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August 16, 2005

Iraq

In conversation yesterday, Sam Rosenfeld made a really good point. The American Prospect's full-court press against unrepentant liberal hawks doesn't need to have a political component to it: there'll be endless hours of electoral strategizing as the midterms draw closer. For now, we should be eschewing that and having the sort of serious conversation about the war and our response to it that elections don't allow.

But what worries me is that, instead of that discussion, we're going to have our old one over again. As Sam points out and Atrios approvingly links to, the hawks were wrong. And yes, pace both of them, the hawks should know they were wrong, and say so publicly. And, in concert with the Prospect's new cover story, many pundits were irresponsible and they should shoulder much of the blame. And, as Ari Berman says, our think-tankin' class has proven themselves desperate to attain neocon "seriousness" and crowded around this chance to support a war like fat kids salivating over birthday cake. So yes, there's plenty of blame to go around.

But the really pressing issue facing liberals now isn't whether or not we can compel mea culpas, it's what comes next. Not what comes next politically, but what should Democrats and/or liberals be thinking about the War in Iraq on a policy level? Should there be an immediate withdrawal with admission of wrongdoing? If so, how is the peace kept? Are there reparations, or just an apology? Or should there be a promised withdrawal with conditions? How about a timetable? What about a Bidenesque (and, for that matter, Deanesque, at least during the campaign) buildup in troop levels? Is this salvageable, and if not, is that the consequence of mismanagement, or is it endemic to all similar projects and a lesson that needs to guide our future foreign policy thinking?

I think Sam's right to want politics out of it, at least for the moment. But if we're going to stipulate that and have the serious, sober conversation we need, it'd be a shame to watch it devolve into a retread of March 2003, just this time with the fingers pointing in the opposite direction. Those liberal hawks who believe the war right will persist in that belief, those who believe it wrong will admit their mistakes, those who never believed it sane will feel fully affirmed. But no matter what grades we give ourselves for foresight and strategizing, we, as a party, a movement, or merely an ideology need to figure out what the next step is. And it's not deciding who's to blame for the first one.

This isn't a conversation for Biden or Clinton to be having on the Sunday shows. Their whole lives are political, they are the Democratic senate establishment, they have a sustained and highly public worldview which, remembering Kerry, will be used to hang them if they try to turn into critics. You can't expect too much bravery from them. And, knowing that, our time shouldn't be spent condemning their cowardice. They're politicians and acting the part. Irritating, yes, but hardly new.

The conversation, instead, should be taking place among the magazines, the blogs, the think tanks and the forums. The American Prospect, rather than putting a hit piece on hawkish columnists on the cover, should've expanded Starr's argument and made the Democratic case for withdrawal. It has, oddly enough, been the most culpable magazine if the bunch, TNR, that has been most willing to engage in this sort of Big Think: Spencer Ackerman's piece on withdrawal remains the soundest argument I've read on the subject. The Nation knows its position, but nevertheless published a spectacular example of foreign policy Big Think by Sherle Schwenniger. The right's been a bunch of hacks (anyone remember Rich Lowry's trip to Iraq, wherein all was perfect as he and that nice Mr. Rumsfeld drove over the gumdrop-paved streets and deeply inhaled the optimism of the peaceful, grateful Iraqis?), but that's to be expected.

It's been us in the blogs, the activists, the party allies who've often dropped the ball on this, playing Biden or Clinton but on the other side. We focus our attention on Cindy Sheehan, on lost cash and gross mismanagement. All valuable, yes, but it's mostly political, I've seen little discussion of where we really are and where we need to go. In part, that's because flagging Bush Administration incompetence is easier, no one really wants to reopen the fundamental differences separating hawk from dove, Democrat from Democrat. Add in that we're not in charge, and neither is our party, and it comes clear why our conversation has barely skimmed the surface. Nobody's asking us how to go about this. But if the base isn't looking for much more than a way to nail Bush, it's hard to see why our "leaders" would step into the breach themselves.

In the end, that's the conversation that's needed for Democrats, both substantively and politically. The doves hate the hawks, the repentant hawks are cowed by the doves, the unrepentant ones are flirting with the neocons, the neocons are off in lala land, and this has really become more like a clique dealing with drama than a foreign policy discussion. If the Republicans were out of power and having this sort of conversation, would we trust them? And doesn't this look a bit too much like the circumstances that gave rise to McGovern (and thus, Nixon?)?

