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We Told You So: Democratic Provision about Iran Removed from Bill

chicago dyke's picture

Some readers have complained Corrente is too cynical, and not trusting enough in the process of democracy as employed by the newly majority party. Well, Lambert- looks like they're not going to earn back that "-ic" anytime soon:

WASHINGTON - Top House Democrats retreated Monday from an attempt to limitBush's authority for taking military action against Iran as the leadership concentrated on a looming confrontation with the White House over the Iraq war.

Officials said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) and other members of the leadership had decided to strip from a major military spending bill a requirement for Bush to gain approval from Congress before moving against Iran.

Conservative Democrats as well as lawmakers concerned about the possible impact on Israel had argued for the change in strategy.

The developments occurred as Democrats pointed toward an initial test vote in the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday on the overall bill, which would require the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by Sept. 1, 2008, if not earlier. The measure also provides nearly $100 billion to pay for fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The White House has issued a veto threat against the measure, and Vice President Dick Cheney attacked its supporters in a speech, declaring they "are telling the enemy simply to watch the clock and wait us out."

AP/Yahoo.

I'll just go away in disgust and contemplate another 100 billion thrown away the better to enrich Halliburton and CACI and a some more dead American soldiers who don't have armor or potable drinking water. There is "waiting us out" alright. Waiting for the American people to wake up and understand that so long as you use the words "terrorism" and "Israel," the MIC gravy train will roll on and on and on...

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Submitted by lambert on

And by "we," I mean AIPAC doing the writing, and the rest of us actually forking over the money. Thanks, "conservative" Dems. Thanks a whole bunch.

Good one, CD. I just saw this when checking my mail, and my jaw dropped, I came over here, and the post was already up!

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by Raoul Paste (not verified) on

This really kneecaps Wes Clark's efforts to stop an Iran war. And Iran is more of a potential calamity. WTF?

Submitted by xan (not verified) on

Conservative Democrats as well as lawmakers concerned about the possible impact on Israel had argued for the change in strategy.

How the FUCK can anybody say that what this bill would have done would have any--good OR bad--"impact on Israel"? Can anyone explain this to me?

And just to whine, does there not ever come a time where United States legislators are allowed to just a teeny tiny extent consider the best interests of their/our own nation first?

This bill would have done nothing whatever that I can see to reduce in any way our already obscenely bloated "aid" budget to Israel, much as I personally might like to see this happen at least until they get the last of the cluster bomblets cleaned up out of south Lebanon, say. But this line of reasoning dispensed above is just incomprehensible.

Oh I am so pissed about this. Talk about preemptive BOHICA. Don't put up a bill and stand by it and make the other side go on record as voting against it (yeah, yeah, Lieberman is the "other side" for purposes of discussion here. Let him answer my question above)--start knuckling under before the fight even begins.

Ack. Hack. *Ptooey*. I spit in their general direction.

Submitted by bringiton (not verified) on

If you were looking for something quick and easy to do, maybe you should have chosen knitting instead of politics. Dems don't have enough votes to ram anything down anyone's throat. The more baggage they append to a particular bill, the less likely it will pass. Correct strategy is to keep the issues isolated and force the Republicans to put their positions clearly on the record, meanwhile holding lots of hearings into the Administration's criminal behaviors.

Anyone who thought the '06 election was all we needed to do and everything would be all hunky-dory is being naive. Suck it up, put the blame where it belongs on Republicans (and Lieberman) and start working on the next election. We need 60 Senators plus 290 Representatives and/or the White House - then we will have control, and not until then. If you think bashing Democrats helps achieve these goals, well, whatever, but I think you only help the Republicans and why would you want to do that?

Submitted by bringiton (not verified) on

Well thank you for the invite, chicago dyke, and so I shall. Please forgive the perhaps redundant background but my shorthand approach wasn’t clear enough so below is my argument, bit by bit.

