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Nanny wags a warning finger

By Michael J. Smith on Friday July 25, 2008 10:42 PM

Talk about a shot across the bow:

Dear Senator Obama,

We the undersigned... are deeply concerned about the stories in the press in the past few weeks suggesting that the Bush administration might be considering a military strike on Iran....

We welcomed your stand against the war on Iraq in 2002. And we were encouraged by your early campaign statements emphasizing diplomacy over military action against Iran....

But we call on you to issue a public statement warning of the grave dangers that any of these actions would entail, and pointing out how inappropriate and undemocratic it would be for the Bush administration to undertake them, or encourage Israel to do so, in its closing months in office.....

[T]he public right to decide should not be foreclosed by last-minute actions of the Bush administration, which will set U.S. policy in stone now.

Rich stuff. We were all "encouraged" by some no-name Illinois legislator's ambiguous murmurings in... 2002? We want... a "public statement"? War would be... "inappropriate"?

The thrust here seems to be that Bush no longer has the mandate of Heaven and that war with Iran should wait until a duly-elected Democrat can wage it.

This "open letter" was signed by many Usual Suspects -- Tom Hayden, Katha Pollitt, Cornel West, Doug Ireland, Michael Lerner. But then there's my hero Noam Chomsky, too, and Doug Henwood. People who really have better things to do with their time.

We're doomed, mates, doomed.

Comments (7)


I'm not particularly surprised by Chomsky's appearance on the list -- as silly and toothless as the thing is, there's nothing in the letter that I'd expect him to object to. At his age, I don't blame him for spending more time signing things people put in front of him.


Dear Senator Warmonger J. AIPAC:

We are writing to you of our "deep concern." How deep? Deep enough so that we issue little whimperings of supplication before the very person who is junior member of the gang about to blow up our house. What kind of honor is in that?
Forget about it - this marks the point where "progressives" have jumped the shark. Signing a little ipetition to Ronnie Reagan Jr.? Please. This isn't just a matter of a waste of time - it's a matter of intellectual substance - and they all failed - no, they failed "deeply." And I "foreclose" upon them - the auction starts in fifteen minutes. Who'll give me $10,000 for this house where the left used to live comfortably? $5?


Djur's reasoning about Chomsky no doubt applies to Henwood too: it took ten seconds, it's sorta against bombing Iran, it doesn't do any harm.

I wonder though whether so much isn't given away in the way the argument is constructed that it actually does do harm.


MJS, only if you're into pretending to have power you don't really have, I think. Petitions aren't so much supplications as subtle admissions that the system actually works how it thinks it does. I'm not sure that's giving too much away. I'm not sure how much there really is to give.

Peter Ward:

I think it's best to regard this letter as one regards--or I regard, at any rate--an ACLU campaign email: something vile, but representing a venality more than offset by the constructive work the organization does.

I think it is unwise in any situation to get too hung up on words--aren't they pretty much always lies?--to concrete on concrete action instead. But I think expression of weakness such as this letter is an example provide a cop out for those who sin by refusing to take any action. By proving a convenient excuse not to associate with exactly those whom one should associate.



I'm not sure how much there really is to give.
Good point. There isn't much to give. But whatever there is to give -- this "petition" gave it.


Excuse me but, WTF??? Pardon me for exercising my Tourette's...Is this REALLY the FUCKING best our FUCKING ineffectual anti-war FUCKING movement can FUCKING do?



I hope these fuckers got paid well for selling out to K-street.

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