I think so. So let's have Sam's conversation, but leave the blame out of it. The war's going on now, and we need to decide what would be better than Bush's way of handling it. I'll start:

I supported the war. I was wrong. I think we need a public rejection of long-term military presence followed by a set of clear and achievable conditions for withdrawal (sans timetable). I also think we need a highly public and very serious domestic push towards energy conservation that'll allow us to credibly disavow an interest in the region's oil supplies. Iraq may not have always been a quagmire, but it is now, and our continued presence there is dangerous for us and unhelpful for them. Withdrawal needs to be talked about not just for being sound policy, but because it needs to be legitimated as a viable, which is to say not-weak, option, and if the base begins to discuss it in a serious way, it'll begin to penetrate the strategic class and the Democratic establishment. On issues like this, politicians and their handlers never want to be out front, which is why those of us without electoral accountability need to be.

August 16, 2005 in Iraq | Permalink

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» The Plan, Not the Execution from Lean Left
Ezra is partly right with this post — we do need to have a conversation about where to go next, and I fully intend to engage him in that conversation. But there is something important that he is missing when he says this: I think Sam’s ... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 16, 2005 9:29:02 PM

» Iraq and the Democrats from Political Animal
IRAQ AND THE DEMOCRATS....Last week in The Nation, Ira Berman identified a growing disconnect in the Democratic party: at the same time that the anti-war left is gaining strength and demanding an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, the "strategic class" th... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 18, 2005 1:13:30 AM

» Iraq and the Democrats from Political Animal
IRAQ AND THE DEMOCRATS....Last week in The Nation, Ira Berman identified a growing disconnect in the Democratic party: at the same time that the anti-war left is gaining strength and demanding an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, the "strategic class" th... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 18, 2005 1:48:06 AM

» Iraq and the Democrats from Political Animal
IRAQ AND THE DEMOCRATS....Last week in The Nation, Ari Berman identified a growing disconnect in the Democratic party: at the same time that the anti-war left is gaining strength and demanding an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, the "strategic class" th... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 18, 2005 2:12:59 AM

» Iraq and the Democrats from Political Animal
IRAQ AND THE DEMOCRATS....Last week in The Nation, Ari Berman identified a growing disconnect in the Democratic party: at the same time that the anti-war left is gaining strength and demanding an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, the "strategic class" th... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 18, 2005 2:25:51 AM

» Big Brass Horns: Proof of Poor Planning for Postwar Iraq from Daily Pepper
The National Security Archive of George Washington University, which is "a research institute on international affairs, a library and archive of declassified U.S. documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act," has obtained through the FOIA... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 18, 2005 11:24:33 AM

Comments

What Democrats should do is force a three-part policy into the public discussion:

1) The invasion of Iraq was based on deception. If Americans had been told the truth, they would not have supported it.

2) After the invasion was launched, the Bush administration's conduct of the war was incompetent and corrupt. Political advantage overruled military necessity. Billions of dollars are missing. Iraq was allowed to deteriorate to the brink of civil war.

3) Based on the above, and considering the hard truth, the continued presence of American troops, along with plans for permanent military bases, are wrong and will not produce positive results. Withdrawal, at the earliest feasible date (not more than six months) is the only option.

Bush and the people who launched this war, based on deception and run on corruption, will argue that withdrawal is a defeat. That is a lie. Our military effectively removed Saddam Hussein from power. His justice must come from the Iraqi people. That is a victory for the world. To preserve the benefits of the victory, and to give the Iraqis the best chance to develop a stable government, the US military and US corporations have to leave. The sooner the better.

Posted by: James E. Powell | Aug 16, 2005 11:51:56 AM

I have to disagree with one assertion: That we can dismiss the need for mea culpas. Yes, you are right in that we have a situation that needs to be addressed. But I also look at the precedent we set for the future. They were SO certain about the need to invade Iraq. They bandied terms like Treason around. And now (IMO), they are using the same general tactics to position for an Iranian conflict. Unless we make the Public aware that *they were wrong*, they will slink back in the future and try the same stuff again. And too many of the short-memoried public will forget to take these peoples' fear-mongering with a silo of salt. Also, keep in mind that this wasn't a simple budget error ... this was an avoidable *invasion*! They harp about accountability in life ... well, I agree. Let's have some accountability. If this were a business endeavor, heads would have rolled. At a minimum, medals would not have been distributed. We have to stop letting them get away with the lies! We must not get so focused on cleaning up their messes that we act as enablers for future destructive behaviour.

