Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Cutting and running. James Carroll today moves way to the left of ... Dennis Kucinich. Here is what Carroll writes in the Boston Globe:

If our getting into the unnecessary war was wrong, our carrying it on is wrong. The US military presence in Iraq, no matter how intended, has itself become the affront around which opposition fighters are organizing themselves. GIs in their Humvees, US convoys bristling with rifles, well-armed coalition check-points, heavily fortified compounds flying the American flag - all of this fuels resentment among an ever broader population, including Saddam's enemies. It justifies the growing number of jihadis whose readiness to kill through suicide has become the real proliferation problem.

The occupation is its source and must end. "The day I take office as president of the United States," a true American leader would declare, "I will order the immediate withdrawal of the entire American combat force in Iraq."

And here is what Kucinich said at last Thursday's Democratic debate, in response to a mischaracterization of his position by moderator Tom Brokaw:

BROKAW: General Clark, your friend, Congressman Kucinich, would pull the United States troops out of Iraq right away and go to the UN and say, "You go in and take over the peacekeeping there."

Would you tell him about what happened when we had UN peacekeepers in Bosnia?

KUCINICH: Tom, you've mischaracterized my position.

BROKAW: Well, tell me what you would do.

KUCINICH: My position is that we go to the United Nations with a whole new direction, where the United States gives up control of the oil, control of the contracts, control of ambitions to privatize Iraq, gives up to the United Nations all that on an interim basis to be handled on behalf of the Iraqi people until the Iraqi people are self-governing.

Furthermore, we would ask that the UN handle the elections and the construction of a constitution for the Iraqi people.

When the UN agrees with that, at that point, we ask UN peacekeepers to come in and rotate our troops out.

We help to fund it, we would help pay to rebuild Iraq, and we would give reparations to those innocent civilian noncombatants who lost their lives - to their families.

Kucinich's position is a model of responsibility, and would actually address the very real problems that Carroll identifies. Carroll's diagnosis is accurate. But his prescription would so obviously lead to chaos that it's hard to know what he was thinking, or if he was.

Speaking of not thinking ... The Globe's Brian McGrory offers this today in the course of blasting the knuckleheads (and worse) who went berserk after the Patriots' Super Bowl win:

The same college kids who sat in their dorms when America launched a dubious if not spurious war in Iraq, whose idea of a grave social injustice is a 2 a.m. bar closing, took to the streets en masse Sunday night, turning over cars, igniting fires, and harassing anyone who got in their way.

Now for a refresher course. Here is the lead of a piece that ran in the Globe on November 4, 2002:

An estimated 15,000 protesters converged on Boston Common yesterday for a three-hour rally to demonstrate against a possible US war with Iraq. The turnout, estimated by police, rivaled any Boston peace rally since the Gulf War, organizers said.

Here is an AP story on the massive antiwar demonstrations that took place across the nation on March 29, 2003. An excerpt:

About 60 miles north at Boston Common, a police-estimated crowd of 25,000 protested the war. Nuns, veterans and students listened to speakers and musical acts before marching to Boylston Street for a "die in," during which they collapsed on the streets to dramatize war deaths.

And here is David Valdes Greenwood's Boston Phoenix piece on the same demonstration.

Did the particular kids who actually poured out into the streets, flipped cars, and battled with police on Sunday night take part in antiwar demonstrations? Probably not. But their more-mature peers certainly did, and in huge numbers. McGrory's shot was not only cheap, but ill-informed.

Nuts and sluts. Media Log has nothing much to say about Janet Jackson's boob shot, except that it was a football game, for crying out loud, not some late-night cable thing, and no, she and Justin Timberlake shouldn't have done it. (I'm assuming it was deliberate.) But an FCC investigation? Ridiculous. A firing or two should suffice.

Two less-than-earth-shattering observations. First, a number of critics seem very concerned that sex was injected into the Super Bowl. By all means read this nutty rant on the right-wing NewsMax.com site. But I think we ought to be more concerned about the message it sent to girls about what they need to do to get ahead. This wasn't about sex; it was about subjugation.

Second, I agree with Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times: the erectile-dysfunction ads were a hell of a lot more disconcerting than anything that took place during the halftime show.

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