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August 21, 2006


" the Democrats should endorse a redrafting to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, an NPT that is fair and can be enforced and that actually draws the entire world slowly, inexorably toward the day when nuclear weapons are in nobody's arsenal."

in a perfect world, i'd agree. but how can we hope anyone will take us seriously considering how we have not been complying with the current NPT (to say nothing wrt our stance on bioweapons treaties).

i'm not proposing an alternative... i just don't see how to get from here to there with out some serious national discussion that recognizes our failings wrt to current weapons treaties....

The first step in getting from here to there is to get rid of the Bush Regime.

I cringe whenever there is talk of bombing Iran. What about our troops in iraq? The oil weapon? The Straits of Hormuz? The Venezuelan card? The Chinese, who hold so much of our debt? It would be so easy to seriously disrupt our financial networks. So easy to disrupt commerce. Why would we want to take such a chance? Where are the voices of reason?

If it is to happen, I can't believe they would do it before the election. Even Bush must realize now that actions like this are a gamble, and if he is wrong again, history and the public are not going to be particularly kind to him or his party. Or the Dems, if they don't at least vocally raise objections.

The public has already made up its mind on Iraq. I realize, from his press conference this morning, that this means nothing to Bush. But still--what about others in his party? Are they all planning to be raptured or something?


i appreciate your passion but if i were a democratic leader i would do just what democrats have been doing for a couple or three years:

keep quiet and let people observe and make up their own minds about the bush admin's latest policy blunder.

a democratic party that starts a fight on this specific issue (iran) is a democratic party that will, as a consequence, lose its most important function and its only chance of winning in november -- critiquing the competence and wisdom of george bush, his advisers and cabinet members, and the republican congress that has enabled the bush misadventure domestic and foreign.

it is not the duty of democrats to stand up against a single insane policy (bombing iran) of a singularly incompetent president cum advisers.

it is the duty of the democratic party to the american people and the historical american government to accurately and persistently criticize the performance of the president and the party who have been in power now for 6 long and disastrous years.

govt is about hard decisions. the hard decision now is to keep a laser focus on the bush performance over 6 years and to not, repeat not, get bogged down in one single issue - iran or any other domestic or foreign.

one of the republican tactics that has worked against democrats and moderate republican in the past is to engage in some absurd behavior, e.g., anti-gay marriage legislation, retaliation against iraq, society security "reform")

and while that specific great debate is raging, to slip away under cover of debate and continue to govern as they please.

the only concern for democratic officials and candidates at this time and into november should be a persistent, detailed, unending critique of the entire panoply of incompetence that george bush has woven -

the target should be

the ENTITY of bushly presidential incompetence.

The Democrats can, imo, orionATL, stand passively by with their little checklist of Mister Bush's incompetencies in this particular matter until we come to the end diplomacy, which might be when the Russians and/or Chinese say no to sanctions. Then, if the WH starts clearing its throat in preparation to an attack on Iran, every Dem who doesn't speak up in opposition to such an attack is dead to me.

Some progressives argue that, no matter how rancid its treatment of its own citizens, no matter how putrescent and threatening its anti-semitic rhetoric, Iran also has the right to build nuclear weapons, and that it is justified in doing so given that it lives surrounded by nuclear powers (Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Israel - plus the U.S. in occupied Iraq). As long as it is signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, however, Iran is in violation of international law

There is something strange about the argument that says Iran is in violation of international law but only because it remains a signatory of the treaty and says that it does not intend to build nuclear weapons.  Once we slap sanctions on Iran that deprive them of the benefits of being a signatory to the treaty, then they can simply withdraw and say that given the hostility of major powers toward them they have no choice but develop nuclear weapons.

Once that happens then what happens to the legalistic fig leaf?  Then it just becomes a question of we don't want Iran to have nukes because we don't like the government they elected.

mimikatz quote >> Even Bush must realize now that actions like this are a gamble, and if he is wrong again, history and the public are not going to be particularly kind to him or his party.<<

bush has a habit of gambling and i doubt anything about him has changed since his last gamble in iraq... actually he probably figures since he lost on that one, he can roll the dice with a better chance on this... the guy is a gambler and the world suffers for it, but i say he is going to gamble once again here..


Even Bush must realize now that actions like this are a gamble, and if he is wrong again, history and the public are not going to be particularly kind to him or his party.

I am afraid that your next post (about this morning's press conference) gives the lie to the idea that Bush might "realize" anything of the sort. It is clear that his mindset is already: "I don't care how many people say I'm wrong. I know I'm right, and history will prove me correct". How often have we heard him talk about "staying the course"? I think he really believes this stuff, it's not just the spin of the day. So if he has already decided on a course of action -- even if we don't know what it is yet -- he will stick to it out of sheer stubbornness. If you believe, as I do, that this way of thinking and acting is completely consistent with his personality, then there is very little chance of him engaging in the kind of rational introspection your comment assumes.

bush is incapable of introspection, or relating to a different perspective.. he is well versed in the abuse of power however.

Let's get real. It all boils down to Israel. Israel has adamantly refused to sign the NPT. Iran will not agree to forego acquiring nuclear enrichment technology unless Israel agrees to put itself under NPT provisions. Israel has never offically tested a nuclear device, so it could still agree to
the NPT. Why isn't the US government pressuring Israel to do so? If the US government is truly interested in eliminating all WMD from the Middle East, it must make sure that Israel officially agrees to and lives up to the NPT. Many of the other Arab states in the area have pressed for a nuclear-free Middle East and US governments have repeatedly flipped them off. Israel intransigence on resolving the West Bank and occupation issues are undoubtedly linked their knowledge that they hold a nuclear monopoly in the Middle East. Take away that monopoly and the lock to resolve the other issues will likely open.

