Now Playing: Arthur Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Local Lobbying
Is Maria talking and walking the DLC version of reality?
I wrote the following last October in a Daily Kos Diary. I've done some minor editing for grammar and clarity purposes as well as updating my thinking from last October.
An email from the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) was forwarded to me yesterday. The following excerpts reveal why those in this country who are smart but remain political spectators need to turn off Survivor, Lost, Nascar, Monday Night Football and step onto the playing field.
DLC: Idea of the Week: What To Do Now In Iraq
While the Bush Administration has committed a long series of mistakes in the aftermath of the removal of Saddam Hussein, America must remain committed to success in Iraq.
From Democrats who think they have their fingers on the pulse of everyday working America? The Republicans have yet to define what that success looks like - and much of what they've instigated still smells of a permanent presence in Iraq. If the DLC refuses to tell Americans what that "success" looks like, it sure looks like they are in bed with the Republicans.
A failed state in Iraq would destabilize the entire region, hand our jihadist enemies a major victory and result in a devastating blow to our national security credibility and interests.
Come again? Are you DLC'ers telling Democrats, progressives and independents that if we don't fight them over there we'll be fighting them here?
And you supposed politically astute geniuses are flat out stating that "our jihadist enemies" are not primarily trying to extricate their nation from the consequences of America's self-interest at the expense of the national security credibility and interests of Iraqis themselves?
But the right course now is neither to give the terrorists a victory by withdrawing, nor to continue Bush's failed policies. We urge progressives to place maximum pressure on the administration to reverse its mistakes and pursue a new strategy linked to clear benchmarks for success in Iraq and in the broader war on terror.
That is neither the talk of an opposition party nor the supposed wisdom of progressive thinking. No, it's pure unadulterated neocon ideology - the sort of thing we expect to hear from the Republican National Committee and the Weekly Standard. But for God's sake, not someone pretending to be the heart and voice of Democratic wisdom.
You jokers are not speaking for or with the best interests of the people of this country at heart.
Here are three ways the U.S. can do exactly that:
First, we should formally disclaim any interest in permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq; clearly shift the primary responsibility of defending the country to the Iraqi military (with embedded Coalition troops), and adopt a joint military strategy based on proven principles of counterinsurgency. The last point means abandoning Vietnam-style "search and destroy" missions against the insurgency and instead focusing on progressively securing territory where reconstruction can proceed and normal civic life can resume.
Tell me, how is it that we can justifiably recruit our own young flesh and blood and within 6 weeks to 3 months train them "adequately", ship them to Iraq right smack dab into harm's way and task them with the primary responsibility of defending someone else's country
- yet we have failed to justifiably accomplish the same objective with Iraqis themselves - who have to be more invested in the sacrifice on behalf of their own nation?
Why haven't we accomplished this with the more-motived Iraqis also in less than a year?
This logic no longer holds water. DLC'ers are singing a Republican tune.
Second, we should launch a new political strategy aimed relentlessly at winning Sunni support for the new government, and at isolating jihadists. We still have considerable leverage among Shi'a and Kurdish leaders; we should use it to push for confidence -- building measures like the integration of communal militias into the Iraqi army and police forces; a blanket amnesty for former Baathists not implicated in atrocities; and for intensified talks with Sunnis on supplemental protocols to the proposed constitution that would ensure a viable central government and minority rights.
We have lost the ability and justification to accomplish this in any meaningful way. Without your neocon assumptions, this also does not hold water.
This situation is Colin's Powell's "If you break it, you own it" philosophy. Except that the real owners have seen that you cannot fix it to the ideal you propagandized before walking into the establishment with shock and awe thinking of flowers in your paths.
It is screwed up so badly, they just want and need you to leave.
Third, we should muster all our diplomatic resources to create a more supportive international environment for the new Iraqi government. It should not be that hard to establish a UN-authorized international contact group to coordinate political support and economic assistance.
