“Just 20 days until Election Day, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds approval of the GOP-held Congress is at its lowest mark in 14 years, the Republican Party’s favorability rating is at an all-time low and President George W. Bush’s approval rating remains mired in the 30s,” NBC reports.
In an interview today with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, President Bush said he agreed with a recent op-ed arguing that the current spike of violence in Iraq could be the “jihadist equivalent” of the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam, which was “widely credited with eroding support for President Johnson” and turning the American public against that war.
President Bush is right to finally admit that violence in Iraq has reached a tipping point, and that the U.S. is not winning the war as he has claimed. But the current violence is not a propaganda campaign by Iraqis to impact the U.S. elections, as he suggests. It is a civil war, one that he has repeatedly failed to acknowledge and has no plan to address.
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VIDEO: Conrad Burns Says Bush Has A Plan For Iraq, But ‘Hes Not Going To Tell Everyone In The World’
Yesterday in a debate against Senate Democratic candidate Jon Tester, Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) took offense at the suggestion that President Bush has no real plan for victory in Iraq. Burns stated, “He [Tester] says our president don’t have a plan. I think he’s got one. He’s not going to tell everyone in the world.” Burns added that Tester, in specific, was not allowed to know the path forward in Iraq because “you’re just going to go out and blow it.” Watch it:
But as Tester pointed out, Bush doesn’t have a plan other than “stay the course.” Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) recently stated that Bush needs to “find a new strategy, a way out of Iraq” and 61 percent of the American public agreed that Bush has no clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq, according to a Sept. CNN/Gallup poll.
(Audio file here.)
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Seriously — how does one of the smartest columnists in the country write an entire piece on the U.S. oil habit and never once mention global warming?
The point of the article by Robert J. Samuelson is summarized in its headline: “An Oil Habit America Cannot Break.” He writes: On energy, we’re disproving even this cynical axiom. Our main energy problem is our huge dependence on imported oil.”
He then spends a great deal of time explaining why the situation is hopeless either politically (because no solution is currently acceptable) or practically (because as he sees it, no politically plausible solution could possibly make a serious dent in our rising oil consumption). This is all summarized in the penultimate paragraph of the article:
So we probably won’t do much about our oil habit. Any realistic proposal would ignite a firestorm of protest. Environmentalists would denounce more drilling. Auto companies would protest new fuel economy standards. Most important, the public would denounce a steep energy tax, even if it were introduced gradually with most proceeds rebated by lowering other taxes (as is desirable). And these unpleasant steps would merely reduce our dependence from what it would otherwise be. It’s a hard case to make.
Samuelson couldn’t be more wrong. I know for 100% certainty that we will do a great deal about our oil habit, because before 2020, most everyone (including him) will understand that failure to cut US oil consumption 50% by 2050 will inevitably lead to a series of dire and irreversible consequences costing trillions of dollars, including returning the earth to temperatures when sea levels were 80 feet higher.
Now, Samuelson may not believe this now, but our top climate scientists do. To write an entire article on oil and never even mention climate means he just doesn’t get it.
The White House yesterday released a photo of President Bush meeting with right-wing radio hosts.
– Sean Hannity (“[M]aking sure Nancy Pelosi doesn’t become the [House] speaker” is “worth … dying for“)
– Neal Boortz (Islam is a “deadly virus“)
– Laura Ingraham (Sens. Biden and Boxer are “on the side of” Kim Jong-Il)
– Mike Gallagher (Gore and Hitler “brilliantly put together side by side” in campaign video)
– Michael Medved (“[T]he subject of my conversation with the president of the United States” was that Islam has “a special violence problem.”)
One big happy family.
about the country’s international position are at high levels and…the public mood may be nearing a tipping point,” a new Foreign Affairs study shows. Eighty-seven percent of Americans believe the threat to national security is exacerbated when other countries and cultures view the United States in a negative light; 78 percent believe their country is seen as arrogant. Details HERE.
