Robert Novak reports, “With congressional Republicans’ morale in a steady decline, the adjournment for the August recess found the GOP in high spirits thanks to winning the anti-terrorist eavesdropping bill. That trumped Democratic passage of an energy bill in the final House session last Saturday night. The importance is that Democrats still flinch when they come face to face with President George W. Bush on terrorism.”
The Independent reports, “Roadside bomb attacks on American troops in Iraq reached an all-time high last month, accounting for more than one third of all combat deaths.”
During a debate on MSNBC’s Hardball this evening, retired Air Force Lt. Colonel Robert “Buzz” Patterson, a right-wing radio host, gratuitously attacked Iraq war veteran Jon Soltz, the chairman of VoteVets.org, exclaiming “I am so happy you’re not serving in Iraq right now, stabbing your fellow men and women in uniform like you do back in the states.”
Patterson claimed that Soltz didn’t know what he was talking about because he “didn’t get the memo” that “we’re fighting al Qaeda in Iraq.” “You know what, I don’t need the memo because I was in Iraq,” responded Soltz. “You read the newspaper, I was in Iraq. That’s the difference between you and I.”
Patterson muttered back that he had “been to Iraq too,” but Soltz laughed at his claim. “Are you talking about your rah-rah-sis-kum-bah cheerleader tours that the White House took you on or are you talking about as a soldier who took the country?” Watch it:
The fact that “Buzz” Patterson would accuse a political opponent such as Soltz of betraying his fellow Americans should come as no surprise. In a May 2007 interview with National Review Online, Patterson accused “Democrat politicians, big media, academia, popular culture, and nongovernmental organizations” of forming “a Fifth Column” that is “facilitating defeat against Islamo-fascism.”
Additionally, Patterson’s only experience in Iraq was part of a dog-and-pony show tour of Iraq. In 2005, Patterson, along with four other conservative talk show hosts, traveled to Iraq on a “truth tour” to tell “the good news that the old-line liberal news media won’t tell you about.” That visit was shepherded by the Office of Media Outreach, a taxpayer-funded publicity arm of the Department of Defense.
Patterson has never been interested in debating the merits of redeployment; instead, he repeatedly falls back on accusing Bush critics of treason. And yet he’s given a high-profile platform to spout his over-the-top rhetoric.
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The Guardian reports, “British officials believe that Washington will signal its intention to reduce US troop numbers after a much-anticipated report next month by its top commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, clearing the way for Gordon Brown to announce a British withdrawal in parliament the following month. An official said: ‘We do believe we are nearly there.’”
In a surprising twist, groups typically attacked by controversial ultra-conservative Ann Coulter are glad to see her visiting Xavier University next month in Cincinnati. “They are asking for $5 donations for student groups ‘who represent the values Coulter vilifies in her speeches and writings.’ … Groups opposed to Coulter’s views are planning a separate forum and rally, also on campus, where they say they will distribute the funds.”
“Every protest and every heckler she attracts wherever she appears means more publicity for her and bigger speaking fees,” said Patrick McNearny, president of the Xavier Gay-Straight Alliance. “We are glad to be able to do something different that is a win for the Xavier community.”
The Center for American Progress’ Iraq Timeline, charting various Friedman Unit-esque pronouncements over the years is a thing of beauty. It also reminds me specifically of Will Marshall’s January 2004 proclamation that “America has about six months to break the resistance and give the new Iraqi government a fighting chance to survive. It would help if our leaders stopped casting anxious glances toward the exits.” In January 2004, I thought much the same thing. And, indeed, to this day, I still think that was more-or-less the correct judgment.
But that’s exactly why, by the end of 2004, I thought it was time to schedule a withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. It really was true that if armed resistance had been subdued during 2004 and Iraqis of all stripes been persuaded to pursue their political grievances, including grievances with the existence of a US military presence in Iraq, through the scheduled elections that Iraq would have been a much happier place. It also really was true that if this window of opportunity slipped by, and the new Iraqi government was born compromised by violent sectarian conflict, that the situation was, in important respects, doomed.