First, yes I do know the difference between Iraq and Iran, thank you for asking. So do the Democrats, leadership and members all. It is the Republicans who don’t know geography and my point is that we ought to be reserving our sharpest condemnation for them, because they are the enemy.

In my opinion there has been entirely too much sniping and snarking at the Democrats by the progressive community. Progressive support, determination, money and sweat were without a doubt the key factors in winning so many seats on the ’06 election. But no matter how hard Progressives worked, there simply aren’t enough Democratic voters to by themselves elect Democratic candidates. To do that we needed to pull in some Independents, and because Democratic candidates reached out to Independents (and because the Republicans have moved so far reactionary, and because they have been caught in so many lies, and because they have been so incompetent in governance) we were able to take majorities in both houses.

However, winning the election by taking majorities in both houses does not mean that Democrats control government. The White House is still in Republican hands, and however inept BushCo are at governance they are extremely skilled at political infighting. The slim majority in the Senate means control of committees and the agenda, but it does not mean that Democrats can bring any bill they want to the floor for a vote. Republicans need only 41 votes to sustain a filibuster, and they still have enough obedient sheep to reach that number. To govern with those majorities, Democrats will have to pull some votes across the aisle just as an the general election. Further, in neither the House nor the Senate are there enough votes to override a veto. Wish things were different but they aren’t; this is the political arithmetic Pelosi and Reid have to work with.

Dems simply don’t have the super-majorities needed to govern by fiat. To get anything passed they are going to have to be very clever, very calculating, and probably cut some deals that they would really rather not. Half a loaf of bread, a half-full glass and some hard cheese is as good as it is going to get.

Now with regard to the current contremps, the military funding bill headed to the House Appropriations Committee and the subject of “We Told You So:” above. This bill provides around $100 billion for both Iraq and Afghanistan. It sets a timetable for withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq (but not Afghanistan) and a series of benchmarks that will hold both the Iraqi and Bush governments accountable for specific performance measures. The posture is: (1) we support the troops, here’s a bunch of money to show it, and here are some requirements that both help keep them safe while in battle and help make them even safer by getting them the hell out of what is no longer our fight in Iraq; and (2) we support the war against al Qaeda and the Taliban, we’re giving the military more money for Afghanistan than was requested and we are not setting any limits on that war. The hope is that this combination will draw enough votes in the Senate to get past a filibuster. Right now, maybe yes, maybe no.

But what about the Iran thing? Why not add in a provision to tell the President that he has to come to Congress before he attacks Iran? Seems reasonable, seems proper, it has the support of the American people and, so it is rumored, the military Chiefs of Service and SecDef Gates. Unfortunately, idiot Republican Senators will not support any such provision and neither will idiot Lieberman. With the Iran restriction as part of the bill it is DOA in the Senate. Simple as that. The Democrats can hang on to it and get absolutely nowhere, or they can let it go and have a chance at passing a bill that will support the Afghan war while mandating a withdrawal from combat in Iraq.

Does this mean that the Democrats are “Writing a Blank Check for a War with Iran” as lambert wrote? Well, clearly no, that is at best a piece of hysterical hyperbole and at worst what I’m complaining about, an unfounded attack on a responsible, intelligent Democratic leadership that is doing the very best it can in a very difficult situation. The difference between Iraq and Iran is that we have a nasty hot war going on in Iraq that needs immediate attention, and with Iran we have some vague BushCo threats that may or may not mean anything. We need to deal with what's real now; we can worry about dark fears later.

Ours is not a parliamentary system. Barring an unlikely impeachment, we are stuck with Bush for another two years. We are stuck with 49 Republican Senators no matter what. Getting anything positive done will have to be over Bush’s rigidity and vetoes, and through the intransigence of the Republican caucus.

