Honestly, it’s no wonder Chavez-friendly populists keep winning elections in Latin America; the south-of-the-border right seems to be comprised almost entirely of morons. Did they seriously nominate a “banana magnate” who “had promised closer U.S. ties” and happens to have been Ecuador’s richest man? How hard could it have been to paint this dude as an American puppet who would only serve the interests of a narrow elite?
Today on CNN, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski issued a strong, preemptive criticism of the Baker Commission studying alternatives for Iraq. Brzezinski said that while the commission “will probably come out with some sound advice on dealing with the neighborhood,” it essentially “will offer some procrastination ideas for dealing with the crisis.”
Brzezinski added that the Iraq war “is a mistaken, absolutely historically wrong undertaking. The costs are prohibitive. If we get out sooner, there will be a messy follow-up after we leave. It will be messy, but will not be as messy as if we stay.” Watch it:
Henry Kissinger, appearing on CNN with Brzezinski, said that “my attitude will be to support any bipartisan conclusion that would be arrived at” by the Baker commission. Brzenzinski countered, “I’ve been arguing this on your program with Henry for the last three years. And I invite viewers to go on the Internet and look what we have been saying, respectively.”
American Progress has a plan to stop procrastinating in Iraq, Strategic Redeployment.
Transcript: Read more
All else being equal, Alcee Hastings isn’t reallly the dovish congressman I want to go to interfactional war with. That said, Josh Marshall’s quick conclusion that “it’s not about Jane Harman. It’s about Alcee Hastings” and “I just think it’s a bad idea to have someone chair the intel committee who has previously been impeached and convicted by Congress for corrupt acts” seems far too simplistic for me.
Let’s just set these things aside. Based on TPM Muckraker roundups, the case against Hastings is that, on the one hand, he “and a friend tried to shake down a defendant facing trial in Hastings’ courtroom for $150,000. In exchange, the two promised a reduced jail sentence and the return of over $800,000 in confiscated property.” What’s more “in 1985, he leaked secret government information that ruined three FBI probes.” Now, the US Senate rejected those leak charges during the Hastings impeachment process, and though Hastings was removed from office over the bribe matter, he was also found not guilty in a criminal trial.
But let’s assume it’s true. Hastings shook some dudes down for $150,000 and ruined three FBI investigations. Jane Harman, by contrast, supported an invasion of Iraq based on bogus intelligence that’s costs hundreds of billions of dollars and killed hundreds of thousands of people. Who do I have more doubts about? Rush Holt, the new potential compromise figure, seems like a far better choice than either. No bribery allegations and, what’s more, he “voted against the Congressional resolution authorizing President Bush to use force against Iraq, primarily because there was no evidence of an Iraq connection to 9/11, because there was no evidence that Saddam posed an immediate threat to us with WMD, and because I believed the President’s new-found enthusiasm for a “preemptive war” doctrine was both unconstitutional and dangerous.”
That sounds like the kind of thing I’m looking for in an Intel Chair. I think people should take the fact that Harman was sitting on that committee and didn’t reach Holt’s conclusion more seriously. What was she doing? What intelligence was she looking at? I was looking in part at the fact that all these Democratic leaders — people like Harman — were for the war, and assumed they wouldn’t be doing so without good reason. But, obviously, they were. So why were they? Why was she?
Great op-ed by Matt Welch on what John McCain actually thinks about the world — roughly, that George W. Bush has been overly disinclined to threaten the use of military force or to actually use it; that in the wake of Iraq, the country needs to become more militaristic in its approach to the world. As Kevin Drum says on this issue, at least, McCain is neither a centrist nor a standard-issue Republican — he’s the single furthest-right figure on the American political scene.
And, yes, he’ll combine his more-hawkish-than-Bush approach to the world with a greater level of frankness and intellectual engagement, but at the end of the day I’m not actually sure how that’s supposed to help.
The more I read about this commission the less I like it. The news that the commission deliberate excluded “extreme” views even though the “extreme” left view has majority support is pretty maddening. The real problem, though, is that as best I can tell the Commission has the wrong mandate. Rather than a group charged with finding an optimal Iraq policy for the United States of America, it’s charged with finding a formula that suits the interests of the American political establishment — of Democrats who backed the war, and of Republicans who’d like to see their political party survive the disaster of George W. Bush. So while they’d like a policy that makes things better, what they need is a policy that can espoused while minimizing embarassment to said establishment. Unfortunately, the latter goal makes the former substantially impossible.