The top contenders for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination, according to the latest poll, are Hillary Clinton (33% of likely D-voters support her), Barack Obama (15%), John Edwards (14%), Al Gore (14%), and John Kerry (7%)... sorry, John.
The same poll has 63% of the likely D-voting population opposing the war in Iraq. That position is broken down into:
(16%) Send more troops.
(21%) Keep same number as now.
(27%) Withdraw some troops.
(33%) Withdraw all troops.
3% had no opinion, making them marginally smarter than the first three position, in my own opinion.
On the question of "winning the war," likely D-voters said:
(61%) the US is not winning.
(54%) the US can win.
(43%) the US can not win.
(56%) the US will not win.
Barack Obama made a big CNN-hit today outlining his "plan" for Iraq, as a first baby-step to running for the Presidency. The most economically comfortable third of the Democratic Party's base (the chattering class) is demonstrating its self-delusion in reaching for Hillary Clinton, the Oprah crowd will rally behind Obama, the green-capitalists of carbon-trading will go for Gore. Unless Gore is nominated, however, and comes forward early with the out-now position in Iraq, the Democratic Party will get an old-fashioned country ass-whuppin' in the 2008 presidential follies, precisely because of shit like Obama was spouting in his CNN Presidential job interview today.
Aside from proving the simple-minded way polls set the boundaries of "legitimate" public discourse, the fact that 43% say we can not win, 56% say we will not win, and 33% think we should get the hell out of Iraq a quickly as the loading manifests can be written, proves that support for the war will be nearly non-existent in two years.
The contradictory responses are a combined reflection of liberal orientalism ("We" have to stay to civilize those awful brown people.), working class machismo (Never back down.), and a staggering American ignorance about what is going on in Iraq (fueled by the insipid, sheep-like ramblings of television news personalities). People actually believe that Maliki is running something called an Iraqi government.
News flash, y'all: Most Iraqis now support attacks on American troops there. Most.
Come 2008, these anemometer Democrat candidates will have to engage in even more painful rhetorical convulsions than they are now to explain earlier support for the war (The CIA made me do it!) to explain why they still wouldn't back the out-now position today, November 20, 2006. The answer, of course, is that they are more interested in their shitty careers than they are in the lives of Iraqis or Anglo-American soldiers.
Barack Obama will prove, riding aboard the USS Equality (as opposed to the self-determination demanded by the no-shit Black Freedom Movement), that Black candidates can be just as slippery as any white candidate; and Hillary Clinton has already demonstrated, with her enthusiasm for bombing Iraqis and Afghans, that she is every bit the captive of naked, kill-em-all ambition that her creepy fucking husband was. (Bill killed lots of Iraqis by starvation and medical neglect, and oversaw the highest incarceration levels of any nation in human history.)
But Bill makes Black folk feel comfortable (except those he locked up, but they don't vote); and Barack Obama is a Black man who makes white folks comfortable.
Ain't liberalism, with its abstracted notion of equality and its relentless tokenism, just as grand as can be?
Obama's so-called plan is to redeploy troops to Iraqi Kurdistan (demonstrating that he knows next to nothing about what is going on there, and how big a role Kurdish leaders are playing in the current occupation-catalyzed civil war). Obama wants to put more forces on the ground in another un-winnable war in Afghanistan. He refused, a la Bush, to give any timetable, and said that any withdrawal should be "gradual and substantial."
Gradual. Let's look at some other numbers.
C-4 explosive burns at 26,400 feet per second. Most of the stuff used to make bombs is close to that. The M-4 carbine used by US troops fires an M193 round, with a 55-grain bullet that has a muzzle velocity of 3,065 -feet per second. One of these projectiles passing through a human body, then, is making that passage in a time so short that it can't be measured with a stopwatch. The cavitation in the body caused by these high-velocity projectiles, stretching and shredding various tissues, happens in a millisecond. Nothing gradual about it. It's Armageddon in an instant... if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Thinking about this sort of takes the warm, rosy, technocratic glow off of all that "gradual" talk.
So I'll make the same recommendation to Obama (and Hillary) that I have the Bush administration. Go get yourself an M-4, a MOLLE vest full of ammunition, and a K-Pot, take somebody's place who doesn't want to be there. Better yet, go live in an Iraqi family's home until the imperial adventure ends... no bodyguards, just live there.
In August 2003, the number of D-voters who said out-now on Iraq were 14%. If it's 33% today, does that tell anyone what it's likely to be by November 2008? Because the war is going to become more glaringly horrible as time passes, and public opinion will hit a tipping point. Shame about all those people who will be killed and maimed in the meantime, while politicians pretend they can have their cake and eat it too.
If we can't appeal to your humanity, can we appeal to your self-interest? Anyone... start now running on an out-of-Iraq-right-by-God-now position, and you'll be the next prez. A lot of us passed "gradual" a long time ago.