when your military is already overstretched: “The Pentagon has abandoned its limit on the time a citizen-soldier can be required to serve on active duty, officials said Thursday, a major change that reflects an Army stretched thin by longer-than-expected combat in Iraq. … Until now, the Pentagon’s policy on the Guard or Reserve was that members’ cumulative time on active duty for the Iraq or Afghan wars could not exceed 24 months. That cumulative limit is now lifted; the remaining limit is on the length of any single mobilization, which may not exceed 24 consecutive months.”
“Yesterday, Senator Johnson underwent an MRI which showed that his speech centers were spared of injury. This is confirmed by the fact that he is following commands and has started to say words,” said Vivek Deshmukh, the neurosurgeon treating the senator.
Despite the lack of a timetable, media persist in calling Bush’s troop increase a “surge.”
Tonight on MSNBC, Chris Matthews aggressively questioned White House Press Secretary Tony Snow about whether President Bush’s rhetoric last night was a “precursor for a rationale for an attack” on Iran.
Matthews said he feared the Bush administration would use a skirmish with Iranian fighters in Iraq as a reason to “bomb the hell out of them and hit their nuclear installations without any without any action by Congress. That’s the scenario I fear, an extra-constitutional war is what I’m worried about.” Snow told Matthews “you have been watching too many old movies,” but Matthews interrupted. “No, I’ve been watching the war in Iraq, is what I’ve been watching.” Watch it:
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Yesterday, President Bush announced to the nation that he plans to increase America’s presence in Iraq by approximately 22,000 troops, with no timetable for when troop levels would be drawn back down.
Today, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tried her best to make this escalation plan more palatable to the American public. “I think that I don’t see it, and the president doesn’t see it, as an escalation,” Rice told an incredulous Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE). Hagel responded, “Putting 22,000 new troops, more troops in, is not an escalation?” “I would call it, senator, an augmentation,” Rice said.
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The rumors were true. “It may feel like looking into the mirror for Bill O’Reilly and Stephen Colbert next week. The Fox News Channel host and Colbert, who has essentially based his comic character every evening on Comedy Central on him, will trade appearances on each other’s programs Jan. 18. … ‘I look forward to the evening,’ Colbert said. ‘It is an honor to speak face-to-face with a broadcasting legend, and I feel the same way about Mr. O’Reilly.’”
The same Cohen column that inveighed against Bush-bashers contained an endorsement of what he called “an expression of moderate sanity,” a document titled “American Liberalism and the Euston Manifesto,” which, he explained, “precisely because of its sanity…has received too little attention.” Cohen celebrates this manifesto–which, naturally, embraces the incompetence dodge–as an alternative to “sterile screaming in the wilderness, tired of the comfortably ensconced ‘hindsighters’ poring over every American error in Iraq, tired of facile anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism masquerading as anti-Zionism.”
Again, on the identities of these “hindsighters,” “screamers,” anti-Americans and anI ti-Semites “masquerading as anti-Zionists,” Cohen was silent. Had he taken a look at the 232 manifesto signatories, meanwhile, he’d have had trouble identifying more than three, counting generously, actual liberals. The roll is dominated by the likes of Walter Laqueur, Martin Peretz, Ronald Radosh and, I kid you not, Iran/contra adventurer Michael Ledeen.
I think three is an undercount, but the point stands. It’s very strange for a manifesto calling for a new American liberalism to include so many people whose primary emotional focus is hatred of liberals.
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) made headlines last month after complaining about Congress’ new schedule that requires members to work five days a week:
“Keeping us up here eats away at families,” said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who typically flies home on Thursdays and returns to Washington on Tuesdays. “Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families — that’s what this says.”
Yet, last night, Kingston offered this advice to Americans living in poverty: work longer hours. During House debate over the minimum wage, Kingston said raising the minimum wage would do nothing for poor Americans. Instead, if people marry and work longer hours, “they would be out of poverty,” he said. “It’s an economic fact.” Watch it:
Kingston is wrong. The annual salary for full-time workers earning the federal minimum wage “still leaves a family of three about $6,000 short of the poverty threshold.”
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“The House of Representatives fell short of a veto-proof margin in approving legislation today to lift President George W. Bush’s 2001 ban on federal funding for new embryonic stem-cell research. Lawmakers voted 253 to 174 to expand federal funding for stem-cell research using discarded human embryos.”
Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) passionately argued against President Bush’s escalation plan during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing today.
During questioning of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Hagel called the new strategy “morally wrong” and “tactically, strategically, militarily wrong,” and declared, “I have to say, Madam Secretary, that I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.” Audience members in the hearing room clapped as Hagel concluded, “I will resist it.” Watch it:
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