Stephen Zunes : Electoral Politics
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has already assumed front-runner status for the Democratic Party nomination for president despite a foreign policy agenda that closely parallels that of the Bush administration.
No progressive should be happy with the results of the presidential election. However, it is hard to predict what the longer-term impact on American politics of a particular presidential election result might be. For example, it would have felt terrible at the time if ‘ despite Vietnam and Watergate ‘ Gerald Ford had managed to defeat Jimmy Carter in the close election of 1976. However, if Ford had stayed in office for another four years, the Republicans would have been blamed for the recession and the Iranian hostage crisis of subsequent years and the Democrats would have almost certainly won in 1980, thereby sparing the nation and the world the consequences of the eight years of the Reagan administration.
Even putting aside the many important legal and moral questions about the Bush Administration’s decision to invade Iraq, it has been a disaster even on practical terms. Mainstream to conservative strategic analysts and retired generals ‘ along with the majority of career professionals in the State Department, Defense Department, and CIA ‘ recognize that the invasion and occupation has made America less secure rather than more secure.
Still, the Bush Administration continues to defend its actions and public opinion polls still show that a majority of Americans trust George W. Bush more than John Kerry to defend America. This is in large part because, throughout this fall’s campaign, President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney have been making demonstrably false and misleading claims about what motivated administration decisions as well as the results of their actions.
It has been just over two years since Congress took its fateful vote to authorize President George W. Bush to invade Iraq. This came despite the fact that such an invasion was a clear violation of the United Nations Charter, which, as a formal treaty signed and ratified by the United States, is — according to Article VI of the U.S. Constitution — to be treated as supreme law.
No wonder it feels so damn frustrating. It?s like 1968 all over again.
The United States is bogged down in a bloody counter-insurgency war on the other side of the globe, a war that the majority of the American people believe we should have never entered. Polls consistently show it is the number one issue on the minds of American voters in the weeks leading up to a close presidential election. The majority of Democrats and independents and a growing minority of Republicans believe that the war is unwinnable and we should get out.
Listed below is what I consider to be the sixteen most misleading statements made by Vice-President Dick Cheney and Senator John Edwards during the foreign policy segment of their debate of October 5, followed by my critiques. This is a non-partisan analysis: eleven of the misleading statements cited are from Cheney and five are from Edwards. The quotes are listed in the order in which they appear in the transcript:
The list below contains what I consider to be the sixteen most misleading statements made by Vice President Dick Cheney and Senator John Edwards during the foreign policy segment of their debate of October 5, followed by my critiques. This is a resolutely non-partisan analysis: eleven of the misleading statements cited are from Cheney and five are from Edwards. The quotes are listed in the order in which they appear in the transcript.
Democratic nominee John Kerry’s foreign policy speech at New York University has been widely hailed as a long-overdue effort to place some daylight between himself and President Bush regarding Iraq. In his September 20 address, the Massachusetts senator appropriately took the president to task for launching the war prematurely, mishandling the occupation, misleading the American public regarding the deteriorating situation on the ground, and pursuing policies that have weakened America’s security interests.
Some progressive supporters of Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry have argued that, despite his support for the invasion of Iraq and other neoconservative-driven foreign policies of the Bush Administration, at least a President Kerry – unlike the incumbent president – would be more willing to listen to the views of those with more moderate perspectives than himself.
The only people who could possibly be swayed by the unfair and misleading attacks on Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry put forward by speakers at the Republican National Convention (particularly Vice-President Dick Cheney and Georgia Senator Zell Miller) would be those with little understanding of contemporary strategic issues and modern diplomatic history.