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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Iraq Puppet Show

There was a little battle of the wills Sunday on Meet the Press, with a heated argument between Sens. Jim Webb and Lindsey Graham. While Graham was throwing out the same old tired Republican talking points and Bush apologism for war in Iraq, Webb called him on it. Angrily. It was beautiful. Click on the image above for the video.

Or, we can go to the New York Times politics blog, The Caucus, for a partial transcript.

SENATOR GRAHAM: Have you been to Iraq?

SENATOR WEBB: I have been to Afghanistan as a journalist.

SENATOR GRAHAM: Have you been to Iraq and -- have you been to Iraq and talked to the soldiers?

SENATOR WEBB: You know, you haven't been to Iraq.

SENATOR GRAHAM: I've been to -- I've been there seven times.

SENATOR WEBB: You know, you go see the dog and pony shows.

SENATOR GRAHAM: I've been there as a reservist, I have been there and I'm going back in August.

SENATOR WEBB: That's what congressmen do. Yeah, I have, I have -- I've been a member of the military when the senators come in.

SENATOR GRAHAM: Well, all -- listen, something we can agree on, we both admire the men and women in uniform. I don't doubt your patriotism.

SENATOR WEBB: Don't put political words in their mouth.

The reason Graham switched gears to 'something we can agree on' was because Webb was getting seriously pissed off. Graham was pushing some BS that soldiers were reenlisting because they support Bush and the war. This is kind of like arguing that firefighters are in favor of an arsony because they keep running back into the burning building. The fact is that people reenlist because they don't want to abandon their friends in a hellhole.

Graham was doing what too many of the few remaining war supporters do -- using the troops like a ventriloquist's dummy. I'm surprised that Graham didn't come back with, "The troops don't like your tone, Jim. The troops think you're being very unreasonable right now. The troops think we should either all calm down or go to a commercial."

In fact, a fun little fact turned up recently that pretty much proves that Lindsey Graham and the troops aren't on the same wavelength at all. Of all the GOP presidential hopefuls, Ron Paul -- the only antiwar Republican candidate -- has raised the most money from military personnel.


The Q2 fundraising numbers reveal [$23,465] were donated to RP's campaign from current and former Army, Navy and Air Force people. John "But I Was Tortured" McCain only picked up $15,825 donations from current or retired military, while draft-dodging Manhattan dandy Rudy Giuliani only collected $2,320 in military donations.

It's a drop in the bucket compared to total fundraising, sure. But the US military doesn't pay quite as well as corporate whoredom. You give what you've got and Republican military members are giving to the only peace candidate. The troops think you're full of crap, Lindsey. Put that in your sock puppet.

In fact, pretty much everyone with even a passing connection to the war is turning against it. A very good piece in the Washington Post, titled 'Midwest Towns Sour on War as Their Tolls Mount,' tells the story.

TIPTON, Iowa -- This farming town in Cedar County buried Army Spec. Aaron Sissel during the Iraq war's ninth month. It buried Army Spec. David W. Behrle during the 51st. Along the way, as a peaceable community's heart sank, its attitude toward President Bush and his Iraq strategy turned more personal and more negative.

Sissel and Behrle were popular young sons of Tipton, a community of 3,100 where anonymity is an impossibility. Sissel bagged groceries at the supermarket and often bowled at Cedar Lanes. Behrle served, just two years ago, as Tipton High's senior class president and commencement speaker.

The town, by all accounts, once gave Bush the benefit of the doubt for a war he said would make America safer and a mission he said was accomplished four years before Behrle died. But funeral by funeral, faith in the president and his project to remake Iraq is ebbing away.

Why don't you tell us what they think, Senator Graham? Put on your swami turban and contact the dead sons and daughters of corn farmers to get their input. Read the minds of those farmers, send your psychic powers over the rolling prairies of Iowa and Nebraska and Wisconsin, and tell us what they think. Tell us what we think.

Of course, he won't. Bush is the only one with enough guts and shamelessness to lie to us about what we think. He's the one who tells us what 'the American people' understand or don't understand -- despite all polling to the contrary. The less crazy know it can't possibly work.

Safer to lie about what the troops think. Most people don't get a chance to talk to them, since they're all over in Iraq, so who's going to contradict you? It's a lie that can be told with impunity.

Or it's supposed to be. People have gotten tired of being frightened. You can only keep people in a panic over terrorism for so long before they become exhausted. Then we remember times in our lives when we had one helluva lot more to fear -- Soviet nuclear death from above, for example. We remember times when courage was valued and fear-mongering was seen as the lowest of political dirty tricks. We remember that real leaders tell us to be brave, not to embrace our cowardice.

The longer this war goes on, the more pointless it becomes and the more obvious that pointlessness becomes. The tricks and lies and puppet theater lose our attention, while the truth becomes more and more undeniable. Those parents and neighbors of dead soldiers know the truth, those military personnel giving to Ron Paul know the truth, you and I know the truth.

Bush is running out the clock so some other president can be blamed for 'losing Iraq' and people like Lindsey Graham have tangled themselves up in their own lies so badly that they can't do the right thing and start telling the truth. If Bush's plan is successful, chumps like Lindsey Graham will be left holding the bag. But there's nothing they can do about it, because they hitched their wagons to the president's setting star too long ago.

Jim Webb gave Lindsey Graham a boatload of grief because Graham deserves a shipload. There's too much blood on his hands to let him get away with anything and the fact that he committed himself to a foolish course a long time ago is no excuse.


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1 comment:

Scott Kohlhaas said...


We love Ron Paul!

Would you be willing to spread the word about It's a site dedicated to shattering the myths surrounding the selective slavery system and building mass civil disobedience to stop the draft before it starts.

Our banner on a website, printing and posting the anti-draft flyer or just telling friends would help.


Scott Kohlhaas

PS. When it comes to conscription, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!