Briefly, I support MoveOn.Org against the hypocritical behavior of Congress. In a world where the Right can lie and use Swift Boat tactics against anyone who opposes them, progressives must fight back. The difference is that grassroots campaigns such as MoveOn do not need to, nor do they, attack with lies – bold, audacious headlines perhaps, but ones that are more than mere talking points and slogans.
Afterall, MoveOn’s actual accusation (PDF) was no item of slander:
General Petraeus has actually said American troops will need to stay in Iraq for as long as ten years. Today, before Congress and before the American people, General Petraeus is likely to become General Betray Us.
And he did just that. Neither Bush, nor his newest lapdog, actually intend to let us leave Iraq for decades to come – and that is a betrayal.
Okay, so this isn’t becoming as brief as I thought it would be. But, I think it would be helpful to debunk an alternative point of view.
In another blog’s discussion, the suggestion came up that “We went into Iraq because Bush’s inner circle had wanted to build a democracy there for years.” Nothing could be further from the truth – oh, they used that argument superficially, but I don’t think that they had such benevolent motives at the bottom of it all.
Take the Bush Doctrine, the Wolfowitz Doctrine, and the Project for a New American Century, for three starting points on discussion of neo-con dominionism and empirialism. There’s nothing about ‘good intentions’ in the motivations of the Right’s foreign policy. The whole notion is that “We’re America, and we have the power to completely rearrange world politics to suit our interests, and so we should do just that.”
Those references are of course from wikipedia, and you may be wanting more. Rightly so. As a result, here is the Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century (2000) [pdf], which presents the long-term strategies of the vast majority of the higher-ups in the Pentagon for Bush’s first term. Contained therein:
At present the United States faces no global rival. America’s grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible.
And about the Persian Gulf region, prior to even 9/11 and the propaganda suggesting that Iraq and Al Qaeda were somehow linked (this report was released in Sept. 2000), the report had this to say about our interests in the region (pg26 in the pdf):
Indeed, the US has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.
The report makes absolute sense if our goal is to be an expansionist empire. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want America to be an empire. It’s tyranical.
Further, some of the passages give me the creeps. Implicit is the notion that political justifications must be made to support expansion of American military influence, damn the mayhem caused to other nations, and especially indifferent to the people which we will lord over.