Think of the Bill Murray character in “What about Bob?” – baby steps, baby steps. To have a chance of passage, every bill will have to be very narrow, very specific, and contain enough sweeteners to get 10 Republican Senators on board for passage. Like Murray’s Bob, the way forward will be very annoying, very herky-jerky, and very slow. Getting all ideologically rigid and demanding provisions that absolutely lead to nothing but failure is, well, counterproductive. Bashing the Democrats for trying to effectively deal with reality is not what I would hope for from those who pride themselves on being a part of the “reality-based” community. Publicly beating on Democrats by Democrats only contributes to the Republican talking point that Democrats are "too disorganized" to govern effectively, and takes the focus off of BushCo where it should be. It helps nothing.

Myself, I will be grudgingly satisfied for now with my half loaf of bread, my half glass of water, and my crumbly bits of cheese. Beats the crap Repubs have been shoveling out. I will keep my anger and my wrath and my derision focused on the real enemies of freedom in my country and peace in the world, the reactionary Republicans. I will gladly support the very good and decent people who lead my party, and have faith that they are smart enough to know what they can accomplish and what they can’t. And I will work diligently to ensure that come the next election we will finish what we began in ’06 and kick the bums all the way out.

The last election was just the first step on what will be a long road back for progressive causes. We will move along that path much faster if we respect one another and keep a clear distinction between our friends and our enemies.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to speak, and for listening.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

The Company plays hardball. With uranium hand grenades.

In the not so distant future, when you're over 65 with no social security or medicare, can't go outside during the day because there's only ozone is in the air of your urban metroplex and not the upper atmosphere, can't sleep at night because its 85 degrees in your tropical hovel in the Canadian Rockies, and couldn't afford to buy an air conditioner anyway because the ID chip implanted in your neck tells the Company you're at the end of your credit, remember that this used to be Constitutional Democracy once where the majority of people actually elected Al Gore President.

But that the Democratic Leadership decided it was better for the Party to play ball than to fight for what was right.

Which Party? Dear Leader's, of course.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

Submitted by Soullite (not verified) on

I'm a bit sick of the people like Brighton who want to give the party a pass on everything. YOU might be happy with the crumbs they toss us. They aren't doing dick on any issue I care about, so I could care less if YOU are happy with a few drops of water and a few crumbs of bread.

This isn't about ending Iraq, this entire post isn't about ending Iraq. I'd imagine that's why you were asked if you understood the difference in the first place. Your response is a bunch of illogical drivel that makes no consistent sense. FIRST you argue that adding anything else to this resolution will prevent it from passing, so it's wise to exclude the Iran portion of the bill. THEN you argue that it doesn't matter, because until 2008, there's nothing we could do anyway. And you're right, there really isn't much we can do about IRAQ. But why does it make sense to leave a portion of the bill out if there's nothing to be done about it anyway.

We can't really end Iraq, but we can prevent Iran. Your argument against preventing a war with Iran is either poorly thought through, or outright dishonest. So I'm going to ask you point blank: Do you support preventing a war with Iran?

As for your other claims, you're wrong. Some in this coalition clearly have no interest in ending the war. We can not end the war more quickly by catering to their needs, nor can we do ourselves any good by treating that as a legitimate position. It's a zero-sum game. If they aren't right, we are. If they're views are respectable, ours aren't. You're assuming that having a D next to your name automatically means you are not a reactionary wingnut. That's simply not the case at the present. Some members' slavish devotion to AIPAC forces them to take extremely reactionary foreign policy positions, hence the hostility to AIPAC you see on this board.

Look, I know you think it would be great if our some members of our party weren't our enemies. But they are and we have to deal with that. You simply can not appear strong to the American people by working with your enemies and legitimizing them. You look strong in this country by punching your enemy in the gut and grinding his face into the mud. If you don't understand that, you don't understand American politics no matter how heavily you've studied our political system. Focus only on the enemy outside our party and you will repeatedly undermined by the enemies within it.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

for your explaination. you have been answered by others as well as i could. here at Corrente, we always welcome comments, regardless of how well they may or may not go against the grain.

please continue to bring it on.

