Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Introducing...Jim Webb

by rg Fri May 30th, 2008 at 09:28:26 PM EST


Who is Jim Webb?

Well, I first noticed Jim Webb on the Open Thread this evening.  Thanks to the last link in a comment by budr, I found a review of Jim Webb's book,  Born Fighting.

That set me off, so what follows is my strange journey to find out more about Jim Webb.

--------------------

From an Amazon review:

Amazon.com: Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America: James Webb: Books

So, is this a recommendation of Born Fighting to others? Yes, but a conditional recommendation. First, one should read David Hackett Fischer's Albion's Seed (see my review) which describes and contrasts the four British groups, including the Scots-Irish, that settled America. Fischer's book is better written, broader in scope, more objective, and based on real scholarship. In contrast, Born Fighting is repetitive, focused on one ethnic group alone (making conflicts with others harder to understand), strongly Scots-Irish partisan rather than objective, and draws much of its best material from other modern authors, including extensive quotes from Fischer's book and Churchill's Birth of Britain. Still, Born Fighting was worth reading and gave me new insights, especially on the history of the Scots-Irish before their migration to America. For the record, my heritage is largely Scots-Irish.

Knowing nothing about Webb--bar the review--my first impression is that this is a portrait of a bright person who is good at assimilating information, is tribal in his affiliations--the book sounds like it looks out from within rather than looking inside from without--

He's being proposed as Vice President.

The first question that came to me was:

How did he vote on Iraq?

OBAMA'S VICE-PRESIDENT?, Crystal Ball, U.Va.

With this military background, he reinforces the Democrats' case against the Iraqi intervention, a position he has articulated from the beginning of the war and with particular force, including a direct confrontation with President Bush at a White House reception.

What I didn't realise when I read that, is that he didn't join the Senate until 2006, defeating a what-sounds-to-me-like an old and lazy racist in the process.  He stood as a democrat and now I read here that he is being proposed as Vice President to Barak Obama.

So, okay.  After 2006, how has he voted on issues relating to Iraq?

James Webb on War & Peace

It was a mistake to go to Iraq; said so before Senate vote

Q: Would you have voted in October of 2002 to authorize the Iraq war?

WEBB: I clearly would not have. If you read the "Washington Post" piece I wrote in September 2002, I was saying don't do it.

Q: Mr. Miller, would you have voted to authorize?

MILLER: I didn't have access to all the intelligence that Senator Allen and other senators had. But looking back, no.

Q: Was it a mistake to go to Iraq?

MILLER: Yes, sir.

WEBB: It was and I said so at the time.

Q: Is there any difference between your position and his?

WEBB: I think I arrived at it far earlier than Harris Miller did. I think this is recent for him.

Q: At the time that we went were you cheering that decision or opposing it instinctively?

MILLER: I wasn't opposing it instinctively because I believed General Colin Powell when he said that there was a plan to deal with the post-war effort. In fact, that was a lie. We were misled by the president. It became clear within three or four months it was a huge mistake. Source: Virginia 2006 Democratic Senate Primary debate Jun 9, 2006

Okay.  Recent voting record on Iraq:

James Webb - Congresspedia

Iraq War

The chief focus of Webb's campaign was the war in Iraq. Webb opposed the Iraq War from the beginning, stating in a 2002 speech to the Naval Postgraduate School, "We should not occupy territory in Iraq. Do you really want the United States on the ground in that region for a generation? I don't think Iraq is that much of a threat." [1] Webb has described security policy under President Bush as "a complete failure" and favors a withdrawal of troops from Iraq. [2] Webb's son is a Marine currently deployed in Iraq.

The votes:

Key Votes by Jim Webb | Congress votes database | washingtonpost.com

This amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 passed 60-28 on August 3. The bill gives U.S. spy agencies expanded power to eavesdrop on foreign suspects without a court order. The bill gives the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General authorization for periods up to one year, to information concerning suspected terrorists outside the United States. The existing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act contained a 30-year-old statute requiring a warrant to monitor calls intercepted in the United States, regardless of their origin. The new Protect America Act amends this stipulation, allowing U.S. intelligence officials to monitor suspicious communication originating inside the U.S. The Bush administration argued that it needs the expanded power to confront terrorist threats. Civil liberties and privacy advocates argue the bill jeopardizes the Fourth Amendment privacy rights and allows for the warrantless monitoring of virtually any form of communication originating in the United States. Democrats managed a minor victory requiring a sunset clause effective 180 days after the bill is signed. In place of a court's approval, the National Security Agency plans to institute a system of internal bureaucratic controls. The bill passed in the House 227-183, and was sent to the White House soon after to be signed into law.

Position: Yes

Key Votes by Jim Webb | Congress votes database | washingtonpost.com

Vote 307: H R 976: In this 68 to 31 vote the Senate passed an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. The bill also passed the House by a vote of 265 to 159. The bill increases total funding for the program to $60 billion over the next five years and provides health insurance for 9 million currently uninsured American children. The $7 billion yearly expansions were a major sticking point for the White House and ultimately lead to the fourth presidential veto from the Bush administration. The measure is a key agenda item for the Democratic majority in Congress, and Democratic leaders have vowed to push for a veto override, which would require a two-thirds vote. White House press secretary Dana Perino criticized Democrats for sending the president a bill she said they knew would be dead on arrival. "They made their political point," Perino said. The White House contended that the 61-cent increase in the federal tobacco tax would not be able to recoup the required funds needed to fund the bill. White House officials also argued the measure would push millions of children already covered by private health insurance into publicly financed health care program

Position: Yes

But, let's narrow the focus to...Iraq.

Key Votes by Jim Webb | Congress votes database | washingtonpost.com

Vote 207: On the Cloture Motion: With this vote Democrats and some Republicans in the Senate sought to move forward on a measure that would have registered the Senate's official opposition to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, whose tenure was plagued by controversy. The Washington Post reported that "Democrats fell seven votes short of the 60 needed to invoke cloture and begin the debate on a resolution condemning Gonzales." Seven Republicans distanced themselves from the Bush administration and refused to support the attorney general who had been a target of sharp criticism for five months. Gonzales came under fire for his involvement in administration policies such as harsh interrogation policies, secret overseas prisons, and a domestic surveillance program. But his most controversial action was the firings of nine U.S. attorneys last year. The attorney general's critics claimed he fired the prosecutors for political reasons. If passed, the resolution would have done nothing more than send a public rebuke to Bush and Gonzales. But enough Republicans were able oppose "cloture," effectively killing the measure. As the Post reported, "Democrats were aware that victory on the vote was unlikely, but they claimed a symbolic triumph in getting more than a handful of Republicans to join the effort to publicly shame the attorney general." Gonzales, who initially claimed he would not step down amid the controversies, announced his resignation on August 27.

Position: Yes.

So far, I keep getting images of Jimmy Cagney:

James Cagney - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As acting techniques became increasingly systematic (as in the case of "Method Acting"), Cagney was asked during the filming of Mister Roberts about his approach to acting. As Jack Lemmon related in the television special, "James Cagney: Top of the World", which aired on July 5, 1992, Cagney said that the secret to acting was simply this: "Learn your lines... plant your feet... look the other actor in the eye... say the words... mean them".

Now I'm getting these flashes of violence.  The Iraq voting record, please!

Key Votes by Jim Webb | Congress votes database | washingtonpost.com

Vote 181: On the Motion: This $120 billion dollar package was passed in the Senate by an 80-14 vote on May 24. The bill primarily focuses on funding for the Iraq war but also addresses other unrelated topics.

A previous war funding bill was vetoed by the president because it included troop withdrawal deadlines, which were largely supported by anti-war Democrats.

Ten Democrats opposed this new bill with no withdrawal deadlines, while 37 supported its passage. Congress had to act to replace war funding that would have ended May 28.

According to the Washington Post, this bill includes 18 "benchmarks that the Iraqi government must meet to continue receiving reconstruction aid." One hundred billion dollars in funding is slated to support continuing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill says that the President and Congress must not take any action that will endanger the troops and that they provide any funds necessary for training, equipment and other types of support to ensure their safety and the effectiveness of their missions. The president is required to give a first report on the Iraqis' progress in meeting the benchmarks to Congress on July 15.

