Posts Tagged ‘James Webb’

In search of a peace candidate

October 20, 2015

I wish there was a peace candidate in the Presidential race.  Though I like Bernie Sanders, he doesn’t qualify.

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders

He is less militaristic than Hillary Clinton and she is less militaristic than Ted Cruz and most of the other Republicans, but they all accept as a given fact that the United States must be ready to intervene militarily anywhere in the world at the sole discretion of the President.

I voted for President Obama in the hope that he would disengage from the disastrous U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and not start any new wars.  Instead he invented new means of intervention that don’t involve large numbers of American troops.  Sanders would not break from Obama’s policy.

Most of the Republican candidates criticize Obama for not being war-like enough.  Jeb Bush endorses the disastrous policies of his brother, George W. Bush.

Compared to the rest of the GOP field, Donald Trump sounds relatively sensible.  As Patrick Cockburn wrote in Britain’s The Independent:

Asked by an NBC news presenter if Iraq and Libya had been better off when Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi were in power, a question most politicians would have dodged, Trump said: “Iraq is a disaster … Libya is not even a country. You can make the case, if you look at Libya, look at what we did there – it’s a mess.  If you look at Saddam Hussein with Iraq, look what we did there – it’s a mess.”

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

This should not be controversial stuff.  Many Iraqis and Libyans are glad to have got rid of the old dictators, but they have no doubt about the calamities that have befallen their countries since the change of regime.  [snip]

Speaking about the White House’s policy of supporting the Syrian armed opposition, Trump truthfully said the administration “doesn’t know who they are.  They could be Isis.  Assad is bad.  Maybe these other people are worse.”

He said he was bothered by “the concept of backing people they have absolutely no idea who they are”.  Again, US officials admit that they have armed opposition fighters who, on entering Syria promptly handed their weapons over to Jabhat al-Nusra, the local representatives of al-Qaeda.

Trump added: “I was talking to a general two days ago.  He said: ‘We have no idea who these people are.’”

Then again, he has boasted of being “the most militaristic person in the room.”  He has advocated sending American ground troops to seize ISIS-controlled oil fields or destroying those oil fields through bombing.

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James Webb runs for President

July 6, 2015

James Webb, a decorated Marine combat veteran of Vietnam, former Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration and a former Democratic Senator from Virginia, has declared himself a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President.

James Webb

James Webb

He is an interesting candidate with an unusual background.  His biography is complicated, but it has a common thread.

Webb has tried to be the champion of blue-collar working men—the troops who are sent overseas to fight, factory workers whose jobs are being lost to Japan (in an earlier era) and China and especially his own ethnic group, the Scots-Irish settlers of 18th century Appalachia.

While I seriously doubt that the Democrats or the nation are ready for his brand of politics, I would readily vote for him in preference to Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker or almost any of the other current Democratic and Republican candidates.

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The passing scene: Links & comments 10/6/14

October 6, 2014

Populist Former Senator Jim Webb Could Give Hillary Clinton Major Headaches in 2016 by Lynn Stuart Parramore for Alternet.

I’ve long admired Senator James Webb, the former Senator from Virginia.  A Vietnam veteran and Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration, he switched from the Republican to the Democratic party out of disgust for the Bush administration’s subservience to Wall Street.  He has criticized the Obama administration on the same grounds.

Webb is an opponent of reckless military intervention abroad, a critic of the “war on drugs” and mass incarceration and a friend of working people.

I admire Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts for the way she stands up to Wall Street, but I agree with Webb on a broader range of issues than I do with her (for example, she goes along with the administration’s war policies).

Tech gives the rich new toys while perpetuating the criminalization of poverty by Nathaniel Mott for Pando Daily (via Naked Capitalism)

A new device allows subprime auto lenders to track the location of a debtor’s car and to disable the car if the debtor falls behind on payments.  The New York Times reported this has happened when the car is in motion.

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Obama and peace: Links & comments 9/12/14

September 12, 2014

NO, NO, NO – THIS DIDN’T HAPPEN – I WAS TAKEN IN BY AN INTERNET HOAX.

See What was fake on the Internet this week! .

Nobel Committee Regrets Obama Peace Prize: official statement.

Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 before he had an opportunity as President to do much of anything either for or against world peace.

Their thinking arose out of a relief that George W. Bush was no longer President, and a hope that the Peace Prize award would motivate him to be a peacemaker.

His response, when receiving the prize, was to lecture the Norwegian Nobel Institute on the evils of pacifism and the responsibility of the United States to use military force for good objectives.

The Nobel Committee stated that awarding the Peace Prize seemed at the time like a good way of advancing peace, but now this is no longer the case.

Does anybody know of any precedent for the Nobel Committee expressing regret at the awarding of any previous prize?  I can’t think of any.

Obama just announced he wants to help the guys who kidnaped Steven Sotloff by Joseph Cannon for Cannonfire (via Naked Capitalism).

President Obama’s policy is to help the Free Syrian Army as an alternative to both Bashar al-Assad’s government and the Islamic State (ISIS) forces in Syria.  But evident it was the FSA to kidnapped the American reporter, Steven Sotloff and sold him to ISIS so they could make a video of him being beheaded.

The various militias fighting the Assad government are more alike than they are different.  For one thing, they all want to wipe out Syria’s ancient Christian community.

Could Jim Webb Mount a Credible Challenge to Clinton? by Albert R. Hunt for BloombergView.

I admire Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts for her willingness to take on Wall Street financiers, but she is a down-the-line supporter of the Obama administration’s war policies.  Former Senator James Webb of Virginia is not only anti-Wall Street, but anti-interventionist and opposed to the drug laws that have resulted in mass incarceration of young black people.

Webb is a former Marine, a decorated combat veteran of Vietnam, a novelist and former Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration.  He broke with the Republican Party because he opposed the George W. Bush administration’s war policies and its captivity to Wall Street.   Unfortunately the Obama administration was no improvement, and Hillary Clinton would be even worse.

Webb is an opponent of gun control, has reservations about feminism (especially as applied to the military) and differs with many Democrats on social issues that are dear to their hearts.  I don’t think any of these things matter so much as peace, economic justice and fundamental civil liberties.