Jakebnto's picture
Submitted by Jakebnto on

The difference is one of evolution vs revolution. Is revolution possible? Is it necessary? I don't know the answer to either question. I do know that change is required and that evolution is possible.

I also know that moving the discussion to the left takes revolutionaries, whether or not revolution itself is possible.

So keep shrilling, all you lefty radicals. Never give up! Because even if you aren't successful in creating revolution, you do advance evolution in the right (that is, left) direction.

Jake

Submitted by lambert on

I understand the case that you're making, and have made it myself on this blog for the past three or four years now (right, Shystee?). The way I put it, is that eating half a shit sandwich (with the Democrats) is better than eating a whole shit sandwich (with the Republicans). And yes, I am well aware of the arithmetic in Congress and the tactics needed to get legislation passed. And after watching the Democrats in action after taking their majorities, I've very reluctantly concluded that I'm wrong. We need to shove the Overton window left, and I don't see another way to do that than by calling bullshit where needed. If that makes us Shrill, or lacks Civility, then so be it; I'm used to it; and exhibiting deference to those in power is not a feature of a healthy body politic.

[Incidentally, I think "hysterical" is a little beneath you. We've all seen how the Bush administration is always capable of lowering the bar, and if the Democrats say, Well, we have no power over Bush's ability to go to war with Iran, I'd like to know what kind of check, other than a blank one, has been written.]

But here are my real concerns.

1. In fact, Iraq is one of the smaller problems we have, believe it or not.

2. Bigger than Iraq is the restoration of Constitutional government. With the signing statements and open disregard for the law (FISA and you name it), it's clear that we have a lawless executive branch that, by destroying the checks and balances that should restrain it, is a tyranny as Federalist 47 understands the term. (The little snippet of conversation from Sampson in this post shows exactly how this, well, this criminal regime operates. Authoritarian is the precise word to use for them.)

Note that the restoration of constitutional government is bigger than Iraq, because Iraq is one war, and an all-powerful, unchecked executive means many wars, Iran being the most obvious one they've got planned for us.

3. And even bigger than the restoration of Constitutional government, which has to do mostly with the United States, is global warming, which affects the entire world.

And yet, we can't even get a resolution on Iraq passed because of the Blue Dogs roll over when the Republicans scratch their bellies, and because of Joe Lieberman. (Incidentally, I'd feel a lot better about the Democratic regulars use of Joe as an excuse explanation, if they'd gone all out to take him down, which I certainly didn't see happening.)

Now, you may tell me that the Democrats are passing this or that bill, or holding this or that hearing. (I note, in passing, that the current scandals du jour, Walter Reed and the US Attorney firing, were driven by WaPo and TPM respectively, and the Democrats were solely in reactive mode.)

All well and good. But what that tells me is that the Democrats are demonstrating, well, Pre-11/10/2000 thinking. I see committee barons--good ones, most of them--taking up where they left off the last time they held power, legislating, holding hearings, as if nothing had changed. But that's just not so! See points 1 and 2 above.

What I need to see from the Democrats is:

1. I need to see Democrats pushing a narrative--on a daily basis--that puts all of the pieces together, such that the Republican brand and all conservative ideas are automatically discredited for at least a generation. Scattered committee hearings, no matter how well intended, don't do that. Pelosi and Reid--whom I venerate for saving Social Security--aren't doing it. Hilbadwards isn't doing it. The Beltway consultants aren't doing it, because if the Dems get above a certain margin, their business model gets trashed. Nobody's doing it. Can the Dems, institutionally, even imagine crafting a coherent message? They'd better learn how! This is a 180-degree turn from "correct strategy is to keep the issues isolated," bringiton. We're not in oppostion, and we don't have to play whack-a-mole anymore, reacting to what comes up. Control the narrative, and we control the discourse, control the discourse, and you open the Overton window to the real possibilities we all want. But you can't control the narrative when you keep the issues isolated!

