The Dems and National Security pt 1
To win in the 2006 elections, Democrats will have to develop a coherent national defense policy. The problem is that too many still accept Republicans memes and framing to debate the issue.
With some study, Democrats could easily frame a foward looking defense policy. But to do that, they have to stop looking at defense issues in a Republican frame. Too many Dems think being tough on national security means backing an invasion of Iran.
Peter Beinhart is the perfect example of the gullable. He's signed on to some PNAC nonsense, earning the sobriquet PNAC's bitch.
But the fact is, that anyone who's read conservative critics of the neo-cons, knows that their main argument of US force projection is based on fantasy, not reality. We don't have the Army for that now and never did, nor the stomach for neo-colonial warfare.
We need to understand, as liberals, that we MUST have a coherent, forward looking defense and security policy which embraces everything from proper veteran care to proper use of US forces.
Three mistakes the Dems made in discussing defense issues:
1) You can be pro-defense and anti-Iraq, many conservatives are
One of the great mistakes of the Dems last year, was not to rise en masse to defend Cindy Sheehan. Too many people stood by and let her be tarnished by cruel, cowardly Republicans. Sheehan was a Gold Star mother and never before has one been treated as shamefully as she has. The treatment of Jack Murtha followed her shameful treatment.
The point should have been made over and over that Sheehan's sons friends and unit members supported her, including his former CO and roommate. That her opposition to Bush's war was honorable and she needed to be respected for her loss. Not doing so was a sign of weakness
2) Accepting Republican memes
The US cannot invade Iran. As Joe Galloway points out in a recent column, the US Army is disintergrating in Iraq. Vehicle losses are climbing, including the loss of 20 Abrams. The idea that we can bring Iran to heel is a Republican meme with no basis for reality. Yet, too many Dems accept this as a viable option.
Which is why Shia leaders are now starting to demand we leave their areas and refusing to cooperate. They can pressure us and we cannot respond in kind.
We cannot continue to debate defense on the basis of GOP ideas.
3) Allowing Republicans to define our stands on the issues
It is not and never has been a debate of allowing Saddam to stay in power. It is a debate on the wisdom of removing him by force, and then never having a plan to run the country after he left.
Any time that's tossed in the air, it needs to be swatted down. It is clear that the US didn't understand Iraqi politics and bit into the fairy tales of Iraqi support from exiles. Which did not materialize.
We need to debate how badly we misread the situation and figure out a way to negotiate an exit. Bush has been allowed to define this as a matter of resolve, and it is not, since the Iraqis have more resolve than we ever will.
Over the next few days, we'll discuss various issues around defense, including how to properly understand the issues involved.
posted by Steve @ 1:33:00 AM