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"Anti-war" movement? What "anti-war movement"?

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I just heard Stephanopoulos start his coverage by saying the "anti-war movement" could send political shockwaves through the Democratic party on Tuesday (if Lieberman loses), and I don't like what I'm hearing. Worse yet it's the same kind of somewhat-lazy reporting we're hearing from every other reporter covering the issue.

Here's the problem.

I do think that the Iraq war has doomed Joe Lieberman. But...

1. Iraq is the problem. Not "the anti-war movement." Iraq.

The implication is that I/we don't like Lieberman because we're all generically-anti-war flower-power peaceniks. Some are, many aren't - I for one am certainly not a peacenik. As my readers know, some to their great disdain, I have no problem using military force when I think it's merited and just.

The problem for many of us in Iraq is not "war." It's THIS war, how it got started (a lie) and how it's being run (into the ground).

2. Lieberman's position on the war TODAY is the problem, not his position when the war was launched.

The problem isn't that Joe Lieberman supported the Iraq war, it's that he still thinks the Iraq war is going well today. That's just nuts. But it's worse than nuts. Lieberman has gone out of his way to support George Bush's positions on the Iraq war - not just by claiming that the war is going well when it's clearly gone terribly wrong - but Lieberman did something much worse. He defended Bush and misled the American people about the war in a manner that directly attacked his fellow Democrats. And that is not acceptable for a variety of reasons.

First off, it's not "good bipartisanship" when you attack your own party for trying to raise legitimate criticisms of a commander in chief who is grossly incompetent and endangering our national security and future.

Secondly, it's incredibly duplicitous to undercut your party's criticism of said commander in chief when the country has gone through nearly five years of post-September-11 "shut up and salute" mania and your party is daring to speak up regardless of the risk.

We have a serious problem in America today in which debate and dissent and checks and balances are no longer considered patriotic. Just when the Democrats are starting to get the nerve to occasionally and meekly challenge George Bush publicly, Joe Lieberman steps in to stab them in the back. That makes his crime that much worse, not just in terms of how serious a betrayal it was to a party that was already on thin ice speaking out in a land where speaking out is no longer welcome, but it's also a betrayal of America's values. Lieberman decided to associate himself with the worst McCarthyite wing of modern-day conservatism. And that's a far bigger deal than simply his point of view on "one issue."

3. A word about the "netroots."

We are not "anti-war activists organized on the Internet," as Stephanopoulos claimed. Most of us who Stephanopoulos is talking about are bloggers. We are political writers and political activists. We are partisans, to be sure, but the war is NOT our only issue any more than it is the only issue of any publication or political partisan. To the extent the Iraq war is an issue we focus on, most of us are critical of the war, as indicated above, not because we're "anti-war activists," but because we are getting our butts kicked in Iraq and no one seems to have the courage to note that fact publicly. And if we can't talk about what's really happening in Iraq, then we can't find a way to win or a way to get the hell out if we've already lost. So, the problem a lot of us have with Iraq isn't that we are per se opposed to war (though some of us are), it's that this war is a bloody disaster and no one seems to have the spine to say so.

The media continues to portray the Netroots as monolithic - far-left liberal monolithic, to be exact. And yeah, some bloggers are far-left, many of us are not. Many are liberal (whatever that means - most of us, I know, use the word "liberal" to mean the opposite of Republican, rather than to mean the far-left of the Democratic party). Some of us are strident and doctrinaire, some aren't. Some of us have political experience, some don't. Some of us see ourselves as writers and journalists, some as activists, and some as both.

The point being, it is disingenuous and misleading to portray this thing called "the netroots" as some kind of all-powerful sieg-heil far-left monolith. It is not, we are not. Collectively we have some power and some anger (see below), to be sure, but far-left and anti-war as our running credo we are not.

One thing that I think does unite us is our anger and frustration at both our party and the direction our country has taken over the past six years. But our concern over our country is that it's heading in the wrong direction (and the majority of our fellow citizens agree with us, so that's hardly a partisan viewpoint). And our concern over our party is that it hasn't shown a lot of backbone in fighting to get our country back on the right track. That viewpoint, again, is hardly a minority view nationwide, let alone in the Democratic party.

The "netroots" - which is simply a trendy way of saying "politically-active Americans" - are motivated by a profound concern about where America finds itself today. That kind of concern isn't liberal, it isn't anti-war, it isn't even partisan. It's American. And check out the polls, George and all the rest of ya - most of the country agrees with us, not most of the Democratic party, most of the COUNTRY.

So please, for the love of God, stop labeling us all as cumbaya peaceniks. It's getting real old.

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