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October 20, 2006


The Mechanical President
Posted by Michael Signer

Jarring contradictions in today's WaPo.  On the one hand, a front-page, above-the-fold story titled, "Major Change Expected in Strategy for Iraq War."  The lede?

The growing doubts among GOP lawmakers about the administration's Iraq strategy, coupled with the prospect of Democratic wins in next month's midterm elections, will soon force the Bush administration to abandon its open-ended commitment to the war, according to lawmakers in both parties, foreign policy experts and others involved in policymaking.

On the other hand, just inside, on the Metro section, we find another front-page, above-the-fold story about President Bush's recent fundraising trip for Senator George Allen, where the President came up with this creative gem about Democrats:

"They would have our country quit in Iraq before the job is done," Bush said. "That's why they are the party of cut and run. We will fight. We will stay. We will win in Iraq."

More consistent with the first story, Allen himself was discomfited by the President's  weirdly inflexible rhetoric (and the policy it implies):

Asked whether he agreed with Bush's "cut and run" statement, Allen said, "I'm not going to get in an argument here about the president's words versus my words."

He added: "The president has his ideas on Iraq, John Warner has his and I have mine."

What's going on? 

Continue reading "The Mechanical President" »

October 19, 2006


The Strange Dementia of Chris Shays, Part II
Posted by Shadi Hamid

It appears that Chris Shays is pulling a Lieberman and declaring his independence from all recognized forms of reasoned debate, sanity, and rationality. I didn't think that the beleaguered congressman from Connecticut could do any worse than last week's apology for torture. It appears that I have been proven wrong. I suppose that we may yet be closer to a diagnosis: Chris Shays is slightly deranged. I suspect it might be worse.

Let me also say that I feel bad picking on Shays two weeks in a row, but there comes a point where politicians become so separated from reality, that you really begin to wonder what went wrong and how it went wrong.


Iraq: 1963, 1995 or 2006
Posted by Heather Hurlburt

Going through my emails after a quick business trip, I'm suffering from a bad case of vertigo.  The Washington Times reports rumors of coup-plotting in Iraq that sound straight out of 1963; Joe Biden and Les Gelb have mounted a new push for their Iraq-partition plan, whose substance reminds me of mid-1990s Bosnia but whose presentation is every bit clever 'Net 2006.  What decade are we in again?

Continue reading "Iraq: 1963, 1995 or 2006" »


Olbermann and Buchanan: Left, Right and Sound Advice
Posted by Lorelei Kelly

I'm travelling this week, so this will be short and eclectic. We're taking our first trip with our nine week old baby to see his New England cousins. (This explains also why I've been so flakey posting lately, my apologies) I was so entranced by 3 a.m. Senate hearings on CSPAN that I couldn't do much else.

First, kudos to Keith Olbermann. He blisters the administration  and their "talk to the hand" treatment of the constitution, the founding fathers, and millions of Americans with the signing of the Military Commissions Act. I've been so upset by this bill that I've started a netflix anarchy list. So far I've re-watched Fight Club, Brazil and V for Vendetta. Suggestions welcome.

I had a good discussion with a sailor last weekend and he told me about a new organization  for members of the active duty military who want to protest the Iraq war. Military professionals have rigid restrictions on their ability to talk publicly about policy, and don't have the same constitutional right to express themselves as civilians do. Yet there are specific ways to speak out. Rights under the U.S. Constitution, laws passed by Congress, and the military's own regulations provide direction for those who want to voice an opinion about what's going on in Iraq. Here is the website of this movement. Here's a link to "Sir! No Sir!" -- a film that documents similar actions during VietNam.

Finally, a network for security progressives-- the National Security Network -- is up and running. It seeks to bridge the divide between the foreign policy experts and politicians in Washington aka "wonks" and local community leaders and the general public.
An affiliated organization provides a communications hub where you can sign up and discuss ideas.

And in recognition of how wacky politics have become, I'm going to end with an entire article on the U.S.-North Korea policy impasse by Pat Buchanan. I can't believe I'm saying this. But it's is pretty sound advice.

Continue reading "Olbermann and Buchanan: Left, Right and Sound Advice" »

October 18, 2006


Don't Cry for Me Venezuela
Posted by Suzanne Nossel