The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Will There Be Any Meaningful Foreign Policy Debate?


of politics at the University of San Francisco and a contributor to
Foreign Policy in Focus, Zunes said today: "It is ironic that the John
McCain [campaign] has used the financial crisis as an excuse to call
for postponing the foreign policy debate in Oxford, given that the
enormous deficit spending resulting from the Iraq war and related
excesses in military spending which he has supported has so greatly
exacerbated the crisis. There are important issues to be addressed,
such as: Why did McCain falsely claim that Iraq had 'weapons of mass
destruction' in justifying his support for the invasion, when in fact
they had rid themselves of such weapons years earlier? Why, if WMDs
were really the reason as he claimed, didn't he call for the withdrawal
of U.S. forces once it became apparent there weren't any? Why has he
continued to support the U.S. occupation ever since? Why did he claim
that Iran was training Al-Qaeda forces to fight in Iraq when
Al-Qaeda-aligned forces in Iraq are fanatically anti-Iranian and

"Early in the primary season, Obama promised not just to end the
war in Iraq, but to 'end the mindset that led to the war in Iraq.' More
recently, however, Obama's selection of Biden as his running mate and
his rather hawkish foreign policy pronouncements have raised concerns
as to whether he really is willing to take U.S. foreign policy in the
bold new direction most Democratic voters are demanding."

Zunes has written extensively about the foreign policies of both
Obama and McCain and plans on doing an annotation of the debate.
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Naiman is senior policy analyst and national coordinator at Just
Foreign Policy, which, along with other groups, is urging debate
moderator Jim Lehrer to "ask the candidates what they intend to do to
end Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian
territories, which the U.S. government has long acknowledged is a key
stumbling block to peace."

Naiman also notes the group One has stated: "Only two questions
about global poverty have been asked in the history of modern
presidential debates -- a shockingly low figure. In 2008, voters need
to know what Barack Obama and John McCain will do to end the most
extreme suffering in our increasingly interconnected world."
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A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.