Pre-Midterm War on Terror Update

I wonder why Bill Clinton didn’t bring up the fact that he had no support from the Republican majority in Congress to go after bin Laden earlier, either right after 9/11, or anytime afterwards? His latest interview, which defends his actions before Bush was elected, is excellent to watch/read. That he is now collecting massive amounts of money for the Clinton Global Initiative shows that people are now trying to circumvent a useless federal government that’s horribly managed.

I am also wondering if Al-Qaeda is abandoning Iraq a little bit. We’ve caught quite a few of their senior guys lately in Iraq, the latest being the senior leader of Ansar Al-Sunnah. Perhaps a good theory is that Al-Qaeda is finding huge gains in Waziristan, which it has basically forced a Pakistani surrender for. It is achieving a caliphate for itself there. The Pakistanis are publically angry at the US for the US’s insistence that Pakistan isn’t doing enough. Pakistani military leaders don’t want the US to send troops there. And the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are enough of a problem that Pakistan is giving land to them. Not only that, but Pakistan also released 2,500 detained Al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives as part of the deal. Yes, I’m totally serious. Guess where all those even-more-hardened terrorists went to?

Stupid neocon commentators of course say this is great, for it means they’ll all gather in one place, where we can bomb them. Okaaaaaaaaay. Fucking stupid.

The War on Terror is not only a miserable failure, but it has also endangered us far more than if we had done nothing (or if, as the neocons fear, we removed ourselves completely from the region). In Lebanon, the Israeli attack there was regarded as an American operation. Iran realizes now that the US’s preemptive show of force has revealed stark weaknesses. Terrorists and anti-American states will seize upon this in the future. The US will console itself by become more rigid, calling any foreign countries who criticize its War on Terror as terrorist sympathizers.

Iraq is now flush with American money, American-bought weapons, and American tactics and strategy. Insurgent tactics have been exported to other fundamentalist movements.

At the UN general assembly, other countries regarded Bush with what must be close to almost deaf ears. Even worse, Bush flatly refused to acknowledge Ahmadinejad, a figure who the US has lofted to grand evil dictator status, which only boosts his ego. He still has little power over his own country.

Hugo Chavez gave a speech (it’s worth reading the transcript), which, scarily enough, was actually pretty accurate. Save for the immature name-calling of Bush as the devil, his appeal to Americans to read Noam Chomsky echoed bin Laden’s plea for Americans to read Rogue State, a book detailing American intervention in other countries.

Here’s the problem. Chavez is circumventing the US just as private individuals in the US are (Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, etc.). The US government is increasingly being seen as an impediment to constructive actions. Perhaps Chavez is just using populist rhetoric despite just being an antagonist asshole, but he’s seized upon rhetoric that rings true. He attacked the elitist nature of the UN’s veto, the unilateralism of US foreign policy, the failure of Pax Americana. I am willing to bet that many countries attending the general assembly would agree with this evaluation of current affairs.

My take on the mid-terms is that people will still vote Republican when it comes to voting day. The war is making that decision tougher but overall the US is still a pretty religious, conservative country these days. And Republicans dominate the terms of the debate, as George Lakoff’s book details. The Dems will win more seats for itself, but the movement will not be fully in effect until the major elections in 2008. I’m thinking more veterans will be running for office and awareness of liberal and Democratic strategies for issue-framing will increase to a critical mass.

I want to see more Democratic candidates say that we need an immediate pull-out of Iraq. You can’t even get the most Democratic candidates to say that now. The Iraqi people are going to get screwed whether we phase our way out or pull out overnight. I don’t know why anyone is still convinced this won’t happen. As one “reporter” on the Daily Show said with a high degree of snarkiness, “We in Iraq are always excited to try out your political scientists’ latest theories.”

The only solution in my mind is just to defuse everything. Pull the plug. Stop the crash course.