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Monday, February 22, 2010

 
LotD

Fareed Zakaria on why declaring war on Iran is a Very Bad Idea (tm).

The United States is being asked to launch a military invasion of a state that poses no imminent threat to America, without sanction from any international body and with few governments willing to publicly endorse such an action. Al-Qaeda and its ilk would present it as the third American invasion of a Muslim nation in a decade, proof positive that the United States is engaged in a war of civilizations. Moderate Arab states and Muslim governments everywhere would be on the defensive. And as Washington has surely come to realize, wars unleash forces that cannot be predicted or controlled.

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0 comments | 10:02 PM |


Thursday, August 13, 2009

 
LotD

More on the Bush/Cheney saga here. I'm just fascinated by the dynamic. The Bush who is emerging post-term seems so foreign to me. The first hint of the nouveau!Bush is that he didn't start any more wars during his second term, but this rift with Cheney and Bush's sensitivity to public opinion is fascinating reading. I do still think Cheney is the Boogey Man though. I might be softening on Bush the person (though I still abhor his policies and his actions), but Cheney... he's a scary, scary man. To wit:

"What impressed me was his continuing zeal," said an associate who discussed the book with Cheney. "He hadn't stepped back a bit from the positions he took in office to a more relaxed, Olympian view. He was still very much in the fray. He's not going to soften anything or accommodate shifts of conscience. There was no sense in which he looked back and said, 'I wish I'd done something differently.' Rather, there was a sense that they hadn't gone far enough. If he'd been equipped with a group of people as ideologically rigorous as he was, they'd have been able to push further.

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0 comments | 11:19 PM |


Thursday, July 23, 2009

 
LotD

I'm really, really glad Bush and Cheney are gone, and especially Cheney. Back in 2000, I thought he'd be the voice of reason, the experience to shepherd Bush through the presidency, but by 2008, I was convinced he was nothing short of the boogey man, albeit with a man-size safe and a cunning ability to make his own house "disappear" from Google maps. That being said, Time has a fascinating article on Bush and Cheney's final days in the White House. It's almost like Bush had finally come out from under Cheney's thumb, but it was too late; the damage was done.

But the fight over the [Libby] pardon was also a prelude to the difficult questions about justice and national security inherited by the Obama Administration: How closely should the nation examine the actions of government officials who took steps legal or possibly illegal to defend the nation's security during the war on terrorism? The Libby investigation, which began nearly six years ago, went to the heart of whether the Bush Administration misled the public in making its case to invade Iraq. But other Bush-era policies are still coming under legal scrutiny. Who, for example, should be held accountable in one of the darkest corners of the war on terrorism the interrogators who may have tortured detainees? Or the men who conceived and crafted the policies that led to those secret sessions in the first place? How far back and how high up the chain of command should these inquiries go?

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0 comments | 10:28 PM |


Friday, September 12, 2008

 
LotD

Factcheck.org -- good source to check to see who is really telling the truth and who's not during this election season. Though I don't hold out much hope -- people still think Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11.

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0 comments | 1:04 PM |


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

 
Hillary

I watched Hillary's speech tonight and really, really, really wished I was watching her accept the nomination instead. I've been torn since she stopped her campaign and conceded to Obama. On the one hand, I haven't really changed my mind about Obama, but on the other hand, I don't think I could bring myself to vote for McCain. I've contemplated voting for McCain, trying to find if there is anything we agree on, and with one exception -- McCain's stance on torture -- there's really nothing he stands for that will cause me to switch party allegiance. Right now, I'd like to write Hillary in on the ballot, since pigs will probably fly before Obama wins my state, so that could be a good compromise, but there's something to be said about being well-behaved and loyal and recognizing that there's nothing gained from petulant actions.

Hillary made good point in her speech when she asked why we were "in it." The campaign wasn't about her, but it was about America, and what we see as the key issues facing the country. I had more faith in Hillary's ability to develop a universal health care plan, for example, but I know McCain won't do it at all, so that leaves Obama as the candidate who is more likely to take actions on the issues I believe in strongly. For those of you Hillary supporters thinking of voting for McCain instead of Obama, remember that we have a Supreme Court that's one justice away from overturning Roe v. Wade, and that the international situation is tenuous; that we need universal health care and alternative energy policies, gay rights and women's rights, that we need to do something about the two wars started (and hopefully, not start anymore), and that at the end of the day, the Republicans have turned this country into a big mess. McCain isn't going to be the one able to mop it up since he'll continue the same policies implemented by the Bush administration and look where that got us.