Posted by: Cathexis | Aug 16, 2005 12:43:11 PM

I agree. Especially because of what Dean didn't say on Face the Nation last Sunday. He kept on saying how Bush screwed it up, but he had no answer to the "What do we know now?" question. It would be nice to hear an answer.

Posted by: Adrock | Aug 16, 2005 12:53:36 PM

Ezra: I think we need a public rejection of long-term military presence followed by a set of clear and achievable conditions for withdrawal (sans timetable). I also think we need a highly public and very serious domestic push towards energy conservation that'll allow us to credibly disavow an interest in the region's oil supplies. Iraq may not have always been a quagmire, but it is now, and our continued presence there is dangerous for us and unhelpful for them.

Very good stuff. I like James' points as well. The difference between them is withdrawing now or keying the withdrawal to conditional actions and a timetable.

I agree with conditions, but not related to state security, and I believe the timetable is essential.

The key for forward looking plans is as realistic assessment of what the Iraqis are likely to do. Will the 2-5 year outcome be one state or multiple states? Will their be a civil war or an agreement to remain a unitary state (with some federalism) or partition peacefully?

The Sunnis are a minority, like the Kurds, except they don't have a contiguous piece of real estate to become an independent state, and the oil resources to support it. They cannot accept a highly federal unitary state, and they don't have a viable partitioned independent state. They are not used to being out of control of power. They will not give up without either fighting or Iraq being unitary.

Will the Shia recognize the Sunni dilemma and accept a unitary state with strong protections for the minorities, sharing of oil revenue, and power sharing with the Sunnis and Kurds?

Is the bond of religious identity between the Shia in Iraq and Iran enough to bridge the cultural and historical divides between arabs and persians? With Iran on the side of Shia in Iraq, the Shia may feel they don't have to negotiate with the Sunnis.

We don't know the likely short-term outlook for answers to these questions. A constitution that is not forced on the Sunnis, one that is accepted or even welcomed, plus a successful ratification and national government election will do much to answer these questions.

So, I'd take Ezra's immediate renunciation of any long-term military presence, and I'd make the conditions be keyed to only the achievement of a constitution accepted by Shia, Kurds, and Sunnis and a government election. Once those are completed, James Powell's withdrawal should be in order.

It will be argued that we can't leave Iraq with the insurgency still active or growing. That must be put aside: the Iraqis must step up to the table. The US built a military force up to taking on both the Germans and Japanese in the two short years from early 1942. It can be done, and we must insist the Iraqis do so. They must take full responsibility for their state security, period. If they need outside assistance, let them look to whatever nations they wish to enlist - except the USA, we have done our part and our national interest requires withdrawal from Iraq.


Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Aug 16, 2005 1:07:06 PM

Man, that is a good post. How about this: there is no good answer. None. I'm an opponent of the war and I don't have one, precisely because there isn't an acceptable endgame. And, at a certain point, this isn't our responsibility politically (hell, many of us saw this coming), but as citizens it is our responsibility.

Partitioning seems to me to invite a Yugoslavia rerun, withdrawl is just irresponsible for our national security (to say nothing of the morality of leaving Iraqis who actually want to make a Arab democracy completely out to dry), staying w/more of the same may be politically unacceptable. Upping the amt. of troops in the interim may be logistically impossible w/o a draft.

BTW: Sheehan isn't my spokesperson, even though I opposed the war. It is nice to hold the President's feet to the fire -- and he certainly deserves it for the lack of planning and diplomatic ineptitude -- but at some point we have to admit that as Americans this is also *our* responsibility. And, as Democrats, I suspect we may be in power as soon as 2009 and the first order of business will be cleaning up this mess.

Posted by: Chris R | Aug 16, 2005 1:08:56 PM

Chris is right, and more than right. It's fundamentally NOT the responsibility of the base of the Democratic Party, of activists, to have specific plans for withdrawal from Iraq. That's why we have all those big smart people who are things like think tank fellows and college professors and Senators and Representatives and have staffs to know about this stuff.

The base needs to demand we get out, and that our leadership - political and intellectual - figure out a way to do that.

Posted by: jkd | Aug 16, 2005 1:35:12 PM

The best way to prevent another Iraq-type war is to elect Democrats. That war wouldn't have happened if even Joe Lieberman was president. Not in the way it did, at least, as a war to prevent the spread of WMDs, waged at just the moment int'l inspectors were correctly declaring Iraq to be free of WMDs.

So think about it before you start exacting retribution: a liberal hawk might support a bad war, but he/she probably won't start one.

