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Sunday, December 07, 2003

Nonpartisan Opposition to US Iraq Policy

I missed today's "Meet the Press," but former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich was apparently a lot more critical of the US policy in Iraq than was NY Senator Hillary Clinton.

The ├╝ber-blogger Atrios makes a fundamentally important generalization from this data, and I think he's exactly on-point:
in the wider world of opinion shapers there has been plenty of criticism by those who are otherwise ideological allies of this gang.

By attempting to portray this as a partisan debate, the media successfully delegitimizes the opposition, who are "of course" simply trying to score political points, according to the Cokie Roberts school of political journalism.
There's been plenty of non-partisan criticism of the administration's policy from its typical allies (the military analyst on Fox News I mentioned this week, Senators Chuck Hagel and Richard Lugar, the Weekly Standard...even General Wes Clark fell into this category before he declared as a Democratic candidate for President).

When media voices (or Republican TV commercials) say that Democratic opposition to the war reflects partisan politics, they are trivializing meaningful debate and implicitly challenging the patriotism of critics.

Over the three months I've been blogging, I've tried to present lots of reasons why the war in Iraq was bad policy. The unilateral war divides the US from its closest allies (threatening NATO and the UN), it diverts attention and resources from the war on terror, and potentially exposes the US to years and years of costly occupation of a hostile and dangerous land.

These are real concerns, not partisan.

Most of the opponents of Iraq war favored the Afghan war and want to prosecute the war on terror more effectively.

I will be quite surprised if the 2004 presidential election is framed as a rational discussion of the best anti-terror (or Iraq) policy.

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