A Party Trapped in False Axioms

Saul Landau, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, has written an excellent essay on the current predicament facing the Democratic Party. Here are a few excerpts:

As Congressional Republicans dove in approval rating from 57% to 37% in May, some liberal Democrats wonder why their Party has not correspondingly leaped in opinion polls. One answer lies in Senator Hillary Clinton (NY), the Democrats’ high profiler. She and a few other presidential aspirants have accepted Karl Rove’s Orwellian axiom. By labeling irresponsible behavior as “responsible,” Bush spinners have disabled their opponents.

All Senators should read Gabriel Kolko’s The Age of War. Wars don’t turn out the way their initiators intended, Kolko explains. German, Austrian, French and British “statesmen” who started World War I did not foresee that poison gas and bombs dropped by airplanes would kill millions. Nor did they hope that Russians would overthrow the Czar and launch a communist revolution.

Similarly, Hitler and Tojo saw war as a way to expand rather than reduce the power of their empires, not get Tokyo and Dresden firebombed and, in the case of Japan, fall victim to nuclear weapons.

When Truman intervened in Korea, he believed his military experts who promised that superior US air power would quickly dispatch the lower technology foe. Similarly, the high tech military proponents did not conceive that the Vietnamese would “grab the Americans by the belt,” (close range combat) as General Giap described his method for neutralizing US superior technology.

These “responsible” military chiefs did not count on the sheer grit, discipline and determination of the Vietnamese resistance. Nor did they anticipate that a sizeable US public would mobilize for anti war activities inside the United States, leading to the building of a movement that would divide the country and sap the will of the military and political leadership ­ and leave scars for decades.

Kolko points out that “The Vietnam War was but one major milestone in humankind’s repeated, futile experience in the twentieth century of making wars that profoundly shaped global political and social development in ways ultimately much more dangerous for the war-makers.”

This is a good read. Click the headline for the full essay.

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