Posted by: kth | Aug 16, 2005 2:25:02 PM

There is NO solution to this, at least no solution that's reasonable. There's only two possibilities. To stay or to go. That's it. Stay, and you have the losses of life until there's the choice to go. Once we leave, we open the door to terrorist camps, right in a very populated area, with, to be honest, quite a few potential recruits wtth VERY strong motivation for revenge, bloody and destructive.

There IS a solution that's just not politcally feasable, and that's complete surrender. Hand over the political leaders that started this whole mess to a democratically elected Iraqi government for trial, sign a treaty which #1. Pulls out all troops, #2. Pledges substantial financial support, and #3. Treaty to pvent ANY interference in Iraqi internal matters without their direct request.

And then seal up the borders of the West and try to keep away the coming vengence, and hope that the pound of flesh we've given them is enough and they don't comre for more..which they probably will, and then hope that we can prevent it.

Posted by: Karmakin | Aug 16, 2005 2:26:12 PM

Four statements need to be hammered into the American political consciousness:

1) The war is over. Our troops won the military engagements, but Bush lost the war.

2) Iraq will never stabilize until the American military leaves. The best course for America and Iraq is to withdraw the military as soon as possible.

3) Bush refuses to acknowledge this because he is afraid it will harm his image and reveal his incompetence. The only reason that our troops are still there is that Bush is using them to protect his political standing.

Posted by: James E. Powell | Aug 16, 2005 4:05:15 PM

Oy!

The second sentence of 3) should have been 4).

Failure to preview can really take the air out of one's sails.

The important point to get across, and to help Americans deal split their feelings between their beloved troops and their beloved leader, is that the military did its job and Bush did not do his.

As soon as that conclusion begins to take hold, the entire corrupt edifice of the Bush Junta will fall.

Posted by: James E. Powell | Aug 16, 2005 4:09:36 PM

Let me ask you all a queston: what is "victory" at this point? Because, honestly, you have to market this acceptably so the American people can trust anyone but Bush in fighting a conflict -- and part of that is stating "we can win this while Bush can't". "Come Home, America" will not work, nor will stating that 1500 deaths were for a waste.

We have to redefine what we are attempting to achieve. Is it a democratic Iraq? Honestly, I don't know if even that is even realistic at this point. Is it a stable Iraq that can govern its own borders? Yes. And "victory", by definition, means eventually leaving.

Federalism simply has to be a part of that. The various portions of Iraq are able to govern their portions better -- as well as accountability in preventing terrorist training in their areas -- than a mistrusted central government. The problem is that this may lead to calls for separation on behalf of the Kurds. Which creates issues concerning Sunnis living in Kurdish areas, as well as losing an effective counterweight to Iraq in the region.

I'm not as smart as others, but there has to be a way to thread that needle. And, yeah, I hate to say this, but it may take longer than most commenters on this board are willing to accept.

Posted by: Chris R | Aug 16, 2005 4:31:41 PM

Defining victory is important, but defining it as a set of unattainable and unmeasureable goals is a mistake. Bush has done so because he does not want the war to end. It protects him politically and allows him to pay billions to his supporters.

Democrats who endorse or accepte Bush's definition of victory lose the debate before it begins. The definition keeps changing, Bush gets to change it, and Bush gets to say when victory is achieved.

By definining victory as the removal of Saddam Hussein and allowing the Iraqi people to choose their own form of government and destiny, Democrats would provide Americans with attainable, measureable results. In fact, by any measure, the goal has been attained. It's done, the war is over. Let's go home.

The only reason this farce keeps going on is that Bush needs it politically. It isn't doing America any good, and it isn't doing the Iraqi people any good.

Posted by: James E. Powell | Aug 16, 2005 4:47:47 PM

I think this thread just got a heckuva lot farther determining what to do Over There than any of our elected officials.

Something Chris said triggered what has bothered me so much about this war and what we need to get away from should we - heaven forbid - have to fight another. This administration was so enamored with the marketing aspects of the war that they eschewed the nuts-and-bolts planning. Which leaves a huge mess. How do you feed the people you are liberating? How do you turn on their lights? No one asked those questions.

It happens on the job - big ideas with no planning make a big mess. Only this war happened on a much grander and bloodier scale.

I'm pretty obsessed with poking fun at this administration, solely because what they do half the time is so darned laughable, but I'm with you in terms of setting up a concrete plan.

I marched against this war, and I'd be tickled if we withdrew tomorrow, but ya know what I want to do before leaving? I want Iraqis to have electricity. In most articles I've read, there's no juice flowing. The basics, the little things that make a person feel human, are just not there. It sounds small, but we need to start small. Give them that much at least.

