Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Nancy Soderberg Finds Bottom, Digs........


Former Clinton aide Nancy Soderberg, author of "The Superpower Myth: The Use and Misuse of American Might" was interviewed on the Daily Show with John Stewart and said some things that should make any person, democrat or republican squirm with distaste. Go here to see the video of the interview, and I'll post some of the transcript courtesy of Opinion Journal-

Stewart:(speaking of the Bush Administration) Do you think they're the guys to--do they understand what they've unleashed? Because at a certain point, I almost feel like, if they had just come out at the very beginning and said, "Here's my plan: I'm going to invade Iraq. We'll get rid of a bad guy because that will drain the swamp"--if they hadn't done the whole "nuclear cloud," you know, if they hadn't scared the pants off of everybody, and just said straight up, honestly, what was going on, I think I'd almost--I'd have no cognitive dissonance, no mixed feelings.

Soderberg: The truth always helps in these things, I have to say. But I think that there is also going on in the Middle East peace process--they may well have a chance to do a historic deal with the Palestinians and the Israelis. These guys could really pull off a whole--

Stewart: This could be unbelievable!

Soderberg:---series of Nobel Peace Prizes here, which--it may well work. I think that, um, it's--

Stewart: [buries head in hands] Oh my God! [audience laughter] He's got, you know, here's--

Soderberg: It's scary for Democrats, I have to say.

Stewart: He's gonna be a great--pretty soon, Republicans are gonna be like, "Reagan was nothing compared to this guy." Like, my kid's gonna go to a high school named after him, I just know it.

Soderberg: Well, there's still Iran and North Korea, don't forget. There's hope for the rest of us.

Stewart: [crossing fingers] Iran and North Korea, that's true, that is true [audience laughter].

If you watch the video, you could say that the Iran and North Korea bit was tongue in cheek, but watch the entire video and you can see that the point Soderberg is trying to make is that democrats can't let Bush take credit for the sea of democratic change currently washing over the Middle East. The thing that bothered me the most is when the audience CHEERS-yes-CHEERS the bit about there "still hope for the rest of us". What in the hell is she trying to say? That hopefully the theocrats in Iran will assassinate enough dissidents to slow reform long enough until the democrats are in power so they can take credit? Or maybe Kim Jong-Il will continue to starve enough people to prop his miserable dictatorship up long enough to let democrats get credit for that too? Does she not see how petty and vindictive, not to mention enormously unhelpful these comments are?

To John Stewarts credit, he seems to be coming to terms with the fact that maybe, just maybe, this Texas cowboy did a good thing by removing Saddam and helping Iraqis on the way to Democracy. And he's not alone. Jonathan Freedland writes in the Guardian UK-

Even so, it cannot be escaped: the US-led invasion of Iraq has changed the calculus in the region. The Lebanese protesters are surely emboldened by the knowledge that Syria is under heavy pressure, with US and France united in demanding its withdrawal..........This leaves opponents of the Iraq war in a tricky position, even if the PM is not about to rub our faces in the fact. Not only did we set our face against a military adventure which seems, even if indirectly, to have triggered a series of potentially welcome side effects; we also stood against the wider world-view that George Bush represented. What should we say now?

I may not have the answer as to what you should say, but I damn sure can tell you that hoping that Iran and North Korea DON'T remove their despotic regimes so that Bush can't take credit for it is certainly one thing you probably SHOULDN'T be saying. I want to see the democrats come back down to earth so that there is a more progressive debate over the direction our country should be going in, but garbage like this is not going to help. Thanks a lot Nancy.

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