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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

New Digs

Please visit us at our new home,


Moussaoui Case Stunner

For every person out there who tried to dismiss Colleen Rowley as an angry, disgruntled employee or an overly-emotional woman or whatever other pathetic excuse was used by people trying to marginalize her voice or to minimize blame for the Bush Administration and the folks at the higher echelons of the FBI -- you look like apologist idiots.
The F.B.I. agent who arrested and interrogated Zacarias Moussaoui just weeks before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks told a jury on Monday how he had tried repeatedly to get his superiors in Washington to help confirm his certainty that Mr. Moussaoui was involved in an imminent terrorist airline hijacking plot.

But, said the agent, Harry Samit, he was regularly thwarted by senior bureau officials whose obstructionism he later described to Justice Department investigators as "criminally negligent" and who were, he believed, motivated principally by a need to protect their careers....

Mr. Samit confirmed that he had told Justice Department investigators that the senior agents in Washington "took a calculated risk not to advance the investigation" by refusing to seek search warrants for Mr. Moussaoui's belongings and computer. He testified that he had come to believe that "the wager was a national tragedy."...

Mr. Samit said two senior agents had declined to provide help in obtaining a search warrant, either through a special panel of judges that considers applications for foreign intelligence cases or through a normal application to any federal court for a criminal investigation.

As a field agent in Minnesota, he said, he required help and approval from headquarters to continue his investigation. He acknowledged that he had asserted that Michael Maltbie, a supervisor in the bureau's Radical Fundamentalist Unit, had told him that applications for the special intelligence court warrants had proved troublesome for the bureau and that seeking one "was just the kind of thing that would get F.B.I. agents in trouble."

Mr. Samit wrote that Mr. Maltbie had told him that "he was not about to let that happen to him." During that period, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had complained about improper applications from the bureau.

Mr. Samit also acknowledged that he had asserted to investigators that David Frasca, Mr. Maltbie's superior, had similarly blocked him from seeking a search warrant under the more common route, a criminal investigation. Some of the special court's complaints dealt with the idea that law-enforcement officials were sometimes exploiting the lower standard required for warrants in intelligence investigations and then using the information that they obtained in criminal cases.

Mr. Frasca, Mr. Samit explained, believed that once the Moussaoui investigation was opened as an intelligence inquiry, it would arouse suspicion that agents had been trying to abuse the intelligence law to get information for a case they now believed was a criminal one.
So, let's see, the problem has never been the FISA Court nor the field agents, but the attitude of the careerists in DC. And every Administration apologist who has been on the talking head shows for YEARS now trying to lay blame on the FISA judges or the field agents or anyone else who is actually doing the work was full of crap. Because all along, it was the folks in charge who were the problem.

That the Bush Administration may have known this all along, and kept the information from the 9/11 Commission, and every other commission that has studied these issues -- because they were limited in scope in terms of their investigative powers, is unconscionable.

Those Americans and those of other nations who were tragically killed on 9/11 deserve a hell of a lot better than getting confirmation of this only during cross-examination in the death penalty phase of the Moussaoui trial. A hell of a lot better.

NOTE: Obviously, we're still having some sight growing pains. We're back to cross-posting in both places until we can work things out. Thanks so much, everyone, for your patience on this. We're exhausted, but we're going to get this fixed no matter what. Oh, and blogger isn't letting me upload pictures again...will get one up when the glitch goes away.


Monday, March 20, 2006

FDL Late Nite: Feingold Plays Rochambeau With Lincoln Chafee

Leading Democrat Russ Feingold on Charlie Rose:

I was pleased, Charlie, that Lincoln Chafee, Senator from Rhode Island, a Republican -- even though he didn't say he would vote for it he did not rule out the possibility that censure would be the right answer at some point in time. And that's the spirit in which I offered the resolution this week.
Yeah Republican tower of conviction Lincoln Chafee did say that, didn't he? I'm sure he believes it. Just like he believes in pro-choice -- and voted for cloture on Samuel Alito. Just like he claims to be a progressive from a blue state -- and supported John Bolton.

Chafee believed it okay, on March 15. But on March 16 he released a statement entitled:
Chafee Reiterates His Opposition To Censure Resolution
How brave. How principled. Must've had his chain righteously yanked by BushCo post haste. They don't really care what kind of problems Chafee is going to have running in a progressive blue state, nobody is allowed that far off the reservation no matter how urgent their need to distance themselves from Fearless Leader.

Chafee's numbers are shockingly bad. Yet the voters of Rhode Island get to see another portrait in GOP courage from Lincoln Chafee. And Russ Feingold's censure resolution has not only highlighted Chafee's horrible dilemma, Feingold himself then went on national television and pointed his finger at it.

Can we hear the one again about how Feingold is killing the Democrats' chance to take the Senate in 2006? 'Cos I need a good laugh.


Thanks For Being Patient

We're still having growing pains into our new site. Fortunately we have great people working on it and we hope to be back up soon.

