“Ryan Crocker, the United States ambassador to Iraq, said that he and David Satterfield, who is the senior adviser on Iraq to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, had an impromptu 3-minute discussion with an Iranian deputy foreign minister. Ms. Rice and Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, did not participate.”
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer interviewed former Iraq war architect Richard Perle to get his response to accusations by George Tenet that he was advocating an attack against Iraq in the days after 9/11. Perle acknowledged meeting Tenet a week after 9/11 at the White House, but claimed he never conversed with Tenet. Perle then said, “I never believed Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11.”
But CNN played a clip from 9/16/01 that showed Perle telling the network:
Even if we cannot prove to the standard that we enjoy in our own civil society they are involved, we do know, for example, that Saddam Hussein has ties to Osama bin Laden. That can be documented.
There is more strong evidence that Perle was advocating a war against Iraq shortly after 9/11. As ThinkProgress has noted, Perle signed a letter to President Bush on 9/20/01 that stated the following:
[E]ven if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.
Moreover, conservative pundit Robert Novak recalls in a column today:
Over the telephone on Sept. 17, Perle told this column that there were few good targets in Afghanistan but many in Iraq. Perle, a former assistant secretary of defense, was then chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board.
After thoroughly trashing Tenet, Perle later in the same interview cited him as a source for a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. “There was a relationship,” Perle said. “It has not only been documented, as I said in the clip. But George Tenet himself has written a letter that indicates this.”
Number of World Bank staffers who have signed a letter expressing concern and calling for a resolution of a crisis involving bank President Paul Wolfowitz. The letter does not explicitly call for Wolfowitz’s resignation, “but wants ‘clear and decisive actions’ to resolve the issue in a way that would illustrate that the institution ‘practices what it preaches’ for good governance and against corruption.”
This chart shows the civilian employment-population ratio, a statistic that eliminates some of the vagaries of the unemployment rate by just asking how many people have jobs rather than whether or not the people in question are “unemployed” per se (as opposed to being full-time students, or homemakers, etc.). As you’ll see, the ratio dipped quite a bit at the beginning of the new millenium as the stock bubble burst, and then stayed substantially lower than it had been during the 1990s boom throughout Bush’s much-touted recovery and now has started declining again without ever reaching the old peak or even the late-1970s peak.
Brad tells us that “the employment-to-population ratio is usually a lagging indicator–it doesn’t start to decline significantly until after a recession is well under way” which doesn’t sound like good news. I do see one instance in 1994-95 of an upswing in the ratio temporarily reversing just in time to give the GOP control of congress (people forget that aspect of the ’94 midterms — to some extent, it was the economy, stupid) before continuing upwards again.
Last week, the State Department released its 2006 terrorism report, which included this judgment about Sudan: “The Sudanese government was a strong partner in the War on Terror and aggressively pursued terrorist operations directly involving threats to U.S. interests and personnel in Sudan.”
But Sudan remains on the State Department’s list as a state sponsor of terror. And as a result of state-sponsored genocide, hundreds of thousands of people have died in Darfur and 2.5 million more have been forced to flee their homes. On April 18 in a speech at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, President Bush criticized the Sudanese government:
Sudan’s government has moved arms to Darfur, conducted bombing raids on villages, they’ve used military vehicles and aircraft that are painted white — which makes them look like those deployed by humanitarian agencies and peacekeeping forces.
Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Olympia Snow (R-ME), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) wrote a letter today to National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell questioning the basis for the administration’s claim that Sudan “is a strong partner in the war on terror.” Feingold issued the following statement:
The Administration needs to explain why its recent terrorism report described the government of Sudan, a state sponsor of terrorism which has been behind the genocide in Darfur, as a “strong partner in the War on Terror.” As we seek to stop the genocide, it is critical that Congress have all necessary information related to this administration’s policies and priorities in Sudan.
In November 2001, Bush said partners in the war against terror networks would be put to a simple test: “You’re either with us or against us in the fight against terror.” But today, when asked about the discrepancy in its Sudan policy, White House spokesman Tony Fratto replied: “Look, the situation in Sudan is complicated.”
