Beware these people!

US soldiers and prospective armed forces volunteers: the question of "support" for US troops in Iraq has been raised. It has been raised, by people who think war is a wonderful enterprise, above the heads of anyone who brings up any kind of objections to or dissents from the US's policies in Iraq and in the "war on terror". But who are these people who claim to be supporting soldiers from their comfortable, middle- and upper-class homes in the United States, while you carry out the president's orders far away? What does their support consist of?

A group of them - including, most unfortunately, some of America's future leaders - had a convention recently. Here are the people you are fighting for; here are the people who will be sending you or people you know abroad in a few years' time to fight another war for their positions:

In interviews, more than a dozen [College Republican] conventiongoers explained why it is important that they stay on campus while other, less fortunate people their age wage a bloody war in Iraq. They strongly support the war, they told me, but they also want to enjoy college life and pursue interesting careers.

I chatted for a while with Collin Kelley, a senior at Washington State... Kelley told me he's "sick and tired of people saying our troops are dying in vain" and added, "This isn't an invasion of Iraq, it's a liberation--as David Horowitz said." When I asked him why he was staying on campus rather than fighting the good fight, he rubbed his shoulder and described a nagging football injury from high school. Plus, his parents didn't want him to go. "They're old hippies," Kelley said.

If young master Kelley really thought this war was worth it and was vital for America's security, wouldn't he tell his parents that he respectfully disagreed with them and go and sign up - most especially if they were a pair of old dirty hippies? What better way to rebel?

By the time I encountered Cory Bray, a towering senior from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, the beer was flowing freely. "The people opposed to the war aren't putting their asses on the line," Bray boomed from beside the bar. Then why isn't he putting his ass on the line? "I'm not putting my ass on the line because I had the opportunity to go to the number-one business school in the country," he declared, his voice rising in defensive anger, "and I wasn't going to pass that up."

Like Cheney during Vietnam, Bray has "other priorities" that prevent him from serving in a war he "supports" so much. Did you or your comrades have anything approaching Bray's chance, which you passed up to join the military? Or, like one of my relatives who is currently serving in Iraq, was the military the only opportunity you had to get away from an unbearable situation?

The people who sent you into war trotted out the same lines during Vietnam. And these "supporters", engaging in the same hypocrisy, will be taking their place in the near future. These are your leaders; these are the people who will send you off to die, without ever even considering making your sacrifices - because they don't have to.

Soldiers! Take a good look at the people you fighting for! Take a good look at how these people are "supporting" your service!


The Iraq war and the Democrats

The Democrats (or at least many of the leading figures) appear to be coming to a consensus on the Iraq war: pulling out and bringing US soldiers home is not an option; "accountability" and "success" are what's needed. This has been more or less the default Democratic position at least since the convention in 2004, when Kerry, Edwards and the party leadership shamefully silenced the anti-war faction (presumably as part of their desire to "make America stronger"), but now the position stressing Bush's errors and accountability, rather than the need to get the fuck out of Iraq, seems to be spreading out into the rank-and-file.

Never mind the fact that most Americans want to begin withdrawing soldiers right away. For the Democrats, swinging around a bigger dick than the Republicans is the way to go, not listening to their constituents or standing on principle.

Some recent reading on this issue:

- Raimondo at antiwar.com comes up with very good column (that is, he manages to keep the libertarian ranting to a minimum) on Biden's bogus position on the US's Iraq policy.

- Comrade Max compiles a list of Democratic and "progressive" viewpoints on the need to win, win, win.

- Not entirely related, but good for a laugh: why YOU are causing the Yankees to suck.

ADD Kerry's plea to Bush to encourage Iraq's ethnic and religious militias to become more active:

Iraq, of course, badly needs a unified national army, but until it has one - something that our generals now say could take two more years - it should make use of its tribal, religious and ethnic militias like the Kurdish pesh merga and the Shiite Badr Brigade to provide protection and help with reconstruction. Instead of single-mindedly focusing on training a national army, the administration should prod the Iraqi government to fill the current security gap by integrating these militias into a National Guard-type force that can provide security in their own areas.

