But a quick, very quick or nearly instantaneous and absolutely unilateral withdrawal from Iraq seems to be a short sighted and overly simplistic approach to a very complex problem in a very complex region of the world.
These candidates, along with Harry Reid, do not want to consult with the military (or even listen to them) and they don't want to consult with our allies in the coalition or even with out NATO partners in Afghanistan.
The candidates demand six months (or six days) and were out!
That bothers me a lot and, at any moment, I'm likely to post yet another verbatim statement or press release from Senator Joe Lieberman, who I feel really understands the complexity of the issues. But that is not the subject of this journal entry.
Instead the subject is the rapidly vanishing Freedom of Speech among the Arab nations of the Middle East. I'll keep this brief and mostly just point to three stories and three links.
- Iran, who already has one of the most censored and restricted media on earth, with highly censored Internet access, has announced they will now begin to monitor and censor mobile phone communications, particularly messaging and photograph and video transfers. "Iran's Telecommunications Ministry will start filtering "immoral" video and audio messages sent via mobile phones, state television reported on Saturday." See the complete story here.
- Sandmonkey, one of the very few remaining, clandestine but free, bloggers in Egypt is shutting down his blog. Fearing at least for his freedom and possibly for his life, he is going into hiding. To be certain, Sandmonkey is pro-American and a darling of the right wing here, but shouldn't freedom allow all points of view? Sandomnkey writes, "One of the chief reasons is the fact that there has been too much heat around me lately. I no longer believe that my anonymity is kept, especially with State Security agents lurking around my street and asking questions about me since that day. I was the model of caution, and believing in my invincibility by managing not to get arrested for the past 2 and a half years, I've grown reckless. Stupid Monkey. Stupid And speaking of the state of the Egyptian blogsphere, it has been pretty depressing in its own right. One has to wonder at some point the futility of being a keyboard warrior in a country where nothing seems to matter to its people anymore."
Finally, in spite of an extremely well organized effort by the FREE KAREEM website and his supporters worldwide, the eleven city worldwide protest yesterday is unlikely to encourage Egypt to lighten the four year prison sentence handed down to Kareem Amer, the young and idealist blogger whose criticism of Islam and his native Egypt was tame and restrained compared to the vitriolic attacks leveled at President Bush and the Christian religion everyday in the American blogosphere.
Islam and many governments of the Middle East are unwilling to allow the slightest dissent with the exception of one single, shining beacon of hope and freedom: Iraq.
That's why I can't join my fellow Democrats in a rush to destroy that freedom. I will not join those who simply use the war and occupation of Iraq as an excuse to attack the current Republican administration.
That is not to say we can or should tolerate the continued bloodshed that accompanies the current American occupation of Iraq. But let us not rush headlong to send Iraqis into the Orwellian world of their imprisoned neighbors.