Monday, August 07, 2006

Tony Blair's War -- and Joe Leiberman's




Watched MEET THE PRESS for the first time in a long time. Nothing says "Summertime Blues" more than watching Sunday morning television. I was watching two talking heads -- one -- Lanny Davis -- past, and I assume present, Clinton operative, defending Leiberman -- the other -- Howard Dean's brother --- defending Lamont.

If this is all Leiberman has to say ---

Both on Meet The Press, and in a Washington Post op-ed, Leiberman supporters said that Leiberman had in fact been critical of Bush's conduct of the War. The Washington Post cited no examples. On Meet The Press, Davis had less pride, and cited a single instance in 2003. He didn't say what the criticism was for.

The Leiberman supporter on Meet The Press said asked how can you throw a good Democrat under the bus just due to the single issue of the War.

Here's my answer, Lanny --- If you are in the middle of a war, the only issue should be your position on the War.

Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld have pissed all over this war. Despite their occasional public statements, and the steady drumbeat of their lackeys, they have shown no change and no growth. And that, going back to the begining of this rant, is because their war aims are personal, and those aims are being met. People die. They get rich. You pay at the pump. They get rich. The globe warms up. New Orleans gets destroyed, and needs to be rebuilt. They get rich.

Joe Lieberman has enabled this nonsense, and refuses to even pay lip service to the errors of George Bush.

At the end of the day, if you are like me, if you are a Democrat who supports the War, you support a certain world view about what is necessary to preserve freedom in these times -- times that become far less than free every day.

Bush's interest in the freedom of anyone other than those effected by the Estate Tax is casual at best.


Joe Lieberman spoke for himself last night. He laundry listed all of his complaints about the war.

I am sure he said all of those things at some time or another.

However, he said something that sounded so quaint, and so out of place for a politician in 2006.

"That's something that separates me from my opponent – I don’t hate Republicans. I know that some times the best way to get things done in the Senate for my constituents is through bipartisan cooperation."

I don't hate Republicans either, Joe. But I am not a Senator in BushWorld 2006, and you have to beware of the people who are trying to blast your freedom out of the water.

Then he closed by saying:

"If after hearing the truth about where I stand on Iraq, you still want to cast your vote solely on that one issue, then I respect your decision. But if you care about all the other issues facing us, and want to make real progress on them, then I ask once again for your trust and your vote on Tuesday."

Except the only issue worth talking about is the War, Joe.

And in the middle, where he could have either given a quick explanation for why he thought it was a good idea to go in, or a quick explanation for why he thinks it is still a good idea to stay (other than the chaos that our departure would enhance), he said this:

"Now I understand that many Democrats in Connecticut disagree with me and are very angry about the war. I don’t think there is anything I can say to change your mind about whether we should have gone to war or when we should bring the troops home, and at this point I’m not going to insult you by trying."

Those must be some poll numbers that Joe is seeing. He clearly realizes that he can never win the Democratic primary by trying to state his reasons for supporting the war. I wonder if he thinks he can even win a general election by supporting the war.

This week in Los Angeles, Tony Blair made a stunningly articulate defense of the War -- the War that is being fought today --- I cite it at length below.

If Joe Lieberman is not willing to steal a line or two from Tony, then I don't know which so-called American leader might be.

Very troubling indeed.


Is there any room in the Democratic party, at this junction, for someone who supports George Bush as vigorously as Joe Leiberman does?

What if I find, as Maureen Dowd states, and Krugman, too , that there is no room in the Democratic Party for anyone who supports the War at all?

Maybe I'll move to London.


How should a liberal defend this War?

Tony Blair , earlier this week, in Los Angeles

" ... (I)t is almost incredible to me that so much of Western opinion appears to buy the idea that the emergence of this global terrorism is somehow our fault. For a start, it is indeed global. No-one who ever half bothers to look at the spread and range of activity related to this terrorism can fail to see its presence in virtually every major nation in the world. It is directed at the United States and its allies, of course. But it is also directed at nations who could not conceivably be said to be allies of the West. It is also rubbish to suggest that it is the product of poverty. It is true it will use the cause of poverty. But its fanatics are hardly the champions of economic development. It is based on religious extremism. That is the fact. And not any religious extremism; but a specifically Muslim version. ...

"Its purpose is explicitly to prevent those countries becoming democracies and not "Western style" democracies, any sort of democracy. It is to prevent Palestine living side by side with Israel; not to fight for the coming into being of a Palestinian State, but for the going out of being, of an Israeli State. It is not wanting Muslim countries to modernise but to retreat into governance by a semi-feudal religious oligarchy. ...

"Yet despite all of this, which I consider virtually obvious, we look at the bloodshed in Iraq and say that's a reason for leaving; we listen to the propaganda that tells us its all because of our suppression of Muslims and have parts of our opinion seriously believing that if we only got out of Iraq and Afghanistan, it would all stop. ...

* * *
"It serves one other objective. There is a risk that the world, after the Cold War, goes back to a global policy based on spheres of influence. Think ahead. Think China, within 20 or 30 years, surely the world's other super-power. Think Russia and its precious energy reserves. Think India. I believe all of these great emerging powers want a benign relationship with the West. But I also believe that the stronger and more appealing our world-view is, the more it is seen as based not just on power but on justice, the easier it will be for us to shape the future in which Europe and the US will no longer, economically or politically, be transcendant. Long before then, we want Moderate, Mainstream Islam to triumph over Reactionary Islam.

"That is why I say this struggle is one about values. Our values are worth struggling for. They represent humanity's progress throughout the ages and at each point we have had to fight for them and defend them. As a new age beckons, it is time to fight for them again."


Is the Bush Administration now, or has the Bush Administration ever been, committed to fighting Tony Blair's war?

I don't think so.