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Will We Vote for President, or Dictator?

February 20, 2007

Your Montag is ready for a woman to be president. In fact, I think we need a woman to be president. We also need an African American president. One way or another, we pretty much need to break free of the whole powerful-backward-white-male-flat-Earthers acting like they own the world thing.

More importantly, I think we need a president who embraces a Good Neighbor approach to foreign policy. One willing to ‘take options off the table’ from time to time in the interest of fostering diplomacy.

So I have a problem with this:

ANNE MILLER: … I went to hear Senator Clinton speak in Concord and was not called on during the meeting, but afterwards approached the Senator and asked her about the comments [quoted below the fold] that she had made at the AIPAC meeting earlier in the week and asked her if she really would leave all options on the table and how could she threaten, in effect, other countries’ children with nuclear genocide. She looked me right in the eye, and she said, “No options are off the table. We cannot abide by a nuclear-armed Iran. It would be an existential threat to the United States.” [Democracy Now!: Sen. Hillary Clinton … Says No Options Should Be Taken Off The Table on Iran]

For fuck’s sake, can we at least take nuclear fucking genocide off the table?!

And, haven’t we heard this, “No options are off the table,” shtick somewhere before?

By the by, Edwards is talking equally tough on Iran, too. [Quotes below the fold.]

Shouldn’t Democratic Presidential candidates try to differentiate their war mongering rhetoric from that of the Bush crowd?

Obama does a little better. [Again, quotes below the fold.] While keeping “all options on the table” he first advocates a “more aggressive approach to diplomacy.” Clark— who may or may not even be officially in the race —speaks similarly. [By now you know where the quotes will be.] And while Clark leaves a military strike option on the table, he mercifully avoids the phrasing “all options on the table.”

If it were socially acceptable to speak his name in polite company, I’d tell you that Kucinich isn’t convinced that there is any “there” there. And that he’d see an unsanctioned attack on Iran by the current administration as some sort of high crime or misdemeanor. [And, if it were socially acceptable to quote him in public, I’d admit to there being such a quote below the fold.]

It is of significant importance to note, that whatever their stance on Iran, one advantage all of these folks share:

  1. They are not George Bush.

Up to now, my presumption has been that the only direction we can possibly go from here, after this president’s term ends, is “up.”

But, given the way the front runners are talking, is there any reason to believe that installing a democratic president would result in anything more than a slight change in foreign policy?

All of the above notwithstanding, I think at E-minus 624 (or so) days, perhaps we shouldn’t be so concerned with presidential candidacies. Maybe spend a little more time cajoling congress into getting a grip back on runaway executive branch power. It has occurred to me to wonder, though, if the new Democratic majority congress will even want to do this. (They could very well be licking their chops at the prospect of wielding such power themselves. Which might be nice to find out sometime before the next elections.)

So today, when conversation inevitably turns to the question of ‘who do you like in 2008?’ It might be worth asking, ‘who do you trust with increasingly unfettered presidential power to declare war; to reject laws, in part or totality, through the use of signing statements; to decide who is to be considered an enemy combatant, spy on them, detain them and torture them indefinitely in an undisclosed location?’

Continue for the candidates’ takes on our Iran options, as promised.

Clinton:

… The regime’s pro-terrorist, anti-American, anti-Israeli rhetoric only underscores the urgency of our response to the threat we face. US policy must be clear and unequivocal. We cannot, we should not, we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. And in dealing with this threat, as I have said for a very long time, no option can be taken off the table.

But Iran is a threat not only because of the hateful rhetoric spewed by its president, not only because of its nuclear ambitions, but because it uses its influence and its revenues in the region to support terrorist elements that are attacking innocent Israelis, and now, we believe, attacking American soldiers. [The News is NowPublic: Senator Hillary Clinton’s Remarks to AIPAC]

Edwards:

Once Iran goes nuclear, other countries in the Middle East will go nuclear, making Israel’s neighborhood much more volatile.

