One of the reasons I have a hard time getting enthused about either of the Democratic candidates is that I find both of their Iraq withdrawal plans lacking. I am enthused about ending the Bush era, and I’m enthused about preventing the election of another Republican who doesn’t even seem to realize we have a problem in Iraq, but neither of the Democrats offers a plan that I consider to be complete.
Reading such is usually particularly galling to Obama supporters, because he gave such a pretty speech in 2002, and is therefore supposed to be vastly superior to Clinton, on Iraq. Some of the more deranged Obama supporters even go so far as to try to pin the war on Clinton, as if her having voted no on the AUMF would have changed anything other than her present political fortunes. It was a terrible vote, but she is demonized for it even by many of the same people who now lionize John Kerry, because he supports Obama, and despite his having made the same terrible vote made by Clinton. And, of course, most of these Obama supporters ignore the reality that despite the very pretty speech, when Obama was not in the position of actually having to vote on the resolution, his voting record has been nearly identical to Clinton’s, since he has been in the position of having to vote. That’s one of the reasons I find this particular argument for Obama and against Clinton to be, at best, specious. But the main reason is their withdrawal plans. I have said it many times: what happened in 2002 and 2003 is now irrelevant; the only thing that matters is what begins to happen in 2009. Which candidate will do the best job of most expeditiously getting us out of Iraq? And that doesn’t even begin to address the question of reparations, which isn’t even a topic of discussion.
Naomi Klein recently published what I consider to be the best book on politics in at least a generation. I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, and I will undoubtedly do so again. Many times. It should be required reading for anyone who claims to be politically informed. So, I also want everyone to click over to Huffington Post, and read her new article, with Jeremy Scahill:
Sixty-four per cent of Americans tell pollsters they oppose the war, but you’d never know it from the thin turnout at recent anniversary rallies and vigils.
When asked why they aren’t expressing their anti-war opinions through the anti-war movement, many say they have simply lost faith in the power of protest. They marched against the war before it began, marched on the first, second and third anniversaries. And yet five years on, U.S. leaders are still shrugging: “So?”
There is no question that the Bush administration has proven impervious to public pressure. That’s why it’s time for the anti-war movement to change tactics. We should direct our energy where it can still have an impact: the leading Democratic contenders.
Because Klein and Scahill also understand that although both Democratic candidates are much more honest and realistic than John McCain, when discussing Iraq, neither is coming close to being honest and realistic enough.