Which is all by way of observing that unlike the other people on this list, Will Marshall both still opposes withdrawal from Iraq and has, in the past, responded to posts on this blog. So I’d be interested to know what Marshall thinks of the fact that 43 months ago he said we only had about six months to crush armed resistance before we tipped past the point at which our involvement would become useless. I agreed with him then, and I still agree with him now — why has he changed his mind?
. Before 1965, public attitudes on the welfare state and on race, as measured by the annually administered General Social Survey, varied year to year independently of one another: you could not predict much about a persons attitudes on welfare politics by knowing their attitudes about race. After 1965, the attitudes moved in tandem, as welfare came to be seen as a race issue. Indeed, the year-to-year correlation between an index measuring liberalism of racial attitudes and attitudes toward the welfare state over the interval 19501965 was .03. These same two series had a correlation of .68 over the period 19661996.
I’ll have more to say on this later.
Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) thinks the $250 million bill Congress passed to rebuild the collapsed bridge in Minneapolis was a ripoff because it exceeded the normal $100 million limit for emergency relief projects. Said Kanjorski: Minnesotans “discovered they were going to get all the money from the federal government and they were taking all they could get,” he said. They took the opportunity “to screw us,” he said. Congress stipulated that the funds be used for bridge repair.
Americans Against Escalation in Iraq has been organizing protests here and there in Randy Kuhl’s Upstate New York district, something I believe they’ve been doing to many Republican members around the country. Well, he got interviewed recently by the local paper, and here Jerri Kaiser reports that he seems a bit freaked out:
Kuhl said that he wasn’t at his offices when the protesters in Bath and Fairport were there. When I asked him if he had ever protested, he said “Yes, when I walked off the floor in Congress recently.” I asked if that means he thinks the protesters have a right to do so and he again said “yes, just not over the line.” He said that the types of protests have caused him to rethink security at his offices and that means securing doors. He said they are “more protective now” and that he “thought about packing.”
Kaiser herself is a typical left-wing radical — born in a small town in South Carolina, moved to Upstate New York about six years ago, mother of four, active in her local church, that sort of thing — so you can see why she asked him about this. At any rate, I think it’s pretty clear that Republican members across the country have plenty to fear from anti-war sentiment. The vast majority of GOP members are, of course, going to be re-elected one way or another. But the war’s become so unpopular that you can hardly call any of them “safe” as such — a talented Democratic challenger could win just about anywhere, much as the conditions of 1974 left the field wide open for geographically unlikely wins.
In today’s New York Times, reporter Michael Gordon uncritically reports that the increase in “attacks on American forces” is the result of “a lethal type of roadside bomb said to be supplied by Iran.” Gordon’s piece relies primarily on a single military source, fails to challenge the source’s information, and casually dismisses contrary opinions as the complaints of “some critics of Bush.”
In February and July, Gordon similarly promoted Bush administration charges with a “one-sided array of anonymous sources charging the Iranian government with providing a particularly deadly variety of roadside bomb to Shia militias in Iraq.” Gordon’s reports were disputed by high-profile officials including Gen. Peter Pace.
Gordon engaged in similar exaggerated misreporting in the lead-up to war with Iraq. Along with disgraced New York Times reporter Judith Miller, Gordon relied on anonymous sources to propagate the administration’s case for war in a series of front-page exclusives.
In September 2002, for instance, the duo reported:
Iraq has stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb…Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes.
During a discussion about Bush’s escalation strategy on the Charlie Rose Show, Gordon disclosed his personal agenda, saying: “I think it’s worth it one last effort for sure to try to get this right.” He was rebuked by the public editor of the New York Times for stepping “over the line.”
Like the administration’s architects of the Iraq war, Gordon’s past failures have not prevented him playing a leading role in shaping U.S. national security issues.