Iran must know that the world won’t back down. The recent UN resolution ordering Iran to halt the enrichment of uranium was not enough. We need meaningful political and economic sanctions. We have muddled along for far too long. To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep ALL options on the table, Let me reiterate – ALL options must remain on the table. [Institute for Policy and Strategy and the Herzliya Conference: Senator John Edwards]

More Edwards:

As to the American people, this is a difficult question. The vast majority of people are concerned about what is going on in Iraq. This will make the American people reticent toward going for Iran. But I think the American people are smart if they are told the truth, and if they trust their president. So Americans can be educated to come along with what needs to be done with Iran. [Ibid.]

Obama:

OBAMA: I think we should keep all options on the table, but I think that our first step should be a much more aggressive approach to diplomacy than we’ve displayed thus far. And I think this is an example of where our blundering in Iraq has cost us dearly. Iran’s the big winner from the Iraq War. They have gained immeasurable strength in the Middle East, and because of the strains that it’s placed on our alliances and our leverage with other countries around the world, it’s made it more difficult for us to be able to mobilize international pressure to get them to stand down from what I believe is a process of developing nuclear weapons. [CBS News: Read A Transcript Excerpt Of Steve Kroft’s Interview With Sen. Obama]

Wes Clark:

The US does have a military option. But this is a struggle that will be costly for all involved, will further isolate the region, and whose ultimate outcome is likely to be decided by future incumbencies. Leaders on both sides should recognize that war is the most unpredictable of human endeavors, and that unanticipated consequences almost always follow.

I believe some in the Administration have seen this confrontation as inevitable – or have sought it – since late 2001. At that time a Pentagon general held up to me a Defense memorandum which he described as a five year road map to the conflict. But surely we have learned by now that, particularly in this region, force and the threats of force should be the last, last, last resort. [Emphasis original.] [WesPAC: Is War with Iran Inevitable?]

Kucinich:

“The Washington Post is quoting strategically placed Administration sources who are providing justification for an attack against Iran,” Kucinich said. “This new twist on Iran, a country this Administration refuses to have free and open diplomatic talks with, is stating the Administration’s case for war.”

“The degree to which this President continues to take steps to go to war against Iran without consulting with the full Congress is the degree to which he is increasingly putting himself in jeopardy of an impeachment proceeding,” Kucinich said. [Scoop: Kucinich Says Bush Risking Impeachment]

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2007 9:38 AM

    Here’s something from Crooks and Liars: Making Martial Law Easier

  2. February 23, 2007 10:15 PM

    She’s not yet ready to give up Operation Rest of the Brown Ones…too bad Clark isn’t running.

  3. February 27, 2007 10:08 AM

    For fuck’s sake, can we at least take nuclear fucking genocide off the table?!

    Get it off the table. I mean, nuclear fucking genocide is really clashing with those Reagan-era soup tureens, lemme tell ya.

  4. February 27, 2007 10:33 AM

    Indeed. From the Regan Era to the Bush Error, Operation Rest of the Brown Ones soldiers on. It’s a long hard slog when your people don’t have the stomach for dropping The Big One.

  5. pinko permalink
    February 28, 2007 10:33 PM

    We need a new war. No, not with Iran. We need a new war, right here, in America.

    We hear a lot about the War on Terror. In the name of the War on Terror any citizen, such as Jose Padilla, can be declared an “enemy combatant,” tortured, and locked up indefinitely without any legal recourse and without the right to know the evidence used against him.

    Using the War on Terror as a justification the administration slipped a little-noticed rider into a federal appropriations bill last fall. That rider voided the Posse Comitatus Act. This means the president, without congressional approval, can declare martial law at any time for any reason, even for a perceived possibility of a potential threat (the famous one percent doctrine).

    Our phone calls, our e-mails, our snail mails are tapped. There is no privacy. RFIDs (radio frequency identification) have been embedded in products allowing others to trace our movements. Soon some states will have RFID drivers licenses so that every time someone goes through a tollbooth, cashes a check, or gets close enough to a scanner, the government will know just where you are.