I'm having a hard time accepting Obama, and I'm not thrilled at all about Biden, but at the end of the day, I'm a Democrat, and I don't want to see another Republican in the White House. As a Red State dweller, my vote doesn't necessarily count for electoral votes, but maybe as a statement on unity, I can bring myself to check the box next to Obama's name. We'll see. I'm still not ready to remove the Hillary sign from my car and replace it with Obama paraphernalia. Maybe when I can do that, I can take the next step in voting for him. Baby steps...

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0 comments | 10:28 PM |


Saturday, September 15, 2007

 
LotD

Five Myths About Terrorism

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0 comments | 3:40 PM |


Thursday, August 16, 2007

 
LotD

Stole this link from my brother:

The Wrong Lessons of Iraq, but it's semi-related to the previous post on this subject, so I thought I'd go wild and crazy and post TWO entries today. Lori, you'd probably enjoy the link since it's more a psychological analysis of the different attitudes about the war.

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0 comments | 9:23 PM |


No time machine

I was watching "The Daily Show" last night and also a few nights ago, when Bill Kristol was on. Jon Stewart was pounding both Kristol and last night's guest, Stephen F. Hayes, pretty hard on the Iraq War, but what I especially liked about yesterday's conversation is that Stewart actually brought up the issue of patriotism and if you're against the war, somehow you're a traitor and hurting morale. The full transcript of yesterday's show is over here or you can always watch it on Comedy Central if you'd like (I personally find their media player horrible).

Here's the thing. The supporters of the war have framed it so elegantly in black and white. Black and white is easy, it doesn't require nuance. It's either A or it's B. There's no in between and you don't have to hurt your head with shades of gray. Easy, easy. So if you're against the war, then you want the terrorists to win and if you want a plan of action, then you're supporting the terrorists. If you want the troops to come home becaus standing between two sides intent on killing each other isn't a long-term viable strategy then you're a defeatist. Add it all up together and somehow you're unAmerican and unpatriotic, which all adds up to the 't' word: Traitor.

See, the conservatives have gotten really good at the name calling. They've gotten good at framing the debate and setting up the sides. They've got a huge grassroots support system on radio and internet and all they do is pick at you little by little until suddenly it's tiresome to bang your head up against "YOU MAKE NO FREAKING SENSE AND YOU HAVEN'T IN YEARS" brickwall.

The thing is, it doesn't matter if the antiwar people are defeatist, unAmerican, unpatriotic, or Benedict Arnold. Those are just adjectives, they don't mean a dang thing. It's the conservatives who got us into the freaking mess and they don't seem like they have a plan to get us out. That's why they get so upset when we ask questions. That's why they don't believe in accountability. 'Stay the course' wasn't a winning strategy for the first George Bush, but apparently old habits die hard. Maybe it's time we reframe the debate from the antiwar side: "We made a mistake, we want to fix it in the best possible way for America, and how can we do that in a way that minimizes casualities -- civilian and military, Iraqi and American -- in the best possible way?"

Rhetoric is easy, but it's not a solution. So while I'm leaning very strongly towards Hillary Clinton, honestly, I'd vote for the first person who puts forward a strategy that makes sense, is actionable, but more importantly, doesn't involve playground-style name calling.

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0 comments | 9:04 PM |


Thursday, August 09, 2007

 
History lessons

I've always associated what's happening in Iraq today with more recent genocidal civil wars such as Bosnia and Kosovo as they are fresh in recent history and have some of the same characteristics: ethnics groups forced together into a country by a strong-fisted leader. Remove that force and lo and behold, the country falls apart and people who formerly called themselves friends and family are at each other's throats. But Fred Kaplan over at Slate points out another parallel which I'd never noticed before -- India in 1947 and Iraq today. The article is here. It pains me to say it -- because I want nothing more than for the troops to come home -- but Bush ignored one lesson of history and now we can't possibly ignore another. They've got to stay there until somehow any potential consequence of withdrawal is mitigated.

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0 comments | 6:02 PM |


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

 
Interesting...

I find this comment thread between the liberals and conservatives very interesting, if not a wee bit frightening. I'm amazed MikeB hung in there as long as he did (the 'liberal' voice) and he made some inappropriate comments, mho, but I also find it scary how many people still believe that Iraq and Al-Qaeda had ties to each other pre-9/11. The misinformation is disheartening, truly is.

