Thursday, May 18, 2006

When it comes to dying for country, it's better not to die at all.

It's my fault we lost the war in Iraq. Can we bring the troops home now?

I didn't believe hard enough in the war effort. I didn't by war bonds. I drove to work by myself. I bought my wife real nylons, didn't recycle aluminum, glass or paper and dumped any fat left over after frying up a burger right into the trash rather than send it off to make gunpowder.

I have loose lips that sink ships, forgot that careless talk saves lives, to keep mum she's not dumb and I didn't look out in the blackout. Under no circumstances was I willing to put one of those silly yellow magnetic ribbons on my car.

Here's the thing: up to this point I'd been holding out hoping that the folly of the Iraq adventure would become clear to all but the most stubborn of proponents of the war. As the predictable civil war grew and more and more Iraqi and American blood flowed, the impossibility of us salvaging a "win" out of the situation would be an inescapable conclusion.

For the most part that's come true as a now solid plurality of Americans consider the war a mistake. Unfortunately it's not those of you that set actual policy or your cheerleaders that've reached that conclusion.

What you do seem to realize almost instinctively is that this war and it's consequences is on your shoulders. To admit defeat is to damage your own credibility, to put your judgment in question and we can't have that. Better to stubbornly stick it out while our troops suffer than to let something that awful happen.

So you can point the finger directly at me. You can "if only" me to your heart's content. If only I hadn't been so critical of the lack of pre and post-war planning. If only I hadn't complained so loudly about false justifications for the war. If only I hadn't screamed like a banshee when it became clear without a doubt that there were no WMDs, no ties to Bin Laden, no real efforts to establish a liberal democracy in Iraq protective of the rights of all it's citizens regardless of sect, origin or sex. If only, if only, if only.

I won't object. There'll be no "I told you so's" or finger pointing from me. I just want the troops home and out of that mess. The sooner the better.

Their lives are more important to me than being right.

Everybody's acting like we can do anything and it don't matter what we do.

Mai Lai.

That's the first thing that popped into my head when I read this.

Murtha said combat stress prompted the Marines’ alleged rampage.

“It’s a very serious incident, unfortunately. It shows the tremendous pressure that these guys are under every day when they’re out in combat,” he said. “One man was killed with an [improvised explosive device] and after that they actually went into the houses and killed women and children.”

This is why war should not be glibly wished for nor engaged by leaders without the soberest of intentions and should always have clear objectives and timetables. Colin Powell understood this (or used to) in formenting the Powell Doctrine.

(Of course Powell had also helped to try and cover-up the Mai Lai massacre as a young army officer so his judgement may not be the best point of refererence.)

Doom, doom, doom. Doomity, doom, doom.

Omfg! Pat Robertson says we're Doomed!

"If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms," Robertson said May 8. Wednesday, he added, "there well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Forgive me for being forward, but I'm a liberated pig.

Listening to the Majority Report last night a conservative caller talked about his disillusionment with Bush and company and his reluctance to support Democrats because, in contrast to Republicans, they fail to provide "ideas." Republicans provide ideas/ solutions and Democrats simply harp.

Sam and Janeanne gave the boilerplate progressive response: Democrats have plenty of ideas but they can't get them heard and policy proposals sit on shelves collecting dust because Republican majorities refuse to let them be considered. Pretty standard stuff.

But what typically drives me nuts in these exchanges is the part of the construct that goes unanswered: that Republicans have ideas. Why this argument that's so obviously false on it's face is taken as rote by progressives is beyond me. Conservative "ideas" aren't policies they've come up with after reviewing the problems facing us and looking for solutions. Conservative "ideas" are really the continuation of fights they lost against true progressive ideas 40, 50 and as much as 60 years ago. They just found a new way to paint the pig.

Conservatives tried for years to kill Roosevelt's New Deal and Johnson's Great Society and failed horribly time after time. In the court of public opinion most Americans saw the necessity of programs built to deal with poverty, hunger and health care for the weakest in our society. Conservatives eventually realized the impossibility of convincing Americans that it would be okay to sacrifice the elderly and poor on the alter of the free market. About the time of the Reagan Revolution they decided it was time to redress their arguments.

After consulting their Mary Kay Representative the conservatives took a look at their porcine philosophy and realized major work was in order if they were ever going to convince someone to buy it. So they went to work. A little blush on the cheeks and Welfare Reform was born. Some lipstick and we have Social Security Privitization. A little eyeshadow and we get the abolishment of the Death Tax.

Voila! New ideas.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Whatever I feel like I wanna do. Gosh!

Missing from this rather silly Newsweek article on the domestic spying phone number database are more than a few things that should already be clear to even the thickest of reporters.

  • The program was started before the 9/11 attacks. To continue to say that the program was a response to the attacks is specious.
  • The article states "Given a hard choice between security and privacy, most Americans would probably choose to sacrifice some of the latter to get more of the former. " That's a pretty damn big assumption that goes against everything this country was founded on.
  • "There can be no doubt that Bush correctly read the public mood in the days and weeks following the 2001 attacks. " He ought to have been reading the constitution instead.
  • "And had the president sent a bill up to Capitol Hill giving the NSA broad powers to wiretap and eavesdrop inside the United States, in all likelihood, the lawmakers would have shouted it through." Holy hell in a handbasket. Do the words Total Information Awareness mean anything? Congress SPIKED the damn program when it was called something else. The administration just moved it under the auspices of the NSA.
  • "True, the administration's spymasters confidentially briefed congressional leaders on the new eavesdropping program." Until the administration provides a full list of just WHICH congressional leaders were briefed an when they ought not to get away with this claim. An alert reporter would catch that.
  • Most legal experts seemed to agree that the government could collect a huge database of phone records without violating the Constitution's ban on "unreasonable searches and seizures." What he hell? They talked to "most" legal experts for this article? They probably interviewed three "experts" from the Heritage Foundation and only one had misgivings. I also wonder if they asked them about the second half of the amendment that specifically mentions warrants.

There's a lot more there but it's making my head hurt. I still remain stunned at the willful ignorance of the issues so many reporters work under. There is no possible way that those that are supposed to wallow in this information day in and day out so that then can distill into simpler form for consumption by the mass public can be so friggin' clueless about so many basic issues. These guys (supposedly) have a college education yet they display absolutely ZERO capacity for critical thought.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Sir, the truth is, I talk to God all the time, and, no offense, but he never mentioned you.

Georgia is one of the best, most politically astute writers over at Kos but I think she misses a big part of the Mullah Dobson grandstanding described on the front page of the New York Times. When she writes

Now, the base will feel that intimidation. Rove will demonize the alternative (that alternative being a Democratic Congress) and will try to scare the radical right into voting Republican--or else.

What is clear from watching this love-hate relationship between the Republican leadership and the radical right is that Dobson and the rest of his cabal are finally realizing they were punk'd. They were used, they were manipulated, and now they can either fall for the same prank again or stay home.

She is making the assumption that the radical religious right isn't politically savvy enough to understand they're being played. I guess that's possible. They certainly haven't played great politics since last year's Schiavo disaster. Up to that point they'd shown a little more discretion in letting their radicalism become the story realizing their religious views are pretty scary stuff to most Americans.

But it seems to me that Dobson has also demonstrated a good understanding of political strategy in the past and it's just as likely that he's strategically positioning himself for a loss. Dobson can read the polls and the over/under and sees the likely loss of the House to the Democrats this Fall. He's not threatening Republicans to push for his positions if they want to win. He's setting himself up to say "I told you so" once Republicans take some losses.

He's setting Republicans up to ask themselves if they lost because they weren't radical enough. Scary, huh?

Sunday, May 14, 2006