This is a bad idea, for reasons I have alreay discussed. This isn't policy, this isn't even clutching at straws. This is flailing and drowning. Unfortunately, many others are going to be pulled down by these policies.


Rumsfeld: US can't beat guerillas in Iraq

That was quick:

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Sunday that American forces would not defeat Iraq's rebels but would make way for Iraqis to put down an insurgency that could go on for a decade or more.

"That insurgency can go on for any number of years," Rumsfeld told Fox News.

"Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years. Foreign forces are not going to repress that insurgency."

Everything Bush and company said before the war and up till a week ago and will probably keep saying concerning turning corners and dead-enders and victory - down the toilet. Now we hear about what is not possible. "I doubt six months" indeed, Mr. Rumsfeld.

Rumsfeld added:

"We're going to create an environment that the Iraqi people and the Iraqi security forces can win against that insurgency."

General Abizaid also chipped in:

The U.S. Middle East commander, General John Abizaid, said: "It's clear to me that by the ... early part of next spring next year to the summer of next year you'll see Iraqi security forces move into the lead in the counterinsurgency fight."

But, in a U.S. television interview, he added: "That doesn't mean that I'm saying we'll come home by then."

No, of course not, because that would defeat a major purpose of the invasion, which is to maintain a long-term (or permanent) presence in the country. So even while Rumsfeld and his generals now advise the public not to expect the glowing victory they were promised - indeed, they are virtually conceding defeat - they stress that no matter what happens, US soldiers are not going to be leaving Iraq anytime soon, as seen in Rice's "generational commitment".

It should be clear that no matter what these liars say, there are no plans to remove US soldiers from Iraq and there won't be, until some circumstances force this withdrawal.

Dershowitz: add censorship to his list of liberties

Torture advocate Alan Dershowtiz has attempted to add censorship to his noble list of "civil liberties":

What do you do when somebody wants to publish a book that says you're completely wrong? If you're Alan Dershowitz, the prominent Harvard law professor, and the book is Norman Finkelstein's Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, you write the governor of California and suggest that he intervene with the publisher--because the publisher is the University of California Press, which conceivably might be subject to the power of the governor.

Schwarzenegger, showing unusual wisdom, declined to act. The governor's legal affairs secretary wrote Dershowitz, "You have asked for the Governor's assistance in preventing the publication of this book," but "he is not inclined to otherwise exert influence in this case because of the clear, academic freedom issue it presents." In a phone interview Dershowitz denied writing to the Governor, declaring, "My letter to the Governor doesn't exist." But when pressed on the issue, he said, "It was not a letter. It was a polite note."

Why does Harvard keep this cretin on its faculty? He advocates torture; denies and rewrites history; and engages in plagiarism and other dubious practices. Now Dershowitz is attempting to silence people like Finkelstein who want to demonstrate that he is full of shit. I wonder where the "academic standards" crowds are on this one. Maybe still tied up with the Mideast faculty at Columbia.


Supreme Court expands local eminent domain powers

Ok, deep breath... calm down... I am forced to admit that I have to side with wingnuts Scalia and Thomas (along with O'Connor and Rehnquist) on the Kelo v. City of New London decision on eminent domain. The fact that my reasons for opposing this ruling almost certainly differ from those of Scalia and Thomas offer little consolation.

Eminent domain is absolutely crucial for governments (at the local through national levels) to acquire enough contiguous property to construct projects for the public good. The key word here is "public". Electrical plants and conveyances, water improvements, roads, mass transit, public hospitals and schools - these are all "public" improvements, in the sense that any member of the public can make use of them, by virtue of being a member of the community exercising eminent domain in order to appropriate property.

But this is not what Kelo was about. Here, the Supreme Court ruled that municipal governments can act as a proxy for private interests, rather than the public interest (despite the difficulties of defining this, as Comrade Max points out), based on nothing more than the vague notion that private enterprise will ultimately benefit the public at large.

This decision opens the door to massive corruption, due to the fact that individual property owners now have very little legal recourse to fight against appropriation of their property and that eminent domain can be invoked on behalf of any large business interest that has enough clout (financial or otherwise) to persuade local governments that their "redevelopment" schemes will benefit the public-at-large.

