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June 01, 2007

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just read her goodbye letter: "...Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives."

You asked why some of us are angry at Democrats. The party loses so often anyway, its leaders might as well try to stand for something in the process. Every time Democratic candidates compromise on principles into what is an "electable" position, they fail. Subtle nuances are lost on the majority of the electorate. This has been true since Reagan became president.

Unsurprisingly, as of now, front-running repubs still have an edge in polls when ability to combat terrorism is the question.
Please remind me again what the Democrats have gained by working with Cheney and Baby Cheney?

I think one could go a number of ways on this... I think Sheehan's comment, while understandable from her perspective is also, in some ways, too mugh: reasonable people disagree on how best to deal with where things are in Iraq. As much as I think we should leave - for a variety of reasons - others do not. That the Bush Administration is incompetent to hande this mess goes without saying. But this is a mess, it's our mess, and solving it, despite Sheehan's convictions, is not simple, or easy.

Second, I'd point out that it's reductive - not to mention insulting - to suggest that people who have different opinions, or no opinion, are callous, superficial bastards who don't care about soldiers being killed. I watched American Idol, and I'm concerned about soldiers. American Idol - which had a soldier as a contestant this season - probably cares, too. That, too, is too easy on her part.

Finally, the problem here is not Democrats... though it certainly can be if we choose to make it. The Congressional leaders negotiated partly because negotiation is what you do, and partly because he is President. These far-fetched, out there ntions tht cutting off all funding or some such would end the war tomorrow - and, somehow, not cause Demoats incalculable political damage - are simply fantastical. If we're serious about figuring out how to get out, then we need to be serious, and realize that ending this doesn't happen with some snap of the fingers. It will be long, it will be hard, and just as importantly, Iraq will not be in better shape for our leaving it.

I think there's a bit of the "unassailable victm" at work here with Sheehan - you can see it, partly in the way she complains about being marginalized in that letter - how can anyone question the woman who lost a son in the war? Well, nobody questions her loss, or her son's contributions as a soldier; what they question are political statements in a debate she inserted herself into. That strikes me as fair. It's why I think she wasn't prepared to really be a public figure or to play the role she ultimately played as a "leader" in the antiwar movement. And it's why I think some of her anger in that note is misplaced - it's blaming the masses for her son's death as she leaves the stage, much the way she blamed Bush when she arrived. I think she was more right then than she is now.

The American people voted for change in the last election and have so far seen very little.

I'm not sure she's wrong to insult (and I include myself in the group insulted). We've all gotten so good at compartmentalizing (thanks, Bill Clinton), that we can watch AI and hate the war quietly at the same time. It's as if we're giving all equal weight, and I think that's why the insult stings with truth.

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