Wasting resources and the real fight to protect America

Republicans are on the warpath again, returning to their old strategy of accusing Democrats of cowardice and treason on Iraq. And again, American frustration grows over a ruling party that uses the lives and ideals of our soldiers to fast-talk their way to re-election.

But Democrats, unlike Republicans, are again getting lost in the details of the debate, while the Republicans--despite their obvious political weaknesses--have kept their eyes, and their words, squarely on the frame.

In a national debate of this magnitude, the party that comes out on top will be the party that controls the frame because the frame--not the details--dictates the terms of the discussion. If Republicans dictate the terms of the discussion, they will win the debate, no matter how bad Iraq looks on the ground.

Two Frames Now Define Iraq Debate

The two frames are: 'War' and 'Waste.'

The 'War' Frame vs. The 'Waste' Frame: What is happening in Iraq?

Whether we realize it or not, the debate on Iraq is unfolding at two levels: message and frame.

At the level of 'message,' the debate consists of Republicans accusing Democrats of being cowards and of treason and betrayal and defeatism.

Also at the level of 'message,' the debate consists of Democrats talking about 'time tables for withdrawl and asking the Iraqi's to take 'responsibility for themselves' and so forth.

But there is a second level in the debate that is much, much broader. Rather than taking the form of the actual words people are saying, this second level--the level of the 'frame'--is unspoken.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.