July 06, 2006

I Give Up: Go Ahead and Lose, Dems

It's important that I make clear the perspective from which I write the following. To that end, I set forth again certain of my remarks regarding Hillary Clinton's careful study in ludicrous incoherence, which she ridiculously refers to as her "position on Iraq":
Look, I'm not even a Democrat, and I disagree with the Democrats about a wide range of issues. But I want the Democrats to win at least one house of Congress in the fall, and preferably both. The Bush administration must be stopped, or at the very least slowed down. The Democrats are the only available means of achieving that end. But to the extent Democrats adopt tactics like Clinton's, I do not expect them to fare that well in November -- nor will they deserve to. Cowardice is a very unattractive trait, and voters know when they are being conned and when a candidate stands for nothing but a failed status quo.
I repeat: I WANT the Democrats to win in the fall. I WANT them to take back both the House and the Senate.

As events are going now, I fully expect them to lose. They won't be the only losers: all of us who want a comparatively quick end (six months at a maximum) to the madness and murder in Iraq will lose. All of us who want the thuggish, anti-Constitutional Bush administration to be reined it, at least a little bit, will lose. The United States will lose. The Iraqis will lose. And the world will lose.

What prompted my deep frustration this morning was this entry from Greg Sargent. After accurately criticizing Norah O'Donnell's disgraceful performance in an interview with Cindy Sheehan, Sargent writes:
I know I'm supposed to say that I'm not on board with some of Sheehan's tactics, and the truth is, I'm not. But in this instance she aquitted herself pretty well, and left O'Donnell looking foolish and overbearing. Anyway, it's definitely worth a watch. Trust me.
"I know I'm supposed to say..." You can sense the fear and moral cowardice that lurk beneath the surface: "Unless I put this disclaimer in here -- the disclaimer that all 'respectable' people just know I'm supposed to make, people might think I'm some kind of...oh, my God, leftist loon! I might not be part of the mainstream discussion any longer! Oh, no!"

If Mr. Sargent feels compelled to offer this kind of gratuitous qualification, he might at least indicate which of "Sheehan's tactics" he's "not on board with." I suppose that's all spelled out in the memos that circulate among mainstream journalists, and that all the "respectable" people just "know" what they are. Meanwhile, those of us who aren't on those lists just have to guess at what Sargent is referring to. And please note that the qualification is entirely gratuitous in this context: you could omit it completely, and Sargent's argument would be stronger. No one, except the cheapest propagandists, assumes that agreement with a person on one issue in a particular context is the equivalent of a full, across-the-board endorsement.

So this kind of writing, and this kind of argument, is truly pathetic -- and it is emblematic of the Democrats' much larger problem. Hillary Clinton captures this complete lack of intellectual clarity and moral confidence in her craven "positioning" on Iraq. The Democrats dare not say that the invasion and occupation of Iraq were immoral and completely unjustified at their core. They dare not because many of them supported it, and they now have to explain away their earlier position by various strategems that convince no one (see Kerry in the 2004 campaign).

And of the greatest importance, but an issue that the Democrats and liberals -- and most bloggers -- ignore almost completely is Our Date with Armageddon. It hardly takes a genius to realize that the Bush gang of war criminals is now setting up Iran in the same precise manner they set up Iraq. It appears that this scenario is intended to reach its climax in the fall -- just in time for the elections.

And what is the Democrats' response? Either nothing -- or "me-too"-ing of Bush in the most mealy-mouthed, cowardly manner imaginable. Some Democrats may disagree around the edges, but they refuse to challenge the basic policy itself. In short: THE DEMOCRATS ARE ENTIRELY UNPREPARED. THEY HAVE NO ANSWER. The Bush plans may get derailed or postponed, since many events may intercede. So far, however, our date with Iran has encountered no obstacles at all -- and certainly none offered by the Democrats.

Most of all, not a single Democrat dares to say this:
Any military attack by the United States on Iran within the foreseeable future -- even an attack using only conventional weapons -- would be profoundly immoral, and eternally unforgivable. Remember the critical facts: all experts agree that Iran is approximately five to ten years away from having a nuclear weapon. Moreover, Iran is fully entitled to take the actions it does at present, including the enrichment of uranium it announced yesterday. It is entitled to take those actions under the terms of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, to which it is a signatory. While we condemn Iran and maintain that its actions are "intolerable" and "unacceptable" -- even though they are entirely permissible under the relevant agreements, and are only "intolerable" because we say so without any moral, legal or strategic justification for that stance -- we carve out exceptions for a country like India, which is not a signatory to the nonproliferation treaty. The position of the United States is an entirely unprincipled one, and one which devolves into incoherence.

These central facts lead to only one conclusion: an attack on Iran would represent a blatant, naked act of aggression against a country that does not threaten us. It would not be an act of self-defense, if that term has any meaning at all: there is nothing at present or in the immediate future to defend ourselves against. Of course, the same was true of Iraq. We refuse to learn any lessons at all.
Finally, about Cindy Sheehan, I will offer this thought. When confronted by an administration and a media that are completely oblivious to facts and to the most basic principles of morality, there is almost no tactic short of violence that I would not support wholeheartedly. How else is Sheehan or anyone else going to break through the catatonic state in which this country now slouches from day to day? And if Mr. Sargent is any indication of what can be expected from "mainstream" liberals, and he very unfortunately is, neither Sheehan nor anyone who agrees with her will find any meaningful support from that quarter, either.

The single most important quality that Sheehan projects is an absolute moral confidence in the rightness of her position. And you know what? She is right. I think Sargent knows she's right, too. But, oh, no, we don't want to be viewed as too "extreme" or too far "out there." So the mealy-mouthed, cowardly qualifications come flying, even when they are completely irrelevant.

If the Democrats want to win this fall, what they most desperately need is that same kind of moral confidence. They need to denounce our invasion and occupation of Iraq absolutely and without hesitation. They need to condemn any attack on Iran in the same manner. They need to project that their position is absolutely right and they know it.

People would rally to that banner. The Democrats might win by a very sizable margin. People do not flock to cowards or to people who cover themselves by taking every position possible, which means no position at all.

Bush is a terrible man, and his administration has committed and continues to commit the worst kind of atrocities. It will take decades for our country to recover, and to begin to reclaim its honor. But Bush understands one thing: he thinks he is right, and he brings full confidence to his actions, as despicable as they are. If the Democrats want to counter a force of that kind, particularly given the somnolence of the American public and our media, they need the same kind of confidence, but in the name of peace, diplomacy, compassion and decency.

But if the Democrats continue their current behavior through the fall, attacks on Iran may have begun, and the Democrats will have done absolutely nothing to prevent them. Since they offer no opposition to this suicidal insanity, everything else will be swept aside. And they will lose -- again.

You might think my prescription is too drastic, or too "extreme," or too "outside the mainstream." Leave aside the fact that I think my arguments and the facts they are based on indisputably establish the correctness of the views I offer. Just as a tactical political matter: how could the result of employing the strategy I propose possibly be worse than the Democrats' record in recent years?

It couldn't be, not in any way that I can see. So for God's sake, Democrats, try it. You could save yourselves -- and our country, and the world.

And that, I think you will agree, would not be a bad platform to campaign on.

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