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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Tuesday, October 28, 2003


What Can We Do About Iraq?

posted by Dana at Tuesday, October 28, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Forty were killed yesterday, six more today. Iraq has become unspinnable.

But that is even true for us.
Today Americans still believe Iraq is better off without Saddam Hussein. But as the casualties mount, even that is coming into question.

Cher (yes, Cher) visited Walter Reed Hospital this week and came away horrified by the number of soldiers she saw without limbs. Modern medicine keeps the vast majority of casualties from death but over 2,000 coalition forces have now been wounded, and that does not count the thousands more who may have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a life-long reaction to horror that leaves no visible scars, only broken lives.

The U.S. election is still 12 months away, inauguration nearly 15 months off. The situation on-the-ground discussed by candidates on Sunday may be irrelevant when Iowa votes, let alone America.

The fact is that the Cradle of Civilization today is a Killing Field. It was an oppressive, brutal dictatorship, ruled by fear, but now it is increasingly anarchic and ruled by the gun. Right now there is nothing we can do about that.

Or is there?

What Howard Dean offers is a different attitude toward the world. It’s tolerance rather than contempt. It’s negotiation rather than bombing. It’s another chance to try another approach.

It calls for a different attitude from us as well. Talk to your Republican neighbors today, listen to them instead of arguing, let them vent. They have a lot to get out before they surrender and admit that their beliefs haven’t worked in practice. That’s a hard admission to make, when you’ve lived with the assumption that might-makes-right for a lifetime.

The Great American Conversation can become the Great American Healing, because we are 500,000 strong. That is makes this campaign different from anything that has come before, anywhere. Let the healing begin, and let it begin with us.


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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.