Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Appeasers and Flip Floppers

Salon is good today; they have an article on the Appeaser Meme propagated by the right wing in which anybody who wants to talk to terrorists is an Appeaser. According to Gary Kamiya this isn't a reasonable line of attack.
The coming election is shaping up to be a referendum not just on Iraq but on that black-and-white mind-set. McCain and the GOP will relentlessly attack Obama as weak, inexperienced and cowardly, pointing to his willingness to talk to our enemies as evidence. But the fact is that what Obama is proposing is simply rational, realistic foreign policy. And the proof is that the rest of the world, including Israel, has defied the Bush administration and is talking to the "terrorists."

If it's appeasement to talk to "evildoers," we are all appeasers now. Everywhere you look, our allies -- or we ourselves -- are negotiating with members of the "Axis of Evil" and their allies.

Israel, whose U.S.-backed security theoretically could be most directly compromised by "appeasement," has been talking to the Palestinian militant group Hamas, using Egypt as an intermediary. Israel isn't doing this because it suddenly decided that "some ingenious argument will persuade [Hamas] they have been wrong all along," as Bush derisively commented in his thinly veiled attack on Obama, but because it is trying to reach agreements on issues critical to its security, including a cease-fire, prisoner exchanges and border-crossing arrangements. Israel has realized that pretending that Hamas does not exist, or wishing it would disappear, is not a viable strategy.
That is the most damning part of this attack. If it were really that bad and and that anti-Israel to talk to Hamas, why would Israel be doing it?

One answer is that Christian America's support for Israel is not motivated by the same desires as Israel's desire to keep existing. Christians support Israel, at least in part, because they believe it's existence is necessary for the Second Coming of Christ. Israel wants to survive because it wants to survive. Those two different motivations might lead to different approaches - Israel has no reason to want a conflict with it's neighbors. But many Christians believe that such a conflict will usher in the end times.

Salon also has a great post by Glenn Greenwald on Senator McCains change of heart on wiretaps.
Worse, when answering the Globe back in December, McCain said that "presidents have the obligation to obey and enforce laws that are passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, no matter what the situation is." Yesterday, though, McCain said that the President and the telecoms did nothing wrong in spying on Americans without warrants and that such spying was "appropriate" and constitutional "in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001". How can spying in violation of the law possibly be justified by the circumstances of 9/11 (as McCain said yesterday) if (as McCain said in December) the President is barred from spying outside of the law "no matter what the situation is"?
McCain knows who he has to keep won over, and so he's got to take these extremist positions, particularly in regards to executive power. He basically has to uphold the Bush power grabs, or he feels like he has to, or he actually believes in a unitary executive theory (or something like it).

Or to put it another way, was McCain Lying when he said he thought the President had to obey the law or is he lying now when he says the President didn't?

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