Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Nation: "As long as the occupation continues, any Iraqi government or constitution will be tainted . . ."

I've spent the bulk of the night reading e-mails to the site and listening to radio coverage on Iraq (largely the BBC). I took a break from the e-mails (which I'll be returning to when this posts) to read through The Nation that arrived in the mail today. (Or, to read through the first two articles and the letters to the editor.)

I want to highlight the opening editorial from the issue (which is already in the archive section online). I'll also note that this editorial is available online only to subscribers.

As long as the occupation continues, any Iraqi government or constitution will be tainted and incapable of producing the compromises necessary for a stable and unified Iraq. Therefore, for the sake of Iraq's future and the safety of our young men and women, the United States must begin an orderly withdrawal, coordinated with stepped-up US and international economic assistance. We recognize that further violence and internal fighting among Iraqis may follow, but to believe that a continuing US military presence can prevent this is naïve or disingenuous; it will, rather, contribute to the instability. The best long-term outcome is for Iraqis to regain control of their own country and sort out their own future.
An increasing number of Americans recognize the worsening situation. In a recent Gallup poll, nearly half of those responding called for either US troop reductions or complete withdrawal. The politicians are beginning to hear them. Sixteen House Democrats recently signed a letter urging a total pullout. "This is the only way to truly support our troops," the group said. Senator Edward Kennedy reportedly will soon call for withdrawal by the end of the year. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft warned that the election has "great potential for deepening the conflict" and said it was time to ask "whether we get out now." Conservatives from the Cato Institute to Pat Buchanan's American Conservative have called for withdrawal. The antiwar movement is regrouping.
In February the Administration will demand from Congress a stunning $100 billion supplemental appropriation to maintain US military forces in Iraq. The growing number of Americans who see an Administration blindly leading the nation toward more death and destruction should tell their representatives, "No more money for war!" That would be the best example of democracy we could offer the Iraqi people.

"Iraq's Lost Election" is available in the print edition so visit your libraries and bookstores (or if you're a subscriber, click on the link). Hopefully, the excerpt above was well chosen and conveys the points the editorial is making. (Points that The Nation has been making all along, perhaps the mainstream media will come around to offering some of the voices who agree with The Nation.)

There are still a number of e-mails to read and I can't promise that I'll get through all of them tonight. Tomorrow, we'll be highlighting more members and their opinions. I had hoped to do that tonight but hadn't anticipated that there would be so many to read. I would guess that I've read around eight hundred tonight. Again, I am sorry that I put in the place of automatic replies to e-mail but the amount of e-mail is honestly too much to handle with reading and replying (and being one person). I do not want to farm them off to some unsuspecting member because your input shapes The Common Ills and makes us a community. And I'll repeat once again, that you don't have to be willing to be quoted to e-mail in. There are a number of things that will be popping up in the next week (hopefully, fingers crossed for luck) as a result of your sharing so please know that I wish I could personally reply to every e-mail but I do still read them and they do have impact even if you don't wish to be quoted.

One person (whom I'm not naming since I don't have permission to) sent in a Katha Pollitt column from The Nation that I meant to highlight some time ago (I think it was during the week when I was trying to make sure there were posts saved to draft for Wednesday evening and Thursday while I was in D.C. at the protests). We will highlight that tomorrow. And thank you to ____ for bringing the column to my attention because I had intended to highlight it and then quickly forgotten due to all the juggling involved in going to D.C.

The site e-mail is and I'll be reading for at least an hour more before calling it a night.

Reading Pollitt's article tonight also reminded me that I meant to praise and thank Kat of Kat's Korner and I'm not sure I ever did. While I was in D.C., I was really hoping Kat would post an entry. That she did made me very happy when I saw it. That she did three entries amazed me.
I had told Kat I had prepared entries in advance for Thursday (all entries prepared in advance were noted as such when they posted) but would probably only be able to blog once that day (which is what ended up happening) and it would be short and rushed (ditto).

I really felt the need to register my objection to the Bully Boy but I was also feeling like I was letting down members by not being here to blog on that day. Kat said not to worry about it and that she would post. Which she did. Three times. And I did and do appreciate that. I know from some of your e-mails that you did as well. So a big thank you to Kat for all her hard work.

And I should also thank ___ who house sat for me and got online to turn my drafts into posts Wednesday night and throughout Thursday.

Let me close with a link to The Nation which I'm sure many of you are familiar with. If you're not, please take the time to check it out. We've highlighted stories from the magazine and Katrina vanden Heuvel's blog Editor's Cut. The Nation is a magazine that speaks to me and to enough members to be cited as a magazine that nourishes the heart, soul and mind in our year-in-review last December.

But if you're not familar with it, please visit the web site (or check it out in bookstores or your local library). If you find something in it that speaks to you, great. If you don't, just be aware that it's a resource that's out there. The Nation is a weekly magazine that started in 1865. It also has the highest circulation of any political weekly (left, right or moderate).