“Iraq’s coalition of the willing is becoming an increasingly exclusive club. … Twenty-three countries remain in the U.S.-led coalition and the United Nations’ mission serving in and around Iraq, down from a high of 42 that joined the United States in the invasion or the postwar occupation of Iraq. More than half of those contributors have fewer than 150 troops, engineers or military trainers in the Iraq theater.”
“The Pentagon is considering $127 billion to $160 billion in requests from the armed services for the 2007 fiscal year. … That’s on top of $70 billion already approved for 2007. Since 2001, Congress has approved $502 billion for the war on terror, roughly two-thirds for Iraq.”
Before reaching his hilariously predictable conclusion — the thing to do in Iraq is make sure the Palestinians remain subjected to foreign military occupation for as long as possible — New Republic editor-in-chief Martin Peretz offers up this striking aperçu:
Give George W. Bush his due. He took down the Taliban. And he also took down the savage Caesar. These are achievements. What he did not grasp–and what, for that matter, Baker and those for whom he speaks also do not grasp–is the sheer and relentless butchery of which both Sunni and Shia are capable. The fiendish barbarism of decapitated heads and mutilated bodies is now a reflex of the warriors and nothing exceptional, a commonplace. Even the bare rudiments of civilization will not soon come back to the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates.
The bare rudiments of civilization, eh? No al-Qaeda recruiting videos — or, for that matter, written language — to worry about then. As one wit whose name I’ll withhold to protect the innocent observed, the civil war shouldn’t get too out of hand since the participants won’t have any wheels. Just two sides trying to slug it out with rocks and so forth. Eventually, either Sunni or Shiite will figure out how to crack the stones so as to reveal sharp edges and they’ll have an upper hand against their stick-tossing adversaries. Fortunately, in civilized parts of the world there’s no history of ethnically motivated killing and mutilation so we can all rest secure in our easy sense of innate moral superiority to the towel heads.
We need more candor. Unless we develop cost-effective technologies that break the link between carbon dioxide emissions and energy use, we can’t do much. Anyone serious about global warming must focus on technological progress – and not just assume it. Otherwise, our practical choices are all bad: costly mandates and controls that harm the economy, or costly mandates and controls that barely affect greenhouse gases. Or, possibly, both.
Does that that position sound familiar?
That is John H. Marburger III, the president’s science adviser. When you start sounding like the Administration on global warming, it is a pretty good indication that you’re just plain wrong. Pardon my candor.
Today, during his first visit to Vietnam, President Bush was “asked about the war here over three decades ago and the comparisons to the war in Iraq today.” Bush said there was a comparison: As in Vietnam, “We’ll succeed unless we quit.” Watch it:
Bush’s remarks virtually mirror those made by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. As Bob Woodward detailed in his book State of Denial, Kissinger is a frequent advisor to President Bush and has delivered the message to top administration officials that “victory over the insurgency is the only meaningful exit strategy”:
Kissinger sensed wobbliness everywhere on Iraq, and he increasingly saw it through the prism of the Vietnam War. For Kissinger, the overriding lesson of Vietnam is to stick it out.
In his writing, speeches and private comments, Kissinger claimed that the United States had essentially won the war in 1972, only to lose it because of the weakened resolve of the public and Congress.
In a column in The Washington Post on Aug. 12, 2005, titled “Lessons for an Exit Strategy,” Kissinger wrote, “Victory over the insurgency is the only meaningful exit strategy.”
He delivered the same message directly to Bush, Cheney and Hadley at the White House.
Victory had to be the goal, he told all. Don’t let it happen again. Don’t give an inch, or else the media, the Congress and the American culture of avoiding hardship will walk you back.
The lesson from Vietnam is exactly the opposite of what Bush suggested. In fact, we can succeed by leaving. Bush acknowledged as much, stating Vietnam has show progress in recent years. Vietnam’s recovery demonstrates that a U.S. withdrawal does not doom a country to civil strife. America’s venture in Vietnam failed not because we left too soon, but because we left too late.
You voted in the online contest, and yesterday it came down to the final two contestants. The judges picked “Radical” Russ Belville from KPOJ in Portland, OR to be the Next Progressive Talk Radio Star.
In an interview with Fox and Friends this morning, outgoing Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works James Inhofe (R-OK) argued that the current wave of unprecedented warming is due to “natural changes.” “God’s still up there,” Inhofe said, and to the extent there is warming going on, it is “due to the sun.” He added, “George Soros, the Hollywood elitists, the far left environmentalists on the committee that I chair — all of them want us to believe the science is settled and it’s not.” Watch it.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body which involves thousands of scientists from over 120 countries who develop detailed reports on climate change, produced a report in 2001 which was reviewed by more than 1,000 top experts, including so-called “climate skeptics” and representatives from industry. The report stated, “There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.”
Most recently, the National Academy of Sciences has unequivocally concluded that natural causes cannot explain the unprecedented warmth over the last 400 years. Rather, “human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming,” the report states.
Transcript: Read more
has just been elected the new House Minority Leader.
UPDATE: Hotline is reporting that Boehner’s margin of victory was 168 to 27.
UPDATE II: Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), the outgoing Majority Whip, has been elected House Minority Whip. The Hill notes, “Blunt defeated [Rep. John] Shadegg 137-57 for minority whip despite last week’s midterm election blowout. Some believed Blunt would be cast aside as tainted by long membership of the leadership team, but his colleagues opted to stick with lawmaker who knows the ins and out of House rules.”
Charles Krauthammer says his beautiful invasion of Iraq was ruined by . . . Iraqis. People who want to blame U.S. policymakers for the disastrous consequences of U.S. policy are just engaged in self-flattery. This is what the French call “bullshit.” Obviously, the fact that Iraq is populated by Iraqis was a fact that American policymakers and pundits should have been taking into account before invading the war, not some unknowable contingency. And, indeed, even insofar as unknowable contingencies have frustrated our efforts in Iraq, the fact that war is risky was something to take into account in advance.
Ironically, this mentality helps precisely what’s gone wrong. The neoconservative approach to Iraq has always been marked by a remarkable combination of overoptimism about social and political conditions in Iraq with a not-so-well-veiled racist contempt for Arabs. Obviously, however, one of the major elements of Iraqi society that’s made reconstructing it into a democracy under our tutelage is that Iraqis have not felt that it would be a good idea to surrender supreme power over their lives to a foreign occupying force led by people who, rather transparently, don’t give a damn about them.
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) introduced legislation yesterday that would amend the existing law governing military tribunals of detainees. Among other things, the bill “seeks to give habeas corpus protections to military detainees” and narrow the definition of “unlawful enemy combatant” to individuals who directly participate in hostilities against the United States.
“The U.S. military called no witnesses, withheld evidence from detainees and usually reached a decision within a day as it determined that hundreds of men detained at Guantanamo Bay were ‘enemy combatants,’ according to a new report.”
31 percent: President Bush’s approval rating on his handling of the Iraq war, “the lowest level ever,” according to a new AP-Ipsos poll.
“Pentagon guidelines that classified homosexuality as a mental disorder now put it among a list of conditions or ‘circumstances’ that range from bed-wetting to fear of flying.”
The new “State of the Arctic” analysis from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that “Arctic sea ice coverage this past March was the lowest in winter since measurements by satellite began in the early 1970s.” Read more