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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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Monday, December 15, 2003


We've only just begun to fight

posted by annatopia at Monday, December 15, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Saddam Hussein was captured. That's fantastic news. It doesn't mean the Dean candidacy is dead. I've held off on commenting on this mess because I wanted to observe the reactions of all the candidates, their supporters, the pundits, etc. now that I've taken it all in, I have a few things to say.
first off, i'm happy that saddam hussein was captured. i hope it gives the iraqi people the motivation and confidence they need to begin healing from the terrible injustices they suffered under his rule.
what i'm unhappy about is the fact that we took him on at a most inopportune time. IMO, this is the crux of why dean isn't dead. at a time when we should be focusing all our resources at the threat of terrorism, and namely the likes of al quaeda and hamas, we instead chose to focus on a tinpot dictator who could have been contained while we focused on terrorism.
don't get me wrong. i'm concerned with the possibility of nuclear material or biotoxins falling into terrorist hands. the problem is, saddam hussein did not possess any of these things. we've been in iraq for ten months, and we've got inspectors crawling all over the country, and we have found nothing. let us not forget that the main reason we went to war was to prevent a mushroom cloud from appearing over a major american city, because we knew where the WMD were in and around the areas outside tikrit and baghdad (rummy, spring 2003), because iraq sought to buy significant quantities of uranium from africa (the president, SOTU address 2003), and because iraq posed an imminent and immediate threat to our security (various administration officials, winter and spring 2003).
i am more concerned with these materials falling into the hands of terrorists courtesy of north korea or the former soviet republics. realistically, those countries are more of a threat to us than iraq ever was.
this war has been a distraction from the war on terror, and few people have properly articulated that fact. dean has been saying exactly that since the beginning.
i'm not one of those imaginary deluded dean supporters that the pundits and our opponents like to dream up. i know that from the get-go, dean has stated that this was the wrong war at the wrong time. he never said he opposed all wars, and he's recently made repeated reference to his support for the actions in afghanistan and the first gulf war. he's also stated that under the most extreme, imminent-threat type situations, he would not hesitate to use the full force of our military. he is no dove.
the mistake bush made was choosing to fight this war right now. he and his advisors decided to mislead us into war, and now we're paying $200 billion, 400+ coalition lives, thousands of civiliant lives, and countless intelligence resources in a cause that makes us not much safer than we were before the invasion began. instead, we should be pouring resources into fighting terrorism. make no mistake that is not what we're focused on right now.
when bush and his administration say that 9-11 changed everything, they are absolutely correct. many people, even the most pacifist americans, were faced with the reality that we are truly vulnerable on our own shores. it was a wake up call, the final signal that we needed to focus our resources into fighting the threats of a new century.
all the excuses the administration has given for going into iraq were truly legitimate threats in this new century. but remember, the administration itself has admitted that iraq had nothing to do with 9-11. they're lying when they attempt to insinuate a tie between the two. they are attempting to manipulate our fellow americans. iraq didn't purchase uranium from africa, it does not appear that they possessed those stockpiles of biotoxins, and they weren't supporting the terrorists who attacked us. they were not an imminent threat in this new century, and gov dean has recognised and stated this fact from the beginning.
we need to address the gathering threat in north korea, a regime which is truly on the brink of possessing nuclear weapons and one which may be desperate enough to sell them to terrorists. pakistan's military dictator was nearly assassinated over the weekend, and terrorists have regrouped there and in afghanistan. the former soviet republics can't account for much of their post-cold-war inventory, and chechnya remains a quagmire. all of these situations pose a much greater risk to our security than did iraq. yet we spent time, money, and precious resources on that adventure.
and now that we've broke it, we bought it. we're not getting out any time soon, contrary to what some on the left have proposed. we need to stay there for as long as it takes to establish stability and security for the iraqi people. they deserve at least that much, and we will fulfill that obligation.
this is the reality of the situation. we must now simultaneously conduct the most difficult war or our lifetime (WoT) while nation-building in iraq. the action in iraq is a drain of precious resources at the most inopportune time. that is why it's appropriate for al gore to call the situation a quagmire.
his opponents may try to smear him, the pundits may speculate that it's over, but it's not even close. we can now focus on the issues that we've been pushing all along: sound domestic policy and fighting terrorism, not wars that distract us from the real threats abroad and our myriad of issues at home. we're not dead yet. we have just begun to fight.

I feel Dean's national security speech from earlier today shows he is clearly in tune with the challenges we face in this new century.

*note: Forgive the lack of capitalisation. Sometimes my fingers are unable to keep up with my brain. Cross posted over on my site.


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About Nation-Building

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.