Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Iran: Just Say No

For a couple of weeks now I've been saying that the only useful policy on Iran is Just Say No--that is, all our efforts have to be focused on preventing Bush from following the catastrophic course he has in mind.

There are, of course, a lot of other Nattering Nabobs of Negativism out there. Below the fold is a roundup of posts I considered particularly useful. My aim is to keep updating this as the opposition gets more organized. Meanwhile, feel free to suggest additional posts in comments. [Updates below]

  • Update: Here's one I missed when it was first posted last week: Sean Paul Kelley of The Agonist, quoting a correspondent on how to fight this thing:
    So, what does that mean: starting now we need to get every Congress-critter on record saying that there are no good military options for Iran. etc.. We need to hunt the Republicans down on Security issues and corner them so they lose credibility.

    Because if we come to that vote in October and we STOP BUSH because Democrats are united and Republicans are fractured we'll have an excited Democratic base ready to lay down on train tracks for Democrats in Congress.
  • John Aravosis has an excellent set of talking points, and takes a stab at distilling them into a briefer message:
    Iran is ten years away from developing nuclear weapons. There is no discussion of America rushing into another premature war until either Bush leaves office, or Congress is able to provide effective oversight of, and can serve as a counter-balance to, the Bush administration's incompetence.
  • Newark Star-Ledger columnist John Farmer gives the Just Say No rationale in a nutshell:
    And what about the neocons, our home-front heroes -- Cheney, Rumsfeld, the civilians they've recruited like Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz and Stephen Hadley -- who orchestrated the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war and foreign regime change?

    They should never again be allowed anywhere near the instruments and agencies of the American government.
  • Greg Sargent (Tapped) draws on a recent historical parallel:
    There are two different questions Democratic officeholders can be asking themselves, their staffers, and their consultants. One question is "How should I handle the Iran issue?" The other is "How should I handle the Iran issue given that supporting a war with Iran is a non-starter?" If you think of the Social Security campaign as the model of effective opposition, the crucial first step there was when Democrats decided that privatizing Social Security was a bad idea and that they were committed to opposing it. Once you reach the conclusion that backing the needless deaths of tens of thousands of people isn't going to be on the table as a tactical option for 2006, you can start working on the question of how to be against the needless deaths of tens of thousands of people without appearing "too weak."
  • Pachacutec (Firedoglake) suggests talking points and tactics for the campaign. I think the talking points are pretty weak--they appeal pretty much to the converted, rather than to folks we need to convert--but there's an intriguing tactical suggestion:
    Getting groups of citizens to show up at the offices of senators and congressmen is an extraordinarily powerful tool. It’s underutilized and underappreciated. A handful of people going to an office is worth two thousand emails, letters or phone calls. It works. It shows them we are real people, and takes much less effort to coordinate than a peace march. Please get involved today to stop the next next mindless war against American interests, before it’s too late.
Previously linked posts:
  • Andrew Sabl:
    Here good politics is good policy: only repeated, unified political opposition, as we pulled off on Social Security, has any chance of preventing this catastrophe.
  • Josh Marshall:
    The only sensible expenditure of energy is to find ways to hem these guys in or constrain them before they do even more damage to this country.
  • My initial post and follow-up.

[That's all, folks]