Spot proposed a candidate's surrogate debate at Drinking Liberally last Thursday; Spot offered - although he didn't ask him - to represent Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer. Spot urged Al Franken's supporters to come and support their man. There were a couple of Franken supporters in attendance, but none wanted to debate Spot. This may be because Spot is as intimidating in, er, person as he is on the screen, but probably not.
There were a couple of points that Spot wanted to make in a debate, and he didn't get to, so Spot will get them off his chest now:
Iraq - Jack says plainly that we need to leave now, or as he says, end the occupation of Iraq. Franken says we need to "leave with more care than we went in." Other than a blinding statement of the obvious, this says nothing about how Franken would disengage.
But what about the argument that since we broke Iraq, we have to stay and fix it? The short answer is we can't, and we'll have to live with the obloquy of that fact for a very long time. In one of the videos that Spot put up of Jack's appearance at DL, the example he used was a bunch of burglars who came in and tossed you house, then offered to stick around and straighten up.
All we seem to be doing now is arming all of the factions in the coming civil war; the situation is just festering.
Jack's all in favor of efforts to rebuild Iraq but say it can only be done by the international community after we leave. Spot says we could probably do a lot of good with just some of the twelve billion dollars we spend there every month.
Franken was an early supporter of the war in Iraq. His objections now seem to be more directed to the manner of prosecution of the war than its raison d’être.
Now, this is Spot talking, but I think it gets to the heart of the matter. Al Franken obviously bought the utopian neo-con dream of remaking the Middle East in our own image. The Project for a New American Century is, and always has been, naive foolishness. Perhaps, he thought, that if we could make the Arabs into little "d" democrats, that they would all embrace the Israelis as brother and sisters.
On his radio show, Franken often referred to Yasir Arafat as a "bad man," including many times after Arafat was dead. Now, everybody from the State Department on down yearns for the Fatah years. Franken, like Condi Rice apparently, couldn't see the Hamas ascendency coming.
And what of our friends, the democratic Israelis? Why don't they just annex the Occupied Territories and make everyone a citizen with a vote? The answer to that is obvious: Israel would cease to be a Jewish state. Much better to colonize the place and displace the Palestinians first.
So long as there is no peace in Israel and Palestine, it will continue to inflame the Muslim world, even if the Arabs were all Jeffersonian democrats. Since Israel is the U.S. proxy in the Middle East, we'll continue to be the object of "terrorist" attacks around the world. "Winning" the war in Iraq has precious little to do with it.
Franken's early support for the war in Iraq had little to do with concern about weapons of mass destruction - which even Spot knew didn't exist except as a pretext for war - and everything to do with Franken's callow understanding of the Middle East.
Spot had a few other points, but we'll leave it for now.