So my prediction of a boringly easy Detroit victory over Cleveland wasn’t exactly born out. It seems that we are all witnesses to the brilliance of Daniel Gibson (or something). Since I picked the Cavs to get blown about by the Pistons, I suppose my prediction that the Cavs are going to get blown out by San Antonio may not carry a ton of credibility, but the fact still remains that this is going to be a Finals reminiscent of the Spurs-Nets matchup of yore.
It’s good New Republic versus bad New Republic and I’m afraid that while it’s not much of a competition it’s certainly fun to watch.
While Bush publicly continued the one-China policy of his five White House predecessors, Wilkerson said, the Pentagon “neocons” took a different tack, quietly encouraging Taiwan’s pro-independence president, Chen Shui-bian. “The Defense Department, with Feith, Cambone, Wolfowitz [and] Rumsfeld, was dispatching a person to Taiwan every week, essentially to tell the Taiwanese that the alliance was back on,” Wilkerson said, referring to pre-1970s military and diplomatic relations, “essentially to tell Chen Shui-bian, whose entire power in Taiwan rested on the independence movement, that independence was a good thing.”
This is, of course, no surprise. Francis Fukuyama has recounted that during the 1990s doldrums Bill Kristol and Bob Kagan discussed the fact that their “Neo-Reaganite” foreign policy required a new enemy, and that people in their circle debated whether to make the enemy China or Islamism. They reached the conclusion that China was the best option, only to reverse course after 9/11 and put the emphasis on Islamism. In either case, they regard US-China conflict — and, indeed, conflict between the United States and other countries generally — as something to be encouraged.
One issue that came up in the debate was whether or not reading the classified version of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq would have given Hillary Clinton and/or John Edwards a better perspective on the war. Years later, and in the heat of a primary campaign, it’s a bit hard to look objectively at that issue. But if you look at the relevant section of this 2003 Judis/Ackerman joint on the manipulation of intelligence, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that they really should have read it.
We learn that Bob Graham “received a 25-page classified response reflecting the balanced view that had prevailed earlier among the intelligence agencies–noting, for example, that evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program or a link to Al Qaeda was inconclusive.” It also seems that the Senate Intel Committee “received the DIA’s classified analysis, which reflected the same cautious assessments.” Graham and Dick Durbin had been demanding an NIE on Iraq “and toward the end of September, it was delivered. Like Tenet’s earlier letter, the classified NIE was balanced in its assessments. Graham called on Tenet to produce a declassified version of the report that could guide members in voting on the resolution.” But when the declassified version came out “Graham and Durbin were outraged to find that it omitted the qualifications and countervailing evidence that had characterized the classified version and played up the claims that strengthened the administration’s case for war.”
On ABC’s This Week today, host George Stephanopoulos asked Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) about whether Congress would “move again to get a timetable for withdrawal in September if the benchmarks aren’t met, even if General Petraeus…comes to Congress in September and says he needs more time.” “He has an awful lot of credibility,” he added.
Murtha quickly disputed Stephanopoulos’s premise. “George, let me tell you, I’ve lost a lot of confidence in many of the military leaders. Because they say what the White house wants them to say,” said Murtha. Asked if he included Petraeus in his lack of confidence, Murtha added, “I’m waiting to see what he has to say. But I am absolutely convinced there has been this overly optimistic picture of what’s going on in Iraq, while the figures show the opposite.” Watch it:
Unfortunately, Murtha is right. Petraeus, and other military officers, have a history of supporting the administration line, despite the facts on the ground.
In April, while Congress was preparing to vote on its Iraq timeline legislation, the administration brought Petraeus back to the United States from Iraq for a rare visit, which Murtha slammed as “purely a political move.” Petraeus has allowed himself to be used as a “political prop” to support the White House’s war czar nominee. He has also echoed Bush’s line that al Qaeda, not sectarian civil war, is the greatest threat in Iraq — an assessment that contradicts the intelligence.
Transcript: Read more
I took this picture and I think it looks pretty cool — long exposure time, low exposure, at night on the beach.
Since 2005, President Bush has argued that the U.S. strategy in Iraq is: “As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.” This morning on ABC’s This Week, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani promised that Iraqi troops will be able to defend their country by the “end of the next year.” Watch it:
The newly elected president of Iraq said Sunday he expects that U.S. troops will be gone from his country within two years. Jalal Talabani told CNN two years should be enough time for Iraqi forces to rebuild and secure control of the country as well as take over the job currently being performed by some 140,000 U.S. troops.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also promised in Nov. 2006 that his “country’s forces would be able to assume security command by June 2007 — which could allow the United States to start withdrawing its troops.”
The United States should not remain mired in Iraq until all Iraqi security forces are trained. Military leaders originally “planned to train 325,000 Iraqi security forces.” But this effort has been hampered by militia members infiltrating the forces and “using their power to carry out sectarian attacks.” The Washington Post’s David Ignatius recently reported that nevertheless, the White House’s post-surge strategy will likely “focus on training and advising Iraqi troops rather than the broader goal of achieving a political reconciliation in Iraq.”
Transcript: Read more
“The intensity of combat and the greater lethality of attacks on U.S. troops is underscored by the lower ratio of wounded to killed for May, which fell to about 4.8 to 1 — compared with an average of 8 to 1 in the Iraq conflict, according Pentagon data. ‘The closer you get to a stand-up fight, the closer you’re going to get to that 3-to-1 ratio’ that typified 2oth-century U.S. warfare, said John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org, a defense information Web site.”
A correspondent pointed out an even bigger problem with Karl Rove’s dreams of long-term domination that I missed previously. Rove cites the notion that the younger generation is more spiritual as evidence in favor of the looming reign of the right wing. Which is fine if true, except that the younger generation doesn’t hold much in the way of Christian Right issue positions on the key sexual orientation issues that have been the GOP’s main evangelical mobilization tool in recent years.
RICE: I want to say something about the vice president. You know, if he doesn’t agree, the vice president talks about it, just as if [Defense Secretary] Bob Gates doesn’t agree, or I don’t agree, we sit down and talk about it. And then if necessary we talk about it with the president and he decides … The vice president has never been somebody who tries to do that on the sidelines, behind the scenes. He really doesn’t.
Q: Not even when Don Rumsfeld was around?
RICE: [Laughs] You asked about when I have been secretary of State.