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alvarezadams Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 08:44 PM
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Framing policy - terror
(mistankenly posted in General Discussions)

The threat of liquid explosives on commercial planes brings to light a stark reality that needs to be addressed: We are far from winning this war against a tactic and in fact it could be said we're losing it. As we approach important elections it is worrying that no alternative policies have been offered by any candidate/party, and more almost more importantly none will be forthcoming as long as the entire concept of the current struggle is framed by the right.

Winning or losing?

Republicans are wont to note that we have not been the target of any terrorist attack since 9/11. To this I usually counter with "why should they attack when we're always shooting ourselves in the foot?" Today's threat cost the world economy literally billions of dollars. Previous threats have cost billions more. We're spending billions on new bureaucracies (that have been shown to be failures), fighting phoenix-like Taliban in Afghanistan, and (if you accept the admin spin that Iraq is part of the war against a tactic), even more billions in keeping a few acres of Baghdad safe for its "elected government". An Al Qaeda sympathizer can cost us millions with just a risk-free anonymous phone call.

Only the most ideologically-blinded partisan hack can claim that we've even begun to address the "root causes" of terror. Only the most ideologically-blinded partisan hack can believe that the IMPOSITION of a democracy and free-marketism is some sort of panacea that will eventually turn the Middle East into Ohio or Iowa. Unfortunately, PNAC, AEI, PPI, Heritage et al are a bunch of the most ideologically-blinded partisan hacks one can imagine - they are the ones that have predicted success on the combination of regime change and neoliberal economics. And they are the ones that have framed the issue, that drive policy and that influence public opinion.

Framing and Policy (lifted from another post of mine)

"The problem is that the rw framing machine is all-pervasive and it is difficult to discuss the subject without thinking in terms of "terra".

Terrorism is a TACTIC. It is also a symptom of a disease that neither the US nor Israel care to address. The lack of self-determination and the economic colonization/distance between the haves and have-nots need to be addressed or terrorism can only get WORSE.

To fight terrorism militarily is, as we have seen, both inefficient and counterproductive - terror should be treated as the crime that it is. By waging "war" against terror groups we are raising them on a pedestal and according them a virtual status of equality. And with every episode of collateral damage, with every extra judicial murder that we commit we are empowering those bastards.(1)

One of the problems behind the rw's framing of the question is that it follows a disconcerting trait; their world-view is based on wrong-headed ideological interpretation. They see the success of Western democracy, draw an unwarranted conclusion that social and economic ills can and will be cured by its expansion, and have developed this inanity into PNAC. "Imposing democracy" - oxymoron.

What is even worse is to note the cognitive dissonance of these folks - failures are attributed to anything except their own actions and interpretations.

The admin/neocon take on Hezbollah is a case in point. Hezbollah's goals are: "an withdrawal from South Lebanon and the Western Bqa Valley, a withdrawal from the Golan, and the return of the Palestinian refugees. An additional objective is the freeing of prisoners held in Israeli jails, some of whom have been imprisoned for eighteen years" ( )." While it is indeed anti-Zionist and is allied with the Palestinians, its raisson d'etre is centered on Lebanon - and the admin tries to paint the org as being virtually an Al Qaeda.

The b&w view of reality is absurd. There are no "good guys" and "bad guys", there are varying shades of gray. To interpret world politics in such an absolutist light there is only one way to go, the rigid application of international law (which the admin has thrown out the window).

So in a nutshell - we indeed have to deal with the threat. This means, IMHPOV, the application of legal means and diplomacy... while simultaneously addressing the root causes.

1. "According to a poll released by the "Beirut Center for Research and Information" on 26 July during 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, 87 percent of Lebanese support Hezbollah's fight with Israel, a rise of 29 percent on a similar poll conducted in February. More striking, however, is the level of support for Hezbollah's resistance from non-Shiite communities. Eighty percent of Christians polled supported Hezbollah along with 80 percent of Druze and 89 percent of Sunnis.<135>, while according to another poll, from July 2005, 74 percent of Christian Lebanese viewed Hezbollah as a resistance organization<137>." ( )"

So what can be done? The DNC has been given a wake-up call in the form of a revolt against the conservative approach to foreign policy in Ct. It remains to be seen if the DNC will adjust its "triangulation" in order to contemplate those who reject the current policies. I, for one, am under no illusion that the DNC will change its stance because of any moral obligation to "do the right thing". It will change only if the electoral numbers add up, which nationally they probably won't. This means that for progressives there's an awful lot of work to be done still.

To this day 50% of Americans believe that wmd's were found in Iraq ( ). While there is indeed war-weariness causing anti-war sentiment, at least the moiety of the electorate isn't aware of the fact that "Bush lied". Americans are singularly divorced from the reality of the rest of the world ( et al). Americans massively overestimate the amount of aid it provides around the world and correspondingly feel "unappreciated" ( ... ). Clearly the rw thinktank/PR/press machine has done a helluva job in indoctrinating the electorate.

So folks, any ideas? Discussion?
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