Hey, but how about that new and improved CIA? They're doing about as well as they did on the WMD beat.
I'm buckling my seat belt for the coming air war phase in Iraq. Let's see how many more innocent villagers we can wipe out while their bad boys are out running errrands.
UPDATE: The Pakistani Foreign Ministry has said that it has lodged a formal protest over the incident with the United States.
Have you heard about the angry Pakistanis - a group of nearly 1000 - who stormed out on a rampage and attacked the offices of two NGOs? President Musharraf is obviously not doing enough for the U.S.; the Bush administration is getting antsy. 2006 elections are coming and, damn it, they need a fresh catch.
A new article from the Economist (posted at the Spectator) says that Hillary Clinton's repositioning on key political issues has opened up space to her left. She is not a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination, they say, and they tell us to keep our eye on candidates like Senator John Edwards.
Her strategy was based on the assumption that she had the left under her thumb: that she had enough capital as both a feminist icon and a victim of the vast right-wing conspiracy to move to the centre with impunity. Two things have upset that plan.
The first is the furor over the war in Iraq. Many Democratic activists regard the war as such an abomination -- an act of aggression justified by lies and driven by greed -- that they cannot have any truck with someone who supports it, even a liberal martyr.
The second is the rise of the so-called 'netroots.' Clinton may have the traditional feminist and labour groups in her pocket, but the Internet is devolving power from client groups to local activists.
The Internet left is in open revolt against the Washington establishment, and it looks back on the Clinton presidency not as a triumph that should be repeated but as an error that should be avoided -- a time when the party gave in on welfare and public spending and lost control of Congress.
Clinton will probably face a much more formidable field of competitors than Bush did in 2000 (when John McCain was pretty much it). Her repositioning has already opened up space to her left, which is being filled by Russ Feingold and John Edwards.
"Strong and wrong" is not a tolerable alternative to "Weak and right" in the case of the Iraq war. I realize that the DLC theory is to reassure America that the Democratic party is strong on National Security. I don't happen to be one of those people who believes that you show strength by going along with the failing strategy of the party in power - especially when the impression you are giving is that you're making a deliberate move to the right for the sake of politics. Frankly, I believe that turns intelligent people off.
With Americans feeling not only misled, but lied to about the circumstances that led up to the war in Iraq which was based upon an already-questionable pre-emptive war policy, we look to our leaders for some kind of ethical and rational consistency. We look for moral leadership. We want a leader who will stick by their convictions and to be humble enough to admit it when they see that a past decision they've made, in retrospect, was wrong. We're all human beings, and in today's world, the ability to know when to exert the right amount of diplomacy for the sake of international cooperation is crucial to our national security and our economic health. War in Iraq is not the right answer - it has NEVER been the right answer. Any indication our elected representatives give regarding a continued occupation in Iraq is just another shot of poison to our trust, our moral sensibility, our security, and our economy.
We need to indicate to the international community that we desire a transition - and that we will act to make that transition in Iraq now.
If it's our intent that Iraq's government should stand on its own, then let's leave them to stand strong. A new international economic body can be created to help Iraq - and perhaps an international police-support system could be instituted by NATO or the UN.
We have to show the world that we are not enriching our own contractors and private interests in Iraq, a nation with the potential for great oil wealth. Much of the pipeline sabotage will likely end once we have redeployed our troops and Iraqis are reassured that they stand to individually benefit from their oil industry instead of suspecting that their nation's oil benefits are lining of pockets of corruption. If we continue to hang around giving the impression that our private interests are reaping the spoils of the Iraq war, the American people will never be "winners" by any stretch of the imagination.
The Economist article says that Russ Feingold could be the "Howard Dean" of 2008. Looking back on the Iowa caucus of 2004, we can see that Howard Dean's tremendous influence with the netroots did not successfully carry him over the boundaries outside of cyberspace. There was a lesson to be learned from that experience, and it wasn't to discount the netroots, but to use netroots in rythym and rhyme with the political pulse of the "real world."
Senator John Edwards is very much admired out here in the real homes and workplaces throughout America. People appreciate his warmth and his conviction. He showed, in 2004, that he is the real deal. He was the Vice Presidential candidate, and had it not been for electoral shenanigans in Ohio, he may very well have been our Vice President today. His message about Two Americas resonated with the public, and its truth rings even more clearly today than it did when he gave his speeches during the 2004 campaign.
I agree that we should keep an eye on Senator Edwards for 2008.