A Different Kind of Peace Candidate

Dal LaMagna (rhymes with Lasagna) is running for president by working to end the Iraq War. The independently wealthy businessman just returned from a trip to Amman, Jordan and Baghdad, Iraq where he met with members of the Iraq Parliament, Iraqi tribal leaders, representatives of the resistance and U.S authorities, including Generals Petraeus, Lamb and Newton. He told me that the road to the White House is through Iraq.

Dal has been working to end the war for several years. He was the executive producer of three feature length Iraq War movies: The Ground Truth, The War Tapes, and Iraq For Sale. I met Dal when he moved to Washington, DC to work with Congress to end the war. He was hopeful that after the Democrats 2006 victory the party leadership would move to end the war.

Dal developed a niche for himself in Washington, DC by playing the role of bringing the voices of Iraq to the United States. He developed a power point presentation of his previous trips to the region, created a satellite video conference between Iraqi Parliamentarians and a bi-partisan groups of Members of Congress. But, Dal learned the frustration of getting things done in official Washington. And the media, rather than covering the momentous event of legislators from both countries talking –ignored the whole thing.

Dal is not one to give up. He wants the “killing and maiming” in Iraq to end. And, after meeting with many key people in Iraq he has come to the conclusion that a complete U.S. withdrawal from Iraq has the best chance of ending the violence. His experience with Iraqis dispels many myths that Americans have about Iraq. Two key myths are particularly important: First, Iraqis consistently tell him that the violence will start abating when the U.S. announces plans to leave. One Iraqi tribal leader reversed Bush’s rhetoric and said “when the U.S. stands down Iraqis will stand up.” The consistent view is that the root cause of the violence is the occupation.

Second, there will not be a civil war if the U.S. leaves in fact the chance of civil war increases if the U.S. stays. Iraqis do not need the U.S. to deal with the sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shia. There is not a sectarian civil war in progress nor will one erupt. Over and over Dal heard from Iraqis that they have mixed marriages. One quipped “I am Sunni my wife if Shia I don’t need American soldiers to protect me from my wife.” What is brewing is a political civil war the nationalists vs. the separatists.
Dal has provided transcripts, video tapes and summaries of his meetings with Iraqis on his website.

While Iraq is first and foremost on Dal’s issue list he is also running with a philosophy of transparent government. He was the founder of the Progressive Government Institute (PGI), a non-partisan, educational organization dedicated to ensuring transparency and accountability in the executive branch of the United States federal government. And, as part of his campaign he plans to gradually announce his executive branch appointments as he runs. He wants the public to see the team they are electing if the vote for him.

And, Dal is an advocate for “responsible capitalism” and has been an executive in a multi-national company that practiced it. Dal LaMagna is also known as Tweezerman, the name of the company he founded in 1980, built it into a multi-national, premier personal care tool brand and sold in 2004. His company practiced responsible capitalism which LaMagna made part of the company’s mission. The mission included benefiting all stakeholders –including financial partners, employees, customers, vendors, the community and the natural environment.

As a result when LaMagna sold Tweezerman his U.S. employees kept their jobs and shared $10 million dollars in capital gains because each one was a shareholder in the company.
LaMagna received his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1971 and his master’s in public administration in 2002 from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. LaMagna is a long standing member of the Social Venture Network (SVN), a group of responsible capitalists promoting social and economic justice through their businesses. He served on its Advisory Board of Directors for two years. He now serves on the Board of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute which offers an MBA in sustainable business.

LaMagna is convinced that American voters are tired of business as usual. With the unpopularity of the president, the Congress and both political parties, LaMagna is going to be taking a different approach to politics. And, because the top issue on the voter’s agenda is Iraq, LaMagna is going to use his campaign to show the public that the war can be ended –quickly and responsibly. He plans to begin to run television advertisements that will feature Iraqi’s speaking to Americans directly.