For the last few months, top Bush administration officials have refused to admit that Iraq is currently in a civil war — disagreeing with many of Iraq’s leaders, U.S. troops in Iraq, and seven in ten Americans.
The simple fact of the matter is the situation in Iraq is worse than civil war — the world is witnessing at least four major internal conflicts in Iraq:
1) A Shiite-Sunni civil war in Baghdad and the central part of Iraq. For much of the last year, a vicious campaign of sectarian cleansing has been taking place in the neighborhoods of Baghdad and the surrounding central regions, with Shiite militias targeting Sunni Iraqis and Sunni insurgent groups bombing Shiite sites.
The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that the latest killings this week in the central part of the country may be directly related to the lack of progress on the national reconciliation front. U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq have argued that the political solution, and not more boots on the ground, is the key to stopping the conflict: “you fix the government, you fix the problem.”
2) Intra-Shiite conflict in the south. Less noticed in the American media have been some battles between Iraqi Shiites in the streets of southern cities such as Diwaniya and Basra. In these clashes, intra-Shiite political disputes have being played out in violence in the streets — and in some cases U.S. forces have supported one faction versus another.
3) Sunni Arab insurgency in the West. The Sunni Arab insurgency continues to undermine security in the Western part of Iraq. The chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in Iraq filed a report last month saying that the Al Qaeda in Iraq insurgent group has filled a political vacuum there.
4) Arab-Kurdish violence in the North. Violence and tensions have increased in northern Iraq between Arabs and Kurds, particularly in the disputed city of Kirkuk.
The Bush administration still does not have the right diplomatic, political or military strategy to deal with each of these multiple conflicts — all of which add up to a situation that is worse than civil war.
The United States needs to call for an immediate internal peace conference to put a stop to Iraq’s civil war, as the Center for American Progress proposes in its Strategic Redeployment plan.
I read White Noise a couple of weeks ago and I think it’s pretty damn great — I recall last time this came up in a thread there were a lot of haters out there, but y’all don’t know what you’re talking about. Followed up with Mao II, which I thought was somewhat worse. At any rate, as a consequence of the above, I’m now obsessed with the phrase “airborne toxic event.” Relatedly, Belle reports“I was talking to a Singaporean friend today and she said the haze might persist until–February?!” The haze? What haze? This haze, which doesn’t really seem to have been covered in the American press, but which seems pretty interesting. The Deutsche Press Agency reports:
Singapore has suffered an estimated loss of 50 million US dollars since the onset of the haze in early September, said an economist Thursday. “Some of the various losses arising from forest fires and haze include threat to public health, rise in respiratory illness, hospitalization and treatment costs,” said Associate Professor Euston Quah, Head, Division of Economics, Nanyang Technological University.
There was apparently a major haze event back in 1997 that, likewise, had serious economic consequences. I gather from this story that the primary source of haze is fires in Indonesia, and not actually anything under Singapore’s control. Singapore’s National Environmental Agency maintains an air quality index that allows you to track the extent of haziness. As long as the PSI stays below 100, allegedly, healthy people can go about their business as usual, though it may be a problem for those suffering from respiratory ailments.
Last night on MSNBC, Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank told Keith Olbermann that “there are rumors now about a third [page scandal], this one involving a 16-year-old girl.”
Milbank later noted that “political news is starting to sound more and more like you’re reading the police blotter, with Ney last week, the eighth guilty plea or conviction in the Abramoff case, piled on top of Scooter Libby and Tom DeLay and Curt Weldon. It goes on and on. And, of course, the punchline is that President Bush has declared this to be National Character Counts Week.” Watch it:
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Martin Peretz surveys the violence in Iraq, and discerns the cause — the country turns out to be full of Muslims. Meanwhile, in comments SkipChurch gets more explicit: “Has anyone calculated the rate at which Islamic sectarian violence will get the Muslim population down to a manageable number, like two dozen or so? Then maybe some sort of Right of Return deal can be worked out for those people in Dearborn, Israel, etc.”