Wednesday, May 21, 2008

To Obama: Stiffen Up, Fight Back


Photo: McCain during 'Bomb, Bomb Iran' Song

It's About
War and Peace,
Not Simply
Race and Gender


By Tom Hayden
Huffington Post


May 20, 2008 - The decisive issue in this election is about war and peace, between Barack Obama's proposed diplomacy with Iran to end the war in Iraq, and the hawkish stance of his two rivals, Hillary Clinton and John McCain, who favor an escalating the tensions with Tehran even to the point of war.

The mainstream media, and some of the blogosphere, continue to miss the danger of an escalated war as they blog and dabble over race, gender and numbers of pledged delegates.
The antiwar movement and most Democrats have been fairly silent about these differences as well.


The facts, however, are simple, as follows:


The Bush administration, many neo-conservatives, and Israeli officials have busily built the case that Iran is an "existential threat," and that the coming months represent a "now or never" moment to attack Iran before a new president takes office.


With sufficient US political and military backing, the Israelis seem set to go.

Clinton has voted to identify Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a "terrorist organization." The White House and Gen. Petraeus have asserted that Iran is directly and indirectly responsible for killing American soldiers in Iraq. Those two elements are a sufficient cause to go to war.

Clinton has said the US could "obliterate" Iran if they attacked Israel, and threatens "massive retaliation" to protect Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates against Iran. There has been virtually no media discussion of this NATO-like proposal for the Middle East.

Both Clinton and McCain deride Obama's offer to open unconditional talks with Iran. Obama himself appears to be adjusting, or backing away, from his original straightforward proposal. He needs to stiffen, realize this is what the election is about, and fight back, with allies at his side.
Instead of stumbling over the nature of direct diplomacy [with whom, where, with what preparations], Obama should rely on his strongest arguments.


The bipartisan Baker-Hamilton Study Group proposed US-Iran negotiations as essential to finding a political solution in Iraq. Former CIA chief John Deutch says the same thing. Iraq needs a non-aggression agreement and trade with the US; in return, the US needs Iran's acceptance of an orderly withdrawal from Iraq without the country falling into greater civil war. The issue of nuclear power needs to be negotiated on a separate track, according to Baker-Hamilton.

Barack should not seem to over-promise the results of diplomacy, which could provoke more attacks on his resolve and experience. But he can easily remain assertive against the failed and obviously hypocritical notion of never talking to our adversaries.

It's more simple than he says.

John Kennedy talked with Nikita Khrushchev, and nuclear war was averted.
Richard Nixon talked with Mao tse-Tung, and commercial competition replaced a military confrontation.


Look where non-talking gets us. We refuse to talk to Cuba, leaving us diplomatically and commercially isolated from the continent and world.

As for rank hypocrisy, the Bush administration is already talking with North Korea and, in a limited way, with Iran.

The possibility of avoiding a broader war may rest on whether Obama wins this debate.

2 comments:

CLASSANALYSIS.ORG said...

When any candidate says they will not talk with Iran what they are saying is that they will not end the war. The idea that a US withdrawal will bring chaos to Iraq is propaganda. If the US withdraws from Iraq then Iran wins. It won't be chaotic it will just be a major geo-economic defeat for oil companies, haliburton and the military industrial complex. Explaining defeat may be hard for politicians to do. The media has not even explained the issues yet.

The alternatives to withdrawing and letting Iran win, is continuing on in Iraq as things are now. The oil companies have their fangs in the U.S. they profit incredibly as the U.S. whithers in this war. Staying on in Iraq will just bleed the U.S. to death and bloat the profits of oil companies and Haliburtons.

The other possibility is the one that Tom is warning us of-- the attempt to "win the war." Winning the war means attacking Iran. This option will serve only the most die -hard section of the military industrial complex. This sector has been immensely empowered by the Bush presidency which is why their candidate came out with the republican nomination and why they intimidated Hilary into the obliterate Iraq statement.

We need to stiffen up Obama so that he has the courage and the social base to negotiate peace with Iran.

If Iran is pursuing weapons it is only because they fear the power of the U.S. military industrial complex which orchestrated the overthrow of their democratically elected leaders in 1953 (something they have not forgotten) and then the US military industrial complex imposed a brutal dictatorship on the country until the Iranian revolution in 1979. They have feared another attack from the military industrial complex ever since. Negotiating peace with them will be easy as long as the interest of of oil companies and the military industrial complex are not a part of the negotiation.

Will Obama do it. I think that is up to us. If he feels enough support from the antiwar movement and if he starts to rely on it then he will have to fight the military industrial complex to win the election.

Bill Baar said...

I don't agree with your stance on McCain v Obama, but you sure nailed the right issue.

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