This will be a campaign to watch as it will be different from any other –different not only for the 2008 campaign but different from any that has come before it.

Kevin Zeese co-directs Popular Resistance and is on the coordinating council for the Maryland Green Party. Read other articles by Kevin, or visit Kevin's website.

5 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Max Shields said on July 1st, 2007 at 1:02pm #

    First, Dal has been doing some really great things. He’s put forth himself and his money to try and make a difference regarding Iraq. I agree with his analysis and have been receiving regular updates from him and his support team.

    I’m not, however, clear on any of the other issues Dal is addressing. I’m sure, given what I do know that they are his convictions and that they are thoughtful.

    But, capitalism is an issue. You can put any kind of adjective you want in front of it and it’s still the system based on self-interest, greed, avarice… That kind of system has gone hand in hand with global hegemony. More importantly, there is really no reason to try to convert capitalism into some kinder and gentler crature than it, at bottom, is. It will always restort back to what it truly is. I would suggest tossing the word out and transforming our society around principles which are sustainable. Both communism and capitalism were based on out-moded notions of production. The whole concept needs a rethink. We live in a world being chewed up by global capitalism. Socialism – at least that practiced by the Chinese and particularly the Soviet Union – were just as detrimental to the planet.

    So, whether we call it compassionate, or natural, or responsible capitalism is capitalism in the end. It functions on a set of core principles, and to change those is to change the very nature of its being. so, why use the term at all? Why treat it as if it is a sacred cow whose milk is the only sustenance we can imbibe?

    Dal – keep up the great work – I just don’t think we’re out of Iraq anytime soon – maybe some time after 2010. And then it’s questionable, unless we’re bankrupt. The media won’t even cover your outstanding work, work that could get us out; but there are no serious plans to get out to match your efforts.

  2. Eric Patton said on July 1st, 2007 at 2:46pm #

    The only “responsible capitalism” is no capitalism.

  3. Joseph Conrad said on July 1st, 2007 at 7:35pm #

    Dal, exception! The only reason we are still in Iraq is to take their Oil and Gas and establish a perpetual presence. The Bush administration, especially Mr. Cheney, is absolutely unconcerned about the American casualties or the rising Iraqi death toll. One clear driving force behind the Bush-Cheney foreign policy in nations and regions ‘of color’ is a profound lust for their natural resources as if they are America’s. The second driving force is an all-consuming racism. Bush, Cheney and their little coterie of ‘friends’ try to hid it in their facial expressions body language and petty witticisms. Unfortunately, they reveal themselves to easy, because they feel no need to cover their behavior.

    The sad part about the Iraq conflict is that it has revealed a majority of European Americans (white folks) as arrogant, bigoted, supercilious and totally insensitive to the feelings of others around the world. Oh yes, Mr. Bush has his ‘Ms. Rice’ and has had his ‘Mr. Powell’ in key, highly visible positions but – to use a truly hackneyed term – they were just ‘tokens’. How do we know? Just remember Cheney’s or Rove’s expression when they are/were around…

    It seems like eons ago when I read the ‘Ugly American’ and saw the Brando movie of the same name. But sadly Euro-Americans haven’t changed. They are still that ‘Ugly American’. That is why this nation needs you, Dal. In the next 5-10yrs, America will need a new ‘face’ and new attitude if it is to compete effectively with China for Oil, Gas, Diamonds, etc. in Sub Sahara Africa and Central Asia.

    Presently, China is forming ‘partnerships’ with African nations in exchange for their natural resources. What is the US doing? Financing leaders that secret the US aid dollars in private Swiss accounts, deprive their people and steal Oil/Gas revenues. When and wherever it can, the US creates a ‘failed state’, intervenes to preserve order and pillages the state’s natural resources. Or it uses ‘surrogate warriors’ to do its bidding such as Ethiopia in Somalia and Uganda in the eastern DR Congo.

