Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry?

Last night I read poems as part of the Split This Rock Poetry Festival here in DC. I read work that spoke against the war. I mentioned the close to a million Iraqi civilians killed over the past five years. I said that the President’s phrase “The War on Terror” suggests something that can’t be won with our current tactics. History shows that fighting terror with terror is a loser’s game. I’m not sure I said that precisely. When you’re on stage in front of hundreds of people you say what you can. I read a poem by my friend Sam Hamill called “True Peace”. I dedicated my portion of the reading to Sam who is a founding member of the organization Poets Against War.  I threw my hat from the Navy (the one that says: Navy: accelerate your life) into the audience. This being a pacifist crowd, well, you can predict the outcome. Someone gave me my hat back.

Back at the hotel they’ve pulled down both the shades in my room, rather than fix the one that’s stuck in the down position. I guess they figure I’m blind so what difference does it make whether I’ve got sunlight or not?


The Fight to Come

New polls are out suggesting that if the presidential election were held today Hillary Clinton would be in a statistical dead heat with Senator John McCain; the same polls show Barack Obama would have a three or four point lead—which, in terms of the margin of error means he would be tied .

As a Democrat I’ve always argued to anyone who would listen that McCain is the most viable candidate in the GOP largely because by the time November rolls around it’s predictable that Americans will once again be confused about the war in Iraq and that other war in Afghanistan, and that other war shaping up in Iran.

I make no bones about my own views. I’m a participant in the loosely affiliated group called Poets AgainstPoets_against_the_war_2
the War
which was co-founded by the poet Sam Hamill.

The Democratic House and Senate have shown those of us who are fiercely opposed to the deployment of U.S. troops in Iraq what we can pretty much expect from Democratic leadership. The party opposes the war but lacks all conviction when it comes to fashioning a credible pullout strategy.

I have always said to anyone who would listen that the GOP will make this autumn’s election about the war on terror and whoever its candidate is will mark the Democratic ticket as being cowardly in the face of terror. We’re already hearing what we can expect from McCain: any withdrawal from Iraq would constitute a victory for Osama bin Laden. In fact, Senator McCain will base his entire campaign on this idea. He will have to do this because he has no substantive plans to assist the middle class or repair the U.S. economy. You can bet that part of his campaign will be smoke and mirrors.

The problem for both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is that they’re respective plans for getting U.S. troops out of Iraq are made from the same smoke and mirrors the McCain forces will use for the economy. In point of fact neither Hillary or Barack has any idea how to get troops out of the middle east.

In the meantime you can predict that events on the ground in that troubled and wide region will remain precarious.

And so, in turn, the Democratic ticket will look weak.

Which of these two leading Democratic candidates do you suppose will have the tougher position and the most seasoned advisors when it comes to fighting John McCain on the war on terror?

For my money the answer is clear: Hillary Clinton is the toughest candidate the Democrats can choose. In this matter Connie and I are putting our money behind Senator Clinton.

Hillary will have to fight on two fronts: she will have to assert that the Democrats are tough enough to fight terrorism when and where it counts while arguing that the ticket possesses the leadership and vision to map an effective military and diplomatic strategy.

Again, our money’s on Hillary in this critical fight.