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How Not to Mention the War
The Democratic Unraveling
by LUCINDA MARSHALL

Democratic Senators Nancy Pelosi and Hilary Clinton recently sent out a fundraising letter. An acquaintance of mine who received the letter tells me that it also included a questionnaire asking him which issues were on his mind. But there was something very strange about the questionnaire. It seems that in the list of issues you could check off, they forgot to include anything about Iraq. My friend was rather peeved about that because as it turns out, he is mighty concerned about Iraq.

But perhaps the omission isn’t so strange after all. Indeed, as the Washington Post points out, the Democratic leadership seems to be of the opinion that the crucial issue is how best to achieve success in Iraq. Given that, it is unlikely they want folks telling them they’re concerned that the ‘war on terror’ is going badly.

Maybe it’s just me but…how exactly are they defining success? We aren’t going to find any weapons of mass destruction. We’ve already deposed Saddam. We insisted that they hold an election, which we deemed a success, never mind the irregularities, that happens a lot here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. too, no big deal.

Not only that, but the Iraqis are just inches away from putting the finishing touches on a brand spanking new Constitution. It’s most notable feature is that it is likely to give much more strength to Islamic law, effectually taking away many of the rights that Iraqi women previously enjoyed. Not to worry, in a recent interview with David Gregory on Meet The Press, Reuel Marc Gerecht, the Director of the Middle East Initiative for the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) tells us Gilda Radner-style to never mind all that hoopla about women’s rights before the war, "Women’s social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy." *

Sounds pretty darned successful to me. Unless of course you mind daily car-bombings, the continued deaths of U.S. military personnel (and a whole lot of Iraqis), our continued lack of progress in rebuilding what we knocked down (despite billions of funds allocated for the purpose), or the lack of reliable electricity and potable water throughout Iraq. I know, picky, picky.

At a time when most Americans are beginning to wonder, "Where’s the exit?", the Dems seem hell-bent on trying out for the dance band on the Titanic. Little wonder that their approval rating is even lower than the President’s rating. A June Washington Post/NBC poll showed that just 42 % of Americans approved of the Congressional Democrats’ performance.

David Sirota gives some excellent insights into the head-in-sand thinking that seems to be prevailing among the Democratic leadership. According to Sirota, the party line of the day seems to be keep mum about Iraq, and if pressed, bad-mouth the war critics and call them un-American. However, as Sirota astutely points out, there is nothing un-American about wanting to bring the troops home,

"Frankly, it’s the other way around: there is something "anti-American soldier" about wanting to indefinitely leave our troops in a shooting gallery without an exit strategy, without proper body armor and without any semblance of a plan."

Out here in the hinterland, Sirota’s assessment appears to be right on target. Over at the Kentucky State Fair, the Democratic faithful are busy drumming up support for the troops, offering those who visit the party booth a chance to write a message to send to the troops in a ploy clearly designed to show that the Donkeys are just as patriotic as the Elephants because by golly, they support the troops too.

Apparently the DNC party leadership hasn’t seen the recent polls that indicate that most Americans no longer support this war. We know we’ve been lied to and we want accountability. Above all, we are tired of seeing our loved ones come home in body bags for reasons that keep shifting. The Dems delusion that the name of the game is to convince voters that they can do a better job of winning the war is insupportable. This isn’t a ‘winnable’ war and it is well past time to acknowledge that the Empire is butt-naked. What Americans want is a plan to end this deadly misuse of our military might.

*It really needs to be asked why David Gregory, who was subbing for Tim Russert, did not see fit to question this statement, which while no doubt far more likely an accurate reflection of Bush Administration thinking than the pre-war propaganda, clearly contradicts the official White House position.

LUCINDA MARSHALL is a feminist artist, writer and activist. She is the Founder of the Feminist Peace Network.