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« August 27, 2006 - September 2, 2006 | Main | September 10, 2006 - September 16, 2006 »

September 08, 2006

Security Moms: Change the Course!
Posted by Lorelei Kelly

Looks like Security Mom's and many others are thinking twice before falling for the fear pablum that Bush and the GOP are ladling out again.  (disclosure, I direct the national security policy for the organization that commissioned this poll)

Mark Silva at the Chicago Tribune writes :

In this era of tough talk on national security, a new survey suggests that candidates campaigning with a promise of promoting better international cooperation among the United States and other nations could draw great attention from voters.

The survey also suggests that women can campaign on an equal footing with men on this question, and that it is far more compelling than the Bush adminstration’s message on national security – that perhaps this even marks “the end of cowboy diplomacy.’’

For women seeking office in record numbers this year, the promise of a foreign policy predicated on stronger international cooperation offers a compelling message, one which greatly appeals to voters – men and women alike – according to a study run by The White House Project, a nonpartisan organization that promotes women in politics.

read more.

Continue reading "Security Moms: Change the Course!" »


Credit where Credit's Due?
Posted by Michael Signer

In advance of next Monday's memorial of 9/11, the conservative strategists are performing an intriguing little dance nowadays -- like when little kids dare each other to run into a water fountain and come right up to the edge but retreat, nervously giggling. 

The question they're wrestling with:  are they going to start trying to take credit for five years without another domestic terrorist attack, or aren't they?  You can start to feel the credit-taking creep into their rhetoric, albeit hesitantly.  Check out this deliciously tantalizing bit of politics on House Republican Conference Secretary John Doolittle's site:

If Sept. 11, 2006, passes without a terrorist attack on our soil, Congress should thank our homeland defenders with a formal resolution. Before the November elections. And let's see who votes against it.

If?  It's not just morbid; it's alarming.  The broader questions are (a) is security ever properly the subject of partisan, campaign-type politics, and (b) is the basic proposition -- that we're safer now than then -- accurate?

Continue reading "Credit where Credit's Due?" »

September 07, 2006

Capitol Hill

Bolton vote pulled
Posted by Lorelei Kelly

This from Reuters, posted at 10:20 am today:

(Latest is that Lincoln Chafee is leaning toward a "no" vote)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
on Thursday scrubbed a planned vote on President George W. Bush's bid to keep
John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican, did not explain why
the vote on whether to send Bolton's nomination to the full Senate was removed
from the day's agenda and did not say if or when it would be taken up again.

September 06, 2006

Latin America

Carlos Castaño's skull
Posted by Adam Isacson

In the late 1990s, when I first started working on U.S. policy toward Colombia, Carlos Castaño was the most feared man in the country. He had just grouped the country's various far-right-wing "self-defense" or paramilitary groups into an umbrella organization, the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC. He was the lord of all warlords.

Castaño's men were on the rampage throughout Colombia, taking guerrilla-held territory with a brutal scorched-earth campaign that every year left thousands of civilians dead, hundreds tortured, and tens of thousands forced from their homes. By the late 1990s, according to human-rights groups, Castaño's men had come to be responsible for three-quarters of all civilian deaths in Colombia's armed conflict. Fed with drug money, their numbers were swelling, from about 4,000 in 1998 to perhaps 12,000 in 2002. The country's labor leaders, journalists, human-rights activists and opposition politicians lived in constant fear of Carlos Castaño and his organization; many were killed and many more were forced into exile.

Yet even as late as 2000, little was publicly known about Castaño himself. He was a young man, born in 1965, from a family that owned land in rural areas not far from Medellín. Leftist guerrillas killed his father, and he and his brothers formed a "self-defense" group in the 1980s to fight them - or at least to fight civilians living in guerrilla-controlled areas. This effort grew rapidly, helped along by the support - sometimes active, sometimes tacit - of wealthy Colombians and the state security forces. But even as late as 2000, most Colombians didn't even know what Carlos Castaño looked like; the press could only show a small, black-and-white image from his national ID card.

Continue reading "Carlos Castaño's skull" »

September 05, 2006


Herding the UN
Posted by Suzanne Nossel

Last week David Adesnik of Oxblog took issue with a post I wrote about Iran that stated that in order to be effective at marshaling support at the UN, the US needs to retain the ability and freedom to act outside the UN, and even unilaterally, when it is impossible to muster support for important American priorities.  He found the position surprising in light of my political leanings.

In the interest of fostering progressive consensus on how to approach the UN, I want to elaborate a bit.  My conclusion derives directly from experience working at the UN and trying to build consensus around controversial US foreign policy priorities.  This involved a delicate dance:  If we were too aggressive and unbending, everyone's back's went up and we had no chance of winning support. 

But its equally true that when we were too gentle, it was impossible to surmount a combination of knee-jerk anti-superpower sentiment, and opposition ginned up by whatever special interest was against what we were proposing.  It took a finely seasoned brew of bluster, rigorous fact-based argumentation, flattery, cajolery, patient listening, pressure applied in capitals, veiled threats, horse-trading, eloquent speechifying, wining and dining, diplomatic niceties, and the occasional temper tantrum to get our proposals off the ground.  The omission of any ingredient could easily spoil the stew.

Continue reading "Herding the UN" »


"Safer, but not Yet Safe"
Posted by Heather Hurlburt

I haven't yet read the report from which that quote from President Bush is taken.  He's also due to give a speech later today which will, I'm sure, expound further on the idea.

But my immediate conclusion is this:  that the Administration has decided to end the debate among progressives about the "are you safer..." line of argumentation by pre-empting it. 

Continue reading ""Safer, but not Yet Safe"" »

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