USA (Etats-Unis d’Amérique)

Elections USA la guerre Afghanistanest nécessaire

 Afghanistan: The war is a way to fight over Terrorism and to avoid further attacks !
In its coming session, Congress will decide whether to pay for another year of military operations in Afghanistan — with likely casualties of a thousand or more American battle dead — or cut war funding to force President Obama to start withdrawing troops.
Congress will decide how much treatment soldiers will get for blast injury and whether they deserve a pay raise. It will decide how many protective armored trucks the troops will get, and the quality of their body armor. It will repeal "Don’t ask, don’t tell" or let the courts decide. It will judge how much compensation and other benefits a double-amputee veteran will receive. It will have to reconcile all this spending with its campaign promises to cut government and the deficit.
If there’s a major terror attack on the United States, the president may order retaliation or other actions. But Congress will decide whether to sustain military operations if they are ordered against, say, Iran, or inside Pakistan.
afghanistan warAs the nation goes about selecting its next Congress, are voters and the candidates (and their annoying campaign ads) pretty much ignoring all these issues?
Did the little piggy cry wee wee wee all the way home?
In the midst of hot conflicts engaging more than 150,000 deployed military personnel and simmering military crises in Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere, nearly everybody’s giving war a big yawn.
Those yellow-ribbon car magnets boasting of support for the troops have faded. Fewer soldiers and Marines trudging home through airports get thanked for their service these days, and when they do get thanked, the troops say it’s just an awkward encounter they’d prefer to avoid.
Even the Code Pink protesters who used to disrupt war hearings on Capitol Hill have turned elsewhere, most recently to the Gulf oil spill.

A Pew Research Center poll released Sunday said that only 4 percent of likely voters cited Afghanistan as the most important issue to their Election Day decision. (Jobs topped the list at 38 percent, followed by health care at 24 percent and the deficit at 19 percent).

One reason is that most of the public hasn’t had a personal stake in the war. Less than 1 percent of Americans agree to active-duty service and far fewer than that have actually seen combat.
No major war in American history has been fought with a smaller percentage of Americans in uniform. And less than a dozen members of Congress, at last count, had children serving in the military.
"For most Americans the wars remain an abstraction, » Defense Secretary Robert Gates mused recently. He said war has become "a distant and unpleasant series of news items that does not affect them personally, » and he added with a touch of bitterness that military service is seen as "something for other people to do. »
Ordinarily, though, at least some Americans get passionate about war and register their emotions on Election Day. In 1916 a strong antiwar movement, together with the suffragettes, isolationists and others, forced President Wilson to campaign on the slogan, "He Kept Us Out of War. »
Wilson won, but his victory may have laid the foundations for today’s massive cynicism about elections: Within 90 days of his re-election as an antiwar president, Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war, and the United States leapt into the jaws of World War I. Of the 4.7 million Americans who served, 53,000 were killed in battle and 200,000 came home wounded (not counting those with post-traumatic stress syndrome, or as they dismissed it then, "shell shock.")
Midterm elections generally turn more on domestic issues than on war. One exception was 1954. With Republicans in power, the country, weary of the Korean war which ended a year earlier, voted in the Democrats who seized both the House and Senate and held on for decades, relinquishing the House only in 1994. During the most heated antiwar passions of the Vietnam conflict, Republicans gained in the midterms of 1966 and Democrats did so in 1970, but the war ground on with little congressional interference. (Even the conventional wisdom that Congress eventually cut off funding for the war, abandoning the South Vietnamese to its enemies, has been exposed as a myth.)
This year, issues of war have been "swamped » by voter concerns about jobs, debt and health care, observed Richard Kohn, professor of history, peace, war and defense at the University of North Carolina. And those are domestic issues in which Congress has a more obvious role anyway, he added.
Where war makes itself felt in this midterm is "in the dog that didn’t bark, » Kohn said. President Obama’s West Point speech last December essentially plotted a withdrawal from both Iraq and Afghanistan, with a temporary "surge » of forces in Afghanistan and a date to begin the withdrawal of troops.
"That satisfied both the right, that said you’ve got to prosecute the war — and the base of his party, which wants to withdraw, » Kohn said.
True enough: conservative columnist Fred Barnes, who can rarely find even a mild epithet for Democrats, sent Obama a "love bomb » in the Weekly Standard after the West Point speech, and even Sarah Palin endorsed the president’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan. Liberals were slightly disappointed but supportive.
So thoroughly did Obama’s Afghanistan war strategy preempt protest that the GOP’s Pledge to America, which attacks the administration from every conceivable angle, fails to mention either Iraq or Afghanistan.
Finally, of course, most Americans seem to have given up on Afghanistan. Why get passionate about it if the war is a lost cause?
However invisible the war is for now, it may explode once the campaign is over and the winners begin to take their seats. Awaiting House members and senators is the $700 billion Pentagon budget bill, which may come up as early as the lame duck session in November (three new senators will be seated immediately because they are filling vacancies in Illinois, Delaware and West Virginia).
That will be the first test of the determination of many candidates actually to cut the federal budget, eliminate waste and reduce the budget deficit, as they have promised. But even among the budget-cutters there is disagreement: On one end of that spectrum is Rand Paul, GOP Senate candidate from Kentucky, a libertarian skeptic of foreign involvement who believes the great threat is on the U.S. borders. On the other: Sen. John McCain and other traditional Republicans who support a strong U.S. presence in the world and consistently vote to appropriate the money to support it.
Later next year Congress likely will grapple with potential troop reductions in both Iraq and Afghanistan. All American military personnel in Iraq are due to be withdrawn at the end of 2011, unless a joint U.S.-Iraq agreement is modified — a step Congress surely would want to review. In Afghanistan, Obama is likely to begin withdrawing some troops in July.
In both cases the decision belongs to the White House, but Congress could interfere, for instance, by tampering with the flow of money.
Either way, there’s no indication in this election year that the new Congress will take such an activist role, said John Isaacs, executive director of the Council for a Livable World, a liberal think tank in Washington.
"The mood on military issues is ambivalence, » he said. "I don’t think the public cares. »

