INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Thursday, November 14, 2002

War, Peace, and Taxonomy

George Partington has taken me to task for using the phrase “peace-at-any-price,” a phrase for which he expresses his extreme displeasure:

”(It’s) a statement I detest, for it's a soundbite that immediately brands someone as clueless to the world's realities, when those realities are only what the powerful have defined for their own twisted ends”

I agree with the first half of George’s sentence and retract my use of the phrase. More about that in a minute. I really part company with George on the second half of the sentence.

Does he really mean to suggest that all realities in the world are created by power-mad cabals? What about the threat to world peace and stability posed by hunger? By poverty? By AIDS? And--last but no means least--by terrorists and unbalanced dictators? Did some fat cats sitting around in boardrooms make it all up?

As for the term, “peace-at-any-price,” George is quite right. It’s a pejorative. I was trying to use a term which I thought was less insulting than the old-fashioned ones like “appeaser,” or “peacenik.” But the truth is, when I take a closer look at it, I was hiding behind phraseology, and not being brave enough to directly express my disagreement with what I see as overly dovish positions.

I should have employed the simple taxonomy of dove/hawk, which, so far as I can tell, is not pejorative but merely shorthand for one’s relative position on the war/peace spectrum. So, while I have my disagreements with George, I respectfully retract my use of the insulting terminology.

I’m probably way out of line with what seems to be the general drift of most of my readers. I had a strong suspicion that I’d get into trouble when I started promoting Feinstein for President. I knew that her Senate vote regarding Presidential war authority was going to be too much for some people to stomach. I really wish she hadn’t voted that way, but, believe me, she didn’t do it for political expediency. That’s not Dianne. She did it because she thought it was the right thing to do, and she's taken a ton of heat for it.This is not hawk country around here.

There’s never going to be a political figure with whom I agree 100%. But I still believe she’s the best hope for the Democratic Party, and I fervently hope that a groundswell arises urging her to run.


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