millions and millions of us American citizens of all political persuasions would cheer and support either or both - at least it seems to me, an ordinary person sitting in the vast heartland of our country.

    •  But the Democrats find themselves unable (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dufffbeer, paige, 4Freedom, echatwa

      to articulate this except clumsily, inartfully, and only within a Republican frame, as when Reid stated that the we already lost the war. What a moron! No! For better or worse (worse) we won "the war;" we blew the occupation. What we are in now is not a war. It is not even a political exercise for Bush to preserve his "legacy" as a strong and resolute leader, because that legacy exists only in his own imagination and in the impoverished imaginations of about 25% of the country. No, now we are spending billions, killing our brothers and sisters, Americans and Iraqis, as a a psychological exercise. Now it is only about Bush preserving for himself his own delusions, and that is a terrible reason for anyone to die.

      "Only war makes it possible to mobilize all of today's technical resources while maintaining the property system." Walter Benjamin

      by psnyder on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:07:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What frosts my cookies is that Democrats aren't (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        paige, pioneer111, echatwa

        uniting in an Out of Iraq voice and vote.

        That is why most of the new bozos got their jobs. There is no reason other than cowardice and calculation for Congress not to act according to the will of the people.

        The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7

        by 4Freedom on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:32:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep, cowardice and calculation. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vacantlook, happynz, 4Freedom

          And the calculation goes awry because it is based on the cowardice.

          A poli sci professor friend of mine who teaches at a well known university recently wrote me:

          "I'm having a hard time being any enthusiastic about the dems anymore.  They
          seem to have become similar to what the republicans were in the Nixon-Ford
          era.  One of my buddies in the UK said - you don't have a liberal party, do
          you?  Just a conservative party and a neofascist party.  I might start
          voting green or just bailing on the whole scam of electoral politics
          altogether.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I'll hold my nose and vote democratic.
          But I won't have high hopes.  Buncha gutless pussies and corporate whores."

          Maybe, as my friend reflects, their calculation is based on their knowledge that as long as our electoral system remains unchanged, we've nowhere else to go. But we don't have to make it easy for them.

          "Only war makes it possible to mobilize all of today's technical resources while maintaining the property system." Walter Benjamin

          by psnyder on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 08:29:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Even cowardice and calculation aren't reasons. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          What the hell are these people afraid of?  Losing votes?  Whose votes?  No one who thinks "staying the course" will win this "war" is going to vote for a Democrat anyway.  According to the polls, there is no squishy middle here who haven't made up their minds yet about this war.  The only thing triangulation is going to buy these candidates is the enmity and distaste of voters from their own party.  Even if they eventually win the presidency, Democratic voters will never really trust them.

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 08:45:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Neocon planning went back thirty years. Once (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            upon a time there were liberals writing for an intellectual Jewish magazine called Commentary. The wild living in the sixties and seventies and the social unrest of the masses caused them to revert to a more primitive philosophy, that of the Attila-esque Professor Strauss who reigned in Chicago and preached a very activist plan for winger domination of the world economy through guile, deception, cunning and military war. It's quite a history if you care to explore it.

            The outcome of this villainy was the domination of media and thinktanks by conservatives, who then managed to infiltrate every social and religious organization possible with their philosophy of the evils of government and the glories of nationhood and faith.

            The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7

            by 4Freedom on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 10:06:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  "the Senate Leader is technically Harry Reid" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, pioneer111

    Yes, technically. He has the position. Unfortunately, despite the intransigent Republicans who use the filibuster at every opportunity, he has made little noise about this. So the reality of Senate inaction is more and more being attributed to the Democratic Party. Reid needs to be constantly raising the issue of the Republicans' tactics, constantly pointing out how the Republicans threatened to do away with the filibuster altogether but now can't get enough of it. The Dems seem to have a truly crappy message machine. They let themselves, under Reid and Pelosi, get kicked around by the Republican minority and by the Bush Dog Dems, and yet they get no counter narrative into the spin cycle of the media.

    It's not just that they being ineffective at governing but that they are bad even at politics. That is maddening. So because of that we will continue to shovel bodies and money into Iraq, and apparently we're going to bomb the bejesus out of Iran to appease the insanity of Cheney and his idiot boss.

    If the Democrats do not come back strong after recess and take control of this government, the consequences are going to be grave and long-lasting.

