FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What America Really Needs to Hear

by JOSHUA FRANK

Shortly after President Bush’s State of the Union address last week Jim Webb, the freshman Senator from Virginia, delivered the Democrats’ televised response to Bush’s annual speech. Many antiwar progressives were pleased to hear a Democrat confront the Bush rhetoric head-on. Media critic Jeff Cohen went even further and argued that Webb’s riposte was not only aimed at the Bush administration, but also at Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

“Whether intended or not,” wrote Cohen, “Webb was offering a way for Democrats to win elections — a script for any presidential candidate who wants to distinguish him or herself in the primaries, and then defeat the Republicans in Nov. 2008.”

Cohen and I must have been watching different programs. Sen. Webb’s position on the Iraq war was little more than a sugarcoated pill packed full of the usual irony. Webb painted the situation in Iraq as a result of Bush’s poor planning and not the more obvious illegalities and lies that drove our country into battle. As Webb put it, “We are now, as a nation, held hostage to the predictable — and predicted — disarray that has followed.”

Never once did we hear Webb utter the bitter truth about the Iraq crisis. Certainly the invasion and subsequent occupation were not “mismanaged” as Webb and many others have put it, rather the civil war now engulfing Iraq is a result of a criminal performance carried out by President Bush that was enabled and encouraged by the leaders of the Democratic Party dating back to President Clinton.

Webb also did not express any significant criticisms of the “war on terror” as he seems to believe in its underlying premise. Consequently he did not mention that he disagrees with the increase of troops in Afghanistan or the recent air strikes of suspected terrorist cells in Somali. And despite his anger at Bush’s reckless mismanagement of Iraq, he didn’t dare bring up that all but forgotten subject: impeachment.

Webb also noted that he was opposed to “a precipitous withdrawal that ignores the possibility of further chaos” and instead called for a “strong regionally-based diplomacy, a policy that takes our soldiers off the streets of Iraq’s cities, and a formula that will in short order allow our combat forces to leave Iraq.” In essence Webb doesn’t believe U.S. troops should leave Iraq at once. We may as well call that just more of the same. All talk, no action.

And this is the type of winning formula Jeff Cohen believes the Democratic presidential candidates should use to distinguish themselves from Republicans? Right now the most visible and articulate antiwar senator is Republican Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. If anything, Democratic presidential hopefuls and others should take a cue from Hagel on Iraq, not Webb. In a recent interview in GQ, Hagel went as far as to say that what’s going on in Iraq is “even worse than a civil war, because in addition to the sectarian violence, you’ve got Shia killing Shia. We have ethnic cleansing of major proportions going on in Baghdad.”

Enough with the nonsense. Senator Hagel’s straight talk is what the American public really needs to hear.

JOSHUA FRANK is the author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush and edits http://www.BrickBurner.org.

 

 

JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, co-edited with Jeffrey St. Clair and published by AK Press. He can be reached at brickburner@gmail.com. You can follow him on Twitter @joshua__frank

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Convention Con
Lewis Evans
Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
David Rovics
The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Phillip Kim et al.
Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail