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‘This madness must stop’

by Sunny on 1st August, 2006 at 4:45 pm    

Looks like the American administration is finally waking up. It isn’t the spineless Democrats but the Republicans who want a ceasefire.

Urging President Bush to turn all U.S. efforts toward “ending this madness,” a leading Republican senator Monday broke with the Bush administration and called for an immediate cease-fire in the Mideast.

“The sickening slaughter on both sides must end and it must end now,” Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel said. “President Bush must call for an immediate cease-fire. This madness must stop.”

“How do we realistically believe that a continuation of the systematic destruction of an American friend — the country and people of Lebanon — is going to enhance America’s image and give us the trust and credibility to lead a lasting and sustained peace effort in the Middle East?” asked Hagel, the No. 2 Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

From CNN , via Mash. He has the CNN news broadcast too.

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  1. Leon — on 1st August, 2006 at 5:41 pm  

    Certainly the growing worldwide levels of anger and opposition to Israel’s actions are making many rethink things…I still can’t get my head around why the Democrats are such spineless idiots? Anyone able to offer a concise insight?

  2. Refresh — on 1st August, 2006 at 6:23 pm  

    Political cowardice. A politico would describe it as keeping your powder dry for a future political gain.

    Its not just over there, it happens here. Where’s Gordon Brown?

  3. Leon — on 1st August, 2006 at 10:23 pm  

    Good question, so good Iain Dale asks it weekly (well ok he doesn’t but you get the joke right!?)!

  4. Zak — on 1st August, 2006 at 10:57 pm  

    The republican party guys are breaking ranks because they smell blood Bush is sinking and the rats who agreed with every act he’s done are now jumping ship.

  5. Sunny — on 1st August, 2006 at 11:25 pm  

    Zak, if it was that straightforward the Democracts would have been all over it… in theory.

  6. StrangelyPsychedelique / Kesara — on 2nd August, 2006 at 1:12 am  

    I still can’t get my head around why the Democrats are such spineless idiots?

    I wouldnt say theyre all spineless as such but they certainly cave in a lot easier. At the end of the day you dont maintain positions of power by letting your opponents walk over you.
    I lost all respect for John Kerry on election night when he said “we gave it our best” and Bush & co sat smugly saying “we’re gonna win!”.

  7. Mash — on 2nd August, 2006 at 1:25 am  

    One word (well, actually an acronym): AIPAC

  8. Sunny — on 2nd August, 2006 at 1:28 am  

    Aha. And they closer to the Democrats than Republicans right?

  9. Mash — on 2nd August, 2006 at 1:43 am  

    Yes, they are equal opportunity lobbyists. But, they apparently are quite a powerful lobby.

    Also, here’s an interesting propaganda site that the Israeli government is funding to get out their part of the story: http://www.giyus.org

    The goal is to notify Israel supporters to go vote on online polls and go to blogs that post stories critical of Israel and post pro-Israel comments. Its quite silly and shows the level of discourse we have reached.

  10. StrangelyPsychedelique / Kesara — on 2nd August, 2006 at 2:17 am  

    Why is it silly?

  11. Desi Italiana — on 2nd August, 2006 at 6:00 am  

    “I still can’t get my head around why the Democrats are such spineless idiots? Anyone able to offer a concise insight?”

    Non Americans seem to think that there is actually a difference between the Democrats and the Repubicans. There isn’t a fundamental difference. To put it crudely, the Democrats are wanna-be Repubicans. This is why they are “spineless”. They are too busy trying to copy the Repubs rather than having strong stands on issues, cultivating their own platform and agendas. Superficially, there is a difference: the difference lies in how the Democrats and Repub’s present their agendas. Repub’s will come straight out and say what they are going to do, maybe add a cover up lie as an afterthought. The Democrats, on the other hand, will say one thing and do another; but what they do is akin to the Repub’s. One example is Clinton. People forget that Clinton did a whole lot- except backstage; but on stage he always had a charming, diplomatic smile.

    I think the answer to this question lies in the nature of the two party political system that we have. Party candidates will strive for the middle ground in order to garner the most votes. They end up resembling one another, or more accurately, the Demo’s try to emulate the Repub’s. Why so? IMO, it is because mainstream politics in the US lean more towards the “right”. What we call “liberal”, ie Democrats, in the US is actually still pretty right in other countries (as I’ve explained on previous threads).

    Neither party really strays far from shared, common beliefs on capitalism, social security, health care, education and so on- all topics in the US where there COULD arguably be essentially different ideas, approaches, stands between different candidates (ie one candidate advocates universal healthcare, education). There HAVE been differences- ie abortion- but even then, much wasn’t drastically overturned (like with Clinton, he promised “universal healthcare”. But it didn’t happen).

    On the question of Israel and Palestine, GENERALLY there has been a consensus between the Demos and Repubs: the consensus on unconditionally supporting Israel, prohibiting criticism of Israel and the US or a debate on the role of the US.

  12. AsifB — on 2nd August, 2006 at 11:43 am  

    Democrats have traditonally been more pro-Israel than Republicans and despite the strongly pro-Israel tenure of Ronald Reagan, American Jews still traditonally see themselves as Democrats.

    So it isn’t really being spineless, so much as sticking to form.

    Democrats who have been percieved as remotely pro-Palestinian /anti-Israel have never got far in the party hierarchy - Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition in 1988 was the peak probably - Clinton and Gore took a prominenently pro-Israel attitude right from the start of their White House runs. It seems like ancient history now, but this is one reason why Dubya Bush scored more Arab American votes in 2000 than Al Gore. (with Lebanese American Nader pulling a good 20% plus for the Greens)

    The dreaded litmus test whereby your opponent will be funded heavily if you are percieved as soft on Palestinians thankfully does not happen in the UK -despite the best efforts of the Board of Deputies and the MCB etc, it is perfectly possible to be a Labour MP and Cabinet Minister and be either pro-PLO or a Friedn of Israel (Brown and Blair are of course the latter but Short, Straw, Hain, Cook and others like Blunkett in the 80s were all the former)

  13. sonia — on 2nd August, 2006 at 12:22 pm  

    i think desi italiana’s got a very good point.

    “I think the answer to this question lies in the nature of the two party political system that we have. Party candidates will strive for the middle ground in order to garner the most votes. They end up resembling one another, or more accurately, the Demo’s try to emulate the Repub’s. Why so? IMO, it is because mainstream politics in the US lean more towards the “right”. What we call “liberal”, ie Democrats, in the US is actually still pretty right in other countries (as I’ve explained on previous threads).”

    yeah exactly. so say if Hillary runs for election - she probably would to do that on a platform which is moving moving sneakily towards the right. that i wouldn’t much appreciate..

    i think this also explains why so many people are disenfranchized voters around - who are they going to vote for -they’re all the same - so don’t bother voting.

  14. sonia — on 2nd August, 2006 at 12:28 pm  

    makes me laugh - ‘checks and balances of power’: ho ho indeed.

  15. sonia — on 2nd August, 2006 at 1:05 pm  

    anyhow its all ridiculous. reading the AIPAC pages and just generally how so many ordinary Americans can fail so amazingly at putting themselves in other people’s shoes. if someone came along and said ‘right these few States are now our territory cos we wos here before y’all and we’d like them back thanks. so push off now’. People are really gonna go ‘oh yes you have the right because your ancestors were here and you’ve had lots of injustice done to you in the meantime so ill quietly go over there and not say I don’t recognize your right to exist because it conflicts with my right to exist’.

    I mean hello?

    In any case, replace America with any country in the world and you’ll get to the same issue. Same bottom line. Look at the fuss made about asylum seekers here.

    Bottom line is if i go to your house and throw you out, whatever justification and right I may feel i have, i can’t really be suprised when you turn around and don’t like it. And feel you have a right too. And most people would turn around and say i don’t recognize your right. ( so many people focus on oh the palestinians say israel hasn’t the right, so we can’t have a peace process..)

    i mean if a bunch of people from Rome showed up and said they’d have everything south of hadrian’s wall because they’re ancestors had it one day would modern day Brits go oh yes of course. Not likely is it now.

    So I can’t see how people can generally fail to see this. it’s another thing to then say right so now how do we resolve this blah blah and have different opinions on how best to proceed, given that injustices have happened in the past and future injustice/ violence isn’t going to make things better. people can and do obviously have different opinions about that.

    I think fundamentally it comes back to the problematique of one race one land idea. obviously there’s going to be trouble since there’s not enough space for everyone to decide they want their own bit. historically there’s been a lot of wars and fights and some people have got their ‘own’ proclaimed state under the banner of whatever nation and lots of other people haven’t. and have had to squeeze in where possible. this is really where the multiculturalism thing comes from - and why i think its so crucial - cos otherwise every ‘culture’ or ‘nation’ can go about demanding their own state. it was hardly suprising the Jewish diaspora wanted to have their own state given how shittily they were treated in states where people felt they were ‘alien’ and given the lip service to monoculturalism that nations tended to have. Sure. Is the solution for all of us to go and find some land and kick out who ever is on it because they’re not of our race - and they can go somewhere else and kick someone else out - and then those people can go somewhere else…its just endless. Obviously individuals all have a right to live somewhere - it would be nice if that didn’t have to happen at the expense of someone else’s rights.

    Which is why its so important to support the notion that a state is NOT only for one race or one culture. That is the prime reason why so many wars happen. We stupid humans need to learn to live together. Every indidivual has the right to have the ability to live somewhere and not be shoved off cos they aren’t in the right group.

    long post i know prob lots of typos but lots to say. Not looking at this situation in the overall global context of history of forming nation-states and nations in search of states is one of the reasons why it’s so damn difficult to work out.

  16. Leon — on 2nd August, 2006 at 4:10 pm  

    Could the Democrats finally be getting their act together…?

    It’s little and it’s late but I guess it’s a start: a call by leading Democrats to pull out US troops from Iraq by the end of the year. The letter that has been signed by both Harry Reid, the Senate leader, and Nancy Pelosi, leader of the House of Representatives, and 10 others attempts to cement a consensus within the party on the war issue. Hillary Clinton is a notable absence.

  17. Zak — on 2nd August, 2006 at 6:54 pm  

    Obviously the Democrats can’t contest on a anti war ticket…that’ll annihilate whats left of them in the South and mid west..and they will cease to function as a National Party.

    The key difference between whats happening now and what happened in the past was that from the mid 70’s till the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon..the US would at least nominally condemn military operations done by Israel. Dubya has done something unique, while it goes without saying the US would have known about the Israeli strike before hand… this time around their silence was deafening.

    Anyway the more the democratcs jump on the peace wagon the more they seem like weak doves and the more they alienate both conservative republicans and liberals jewish americans..

  18. saurav — on 3rd August, 2006 at 11:07 am  

    “I think the answer to this question lies in the nature of the two party political system that we have.

    I agree with this statement, but I have a different take on it. Foreign policy in the U.S. is basically consensus among the elite, with rare exceptions. Domestic policies are where you see the interest groups politics play out that presents the semblance of debate. The problem, essentially, is that the United States government has some debate on issues that affect the people who can wield some political power, but this doesn’t include the vast majority of the people in the world who are actually affected by its policies.

    But the point about Democrats being traditionally pro-Israel is true at least where I am (New York). Opposing Israel is the kiss of death in this state, and this is a “liberal” state.

    Also see this assessment of AIPAC and the Israel lobby in the United States in The Nation magazine.

  19. Mark — on 4th August, 2006 at 6:27 am  

    Gore Vidal has a nice take on it:

    “There is only one party in the United States – the Property Party, and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt - until recently – and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But essentially, there is no difference between the two.”

    On the subject of the Debacle in Iraqle, he’s probably pretty close to the truth. Please note that the issues which commonly result in “broad bipartisan support” used to be those involving money and spending. Before Bush, that is, who never misses an opportunity to prove he knows as much about economics as he does about Arab culture.

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