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America vs. The World

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart. — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

In praise of Howard Dean

I've written before of my admiration for Howard Dean. But this election has really taken it to a new level.

How much more right could he have been about the 50-state strategy? By running candidates wherever he could, and helping resuscitate Democratic operations in communities where they had shriveled away to almost nothing, the Democratic Party was able to ride a fierce anti-Republican wave to victory across the country. The whole reason you build a national party is so that when the electorate is in a mood like this one, you can give them someone to elect.

But did you know that Dean was also incredibly, amazingly right about the problems invading Iraq would present? And more than that, was willing to talk about it in public. This is from a speech he gave in February 2003, a month before the invasion:
To this day, the President has not made a case that war against Iraq, now, is necessary to defend American territory, our citizens, our allies, or our essential interests.

The Administration has not explained how a lasting peace, and lasting security, will be achieved in Iraq once Saddam Hussein is toppled.

I, for one, am not ready to abandon the search for better answers.

As a doctor, I was trained to treat illness, and to examine a variety of options before deciding which to prescribe. I worried about side effects and took the time to see what else might work before proceeding to high-risk measures. . . .

We have been told over and over again what the risks will be if we do not go to war.

We have been told little about what the risks will be if we do go to war.

If we go to war, I certainly hope the Administration's assumptions are realized, and the conflict is swift, successful and clean. I certainly hope our armed forces will be welcomed like heroes and liberators in the streets of Baghdad.

I certainly hope Iraq emerges from the war stable, united and democratic.

I certainly hope terrorists around the world conclude it is a mistake to defy America and cease, thereafter, to be terrorists.

It is possible, however, that events could go differently, . . . .

Iraq is a divided country, with Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions that share both bitter rivalries and access to large quantities of arms.

Anti-American feelings will surely be inflamed among the misguided who choose to see an assault on Iraq as an attack on Islam, or as a means of controlling Iraqi oil.

And last week's tape by Osama bin Laden tells us that our enemies will seek relentlessly to transform a war into a tool for inspiring and recruiting more terrorists.
Man, what a freakin' crazy hippy liberal whacko! Check out the rest of the speech for more left-wing craziness (i.e. reality).

The truth is, Howard Dean is an intelligent and reasonable man with a history of good governance and centrist positions. I believe he would have made a great president — a much better president than either John Kerry or George W. Bush, that's for sure. I don't think anyone had much of a chance against Bush in 2004 anyway (the American people clearly weren't done with him until last Tuesday), but it would have been nice to at least have had someone you believe in to vote for.

Here's hoping we get someone we can believe in for 2008.

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Jeff Goldstein is a wanker.