Keith Ellison to be sworn in on Thomas Jefferson’s old Koran.
In the February ’07 issue of Vanity Fair, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is quoted telling a group of conservatives last October that the Iraq war “isn’t going to be around in 2008.”
According to Vanity Fair, an audience member told McCain, “The war’s the big issue. Some kind of disengagement — it’s going to have to happen. It’s a big issue for you…in 24 months.” McCain responded:
“I do believe this issue isn’t going to be around in 2008. I think it’s going to either tip into civil war … ” He breaks off, as if not wanting to rehearse the handful of other unattractive possibilities. “Listen,” he says, “I believe in prayer. I pray every night.” And that’s where he leaves his discussion of the war this morning: at the kneeling rail.
Later, McCain told Vanity Fair editor Todd Purdum, “It’s just so hard for me to contemplate failure that I can’t make the next step.”
Quotes attributed to anonymous McCain advisers also suggest that the Arizona senator — who passionately supported the initial Iraq invasion and is leading the charge for escalation — now sees his initial support as a liability:
Asked whether, knowing all that is known now (no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, no effective Iraqi army), McCain would have still supported the invasion, his aides say he doesn’t view the question in such simple terms. …
“He stands by his support for doing something,” one aide said. …
“If you knew we were going to lose, would you still be for it?” the aide asked. “That’s a different hypothetical question, that he doesn’t have to answer yet.”
Read the full Vanity Fair article HERE.
From the “I don’t know anything about this but I’m suspicious” files comes Nurmuhammet Hanamov’s op-ed about Turkmenistan in The Washington Post:
The United States must send a clear message to Niyazov’s holdouts in the “interim government” in Ashgabat: that they will not have its support unless they agree to hold free and fair elections — ones that allow all citizens of Turkmenistan, including exiled opposition leaders and political prisoners, to take part.
In particular, exile leader “Khudaiberdy Orazov, a former chairman of the National Bank and an accomplished and energetic leader” needs to be allowed to run. He’ll be able to rely on the help of the “thriving community of bright Turkmen students and intellectuals who are living in Western countries and are ready to return and help rebuild their country.” Never fear, however, we and Orazov will be greeted as liberators: “According to a recent poll, Orazov’s candidacy would have the support of a majority of Turkmen voters.” New regime’s key priorities?
Priorities for a democratically elected government during the initial post-Niyazov reconstruction must be to release all political prisoners, conduct open tenders and allow Western companies to bid for a stake in developing Turkmenistan’s oil and gas fields; to consider new ways of getting our gas and oil to Western markets; to restore private property that Niyazov confiscated from Turkmen citizens; and to create a reconstruction fund using Niyazov’s personal bank accounts and proceeds from the sale of oil and gas to revive the health-care and education systems.
Mmm…oil and gas fields. Seriously, for all I know this is totally legit, but it sure doesn’t seem legit. The author “is the founding chairman of the Republican Party of Turkmenistan in exile. Before announcing his opposition to President Saparmurad Niyazov’s regime and going into exile in 2002, Hanamov served as Turkmenistan’s ambassador to Turkey and Israel and chairman of Turkmenistan’s State Planning Committee.”
Daniel Kahneman and Jonathan Renshon have a fascinating article in Foreign Policy arguing that a variety of human cognitive biases all tilt the scales in arguments unduly in favor of hawkish, aggressive solutions and away from dovish, compromise oriented ones. The editors of the FP website asked Matt Continetti and myself (aka “the Matt Continetti of the left”) to write responses. You can see Continetti’s take here and mine here. A second round should emerge online soon.