USA elections : Une défaite annoncée !

01 novembre 2010

“Nous allons perdre”. A la veille des élections de mi-mandat, plusieurs responsables du Parti démocrate ont reconnu à demi-mot que leur formation politique devait s’attendre à un sérieux revers. Le président Barack Obama a continué à sillonner le pays, visitant cinq Etats en l’espace d’un week-end. “Cette élection est un choix entre des politiques qui nous ont menés dans cette situation lamentable et des politiques qui nous permettront d’en sortir”, a-t-il résumé, dimanche, devant 8 000 personnes réunies à l’université de Cleveland State. La salle, qui peut contenir jusqu’à 13 000 personnes, sonnait bien vide, raconte le New York Times.

M. Obama a ressorti sa fameuse métaphore sur la voiture, l’ornière et le slurpee des républicains. Selon CBS News, cette petite histoire censée illustrer l’état de l’économie américaine a été utilisée 35 fois par le président lors de la campagne. Optimiste, Obama a estimé que “si tous ceux qui ont voté pour le changement en 2008 participent à l’élection de 2010, nous gagnerons“. D’autres ténors démocrates en sont moins convaincus.

“Nous allons perdre des sièges au Sénat et à la Chambre”, a résumé très sobrement Richard Durbin, numéro deux de la majorité démocrate au Sénat, avant de nuancer : “C’est ce qui arrive traditionnellement (…) Les élections de mi-mandat ne sont jamais tendres avec le parti du président en exercice“. Howard Fineman, sur le Huffington Post, assure que des stratèges démocrates lui ont confié anonymement qu’ils s’attendaient à perdre pas moins de 70 sièges à la Chambre des représentants, ce qui représenterait une défaite historique.

Côté républicain, pas encore de triomphalisme, à part peut-être chez Sarah Palin, qui parle déjà de “séisme politique” sur FOX News. Leur leader à la Chambre des représentants, John Boehner, doit tenir un meeting, lundi soir à Cincinnati, où il devrait attaquer frontalement Obama pour un discours incitant la communauté latino-américaine à se rendre aux urnes, si on en croit le Playbook de Mike Allen.

Des sondages unanimes. Une nouvelle fournée de sondages publiés au cours du week-end est venue conforter les tendances observées ces deux dernières semaines. A savoir que les républicains devancent largement les démocrates dans les intentions de vote. Cette avance varie selon les études, allant de 3 (sondage Bloomberg) à 15 points (sondage Gallup). Le sondeur Nate Silver reprend toutes ces données sur son blog, les met en perspective, explique leurs méthodologies et finit par reconnaître qu’“on ne saura pas qui a raison et qui a tort avant mardi”.

Humour visuel. Le Rally to Restore Sanity des comédiens Jon Stewart et Stephen Colbert, qui a eu lieu ce week-end, a, comme prévu, beaucoup fait parler de lui. Mais plutôt que de faire un condensé de l’avis de tel ou tel éditorialiste d’un point de vue purement politique, voici une série de photos prises par des médias américains, qui résument bien l’état d’esprit de cette manifestation.

Salon.com a mis en ligne un très bon portfolio, alors qu’Andrew Sullivan de The Atlantic salue sur son blog un rassemblement “pas du tout partisan et presque sans attaques personnelles (…) guidé par la raison, l’empirisme et l’humour”.

Une envoyée spéciale du blog Wonkette a rapporté ces clichés…

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Mother Jones, qui a twitté en direct depuis la manifestation, a rencontré “un groupe de zombies en t-shirts de campagne de Reagan de 1984″ qui exigeaient “les cerveaaaaaaux des libéraux”. Un des “zombie-Reagan”, étudiant à l’université de West Virginia, estime que son pays traverse “un moment très dangereux” et espère que son costume “incitera au moins les gens à aller voter”.

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