The deed is done. Sad to see even something as justice for a major-league war criminal rendered tawdry by this administration. Here’s a report on the infamous Anfal Campaign that Saddam wasn’t tried for in order to spare Donald Rumsfeld embarrassment.
Number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq in December, making it the deadliest month for U.S. troops in 2006.
“In the general condemnation of neo-conservatism,” writes Victor Davis Hanson, “we forget, at least as it pertains to foreign policy, it arose from a variety of causes, not the least as the reaction against the moral bankruptcy of both rightist realism and leftist appeasement.” He continues:
We were reminded of those poles these past few days with news that confirmed Arafat’s order to murder American diplomats in Khartoum. That apparently had made no affect on Bill Clinton, at least if it were really true as legend claims that such a terrorist much later was the most frequent overnight foreign guest to the Clinton White House.
Suffice it to say I don’t see things this way. The news was that Arafat ordered the killing of American diplomats back in 1973. But it’s been a long time since Palestinian nationalist groups deliberately targeted Americans. In other words, violent Palestinian nationalism used to be a problem for American security and now it isn’t a problem anymore. Why’s that? Well, appeasement. The process of engagement initiated by Henry Kissinger, significantly advanced during Jimmy Carter’s administration, and pushed further down the road by George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton succeeded in making the problem go away. Along the way, this diplomatic process also managed to significantly enhance Israel security by leading Egypt to drop out of the anti-Israel coalition in the Middle East. What’s more, during the Clinton years the engagement process came close to achieving a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians that would have further enhanced Israeli security and removed a significant diplomatic problem for the United States of America.
At the end of the day and for various reasons, that ultimate goal was not achieved. But the process that came close to success did achieve a great deal. It didn’t do so quickly or easily, but it did achieve a lot. And there’s every reason to believe that an American administration willing to continue down that path would be able to achieve much more. Certainly, the Bush administration’s alternative approach has managed to be enormously more costly while bringing about essentially nothing in the way of positive results.
Today on Fox News’s Your World with Neil Cavuto, guest host Stuart Varney tried to “put out something positive about Iraq.” He suggested that since Iraq is “now fighting itself,” America is “in a way, winning and preserving our interests.” Watch it:
As the conservative Washington Times notes, a “fullscale civil war in Iraq would likely spread into neighboring countries — something that happened time and over the past century” — and would “conservatively speaking create hundreds of thousands of additional refugees — who would become an additional pool of recruitment for jihadists.”
Transcript: Read more
to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees. Despite promising a prompt review of its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah’s flood rather than by geologic forces, more than three years later no review has ever been done and the book remains on sale at the park.”
Naturally, I agree with Ed Kilgore’s basic sentiments regarding Joe Lieberman’s op-ed today. But as a slightly — but only slightly — pedantic point of clarification, I think we should be clear that Lieberman doesn’t have a blind spot about Iraq, the “blind spot” extends to the question of American foreign policy throughout the region, if not the entire region. What’s more, I don’t really think “blind spot” is the right word for it. Lieberman’s ideas about Iran, Iraq, al-Qaeda, escalation, and how this all relates are crazy, but they’re not idiosyncratic.
You can find the same ideas in The Weekly Standard, at the American Enterprise Institute, and from all sorts of other outfits around town. Lieberman’s not saying anything that dozens of other neoconservative foreign policy analysts are saying. Indeed, this is exactly what Marshall Wittman was saying before he left the DLC to go work for Lieberman, so there’s no real surprise here. But there’s the rub; on the question of national security policy Lieberman’s not just a “moderate” he’s on the other side, following the trajectory of an earlier generation of neoconservatives from relatively hawkish Democrat to total agreements with right-wing Republicans. Maybe he thinks he’ll be John McCain’s running mate in 2008.
The incoming Senate — including Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) — plan to revisit the issue of “what legal rights must be protected for detainees held in the war on terrorism.” Reid’s spokesman said the senator would “‘would support attempts to revisit some of the most extreme elements of the bill’ including language stripping detainees of habeas corpus rights.”
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman: “[G]overnment by the radical right has been an utter failure.”
The capture of Osama bin Laden is “a success that hasn’t occurred yet,” according to White House Homeland Security Adviser Frances Frago Townsend.
According to a new AP-AOL News poll, Bush is the top villian of 2006, winning “by a landslide.” Bush “far outdistanced even Osama bin Laden, the terrorist leader in hiding; and former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who is scheduled for execution.” (Bush was also chosen as hero of the year, “by a much smaller margin.”)
Iraq “is in the midst of a housing crisis that is worsening by the day,” but “plans to address the problem are minimal.” While “1.8 million Iraqis are living outside the country, 1.6 million more have been displaced within Iraq since the war began. Since February, about 50,000 per month have moved within the country.” Read more
Robert Farley doubts that “anything that happens in Somalia is going to have a significant impact on foreign opinion outside of, well, Somalia and Ethiopia.” I think there’s a pretty strong case for that. Nevertheless, it’s important to recall that the group of truly threatening anti-American terrorists in the world is really small. One one level, this should give us considerable comfort. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 it appeared plausible that the United States was going to face waves of sustained terror attacks implemented by a reasonably deep pool of people. That turns out not to be the case. On the other hand, it should make us worry. There were very few people interested in mounting large-scale terrorist attacks on the United States and nevertheless that small pool of people was able to pull off a pretty nasty operation.
What there is, however, is a much larger pool of people in some sense drawn to Islamist political movements and to various nationalist causes that involve Muslim populations. Under the circumstances, inserting the United States into disputes that involve Islamists fighting non-Muslim invaders is always very dangerous — it risks slippage of people from the big pool into the small pool. After all, the reason why the small pool is so much smaller than the large pool is that despite widespread dislike of the United States relatively few people believe Osama bin Laden’s message that these localized conflicts are all inextricably linked to the need for jihad against the far enemy. Our actions in the Horn of Africa probably won’t have a big impact on people doing there thing in Cairo or Riyadh or Islamabad but it clearly will have an impact on people living in the Horn.
Now that said, sometimes you do have to back the non-Muslim side in a local conflict. Maybe the Islamist side is threatening some crucial American interests. That, however, isn’t the case here. We simply don’t have any interests in that area that are more important than our interest in trying to avoid a situation where young Somali men cut their teeth for a few years in a guerilla war with Ethiopia and then decide to take the fight to the far enemy.
If you have yet to decide on a New Years resolution, try going carbon neutral or energy efficient. Giving the gift of carbon neutrality was a popular holiday item, but you can do more.
A recent article in Mother Jones featured the work of John Schellnhuber, a UK scientist who has declared twelve tipping points that may reveal the fate of climate change’s impact. Mother Jones, however, added a thirteenth: a shift from denial to responsibility.
In that spirit, both the Climate Future Group and the Carbon Footprint website have information for individuals looking for pragmatic, simple ways to reduce their imprint. From changing your light bulbs, to resetting your water heater, your home, workplace and commute are crawling with ways to improve your energy efficiency.
Check them out and under the mistletoe, as you welcome 2007, tip toward responsibility, and encourage policymakers to do the same.