Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Who says John Edwards doesn't get it?

Me, I guess. Wow. I was shocked when I read this:

Edwards: Move Past 'War on Terror'
"NEW YORK (AP) - Democrat John Edwards Wednesday repudiated the notion that there is a "global war on terror," calling it an ideological doctrine advanced by the Bush administration that has strained American military resources and emboldened terrorists.

In a defense policy speech he planned to deliver at the Council on Foreign Relations, Edwards called the war on terror a "bumper sticker" slogan Bush had used to justify everything from abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison to the invasion of Iraq.

"We need a post-Bush, post-9/11, post-Iraq military that is mission focused on protecting Americans from 21st century threats, not misused for discredited ideological purposes," Edwards said in remarks prepared for delivery. "By framing this as a war, we have walked right into the trap the terrorists have set—that we are engaged in some kind of clash of civilizations and a war on Islam." "

1 comment:

dcat said...

Steve --
I don't know -- I think this is mostly rhetorical and semantic. I hate this "he doesn't get it" construction of debate that has come to dominate the blogosphere. It implies that the speaker or writer does get it and there is a level of all-knowingness to it that I find offputting and even dangerous.

That said, if he is going to make this sort of statement, Edwards now has to take a much more serious approach to his own foreign policy -- he needs to outline what it is that he believes. Frankly the idea of a war on terrorism was always a very sloppy construction and the Bush administration has used it for ideological ends, but the threat from the radical Jihadists is a serious one and Edwards now needs to show that he understands as much. thus I think you hit on an important point, which isn't really whether Edwards "gets it" on a "war on terror" that has hardly beewn waged especially well, but whether Edwards "gets" foreign policy as a broader conception. I think the burden is now on him to prove that he does.

In other words, it seems to me that Edwards needs to show that he sees this as a matter of how the issue is framed, which I can agree, not whether or not there are real threats in the world, which I do not see as being up for discussion.

I like Edwards as a domestic policy guy. I'm not convinced that he is the right foreign policy leader in a perilous world. And I fear that he is trying to position himself as the foreign policy outsider to appease a base that really ought to be the last group of people setting the foreign policy agenda.