    "Only war makes it possible to mobilize all of today's technical resources while maintaining the property system." Walter Benjamin

    by psnyder on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 06:55:17 PM PDT

    •  Dem Senators could demand (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psnyder, happynz, pioneer111

      that Reid take action and refuse to buy into the republican meme.  It just drives me fucking nuts that they can't frame an issue worth shit, even after years of being made to look like fucking fools because they can't learn how to FIGHT BACK.  If other Senators took a stand against BushCo and stood united demanding Reid do what's right and necessary to stop this war, things could start to change.  As Edwards has said over and over about funding the war, send the same fucking bill to Bush and let him veto it every damn time.  Then the Dems can say, "It's Bush not funding our soldiers yet he keeps them in harm's way."  

      Practice random acts of kindness (favorite bumper sticker)

      by Sally in SF on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:25:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I made a call to Sen Webb's office on Friday (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, pioneer111, Samsara, echatwa

    to ask why he hasn't written any withdrawal legislation on Iraq. I've had two diaries on this issue. We need to stop asking for platitudes and start demanding specific plans. We're letting them off too easy on Iraq withdrawal, it's not about who's saying the right thing, it's about who has the right plan that we can coalesce around.

    There are millions of us saying that we need to get out. It's time to force the Dems to actually lead on the specifics of how to get out. Waiting for the GOP to "get it" is not going to work.

    •  Diaries + vigils + LTEs + political campaigning + (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueintheface, pioneer111

      time + money + visiting candidates + visiting legislators + phone calls = NADA!

      The pundits are saying five more years? I think not! We are just not that stupid.

      Time will tell, but there is enough of a burr under the public's saddle that Republicans do not have time on their side. Republican narratives have proven to be a web of lies. The American public in poll after poll has shown its basic mistrust of the admin.

      I'm not stupid, and neither are my neighbors. I think we get the drift by now.

      The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7

      by 4Freedom on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:21:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because we need to rally behind an actual plan. (0+ / 0-)

        I agree with you. All of the opposition efforts aren't working. Because we need something to force down Bush's throat. Slogans aren't actually political alternatives. And that's what we need, a political alternative to Bush.

        There are very few people agreeing with me on this, but I firmly believe that when the Dems lead on Iraq, when they make the war funding substantial (hold a regional summit, get a peace plan, and then you get your supplemental war funding), then they'll effectively oppose this administration.

        We elected them based on platitudes and sloganeering. Now we're bitching that platitudes and slogans don't work.

        No shit. Tell that to the troops, Iraqis and Afghanis who are dying.... Oh wait, they already know.

  •  Political Fear =Treason (10+ / 0-)

    The idea that a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress will keep the war going because of political fear is too horrible for any words to express.  Where are the great American leaders of the past who strove to do right and to hell with the politics?  

    According to Robert McNamara, Johnson put us into Nam big time because he feared the Republicans shouting "Who lost Vietnam".  Now it will happen again?

    "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars." William Jennings Bryan

    by Navy Vet Terp on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 06:58:24 PM PDT

  •  Clinton is trying (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, echatwa

    Her call to subpoena General Pace is at least something. So she won't apologize for voting for this war, so what. The last thing I want to see right now is Democrats apologizing for ANYTHING. And if I see Harry Reid moaning on  of the senate about hoe disappointed he is in the Republicans, I WILL be ill.

    संसार Wondering on the web

    by Samsara on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:01:51 PM PDT

  •  5-10 years? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    lets see, and who are they going to get to fight this prolonged war?  Haven't they looked at demographics?  We are an aging country and the midde east has far more young people.  

    Clinton and Obama lead whom?  No one wants to run with the ball, they all just stand around like first graders in their first soccer game, kind of kicking the ball here and there to see what happens, but no one has a clue how to carry the ball down the field.  

    did the news reach Washington yet?

    MOST americans don't want this war, a non-partisian viewpoint.

    somebody please run with that ball

    •  The length of time it will take to offload Iraq's (0+ / 0-)

      oil = 5-10 years.

      That's the game.

      The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7

      by 4Freedom on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:23:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ding, ding, ding (0+ / 0-)

        well, that does make sense, but still, who are they going to get to watch over the operation?   Or are they going to stay in the embassy compound and try to run the whole thing remotely?

        •  It is the very largest American embassy on this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          planet, out of the many, many around the world. An embassy the size of eight football fields is a very large, very established embassy.

          One cost estimate being tossed around put the cost at some $582billion, with yearly operating costs of $1.2billion.