    Those are just some of the liberties Americans have given up in the name of the War on Terror.

    But what about the War on Error? What have we done on that front? That’s the real war we have to fight, right here, at home. And, every single one of us is a soldier.

    We need a War on Error that looks extremely closely at any reasoning calling for war with Iran. We need a War on Error that looks coolly and dispassionately on sending more troops to Iraq while not having enough troops in Afghanistan. We need a War on Error to find out where, exactly, the money promised to New Orleans and surrounding areas went, and for what, and to whom, and when was it sent and why has so little been accomplished?

    We need a War on Error on all of the candidates from both parties. We didn’t elect them to run around the country, raise money and create sound bites. We elected them to stay in the House and the Senate and do their jobs: preventing further errors from happening and fixing the errors that exist.

    I intend to be a one-person army. I have a few ideas. Here’s my first plan of attack.

    The election is 20 months away. Every day a soldier dies. Every day six other soldiers are wounded, some severely. Every day millions of dollars go down the drain. Every day our national deficit goes up and up while we sell off our independence to places like China.

    I don’t want to hear what candidates promise to do for me in 2008; I want to know what they did for me today. It’s that simple: did they do their jobs today?

    1. If contacted by a candidate or a national party for donations, tell them that you are not giving one red cent to people who are away from their elected posts this far from an election.

    2. If contacted by mail, write that sentiment out on the card that they’ve so helpfully included in their postage-paid return envelope.

    3. Do not go to the rallies, the speeches, the candidate appearances. Stay home. Remember – “Don’t tell me what you’ll do for me in 2008, tell me what you did for me today.”

    4. Contact your own representatives, (especially your House rep who is up for re-election in 200, and tell them that you will be scrutinizing their job performance quite closely. Make a special point of telling them that you’ll be looking just as carefully at the times they did not cast a vote as those votes they did cast. Were they doing the job they were elected to do, or were they out stumping for a pal?

    5. Tell all of them that the way to impress you is not to shake your hand or kiss your baby or make a speech; you intend to vote only for veterans of the War on Error.

    Let them hear it loud and clear: if they want your money, your efforts as a volunteer, and especially if they want your vote, they’d better be marching in the Army of the War on Error. Double time.

  6. Gregorio permalink
    March 2, 2007 8:13 AM

    As time passes, it seems nuking somebody becomes more and more acceptable. The unbelievable yet seemingly forgotten devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with little toy nukes ought to tell wise leaders all they need to know about modern weapons of mass destruction.

    No wonder the aliens keep their distance. This planet is run by a band of bloodthirsty warmongering lunatics who would make us all face a final appointment with The Nuclear Winter. Where are the leaders who will stand up for NO NUKES? Which presidential candidate will pledge NEVER to use nukes in warfare? Or are all of them potential Genocidal Monsters in disguise?

    That is the ultimate litmus test of sanity in a leader: “NO NUKES. EVER.”

    A world “ban nukes” initiative has to come from the US, the one true nuclear terrorist–the one nation capable of destroying planet Earth in a matter of hours.

    Who in this field of “its all on the table” heartless beasts is a true HUMAN? Who in this field of candidates will commit to a World disarmament platform? Let’s just see how it plays out.

    Meanwhile, get that shelter fully stocked. Cuz the Monkey Boy still has his finger on the trigger, and all his trainers are waving bananas in his face to push it.

  7. March 2, 2007 4:24 PM

    Wow. Incredible comments.

    I agree with Gregorio. In my view, the use of nuclear weapons is never morally justifiable; especially in populated areas.

    We need to to be willing to get rid of all of our nukes, and also convince the rest of the world to follow suit. Difficult to impossible, I’m afraid. But if our leaders had similar convictions we could rest easier about the prospects of these weapons ever being used.

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