The AP is calling America’s 4,000th death in Iraq. Every one a tragic result of a criminal mistake.
To to tell the guys responsible for attacking the Green Zone with 20 mortars that the surge has been an enormous success. Similarly with whoever planted the homemade bomb in southern Baghdad that killed four American soldiers. I hope things manage to stay on roughly this plateau until through the election and when we get a chance to start bringing the troops home, but I think you’ve got to fear that as spring turns to summer and we can’t maintain the full-size surge deployment that violence is going to keep crawling back up.
I find it striking that, as presented in episode two of John Adams, the case for independence is distinctly underwhelming. In particular, the point that a rebellion which can only succeed with foreign assistance is as likely to result in domination by France as in freedom from Britain seems like an important cautionary note. What’s more, favored by hindsight and the example of Canada and Australia, the imagine of a non-independent America as destined to be slowly-but-surely ground into a state of tyranny looks wrong.
Conversely, however, the British seemed to be badly missing the big picture as the crisis approached — risking a very valuable series of possessions over some relatively trivial policy issues. Taking the long view, independence looks more like the somewhat tragic result of short-sighted thinking on both sides than like a heroic triumph for the forces of liberty.
Which is a long way of saying, is there a book out there about the revolutionary era people would recommend that’s not in the “no this guy was the best founding father!” genre?
A new short film on the death-defying adventures of America’s ex-First Lady:
Funny stuff. Meanwhile, McCain tax proposals are even more regressive than Bush’s.
Daniel Drezner, Republican, reports on the current state of the party:
It all started innocently enough. UCLA’s Burkle Center hosted a conference last week on the best way to deal with rogue states. On a panel proffering advice for the next administration, I disagreed with the American Enterprise Institute’s Danielle Pletka over policy priorities. Pletka urged the next president to emphasize democracy promotion and the spread of human rights among rogues. I suggested that counterterrorism and counterproliferation merited greater attention.
this point, Pletka accused me of being on the far left. This amused my friends at the conference, since I am a Republican who acted as an informal advisor for the 2000 Bush campaign. When informed of my party status later, Pletka replied, “Well, he’s not like any Republican I know!”
Dan’s obviously got a problem here, as does the country, but if a desire to focus on counterterrorism and nuclear proliferation issues rather than overthrowing foreign governments is not the sign that you’re on the “far left” then I think those of us on the left are in pretty good shape going forward.
Earlier this week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said he “will be glad to stake my campaign on the fact that [the surge] has succeeded,” effectively shackling himself to President Bush’s Iraq policy. Previously, McCain has insisted that the level of American casualties is the “key” metric by which to measure to the surge’s success:
The surge is succeeding and the key to it is not American presence, it’s American casualties and by any measure, we are succeeding and the political process is succeeding.
On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopolous today, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) bluntly disagreed with McCain’s assessment of the surge’s success, saying it’s wrong to “dismiss” over “900 dead Americans since the surge” began as “success”:
We have lost over 900 dead Americans since the surge. Now if you want to dismiss that as ‘success’ that would be your interpretation.
McCain frequently dismisses questions about his claim that he wouldn’t mind if U.S. troops were in Iraq for “a hundred years” by insisting that “the point is American casualties.” Yet, as Hagel points out, in repeatedly insisting that the surge is a success, McCain downplays the fact that American soldiers are still dying in Iraq on a regular basis.
As of today, the Pentagon has confirmed the deaths of 3,991 U.S. soldiers in Iraq since the start of the war. Four more reported casualties are awaiting confirmation.