I want to be clear: I do not share the common American veneration of private property. But this decision is simply a means of empowering large, private business interests against ordinary homeowners and other small property owners. In other words, it is yet another means of redistributing wealth from the poor to the rich.

Proposed flag-burning amendment moves to Senate

Do the US really need a Constituional amendment on this? Is sweating all over a US flag bandana going to count as "desecration" or "patriotism"? Or is this 2005's version of "freedom fries"?

If you have to enforce respect of something on pain of legal punishment, it's probably not worth respecting.


Another sorry Democrat

So Dick Durbin caved in and apologized for his remarks on America's torture at Guantanamo.

I'm not surprised - this type of snivelling weakness and inability to stand up for any kind of principle increasingly seems to be a characteristic of the leading figures in the Democratic Party. Pelosi would not attack Bush until it became painfully clear that there were no WMD in Iraq; Kerry would not stand up and say he was lied to and hell no, knowing what he knew in summer 2004 he would not have voted to give Bush monarchical power to wage war in 2002; and now Durbin with his stupid apology.

Of course, the whole episode was bullshit: Durbin never compared US soldiers to Nazis or anyone else. He was merely stating that the type of torture in Guantanamo is more like Nazi behavior rather than what many people usually consider "American". This is isn't true, as anyone who doesn't think history is simply for trampling upon knows - America has been responsible for training torturers for decades in places like Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. When considering something like torture, I don't see very much of a difference in morality between enabling and training torturers and actually getting involved in the wet stuff. Seen in this light, the whole "this-isn't-America" line is offensive - it implies that torture isn't "American" when, viewed historically (again, actually reading the pages of history rather than wiping our asses with them), it is very "American".

Nevertheless, the whole outrage over Durbin's remarks was entirely manufactured and rested upon the deliberate tendentiousness and misrepresentation that I pointed to above. So, he shouldn't have apologized, but dug in and told people that the truth hurts sometimes and that they should deal with it. But he chose to handle his predicament dishonorably instead. And now the Democratic faithful go about in a daze, again, wondering how and why another of their leaders sold them out and pandered to the right-wing. You would think that after a while, this tendency would become apparent.

These well-meaning, clueless individuals should develop some sense. Assorted right-wing cretins make all kinds of statements, totally disconnected from reality, accusing everyone who disagrees with them of treason, and they get away with it. You want to know why? Because they aren't timid and they don't give a shit about what their political enemies think. Does anyone really believe that Rove is going to apologize or resign for his recent statements? The Democratic demand for an apology would be laughable, if it weren't such a pathetically transparent attempt to make up for the Durbin fiasco.

Once again, the Republicans and their quasi-fascist minions strike up a number, and once again Democrats start dancing. This will never win elections.

CIA: US's Iraq adventure creating militants

Iraq is becoming a training ground for militants, who may carry their new skills back to their home countries, according to a CIA report.

Glad to see that the eggheads at the CIA are catching up. And to think that I give this away for free.


Paging David Ignatius: "true anarchy" on line 2

AFP photo. Caption reads: "Kurds dig a grave for 13 traffic policemen who were killed when a suicide car bomber blew himself up in a crowded sports ground, in the Kurdish city of Arbil in northern Iraq".

Hey, Ignatius: why don't you file your reports from Arbil or Mosul for a while, and then get back to us about the lack of "true anarchy" outside of the Beltway?


A disagreement between enemies

The president issues some high-sounding utterances about Iraq:

"Some may disagree with my decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, but all of us can agree that the world's terrorists have now made Iraq a central front in the war on terror".

Excuse me - I do not recall reading about suicide bombings, car bombings, kidnappings and hostage-taking, rival militias, beheadings, drive-by shootings, daily assassinations, and targeting of innocent civilians in mosques and markets in Iraq before the Americans arrived. So I have to conclude that Bush's statement is wrong here - it is the Americans who have made Iraq "a central front" in the "war on terror".

