The New York Times takes a look at the Jews of Cuba. I myself am both Jewish and Cuban, but that’s a mixed-ancestry thing, not a Jewish Cuban thing as seen in the article.
Yesterday, a coalition of British NGOs, think-tanks, and trade unions published a new report that assesses an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be “highly dangerous.”
The document, entitled “Time To Talk: The Case For Diplomatic Solutions On Iran,” warns that President Bush “feels duty-bound to stop Iran’s nuclear program. With little faith in diplomacy, the use of US military force remains a possibility, since Bush believes it unlikely that a…successor will have the ‘political courage’ to undertake a military strike.” There will likely be “great pressure on the President either to contemplate military action before he leaves office or to give the green light to Israeli strikes,” the report states.
The consequences of a U.S. or Israeli strike are “potentially so serious that complacency about the possible outcomes of a military strike could be perilous.” The report attacks “the assumption that targeted military strikes against Iran’s nuclear installations would effectively set back Iran’s nuclear program in the mid-to-long term.” Among the scenarios that the report lays out:
The underlying message is that, while the threat from Iran is serious and negotiations are difficult, “it cannot be said that the potential for diplomacy has been explored fully when direct talks between Iran and the US have not taken place.”
J-Pod is right — this John Burns retrospective on Iraq is well worth reading.
I know there was a lot of blogospheric skepticism about the merits of passing a non-binding resolution against the surge, but people should consider that the GOP sure does seem determined to stop such a resolution from passing. Maybe the Democratic leadership knows what it’s doing?
UPDATE: Aha! Looks like E.J. Dionne got here firstt.
One of the many scandals of the Iraq War has been the way in which its real budgetary cost has been obscured from the American people. Not only were we told boldfaced lies before the invasion, but ever since the invasion happened the White House has for years not only refused to budget for the war in advance, but requested supplemental appropriations that clearly weren’t covering the actual cost. In particular, we’ve seen a lot of what you might call war-related capital depreciation as military equipment breaks at a much higher rate during an intense operation. Nevertheless, through almost four years of combat this was never really accounted for. And now the bill’s coming due in the 2008 Pentagon budget request.
At this point, obviously, one can hardly avoid spending the money. The equipment has already been damaged, so it may as well get repaired. We’re not, however, talking about a small sum of money. This is $37.6 billion, and had this slice of expense been counted up front you would have seen less support at the margin for incurring it in the first place. The other giant source of hidden cost — which has remained hidden thus far — is the expense of long-term care for all the wounded soldiers.