Posted by: Pepper | Aug 16, 2005 4:48:40 PM

But James, that's my point: victory means withdrawl. You can't win by indefinitely being there and losing lives.

And at the point they are forced to achieve that, we're just talking about when and how you achieve it and under what circumstances -- and it puts pressure on the Bush Admin. to articulate a specific end game.

Pepper: I don't mean to imply a certain amount of amorality in my previous comment, but marketing our response is as critical as the response itself. And, yeah, they have been more interesting in marketing the war than conducting it. Maybe one way we can market ourselves is as the "grownups", cleaning up the kids' mistakes on this, the deficit, oil dependency, etc...

Posted by: Chris R | Aug 16, 2005 4:58:22 PM

The problem in Iraq has always been one of definition. The Iraquis deserve a commitment from the U.S. to help end the insurrection : since troops are seen as part of the problem what to do ? Step One. Ask the Iraquis what would be helpful and attempt to help. Let them run the railroad. Why would we attempt to impose our solutions when they damn well don't work ?

Posted by: opit | Aug 16, 2005 6:12:11 PM

Wrong, wrong, wrong, Ezra. Hit pieces on the offending columnists are precisely what we need right now, because the first thing that the Democratic party needs to do is exact retribution upon those who helped enable this screwup. The most important reason for this is because it will serve as an example for the next time the "chattering classes" decide to show off how mature they are by supporting an idiotic war... but also because it will show that the Democratic-party intellectuals can actually demonstrate that there are consequences for selling out the country for a pack of lies.

What you miss is _why_ the "liberal hawks" decided to support the war in iraq. It wasn't because the left didn't have enough position papers or carefully-thought-out reasons about why it was a bad idea. They supported the invasion of Iraq because they thought it would be good for them politically and professionally. Unless liberals can force those hawks to face social/political consequences, we'll be faced with another situation where "liberal hawks" sell the country down the river in exchange for throwing their lot with the Republicans.

What makes you think that the offending opinion-makers won't be willing to embrace something just as stupid a few years down the line? Shouldn't you be thinking about how to prevent this from happening again?

Posted by: Constantine | Aug 16, 2005 6:17:07 PM

Obsidian Wings is doing this discussion from another point of view.

Posted by: opit | Aug 16, 2005 6:20:16 PM

nor will stating that 1500 deaths were for a waste.

Well of course you wouldn't say that, even though they were. And if anyone is thinking of continuing a war so that those lives can be redeemed, that is unbelievably wrongheaded. Boys dying in vain in bad, throwing good lives after lives already lost is far, far worse.

Posted by: kth | Aug 16, 2005 6:33:56 PM

Democrats need to come together "on point" -- on one point, and that point, the point of a political spear stuck between Republican ribs. That single point, upon which all Democrates and independent moderates can unite, in relation to the Republican right-wing is simple and obvious and comes down to simple questions: 1) "Why are we in Iraq?" [Why did you (Bush) take us to war? What is your (Bush's) objective?]
2) "What is your (Bush's) plan to get out?"

Democrats should not get drawn into making proposals, or suggesting courses of action. The Democratic Party is not in power, and need take no responsibility for formulating "strategies", and therefore has no reason for intra-party squabbles. The only squabble that matters is the one with Bush and the Republican Party.

The great danger for the Democratic Party is that election of a Democratic President becomes inevitable in 2008, and the Republicans will try to "hooverize" that poor fool. The Democrat will be forced to withdraw from Iraq, and the Republicans will blame the Democrats for wasting Bush's noble effort. The Democrat will be forced to raise taxes and devalue the dollar -- inevitable consequences of Republican irresponsibility -- and the Republicans will blame the Democrats.

Democrats need to think ahead, and head off Republicans at the pass. Demand, over and over and over again, that Republicans explain why they misled the country into war, and demand over and over that they explain "their" plan to get us out. Only if it is absolutely clear to the dumbest independent voter alive that the Republicans lost Iraq, will the Democratic President in 2009, be able to act freely to salvage whatever can be salvaged.

Posted by: Bruce Wilder | Aug 16, 2005 11:14:58 PM

The first and most important goal is to win back the House in 2006. Nothing else matters at this point. As much as I hate using politics to take advantage of a national tragedy such as the Iraq War, I see a higher moral purpose for doing so, and make no mistake about this...The war in Iraq is immoral. So we must focus on the House. Own the House, and you own the power to investigate.

