Tuesday, September 11, 2007

We're never getting out of Iraq

Scott Ritter express the anguish, anger, and contempt far more pointedly than I could. I've pulled some juicy quotes to save you time:

...There is no reason to believe that the compliant war facilitators who comprise the "anti-war" Democratic majority in Congress will do anything other than give the president what he is asking for. No one seems to want to debate, in any meaningful fashion, what is really going on in Iraq. Why would they? The Democrats, like their Republican counterparts, have invested too much political capital into fictionalizing the problem with slogans like "support the troops," "we're fighting the enemy there so we don't have to fight them here," and my all-time favorite, "leaving Iraq would hand victory to al-Qaida."
There simply is no incentive to put fact on the table and formulate policy that actually seeks a solution to a properly defined problem. Like the Republicans before them, the Democrats today seek not to govern with the best interests of the people in mind, but rather to game the system in order to consolidate political power....

...Our presence [in Iraq] is derived from our own violation of law, not someone else's, and as such any effort to sustain our presence is tainted by this same foundation of illegitimacy. In short, Americans will keep dying in Iraq as long as we remain in Iraq....

If someone occupied my hometown in the same manner Americans occupy Iraq, I'd be killing them any way I could. And I would be called a hero by my own people, and not a terrorist....

...Working with local Kurdish officials, small oil exploration and drilling camps are sprouting up all over northern Iraq, where they siphon off the wealth of the Iraqi people. Shipped out of Iraq via Turkey and (surprisingly) Iran, using long-established smuggling routes, these illegal ventures are generating billions of dollars in income for oil companies, and because these ventures aren't supposed to exist, this income goes unreported. You can't miss these sites. Any review of Google-Earth imagery would show these facilities springing up like mushrooms over the last few years. The U.S. military knows about them, and yet does nothing. Note to Richard Kaplan (Katie Couric's producer): If you want to investigate this story, I'll provide you with the geographic coordinates. Drive up and try to talk your way into the security perimeter. Position Katie well for the camera shot and demand answers. Just look out for the Canadian, South African or American mercenaries who are charged by "Big Oil" to keep this dirty little secret "secret."...

...In a way, Iraq is a manifestation of all that ails America today. A complete breakdown of fundamental societal checks and balances brought on by greed and hubris.


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Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Democratic Ticket

I think Hillary is wrong on most issues. I certainly don't trust her.

I would probably like to see Richardson as President for his experience and his positions on the issues - especially immediate troop withdrawal in Iraq.

I admire Kucinich for his courage in presenting a consistent left-wing policy, year after year, when it was not respectable or credible to do so.

And in fact, anyone the Democrats put up would be an order of magnitude better than anything the R's have to offer.

But in the end, most of them (most especially HRC) are Corporate candidates, and even those who aren't (Dennis?) must still operate in the Corporate context. No matter what they say or who we elect, we will not really get what we vote for.

Then it struck me yesterday: we can beat the R's on their own turf -- the symbolic level. Politicians may lie, and policies may shift, but symbols persist and penetrate with Jungian power. Clinton/Obama. A woman and a black man. Regardless of how the candidates themselves may ultimately fail or betray us, what will it say -- to ourselves as well as the world -- if the US elects a woman to the highest office in the land, with a black man as her second in command?

We can wring our hands over the details of policy positions or who we can trust or whether it's better to vote one's convictions versus electability and lesser evils. But, short of an actual revolution, we're really going to get mostly incremental change on the ground. We need hearts and minds, and I think the best path to that is through symbols, not intellectual persuasion.

Once again, it can be "morning in America" -- but not a greedy right-wing morning. And that must be right for the world.