More Of The Same From Bush, But Something New From The Democrats
Ken Melman’s job is to convince the press, and by extension the American people, that Bush’s war in Iraq is the epicenter of the war on “terra” and that both are a smashing success, if still a work in progress. It would seem an impossible task, but he is having great success. Either Melman’s a genius or we simply have the most compliant (bordering on propagandistic) press ever. I know on which side I fall in that debate.
There is a partisan divide so vast that there seems to be little agreement on anything these days. Well, at least as far as the public is concerned, our Democratic legislators can still find ways to give in to just about every Republican position no matter how bad. I just wonder what they think they will get in return and when they think it will come. It’s hardly bi-partisanship when one side refuses to budge while the other continually folds like a house of cards.
I find it particularly disturbing that Republicans are willing to push for unpopular policies with gusto while the Democrats have been content to cower in the corner, afraid to even bring up policy positions that enjoy overwhelming public support. Today the Democrats have released a letter to President Bush calling for the phased withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. I can only hope this is a sign that the Democratic leadership has been sufficiently frightened by Democratic voters intending to purge the Party of those like Joe Lieberman who refuse to represent our values in the House and Senate. We need an opposition party, not one that joins the other side simply to avoid being called weak. It’s time for the Democrats to heal their psychological wounds inflicted when they were booted out of power and start moving this country forward. The American people are behind troop withdrawal in Iraq. Democrats must focus on a positive agenda for the country and maybe, just maybe the Republicans will fail to convince enough people that the “war on terra” needs to be expanded to include Iran and Syria.
I scan the headlines each day and I can’t help but be disturbed by the connections I see. The New York Times, reporting on the “partisan divide” discusses the danger inherent in politicizing foreign policy, but that is exactly what has worked so well for Republicans in the last several elections. So much so that they are returning to the “freedom is on the march” well, yet again hoping it will bring them victory in the midterms this November. The obvious problem with making diplomacy and war partisan affairs is that solutions to complicated problems cannot be solved with campaign sound bites. We need our legislators to work together to solve problems, but the Republicans have made bi-partisanship obsolete. The Democrats have to figure out how to deal with that in a way that doesn’t involve bending over and giving in.
Also in the headlines today is Bush re-affirming his “plan” to bring peace to the Middle East while simultaneously conflating the current fighting in Lebanon as “part of a larger struggle”. This is the big fear for me. The Republicans have Fox News (and MSNBC and CNN to a slightly lesser degree) to help them sell their perpetual war in the Middle East and by simply using the same empty rhetoric such as, “The current crisis is part of a larger struggle between the forces of freedom and the forces of terror in the Middle East.” The same tired arguments and pie in the sky crap is what Bush continues to spout:
“This task is long, it is difficult work, but it is necessary work. When democracy spreads in the Middle East the people of that troubled region will have a better future. The terrorists will lose their safe havens and their recruits, and the United States of America will be more secure. The hard work of helping people realize the benefits of liberty is laying the foundation of peace for generations to come.”
Yeah, that plan has worked so well in Afghanistan and Iraq, we should certainly keep up the good work and expand a policy that has been so effective. That is just delusional thinking, but the sad part is, some people still believe it.
So on the heels of those two stories, I read that the Bush administration, far from closing Gitmo, are instead set to open a new maximum security prison in Guantanamo (built of course by Halliburton). But I suppose we shouldn’t be concerned about that, after all, the purpose of the new facility is to “improve the quality of life of the detainees.” Now isn’t that thoughtful? It makes me more than a little nervous when the Bush administration and Halliburton start building more prisons able to hold even more “enemy combatants” that can be held indefinitely without due process and with such a vague definition of who exactly qualifies as an enemy combatant.
Anyone who speaks out against this administration is immediately deemed an “America hater” that is “giving aid and comfort to the enemy.” Nothing new really. Using an overly broad definition that could be applied to political enemies, in a polarized environment, at a time when the executive branch has amassed unprecedented power and with a Congress that has abdicated it’s oversight authority, is nothing to be concerned about at all. We can all just slap American flags on our SUVs, turn on Fox News and enjoy our good fortune. God Bless America!