Seventeen billion dollars in the package is for domestic spending. Out of this funding, $6.4 billion is for Gulf Coast hurricane relief efforts, $3 billion in emergency aid for farmers, $1 billion to upgrade port and mass transit security, $3 billion towards converting closing U.S. military bases to other uses, and $650 million to increase funding for children's health care. A Congressional Research Service summary states that the "other domestic beneficiaries include state HIV grant programs, mine safety research, youth violence prevention activities, and pandemic flu protection."

Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hilary Clinton (N.Y.) were among the 14 who opposed the bill.

Position: Yes

I suddenly look forward to reading Drew's thoughts!  As I read it--from a position of pure ignorance--Webb has voted for more surveillance, benchmarks, funding the troops without demanding they are brought out of Iraq--but all the bills have kinks in them, wasn't there a 180 day sunset clause on the phone-tapping bill?  I think that means after 180 days it expires unless there is another vote to renew it--or did that already happen?  heh....

Iraq!

Key Votes by Jim Webb | Congress votes database | washingtonpost.com

Vote 147: H R 1591:

House and Senate conferees approved this legislation providing $124.2 billion primarily for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and setting benchmarks and a timetable for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, but President Bush vetoed the bill on May 1.

The measure, which also addresses a wide variety of unrelated issues, makes emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

The conference agreement on H.R. 1591 also aims to improve health care for returning soldiers and veterans. It addresses needs related to hurricane recovery for the Gulf Coast, bolsters homeland security programs and provides emergency drought relief for farmers.

The legislation says that troops in Iraq would not have their service extended beyond a year for any tour of duty. It also mandates that the president must certify that the Iraqi government is meeting certain diplomatic and security benchmarks. If that certification is made, deployment would begin no later than Oct. 1, 2007, with a goal of completing the redeployment by within 180 days. Some U.S. forces could remain in Iraq for special counterterrorism efforts along with protection, training and equipping Iraqi troops.

According to a bill summary provided by the House Appropriations Committee, the legislation seeks to make it possible for the U.S. military to focus resources on al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and to destroy his base of operations in Afghanistan.

The conference report also provides $3 billion for special vehicles designed to withstand roadside bombs, and it increases from 20 to 270 the number of heavy and light armored vehicles authorized to be purchased for force protection purposes in Iraq and Afghanistan. It prohibits government funds from being used to establish any military installation or base for a permanent stationing of U.S. armed forces in Iraq and does not allow funds to be used to exercise U.S. control over any Iraqi oil resource.

It does not fund two Joint Strike fighters and five of six electronic attack airplanes because lawmakers say they are not urgent.

The conference agreement provides $268 million for the FBI, that's about $150 million above the president's request. The agency's budget includes $10 million for the FBI to implement the Office of Inspector General's recommendations about the use of special secret subpoenas called national security letters.

On the homeland security front, it provides funding for port and mass transit security as well as other similar investments for a total of $2.25 billion.

Meanwhile, farmers and ranchers would get $3.5 billion to help ameliorate agricultural disasters. The agreement also includes emergency funding for forest firefighting, low-income home energy assistance and pandemic flu preparations.

The legislation includes $5 billion for health care for returning troops and veterans, $8.9 billion for victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It also offers approximately $650 million for a children's state health insurance program.

It phases in a federal minimum wage increase to $7.25 an hour and applies the increase to the Northern Mariana Islands. It also amends tax law to allow certain benefits for small businesses that were not included in the House or Senate bills.

It provides an additional $17 million for domestic violence programs.

Among many other things, it makes additional fiscal 2008 appropriations for the U.S. Agency for International Development along with funding for a program aiding Africa, and monies for international narcotics control and enforcement, refugee assistance and international broadcasting operations.

Position: Yes

heh...I started scan-reading about halfway through--something about Homeland security again, drought relief, ah!  No permanent bases, no controlling iraqi oil.  No to more military planes.  More Homeland security, help for those who have suffered agricultural disasters...

Key Votes by Jim Webb | Congress votes database | washingtonpost.com

Vote 75: S J RES 9: This non-binding resolution would have revised U.S. policy on Iraq. However, it was defeated 48-50. The measure had directed the president to begin a phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq within 120 days of the resolution's enactment. The measure's main sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, sought redeployment by Mar. 31, 2008, of all U.S. combat forces from Iraq. It included exceptions for certain forces charged with protecting coalition members as well as those who support infrastructure, conduct training, equip Iraqi forces and conduct counter-terrorism operations. The resolution also had directed the president to report to Congress on the progress of the suggested plan. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) did not vote.

Position: Yes

It seems to me that he started with "120 days and out", then accepted "120 days and a lot of other things", then he....voted for that other one, where the 120 days disappeared, but the FBI got £250,000,000--I think I've got that right.

--------------

On Vietnam

Defiant Iraq War Foe Defined by Vietnam - washingtonpost.com

James Webb will tell you that he is first a writer, with several best-selling novels to his name. He is also the descendant of brave-hearted Scots-Irish who stood up to English kings. He is a husband and father of four.

But above all, Webb is still in his heart a combat Marine. His defining moment came in Vietnam, and he remains loyal to the men he led and the memories he formed there. Once a year or so he reunites with former comrades. At Arlington National Cemetery, he visits the graves of others, often leaving Marlboro cigarettes for his buddy, Snake.

Now, Webb, a Naval Academy graduate who once dreamed of wearing a Marine Corps general's stars, has become a face of the movement against the Iraq war. The man who admired President Ronald Reagan and served his Republican administration as a cocky secretary of the Navy is one of the Democrats' best hopes to wrest control of the Senate from the GOP as he challenges incumbent George Allen.

What It Means To Be a Leader | PARADE Magazine

"Clearing" village bunkers was a normal process when we were facing enemy contact. Every Vietnamese family had a bunker next to its porch. When firefights broke out, families went into their bunkers. But it was a common tactic for enemy soldiers to hide there as well, often allowing them to open fire on us from behind. So a routine developed, which the Marines and the villagers understood. Marine teams would move from bunker to bunker, telling villagers to come out. After that, a Marine would throw a grenade into the bunker, then one of them would enter it, making sure it was clear.

During one sweep, the Marine who jumped into the bunker following the blast found that three people had not come out. A younger man, probably a local Viet Cong, had been killed. Hardened by combat, we shrugged him off. But the other two stopped my heart even in the mind-numbing repetition of tragedy that defines war.

A gray-haired man in white pajamas, probably a grandfather, was dead, having wrapped himself around a small boy to protect him from the blast. It was clear that his final thoughts were of the boy. His shocked, opaque eyes and his still-curled body were the very definition of love and human sacrifice. The boy was still alive, although barely.

We were in contact with the enemy, and night would soon be upon us. I walked through the village, setting up our defensive positions and calling in a report to our commander. A corpsman followed me, cradling the boy in his arms. He and I had now served together through seven months of hard combat. We had seen a mountain of tragedy, and we kept nothing from each other. He was insistent: "Skipper, if you don't get this kid out of here right now, he's going to die."

I called for a medevac, but I knew what the answer would be. Emergency medevacs were available only for Marines. We were in a high-risk landing zone. Vietnamese civilians could only be given "routine" medevacs when landing zones were calm and all Marines had been taken care of.

What do you do now, lieutenant?

I couldn't lie to my chain of command. There weren't any wounded Marines. I made a case for the boy and lost. "They'll only bring it in as a routine," I told the doc. We knew this could take hours.

"All right," he answered, clearly exasperated. "Then you watch him die."

The doc put the boy on a wooden box next to our command post. Over the next half hour, as I spoke on the radio, the boy lay near me quietly, never making a sound, all the while watching me. Nor could I stop watching him. And as we stared at each other, he slowly died.

There are still moments when I look back and see the little boy's brown eyes and the curled corpse of the grandfather whose last thought had been to save him. I will never forget them, nor should I.

--------------------------

Okay, but what has been pulsing for a few minutes now somewhere in the back of my brain--Iran.  That's the key: (Iran and, for this reader so far, Homeland Security....but I know nossink!)

SEN JIM WEBB WAR WITH IRAN HARDBALL (5:14)

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZDmFj0sAQM

(I flashed at 1:06.  Hit pause.  Phil Mitchell in a wig!  Just before that flash I heard him say, "We need some protection against, er, unintended consequences--or perhaps intended consequences--from some people in the administration...")

The final flash--Obama is the black man; Webb is the redneck.

Removing the cartoons, Obama is half-kenyan by birth, Webb is a writer.

Obama is a lawyer, Webb is scots-irish.