While we're on the subject, let me point out something that seems to have escaped the grasp of Bush, his egg-head flunkies, and the disgusting sycophants who sidle up to him in the press: militants, both Iraqi and non-Iraqi, are using Iraq as a testing and training ground for the future. Getting rid of the Americans and their longer-term goals, whatever they are, are certainly important, but they do not see their struggle ending there. People who would like to see what is going on Iraq as some kind of desperate struggle on the part of the militants/terrorists/call-them-whatever-you-like to defeat America then and there need to get a clue.

Consider Afghanistan: militants there ("freedom fighters", according to Reagan, who loved to equate them to figures such as Jefferson, Franklin and Madison) were involved in the next decade and later in operations in places like Bosnia, Chechnya and, of course, New York City on 11 September 2001. Afghanistan was a training ground, an irreplaceable venue for recruiting hard-core believers and instilling them with a solid and coherent ideology (in addition to the logistical and military/tactical aspects). Afghanistan may have been a graveyard for the Soviets, but it was a maternity ward for radical militants who have not yet ended their careers.

A similar thing is going on in Iraq. Militants are coming in and/or being developed locally there. The less-capable will be killed off, as will those who are happy to go the way of martyrdom. The more capable recruits, who want to stay alive for as long as possible so to inflict the maximum damage possible, will survive and be around to put their expertise (developed thanks to the American intervention) to use in the next decade and beyond. Iraq is not the West Bank - the US does not have a captive population living in a little ghetto, members of which it can track down and assassinate with F-16s, helicopters, or death squads. This is a large country, exit and entry into which is relatively easy.

So the idea that pacifying Iraq will end a "central front" on the "war on terror" is completely preposterous. But this analysis should not be seen as vindication of the bad old "fly-paper" hypothesis: the idea that the more talented militants, who have survived their ordeal, gained experience against all odds, and thus seen their beliefs and actions vindicated, will be content to limit their operations to Iraq is dubious in the extreme. So the Bush administrations is not limiting the "battle field" to Iraq; on the contrary, it is providing a giant training camp that will make it possible for militants to expand the arena of conflict.

The standard of success here is not measured year-by-year in one country; it must be seen in terms of decades and regionally and even globally. Thus, the fruits of America's Iraq disaster are not just the tens of thousands of dead Iraqis and the 1700 dead US soldiers; the fruits from this rotten tree will keep falling for years to come.


The energy policy "smoking gun"

Or, to paraphrase David Rees, the disassembled gun that may smoke if put together and fired: is it just me, or has this not gotten the attention it deserves thanks to the whole Downing St. (that's "Street", not "Saint") Memo affair?

In briefing papers given before meetings to the US under-secretary of state, Paula Dobriansky, between 2001 and 2004, the administration is found thanking Exxon executives for the company's "active involvement" in helping to determine climate change policy, and also seeking its advice on what climate change policies the company might find acceptable.

Other papers suggest that Ms Dobriansky should sound out Exxon executives and other anti-Kyoto business groups on potential alternatives to Kyoto.

Until now Exxon has publicly maintained that it had no involvement in the US government's rejection of Kyoto. But the documents, obtained by Greenpeace under US freedom of information legislation, suggest this is not the case.

"Potus [president of the United States] rejected Kyoto in part based on input from you [the Global Climate Coalition]," says one briefing note before Ms Dobriansky's meeting with the GCC, the main anti-Kyoto US industry group, which was dominated by Exxon.

But in evidence to the UK House of Lords science and technology committee in 2003, Exxon's head of public affairs, Nick Thomas, said: "I think we can say categorically we have not campaigned with the United States government or any other government to take any sort of position over Kyoto."

These documents probably represent just a tiny fraction of the volume of corporate dominance of the Cheney energy task-force memos that were "heavily censored" before being released to the public. At the very least, the House of Lords might want to look into perjury proceedings against this Thomas guy and his higher-ups in the Exxon hierarchy.

And I can say that categorically.