          The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7

          by 4Freedom on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 08:04:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Outsourcing (0+ / 0-)

      lets see, and who are they going to get to fight this prolonged war?

      Outsourcing.  More and more of the armed forces are would-be immigrants from the developing world who are offered US citizenship in return for joining the military.

      The Romans did the same thing.  A nice side benefit for the ruling clique is that such foreign-born troops are more willing to follow the orders of the emperor/president and turn against the civil population if ordered.

      Empire is the end of democracy.

  •  Hillary and Obama To Form Their Own 3rd Party? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Donna Z, Vodalus

    The cowards party?

  •  post-exit strategy? (0+ / 0-)

    "Run on what you are doing now, in 2007, to lead us out of Iraq."

    And run on how to positively affect the region after exiting. Run on a Middle East policy and not the lack of one. Run on what is the best policy for rebuilding the U.S. relation with the Middle East—at the moment it's only a disconnect.

  •  Eisenhower Was Elected To End Korea (8+ / 0-)

    And he DID.

    The GOP could win if Romney just said "Hey, fuck it, we're done here. The Democrats can't provide leadership, but the GOP can be the party of peace."

    The Democrats could lose in a landslide.

  •  This is Obama's quandry (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He is running on being a uniter who can get things done.  He's either derelict or a liar.  If he is as powerful as he says, then he has a lot of blood on his hands.

  •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, HoosierDeb

    Leadership is definitely something lacking.  They all check which way the wind is blowing, then they check with their advisors, then they check the polls... then they make a decision.  That is not leadership.  Leadership is being the first one to say something, not the last.

    * 3739 *

    by BDA in VA on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:15:42 PM PDT

  •  It'll never happen. Obama & Hillary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    will not use their soap boxes to brow beat congressional dems to stand up to BushCo.  Face it, our congress critters, even ones who here-to-fore seemed to be on our side, are falling hook, line and sinker for BushCo's insane take on Iraq and the whole fucking Middle East for that matter.  As I've said repeatedly, color me cynical.  

    Practice random acts of kindness (favorite bumper sticker)

    by Sally in SF on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:16:30 PM PDT

  •  have to act NOW (0+ / 0-)

    it will take 2-3 years just to redeploy troops that would take the next president into 2010, maybe that's Bush/Rove's thinking all along and it doesn't have to be that way.

  •  It's the NeoCon ... (0+ / 0-)

    ...proposal. The NeoCons argued that troops could start being withdrawn in September, finishing up in December, with all but 30-40,000 leaving. Those thousands would stay indefinitely. Thus, we could literally have Democratic leadership satisfying the NeoCon wet-dream.

    "When shifting paradigms, it is important to put in the clutch." -- Patricia Limerick

    by Meteor Blades on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:27:35 PM PDT

  •  Atrios nailed it? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bumblebums, by foot, pioneer111

    I could have sworn I made the same point on Thursday at Firedoglake...

  •  The Democratic stalemate exists because: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Donna Z, Buzzer
    1. Reid and Pelosi are committed to keeping up enough pressure to look like they are doing something, but not doing anything to really hurt Bush because they don't want to do anything to fuck up what is seen now as a sure Democratic Presidential victory in 2008.
    1. Clinton and Obama are in the hands of the consultants and are trying not to lose, but unfortunately not to win.  No one wants to get caught in a "Dean Scream" moment, although Obama may have already had one when he made the statement about meeting within the first year with the dictators that Bush will not meet with.  Notice that since then, Obama's increases have plateaued.  Obama and Clinton are just trying not to do anything radical between now and the nomination and figure that the electorate's distaste for the Republicans will guarantee a Democratic victory.  
    1.  You notice that I haven't mentioned Edwards or the others.  Well, the others may have well given up months ago and saved everyone the trouble.  Does anyone ever think that a President Biden or a President Richardson is a possibility in 2008?  I don't think so.  As for Edwards, I really think he is still suffering from the $400 haircut episode.  Whatever he says is being drowned out by everyone looking at his perfect hair.  He would be better off at this point if he shaved his head so he could start to get his message across without people having to concentrate on how well he is coiffed.
    1. What this all adds up to is that none of the Democrats, at this point, are looking like a leader.  Everyone seems to be placing great reliance on consultant-driven safety and blandness, safety and blandness designed not to alienate anyone, with the cynical knowledge that the Republican self-destruction is doing their work for them.  That may work to gain the nomination, and perhaps even get elected President, but I will serve them in sorry stead in governance should they ever get the chance.    