2. I need to see the Democratic plan to restore Constitutional Government. Suppose Hillary gets elected, and starts using signing statements the same way Bush did, or National Security letters. What then have we won? And please don't tell me "We're the good guys, we would never to that." The Constitution is set up the way that it is because nobody is to be trusted with power, not even the "good guys."

3. I need to see the Democrats address our imperial role. Do we really plan to garrison the Middle East so we can hang onto the oil? And do we really believe, as seems to be the Washington Consensus among neocons and DLCers alike, that military power is going to keep us "on top" forever? I don't believe that for a minute, and it hasn't worked for other empires in the past (though, of course, it has worked out very well for some corporations). See Chalmers Johnson on Republic or Empire.

So, to charactize progressives--and these bloggers---as "sniping and snarking" isn't, as I think they would say in the Beltway, helpful. Indeed, it characterizes the troops who you yourself admit were key factors in winning the 2006 election as governed by irrational, petty, purist emotions. As I hope I have demonstrated in this comment--as well as in a significant body of work over the last four years--that is simply not so.

The Democrats now hold a measure of power. They, just as much as the Republicans, must be held accountable for how they use the power that we the voters granted them. I suggest that you have a case to make that they are using their power wisely, in light of the above critique. Can you make it?

NOTE 1 Bringiton, if you want, get yourself an account and put up some posts. If they're the same quality as your comments, we'll all be better off.

NOTE 2 I think that oversight is far more important than legislation, (a) legislating is near kabuki -- note qualifier before flaming, please -- when the Constitution's been trashed, (b) oversight is something that's completely in our power, so Fuck the Blue Dogs and Ho Lieberman, and (c) oversight provides a ready-made, overarching narrative. I'd like to the Democrats rollout, now that the near-kabuki of the 100 hours has passed, a plan for 100 days of hearings. And you know that's do-able. Kill the body and the head will die. The administration is a bag of pus waiting to burst. But we need to shove the needle in hard. When that happens, the Blue Dogs will dry up and blow away too.

NOTE 3 You will note that the restoration of Constitutional government is... a rather "conservative" demand. Eh?

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

shystee's picture
Submitted by shystee on

Bringiton's approach sounds more like cheerleading or being a sportsfan than anything else. Lefty bloggers should stick to "Our team rules, your team sux!" type of messages and that's it.

It's a zero-sum game where no criticism of Dem Politicians is allowed, because that would undermine "our" team and embolden the enemy. Does the rhetoric sound familiar?

What is the role of the activist in politics?

Is it to relentlessly promote the Party of their choice, regardless of what they do? To turn a blind eye to their representatives' continued failure to represent the wishes of the activists? To naively assume that their representatives share their concerns but gosh darn it it's too difficult, too complicated for them to do anything about it?

Or is it the activists' role to push their representatives to take the actions that will bring about the change they want? This is very hard to do if activists are not allowed to criticise their representatives.

I would call the first group Loyalists rather than Activists.

And as I've argued over the years, what is the incentive for Dem representatives to enact progressive policy, if they know that they are guaranteed support and kind words from the activist base no matter what?

You have to ask yourself what is your primary goal: progressive policy or success for the democratic party?

Loyalists would say these goals are one and the same. Democratic Party success must come first if anything progressive is to happen.

By this logic, in order to achieve Democrat success Progressives must excuse Dem Politicians for failing to stop or outright enabling authoritarian, imperialistic policy.

Is this really the intelligent, realistic way to go as Bringiton suggests? Or are Bringiton and Loyalists like him getting played for suckers?

Not only is this approach morally ass-backwards, it could prove to be politically stupid as well. Dem Loyalists are gambling on the notion that the Dem and Independent voters who elected the Democrats to end the war in Iraq and stop the abuse of our freedoms will accept the wonkety-wonk excuses for why the Dems politicians weren't able to get it done.