Winning Election 2006 is a matter of pushing forward the immorality of this war and of its supporters. The outright lies have to be exposed. The exaggerations need a thorough airing. The accusations of antiAmericanism and the innuendo of treason deserve the light of day. The ongoing drumbeat of dead bodies need a respectfully tuned chorus of "why?" and we need to find the Cindy Sheehans of America wherever they may live and become one with them. When you're willing to speak truth to power with firmness of conviction and without hesitation, as Mrs. Sheehan has done, you'll find yourself at the head of a very large parade. We can never let our focus waver from Iraq, it is the most black and white issue we have, and we must use it as the Republicans did to win the election in 2002 and 2004, but we must we better than them. We must do what is both necessary and sufficient. We must speak truth to the people.

But how to deal with Iraq? Some may think I'm pessimistic when I say that all that can be done at this point in time is to define the terms of our defeat. Possibly. We have already lost the war for reasons stated by others, but we still have a window of opportunity to find a more acceptable defeat, but the window is closing fast. Personnally, I favor complete withdrawal on an acclerated timeline. I believe we have already so damaged our credibility in the world and so seriously depleted our military that nothing positive will be achieved by hanging around Iraq waiting for milestones to pass. We've already lost too many young soldiers who were passing by milestones in poorly armoured vehicles. It is time to bring them home now. That is how I see things. There are, of course, other who've posted here about what can be done to staunch the flow of blood. They've spoken eloquently too, and have expressed some good ideas. But it doesn't matter, for we are staying the course.

Bush still thinks, at least he has said so publically, that staying the course is the solution, even as he obviously doesn't understand the problem. And the Bush administration and its congressional allies continue to pull the levers of power for all they're worth. Bush is loathe to admit he made a mistake, so he will continue to sacrifice our young men and women for his grand vision, and for his war president legacy. Possibly there will be a change in strategy to accomodate the 2006 elections, but the disaster of Iraq and the dishonesty of Bush have at long last imprinted themselves firmly in the American pschye. A disaster is a disaster, a liar is a liar, and sometimes black isn't white.

The tipping point is behind us now. Cindy Sheehan, the embodiment of everywoman, gave Bush's house of cards a little nudge, while waiting in a roadside ditch in the Texas heat, waiting to ask her president "why," and it began to fall. The spectacle of an American president being intimidated by a determined and greiving mother is not lost on America. An AmMerican mother brought us the tipping point. We have only to continue pointing out the tragic results Bush inflicted on Iraq and the disgrace he brought home to America, and stick to our traditional values of fairness in taxation, middle class job creation, good public education roots, and allow Bush to take down his party along with him. What a spectacular the fall will be, and well deserved. Although given Bush's stubborness, it's unlikely to be Self Evident to him at least.

Posted by: James Emerson | Aug 17, 2005 1:20:03 AM

YES: 'WHAT COMES NEXT' should be at the top of every comment!
WHAT DO WE WANT NOW?
WHAT ACTION CAN WE TAKE?
WHY SHOULD PEOPLE SUPPORT US IN TAKING THOSE NEXT STEPS?

Bloggers and ads and politicians, alike, spend too much time complaining about the dreadful actions of the Bush administration (YES: they are awful) -- but not much time considering what we want people to SUPPORT us in doing.

WHAT DO WE WANT NOW? Things are bad - but what do we propose to do about it?

James Moore (at Huffington Post) talks about why he's proud to be a liberal -- ie, what liberals stand for. That's a good start. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/archive/jim-moore/proud-leftwing-l_5798.html

Let's have more discussions like this one!

Thank you

Posted by: MS | Aug 17, 2005 5:48:18 PM

Thanks, Ezra, we needed that. I'll take you up on it over on DemocracyArsenal.org soon, I promise. And you are my nominee for Policy Planning director (unless there's an ambassadorship you'd prefer) in the Jon Stewart administration.

Posted by: Heather Hurlburt | Aug 18, 2005 11:08:31 AM

O.k. So, we withdraw. What do we do when Iraq devolves into civil war, and they commence killing each other until another strongman in the likeness of Saddam arises? I guess we just wash our hands of the matter, because it was all Bush's fault anyway. That would make us feel better. More dead innocent Iraqis, another unstable tyrrant, and no more progress in the Middle East. Oh well, c'est la vie. It was just because of Bush. At least we could go back to the Clinton '90's of ignoring the rest of the world, and building a fake economy based upon a tech bubble. That would be great. Another terrorist attack? Well, we'd have deserved it.

Posted by: Tanker J.D. | Aug 19, 2005 4:30:32 PM

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