Monday, August 15, 2005

The Strategic Class

Ari Berman maps out the universe of Uberlosers known as "National Security Democrats" in this week's Nation:

In July 2002, at the first Senate hearing on Iraq, then-Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Joe Biden pledged his allegiance to Bush's war. Ever since, the blunt-spoken Biden has seized every opportunity to dismiss antiwar critics within his own party, vocally denouncing Bush's handling of the war while doggedly supporting the war effort itself. Biden carried this message into the Kerry campaign as the candidate's closest foreign policy confidant, and a few days after announcing his own intention to run for the presidency in 2008, he gave a major speech at the Brookings Institution in which he criticized rising calls for withdrawal as a "gigantic mistake."

The Democrats' speculative front-runner for '08, Hillary Clinton, has offered similarly hawkish rhetoric. "If we were to artificially set a deadline of some sort, that would be like a green light to the terrorists, and we can't afford to do that," Clinton told CBS in February. Instead, she recently proposed enlarging the Army by 80,000 troops "to respond to threats wherever danger lies." Clinton, a member of the Armed Services Committee, appears more comfortable accommodating the President's Iraq policy than opposing it, and her early and sustained support for the war (and frequent photo-ops with the troops) supposedly reinforces her national security credentials.
Berman outlines the players and their symbiotic relationships from the top of the food chain (the '08 frontrunners) to the bottom feeders (Peter Beinart, Lil' Tommy Tintin Friedman, et al). A useful overview, and required reading for anyone vulnerable to being seduced by Biden's occasional pseudogravitas or who is laboring under the delusion that Hillary is capable of truly progressive thinking.


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