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2008 presidential election lacks alternative candidates

By Brett Morris  Posted by Kevin Gosztola (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   2 comments
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Brett Morris, CT regular columnist
Tuesday, January 15; 12:00 AM

From the Collegiate Times

There is a severe lack in viable candidates for the 2008 presidential election.

In the United States, an election typically consists of one Republican and one Democrat essentially chosen by establishment institutions — corporations, the media, and elites. Party activists are allowed to select their nominee from a field that is deemed acceptable by these establishment institutions. Candidates who are outside the "mainstream" are annoyances to be ignored and laughed at.

Among the Democrats, the media as the acceptable choices has chosen pro-war candidate Hillary Clinton and "change" candidate Barack Obama.

Clinton has a legacy of pursuing right-wing imperialist policies. She voted for the war on Iraq and refuses to acknowledge that she was wrong to do so.

She continues to say that she will end the war if she is elected president, but the subtext is that she will keep substantial amounts of U.S. forces in Iraq until at least 2013 due to "strategic national interests in (the) region," which everyone knows means oil.

On Iran, she unapologetically states that "no option can be taken off the table," which is a threat of use of force against that country (threats of use of force are illegal under the U.N. Charter, which the U.S. helped devise and signed). When someone says that "no option can be taken off the table," this could include anything from aerial strikes to full-scale invasion and nuclear attack. Obviously, this is going to make Iran even more belligerent and more likely to develop nuclear weapons. She also voted for the resolution labeling Iran's Revolutionary Guards a "terrorist organization." The Revolutionary Guards are the official military of Iran — thus, this resolution serves as a stepping stone to war against Iran. It makes it easier for the president to start a war if he can claim that he is acting against a "terrorist organization."

If she's elected, she will no doubt continue the spiral of death in Israel and the occupied territories.

It's hard to know exactly where Obama stands on issues since the media doesn't report them and every speech he makes is about "change, change, change." But he never specifically tells us just what exactly he is going to change. I suppose he's a step above Clinton, but he's hardly an alternative.

He opposed the war on Iraq from the beginning, but called it a "dumb war," implying that it should be opposed on tactical grounds, not legal and moral grounds. Once he was elected to the Senate, he continued to vote to fund the war. Even after the Democrats gained control of Congress, he and the other Democrats continued to fund the war.

The Democrats could end the war today if they wanted — they say they want to, but their actions prove otherwise. Since the Democrats are in control, all they have to do is not bring up a bill to fund the war, and tell the president that they're not going to.

There's nothing he can to about it. There's already enough money in the pipeline that would keep the war going for another year or so, so the president would be forced to plan accordingly and bring all the troops home by then.

Obama takes a similar position of Clinton's toward Iran. He has stated that the U.S. "should take no option, including military action, off the table" and that Iran is "a threat to all of us." There is a simple course of action that could be taken toward Iran: first, rescind the threat of use of force; second, get out of Iraq; and third, live up to our own obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to get rid of our own nuclear weapons. Unlike Iran, which has not yet violated the NPT, the U.S. has violated the treaty by not reducing our stockpiles of nuclear weapons — instead, we are building new ones.

Obama has taken the same stance as most others toward Israel — to just keep doing what we're doing. He has called Ariel Sharon's involvement in the conflict as "constructive," despite his involvement in numerous war crimes. He has pledged to continue military funding toward Israel, which is used to maintain the illegal and brutal occupation.

These foreign policy positions of the two leading Democratic candidates demonstrate the lack of alternatives available to Americans. All of these policy positions should be expected from the Republicans, but the Democrats are supposed to be the opposition party — and they are merely serving as the party that attempts to correct tactical errors from the warmongers on the right. There are alternatives, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel, but they find themselves shut out of the debates, ignored, and presented as wackos, despite the fact that most of their policy positions are in line with U.S. public opinion and international law.


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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com
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