Joe Biden has often used his platform as the Democrat most likely to be paid attention to on national security issues to unimpressive effect. But with regards to the Bush escalation plan, he’s playing for the good guys: “I totally oppose this surging of additional American troops into Baghdad. It’s contrary to the overwhelming body of informed opinion, both inside and outside the administration.” Biden says he’ll start his Iraq hearings on January 9.
My theory about the popularity of a “more troops” strategy for Iraq among pundits and politicians had been that they knew this wasn’t going to happen. By recommending a course of action that you know won’t be adopted, you’ll get to blame the catastrophe on Iraq on (a) treasonous anti-war types, and (b) George W. Bush while leaving super-hawk ideology unscathed. The trouble, of course, is that Bush now looks set to embrace the “surge” strategy. So Jack Keane and Fred Kagan take to the pages of The Washington Post to argue that a three or six month surge “would virtually ensure defeat.” Instead we need “a surge of at least 30,000 combat troops lasting 18 months or so.”
Once you’re talking about an 18 month deployment, of course, you’re not really looking at a surge. And the logistics of producing the surge by extending deployments start to get much more difficult. So Bush may get his surge and Kagan may still get to claim his brilliant strategy was never adopted after all. Be that as it may, the point is that this war will still be in full-swing — possibly even further escalated beyond where it is today — during the 2008 campaign.
Plus: Double entendre of the day: “The only ‘surge’ option that makes sense is both long and large.”
UPDATE: Paradox of the day, J-Pod: “The key here is time. A ‘temporary’ troop surge will be a disaster.” A permanent surge, sure. Just remember, ignorance is strength.
Alongside the obvious problems of life and the world, every so often you find out about a new one. For example, suppose you’re a married African-American dual income professional couple and you want to hire a nanny for your kids. Big trouble: “‘Very rarely will an African-American woman work for an African-American boss,’ said Pat Cascio, the owner of Morningside Nannies in Houston and the president of the International Nanny Association.” Perhaps not the worst problem in the world, but still:
Many of the African-American nannies who make up 40 percent of her work force fear that people of their own color will be “uppity and demanding,” said Ms. Cascio, who is white. After interviews, she said, those nannies “will call us and say, ‘Why didn’t you tell me’” the family is black?
All strange. Further complicating matters, “African-American professionals, who constantly battle the stereotype that blacks do not speak proper English, sometimes hesitate to hire Caribbean nannies who speak with lilting accents or island patois, said Cameron L. Macdonald, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.” According to Mary Waters’ book, black people actually suffer from substantially less discrimination if they speak with island accents. Sudhir Venkatash in Off The Books has a different story to tell about nannying. He describes it as difficult for the women he observed to break into nannying for white families but said the pastors at inner-city churches would regularly place people with middle class congregants commuting from the suburbs — but only on a short-term basis and only in exchange for a broker’s fee.
“Former President Gerald R. Ford, who was thrust into the presidency in 1974 in the wake of the Watergate scandal but who lost his own bid for election after pardoning President Richard M. Nixon, has died. He was 93, making him the longest living former president, surpassing Ronald Reagan, who died in 2004, by just over a month.” The New York Times has an extensive obituary.
Condolences to the family.
One gets the sense from time to time that George W. Bush has become such a horrible president largely out of a desire to avoid Gerald Ford’s fate; to avoid becoming someone who will go down in history most likely as the answer to a trivia question rather than remembered for dramatic events he initiated. Naturally, hundreds of presidential “ranking” systems in which only the ones who oversee something big manage to rate further encourage this line of thinking. Turns out to not actually work so well as a governing philosophy. There are worse fates than mediocrity.
Sommer located the Ninento Wii Tom and Charles have been looking for and I tried it out earlier this evening: Wii Sports is pretty awesome. That said, there’s something odd about a video game system that’s actually physically strenuous. I got into some monster rallies playing Wii Tennis and I think I hurt my elbow. I mean, at the end of the day are we going to get boxing video games you can only win by becoming a really great boxer? Why not just box? Less head trauma, I guess. But I sort of miss the old John Elway’s Quarterback days when I could be a superstar without knowing a damn thing about how to play football.