Finally, it's always instructive (I'm not sure why exactly, though) to look at how good old Scotty McClellan (and, thus, the Bush administration) deals with these kinds of questions. Happily, for my purposes, Scotty had to confront a press question referring specifically to the Guardian's article:

Q My second question is, The Guardian Newspaper in England has reported FOIA documents released to Greenpeace show that the White House views Exxon Corp. as one of the leading opponents of the Kyoto protocol, leading opponents of binding controls on greenhouse emissions. You now have Philip Cooney going to Exxon, after a period in which he served as Chief of Staff on the Environmental Council here at the White House, in which he edited scientific documents coming out of the administration that appeared to water down conclusions about global warming. Is there any connection here between a guy who worked in the White House editing out conclusions about global warming going to work for a corporation that opposed it?

MR. McCLELLAN: That's a pretty absurd question that you just raised...

It sure was an absurd question - what kind of jackass would dare suggest corporate nepotism between the Bush administration and big business - much less expect an honest answer from a wanker like Scotty?

Hello, I'm David Ignatius, and I'm a confused, cluless dolt

Hot on the heels of the now-infamous WaPo editorial, in which the paper's editors informed us that everyone "knew" by mid-2002 that Bush was dead-set on taking the US to war (despite Bush saying the opposite until March 2003), comes this offering by David Ignatius.

Ignatius trots out a number of lines and ideas in support of the general consensus now developing to rewrite certain parts of history concerning the lead-up to the war while suppressing discussion of other parts (yes, strong charges, and ones fully merited by the facts of the matter). His arguments thus deserve a closer look, if for no other reason than to understand the thinking (if I may describe what goes on in their heads with this word) of the "reasonable pundit/policy-maker".

Ignatius states that

The central problem in Iraq is the same one the United States encountered when it invaded the country in March 2003. That conundrum can be summed up in a phrase attributed to a top U.S. commander a week or so into the war: "Where are the Iraqis?"

This statement, of course, presupposes that the US's main goal was regime change all along, which is another bit of historical revisionism, since the ostensible purpose of the war was disarmament, not regime change. The real question - or conundrum, as Ignatius likes to call it - was actually something more like, "Where the fuck are the WMD"?

Next, we get a revision of what is currently going on in Iraq:

The militias are a fact of life. The Kurdish pesh merga forces are maintaining order in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq. The Iranian-trained Badr Brigade and other Shiite militias are keeping peace in the south and in Shiite areas of central Iraq. It's only in the Sunni heartland north and west of Baghdad, and in the checkered quilt of the capital itself, that true anarchy reigns.

Right - "anarchy" only in the "Sunni heartland". I guess a self-satisfied fathead like Igantius wouldn't care to describe what's going on in Mosul as "true anarchy":

The measures - surrounding Mosul with a moat-like ditch and ordering taxi drivers to take the trunk lids off their vehicles - are aimed to prevent militants bringing in car bombs and other weapons and kidnapping locals.

In recent months, the insurgents have been stepping up their activities in the area, with around 30 car-bomb attacks per week, according to the US Defence Department.

On June 2, five Iraqis were killed when two motorcycles rigged with bombs exploded here. And on May 23, at least 20 people died when two car bombs blew up.

Maybe Ignatius would have a different opinion of what constitutes "true anarchy" if he had to deal with this shit on K Street every day.

Moving on, Ignatius proceeds to endorse ethnic and religious gangs - "militias" - as a regrettable but necessary step towards ending the daily violence in the country. Naturally, when groups of rival religio-nationalist formations face off with each other in a desparate situation, nastiness in the form of civil war might occur. But the clever Ignatius has a plan for dealing with this eventuality:

The United States must make clear that it will tolerate the militias as local peacekeepers -- and continue doling out cash to tribal warlords -- only if they avoid such provocations and observe "red lines."

Just like that - when dealing with armed militias, whose cultures and history you have a pitiful grasp of, just treat them as you would squabbling children: threaten to withold favors, make sure they play nice in their own areas, see to it that they show proper respect, and maybe give them a pat on the head if they behave, and then everything will work itself out.