In the mean time, Digby catches DC Beltway denizen Cokie Roberts sticking her finger in the air and coming up -- bloggers:
Democrats are enjoying their miseries. Jack Reed of Rhode Island said to me this week-end "we have a strong wind at our back and all we have to do is get a sail up, any sail, some sail" but they haven't managed to do that yet.

They were interested to see how Senator Russ Feingold's call for censure worked with the blogosphere, mainly, and also in polls. Because Democrats backed away from his call just dramatically, even Democrats like Nancy Pelosi of California didn't want anything to do with it. But a Newsweek poll out today shows 42% of the people supporting censure including 20% of Republicans. So Democrats are feeling pretty good about where they are in all this.
They waited to see what we were going to say? While there were a few in the blogosphere who decided to sit this one out, the people who took a stand to back Feingold came out looking pretty good. The opinion polls show that there is a lot of public support for censuring the President and it feels like there is a sea change taking place as Democrats (though not Evan Bayh) warm up to the idea of representing what a large part of the country already feels.

I guess we're not so fringe after all.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Late Nite FDL: Incomprehensible Demoralization

When Nancy Pelosi recently stated that she thought things were "going well" for the Democrats she was no doubt referring to polls that show the Democrats have a 16-point lead in 2006 congressional election preferences.

But this confidence presumes that the Democrats will be able to mobilize the GOTV. The Republicans are very, very good at this and I hear a lot of defeatism amongst netroots Democrats that I am quite worried about. It only seems to grow worse as the Senate Democrats prove so deaf to the concerns of their base as evidenced in their petty, dismissive attitude toward Russ Feingold and his censure resolution.

People have come to believe in the past five years that Karl Rove is all-powerful (he's not), that Diebold can steal every election (they can't), that it is just not worth fighting because defeat is inevitable. That is a very dangerous mindset amongst people upon whom you are counting for those 16 points.

If the Democrats lose in November, I'm sure [Eleanor Clift will] find plenty of reasons to blame Democrats, but it won't occur to her that the reason people didn't vote for the D's was because the party listened to people like her and campaigned like a herd of neutered animals instead of listening to their hearts, their minds, their constituents and their leaders who were prepared to take a stand for what we believe in. No, they'll blame the "extremists" who want a safety net and a sane terrorism policy --- and leaders who defend the constitution. It couldn't possibly be that their tired, stale reflexive passivity is to blame when half the base fails to turn out because they just. have. no. hope.
I'll go beyond Digby. When half the country fails to vote because they realize they're not represented by an political party. Almost half the country supports censuring the president. That's not half the Democratic party, that's half the country.
Voter disenfranchisement isn't something you deal with in October, it's something you deal with now. People need something to believe in, not politicians who shun their values and treat them like some sort of social disease as they dive for the cocktail weenies in the center.

To presume voters will show up for you just because they think they other guy is worse is suicidal.

(drawing by Matt Elder)

Note: This should be our last post on this blog. Thanks to Blogger for giving us such a nice home for so long. We'll see you tomorrow on the other side.


3 Years of War

2318 dead
March 19, 2003-March 19, 2006

As I ate breakfast yesterday morning, eggs, bacon, french toast, I sipped from a glass of iced tea, the new york kind which always comes unsweetened, I was looking through the Daily News. I usually leave the Times for the internets.

So as I ate, and watched a three year old tell her grandmother about her "breasteses", I read the paper.

Not too far in the paper was a story about an incident in a Queens school. It seems a parent ran into a kid who was bullying his son. He grabbed him up and told him to leave the kid alone. Nothing too weird for New York.

Until.....he pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot the child if he messed with his son again.

Which even in New York, is insane.

The man ran off and then turned himself in at the local precinct.

OK. So why am I telling you about this story? I normally post these things on my blog, but this isn't a local interest story.

The man was an ICE criminal investigator who had spent a year in Iraq with the 69th Infantry as a staff sergeant. The NY Post reported today that he'd had nightmares and looked for help for months. They lost 19 dead, eight in one week.

The Oregonian is running a series on vets with PTSD. A national guardsman flipped out and was arrested in front of his children. He needed his gun and his wife wouldn't give it to him. He also needed help, and he didn't get that either.

His life after Iraq went from bad to worse to jail.

One out of every six Iraq war veterans will suffer some form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Some of it may not show for years.

From the day we crossed the Iraqi frontier, the war has been ongoing. There has never been a day of peace. All of the progress, elections, an Iraqi Army has been illusory. Because the fact is that the day we entered Baghdad, we undid a century's worth of work.

Between the Ottomans, the British and various Iraqi dictators, their twin goals have been to control the Kurds and supress the Shia.

Well, George Bush undid that.

He guaranteed, from the first Humvee which crossed the frontier, that a civil war would eventually result. Ken Pollack, who's godawful dung pile of a book, the Threatening Storm, ramped up support for the war among people who should have known better, never once, ever, considered the strategic issues of Iraq.

Saddam had a 12,000 man personal bodyguard for a reason. There wasn't a day where he couldn't have been killed.

