Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Jim Webb for Senator from Virginia

Jim Webb was on Hardball last night:
MATTHEWS: Yes, why did we go to war in Iraq?

WEBB: I think if I would summarize it, is that first of all, we squandered a historic opportunity on 9/11 to bring most of the nations of the world with us on the war against international terrorism.

MATTHEWS: Here here, they were all with us.

WEBB: And we alienated allies almost deliberately and we went after a situation that had existed pre-9/11. There is a lot of talk among the people who brought us into this war saying that the world changed after 9/11.

My view is it changed in a way differently than they are saying, that the problem of international terrorism grew from regional to international, rather than vice versa. And the worst thing that we could have done strategically would have been to go into one country that was not directly threatening us and occupy it.

MATTHEWS: Do you think we would have been better off just chasing al Qaeda?

WEBB: I think, first of all, the situation in Iraq wasn‘t that bad when we went in. We had people on the ground. We had not had that in 1998 when the resolutions were passed that the—for regime change in there. We could have contained Saddam Hussein. The greatest military victory of the last 80 years was the Cold War, where we contained an expansionist nation, wore them down, without a large loss of life and that sort of thing.

MATTHEWS: Jim, could we have counted on our allies to really force that containment of Iraq, keeping him in his box?

WEBB: I think so. I mean, Saddam Hussein was approaching 70 at the time that we went in and he was pretty well beaten down. We could have done that, focused on international terrorism. I wrote a piece on this very early on, right after 9/11, about how to fight international terrorism and one of the paragraphs in there was, do not occupy territory, do not allow yourself to become a target rather than a mobile apparatus for going after them.

MATTHEWS: That‘s what former secretary of defense Clark Clifford, wherever you go you, that‘s where you are going to get be, when you get stuck. Let me ask you, Virginia‘s a pretty much pro-military state, you‘re a military guy. How do you launch an anti-war alternative to this war campaign a guy like George Allen in Virginia?

WEBB: Well I think a lot of people think that this campaign is going to be an antiwar campaign. It‘s not. It‘s going to be talking about reorienting our defense priorities. Iraq is a part of that, but we‘ve lost sight of a lot of the strategic issues. China and India are sort of redefining the international power centers of the world, those sorts of things on defense policy.

But the other two issues that I think are really strong here that we‘re going to focus on. First of all, the issues of fairness. I mean, this country is breaking into three pieces and people aren‘t talking about it. Economically, the people at the top have never done better. The middle class is stagnating. They‘re seeing jobs exported overseas. And we‘re in danger of creating a permanent underclass, I‘m going to talk about that. And then the key issue, when we‘re looking at the last couple of weeks is presidential authority and who in the Congress has been standing up to these abuses?

MATTHEWS: Do you have $20 million or $30 million?

WEBB: No, I‘m doing this with not a lot of money right now.
Easily fixed!


I'd like to see a robust debate on the use of the U.S. military in 2006. Mainstream Dems and GOP may avoid that -- all eyeing 2008. But Webb could be an interesting candidate.

3 Comments:

Blogger zen said...

Just wanted to let you know that while I've not been commenting (jammed with work) I have been following your posts and find your analysis usually spot on.

I am further intrigued by this mention of Webb. As a Virginian I am very interested in seeing Allen unseated. And much more concerned that his intentions for 2008 dismissed.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Atlantic Review said...

"we squandered a historic opportunity on 9/11 to bring most of the nations of the world with us"

It seems to me your politicians also squandered an opportunity to unite your own nation a little bit and reduce the worst partisan bickering.

Shortly after 9/11 there was a lot of "United we Stand" and a lot of enthusiasm for public service, government jobs and voluntary work and the military.

Now, the US is more divided than ever, it seems to be.

10:54 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

zen, I had a feeling you would like this candidate for those reasons.

and atlantic makes a wonderful point about the tremendous losses we've suffered at the hands of these bastards.

3:55 PM  

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