Unfortunately, this "grand strategy" neglects the possibility that all of the rival militias will tell the US where it can stick its "red lines", for the simple fact (which Ignatius, in his clumsy roundabout way, acknowledges) that the US needs them far more than they need the US. The US then would be faced with one of two scenarios: either certain more favored militias (like the Kurds) would be more and more emboldened to carry out policies like those detailed in this WaPo article, or the US military would end up fighting Kurds and Shia, in addition to Sunnis.

You would think that someone who proudly proclaims his opposition to withdrawing the US military would come up with something a little better. But, then again, when you're dead-set on making a bad decision with a terrible execution look good, silly scenarios are pretty much all that's left.


Pipeline dreams

Haaretz has another article on plans to resurrect the old Kirkuk-Haifa pipeline.

Two points stick out in my mind. First, we find out that

The Prime Minister's Office... views the pipeline to Haifa as a "bonus" the U.S. could give to Israel in return for its unequivocal support for the American-led campaign in Iraq...

I have to ask: is Sharon's office serious? Or has that old criminal finally lost his mind? A "bonus" for the "unequivocal support" Israel gave to the US's war of aggression against Iraq? What this "support" amounted to in the run-up to the war was mostly bad intelligence about the state of Iraq's WMD programs and delight that the US was going to take care of one of Israel's main enemies in the Mideast. If this kind of support necessitates a bonus, then a pink slip would be more in order.

Second, the article does not even mention Iraq's role in this proposed project. There is a statement to the effect that Jordan would have to be consulted/bought off, but apparently, what the Iraqis think is not so important. The US has an idea for dispensing with some of Iraq's resources; the Israelis have the facilities and the desire; what more do you need?

I wouldn't think that this pipeline project has much of a chance right now - defending existing pipelines is more than the US can handle at this point. But whether or not a project is realistic doesn't seem to be so much of a concern these days.


Saddam on trial

Fisk on Saddam's recent court appearance, footage of which was presented without sound:

If Saddam was really being charged with war crimes over the killings of Shias - which I hope he was - then why, in heaven's name, didn't we hear what he had to say? Why use the methods of Saddam himself? The silent film, the assumption of guilt? Or was Saddam telling the court that the United States was behind his regime, that Washington had given him the means to destroy the Halabja Kurds with gas?

Personally, I'm surprised Saddam is even getting this level of treatment. I thought by now he would have suffered a sudden heart attack or been involved in an unfortunate accident - for example, involving an Iraqi Jack Ruby pumping Hussein full of lead in front of surprised US soldiers.

In any event, there is no way the Bush administration and the Pentagon are going to allow Hussein a forum to inform the American public about his dealings with various US administrations over the years. It's not going to happen. Supporters of such a policy will say something to the effect that Saddam should not be allowed to issue propaganda to the various "dead-enders" fighting in his name and other anti-American forces out there. It will be another case of the historical record taking a backseat to current policy - in this case, misguided in the extreme.


Syria and the Iraq "insurgency"

The Guardian recently ran an article about Syrian citizens going to fight against US soldiers in Iraq (the WaPo also ran a version, written by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad).

Some of the stuff in this article sounds a little far-fetched; it makes me wonder if the one source quoted is really credible (the guy can fight five people at once?). However, the article does hit on an interesting possibility that I have not seen seen seriously examined elsewhere and that is, unfortunately, not examined further in this piece.

The call to jihad [at the beginning of the US invasion in 2003] was openly encouraged by the Syrian government, says Abu Ibrahim (a nom de guerre); it also arranged for buses to ferry fighters, speeded up the issuing of documentation and even gave prospective jihadis a discount on passport fees. Meanwhile, the Syrian media [entirely controlled by the Syrian government] were banging the drum for jihad... Eyewitnesses recall Syrian border police waving to the jihadi buses as they crossed into Iraq.

But the Syrian authorities didn't want cross-border traffic in fighters to stop
[in 2003]. The security services pressured them to keep sending people. "Why were they so keen for us to go and fight in Iraq?" asks Abu Ibrahim. "So we would die there?"

The possibility, of course, is that the Syrian government and intelligence services deliberately allowed budding "jihadis" to cross over into Iraq, not so much to fight Americans specifically as to simply get rid of them and remove a threat to the regime there.