In the high-efficiency workplace of today, Americans know that results are the only thing that matters. I don't know if Americans will accept that this rule doesn't apply to the people whose job is to be their representative.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

Thanks But You’re Making Me Vehemently Sick

Well, this is fun. I don’t usually speak out publicly, that whole going against the grain thing leaves me with slivers, but I feel strongly that the issue of where to focus progressive energies is critical at this moment in time and so, here I am.

Thank you lambert for offering the account idea, very kind of you, perhaps, perhaps. Hysterical may have been a bit, ahem, shrill of me but it was said for effect and by definition (frantic, frenzied, out-of-control) not all that far off the mark. Dropping the Iran restriction is decidedly NOT the same as “writing a blank check” for going to war. Putting aside one argument in favor of settling another is not the same as acquiescence – it’s a tactic, not surrender.

Further, lambert, I wholeheartedly concur that the constitutional issues are the more important. The difference between us isn’t what needs doing, but how to go about it. I’m from way out West, and have known Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for a lifetime. While I’m a bit to the left of Pelosi and well left of Reid, I know them both to be good and decent people who by and large want the same things that I do for America and for our children. In spite of our differences they are my allies, I respect them, and I trust them. If they think that paring the Iran provision from the military funding bill is necessary, then I accept that it is so. Am I happy about that? Absolutely not. But I will take incremental progress over none at all.

Oversight power is the immediate key, so pleased that is recognized. What is happening now is positioning, setting up the agenda, getting staff on board and assignments parceled out, decisions being made about what to go after, in what order and when. Can’t just come charging out of the gate on all topics, too overwhelming for the news cycle and this is a political battle not a moral crusade. Just you watch. This is a well-planned operation to shred BushCo and the Republican Party over the next 18 months, but to do it in a way that does not appear overtly political. Leadership wants this to be done so that the focus stays on Republican criminality and ineptitude. They see that as the best path to victory in ’08 and I agree with that assessment.

Soullite, I may have perhaps sacrificed clarity for brevity, but really these Repubs have made a horrible mess that is difficult to untangle and will take some time. Wish it were simple but it isn’t. I disagree completely with your premise that this is a zero-sum game. There is always room in politics as in life for creative solutions that yield growth. As to my comments being drivel, well, maybe so, I am not objective on the subject. But illogical and off-topic, not at all. You are arguing that conflating an at best specious declaration about war with Iran and a military spending bill that sets a timetable for Iraq withdrawal is a good thing even though it will fail. I argue that removing the Iran issue makes the Iraq disengagement bill at least possible, though not assured, and that a chance at progress is better than guaranteed failure. The chicago dyke post asked a question about war in Iran. The answer is that it is more immediately important to try to end the war Iraq. The question you pose (“So I’m going to ask you point blank: Do you support preventing a war with Iran?”) is a logic trap. I am, like all rational people, opposed to war. I am not, however, a pacifist. If war is necessary, then war must be fought. Iran is not at that point, and even BushCo recognizes it. The rhetoric around war with Iran is only saber-rattling, a diversion, a feint, to try and draw congressional Democrats into a political encounter they cannot win. Setting it aside for another time is the right political move and gives up nothing.

You wrote “We can’t really end Iraq, but we can prevent Iran.” I argue that we must do whatever we can to end Iraq, as a first order of business. Until that mess is cleaned up, everything else is impossible to address. Iran will wait; nothing is going to happen there any time soon. Even if BushCo actually wanted to attack Iraq, they’ve been told by our military to piss off. Planning at the Pentagon now is for withdrawal from Iraq, everything else is second tier or off the table. Our military leadership knows a loser when they see one and the Republicans are now losers. Pentagon planning has shifted to pleasing the new power center, the Democrats, and the Democrats want out of Iraq and don’t want a war with Iran. The best way to prevent war with Iran, and to restore constitutional liberty, is to ensure Democratic control of government. Anything that limits that possibility, including overly harsh criticism by progressives of rational Democratic leadership decisions, is for me a negative. Others may disagree.

Jakebnto, thanks for the kind words, Peace be upon you.

