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Saturday, November 29, 2003

Apparently the Democrats won't serve as an opposition party... the right will have to do it themselves. The interventionist foreign policy and big-spending, intrusive domestic policy already have libertarians looking for someplace to go (browse around at the Cato Institute's web site for a taste of the libertarian viewpoint). And cracks are starting to appear within the gospel of neoconservatism. Note this fine article from the Weekly Standard about the stupid "We'd rather fight terrorists in Tikrit than in Topeka" line:

The first, is that we're not altogether sure we are fighting terrorists, in the al-Qaeda sense of the word. As Newsweek recently reported in a piece entitled "War In the Dark," "what the Americans don't know is who, exactly, they're fighting." In a week in which four suicide-bombing attacks in Baghdad killed more than 30 people, one general told reporters "that the attacks were the work of 'foreign fighters.' Yet just 24 hours earlier his division commander . . . told a news conference that he had not seen 'any infusion of foreign fighters in Baghdad.'" A recent Washington Post story reported that at one Baghdad briefing, the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, in the dark himself as to the identity of the guerillas, said that 90 percent of the fighters the U.S. had killed or captured were Hussein loyalists or Iraqi religious militants--and only 10 percent were freelancers from abroad. Meaning that, according to his calculations, there's a decent chance that if we weren't fighting these particular terrorists in Babylon, we wouldn't be fighting them in Bakersfield.

The second thing to remember, for most of the people declaring where they'd rather fight the terrorists, is that they are not personally doing much of the fighting. Who's to say if you were coming up on the 11th month of your deployment in a hostile country where the natives, instead of showing gratitude, showed you the business-end of an RPG-launcher, that you might not enjoy fighting the terrorists in a place where you could claim home-field advantage, have a warm bed, a cold beer, and the occasional conjugal visit from a woman whose name you could pronounce.

For it is the luxury of those who talk about fighting, rather than of those who fight, to dispense smiley faces and silver linings. In the November 24th New Yorker, in a piece entitled "War After the War--What Washington Doesn't See in Iraq," George Packer writes in a painful reminder from Baghdad, "All the soldiers suffer from the stress of heat, long days, lack of sleep, homesickness, the constant threat of attack . . . and the simple fact that there are nowhere near enough of them to do the tasks they've been given."

Not to mention the fact that nearly 200 of them have been killed since major combat operations ended. Fight the terrorists where you will. But it's probably best to avoid diminishing the sacrifice of soldiers, by burying them with respectful silence, rather than with idiotic clichés.

The Weekly Standard is one of the core neocon publications, and even they're getting antsy about their handiwork. The right is ripe for being picked apart; we shouldn't settle for Democrats who agrees with 60 or 75% of their agenda. Neocon policies like endless war, environmental destruction, "free" trade and repressive government don't need to be tweaked or modified--they need to be eliminated and replaced with policies which protect the planet and the living things on it.

There's a double problem with having had so many Democrats support so much of the insane Bush agenda. Not only are we stuck with the wars, tax cuts, Patriot Acts and so on, but those same Democrats are reluctant to point out the failures because of their complicity in them. Somehow we need to so discredit the Iraq war in the minds of the vast majority of the public that NO ONE, in Congress or the White House, who voted for that war has any chance for re-election (or promotion, in the case of Lieberman, Edwards, Kerry and Gephardt). It sure would be nice if the war could be discredited based on the abundant evidence that it was based on lies, rather than on the deaths of hundreds or thousands of more soldiers.