Did I get this all wrong?

Display:
This is where Jim Webb first got my attention.

As with other ethnic groups, those inside the culture know how to read such code words, and there may come a time when the right Democratic strategist knows how to counter them in the manner that Mr. Dean contemplated. John Edwards is at his visceral best when his campaign rhetoric seems directed at doing that.

The decline in public education and the outsourcing of jobs has hit this culture hard. Diversity programs designed to assist minorities have had an unequal impact on white ethnic groups and particularly this one, whose roots are in a poverty-stricken South. Their sons and daughters serve in large numbers in a war whose validity is increasingly coming into question. In fact, the greatest realignment in modern politics would take place rather quickly if the right national leader found a way to bring the Scots-Irish and African-Americans to the same table, and so to redefine a formula that has consciously set them apart for the past two centuries.

Secret GOP Weapon The Scots-Irish vote. by JAMES WEBB

That last sentence is the single most interesting political statement I have read in my lifetime.  And this.

The most important--and unfortunately the least debated--issue in politics today is our society's steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century. America's top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years. It is not unfair to say that they are literally living in a different country. Few among them send their children to public schools; fewer still send their loved ones to fight our wars. They own most of our stocks, making the stock market an unreliable indicator of the economic health of working people. The top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980. The tax codes protect them, just as they protect corporate America, through a vast system of loopholes.

Class Struggle American workers have a chance to be heard. by JIM WEBB

And this.

His problems began when he stood up to a man named A. P. Mills, a local baron who owned both the bank and the general store in Kensett.  A. P. had done alright during the hard times, even finding a way to send his son Wilbur to Harvard.  Upon his return Wilbur became a judge, and then a rather famous congressman, both for his expertise in tax law and for his antics with a South American stripper named Fanne Foxe.  A. P. Mills was a cheerful man, a true "good old boy" who still would remember my mother by name when she returned to Kensett with her children more than a decade after she had moved away.  But he was also very much a creature of his time and place, and my grandfather was not.

As my grandmother, great-aunt, and aunt all told it, my grandfather's sin was to explain to the black folk of Kensett that they were being charged higher interest rates than whites at A. P. Mills' store, thus keeping them in an even worse spiral of debt -- and also to suggest to A. P. Mills that this was not a particularly Christian thing to do.  My grandfather was pointedly warned that he was causing trouble.  By all accounts, my grandfather then told A. P. Mills to go to hell.  And A. P. Mills, along with some others who controlled the admittedly sparse purse strings of White County, showed my grandfather that there could be such a thing as hell on earth.

Within a few weeks my grandfather could not get a regular job in White County.  He moved back up to the Carbondale coal mines for a while but my grandmother, one of twelve children, got homesick, so he brought the family back to White County.  They began following the crops around the region, picking strawberries when they were in season, picking and chopping other people's cotton, and truck farming.  School for my mother and her brother and sisters became intermittent and at times impossible as they picked and chopped alongside the adults.

My grandfather, shunned by the local-powers-that-were, never backed down from his beliefs.  He had broken a hip badly in a farm accident, and an apparent bone infection eventually caused his skin to permanently split open in that area (I write "apparent" because no doctor ever treated him), bringing a steady ooze from the joint.  My grandmother kept two sets of bandages for the hip, boiling one every day while he wore the other.  But this did not keep B. H. from walking six miles round-trip to Searcy several days a week in order to debate others who gathered in the town square to discuss politics.  He argued for the rights of the black and the poor, and the unfairness of local leaders.  And in these spirited debates he was usually, as a wise man once put it, in either a minority or a majority of one.

Jim Webb, Born Fighting

And this.


Years of this kind of labor gave my mother arms and shoulders like a weight lifter.  When she met my father in Texas at the age of seventeen, his strongest initial reaction was not of her dark-haired , violet-eyed beauty, but that her hands felt as rough as the bark off a tree.  And as I myself grew into manhood and progressed through a variety of academic and professional challenges, my mother and grandmother both would seize my hands whenever I first walked into their homes, massaging the palms and feeling their thickness. Whatever else I did in life, it was important to both of them that I never lose my "workingman's hands."

I have Fischer's Albion's Seed, but so far I have only been able to make myself skim it.  There is more passion in one paragraph of Webb's writing than in the whole of Fischer's book.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Fri May 30th, 2008 at 11:57:35 PM EST
Oh, and for some reason my internet is painfully slow this evening.  I have not been able to view the video clip.  I'm afraid I don't get your reference at the end.

On the subject of Obama and Webb, I think Webb issued a powerful invitation in that first WSJ article.  And it seems to me that Obama in some sense accepted the invitation with that famous speech on race.  Can you imagine what it might do for the whole issue of race, particularly issues of black and white, if the two of them continued that conversation?

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 12:04:03 AM EST
The reference at the end...

First, the silly one.

Phil Mitchell:

(A character in Eastenders, a soap opera known in our house as, "Gli Sfigatoni"--okay, maybe not ;)

The other reference is Webb's to people in the administration who would like to attack Iran.  As I understood him, he was saying (my paraphrase) "We need controls to make sure they CAN'T start something."

To me, he comes across as the soldier on an upward learning curve--the anti-McCain.  With the Homeland Security votes, I wondered if there isn't a plan to hammer the criminals in the republican party a la Eliot Ness (the fantasy Ness in my head, of course!)--I've been thinking that there's a growing Mafia domination of processes (resurgent in Italy, strong in Russia, I've heard of other mafias--all have in common: the bullet to the back of the head as business tactic)...to defeat a Mafia, civil society needs strong and efficient law enforcement--that may have just been a Friday night flash, though.

If Drew is reading, could you say some more about Webb's voting base?  I assumed Webb represented an "enlightened redneck" position--and a black man and a red neck vs. John McCain (who is--what--heh!  I just checked, it says he has scots-irish and english ancestry)...I thought "The Obama Webb"--

The idea being that, okay, the racists and the "Oh my god they've got a bomb.  Kill them all, now!"--those who'd think "Obama Webb" described some terrorist masterplan--those groups can coalesce around McCain--

--but there is the military vote, and the families of the military, I don't know how those numbers work out; also, isn't Webb the kind of person (I'm assuming that his positions are genuine, something I don't get from Obama--whose programme as I saw it seemed weak)

Barack Obama | Change We Can Believe In | Energy

"Well, I don't believe that climate change is just an issue that's convenient to bring up during a campaign. I believe it's one of the greatest moral challenges of our generation. That's why I've fought successfully in the Senate to increase our investment in renewable fuels. That's why I reached across the aisle to come up with a plan to raise our fuel standards... And I didn't just give a speech about it in front of some environmental audience in California. I went to Detroit, I stood in front of a group of automakers, and I told them that when I am president, there will be no more excuses -- we will help them retool their factories, but they will have to make cars that use less oil."

-- Barack Obama, Speech in Des Moines, IA, October 14, 2007

If climate change is the greatest moral challenge, then making cars that use less oil is the very least of it--in my view...anyways....

Isn't there Ohio that would vote Webb over McCain?  Mix the more energetic developments in renewables--the farmers and the wind turbines; grab the developments--local jobs for local people (no racism, thank you, the time for that has passed--heh....there's a marxist undertow in that Webb states that he will--as I understand it--represent the poor--not just the white poor, hence my question to Drew--)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 06:36:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Webb's voting base as far as I recall was a solid turnout in Northeast VA and enough  whittling down the margins in VA beach and inland VA to help him squeak through.

I'd rather he stay in the Senate.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 11:48:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right.  Basically to win Virginia you need a huge take in the DC suburbs, and you then need to do well between Richmond and Virginia Beach.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:23:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The possible combination of O and W is intriguing. And I particularly like the approach of attempting to heal the S-I and A-A divide. That alone would do a huge good for this country--and by extension the world at large--given that the wound has been festering for a century and a half.

I suspect that if you go into enough detail, you may find that Obama has Scots-Irish ancestry, too. He seems to have everything else (including EEEK! DickCheney), according to some stories recently.

But then, many Americans have very complicated ancestry if you track it back far enough.

by Mnemosyne on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 02:27:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When I posted my first comment on this diary I thought it would be the first comment.  That is why I didn't respond to your content in your comment.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 12:28:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The "your" refers to budr's leading comment.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 12:30:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Webb has voted for more surveillance, benchmarks, funding the troops without demanding they are brought out of Iraq--but all the bills have kinks in them, wasn't there a 180 day sunset clause on the phone-tapping bill?  I think that means after 180 days it expires unless there is another vote to renew it--or did that already happen?

