Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Joe Klein linked to a speech by Joe Biden


So I left a reaction:

Ironically, even though I agree with almost every sentiment expressed in the speech, my concetration was distracted by seeing exactly where it could be attacked by hawks. (Maybe I'm picking up some of Joe's bad habits.)

The troublesome spots:
It starts with the very language the President has tried to impose: “the global war on terror.” That is simply wrong. Terrorism is a means, not an end, and very different groups and countries are using it toward very different goals. If we can’t even identify the enemy or describe the war we’re fighting, it’s difficult to see how we will win.

While I agree that the crucial falure of both BushCo and McCain is to be able to correctly identify our enemies, to flatly say that the phrase 'global war on terror' is wrong is to invite ridicule.

Right now, Iran loves the status quo, with 140,000 Americans troops bogged down and bleeding, caught in a cross fire of intra Shi’a rivalry and Sunni-Shi’a civil war.

Again, he's conveying an unpleasant truth but to refer to our troops as "bogged down and bleeding" is going to distract from his message by creating a negative soundbite.

Among the good spots:
Worse, saying you’re happy to stay in Iraq for one hundred years fuels exactly the kind of dangerous conspiracy theories about America’s intentions throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds that we should be working to dispel

Doesn't anyone else remember that we had permanent basing in Saudi Arabia and that that was the main casus belli cited for Al Qaeda's attacks on us? Clearly, one of the main reasons we attacked Iraq was so that we could have a place to set up permanent bases in the region. Why is this never discussed in these terms?

It’s amazing how little faith this administration has in the power of America’s ideas and ideals.

All these fronts throughout the Middle East and South Asia are connected. But this administration has wrongly conflated them under one label, and argued that success on one front ensures victory on the others. It has lumped together, as a single threat, extremist groups and states more at odds with each other than with us. It has picked the wrong fights at the wrong time, failing to finish a war of necessity in Afghanistan before starting a war of choice in Iraq.

Again, the mislabelling of our enemies is a constant strategy applied by the White House and there's every indication that Sen. McCain intends to continue the practice.

This is why every time he fails to differentiate Shia and Sunni or relies on the Commander of the wrong theater for advice, he should be called out on it strongly.

Our country can not afford 4 more years of willful ignorance.

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