If this is the case, then ironically, from the point of view of the anti-Syrian US government, the war in Iraq may be helping to prop up the hated Assad dictatorship in Syria. Taken together with the scenario in which Iranian intelligence contributed to the manipulation of US policy in the run-up to the war, America's actions and ignorance are a kind of irreplaceable fountain of good luck for its self-defined enemies in the region.


Casting stones

Billmon on Ralph Nader:

I see Ralph Nader wants Congress to impeach George Bush -- his nominal opponent and sometime political benefactor...

This sneering little broadside encapsulates neatly what is wrong with the Democratic party and its supporters. Namely, this: Democratic partisans still must find demons and windmills to attack instead of looking real close at their own failings to explain their disastrous electoral performances over the last decade.

The idea that Ralph Nader cost Al Gore the election in 2000 has become so enshrined in Democratic mythology that people today still feel obligated to snidely attack Ralph Nader - no matter the merits of his positions or suggestions. An irrational hatred, which one would expect from a petulant six-year-old but not an otherwise serious adult, characterizes such an attitude. Impeach Bush? Well, why not - except, when Nader suggests it, we should act all indignant and sarcastic.

I shouldn't have to say this, at this late date in 2005, but comments like this force me to: Al Gore defeated Al Gore in 2000. Gore did not even carry Tennessee, his home state, in 2000. Gore did not differentiate himself from Bush, he distanced himself from Clinton during the campaign, he chose a terrible running mate (which again, in true Democratic fashion, is only becoming apparent to people now, 4 or 5 years after the fact), he did not fight back against all the Republican crap that was thrown his way during the campaign and, finally, the "Ahh ahgree" line in the head-to-head debates against Bush will remain in history, condemning Gore at every turn of the page and every replay of the footage as the immense loser that he was.

It also funny (in the "I think I'm going to puke", not "haha", sense) that someone who carried a large "Popular Front" badge on his page during the 2004 campaign, encouraging liberals and "leftists" to rally around someone who was an even bigger loser than Gore (and, for dim-witted Democrats, let me spell it out for you - K-E-R-R-Y), can talk with a straight face about Bush being one of Nader's political benefactors. Politically and morally, Nader accepting money and/or support from the Republicans was wrong.

What was more wrong, however, was the absolutely undemocratic and digusting campaign the "Democrats" conducted against Nader to keep him off the ballot in so many states. One could be forgiven, considering the time and money that went into the anti-Nader campaigns, for thinking that the Democrats thought that Nader was the main enemy rather than Bush. But we have not seen very many of the same people looking back and saying, hey - we really fucked up on that one - that was wrong and undemocratic. Or, hey, maybe we should have pressed Kerry to accept Nader's offer of an alliance - something approaching a "popular front" more than in just a recycled 1930s Spanish poster (when the concept made real sense). No, of course not - not when we have a convenient scapegoat. It doesn't matter that the so-called "Popular Front" strategy will go down in history as one of the most pathetic failures in American political history, as Joshua Frank argues. No, better to keep ahold of our nice little myths.

But some people just don't learn. New DNC chairman Howard Dean makes a pertinent observation on how the Demoratic party is unrepresentative, and what happens? A "hair-on-fire" comment and follow-up about how these statements are not going to be helpful for winning (see above, re: miserable failures of the "big tent" strategy as has been carried out so far and lack of analysis on this point). Here in America, an election is a success in terms of turnout if more than 50% of the people go to the polls. What about the other 50%? Do we write them off as politcally apathetic? Sure, it's another easy little myth - and another that will continue to condemn the Democrats to further irrelevance. Time wasted on the swing voter and the "big tent" would be much better spent getting people who are interested in politics and actually give a shit about how the country is run to the polls (and a consideration of this fact makes Nader's statements on the lack of difference between Bore/Kerry and Bush a little more comprehensible).

Milquetoast fretting about these kinds of viewpoints is not going to do this, however. Nor is an increasingly silly demonization of certain political figures. When Democrats learn this fact, they may start doing a little better at the polls. But, then again, the Democratic party structure they demand is not going to make this possible.

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