I have difficulty playing purist on Senate votes.  It is a game on so many levels--"looking good/looking bad" just for starters.  It is like football in the rain--you can't play without getting dirty. I agree with budr's  comments about him being difficult to categorize.   I agree with Drew's view that he shouldn't be the V.P. candidate.  In my view is the combination of his populist views, principles and  character I find both fascinating and appealing.  I certainly wouldn't discount the likelyhood of personal growth on his views regarding some social issues Drew and others have found problematic.  

I take a tan too readily to be a true red neck in the original sense, but I grew up in Oklahoma in the 50's surrounded by racist and reactionary views.  I used to say that Oklahoma was a good place to be from. Upon retiring to Arkansas, from whence both of my paternal grandparents came, I was pleasantly surprised at the attitudes of so many Arkansans.  It is at least a purple state, if not blue.  Only one federal or state office is currently held by a republican.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 12:20:10 AM EST
Something I was thinking of reading the OT yesterday was what Kos said lately: it's too early to really figure out how a VP candidate would work out by looking at polls. A lot of it is about name recognition.

Now, I like Obama's thinking about electoral politics. He has a long horizon and he thinks in structural terms about what his ticket needs to get people to vote for him. So I think he'll pick a running mate who will be a good fit over the longer term. For my money, I can see both Edwards and Webb working out, but Edwards would be risky -- it depends on whether Edwards can push through a narrative that he has renewed himself.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 04:48:50 AM EST
... quantity, while the ability of Webb to translate the same theory into practice is not as firmly established.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 12:17:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Way to go, rg.  This diary is a great start to understanding a figure in US politics who is not easy to figure out.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:50:13 AM EST
(I'm on my own learning curve!)

Is this the issue?



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 06:42:44 AM EST
That's the one.

During Webb's Senate Campaign against George Allen, Allen's campaign arraigned a press conference by several female Naval Academy graduates who condemned Webb's article as being directly responsible for intense sexist hazing and discrimination which they received as midshipmen at the Academy.  

What is less well known is that as Navy Secretary, Webb's views on women in the military took a much more egalitarian stance.  He opened more billets previously forbidden to women in the Navy than any Secretary before or since.  One of the women featured in that press conference later publicly recanted her accusations and endorsed Webb based on his more favorable treatment of women as Navy Secretary.  Sorry, I've been googling most of the morning and so far cannot find a suitable link.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 12:25:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Webb mentions his actions as Navy Secretary in the interview.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 12:29:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now that this diary seems on its way to getting the attention it deserves, I will shamelessly recycle a comment I made on the open thread:

Lyndon Johnson defined the art of politics as consisting of "knowing when to hold a knife to a man's belly and when to push it in."  My sense for Webb is that he knows both.  I am sick unto death of wimpy, timid democrats. I want someone who will stomp holes and drive stakes through the sons of bitches that have got us into this mess, someone who knows how to do business up close and personal with a knife.  I think Webb qualifies on these counts.  The simmering anger shows through in TV interviews.  He seems good on his feet.  

It is in this regard that I have the greatest concern about Obama.  He might make a great Secretary of State.  But what we need now is a domestic "war leader" who will aggressively and cunningly cut out the cancer that is at the heart of the US political and economic order.  It needs to be done quickly. The first hundred days. Of the major democratic candidates I favored Edwards because, in part, he had fought the vested interests on behalf of the lowly and won. I think Webb might be even better, but neither is an option now.

I just hope that Obama has personal qualities he has not yet shown.  He will need them if elected.  He could compensate by selecting a strong staff and cabinet.  I do believe Obama could use the presidency to sell the people on the need for getting the Ship of State off the shoals before the hurricane hits.  Webb could help from the Senate. I would rather see him there than as Secretary of Defense.  Edwards would make an excellent Attorney General.  Impeach Chief Justice Roberts and replace him with Hillary.

To this I would add that whoever becomes president this time, should they seriously attempt to right previous wrongs and get the ship of state off the shoals, had better be prepared for the trip to be one way.  The pack of wreckers who are currently in process of striping said ship will not meekly go away.  Were Obama willing and able to let Webb be his "tough guy" alter ego and give him the prominence Clinton gave Gore, I would be happy with Webb as V.P.  He could be the attack dog from Hell on the campaign trail, and someone who could credibly stand up to McCain.  But for that to work, Obama's campaign would have to forget about changing the tone of national politics until after they have won on the opponents home court, no quarter asked or given.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 10:55:02 AM EST
Were Obama willing and able to let Webb be his "tough guy" alter ego and give him the prominence Clinton gave Gore, I would be happy with Webb as V.P.  He could be the attack dog from Hell on the campaign trail, and someone who could credibly stand up to McCain.
A good-cop/bad-cop routine, also after taking office?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 11:00:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only that would fully justify his leaving the Senate.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 12:20:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly what I was thinking.  Webb could single-handedly stop the Democrats are soft on defense meme in its tracks.  He would clip every argument McCain could make at the knees.  McCain would be left with Bush's twenty percent dead enders and not much else.  Obama would be free to pursue his more idealistic change in Washington campaign without having to mudwrestle with McCain.

We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 12:31:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then he could be point on the effort to bring the looters to justice, while Obama tries to set a new tone. But a new tone will just be a happy face pasted over cancer if the abuses that have accumulated since LBJ aren't cut out and incinerated.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 01:24:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I choose to think, for the moment, that Obama's mild-mannered reporter persona is in large part because he's been reluctant to smack down Hillary, given as how she's ostensibly a Dem, too. Some of his recent responses to McSame comments have been encouraging.

But I could be wrong. I was very enthusiastic about Bill until he'd been in office for a couple of months and it became apparent that he was an accommodationist.

by Mnemosyne on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 02:21:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He is showing encouraging signs.  If he is willing and able to be or to appoint and support a real bulldog there is hope for more than just a 4 yrs pause in the descent.  I understand the reluctance to get specific---but damn.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 04:29:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I like Webb for his opposition to the Bush regime, the war, and his generally defiant liberal approach. I voted for him during the Senate race. While I know my views are not liberal enough for many who blog here, Webb sounds like a good bet for improving Obama's chances among middle aged white males. I'm glad he is being considered for VP.

Congressional voting records are often difficult to decipher because each bill can be very complex and an understanding of the choices and reasons for making them elusive.  Without a detailed review of the bill, and the context in which it was considered I find it impossible to criticise a member's decision for support or non-support.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 11:06:14 AM EST
First let me say I wrote my comments last night late in the evening at the end of a very long and trying day after barely skimming your diary.  If they came off more belligerent than they should have, my apologies.

Today after some rest and a little closer reading, my congratulations.  I think you've done a better job in a short time of "getting" Jim Webb than most do.  Far too many get as far as Marine war hero, former Reagan Navy Secretary, wrote an article titled Women Can't Fight, and think they know all they need to know about Jim Webb.  Yeah, and Obama is a black man named Hussein who's a closet Muslim.

Jim Webb On Race, Grievances Of White... - ! * POLITICS * ! - tribe.net

Webb even drew a parallel between this bloc and African Americans, suggesting that their grievances with and needs from the federal government are remarkably similar.

"Black America and Scots-Irish America are like tortured siblings. They both have long history and they both missed the boat when it came to the larger benefits that a lot of other people were able to receive. There's a saying in the Appalachian mountains that they say to one another, and it's, "if you're poor and white, you're out of sight." ..."

" If this cultural group could get at the same table as black America you could rechange populist American politics. Because they have so much in common in terms of what they need out of government."

A powerful coalition indeed. If only there were two politicians who understood these cultures, and had the desire and capacity to unite them for a common cause...

Master of the Senate - The Current

Though no one will ever mistake Webb for a gladhanding backslapper, he has mobilized an extraordinary coalition of Democrats and Republicans behind a dramatic expansion of veterans' educational benefits. After passing by an overwhelming margin in the House, Webb's Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act won 75 votes in the Senate. Because the measure was attached to the Democrats' Iraq War spending bill, which included a number of other spending proposals favored by Democrats and opposed by the Bush White House, there is good reason to believe that the entire package will be vetoed. But there is also good reason to believe that something like Webb's proposal will eventually be made law, thanks in no small part to the measure's overwhelming popularity among veterans and military families.

