Thursday, March 06, 2008

Why - I.

Gee, Spot. Jim Hovland and Jack Nelson Pallmeyer? That's kind of an odd couple, isn't it?

What do you mean grasshopper?

Well, Hovland is a self-described conservative Democrat; Nelson Pallmeyer is a taller Paul Wellstone with more hair.

Very funny grasshopper. But there are a couple of things in particular that the two have in common that impress Spot. First, on Iraq:

Both say we have a "moral obligation" to help Iraq, and that the way to do that is not through the use of our military, but rather reliance on international institutions. Listen to the first several minutes of Nelson Pallmeyer's response to a question about at Iraq at Drinking Liberally:

And here's Jim Hovland on the same subject:

As much as we are occupying Iraq, Iraq now is occupying us. Beyond building anti-American sentiment worldwide, the cost of this war has soared almost beyond comprehension. Pentagon prewar estimates stated that we could begin and end this war within months and with limited casualties for $50 billion. Nearly five years later the actual costs are still not predictably measurable.

. . .

As clear as it is that we no longer can use our military on an ill-fitting mission to police violent streets and prop up a paralyzed and dysfunctional government, it is equally clear that we must help repair what we can of damage done.

Since invading their country, we now have a moral obligation to the people of Iraq, a failed state of our creation, as Strobe Talbott of the Brookings Institution calls it. The question now is how to reverse course without leaving behind an unstable, devastated country and a people in economic and social ruin.

. . .

I’m not willing to commit any more Americans to George Bush’s war. With a new administration next year, I believe we will be able to start working with the international community to achieve a political [solution]. Before that, however, we must start to craft a plan allowing us to withdraw our troops to make way for security forces and humanitarian organizations whose expertise is rebuilding nations and begin the long process of creating stability and a functioning society in Iraq.

Contrast with Ashwin Madia:

Our best hope for a resolution to the Iraq war is for the U.S. to reduce its forces on a responsible timeline and to build a political solution to the country's problems. I propose withdrawing our forces over a period of 18-24 months, with a force of about 10,000-20,000 left in Iraq for three missions:

1. protecting U.S. State Department and USAID workers;
2. targeting high ranking members of Al-Qaeda; and
3. in conjunction with other nations, preventing ethnic cleansing.

Through these measures, I hope to bring about the best possible resolution to an incredibly complex and difficult situation.

He doesn't say if we'll ever actually, you know, leave.

And here's Bonhoff:

My first priority in Congress will be ending the war in Iraq and bringing our soldiers home. That is both my unwavering commitment and the lens through which I will evaluate proposed policy.

We are struggling with the complexities of this war and there are no easy solutions. We must stop arguing amongst ourselves as to the tactics, let go of the continual focus on the popular opinion polls and use the power of the office to turn the governing of Iraq over to where it belongs, the Iraqi people.

The highest level of direct communication must be used so pitfalls can be identified and solutions negotiated. Our soldiers are serving courageously and valiantly. Yet they are now caught in the middle of a civil war. They have served this country magnificently, but you can’t expect to win a political battle without a clear mission.

The status quo is unsustainable and our country has borne a tremendous cost. Withdrawal comes with a price as well. We must exit in a manner that will minimize casualties and chaos.

What utter word salad. At least she says we should get out, but she doesn't give us much of an approach for actually obtaining a stable Iraq.

Another issue where Nelson Pallmeyer and Hovland stand out is health care policy. As far as Spot can tell, none of the other candidates for either office proposes single-payer health care.

Here's what Terri Bonhoff, for example, says about health care:

Despite having the best quality of care in the world, the growing cost of health care is negatively affecting more and more families and businesses. We must work together to ensure every American – man, woman and child – has access to quality, affordable health care.

Rubbish. We do not have anywhere near the best health care outcomes in the world.

But it turns out, the US was in the middle of the pack for the majority of health issues that were compared.

Madia? Nope.

It's cool to talk about universal health care, but Hovland and Nelson Pallmeyer are the only ones talking about the reality of getting there. And it is quite interesting to Spot that Hovland justifies a single-payer system on business grounds, and Spot says that he is correct.

There is more to come, boys and girls.

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