Monday, July 03, 2006

Lakoff's Latest

Lakoff on Dems on Iraq:
George Lakoff finds (not entirely surprisingly) that "[o]ur nation has been held trapped in a fallacious War Frame that serves the interests of the Bush administration and the Republican Party." The frame goes like this: There is a war against evil that must be fought. Fighting requires courage and bravery. Those fully committed to the cause are brave. Those who "cut and run" are motivated by self-interest; they are only interested in saving their own skins, not in the moral cause. They are cowards. And since those fighting for the cause need all the support they can get, anyone who decides to “cut and run” endangers both the moral cause and the lives of those brave people who are fighting for it. Those who have courage and conviction should stand and fight.
Lakoff's solution is to re-frame the debate as "occupation" vs. "bring 'em home", on the theory that Congress and the American people can easily agree that the occupation is illegitimate and must end.


There are, if I recall correctly, other countries out there who've decided that occupation is the way to go. Some of them are functionally far more democratic than the United States. I'm thinking specifically of Israel, whose Knesset puts the US Congress (and Canada's own Parliament) to shame. The problem with Israeli politics is not that the occupation persists, but that Israelis keep electing people who maintain the occupation. Whatever you think of their reasons, this hasn't been thoughtless: The Israelis believe that the occupation is preferable to the alternatives they see - for example, an Israeli withdrawal followed by a Hamas (or before them, Hezbollah or PLO) government in the West Bank.

My point is this: If the Democrats try to sell withdrawal as ending an "occupation", they risk the American people deciding they'd rather occupy than retreat, or better occupation than a second Khomeni.

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