Why isn't the US government pres


I agree the Dems need a policy on this that offers an alternative to war. But barring an approach like my own (that says we need to work primarily on Pakistan, which would be involved in any short term Iran proliferation scenario), I just don't have a lot of faith that it would do any good, with Iran or with the ME more generally.

The UN's behavior on Lebanon pretty much shows Iran there's no hope for it there. The UN will not produce a good-faith negotiation so long as Bolton is at the head. Furthermore, it knows the real intent is not non-proliferation, it's regime change. So Iran also knows it has no incentive to deal on nukes--even if it did, we'd still go in.


for me it is not a matter of passivity;

it ia a matter of not losing focus, of "self-control in conflict".

the democratic party's focus should be on the performance of bush and the republican congress as an entity, not piecemeal.

in 2002 the only discussion that could take place involved iraq - budget, medical insurance, domestic security, etc could not be discussed publicly for all the sound and fury about iraq.

these and other vital issues took a back seat to a prolonged (march to november), pointless argument about whether to invade iraq or not (pointless because bush fully intended to do so).

there is not doubt in my mind that the bush strategists have desperately enlisted the likes of bill crystol and the wall street journal and aei, and any other willing right-wing individual or entity to do a shout out about iran :

wouldn't it be nice to shift the election-year discussion to a fake national security issue - AGAIN.

if the democratic campaign is a tank battalion moving on the presidential palace, that battalion damn well better focus their attention and munitions on the palace and not be stopping here and there to engage the enemy's diversionary tactics.

the democrats need to focus on the entity of bush competence, on the entire range of expected presidential competencies. and they need to focus on the republican congress' failure to exercise what is called "oversight", but which could as easily be called "sound judgment".

if, and this is a big if, the demos do focus on the entity of the bush domestic and foreign policies since january 2001, then

they will have educated the public and set the stage for a public judgment on bush and the republican congress this coming november.

but there are only a little over two months to educate and to set that stage.

I will not suggest that the Middle East is a game, far from it but as Lebanon has clearly demonstrated this whole area is being "won" or "lost" in the media. Agression is losing. The leaders of all the players of the ME are grasping this concept with far more comprehension and dexterity than the bull-headed Bush foreign policy being forced upon that part of the world.

Dems need to capitalize on the democratic possibilities present and budding in that area, while deemphasizing the nuclear progress in Iran that is years away. Patience and diplomacy is the American way.
Also pointing out the failures of this admin to ACTUALLY put into place dependable homeland security, something necessary before we start dropping bombs on such a scary place as Iran.

I'd like to see a rewrite of the NPT, but now is not the time for the Dems to try to do it. Maybe a think tank or arms control group. Maybe even some bloggers?

And there'd need to be a lot of other stuff done by the US government in support of it, which this administration clearly isn't going to do. Dealing with Israel's nuclear arsenal, as PrahaPartizan points out.

Dems aren't up to it. Sorry. We're left with citizen movements -- pathetic but necessary -- and prayer.

I know what I would do, but, of course, I would not win any election in America, and that is give Iran American nukes. So, Democrats are going to have to come up with something more palatable for the electorate.

Iran desires security and stable markets. Exxon and Bush desire Iran's oil for monopolist profits. The American people desire security and stable markets. It seems the people of America and Iran desire the same things.

Democrats need to expose the Republican/neo-conmen as exploiters of our fear of a nation that has never exhibited any territorial aggression since the revolution. Democrats need to stress that Iranians and Americans have much in common. Democrats must use the NPT and the UN as the ultimate arbiters of the nuclear development conflict, not a unilateral military solution. Democrats can deflect criticism by pointing to the disaster in Iraq and ask the American people if they think having their children serve in a war against Iran is in their best interests or Exxon's.

Since polling suggests Americans are sick of war, Democrats need to use that as a wedge to counter claims of appeasement are signs of weakness and say Bush's Iraq folly has weakened us much more than they know. Point out the deficit. Democrats have to maintain there is no imminent threat, just like there was none in Iraq, and use media to ask why war in Iran now, until people are aware that war with Iran will be a hundred times worse than war with Iraq.

If Democrats can craft a message that war with Iran will mean a cut in living standards for a decade, Americans will turn their backs on war with Iran. I think that may be their best counter to the warmongering of the Republicans and the war lobby.

Dems for sure need to hit the mantra, Bush and company can't run a war. They need to start using the words civil war in Iraq. They need to remind the public that Bush did not listen to the Generals on Iraq, that that is what led to out current situation, and point out that they are not listening to the Generals again. They need to call on the American people to make Bush prove he can handle the first war he started before he even talks about starting another. Even Repub core supporters do not want another war right now. If the Dems get on the stick here, they can have the populace behind them in a way rarely seen in American history.

Third, and I'll have more to say about this in a essay, the Democrats should endorse a redrafting to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, an NPT that is fair and can be enforced and that actually draws the entire world slowly, inexorably toward the day when nuclear weapons are in nobody's arsenal.

Meteor Blades --

Just wanted to say that I'm looking forward to your essay on the NPT. I've given the treaty some (mostly idle) thought over the years, but have never been able to come up with anything realistic.

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