The saddest part of this whole comment thread is that there really is no room for polite discourse. You question George Bush, and your Americanism is questioned. Of course, it's a conservative blog, so I suppose it should be expected; I have no doubt a liberal blog would flay a conservative for showing up on that blog with the opposing viewpoint. It's for that reason that I'm not a big fan of either politically conservative/liberal blogs. They pick their talking points that'll appeal best to their audience and cherry-pick the stories that'll support their viewpoint and don't bother ever saying "Oops, I was wrong that time" or post a story that might, just might, give another point of view. I'm not a big fan of the name-calling that goes on on either of these blogs. I know it makes for colorful reading, but it's just aggravating and disrespectful, mho.

I also believe political blogs do a major disservice to their readers, who don't get the whole story because they're too busy getting their news from either Michelle Malkin or Daily Kos. Conservatives will argue that they need blogs because the MSM has been leading them astray, but I'd argue that the bloggers have been leading readers astray (liberal & conservative both). These blogs subsist on a population of angry people of both political persuasions who are so incredibly convinced of their viewpoint that the minute that viewpoint is threatened, they have no choice but to attack. It's so very sad.

*Please, Kosvo wasn't so much an invasion as an intervention and many years late too. Gee whiz, people.

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0 comments | 9:29 PM |


Sunday, April 22, 2007

 
Not Ready to Make Nice

The other day, I told a friend that Bush was right about one thing: democracy could help eradicate the problem of fundamentalism in the Middle East. The problem was that the Bush administration was so steadfast in its conviction that it ignored the lessons of history and the associated needs/wants/desire of culture and religion; the result is a cauldron of simmering tensions and rage that no amount of democracy or capitalism can cure.

We make the mistake so many times of believing that what worked for America is what will work for everyone else or that people even want an America of their own. We believe so strongly that the way we do things here is the way things ought to be done. And when people disagree with us, we call them names and boycott their products. It's 2007, and we still haven't learned how to play nice.

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0 comments | 10:22 PM |


Sunday, March 18, 2007

 
Only in America

I went to my first Brooks & Dunn concert yesterday. I was possibly the only person in the house who didn't know who they were or why they were popular. But I was given a free ticket and my only other plans for a Saturday night were a hot date with PBS (support your local station and make a donation NOW!). So off I went to the concert and I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. I didn't find myself bopping to the music and the lyrics didn't particularly grab me as anything that I could identify with or relate to. I chalked it up as another experience I'd never had before and could now say with certainty that I don't ever really need to go to another Brooks & Dunn concert.

During the last song, which was kind of catchy, I suddenly heard clapping and people were getting to their feet. I looked up on the viewscreen and saw four Marines marching to the stage. I got to my feet and started clapping as well. It was an emotional scene, even for this hard-hearted anti-war liberal. I watched as they climbed the stage and stood at attention, the musicians and singers dancing around behind them. The camera panned in on the Marines' faces. They were young men, probably not more than 22, clean-cut and handsome and whole. My eyes started to tear up.

I couldn't help but wonder if these men had been to Iraq or if they were scheduled to go. I knew they must know people who had been to Iraq and I wondered if they knew some of the soldiers from our area who died at an approximate rate of one or two a month. I was sure they must know someone who was wounded in Iraq. Do they think Iraq is worth it? I wondered what they thought of the lights, the applause, the ovation, the realization that we love them now, but don't take care of them when they come home. And I want nothing more for these four young men to stay clean-cut, handsome, and whole.

I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand, feeling a little silly for getting all teary eyed over the situation. As I was walking out of the concert hall, I reflected on the recent troubles experieneced by McCain and Obama for using the word 'wasted' to describe the lives of soldiers lost in Iraq. They didn't misspeak. Iraq is a morass for which there is no military situation and our army is essentially standing between two sides firing at each other and our soldiers. It's a three-front battle, one that never had a connection to 9/11 -- a war conjured up by men who had never been on the battlefield themselves and with a blatant ignorance of history. This stupid war has drained our finances, has cost our soldiers their lives, has killed umpteen number of civilians, has destabalized the region, and yet we're not allowed to use 'wasted'. Only in America can the truth be so blatantly ignored.

