by Shaun Appleby, Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 02:10:56 AM EST
OK, now that I have your attention, please forgive me for the tagline. I would like to have some help here. It seems that there has been a fair bit of discussion on the positions of various candidates for the nomination for president of the Democratic party vis a vis the war in Iraq and now, perhaps more importantly, the impending, hypothetical, war on Iran.
This brings up a matter of policy, or perhaps ethics and values, of the progressive Left, if there still is such a thing, on the subject of the position the US in the world and the relationship which we choose to epitomise in our affairs with other nations in our global community. Where do we stand? What is and is not acceptable or desirable for the future of this country, and the world, as our leaders conceive it? What is the ethos of the progressive Left? Have we, unsuspectingly, sipped from the forbidden chalice of hubristic neoconservative Kool-Aid?
I do not want to frame this discussion as a champion of some Cloud-Cuckoo-Land utopian ideological wishful thinking. This is a practical problem of politics, domestic US politics, and the ability to reach out to the constituency, as it stands today, and forge the genuine electoral power to win an election with a mandate that is aligned with the core beliefs and future direction of the electorate and the party.
So here it is, FWIW. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the following propositions as policy for progressive Democratic candidates in the 2008 election:
1. Unequivocally reject unilateral military attack by the US against soverign powers in the absence of a casus belli and a formal declaration of war by the Congress of the United States.
2. Unequivocally reject the option of a nuclear first strike by the US and re-establish the nuclear alert status of launch-on-warning as the nuclear war policy of the US armed forces.
3. Reassert the existing US committment to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, the writ of habeus corpus and conventions of international law ratified by the United States in respect of the rights of foreign nationals detained by the United States and held under our jurisdiction.
There has always been, in our body politic, and in the hearts of our true allies and beneficiaries, an unwavering faith that the principles which this country was founded on, and which have served us so well through the challenges and obstacles of our history, as abstract and visionary as they once seemed, are the bedrock of this country's greatness.
Perhaps we need to review those intangible but essential ethical and moral values that have led us to believe that the United States is destined to be great among nations and lead the world by example, something we have perhaps come to take too much for granted, and see if we need to rededicate ourselves to these values once more, however we now conceive them. This seems to be a process that is renewed in each generation and it may be more than past due.
Your comments and criticisms are are welcomed.