Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere
The Petraeus-Crocker testimony is the kind of short-lived event on which the Administration has relied to shore up support for the war: the “Mission Accomplished” declaration, the deaths of Uday and Qusay Hussein, Saddam’s capture, the transfer of sovereignty, the three rounds of voting, the Plan for Victory, the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Every new milestone, however illusory, allows the Administration to avoid thinking ahead, to the years when the mistakes of
Iraqwill continue to haunt the U.S.
The media have largely followed the Administration’s myopic approach to the war, and there is likely to be intense coverage of the congressional testimony. But the inadequacy of the surge is already clear, if one honestly assesses the daily lives of Iraqis. . . . The lives of most Iraqis are dominated by a complex array of militias and criminal gangs that are ruthlessly competing with one another, and whose motives for killing are more often economic or personal than religious or ideological. A recent report by the International Crisis Group urged the American and British governments to acknowledge that their “so-called Iraqi partners, far from building a new state, are tirelessly working to tear it down.”
So I was cruising the right-wing blogosphere today, and I see the conventional wisdom in Greater Wingnuttia regarding the so-called Petraeus Report is as follows:
"Leftards are trying to undermine General Petraeus because the surge has been so successful and they think we are doing so well in
Iraqthat it hurts them politically, so they need to ruin his credibility so they can continue to convince the voters that things are bad in . They are terrified of Victory in Iraq ." Iraq
Seriously. Then again, many of these guys are the same folks who thought Terri Schiavo was gonna go for a walk.
-- JOHN COLEConsidering the state of flux in the GOP Presidential field, it's really not too late for OBL to get in and have a serious shot at winning the Republican nomination.
He'd be able to espouse a more conservative foreign policy than anyone but McCain, and with his "Fair Alms" tax proposal, he'd have a more conservative economic plan than any of them.
And, of course, given his views on social issues, I think GOP voters could rely on his judicial appointments.
I often wish Hunter S. Thompson were still around. Anything I've tried to write about what has happened to the country we both mourned has owed something to him. I've recently begun to read and re-read his voluminous work and “Fear and Loathing in the Bunker,” which appeared in The New York Times on New Year's Day 1974 was this morning's breakfast.
Our feelings about Nixon's villainy, his dishonesty, his ambition to rule can easily be transferred to George W. Bush, whose coven includes many of the accessories to Nixon's crimes and in a way, looking at what we're enduring now with only small traces of the reaction that forced Tricky Dick out of office, produces more of those signature emotions than all the fear and loathing of the early 1970's.
-- CAPT. FOGG
Fred Kaplan raises an fascinating point in his new article about the disbanding of the Saddam-era Iraqi Army. We know Paul Bremer didn't come up with the idea. But who did? I'm not sure I realized this. But I guess we actually don't know. And with the near universal belief that it was the biggest blunder of the occupation, it does not seem likely that anyone will be coming forward any time soon.
Since the idea read so much from the pre-war AEI-Iraq Regime Change playbook, I think I'd just been assuming it had come out of the crew around Wolfowitz at the Pentagon. But Kaplan makes an admittedly circumstantial and speculative but in the end I think rather convincing argument that the idea came from Dick Cheney. And Cheney probably got the idea from Ahmed Chalabi -- one of the great charlatans and hucksters in the annals of American foreign policy history.
It is entirely appropriate for the Administration to remind the public of all the warlike acts the Islamic Republic has inflicted on the
and entirely legitimate to ask whether they should be paid in their own coin. If nothing else, raising the subject will provide an chance for all those opposed to point out the reasons against it. And their arguments will be considerable because many potential questions about initiating regime change in United States are currently unanswered. Some of these questions are: does the Iran have adequate unconventional and conventional forces? Who exactly will constitute the core of the new Iranian successor regime, assuming the current one is deposed? How will minorities, who comprise nearly half the population, be kept within the Iranian successor state? Will US break up and collapse into civil war if the existing regime is overthrown? What is the likelihood that neighboring countries will counter-intervene in the same way that they have done in Iran ? And so forth. Iraq
In the past eight months, there have been multiple resolutions opposing the troop increase, numerous proposals to establish timetables for withdrawal, plans to repeal the original congressional authorization that gave Bush the power to go to war and even an effort to cut off funds for the conflict. But Democrats have not succeeded in forcing a single, substantial change in the president's policy, and they have watched Congress's approval rating, as measured by the Gallup Poll, slide to the lowest recorded since
began measuring in 1974. Gallup
Given their fierce institutional pride, members of the Senate disdain comparisons with the House even in the best of times. Now, with a string of Republican misconduct cases, it is the worst of times and the comparisons are unavoidable.
Lawmakers and strategists say Senate Republicans are in serious danger of getting themselves in the same predicament that their counterparts in the House did in the run-up to the 2006 voting – an election that did not turn out well for House Republicans.
-- CARL HULSE
In a case that would seem unthinkable in the Jewish state, police said Sunday they have cracked a cell of young Israeli neo-Nazis accused in a string of attacks on foreign workers, religious Jews, drug addicts and gays.
I'm frankly a little disturbed by the influence Oprah has over people. By having candidates "sit on her couch and chat," as Kate put it, she's actually encouraging people to evaluate candidates based on their charisma and personalities instead of thinking about what policies they support. That's a method I don't think is particularly valuable.
-- KAY STEIGER
With the presidential nominating season now threatening to spill forward into early January—or Boxing Day—or Halloween—a lamentation is ringing through the land (or at least among the politically obsessed). It goes something like this: "Why can't a wide variety of states, small and large, have a genuine say in the nomination? Why can't the voters have the time they need to get a real sense of the candidates' strengths and weaknesses?"
Why not? For the answer, look to 1984—not Orwell's dystopian novel, but the Democratic nominating calendar of little more than 20 years ago. That year, Walter Mondale and Gary Hart battled for the chance to take on incumbent Ronald Reagan. And what now seems an impossibility—lots of states with real clout, lots of time for voters—was pretty much what happened. And while the process ended with the traditional gnashing of teeth and rending of garments that greets the end of every primary season, it seems a model compared to the truncated six-week campaigns of recent years and the real possibility of an even shorter season this time around.
The good news is that the President will be out of the
more next year. The scary news is he will be spending the time with foreign leaders. U.S.
In Australia . . . the Decider gave us a sample of his face-to-face diplomacy, flubbing the name of the group he was addressing (calling APEC OPEC), the country he was in (Austria, not Australia) and then striding away from the lectern toward a steep drop off the stage until he was stopped and redirected to steps leading down to the floor.
More and more, Bush is looking like
Chevy Chase's old "Saturday Night Live" pratfall impression of President Gerald Ford, who couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time. The only difference is that Ford talked less and didn’t start any wars.
Maybe Bush can turn it all into a comedy act to regale his peers in
Beijing, Bucharest, Limaand northern next year. He has given us enough laughs back here. Japan
-- ROBERT STEIN
Cartoon by Ben Sargent/Universal Press Syndicate