Senator Jim Webb, Choosing His Battles : NPR

Whatever one's beliefs and loyalties to various political interests, and however loudly one wishes to argue about substance, this is no place for underhanded tactics or dissembling behavior when it comes to your colleagues, because the payback in such cases is usually paralysis. The Senate, more than any other body in American government, is a place where a very few people, and on occasion even a single member, can stop things from getting done.

The United States Senate is a venerable institution. It is also an odd kingdom with 100 fiercely protected fiefdoms. No, let me amend that, as they say in this place. In terms of volatility, behind all of its courtesies the United States Senate is composed of 100 scorpions in a jar. And one should be very careful in deciding how and when to shake that jar.

From the book, A Time to Fight: Reclaiming a Fair and Just America by Jim Webb, United States Senator, published by Broadway Books, a division of Random House, Inc., reprinted with permission.

James Webb on the Issues

And my apologies if this is more domestic US political stuff than is appropriate for ET.  As you may have guessed by now, I am not entirely objective on these topics.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 12:55:41 PM EST

I am not entirely objective on these topics.

Who could be, with the monstrosities that have been committed in our, (US citizens), name?  Given the footprint the US has on the word, I hope the European members of ET will appreciate the discussion.  They certainly have every right to.  We all live on the same planet.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 01:32:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They certainly have every right to comment on US politics, that is.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 01:34:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, there is that, and I contend daily with barely suppressed rage at what this administration has done to my country and the world, but that's not really what I meant.

Jim Webb's seeming sudden appearance on the national political stage is something very special, very personal for me.  Way beyond what he might be able to do in reining in or bringing down this administration.  That first quote, about a realignment in American politics by bringing together the Scots-Irish and African-Americans, was and is quite literally the single most interesting political statement I have read in my lifetime.  I do not exaggerate when I say that.

I am one of those people Webb describes in that WSJ article and in his book.  I come from the same people Webb does.  Almost every anecdote he tells about members of his family might easily apply to my own.  For almost every stereotype about poor white working class, Appalachians, redneck Southerners, I can point to perfect examples within my own family.

And for the few of us who have come to have, may I say more enlightened views, I can point to a direct correlation with better education and better economic opportunities.  The majority who try to make do with high school educations or less at menial jobs, mostly fit the stereotypes to a remarkable to degree.  To the extent that some of us have been able, one way or another, to acquire more and better education and more and better economic prospects, we tend to be less like the stereotypes and more like the general population around us.  Those who are left behind in ignorance and poverty comprise a significant portion of Bush's twenty some percent dead enders.  The few of us who managed to escape the cycle look back in sadness and in anger at a system that perpetuates that cycle.

I have thought for most of my life that poor working class blacks and poor working class whites, of whatever ancestry, have more in common with each other than either does with the wealthy and privileged few who own and control almost everything about our society.  Yet since the days of Reconstruction, when newly freed black slaves suddenly became new competition for the poorest white underclass in the post Civil War South, the two have been set against each other like two cocks in a pit.    Two centuries of tragic history have made them into enemies and rivals when they should have been natural allies.

Occasionally black civil rights or religious leaders have tried to make this point, usually to no avail.  Occasionally one or another white liberal, usually wealthy and educated and not from the South, tries to make the point, also to no avail.  In both cases they are dismissed or ridiculed or threatened into silence.

Along comes Jim Webb.  He represents the other side of the table.  He is not an outsider, some effete latte sipping liberal from San Francisco or Boston.  He is one of us.  One of the few who escaped the cycle to be sure, thanks to Annapolis and Viet Nam, but one of us nonetheless.  He is an authentic war hero, a lawyer, a deep thinker and prolific writer, and now by all accounts a promising political figure.  He is perhaps the only person on the planet who can make that case from the other side of the table and win a fair hearing.  I don't think he can be dismissed or ridiculed.  I am quite sure he cannot be intimidated.  And I think the more they try to silence him, the louder he will get.  We're kind of like that.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 04:14:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Informative, personal, and pointing to something which is fundamental - the politics of the right are about distracting from class conflicts via the use of clanism and other 'us vs them' fearmongering.

And how Webb can cut through that bullshit via his credibility, coming from both his origins and his life. A very hopeful comment.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:28:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kerry was also a war hero - more so than Bush, who was a loser - so factually I'm not sure Webb has an advantage.

That won't be proved until the Right tries pulling its usual bullshit line about something trivial which 'proves' he's not a winner or a patriot. If Webb passes that test with a good two-syllable smack-down, he could be in with a chance. Otherwise he'll be Kerry'd - especially if he tries to be too thoughtful or measured.

What's bitterly disappointing about the Dems is how they always legitimise these trivial playground talking points by play defence against them.

Obama doesn't wear a flag pin, so for weeks afterwards dKos dissects and repeats the flag pin comment to 'prove' that Obama is really a patriot and the flag pin isn't an issue.

Really, it's not.

And so on. There are examples every few weeks, so you can bet another one will roll up soon.

What's ironic is that if the Dems went on the attack and savaged the bullshit records of the Right's so-called patriots by nailing how all they do is posture, yap, bark, flail around and only deliver impression management with no substance, they could destroy the credibility of the Republicans for a generation.

The voters are ready to hear it. And there are so many potential talking points in that angle, it would be huge fun to see them turned into an offensive weapon.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 09:44:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Remember Dan Rather?  He was a buldog on Bush's National Guard "Service."  So some "retired Air Force Colonel" "forged" an exact copy of a document that clearly showed his utter contempt for his obligations, right down to using paper from the era, an IBM  Selectric with the same ball, provided signatures indistinguishable from the original, "aged" the document and leaked it to CBS.   Rather bit and ran with the document, using it in an on air piece.  Then, in an act of stunningly evil genius, (KR?), the fact that it was forged was announced to the world and the White House, in high dudgeon, demanded that CBS apologize and discipline Rather. It ain't for nuthin they call him Turdblossom.

Under Paeley CBS might have fought back.  Under the accountants they caved, in the process betraying a legacy going back to Edward R. Murrow's coverage of Europe before the US entered WW II. I won't watch Katie Curic.  She should have stayed on the morning show.  But then the accountants didn't know there would be any demand for "real news."  They are just selling Viagra.

But I do think that Webb would take their shit and pump it back up their own asses.  Further, if it is a battle of angry white men, he might give McCain a stroke.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 10:36:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... Further, if it is a battle of angry white men, he might give McCain a stroke.

VP candidates rarely make much impact on the final electoral college vote, and not so rarely become President. So there is a strong case for the argument that the VP should be chosen in terms of being the replacement President rather than in terms of benefit on the campaign trail.

And yet, nobody ever seems to do more than give lip service to that approach. Since, after all, facing a Presidential election, and especially following two that went down to the wire, with Gore and Bush only barely winning the election, nominees go for the possible marginal electoral benefit over the more important question of the structure of their administration should they win.

However, there is one possible scenario where a VP nomination for Webb could possibly make a major contribution. And that is if Sen. McCain goes down the "Sen. Obama did not serve in the military, therefore he has to shut up about military strategy" track again. As VP nominee, and as a bit of a bulldog, Sen. Webb could very well make the argument that the best test for being in charge of a nation's strategic direction is being right on big issues, and Obama was right on the biggest issue while McCain was wrong.

Given McCain's temperament, its easy to imagine him becoming apoplectic, and reinforcing the meme that he is too unstable to be trusted as CiC.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 12:31:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Furthermore, much as the evil presence of Cheney as V.P. has been, (in jest?), considered as providing insulation to Bush against impeachment or worse, so might Webb provide Obama with a buffer against the most ruthless of RWNs who might otherwise consider "executive action."  He would likely take the approach of "let justice prevail or let the heavens fall."  And in such a situation he would be seen as almost certain to command the loyalty of the uniformed services when push came to shove.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 12:45:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... current scenario rather than a Science Fiction scenario for the US ... however, fortunate for constitutional democracy in the US, the Bush/Cheney administration is led to a lot of dissatisfaction in the army in the crucial middle ranks where a golpe de estado benefits substantially from a coherent faction in support and disorganized opposition.

That is, the radical reactionary faction in general control of the Republican party can no longer expect to enjoy the same support among Colonels and Majors that they might once have expected.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 01:12:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This type of diary is more than welcome: it exposes some information not covered in other media channels. Also, what happens in the US in November 08 will have a profound effect on everybody in this world, including us Europeans. We'd better pay attention.

