Friday, January 11, 2008

Anti-War Lessons from New Hampshire

Kahit sino pa man ang manalo sa dalawang Democratic presidentiable, kung si Hillary Clinton o si Obama at lalo na kung ang super conservative na si McCain, magpapatuloy ang kampanyang "global war on terrorism," bilang foreign policy ng US.

Sadyang mahirap ng mabago, enbeded na, institutionalized na sa sistema ng paggugubyerno sa Amerika (100 years) ang maging imperialista, ang manggulang sa maliliit na bansang sumasagka sa kanilang interest, gumawa ng kaguluhan, maki-alam, mambully at manabotahe ng mga bansang yagit sa buong mundo, tulad ng Malakanyang na patuloy na nakaliyad (burikak) at naka-alligned kay Uncle Sam at masugid na tumatalima sa kampanyang "global war on terrorism" ni Bush.

In the first place, sino ba ang mga nasa likod, financier at kinakatawan ng mga presidentiables-pulitikong ito, ang mamamayang Amerikano ba o ang mga dambuhalang negosyo na kumakatawan sa military industrial complex ng US? Maliban na lang kung magkakaroon ng radical shift, ang paglakas ng social/progressive movements at pagbabalikwas sa sistemng pulitika, halimbawa'y pagkakaroon ng isang dumadagundong na (cultural) revolution sa lipunang Amerika, tulad na lamang ng pagbagsak ng Roman Empire, Persian-Ottoman Empire at may sangkaterbang mga nagbagsakang emperyo sa mundo, may isang libong taon na ang nakalipas.

-Doy Cinco
January 8, 2008
By Tom Hayden,
Posted January 11, 2008.

While Dem contenders spouted rhetoric about "ending the war," the real Iraq War continued safely unchallenged
Thousands of idealists marched door-to-door through the snows and delivered a decisive message that the times were changing. From that moment forward, the establishment and its war
policies began disintegrating from within.

The year was 1968. The ins
urgent campaign was on behalf of Senator Eugene McCarthy. I am wondering if anyone in New Hampshire even remembered the McCarthy campaign in the blur that was last week in New Hampshire.

Did Senator Hillary Clinton remind voters that she was one of those volunteers who took on President Johnson and his war? Did Senator Barack Obama invoke the memory of that last great youth crusade? Did Senator John Edwards
remember that it was principally the Vietnam War, not domestic issues, that aroused those populist passions?

While the Democratic co
ntenders rushed through their ambiguous rhetoric about "ending the war," the actual Iraq War continued as a bleeding reality, safely unchallenged. Clinton promised to end the war "in the right way," not explaining that ominous phrase. Obama and Edwards, when given the chance, noticed no differences from her on Iraq. The mainstream media supported General David Petraeus's rosy depiction of the surge. The bloggers kept up their jihad to exorcize Hillary, leaving the war as background. The anti-war movement never had a voice, marginalized as electoral amateurs in the blizzard of sound
bites and soap opera drama.

The war went on, however. As noted in a pro-war op-ed piece in the New York Times, the number of Iraqis in prison doubled in 2007, the number of US air strikes increased seven-fold, and the segregation of Iraqis into sectarian fiefs increased. The number of Americans killed last year was nearly 1,000, but that news went largely unreported.
(Photo below: John McCain: and Rudolph Guiliani: www.

If either John McCain or Rudolph Guiliani become the Republican nominee, the Iraq War will return to presidential politics full-force, with the Democrats placed on the defensive. Then the independent political committees will need to enter the Iraq debate with a strong counter-message representing the tens of millions of anti-war voters in November. What the counter-message will be is unknown, especially since the Democrats seem to be lessening an
d blurring their emphasis on Iraq and national security.

Heading into Super Tuesday, Hillary Clinton is gaining momentum and Barack Obama suddenly finds himself imperiled. The reason is that the primaries ahead are largely confined to Democr
atic voters, where Clinton holds the margin. Obama's edge has come from independents. He can and must win South Carolina, or face huge odds on February 5. Obama desperately needs the John Edwards voters, but Edwards shows no sign of abandoning the race, despite the fact that he is unlikely to win a single primary. The math is simple: Clinton wins if the anti-Clinton vote is split between Obama and Edwards.

Someone needs to restore Iraq to the center of the Democratic debate rather than waiting for McCain and media to exploit the surge. As I wrote nearly one year ago, the military surge in Iraq would bolster the possibilities of a McCain (and Joe Lieberman) ticket in 2008; and it
has. Gen. Petraeus has succeeded in his strategic goal of "setting back the clock" in Washington and buying time for the US occupation to survive the political debates of 2008. (Editorial cartoons below:

If Obama wants to win, he needs to sharpen his differences with Clinton immediately, going beyond style to substance, especially on Iraq. He needs to point out the differences that everyone in the political and media worlds, and therefore the voters, are missing. Under the five-year Clinton plan, while the good news is that US combat troops would be withdrawn gradually, tens of thousands of "advisers" and counter-terrorism forces would stay in Iraq to fight a counterinsurgency war like Cent
ral America in the 1970s.

That is a plan to lessen American casualties and wind down the war on television, while still authorizing a nasty low-vi
sibility one. It is impossible to criticize the CIA's secret torture methods and turn a blind eye to what happens every day in Iraq's detention centers complete with their US trainers and funding. With the Clinton plan, American advisers and special forces are likely to be filling those detention centers through 2013. As one expert says, "Detain thousands more Iraqis as security threats, and the potential for violence inevitably declines."

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