Add up the evidence of progress in Iraq

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/08/29/good_news_but_not_for_democrats/

Good news, but not for Democrats

IT’S A WAR, and it’s the Middle East, so glad tidings can go sour and there are never any guarantees. But for all the caveats, the news from Iraq has been heartening.

For months, observers have been crediting General David Petraeus’s “surge” with remarkable progress on the ground. That message has come not only from longtime supporters of the war, but from some tough critics as well.

Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, analysts at the left-leaning Brookings Institution, jolted Washington with their July 30 op-ed column, “A War We Just Might Win.” Eleven days later, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, which had long pronounced the war a misbegotten disaster, radically revised its view. “The US military is more successful in Iraq than the world wants to believe,” journalist Ullrich Fichtner reported. So much so that the outcome the Bush administration “erroneously predicted before their invasion — that the troops would be greeted with candy and flowers — could in fact still come true.”

More good news came just this week in a breakthrough announced by Iraq’s top Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish politicians. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, President Jalal Talabani, Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi, and the Kurdish regional president, Massoud Barzani, are joining forces on legislation to settle some of the thorniest issues bedeviling Iraqi politics, including a national oil policy, an easing of de-Baathification, and the release of certain detainees.

For most Americans, positive developments in Iraq are very welcome. But good news is bad news for the Democratic left, where opposition to the war has become an emotional investment in defeat. House majority whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina was asked by the Washington Post what Democrats would think if Petraeus reports next month that the war is going well. “That would be a real big problem for us,” Clyburn candidly replied.

The intensity of the left’s determination to abandon Iraq was reflected in the reaction to a single line in Hillary Clinton’s speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars last week. “We’ve begun to change tactics in Iraq,” she said, referring to the surge, “and in some areas, particularly al-Anbar province, it’s working.”

That mild comment instantly drew fire from Clinton’s Democratic rivals. John Edwards’s campaign manager, David Bonior, warned her against “undermining the effort in the Congress to end this war.” New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, another presidential hopeful, piled on: “The surge is not working. I do not give President Bush the same credit on Iraq that Hillary does.” When Barack Obama addressed the VFW one day later, he stuck to the defeatists’ script. “Obama Sees a ‘Complete Failure’ in Iraq,” The New York Times headlined its report on Aug. 22.

Within 48 hours, Clinton was scurrying to toe the all-is-lost line once again: “The surge was designed to give the Iraqi government time to take steps to ensure a political solution. It has failed. . . . We need to . . . start getting out now.”

Since 2002, Clinton has been all over the lot on Iraq. She defended George W. Bush’s claims on WMDs. She opposed setting a timetable for withdrawal. She voted yes on authorizing the war. She voted no on funding the troops. We likely haven’t seen the last of her shape-shifting.

Clinton is hardly the only presidential candidate prepared to say whatever it takes to get elected or to retreat under pressure from her party’s hard-liners. But it is worth pointing out: There is a principled alternative.

Consider Brian Baird, a liberal Democratic congressman from Washington state. He has opposed the Iraq war from the outset, and still believes, as he wrote in a Seattle Times column on Friday, that it “may be one of the worst foreign-policy mistakes in the history of our nation.” But having recently come to believe that the new military strategy is working and premature US withdrawal would be disastrous, he is speaking out in support of staying the course. Naturally he is being denounced on the left; one influential blogger calls him a “Bush dog” and “Dick Cheney’s trained monkey” and a crowd of angry antiwar constituents berated him during a townhall meeting Monday night. (“We don’t care what your convictions are,” said one. “You are here to represent us.”) The heat is unpleasant. But Baird is standing his ground.

That is what John F. Kennedy called a profile in courage, and it is troubling that there are no such profiles among the Democrats running for president this year. JFK was elected at a time when Americans could trust his party to confront international threats with resolve. That changed after Vietnam, where the Democratic left insisted on defeat and got its way, only to lose voters’ trust on national security for a long time thereafter.

Today the left insists on defeat in Iraq. It beats up any Democrat who strays off-message. It treats good news from the front as “a real big problem.” Is that any way to win an election? In the short term, maybe. But we’re in the midst of a long-term war — one that Americans don’t want to lose.

Jeff Jacoby’s e-mail address is jacoby@globe.com.  

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“Marx’s thinking remains very useful for all those dedicated to progressive causes”, so says a poster on the largest blog on the Left

Is Marx relevant to American politics? I think so.

by Randian

Sun Aug 26, 2007 at 03:30:03 PM PDT

Karl Marx has, paradoxically, a bad name amongst the political mainstream and yet an abiding influence amongst scholars and political activists.

Yet, while mainstream Democrats may seek to abstain from ever mentioning the name of Marx, out of fear of appearing “too far to the left”, Marx’s thinking remains very useful for all those dedicated to progressive causes, whatever party label they may happen to embrace.

In my discipline, sociology, Marx is so influentiual that the main American sociological organization, the American Sociological Association has an entire section dedicated to Marxist sociology; I was briefly a member, but since my resources are limited and my scholarly interests lie slightly elsewhere, I am not at the moment; I still respect careful Marxian analysis, though….

