Debate, debate, debate…. 21 February 2008Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Afghanistan War, AFRICOM, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iran, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, U.S. Senate, WAR!.
well, that is what they call it.
With the Democratic presidential nomination in the balance, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will face off during a CNN debate in Austin, Texas, tonight at 8 p.m. ET. The debate is being held in partnership with Univision and the Texas Democratic Party. Full story
If the past few days are any indication, we have a wingding of an eight plus months ahead…
Ready, aim, fire! Bring it on! Let’s Roll!
Howard Zinn pops up:
In 1934, early in the Roosevelt Presidency, strikes broke out all over the country, including a general strike in Minneapolis, a general strike in San Francisco, hundreds of thousands on strike in the textile mills of the South. Unemployed councils formed all over the country. Desperate people were taking action on their own, defying the police to put back the furniture of evicted tenants, and creating self-help organizations with hundreds of thousands of members.
Without a national crisis-economic destitution and rebellion-it is not likely the Roosevelt Administration would have instituted the bold reforms that it did.
Today, we can be sure that the Democratic Party, unless it faces a popular upsurge, will not move off center. The two leading Presidential candidates have made it clear that if elected, they will not bring an immediate end to the Iraq War, or institute a system of free health care for all.
They offer no radical change from the status quo.
They do not propose what the present desperation of people cries out for: a government guarantee of jobs to everyone who needs one, a minimum income for every household, housing relief to everyone who faces eviction or foreclosure.
They do not suggest the deep cuts in the military budget or the radical changes in the tax system that would free billions, even trillions, for social programs to transform the way we live.
None of this should surprise us. The Democratic Party has broken with its historic conservatism, its pandering to the rich, its predilection for war, only when it has encountered rebellion from below, as in the Thirties and the Sixties. We should not expect that a victory at the ballot box in November will even begin to budge the nation from its twin fundamental illnesses: capitalist greed and militarism.
So we need to free ourselves from the election madness engulfing the entire society, including the left. ::spin::
No, it is empire that matters:
[W]ith all eyes on the number of troops physically stationed in Iraq, one of the ways in which further reductions will be allowed is by shifting missions to other Persian Gulf countries, a process that is already underway. In Kuwait, for instance, the Army is completing the finishing touches on a permanent ground forces command for Iraq and the region, one that it describes as being capable of being a platform for “full spectrum operations” in 27 countries around southwest Asia and the Middle East.
Permanently deployed with the new regional headquarters in Kuwait will be a theater-level logistical command, a communications command, a military intelligence brigade, a “civil affairs” group and a medical command. “These commands now have a permanent responsibility to this theater,” Lt. Gen. James J. Lovelace told the Mideast edition of Stars and Stripes. “They’ll have a permanent presence here.”
The Air Force and Navy, meanwhile, have set up additional permanent bases in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman. By permanent I mean large and continuing American headquarters and presences, most of which are maintained through a combination of coalition activities, long-standing bilateral agreements and official secrecy. Tens of billions have been plowed into the American infrastructure. Admiral William J. Fallon, the overall commander of the region, was just in Oman this week after a trip to Iraq to secure continuing American military bases in that country.
When a war with Iran loomed and World War III seemed to be gaining traction in the Bush administration, this entire base structure was seen as the “build-up” for the next war. The build-up of course began decades ago, but since 9/11, the focus has been almost exclusively “supporting” U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran is there, but to interpret the planting of the American flags and the moving of chess pieces as being focused on Tehran is to miss what is really going on.
Regardless of who is elected, in the coming year U.S. combat forces in Iraq will undoubtedly continue to contract to a fewer number of combat brigades and special operations forces focused on counter-terrorism and the mission of continuing to train and mentor the Iraqi Army and police forces. Much of the “war” that is already being fought is being supported from Kuwait and other locations, and the ongoing shifts seem to point to an intent to increasingly pull additional functions and people out of harm’s way.
Of course they will not be out of harm’s way at all, because a permanent American military presence in the region brings with it its own dangers and provocations. But most important what it brings for the next president is a fait accompli: a pause that facilitates a drawdown that begins to look a lot like a continuation of the same military and strategic policy, even at a time when there is broad questioning as to whether this is the most effective way to fight “terrorism.”
And that is Arkin in the Wapo, really just a dulled down check lister. No live drama, no flowing blood.
UPDATE, 2:24 pm
IOZ is on target today… beneath a picture bearing the SPQR of the Roman Empire, here is a snip:
[I]f any doubts remained that Democrats are principally interested in wielding the aggregated powers of the “unitary executive” to their own purposes and ends, it should be dispelled by the ongoing primary fight over which Democrat will be ready on “day one” to step in as the “commander in chief.” Clinton and her advisors specifically use the term in its neologistic glory, but both she and Obama discuss their presidential ambitions in dictatorial terms.
I use the word here in its Roman sense: one person, “temporarily” empowered through some democratic or parliamentary process, to wield what is essentially total control over the mechanisms of the state. The Commander in Chief of the United States of America, military, citizens, and all. In large part, Democratic partisans share this desire, as their barely-concealed envy at the subordinate relationship of the Republican congress to our Lord Protector reveals.
Let me put it to you straight: I am not looking forward to the next four years.