    Bush, Cheney and their ‘Trilateral Commission’ biddies must stop their noxious behavior. It’s certainly not ‘foreign policy’ as surely as the Bush response to Katrina was certainly not ‘domestic policy’. If he and his cohorts are so singularly driven to be and stay wealthy, I suggest they invest in a vehicle powered by the same energy system the Mars Rovers have used so successfully for 31/2yrs.! If each vehicle on Earth (800,000,000 est.) were reolaced with a subsidized $100,000 ‘Mars Rover’ car/van, that would be a $80,000,000,000,000 market!
    But no…that’s too dig for Buch or Cheney to wrap their minds around…

  4. Max Shields said on July 2nd, 2007 at 6:54am #

    Without changing the subject (I’ve said my piece about Dal and his outstanding efforts, already), I want to build on what Mr. Conrad has posted. Imperialism and racism go hand in hand. The daily slaughter (and yes, Iraqis are not your basic caucasian) of non-whites is never perecieved by the Western aggressors as coeval. Non-whites are “primatives” and so must either sucumb to Western cultural dominance or face the consequences of their belligerence.

    Colonialism is replete with this dogma. Intervention is not to “civilize” or to provide “humanitarian” support, but to conquer when their is something material to be gained. Until we can truly look at those dead babies and children without limbs in Iraq with the empathy we reserve for our own and our neighbors, the pillaging of these nation’s resources will never be stopped by the American people – even with the growth of “minorities”.

    When people state that we are in Iraq for resason’s other than oil, they truly don’t understand what oil means to the US capitalistic engine. Oil is everything. The stage has been set whereby there is nothing of capitalistic importance which is not oil based. And anyone, particularly people of color, who stand in the way of that resource, are simply walking dead (aka collateral damage). And if the government can get hispanics and African Americans to provide the human sacifice, all the better.

  5. bob leonard forthan said on September 14th, 2007 at 5:14pm #

    Dear Presidential Candidates

    I’m a 2008, Presidential candidate, and I can’t get my word out, I’m under educated, but I read well, I’m poor only because it’s a state of mine, meaning I’m rich depending on who I’m talking to, but I have high hopes, the 2008, presidential political forums have shut out the lesser known candidates, but I would like to prove a point, you don’t have to be rich, or be well educated to be president of the United States of America, and one person can change the world with a few good thoughts, I’m calling this thought, “HOW TO TAME A DESERT’, WATER RECOVERY FOR THE DESERT.

    Most rivers never dry up, so put two pipes in a river, one intake to pull the water out of the river, and one outtake to put the water back into the river, put a few filters to keep the pipes clean, next pump water from the intake pipe to a reservoir that will holed a million gallons of water, cover the million gallon reservoir to control evaporation, next using solar power make something simple, the covered reservoir, put magnifying glasses on the cover and let nature do the rest, now the inside of the reservoir will heat up and the water well condense, then like a old whisky still, have coiled pipes to collect the condensed water, this is good drinking water in the middle of any desert, then build thousands of reservoirs for the new cities, farms, and help global warm.

    Also, for generating electricity used the outtake pipe the water going back to the river, because the water will be cooler due to the magnifying glasses in the intake pipe to help condense the river water for drinking, put generators at different locations, so gravity can keep the reservoir water moving,[ ABOVE GROUND RESERVOIRS WITH PLUMMING AT THE BOTTOM OF RESERVOIR ], with a million gallons of water pressure the generators should run twenty-four a day.

    How the generators work is pretty simple, first the water is siphoned from the main outtake pipe, second the siphoned water goes to a container reservoir using pressure and gravity, third as the water is returning to the main pipe the water turns a generator propeller blade creating electricity for cities, farms in the middle of any desert, and most of the water should return to the river, except for water used for farming.

    In my opinion this is so simple, but our nations best and brightest who want to be Americas next President would not even dream of America trying to tame our deserts, or help solve Africa problems with water and farming.

    Bob Leonard Forthan