Since the Democrats and Marxism are, ostensibly, dedicated to progressive change and to reducing inequalities, they have, in spite of some real differences, at least a few major areas of overlap.”

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/8/26/17580/2119

Enter the mind of Bill Moyer, a taxpayer funded PBS “progressive” commentator, revealing the irrational hatred of intelligent, politically successful Conservatives

“What struck me about my fellow Texan, Karl Rove, is that he knew how to win elections as if they were divine interventions. You may think God summoned Billy Graham to Florida on the eve of the 2000 election to endorse George W. Bush just in the nick of time, but if it did happen that way, the good lord was speaking in a Texas accent.  

Karl Rove figured out a long time ago that the way to take an intellectually incurious draft-averse naughty playboy in a flight jacket with chewing tobacco in his back pocket and make him governor of Texas, was to sell him as God’s anointed in a state where preachers and televangelists outnumber even oil derricks and jack rabbits. Using church pews as precincts Rove turned religion into a weapon of political combat — a battering ram, aimed at the devil’s minions, especially at gay people.  

It’s so easy, as Karl knew, to scapegoat people you outnumber, and if God is love, as rumor has it, Rove knew that, in politics, you better bet on fear and loathing. Never mind that in stroking the basest bigotry of true believers you coarsen both politics and religion.  

At the same time he was recruiting an army of the lord for the born-again Bush, Rove was also shaking down corporations for campaign cash. Crony capitalism became a biblical injunction. Greed and God won four elections in a row – twice in the lone star state and twice again in the nation at large. But the result has been to leave Texas under the thumb of big money with huge holes ripped in its social contract, and the U.S. government in shambles – paralyzed, polarized, and mired in war, debt and corruption.  

Rove himself is deeply enmeshed in some of the scandals being investigated as we speak, including those missing emails that could tell us who turned the attorney general of the United States into a partisan sockpuppet. Rove is riding out of Dodge city as the posse rides in. At his press conference this week he asked God to bless the president and the country, even as reports were circulating that he himself had confessed to friends his own agnosticism; he wished he could believe, but he cannot.

That kind of intellectual honesty is to be admired, but you have to wonder how all those folks on the Christian right must feel discovering they were used for partisan reasons by a skeptic, a secular manipulator. On his last play of the game all Karl Rove had to offer them was a hail mary pass, while telling himself there’s no one there to catch it.” 

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/blog/2007/08/the_rove_legacy_1.html

Newsweek editor slaps down his own magazine’s “fundamentally misleading” article about Global Warming deniers.

Washington DC – Robert J. Samuelson, a contributing editor of Newsweek, slapped down his own Magazine for what he termed a “highly contrived story” about the global warming “denial machine.” Samuelson, writing in the August 20, 2007 issue of Newsweek, explains that the Magazine used “discredited” allegations in last week’s issue involving a supposed cash bounty to pay skeptics to dispute global warming science and he chided the Magazine for portraying global warming as a “morality tale.” (LINK) Samuelson’s article titled “Greenhouse Simplicities,” also characterized the “deniers” cover story as “fundamentally misleading.”“Unfortunately, self-righteous indignation can undermine good journalism. Last week’s Newsweek cover story on global warming is a sobering reminder,” Samuelson wrote. 

Who would have thought that Newsweek would debunk its own embarrassing cover story a week later in the very next issue?

http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=58659aa0-802a-23ad-49d7-3d18075e69c3&Issue_id=

Long established liberal journal, The New Republic, sees their contrived Iraq War scandal and their journalistic integrity collapse (again)

“…if that Weekly Standard story is correct, it moves Private Beauchamp into full-blown Stephen Glass territory. In essence, they made the same mistakes all over again – falling for pat cinematic vividness, pseudo-novelistic dialogue, all designed to confirm prejudices so ingrained the editors didn’t even recognize they were being pandered to. But this time they did it in war, which is worse.”

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=OTJhZTViMDUxYmNhNWNiNzAzMGY0N2ExOWE0OGJkZGY=

THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned from a military source close to the investigation that Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp–author of the much-disputed “Shock Troops” article in the New Republic’s July 23 issue as well as two previous “Baghdad Diarist” columns–signed a sworn statement admitting that all three articles he published in the New Republic were exaggerations and falsehoods–fabrications containing only “a smidgen of truth,” in the words of our source.

Separately, we received this statement from Major Steven F. Lamb, the deputy Public Affairs Officer for Multi National Division-Baghdad:

An investigation has been completed and the allegations made by PVT Beauchamp were found to be false. His platoon and company were interviewed and no one could substantiate the claims.”

http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2007/08/beauchamp_recants.asp

But in good Dan Rather tradition the New Republic tried to defend their bogus story which to any astute reader was absurd on its face. If you trumpet a tasty Progressive theme, even though totally discredited, you still “never have to say your sorry.” Bush derangement syndrome has driven many Progressive journalists over the edge.