Submitted by lambert on

... because I have some things I need to do in real, or at least terrestrial life--

1. My goodness, I didn't mean to make you sick! (If that was a joke, I don't get it.)

2. I see your argument, as I said, but if I boiled it down, I'd summarize it as "Trust us."

Of course, a second reading when I have more time may reveal that the Democrats are already planning to handle #1, #2, and #3 (supra), but on this reading I don't see where you show that the Democrats are constructing an overarching narrative, are restoring Constitutional government, or are reconsidering our imperial role.

For example, can't you see that a narrative is the answer to "charging out of the gate on all topics"? (A straw man if ever I lit one, at least in response to my comment.) "All topics" need to be fit under the aegis of a narrative! It's not sheer number of topics that is the problem, but that the Democrats are not able to integrate them. And at this point I have to question whether, institutionally, they're capable of it.

And as far as "incremental," is that the plan to restore Constitutional government? I certainly don't see how it's going to work.

I will not be happy if the "New Boss" is the same as the "Old Boss." And I'm afraid that your knowing Reid and Pelosi personally ("for a lifetime") is simply not enough assurance that a Democratic President would not simply take over the executive powers that Bush seized (leaving the Presidency "in better shape" than He found it). This is not an issue of personalities, but of pulling ourselves back from the brink of losing our Republic to gain an Empire, as the Romans failed to do. (A history that, as I am sure you know, the Founders were very aware of.) I'd like to have confidence that the Democrats had a plan for that--but if they do, I see no sign of it.

All this said, for all I know, the fuse TPM lit long ago with firing the attorneys may lance the administration's bag of pus -- leading to resignations, impeachments, and way more oversight, and the narrative, the plan, and the rethinking of our imperial role. If so, I'll be happy.

NOTE "Out-of-control"? Sweet Jeebus, I should hope so. Last I checked, the party and the government worked for the voters, not the other way round. So sorry.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

Dropping the Iran restriction is decidedly NOT the same as “writing a blank check” for going to war. Putting aside one argument in favor of settling another is not the same as acquiescence – it’s a tactic, not surrender.

please give me an example of when the bush administration has not been given an inch and then taken a mile. the AUMF was supposed to be about military force, it's been used to justify everything from spying on americans to secret torture prisons and beyond. there is only one way to stop bush's plans for iran: legislation that specifically makes that illegal. i think it is dangerously foolish to believe bush won't invade iran. remember: he see it as his holy mission, communicated directly to him by god.

Even if BushCo actually wanted to attack Iraq, they’ve been told by our military to piss off. Planning at the Pentagon now is for withdrawal from Iraq, everything else is second tier or off the table

this is not what i'm reading. there are regular military actions in iran and around its borders happening right now. the reason we don't hear about them is because the media, when it bothers to mention them, describes them as "part of the efforts in iraq." there is also a very high likelyhood, based on what is coming out about mercenary forces who act independently of the army and marines, that these idependent actors are also setting the stage for bush's iran war, getting around those pesky pentagon planners you mention. do not underestimate the size or scope of these private soldiers who answer only to those who sign their paychecks. which i will remind you, includes democrats as they agree to another 100 billion for "operations" in iraq. i have it on good authority from soldiers in iraq that they are being shortchanged, and that the billions we spend are going directly for the support of the private armies.

and there is plenty of planning still happening. some brass have said no to an invasion of iran, but some are still loyal to bush, and there is always the israelis, who have enjoyed uncommon access to US military planning and intel since bush took office.

don't kid yourself. bush is a madman. opposition to his war must be the most forceful congress can muster, and only someone blind to the last six years would believe that just because facts, logic, the economy and military don't agree with bush, that fact will stop him.

i second lambert's suggestion: register and get an account and post here. your writing is solid, even if i disagree with some of your points.

