BEYOND THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES THERE'S A WHOLE OTHER WORLD
By William Boardman Email address removed"> Email address removed
Critics have called the Romney-Obama debates as narrow as they were shallow, but few have done more to try to broaden and deeper the national discussion
than Amy Goodman and the Democracy NOW! team, who have produced their "Expanding the Debate" series with third party candidates added to the pair anointed by the two parties' debate commission.
For the final debate October 22, Democracy NOW! went on the air in front of a live audience at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center in San Rafael, California, pausing the debate in progress to allow comments by two third-party presidential candidates who were excluded from the official debate: Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party.
The first question at the Florida debate purported to be about "Libya," but was really about the September 11 events in Benghazi and their aftermath, as Bob Schieffer asked it: "What happened? What caused it? Was it spontaneous? Was it an intelligence failure? Was it a policy failure?" Neither candidate responded directly to the question as Gov. Romney mentioned Libya as well as Syria, Egypt, Mali and Iran, while President Obama said in passing, "your strategy previously has been one that has been all over the map"."
Jill Stein, having audio problems at the start, did not answer the question either, but said in part: ""it's very clear that there is blowback going on now across the Middle East". in many ways, we're seeing a very ill-conceived, irresponsible and immoral war policy come back to haunt us, where United States foreign policies have been based, unfortunately, on brute military force and wars for oil. Under my administration, we will have a foreign policy based on international law and human rights and the use of diplomacy. And instead of fighting wars for oil, we will be leading--as America, we will be leading the fight to put an end to climate change."
Rocky Anderson said in part: "The question was whether the killings at the embassy in Libya" reflected a policy failure. And it is so clear to everyone that the policy failure has been in the way the United States has treated so many nations in the Middle East". We invaded Iraq and occupied that country. It was completely illegal. Two United Nations secretaries-general declared that it was illegal. It was a war of aggression, and it was all done on a pack of lies. Now, we aggravate the situation by keeping bases in so many other nations," engaging in direct, unmanned drone strikes in at least four sovereign nations, killing, in the process, hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent men, women and children. That is the policy failure: our belligerence, our efforts to control, to dominate and to make certain that we will always have that control over the resources in these nations."