Rep. Jack Kingston, “a reliable Bush supporter from Georgia,” said that this week’s vote to override Bush’s veto “could have been the peak, possibly the last statement of House public solidarity with the White House. As the war develops in the next two crucial months, the political solidarity may change.”
Former Gonzales counsel Monica Goodling “told a colleague two months ago her government career probably was over as the matter was about to erupt into a political storm, according to closed-door congressional testimony. Goodling…sobbed for 45 minutes in the office of career Justice Department official David Margolis on March 8 as she related her fears that she would have to quit, according to congressional aides briefed on Margolis’s private testimony to House and Senate investigators.”
I’d heard frightening rumors that Robert Kagan had written a column praising Barack Obama that should send shivers down my spine. Mostly, I found Kagan to be accurate but unthreatening. It’s true that Obama is not proposing to dismantle the American national security apparatus, and that some (though not me) will be disappointed by this. On one key issue, though, Kagan really does ascribe to Obama a view I find objectionable:
Obama never once says that military force should be used only as a last resort. Rather, he insists that “no president should ever hesitate to use force — unilaterally if necessary,” not only “to protect ourselves . . . when we are attacked,” but also to protect “our vital interests” when they are “imminently threatened.” That’s known as preemptive military action.
Perhaps using unilateral force to protect imminently threatened vital interests is known as “preemptive military action.” The Bush administration, meanwhile, with the support of people like Robert Kagan, has put forward a doctine of unilateral preventive military action to counter non-imminent threats. Then they decided to call this doctrine “preemption.” Thus, through sleight-of-hand Obama comes to agree with Bush. In the real world, though, as Martin Peretz correctly notes Obama’s views seem closer to Al Gore’s than to Bush’s or Kagan’s — supportive of a very robust American military capability, willing to use that capacity in a variety of circumstances, but not interested in making unilateral military strikes (or threats of strikes) the centerpiece of America’s non-proliferation efforts. At least that would be my guess.
Admittedly, we’re all conjecturing based on rather limited textual evidence. But it seems significant that in the case of Iraq, Gore and Obama came down on one side of the issue, while Kagan and Bush came down on another. Neither Gore nor Obama are “doves” in the sense of wanting to curtaul US military capabilities, but unless their views different in some important ways from the Bush/Kagan view it’s hard to see why they would reach different conclusions about a significant concrete issue.
In February, Washington Post columnist David Broder wrote a now-famous column titled “Bush Regains His Footing,” arguing that that President Bush was “poised for a political comeback.”
Several weeks passed and Bush’s approval rating remained in the 30s, so in late March, Broder told readers it was “time to revisit and revise” his earlier false prediction. During a WashingtonPost.com chat today, Broder said his “revised” column will be published this Sunday, and guess who’s still on top:
BRODER: The column for Sunday is an effort to explain why Bush has a tactical advantage over the Democrats att the moment, but why it is unlikely to last. That’s my best effort at an update.
Also today, Broder was asked about his baseless claim that a “long list of senators of both parties” wanted Sen. Harry Reid to step down as majority leader. The Post later published a letter to the editor signed by all 50 members of Reid’s caucus, praising him for his “extraordinary leadership.” Broder said today he was putting the senators’ letter up on his wall “as a testament to what a dope [I] was. I love it.”
BRODER: Since I would never question their motives, I have to assume that they spontaneously and simultaneously chose to express their confidence in their leader on the same day last week. I have a copy of their letter, with all the signatures, and it is gfoing up on my wallo. A semi-historic document to pass on to the grandchildren, as a testament to what a dope their granedfather was. I love it.
UPDATE: More Broder:
I have come to have deep respect for the wisdom of the American people, who, in 2004, chose to reelect George W. Bush as president. I have been very critical of his policies, economic, diplomatic and military. But I am unwilling to assume that I am so much smarter than the voting public that I will dism9iss as worthless someone they have chosen as president of the United States.
UPDATE II: Atrios has much more.