Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What is the Responsible Plan?

By: Harry Waisbren

One of the founding premises of this blog, seen in its very naming of "Mad Progress", is that we are seeing a "Mad" amount of progress (i.e. a lot). Although it might seem rash to refer to the amount of progress in the areas of most dire need in this country in such a manner, my excitement over the gains progressives have been making prevents me from caring at all.

I go through many of these developments that have made me more optimistic about our potential to achieve progress than at any point in my lifetime in this blog’s very first post. However, there is one development that stands out from all the others (though it is followed closely by the Iraq/Recession campaign), and that is the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq.

The Responsible Plan was crafted outside the bubble of the DC Beltway, as it was designed to organize a fundamentally different and less limited conversation around national security. Darcy Burner, the plan's primary author, consulted Gen. Paul Eaton to ensure that the plan holds the upmost credibility, and the endorsement from Center For American Progress Senior Fellow Larry Korb, who also is the former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Ronald Reagan, exemplifies the seriousness of this proposal.

This expansion of our discourse regarding reforms in our Post Iraq War World is essential if we are to end the war, but more importantly, if we are to prevent a repeat of the mistakes we have made by ending the causes of the war in Iraq. This is why the plan consists of a series of objectives that, taken together, refocus our current military involvement in the region while repairing damage to the U.S. to prevent a repeat of our mistakes. I believe that Dday sums it up very well with this assessment:

The beauty of this plan is in its recognition that the decision to invade Iraq was a catastrophe not just on its own merits, but because of what it said about the failure of our democracy to ably consider and implement solutions to national security challenges. A failed media, an executive drunk with power, and an emasculated Congress were all culpable in the systemic failure that was Iraq. And so for the first time, we have a comprehensive plan that seeks to address THAT side of the national security debate, the broken institutions, as opposed to simply setting up a timeline for a phased withdrawal with various dates and numbers.
Supporting the Responsible Plan is one of the two main goals of Madison’s Chapter of Campus Progress, and we plan on contributing as much as we can to this broader conversation on national security on Forward Forum. My excitement for the potential of the Responsible Plan to actually change our conversation on national security and ensure that we address the causes of the war in Iraq comes not only from how powerful its argument is, but also in the fact that it has already been endorsed by over 55 Democratic congressional candidates which could lead to the emergence of a "Responsible Caucus" that could act to enact the plan.

It truly is an incredible plan that could have profound results on our democracy, and I implore you to check it out for yourself. Obama has yet to endorse this proposal, but as Digby so often mentions, it is our job to ensure that he does:

President Franklin Roosevelt recognized that his ability to push New Deal legislation through Congress depended on the pressure generated by protesters. He once told a group of activists who sought his support for legislation, "You've convinced me. Now go out and make me do it."

We don't help our cause or our candidates by failing to "make them do it." It's our end of the deal.

As always, Digby is entirely right. This sort of monumental change can not happen from the top down, and must be pushed from the bottom up from grass roots activists just like us. I intend to do everything in my power to keep up my end of the deal and "make them do it", and I can only hope that I can inspire others to do the same.

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