It made me incredibly sad. Brooks & Dunn put a face to the men and women fighting for our country. But seeing their faces, more than anything I just want to bring them home so they wouldn't be subjected to such a hopelessly inarticulate experiment as Iraq has become. Of course, I would never say that at Brooks & Dunn concert, because then I would just be unpatriotic and dismissing the contribution of our troops.

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0 comments | 8:51 AM |


Thursday, March 08, 2007

 
LotD

The Four Unspeakable Truths about Iraq

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0 comments | 6:11 PM |


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

 
Sacrifice by any other name

I watched Jim Lehrer's interview with the president this evening even though I can't normally stand Bush -- either looking or listening -- but it's cold and icy here and I don't have cable and the Lehrer News Hour seemed like the appropriate thing to do while huddled under a fleece blanket on my futon. Plus, I was rather struck by President Bush actually admitting that things could have been differently and ::gasp:: taking responsibility for some of his actions. In fact, he wasn't as annoyingly brash and arrogant as he usually is. And then came this glorious, glorious piece of insight from our President. I still haven't picked my jaw up off the ground.

MR. LEHRER: Let me ask you a bottom-line question, Mr. President. If it is as important as you've just said - and you've said it many times - as all of this is, particularly the struggle in Iraq, if it's that important to all of us and to the future of our country, if not the world, why have you not, as president of the United States, asked more Americans and more American interests to sacrifice something? The people who are now sacrificing are, you know, the volunteer military - the Army and the U.S. Marines and their families. They're the only people who are actually sacrificing anything at this point.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, you know, I think a lot of people are in this fight. I mean, they sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night. I mean, we've got a fantastic economy here in the United States, but yet, when you think about the psychology of the country, it is somewhat down because of this war.

Now, here in Washington when I say, "What do you mean by that?," they say, "Well, why don't you raise their taxes; that'll cause there to be a sacrifice." I strongly oppose that. If that's the kind of sacrifice people are talking about, I'm not for it because raising taxes will hurt this growing economy. And one thing we want during this war on terror is for people to feel like their life's moving on, that they're able to make a living and send their kids to college and put more money on the table. And you know, I am interested and open-minded to the suggestion, but this is going to be -

I'm sure Al-Qaeda is quaking in its boots now that it knows the American people are sacrificing 'peace of mind'. And I wonder how the military families feel about the statement that the vast majority of Americans are moving on, sending their kids to college, when they're sending their kids to fight in Baghdad. Just. Wow. Full transcript from the interview available here.

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0 comments | 9:16 PM |


Saturday, January 06, 2007

 
LotD

Here are the allocations for DHS' funds. So are you a top tier terrorist threat too? (Say that 10 times fast!)

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0 comments | 6:19 PM |


Friday, January 05, 2007

 
LotD

I don't agree with neocon Charles Krauthammer that often, but I think he articulated the reasons why Saddam's execution is a complete disaster perfectly.

I also think Newsweek summed it best in a story in its latest issue (the one with Gerald Ford on the cover) when they wrote, from a historical perspective which does not sugarcoat any of Saddam's atrocities or crimes: "... what Saddam achieved for his country came at a terrible cost, and of the countless problems he reated and perpetuated, his death solves none."

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0 comments | 8:25 PM |


Saturday, December 30, 2006

 
Not a victory

I'm really torn over the execution of Saddam Hussein. Some of you know that I'm morally opposed to the death penalty because it's not reversible. Innocent people have been executed, I have no doubt, and some people (guilty or not) have suffered greatly during their executions. The former reason hardly applies to Saddam. The man was evil, truly a butcher and he visited great atrocity upon his people -- none of this is in doubt.

Saddam's obvious guilt and evilness however doesn't make execution right, especially given the US' blatant complicity in the matter. And really, what good does his execution do for this world? Nothing. Iraq is still in flames, with no solution in sight. Saddam's execution will be merely a footnote in this last year or so, a gruesome way to end 2006. Meanwhile, Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds will continue to battle each other and our men and women in uniform will be caught in the middle.

At this point, Saddam had little to no influence on events on the ground so I'm sure people figured this 69-year old sad sack version of the dictator was dispensable. At least we didn't go through the farce of putting him on trial for every single on of his atrocities and then giving him 12 death penalties. Saddam's reign of terror and his spectre as a leader is finally over, but this execution is not a turning point, and it's certainly NOT something to celebrate or claim as a victory. Instead, I have no doubt that terrorists will use Saddam's execution as yet another reason to wage war on the West.

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0 comments | 2:45 PM |


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