Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Dismal Political Scene

It is hard to find something to cheer about on the political front. The dreary argument about Iraq goes on with much talk and little, if any, progress toward a unified peaceful country. The Democrats have waged a futile campaign to bring the troops home soon. Presumably, they are beleaguered by their left-wing, anti-war faction, to which I belong, who cannot come to terms with the fact that the party does not have enough votes to bring about a quick and defensible end to the war.

Obstinate President Bush is persisting in his policies and will follow the advice of General Petraeus to bring the troops back to pre-surge levels by next summer -- an outcome dictated by military necessity regardless of policy preferences. All this means is that we have to wait for Bush to leave before a drastic change of policy is possible -- assuming the Democrats win the presidency and enough congressional seats to bring it about. (See my blog of January 26, 2007 )

Meanwhile, urgent domestic issues like health care go without serious attention, not to mention the longer term crises of Social Security, Medicare, global warming, reducing our dependence on oil and finding alternative energy source, and the like. Democratic Congressional leadership is far from inspiring and, judging by results, not at all impressive.

I have seen no evidence that the Iraqi government can bring about an effective, peaceful reconciliation among warring factions to ensure a stable, peaceful, democratic rule. Whether we stay or leave, it is difficult to find grounds of hope for anything desirable in the near term, and the long term is shrouded in mystery. It looks like a long-term de facto segregation of Iraqis into geographical subdivisions of Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds is the best hope for any kind of tolerable peace, assuming some acceptable arrangement can be worked out regarding oil revenues. Too few love more Iraq more than they love their own ethnic-sectarian group to hope for a unified country that is workable and free from violence. Haddam Hussein was awful, but he did rule in maybe the only way it can be a unified country-- by coercion, brutality, and terror. Reports after World War I when Iraq was being formed predicted what has actually occurred.

The presidential campaign trudges dismally on with no excitement and nothing but the prospect of more of the same until the 2008 election. Candidates behind Clinton in the polls vainly search for some way -- any little gimmick or minor point of criticism -- to stop her steady march toward the nomination, barring some unforeseen developments. I find no excitement in any of them any more, and I pay little attention to the daily flow of news about the whole dull process. If Hillary wins, I will vote for her but without enthusiasm.The Republicans have nothing to offer but the same dreadful old stuff, whether we focus on domestic or foreign affairs. We can only hope their numbers will be so reduced by the next election that enough sensible Democrats and moderate Republicans can do some serious work on our most pressing problems.

The religious scene is about equally dismal, but that is a topic for another time.

Help! Does anyone know any reason to be hopeful.

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