I also regard almost all of the US based ETers to be 'European' in outlook.

The objections written here earlier referring to US diaries are not usually based on a single diary, but on the effect of many simultaneous US diaries moving the 'image' of the site westwards. The question is how many US diaries is too many?

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 02:21:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the vote of confidence.  I am well aware that American affairs seem to take up a lot of real estate here at ET, especially during the election season, often to the detriment of more, ahem, European topics.  

It is a simple fact that what we do affects the rest of the world, too often of late in harmful ways.  I for one would like to see a much more coherent and powerful EU, something like a United States of Europe, better able to counterbalance the enormous and unwarranted influence of the US in world affairs.

And yes, I think my outlook is a lot more European than most Americans.  I think of myself as a child of the Enlightenment, cousin to those Europeans who for the first time in what, two millenia, raised the lamp of reason as at least equal to the law of the church.  I think in many ways the US as a nation is also such a child and such a cousin, though there are those in our body politic who would rather extinguish that lamp and return us to something closer to the feudal past of Europe.  I find moral support here in resisting their efforts.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 03:15:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
budr, are you an interested supporter of Webb, or are you in so way affiliated?  You seem so "organized" about it all.  (Forgive me if the question seems impertinent, it is not meant so.  Me just interested to know.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 03:31:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am an interested supporter, for reasons I have tried to explain in my comments.  I see something very special and very promising in his political career.  His is the very first campaign I ever contributed money to.  I am not affiliated in any formal or organized way, though I can see how it might seem so.  I have been hoarding web links and relevant quotes by and about Webb since he first got my attention with that WSJ article a couple of years ago.  Sorry if I seem a little over the top about Webb.  As I said, I am less than objective about all of this.

We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 04:49:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you very much for answering so.  Your help in delineating who Webb is has helped us alot.  I'm frankly very glad to know you are doing this because of your beliefs, and not because you are the Webb web presence.

In fact, from your comments i have learned much, and am beginning to understand how valuable his voice, in amurkan politics, has become.

Despite our differences, i can now easily say i respect him.  While before, i only supported him so he could send  the previous senator to the dogs.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 07:25:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I very much like his stance on Iraq--get out--and his stance on Iran--defence, not offense.

For the rest, he comes across as the kind of person who could be interested in Energise America, or other largescale projects where a lot of the thinking-through (the research) is in place--

AR Geezer--heh, I hope I remember this right!--wrote that he would prefer Webb to stay in the Senate.  I found a clip where Webb, when asked would he run for Vice President, chuckled, he didn't say no, but he...

...ach.  Maybe it's another media trick--searching around, there he is--the maverick intelligent one, we found an intelligent politician who will fight for the poor--

So, I'd be very interested in....well, if he's intelligent, I'd expect him not to know what to do about the US's coming energy ills--I wouldn't even expect him to know that ills were a-coming.  But...if he's the mould breaker, and Obama may be a mould breaker, though I saw some intense christian thing that was posted here (I think)--

Well, Jesus, Mary, God, Allah, the un-nameable--one of the questions about Obama is: "Is he a christian--or is he really a muslim?"

So Webb maybe galvanising people, a minority in the US--I don't know the percentages.  40% max?  Or is it much higher?

For context, in the UK I have heard the following and expect it to be a well-accepted argument:

"Well, Gordon Brown."

ME: "Yeah, that 10% tax thing.  What a complete git!"

"Yes, I've decided I'll vote for Cameron next time."

Errrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Ah!  Paranoia!

In January, at Rule .303:

Rule .303: Vice President Jim Webb?

It is true that Jim Webb would absolutely hate running for Vice President. He's not a glad-handing, baby-kissing kind of guy.

The end of the article:

Rule .303: Vice President Jim Webb?

Virginia Republicans may jeer but really they should push for a Vice President Webb more than anyone else. After all, that would mean that his seat would be up for grabs in 2010 rather than 2012. It all sounds a little far-fetched but then nobody seemed to believe me this time last year when I was telling anyone who would listen that Jim Webb was going to run against and defeat George Allen in a Senate race. So let's wait and see.

At this point, I'm talking about things I've never experienced except via media of some kind, so...hmmm...hey!



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 07:53:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
John Edwards in particular would be complimented nicely by Webb. They have similar messages of economic populism and share vocal concern for the well-being of poor, rural whites. Both are outspoken opponents of the war in Iraq.

Now that would have done my heart good.

The more I see of Obama the more I like him, but he was not and is not my first choice for Prez.  My head waited for Gore long after my heart had settled on Edwards, and he would still be my first choice, not because of race or gender, but because his populist message about Two Americas was closest to my own values.  When Edwards dropped out I was equally lukewarm about Obama and Hillary.  Everything I have seen since then has made me think more of Obama and less of Hillary.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 08:25:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you want to know more about Jim Webb from an unbiased source, I highly recommend The Nightingale's Song by Robert Timberg.  It's a profile of five US Naval Academy graduates, Jim Webb and John McCain among them, and well worth reading in its own right.

We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 07:54:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I probably should have made clear: my interest and support for Webb has very little to do with his prospects as a possible Obama VP, or even as a Senator from Virginia, though I am pleased by both for what they may portend.  My interest in Webb grows from the political implications of that WSJ article that I quoted first.  All the rest flows from there.

We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:01:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The money quote, which resonates with much of what has been written in this thread:

WSJ: Secret GOP Weapon: The Scots-Irish vote by JAMES WEBB on October 23, 2004

The decline in public education and the outsourcing of jobs has hit this culture hard. Diversity programs designed to assist minorities have had an unequal impact on white ethnic groups and particularly this one, whose roots are in a poverty-stricken South. Their sons and daughters serve in large numbers in a war whose validity is increasingly coming into question. In fact, the greatest realignment in modern politics would take place rather quickly if the right national leader found a way to bring the Scots-Irish and African-Americans to the same table, and so to redefine a formula that has consciously set them apart for the past two centuries.
Note that this was written 10 days before the 2004 presendential election, so it's not like Webb made this point about uniting the African-Americans and the Scots-Irish after it was clear that Obama would be the likely 2008 presidential candidate. Or maybe it was clear back then, to Webb? I was most unimpressed by Obama's keynote at the 2004 Democratic convention, but then again as a foreigner I was not part of the intended audience.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 06:17:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think that article had anything to do with presidential politics unless Webb had aspirations of his own, which was my first thought.  I wonder if Webb even knew who Obama was back then.  I didn't.  No, I think Webb's idea of a Scots-Irish/African American political realignment is his own original thinking.  That's why it got my attention.  It's first time I had read anything so close to my own thinking, and in the Wall Street Journal of all places.

We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 07:19:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, I didn't read any belligerence, so no problems there.

For what it's worth, my take on "diaries from the US" is that, as long as the diary tells me something new, with local flavour, I'm fine with it--for me ET is E in that Europe is its home location.  The T is global--for me.

Anyways, I had a look at the numbers for Virginia and I see Drew's point.  I like the idea of a working white working black coalition, an emancipated or enlightened realisation that their differences are fantasies.  I mean, culturally created through history--the history is true; the need to 'believe in it' in some way as as an identifier--identity politics--is just beating each other over the head while someone else drinks gin and tonics and shakes their head--so their needs are the same.  (Okay!  Very badly expressed!)

But...the numbers:

(Allen's numbers first, then Webb's.)

CNN.com - Elections 2006

VOTE BY RACE AND GENDER TOTAL Allen Webb
White Men (39%) 62% 38%
White Women (39%) 53% 47%
Non-White Men (10%) 25% 75%
Non-White Women (12%) 18% 82%



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 03:03:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In a state like VA, and more generally for a divide and conquer strategy in part of what the radical reactionary faction takes for granted as its base, those raw numbers are not what is critical. What's critical is the location.

Webb won Buchanan County, in Western VA where VA meets the WV/KY border, 55/44. He won Dickenson county next door by the same margin. Russell County ... the center of Western VA, and the only county in its neighourhood that does not have a state border, he won by 51/49.

Now, to the south and west of there along the KY border, he lost Wise and Lee by 46/53 and 44/55, and Scott and Washington Counties on the Carolina border he lose by double digit margins, the high 30's to the low 60's.

So the Republicans carried a positive margin out of extreme western Virgina.

