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Offering a Response to Senator Webb - What America Really Needs to Hear
Thursday, 01 February 2007 08:55
By Joshua Frank

Shortly after President Bush’s State of the Union address last week Jim Webb, the freshman Senator from Virginia, delivered the Democrats’ televised response to Bush’s annual speech. Many antiwar progressives were pleased to hear a Democrat confront the Bush rhetoric head-on. Media critic Jeff Cohen went even further and argued that Webb’s riposte was not only aimed at the Bush administration, but also at Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

“Whether intended or not,” wrote Cohen, “Webb was offering a way for Democrats to win elections — a script for any presidential candidate who wants to distinguish him or herself in the primaries, and then defeat the Republicans in Nov. 2008.”

Cohen and I must have been watching different programs. Sen. Webb’s position on the Iraq war was little more than a sugarcoated pill packed full of the usual irony.  Webb painted the situation in Iraq as a result of Bush’s poor planning and not the more obvious illegalities and lies that drove our country into battle. As Webb put it, “We are now, as a nation, held hostage to the predictable — and predicted — disarray that has followed.”

Never once did we hear Webb utter the bitter truth about the Iraq crisis. Certainly the invasion and subsequent occupation were not “mismanaged” as Webb and many others have put it, rather the civil war now engulfing Iraq is a result of a criminal performance carried out by President Bush that was enabled and encouraged by the leaders of the Democratic Party dating back to President Clinton.

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Webb also did not express any significant criticisms of the “war on terror” as he seems to believe in its underlying premise.  Consequently he did not mention that he disagrees with the increase of troops in Afghanistan or the recent air strikes of suspected terrorist cells in Somali. And despite his anger at Bush’s reckless mismanagement of Iraq, he didn’t dare bring up that all but forgotten subject: impeachment.

Webb also noted that he was opposed to “a precipitous withdrawal that ignores the possibility of further chaos” and instead called for a “strong regionally-based diplomacy, a policy that takes our soldiers off the streets of Iraq's cities, and a formula that will in short order allow our combat forces to leave Iraq.” In essence Webb doesn’t believe U.S. troops should leave Iraq at once. We may as well call that just more of the same. All talk, no action.

And this is the type of winning formula Jeff Cohen believes the Democratic presidential candidates should use to distinguish themselves from Republicans? Right now the most visible and articulate antiwar senator is Republican Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. If anything, Democratic presidential hopefuls and others should take a cue from Hagel on Iraq, not Webb. In a recent interview in GQ, Hagel went as far as to say that what’s going on in Iraq is “even worse than a civil war, because in addition to the sectarian violence, you've got Shia killing Shia. We have ethnic cleansing of major proportions going on in Baghdad.”

Enough with the nonsense. Senator Hagel’s straight talk is what the American public really needs to hear.

Joshua Frank is the author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush and edits http://www.BrickBurner.org.
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Comments (4)add comment

a guest said:

Webb 2.0?

Per usual, spot on.

Webb's "rebuttal" left me empty. I'd hoped for more after he won the little confrontation with the preznut a few weeks ago at the White House reception. Guess Pelosi goot too him in the meantime, eh?
February 01, 2007
Votes: +0

ddjango . said:

ddjango .
Webb 2.0
As usual, Joshua, spot on.

I had high hopes for Webb when he won the little confrontation with Bush at the White House reception a few weeks ago. But I guess Her Speakerness had a little talk with him since then.

And we expected what??
February 01, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

Jim webb a Loose cannon
In his SOTU response, I think Webb did more then simply reach out to democrats, but also to Republicans and Independents. In so doing, he has created a Political force all his own. Not Democrat, Not Republican. But Webb. The best description I've heard is "Neo-Jacksonian" (After President Andrew Jackson)

He's positioning himself not as a champion of Wall Street, not as a Champion of the Poor, nor even a Champion of the Liberal elite, but the First and perhaps only Champion of the Middle Class, The vast majority of the country, and often the most apathetic of political blocks.

But with the Middle Class slowly getting crushed, Webb might very well be the Paul Revere of the 21'st century, waking the Middle Class up to it's Plight. If he succeedes, and I pray he does, Not only will he perhaps become the most powerful politician in the country, but he will also bring about the utter destruction of the Bush Administration and the Neo-conservative movement in a tide of Retribution and Anger.
February 02, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

no truthtellers here
Sorry, but no one wants to address the issue of oil . . . no one. No one there and no one here.

Unless and until we are willing to admit why we are in Iraq in the first place, no one can possibly discuss why we ought to leave or stay.

Sam Snedegar
February 02, 2007
Votes: +0

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