    And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

    by MrJersey on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:30:46 PM PDT

    •  The irony (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vacantlook, pioneer111, echatwa

      Reid and Pelosi are committed to keeping up enough pressure to look like they are doing something, but not doing anything to really hurt Bush because they don't want to do anything to fuck up what is seen now as a sure Democratic Presidential victory in 2008.

       By NOT standing up to Bush, they ARE fucking up 2008.

       Only in Dem-consultant-world can challenging a president polling 28% be perceived as bad political strategy.

      "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

      by Buzzer on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:55:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The weak on defense mime: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Democrats are always facing the weak on defense mime which is repeated over and over by the media. The truth is its the GOP that almost lost us 2 World Wars because they were weak on defense in the face of German militarism in WW1 and then its bastard offspring German Fascism ( Nazism) in WW2. In both these World Wars it was the Democrats that saved us and the western world. The Rethugs though have through the power they have garnered in the media been able to fashion this enduring though largely false myth that democrats are weak on defense for some reason? This is why neither Obama or Hillary will do anything to stop the war this yr.

    "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

    by Blutodog on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:31:23 PM PDT

    •  That is history, and in this country, where we (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      are proud to be Americans, we don't do history that makes us look bad.  That's unless it happened in the Civil War and Ken Burns makes a documentary about it.

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 07:34:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The stabbed-in-the-back meme (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is one of the oldest in the political repetoire, but I can't for the life of me understand why we are afraid of it.

    The Republicans tried it on in 2006 and it got them nowhere.  The right uses it to explain away the consequences of the imperial overeach that was Vietnam, but the only people convinced by that are other rightwingers.

    Do we really need to dip so deeply into the Republican vote barrel that we feel the need to woo John Dopson or the Sons of the Confederacy?  


    McJoan, you are so spot on to point out that we have these people on the ropes, yet we still behave as if we are afraid of them.  We should be pursuing OUR agenda vigorously and let Repbulicans react to us, not us to them.

  •  And so many of those people sit in (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Salo, pioneer111, echatwa

    judgment of alcoholics, smokers and others with relatively pedestrian addictions.

    These people are addicted to war.  They are simply unable to wean themselves of the habit.  Pathetic really.

  •  Stress of War (0+ / 0-)

    Friday, 8/31/07 PBS Newshour had a stunning piece on the effects of this war on our troops.  They showed troops being killed in an armored Humvee.  They showed troops breaking into Iraqi houses trying to find insurgents.  They showed troops killing an Iraqi taxi driver.  And then they analysed how these troops will react when they return home.  Two psychologists discussed how the surge ("operational tempo") has prevented the troops from decompressing from these events.  And how 15 month tours are compounding the stress.

    You must try to see this.  America should see this.  It's one thing to read about the war, and another to see it on tv (now that's a true Vietnam analogy).

  •  No one is actually saying what they will do! (0+ / 0-)

    Clinton/Obama are not coming forward with their real plans for Iraq, nor will any Republican dare bring up how they would really handle this terrible mistake. The Right Wing Spin Machine will whirl until the masses once again obey, not really daring to face the truth. Until a new Democratic President is sworn in with Democrats in control of the House and Senate, nothing will really be said about the truth....Bush and his Right Wing have led this coutry into the worst disaster in history! We'll pay for this for many years to come.

  •  As goes Katrina (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    so goes Iraq.

    It is the same people in charge. Why does anyone really expect different results?

  •  It's in the diary, but (0+ / 0-)

    haven't seen too much of it in the comments.

    Joe and Jill Senator out there, and Bob and Sue Representative, need to be pushed much harder on this issue.

    Personally, I'm tired of the coveryourass do-little politics of my representative, Mark Udall, who's doing an outstanding job of staying safe (and not leading) prior to his run for Senate.

    It's time to get serious about renewables and efficiency. Let's win the oil endgame.

    by by foot on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 08:10:30 PM PDT

  •  We've been given the best advice: (0+ / 0-)

    General Clark came to us at the Yearly Kos and asked us specifically to demand that the leadership pressure bush to change the policy. He said that talking about troops is playing on bush's turf, and thus, we will not control the conversation.

    What I noted during his speech is that he was asking us to do this. It was as if only we could force the Democratic leadership to make this critical move. Why? Surely he has talked to them...but for some god-awful reason they are not listening. Maybe too much rubber chicken and fat checks on the brain.