Now you're talking! ... and that more supportive international environment for the new Iraqi government needs to have ceded to it all authority and credibility necessary to create trust inside Iraq and throughout the Middle East.
Republicans and their neocon appointees have made of America the mean drunk whose behavior has been so poor that the drunk needs to walk away and stop trying to fix it by making it worse.
We should cash our sizable chits with Saudi Arabia and Egypt to work directly with Iraqi Sunni Arabs, using economic incentives where possible, to undermine support for insurgency and encourage political engagement. These Arab states should also push Syria (in conjunction with potential U.N. sanctions) to finally close off travel routes into Iraq for jihadists.
We should come clean with our own populace as to what those sizable chits with Saudi Arabia and Egypt are - how they became sizable and why they have value.
We should come clean with the American public as to what our true investment risk and expected outcome is in these relationships.
Our government should come clean about what the relationship to oil, torture and permanent bases is in connection with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the rest of the Middle East.
We should formally push for indictment of chief terrorist Zarquawi for crimes against humanity in Iraq, drawing worldwide attention to the vicious anti-Shi'a ethnic cleansing campaign that characterizes the insurgency. All these steps ARE politically feasible, but there's no evidence the administration is taking them.
We should do whatever it takes to acknowledge and then take all necessary measures to address the global indictment of our country for crimes against humanity in Iraq, drawing worldwide attention to our vicious anti-Iraqi nationalist cleansing campaign that characterizes our foolish neocon attempt to impose an American control.
These steps are politically feasible but there's no evidence that neither the administration nor the DLC is interested in taking them.
In calling for this new strategy, we acknowledge that we are asking brave Americans to sacrifice still more for a crucial goal under the direction of an administration that has failed so often to pursue that goal competently or honestly.
We share the anger of most progressives towards Bush's blunders, even as we urge them not to let that anger obscure the very real national stake we all have in taking every step possible to leave Iraq in a condition where it will not become a failed state and a terrorist base for global operations.
As usual, Tony Blair best articulated those stakes, for our people and his, just this week:
"This is a global struggle. Today it is at its fiercest in Iraq. It has allied itself there with every reactionary element in the Middle East. Strip away their fake claims of grievance and see them for what they are: terrorists who use 21st century technology to fight a pre-medieval religious war that is utterly alien to the future of humankind."
That's a reality that all of us, whether or not we supported the original invasion of Iraq, need to keep in mind, holding our leaders most accountable not for their blunders, but for their willingness to recognize them and change course now.
This is the pot calling the kettle black. Quoting Tony Blair reveals more about whose agenda the DLC supports. The DLC is voicing the ultimate arrogantly ignorant assumption that we can ask brave Americans to sacrifice still more for a goal it (the DLC) has failed to describe as different from the administration's neocon stupidity.
The DLC does not share the same anger as progressives towards Bush's blunders so long as they offer only a better way to break more things and cause more damage worldwide.
Deny it as they may, the DLC is assuming that their anger reflects the disapproving American voter opinion in the polls - justifiable anger based on DLC self-interested assumptions - which do not take into consideration the very real personal stake we all have in a peaceful future.
Iraq as a pre-invasion terrorist base for global operations is not something that has been proven or validated.
Iraq as a failed state of forced American design needs to go through the failed state transition - with the help of a supportive international community before we can understand how any country seeking its own independence is doing so purely out of an intent to become a terrorist base for global operations.
Republicans and the DLC reflect an arrogant assumption that American wisdom, primarily because America entered the 21st century as THE sole superpower, is the best wisdom for global harmony.
It's an assumption based on sustaining those who have the power, Republican or Democrat, who remain part of a minority working to remain permanently in the driver's seat.
Rejection of the DLC is imperative if progressives and liberals are going to unite and take back the country via election of Democratic politicians.
If anything, all citizens should see clearly that groups such as the DLC want a status quo that - precisely as the Republican-controlled government, stays on the wrong course.