Awash in a sea of cynicism, propaganda and crazy political rhetoric, it is somewhat understandable that Americans have no idea what the fuck their country is up to. Usually, by the time the truth reaches your – hate to use the term, but – mainstream news outlets, it has been covered in a national security-strength coat of lies, spun and wrapped up in a flag. It’s our responsibility to find the truth, unfortunately. And it’s our responsibility to know what is being done in our name.
The drums are beating, my friends! In the GOP
reality show debates, the rhetoric on foreign policy has been off the charts. And those candidates who won’t respond with cartoonish, madman delight to questions about Iran have been buried in the polls, now and forever. In Foreign Policy, Michael Cohen writes
It’s almost reached the point where one has to feel sorry for Huntsman. Here is a candidate who actually seems to have an understanding of the subtleties inherent in discussing international relations. He appears to have an actual grasp on the limits of American power and its global capabilities. This was, by far, his strongest debate performance of the year and, from a substantive standpoint, the best of the evening. Along with Ron Paul, he is the lone voice among the eight GOP wannabes arguing for restraint and modesty in U.S. foreign policy and the importance of upholding the rule of law and defending America’s values on a global stage. For this and other apostasies, he remains mired at the bottom of the polls.
At the last debate, hosted by CNN, the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute, we saw an absurd parade of Bush administration officials pose their inane questions to the candidates. They responded with posturing, vague quasi-threats and affirmations of their deep love for Israel. Bah. Who cares? None of this is new.
Foreign policy is one area where we should be demanding firm answers to tough questions from presidential candidates. Because, as we’ve seen in the Obama administration, it’s the one area where they can do the most…and the way we interact with other states affects us so profoundly. We tend to get bogged down into things like abortion in these debates and they are of so little consequence – a state legislator has more power on abortion rights than any president ever will. So why do we waste time grilling them on social issues that are essentially nonsense?
Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern has a fantastic piece on Antiwar.com about asking the candidates questions that matter. The most important part is that they be grounded in reality. He proposes three questions (each with background info that you can read in the article):
The Question [#1]:Do you think we had a right to overthrow the leader of Iran in 1953? And would you again give millions of dollars to the CIA to overthrow the Iranian government under your presidency?
The Question [#2]: Do you agree with Mr. Gates that Iran would see a nuclear capability “in the first instance as a deterrent?” And how many nuclear weapons do Western experts believe Israel has? President Carter has said 150, but that was some time ago.
A Follow-up: Let’s assume Iran does get a nuclear weapon: Do you think it would commit suicide by firing it off in the direction of Israel?
The Question [#3]: On Sept. 6, 2006, Gen. John Kimmons, then head of Army intelligence told reporters at the Pentagon, in unmistakable language:
“No good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. I think history tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last five years, hard years, tells us that.”
Gen. Kimmons knew that President George W. Bush had decided to claim publicly, just two hours later on the same day, that the “alternative set of procedures” for interrogation – methods that Bush had approved, like water-boarding – were effective. Whom do you think we should believe: President Bush? Or Gen. Kimmons?
I especially like the follow-up question in #2. Iran has signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, therefore it should be allowed to develop nuclear technology (not weapons). Israel has not, yet it has nuclear weapons. How long will the United States “look the other way” on this? The racist hypocrisy is overwhelming. And frightening.