Man Without Qualities

Friday, October 04, 2002

Please Politicize the War

For some time the Man Without Qualities has been pointing out (here and here, for example) that "politicizing the war" is a necessary, correct, democratic activity - if by "politicization" one means including war related issues in the political debate and political campaigns. Senator Daschle, in particular, has been wildly out of tune with the basic principles of representative democracy on this point. Of course, conducting an unnecessary war as a distration from domestic political problems is wrong - but that is not what is happening in this country now.

As stated in a prior post:

With Mr. Gore intoning such things - and Senator Daschle treating them seriously and suggesting the rather obvious fact that a lot of other Democrats in Congress agree with Mr. Gore - how can Senator Daschle argue that a candidate's position on Iraq is not an important election issue? Is it Senator Daschle's view that voters shouldn't be thinking about and voting about whether the country should go to war? Senator Daschle thinks that a candidate's telling the voters where the candidate (and an opponent) stands on the war issue is prohibited "politicization." Are the voters just supposed to find out the details of their representative's positions on waging war as a surprise after the election - like someone popping out of a cake at a wild party? ....

Is that what Democracy means? What happened to all those Democrats calling for a "national debate" on war with Iraq? And what was the point of the "national debate" the Democrats have been demanding (even as they refused until recently to participate in such a debate) be if not to affect the composition of the decision-making bodies involved in determining whether and how such a war should be waged? If a particular Democratic candidate objects to being characterized as unsupportative of an Iraq war, then the candidate can just say to the media: "I support the President's position as much or more than my Republican opponent!" Of course, if that's not true, the Democrat has to choose between uttering a public lie and accepting accurate criticism. That's good.

So it's nice to see that at least some media coverage is being given to this point. The article is well worth reading.

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