3/17/08 Iraq and the Presidential election

Yes, it has been quiet in here over the past week but that’s only because we’ve been so hard at work!  We’ve got lots of new content that will be coming your way this week, so make sure to check back everyday for something new.


Can you believe that on Thursday, March 20th, it will have been five years since the United States led the invasion into Iraq?  Sometimes it seems like the conflict has been dragging on so much longer.  Other times it seems like just yesterday that we were watching American troops help Iraqis pull down that statue of Saddam.

Does it seem that we are talking about Iraq a lot less than we used to? Has the mainstream media totally abdicated responsibility for covering this story, choosing instead to talk about super-delegates and shocking caucus results?  Have the candidates refused to discuss it?  Are we just so relieved that the violence is below pre-surge levels that we feel we can ignore it ?  Are we just bored with it-and misinformed about it?  Why is there not major mainstream media coverage of the winter soldier hearings?

Whatever it is, we know our audience still cares about Iraq and what is happening there, so over this week and next we are bringing you a series of podcasts talking about Iraq.  We’re going to hear from scholars, journalists, Iraqis and Iraqi Americans, veterans, peace activists and more.  If you have any ideas for points of view you want us to investigate, let us know!

First up, we wanted to take a look at the intersection of the presidential election and Iraq.  Where do  Senators McCain, Clinton, and Obama stand on the war (click on their names to read their campaign platforms on Iraq)?   What is their history in terms of the Iraq war (Go here for Clinton, here for McCain, and here for Obama)?  What can the beliefs of their advisers tell us about their agenda?  McCain has a reputation for being a maverick-does he have a maverick agenda for Iraq?  Does the fact that he is a veteran give his agenda more credibility? Some people say Hillary and Obama agree on most major policies–is that true for their Iraq plans?  To get to the bottom of these questions, we talked with UMBC history professor Brad Simpson.  He is an astute observer and analyst of U.S. foreign policy. Sure, he’s got a point of view and he isn’t afraid to voice it, but he’s got criticism for both sides of the aisle and he dishes it out with a real knowledge of the issues.

Click here to stream Marc’s interview with Brad Simpson.  Right-click here and select “Save Target As” to save the mp3 onto your desktop.  Transcript coming soon. Running time is 27 minutes.

Check back everyday this week for more interviews.  We’ve got more podcasts about The Wire, and we’ll be talking with other folks about Iraq.

Let us know what you think…


7 Responses

  1. Good interview. Professor Simpson broke through the campaign rhetoric to show that all three candidates of the Democratic and Republican Parties will continue the war. And, that is if they live up to their campaign promises. It is very likely that once elected circumstances will change and the withdrawal of even some troops will be slowed or stopped.

    Voters who oppose the war make up a majority of Americans and need let the candidates know that. I hope listeners will visit http://www.VotersForPeace.US and take unified action with other peace voters to push the candidate to end the war and reduce militarism. No matter who you end up voting for there are steps you can take now to push the anti-war agenda.

    In Maryland we can be sure that the electoral college system will result in our vote going for the Democrat. We are free to use our votes to vote for real peace candidates not discussed. Former Member of Congress Cynthia McKinney will be the Green Party nominee and Ralph Nader will also be on the ballot under a new party being created. And, the Libertarians are very likely to put forward an anti-war candidate.

    So, voters opposed to the war will have freedom to vote as they like in Maryland without worry about helping to elect a Republicans. And, all voters can use their voice during the election to push the candidates to end the war.

  2. One other thing — join us at “Money for Baltimore Not for War” on Wedensday, March 19 at 7 PM at Govans Presbyterian Chruch 5828 York Rd. nect to the Senator Theater.

  3. This interview reminds me of Shared Weight: what will Iraqis think of us 30 years hence?

    By the way, producers, can you say anything about future availability of Parts 1-5 of Shared Weight audio?

    Also, Part 6, Act 3 ends in the middle of the segment..

  4. Yes, Ron. When our new site launches within the next month, it will be available.

    If I have time in the next week or so, I will try and see if I can post it on my own to make it available for you.

    Thanks for the update re: Part 6.

  5. Very good interview and useful analysis of the candiate’s views….

    However I think Prof. Simpson over-estimates and misinterprets the surveys with regards to the feelings of the american people about the War….

    It is true that the majority of American’s are now against the war… but their motivation is not so noble…. Americans are against the war because it is not going well, not because they thought it was illegal or immoral.

    And while I would assume the majority of Marc’s blog readers are on the moderate to progressive side of things and do consider the moral aspects of the war… I would not generalize that to the country as a whole.

    I work and socialize with many folks who didn’t care if there were no WMD… that didn’t care if we invaded a country that had nothing to do with 911…. “Nuke em any way” was the mentality I heard… We were pissed off about 911 and we were going to hit back… Iraq was an easy target…. they had been a hemorrhoid to us since the first gulf war…. and it was any easy sell… both to congress(who also knew there were no WMD or a 911 connecton) and the american people….

    I saw a great bumper sticker that comfronted this mentality….. “Blind Faith in a Bad Leader Is Not Patriotism”

    But that blind patriotism is what allowed Bush to sell this war… and Congress’ fear of speaking out agianst it….

    Even the media was silent… Everyone knew the intelligence didn’t support it…. and even the thin evidence used to sell it was revealed to be trumped up prior to the invasion. I memember one State Dept rep who said…. “We chose to follow an alternative view” than the one that was offered by the UN weapons inspectors, and the intelligence community….So basically they lied and trumped up a story…. And to me that is the real issue….. If a democrat did that the republicans would be screaming for impeachment. Where is the public outcry… where is the outrage….??? There is none… We are sheep !

    Americans have short memories and are easily manipulated….they are politically ignorant…. I am shocked daily in talking to “educated” people who have so little knowledge or interest in learning about what is going on around us…. About looking beyond the brief news coverage or the political rhetoric

    So I don’t give the American people that much credit… if the war was going well… there would be little opposition…. apart from the folks who believe strongly that this war was wrong on moral grounds….

    So now we are stuck in Iraq… we have destabilized the entire region, released entrenched ethnic and religious rivalry and hatred, and creating a breeding ground for terrorists and extremists….

    so what do we do… ??? what is our responsiblity to Iraq; to the region ???

    And as Americans do we really care ??? I’m not so sure… not unless it effects us directly… American’s are concerned that they can’t afford gas for their super-sized SUVs… not that American troops and Iraqi civilians are being killed and maimed daily.

    so my fear is that once again we will be like sheep… easily influenced by our ignorance and apathy… Of course there will always be thoughtful, politically aware folks who will vote out of their moral conviction…. But what about those folks who voted for Bush “because he was the one they would want to drink a beer with” (true quote from a 2000 Bush supporter) ???

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