However, where the post-Civil Rights Act Republican Party would hope to gain a quite substantial positive margin of votes to offset a healthy Democratic majority in Northeast VA ... Webb basically fought them to a near draw. The Republicans still got a positive margin from western VA altogether ... but a single-digit margin from the region as a whole, rather than the double digit margin that they would ordinarily expect.

And unlike Parliamentary elections, in US Presidential politics it does not matter where a vote swings in a swing state. Bringing out 1,000 new Democratic votes, or switching 500 former Republican votes in a swing county and "winning" the county has exactly the same impact as adding 1,000 votes new Democratic votes or swinging 500 former Republican votes in a heavily Republican county.

And there are a lot more Republican votes available to swing in the heavily Republican areas.

The Republicans understand this arithmetic ... after all, in the US, the game of divide and conquer in the middle of the other party's coalition base normally goes under the heading of "Reagan Democrats". They know that if Obama holds together the Kerry voters, swings not very many "moderate ex-Republicans", aka Republican leaning Independents, and makes a "divide and conquer" strike into any one of the main elements of the radical reactionary electoral base, the game is over except for the shouting.

Appalachia ... the "10th Nation of North America" that is so often overlooked that even those looking for the cultural nations of North America confused if for a border region between the more celebrated cultural regions that is borders on ...

... for quite a lot of reasons is a very plausible candidate for that divide-and-conquer strike into the Republican base.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 01:40:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

" If this cultural group could get at the same table as black America you could rechange populist American politics. Because they have so much in common in terms of what they need out of government."

It was this quote or something like it by Kieth Olbermann during an interview about his latest book that first got my attention.  I couldn't find a way to get to that interview on the Countdown web site.

The nightmare of southern politicians for 100 years has been such a union.  Hence the encouragement for the attitude "Well, at least you ain't no nigger." by the Klan and White Citizens Councils.  I hope my redneck brethren are finally awakening in significant numbers to just what a grotesque consolation that is.

In northwest Arkansas, after Brown vs. Board of Education, a number of school districts were proceeding, at their own initiative, when White Citizens Council types from out of the area showed up and roused up opposition.  Funny how that type of outside agitator never got media coverage.  Then we had Orvile Faubus, Little Rock Central High School, Eisenhower and the 101st Airborne; that is all most remember about civil rights in Arkansas.

The movie "The Great Debaters" with Denzel Washington and Forest Whittaker, now available on CD, gives a picture of how this played out in the '30s, in the piney woods of east Texas, in Marshall, not too far from the Texarkana.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:08:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ahem, They were proceeding, at their own volition, towards integrating black and white schools in their districts, with minimal local opposition,

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:18:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The nightmare of southern politicians for 100 years has been such a union.

In A People's History of the US, Zinn makes the point quite explicitly that the wedge between working class whites and blacks was driven intentionally by the elites. I don't have my copy handy so I can't quote.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:57:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn it, I need to read Zinn's book.  It has been on my To Read list for a long time.

We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 07:57:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Me too.  I have heard of it, but don't have a copy. Yet.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 08:48:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been following up on the "war" theme.  Iraq?  Get out.  Treat the troops well--give them a rest.  Iran?  Now is not the time to be pushing things.  Defence, not attack.

I've been to his website, where there is a long bio of him in a style I would call, "Well, it's all true!"  It is important to know, maybe, that

About James Webb

His fifth novel The Emperor's General was purchased by Paramount pictures as the largest book-to-film deal of 1998.

But then I thought.  Hold on.  What about the other countries?  What are his views on Pakistan, for instance?  In my search, I came across a 1998 piece of his called, "What to Do about China."

Here's the final paragraph--the context is: He has declared that China is an expansionist power.  His evidence: China, he says, helped Pakistan build their nuclear bomb, so expansion here means influence, I think.  Anyway, here's his summing up.

What To Do About China

Beyond doubt, China will object to such a refocusing of. policy with accusations of an attempt to "contain" legitimate Chinese interests. But every expansionist power in this century has made similar claims against those who have tried to quell their aggression. And it is China, through its internal repression, encouragement of nuclear proliferation, and even the possible manipulation of our political process that has made such efforts necessary.

Oooooookay.  He's a soldier.  Everything is a battle to him.  But, you know, this is war talk.  In the article (written in 1998) he talks about the key countries whose relationship with the US should be...heh...he wrote it better than me.

What To Do About China

They can begin by putting American relationships with Japan, India, Israel and Russia on a much firmer footing. Along with the United States, these four countries possess the key ingredients of geography, military and economic power, and technological superiority to insure that China's future conduct conforms to international norms.

Here we go:

What To Do About China



First, Japan. Despite continual bickering over trade policy and its recent economic problems, Japan remains our sin le most important bilateral relationship. At the same time, Japan to date accounts for nearly 10 percent of direct investment in the Chinese economy, and 30 percent of China's external borrowing. Through its power to reorient these activities, Japan has the standing to influence China's economic and military conduct, particularly with American backing. As relations with China enter a new phase, we should work to strengthen this most important of alliances.

Second, Israel. It stands to lose greatly through the strategic axis China is developing with the Muslim world. The first foreign official to visit Pakistan after its detonation of nuclear devices was Iran's Foreign Minister, Kamal Kharrazi, who proclaimed that "Muslims now feel more confident that Pakistan's nuclear capability would play a role of deterrence to Israel's." Though he later played down this statement, the world must consider it in the context of Iran's attempt to develop nuclear weapons of its own also with Chinese - and Russian,-assistance. The United States and Israel must keep the rest of the world focused on this, and should not rule out pre-emptive military strikes if there is evidence that Iran is building a weapon.

Third, Russia.  Its, assistance to Iran and even to China seems based on its own economic need in the absence of a national strategy, as opposed to China's conscious designs. With respect to these two nations, American foreign policy has reached a true historic paradox. Having brought the Soviet Union to its knees, we watched Russia struggle with democracy at the same time we were flooding nondemocratic China with an excess balance of trade. As a result China now is rich enough to short-cut its rise as a superpower by buying Russian hardware and technical assistance off the shelf.

A principal goal of American foreign policy should be to offer Russia incentives to cease providing China and other nations with such capabilities. Russia itself should need little coaxing. The Soviet Union developed a strategic alliance with India in the early 1970's partly as a counterpoint to then-evolving Chinese power. Russia has a history of immigration and boundary disputes emanating from 2,600 miles of shared border with China, and remains at risk in its sparsely populated and mineral-rich eastern territories.

Fourth, India. Its importance to our strategic interests deserves fresh scrutiny. Although American businesses have become India's main trading partners, it has long been ignored by United States policy makers. India, a democracy with a legal system based on English common law, has the demographic makeup and geographical position to become an important ally, as well as a trading partner on a much larger scale. Its population of nearly one billion represents a potential consumer base almost as large as China's.

Our past tensions with India can be understood in part by choices made during the cold war, when both India and Indonesia sought warmer relations with the former Soviet Union based on their mutual fear of China's move toward regional dominance. Although India signed a security treaty with the Soviet Union in 1971, it did so when the Nixon Administration was vigorously pursuing fresh relations with China. Nor should stronger relationships with India be interpreted by Pakistan as a rejection of our interests in that country, any more than Pakistan's closeness to China has been viewed here as a rejection of the United States.

I mean, I sort of understand it, country's are considered as things, things with influence and--heh!  That was Jim Webb on Foreign Relations back in 1998.

Ya know, he's not a peace-monger.  He's been a soldier, his son is a soldier, his father was a fighter pilot, war war--always another war.

My thought a few moments ago: Would he--in history books far in the future--be seen as first having brought the US back to economic efficiency, and then continued wars across the world--does he believe in diplomacy--well, that's where they lie to you and you pretend to believe them.  And lie back, of course!

There's something about his visceral war stories, the guy who wrote Jarhead said (if I'm remembering right) "You know, they think all those war films will put us off.  Platoon, Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, Black Hawk Down.  But you know, we watch those films.  We love 'em.  And then we go sign up."

PARADE Magazine Articles

Journey's end.