    If the Democrats have a clue about strategy and policy, I haven't heard one of them grabbing this issue when they prattle on TV. It is still the same ol' same ol'. Troops! Troops! Troops! We can only save the troops if we change the policy.

    When this slew of progress reports come out, the news will focus on the troops while clearly it is the politics and policy that are the glaring failures in Iraq and the region. Are we willing to raise the volume about bush's failures? Are we willing to seize the day and move the conversation? I hope so.

    Stop Iran War Please add to our collective voice.

    by Donna Z on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 08:13:12 PM PDT

  •  It's infuriating enough to me (0+ / 0-)

    that in principle, the Democrats seem to have no plan on an exit strategy for Iraq. Our presidential candidates are running from their own fear -- so afraid of making a misstep that they're afraid to lead. In principle, every single one of them should be against this war, and should be taking steps to end it now.

    So let's agree to let go of the principle of the thing. Let's give Obama and Clinton a free pass on principle. What's the most sure-fire way to win the election in '08? What was a major contributor to the tremendous Dem gains in '06? Iraq, plain and simple.

    The most vocal anti-war top-tier candidate can win this thing. That person would easily win the Democratic primary and would win in a landslide in November, '08 against any top-tier GOP candidate.

    These two issues together uncover the fact that our top-tier candidates are not really interested in ending this war, and that, my friends, is what disturbs me the most.

    "Fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again." --George W. Bush

    by RevJoe on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 08:25:24 PM PDT

  •  How is it possible (0+ / 0-)

    that anyone that claimsto be on the left wants Clinton as the candidate?  It makes no her husband she will sell the unions down the river in an instant.  I don't even belong to a union, but without unions the middle class will become extinct.

  •  Self-trumpet (0+ / 0-)

    If you accept that the Constitution is more important than Iraq, then I nailed it almost a month before Atrios:

  •  It was always going to be 2009 (0+ / 0-)

    Big difference between enough Dems in Congress deciding to wait out the Bush Presidency on Iraq (because they realize Bush will never leave no matter what Congress does, and they disagree that symbolic action is worth the political risk-for the record I think they are wrong on that) and a Dem President and Congress deciding to continue the war another 5 years. On the contrary, the same political calculations that have the Dems waiting until W. is gone will cause them to pull out of Iraq in 2009. (That is, if enough progressives, sulking over their unrealistic expectations of what the 2006 election meant, don't stay at home in Nov. 2008, thus giving us another Republican President, which is my biggest concern.)

  •  I'm not sure what mysterious power the repubs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happynz, pioneer111

    have over the dems, but the time has come to punch these repub bullys in the nose. Not literally of course.

    We can get our troops out of Iraq AND completely shred what remains of the repub party if the dems would only wake up and realize that most of the country wants the dems to do this.

    So long as the dems are going to act like a bunch of sissys, the repubs will continue to rule the roost.

    I just don't get it. I really don't.

    Privatization is merely a euphemism for what was once called fascism.

    by SpiffPeters on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 09:45:28 PM PDT

  •  Your last point (0+ / 0-)

    is one that I agree with absolutely. It is the key to 2008.

  •  Misconception (0+ / 0-)

    I think that there is a popular misconception about the defence of human rights as a glamorously international pursuit; a misconception exploited by conservative nationalists and middle-class liberals alike. As Forghani makes clear in her letter, the struggle for an end to human rights abuses is far from glamorous and in her case is not for a 'minority' or 'ethnic group' - that those on the far right like to tell us are being privileged over a now mythic 'indigenous peoples', the white working-class - but for the familiar and local people in Iran - her mother, brother, neighbour, as well as the poor village girl in a distant province. Her fight is against abuses that come in many guises: class, racial, economic, sexual, territorial. Recently, when watching (too late at night) the documentary film on the building of Israel's apartheid wall, Mohammed Alatar's The Iron Wall, the one thing that struck and wounded me the most was the level of abuse the West Bank Palestinians were made to suffer on an hourly, daily basis. Abuse is shamefully banal and when we abuse we all become ugly thugs, no matter our professed belief system or our superficial markings of piety or liberalism. Young settler girls who have been taught to throw stones and insults at Arab children walking to school, have themselves been abused by being subjected to the hatred of their parents. Abuse is local and if the individual wants to fight it they do not need to board a plane with a fat salary from an international NGO, they have to confront their own abusive behaviour and that of those around them.
    Source :Volvo parking brake cable -

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