I had a hunch that Amy Goodman wasn’t indulging in progressive Democrat-bashing and misinterpreting Howard Dean last week when the Democracy Now! host claimed that “[t]he chair of the Democratic National Committee Howard Dean has come out in support of President Bush”s current Iraq policy.” Goodman quoted Dean as saying that “a US pullout could endanger the United States.” Dean said:

“The president has created an enormous security problem for the United States where none existed before. But I hope the president is incredibly successful with his policy now that he’s there.”

I wrote to a friend, “I wonder if this might be a concerted, strategic effort by Amy and other progressives to put the heat on Dean to shift Democratic posture on the war.”

Now come Tom Hayden’s letter to Dean in The Nation and keynote address to a progressive conference:

[S]urely there is a greater role for Party leadership than permanently squandering the immense good will, grass roots funding, and new volunteer energy that was generated by your visionary campaign.

Update [2005-4-29 11:19:5 by susanhbu]: More below, including another group’s challenge to Dean:
“Silent collaboration with the Bush Administration”:

April 26, 2005

Dear Chairman Dean,

Thank you kindly for your call and your expressed willingness to discuss the Democratic Party’s position on the Iraq War. There is growing frustration at the grass roots towards the party leadership’s silent collaboration with the Bush Administration’s policies. Personally, I cannot remember a time in thirty years when I have been more despairing over the party’s moral default. …

The party’s alliance with the progressive left, so carefully repaired after the catastrophic split of 2000, is again beginning to unravel over Iraq. Thousands of anti-war activists and millions of antiwar voters gave their time, their loyalty and their dollars to the 2004 presidential campaign despite profound misgivings about our candidate’s position on the Iraq War. Of the millions spent by “527” committees on voter awareness, none was spent on criticizing the Bush policies in Iraq.

The Democratic candidate, and other party leaders, even endorsed the US invasion of Falluja, giving President Bush a green-light to destroy that city with immunity from domestic criticism. As a result, a majority of Falluja’s residents were displaced violently, guaranteeing a Sunni abstention from the subsequent Iraqi elections.

Then in January, a brave minority of Democrats, led by Senator Ted Kennedy and Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, advocated a timetable for withdrawal. Their concerns were quickly deflated by the party leadership.

Next came the Iraqi elections, …

There is evidence that the Bush Administration, along with its clients in Baghdad, is ignoring or suppressing forces within the Iraqi coalition calling for peace talks with the resistance. The Democrats are silent towards this meddling.

On April 12, Donald Rumsfeld declared “we don’t really have an exit strategy. We have a victory strategy.” (New York Times, April 13, 2005). There was no Democratic response.


We all supported and celebrated your election as Party chairman, hoping that winds of change would blow away what former president Bill Clinton once called “brain-dead thinking.”

But it seems to me that your recent comments about Iraq require further reflection and reconsideration if we are to keep the loyalty of progressives and promote a meaningful alternative that resonates with mainstream American voters.

Let me tell you where I stand personally. I do not believe the Iraq War is worth another drop of blood, another dollar of taxpayer subsidy, another stain on our honor. Our occupation is the chief cause of the nationalist resistance …

To those Democrats in search of a muscular, manly foreign policy, let me say that real men (and real patriots) do not sacrifice young lives for their own mistakes, throw good money after bad, or protect the political reputations of high officials at the expense of their nation’s moral reputation.


But there is much the Democratic Party can do:

First, stop marginalizing those Democrats who are calling for immediate withdrawal or a one-year timetable. …

Second, call for peace talks between Iraqi political parties and the Iraqi resistance. …

Third, as an incentive to those Iraqi peace initiatives, the US needs to offer to end the occupation and withdraw our troops by a near-term date. …

Fourth, to further promote peace initiatives, the US needs to specify that a multi-billion dollar peace dividend will be earmarked for Iraqi-led reconstruction, not for the Halliburtons and Bechtel …

Fifth, Democrats could unite behind Senator Rockefellers’s persistent calls for public hearings on responsibility for the torture scandals. …

Read the entire letter.

Listen to his keynote address at the Progressive Democratcs of America site.

Note what Goodman further reported on April 22:

Dean said a US pullout could endanger the United States in three ways: By leaving a Shiite theocracy worse than that in Iran; by creating an independent Kurdistan in the north, with destabilizing effects on neighboring Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iran and Syria, and by making the so-called Sunni Triangle a magnet for what Dean called Islamic terrorists similar to the former Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Dean was portrayed as an antiwar candidate in the media during the 2004 presidential race.

Emphases mine.

Well? What do you think?

I like this Hayden statement: “‘No taxes for torture’ is a demand most Democrats should be able to support.” And how.

Update [2005-4-29 11:19:5 by susanhbu]: Sent to me by Howie Martin:

“We the undersigned join grassroots Democrats from California to Vermont in calling for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. We ask you to join us in our demand that the troops be brought home.

We support efforts to repair the damage the war has inflicted on Iraq, but believe that the occupation is causing further damage, encouraging violence, hardening divisions, and failing to train or prepare Iraqis for self-governance.

We believe the United States can best help Iraq by supporting reparation efforts financially rather than continuing to spend greater sums of money on an occupation that is aggravating the situation and making all of us less safe.

We have admired your past willingness to speak against the war. For the sake of the people of Iraq and of the world, and for the future viability of the Democratic Party, we now ask you to call on the U.S. Congress and the Bush Administration to:

1) Publicly commit to leaving all of Iraq’s resources in the possession of the Iraqi people, as required by the Geneva and Hague Conventions;

2) Convene a meeting of Iraq’s leadership, Iraq’s neighbors, the United Nations, and the Arab League to create an international peacekeeping force in Iraq and to replace United States Armed Forces in Iraq with Iraqi police and Iraqi National Guard forces to ensure Iraq’s security;

3) Withdraw all U.S. Armed Forces from Iraq after the requirements of #2 are met;

4) Contribute financially to the international peacekeeping mission and reconstruction.

The California Democratic Party recently passed a resolution calling for an end to the occupation. The New Mexico Democratic Party passed a resolution this past weekend calling for an end to the occupation. House Concurrent Resolution 35, sponsored by Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, calls for an end to the occupation.”

-from the post on the ILCA website. [ICLA stands for International Labor Communications Association.]


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