And here, in the shadow of the Pakistani border at the far edge of Afghanistan, we finally link up with Corporal Ramirez. Dripping sweat, he breaks from a working party when our helicopter arrives, greeting Jim and me with a handshake and a quick embrace before getting back to work. My son later joins his squad on a combat patrol up into the steep mountains. Then, as night falls, we talk for more than an hour of home and of Afghanistan. The seductive quiet of the mountains, where al-Qaeda's forces watch, listen and hide, can be deceptive. Shortly before our arrival, a three-man patrol repeated an earlier route and was quickly wiped out as it stepped down a ridgeline into a ravine. The platoon is still haunted by the bravery of the patrol's radio operator, a 19-year-old Tennessean who fought the attackers to his death, giving up his radio only when they cracked his forearm on a rock to pry it out of his hand.

The message for Corporal Ramirez, carried so many thousands of miles by my son, is a letter from my daughter, Sarah. I have no need to read it to know the gist of what she said.  This is the second time that Corporal Ramirez has deployed to Afghanistan in little more than a year. I have seen her struggle with the pain of these separations-forgoing normal college rituals, forcing herself to learn more about this proud oddity called the Marine Corps and this remote country that has the potential to so drastically alter her life. I have listened on the phone as her calmness descended into sudden tears when asking about news of casualties. Two days before my trip, I watched her celebrate her 21st birthday, an evening of forced gaiety with one glaring, remembered absence.

And yet, saying good-bye to Jose the next morning as a Black Hawk helicopter swoops in to take us back to Bagram, I know something else-that he and I, and so many others, cannot allow ourselves to feel unique in these emotions. Indeed, they are being repeated a hundred thousand rimes over, every day, among those who have been sent into harm's way. My only wish is that the rest of America might somehow comprehend their depth and their intensity.       

Ya know, I want to ask him why those tears are so marginal, while sitting on a hill in Afghanistan is so necessary.

It's those al Qaida in the bushes!  Which makes me think his political thinking....

Heh....that wry smile of his when he was asked if he'd run for Vice President.  I can't find the clip...eh...He said something like, "I would recommend they don't ask me."

American Legion Magazine

How Did We Fight? The Vietnam War varied year by year and region by region, our military's posture unavoidably mirroring political events in the United States. Too often in today's America we are left with the images burned into a weary nation's consciousness at the very end of the war, when massive social problems had been visited on an army that was demoralized, sitting in defensive cantonments and simply waiting to be withdrawn. While reflecting America's final months in Vietnam, they hardly tell the story of the years of effort and battlefield success that preceded them.

Little recognition has been given in this country of how brutal the war was for those who fought it on the ground and how well our military performed. Dropped onto the enemy's terrain 12,000 miles away from home, America's citizen-soldiers performed with a tenacity and quality that may never be truly understood. Those who believe the war was fought incompetently on a tactical level should consider the enormous casualties to which the communists now admit. And those who believe that it was a "dirty little war" where the bombs did all the work might contemplate that it was the most costly war the U.S. Marine Corps has ever fought. Five times as many Marines died in Vietnam as in World War I, three times as many as in Korea. And the Marines suffered more total casualties, killed and wounded, in Vietnam than in all of World War II.

I don't know--he doesn't seem to have ambitions as leader of the US just yet.  He's a military man and he wants to (help) sort out the US military.  His geo-political thoughts read, to me, as standard conservative.  I've read very different accounts of the events he recounts--I probably read them here or at moonofalabama.org

Yet the nature of growth is change, and for now he wants to get the military out of the hands of the republicans.  (Is how it seems to me now, anyway ;)

So I'd give him the special job of clearing up the mess left by the republicans--with special orders to arrest the guilty and bring them to court, soldier.  Yes Sir!

Yes!  He's the classic grunt.  Grit you teeth, follow the orders, you want to change things, you'd better get yourself into a position where you can give orders, but never forget the grunts.

But...I dunno.  Those grunts fighting for geo-political reasons that don't make sense to me.  Why would a US politician be interested in clipping China's expansionist wings--well, I suppose a career soldier--a military defender of the Constitution of the United States of America.

U.S. Armed Forces Oath of Enlistment

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the State of (STATE NAME) against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the Governor of (STATE NAME) and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to law and regulations. So help me God.

....budr--I'm just hunting around, there does seem to be a belief that he would make a good leader, from both sides of the political fence, and those towards the right seem, to me, to be old-style Cold War soldiers--

So...hmmm...he represents...the Obama Republicans in the same way he calls himself a Reagan Democrat?

??

hey!  I'll finish with something (slightly) more lighthearted.

I end up thinking--will my toothache go away?  Ah!  The power of meditation.  heh!  I liked it when he said one reason he decided to run for the Senate was seeing the absolute lack of leadership after Hurricane Katrina.

Virginia Senator Jim Webb Speaks Out Against Marijuana Laws | Stop the Drug War (DRCNet)

Freshman Virginia Sen. Jim Webb's name has come up as a possible Democratic VP candidate. Judging from his new book, A Time to Fight, the decorated Vietnam vet might be a good choice. "The time has come to stop locking up people for mere possession and use of marijuana," he writes. "It makes far more sense to take the money that would be saved by such a policy and use it for enforcement of gang-related activities."

Webb, who took office in 2007, criticizes the drug war and prison-industrial complex: "Either we are home to the most evil population on earth, or we are locking up a lot of people who really don't need to be in jail, for actions that other countries seem to handle in more constructive ways."

Yeah, a complex character.



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 09:53:43 PM EST
Yes!  He's the classic grunt.  Grit you teeth, follow the orders, you want to change things, you'd better get yourself into a position where you can give orders, but never forget the grunts.

rg, I think you're onto something there.  Webb sees the world as an old soldier, a classic man of honor.  I think he would not hesitate for a moment to commit troops if he really believed the security of the United Stated depended on it.  He would throw himself on a grenade if that were the only way he could save his comrades.  But by the same logic, he would never, ever send our troops into harms way for mere political gain as Bush and Cheney have done, nor would he stand quietly by and allow that to happen.  I think he would fight them all if he had to to prevent such a thing.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 02:37:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that soldiers that have known combat (real combat) are always going to be those that are the least likely to support military action unless absolutely needed? They will be willing to support the threat of military action, and to recognise its necessity (both things which can already be seen as too aggressive, for sure), but have a higher thershhold to actually go for it.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 05:55:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that must depend on the soldier.  Black Ops are carried out by military personnel, the School of Americas, torture, assassination...I wondered what Webb's take on these kinds of things was/is.  From my very limited experience, I think the "good soldiers" follow the rules and are kept out of the "do what we have to do" loops--Abu Ghraib being an example--

"Special Forces"....

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 07:00:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Jim Webb Story - The New York Review of Books

Jim Webb, the junior senator from Virginia, who defeated the incumbent Republican George Allen in 2006, is or has been: a best-selling author; a screenwriter (Rules of Engagement, and another in the works); an Emmy-winning documentary producer; the author of a large number of articles and book reviews; an Annapolis graduate; a boxer (he lost a legendary and controversial championship match at Annapolis against Oliver North[1] ); an autodidact who grew up a military man's son and indifferent student but on his own became a passionate reader of history; a first lieutenant and Marine rifle platoon commander with Delta Company in Vietnam, where he won the Navy Cross for heroism (the second-highest award in the Navy and the Marines), the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts; a graduate of Georgetown Law School who then worked on the staff of the House Veterans Affairs Committee; a teacher of English literature at the Naval Academy; and an assistant secretary of defense and then secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration. Webb resigned from that position after losing a long battle to block a reduction in the size of the Navy at a time when the Pentagon was under orders to cut its budget. In The Reagan Diaries, the former president wrote, "I don't think Navy was sorry to see him go.

Webb was a warrior-intellectual, interested, he writes in A Time to Fight, in "all the aspects of war"--as a defense analyst "consumed by the notions of military strategy" and "as a novelist and journalist covering the military and writing about wars and their societal impact." After he was forced by serious injuries to leave Vietnam, he continued what he calls his "self-induced professional education," concerning himself with the longer-term consequences of wars, as well as how to prevent them. "I began to think harder, in a different way, and I began to write," Webb says in his new book. "The former boxer and infantry officer had learned how to fight with his brain."

Re Migeru's diary about What can be expected of Europe in Iraq, I will be paying very close attention to anything Webb might have to say about where we go and what we do in Iraq. His coverage of the Marines in Beirut in 1983 as a PBS journalist won an Emmy.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 12:29:17 PM EST
Please post anything you find both here and on the open thread.  I suspect his comments might constitute the Big Canary in our currently very dark coal mine of Iraq.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 08:11:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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