Submitted by lambert on

"Diversity is linked to survival." I remember, back in the day, a commenter at Atrios called "Eri[c|k] (conservative)" (I'm not sure of the spelling now, it's been so long). In any case, he contributed a tremendous amount to the discussion, as you are, in this thread, exactly because he was an antidote to groupthink.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by lambert on

See e.g. the Sunday Telegraph:

US funds terror groups to sow chaos in Iran
In a move that reflects Washington's growing concern with the failure of diplomatic initiatives, CIA officials are understood to be helping opposition militias among the numerous ethnic minority groups clustered in Iran's border regions.

The operations are controversial because they involve dealing with movements that resort to terrorist methods in pursuit of their grievances against the Iranian regime.

In the past year there has been a wave of unrest in ethnic minority border areas of Iran, with bombing and assassination campaigns against soldiers and government officials.

Such incidents have been carried out by the Kurds in the west, the Azeris in the north-west, the Ahwazi Arabs in the south-west, and the Baluchis in the south-east. Non-Persians make up nearly 40 per cent of Iran's 69 million population, with around 16 million Azeris, seven million Kurds, five million Ahwazis and one million Baluchis. Most Baluchis live over the border in Pakistan.
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Funding for their separatist causes comes directly from the CIA's classified budget but is now "no great secret", according to one former high-ranking CIA official in Washington who spoke anonymously to The Sunday Telegraph.

And, of course, if Iran responds, that will quickly be turned into a casus belli, eh? So I'd call that a win-win situation!

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by bringiton (not verified) on

lambert, dear, no apology from you required. The body of my last message was in the form of a reply to you and soullite, and I took as my Subject line a combination of: "I'm a bit sick of the" and "Thanks but I vehemently disagree" which became "Thanks But you're making me vehemently sick" Alas, not all my attempts at wry are successful as humor. Apologies all mine.

Many topics here and not enough space or time. I am trusting of people I know well, and speak up in defense of my friends when I feel they are being unfairly criticized; just my nature. The evil Repubs have created a huge, vermin infested swamp and draining it will require that first we thin out the alligators. Sorry, big job here, incremental is the best it's going to get. The question I raise is whether castigating Democrats for being strategically realistic is a positive or a negative right in the moment? I don’t think it helps just now, not nearly as much as castigating the reactionary Republicans. Only so much space, only so much time. Better I think to keep the present focus on the really foul enemies, there are plenty of them.

As to shystee's assignment of labels, I am quite capable thank you of being a loyally affiliated activist and do not feel obliged to accept either your artificial segmentation or your restrictive role for political activity. An effective activist knows that sometimes you shout and sometimes you keep quiet, sometimes you hector and sometimes you murmur encouragement. I'll stay both an unreconstructed liberal and a loyal Democrat until I see a better option, better meaning more functionally relevant. Lots of progressive idealists voted for Nader (God knows why, such a misogynist, but that’s another topic) and thereby gave us Bush instead of Gore. Not every act of fervor, however pure the intent, has the desired effect. All I’m saying is that being surrounded by poisonous snakes and alligators we need to keep a focus on beating them back first before we start arguing with our friends about how to drain the swamp.

Enough for me on this thread, we’ve all made our points and I too need to get about other matters; let’s agree to disagree on some things and take up the discussion another day. It’s been swell, all the best, Down With Imperialism, Power To The People, etc, etc.

Submitted by lambert on

I will leave it to readers to judge who is being more "strategically realistic" here. Although I could offer a hint....

In any case, do get an account. This was fun, and helpful.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by xan (not verified) on

You do do realize you're arguing different approaches to the same goal, right? I'm trying to think of any analogy that doesn't involve the use of the words "left" and "right" (bird wings, aircraft parts, different ends of the same army spread out on the march, arms attached to the same body, etc) and all I can come up with is that you're two rotor blades attached to the same helicopter.

There's strategy (big picture) and tactics (how to accomplish the strategic goal.) We need both of them, and the good thing about there being Many of us is that we can work on both parts at the same time. Have at it.

Lay on, MacDuff, and curs't be he who first cries "Hold, enough!"

:)