The Kurds had fought the Iraqi government since the mid-1960's, the Shia rose in 1991. Why did the neocons think these people wanted a unified Iraq?

Dick Cheney said his statement about the US being greeted as liberators was true. Sure, if you argue the French liberated Mexico in 1863. Otherwise, we have unleashed an apocalypse on Iraq, maybe up to 250,000 dead.

Bush is still blathering about democracy, like it's magic or something. Well, Iraqi "democracy" has unleashed death squads, and created a parliment which cannot work with each other. After centuries of oppression, the Kurds want a country and the Shia want to run Iraq. Bit of a problem there. Except that the Shia have a friend in Iran and the Kurds have nothing but enemies.

The ability of the US Army, ground down by years of constant deployments and combat, to fight has been degraded to the point that there is real worry that the Army could collapse like it did in the 1970's. The equipment has already been ground down to the point of major refitting.

When Bush is talking about victory, if that victory is an orderly, low violence Iraq, he's dreaming. That isn't going to happen. The only victory which we might get is most of the Army escaping to Kuwait. All this talk of years of occupation and permanent bases is nonsense. Our end in Iraq will come quickly, completely and without much warning.


Redd on CSPAN: No Prisoners

Reddhedd did a super job on Washington Journal this morning with Paul Mirengoff of Powerline. They had a good exchange over Scooter Libby and Redd, of course, was shining.

Crooks & Liars has the video.


Nancy Pelosi Should Act First, Criticize Later

Although Nancy Pelosi is not a member of the Senate, she decided to pipe up and discipline Russ Feingold for daring to challenge the hegemony of the GOP:
"I think that things are going well for the Democrats right now," Pelosi told reporters Thursday, alluding to recent data showing that a plurality of poll respondents would prefer a Democratic-controlled House.

So why, she implied, should Democrats risk spoiling the mood?

She rebuffed the call by Sen. Russ Feingold, D- Wisc., to censure Bush for ordering National Security Agency surveillance of al Qaida contacts with persons in the United States without seeking warrants from a court.

"I have no idea why anybody would censure someone before they have an investigation,"” she said.
This would be the same Nancy Pelosi who, as Pach noted, sits in the same House of Representatives with some of the most corrupt Republicans who have ever climbed out of the primordial slime and attempted to walk erect, yet she actively discourages Democrats who want to file ethics complaints against them.

Ari Berman, writing in the Nation:
Meanwhile, Democratic leaders cry out for investigations--but only in their public statements. "The House Ethics Committee must get to work immediately to investigate ethics and corruption cases in the House, including those involving members with ties to Jack Abramoff," House minority leader Nancy Pelosi declared recently, naming DeLay, Ney, John Doolittle and Richard Pombo as deserving of inquiry. Yet according to Bell, Sloan and lawmakers who asked not to be named, Pelosi has specifically told House members not to file complaints. Pelosi, who said through a spokesperson that she has never been a party to any ethics truce, spent six years on the Ethics Committee during the turbulent Gingrich era ("serving my time," she jokingly calls it). Bell suspects that she's worried about retaliatory complaints being filed against Democrats. "There are some members who want to act, and when they bring it up with the leadership they're told to wait a while," says Bell. Congress, he says, "is a self-preservation institution. Members realize that if they rock the boat they endanger their self-preservation. And you can't file an ethics complaint without rocking the boat."
Pombo and Doolittle are facing tough re-election campaigns this November, and the only reason not to do their jobs and wave big, fat red flags around their flagrant ethics violations is incumbency protection. You don't challenge us, we don't challenge you. Their responsibilty to the people who actually elected them is considered not at all.

Pelosi claims there is no truce in place. Which means what, she doesn't know what Pombo and Dolittle have done? I guess that's what she has claimed, though one has to wonder what exactly she hopes to achieve in acknowledging ignorance about something about which the rest of the country is only too well aware.

It's the same frigid recalcitrance that paralyzes the rest of the Democratic establishment -- Feingold's resolution rocks the boat. It makes them all uncomfortale.

Too bad. Pelosi should STFU about Russ Feingold and do her damn job.


Let's Play Strategery

Ryan Lizza isn't a complete idiot, his piece on Gold Bars Luskin is the best I've read and I thoroughly enjoyed his portrait of McCain's unprincipled backdown from the steel-caged death match with Grover Norquist now that he's eyeing the white house. But since his TNR piece on Feingold this week is emblematic of much conventional wisdom he is, for the moment, a useful idiot:
Feingold is thinking about 2008. Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, and other Democrats are thinking about 2006. Feingold cares about wooing the anti-Bush donor base on the web and putting some of his '08 rivals--Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Evan Bayh--in uncomfortable positions. Reid and Schumer care about winning the six seats it will take for Democrats to win control of the Senate. Feingold cares about making a political point with a measure that has no chance of succeeding and which, even if it did, would have no actual consequences.


So the partisans on the left cheering Feingold appear to have both the policy and the politics wrong. Censure is meaningless. Changing the FISA law is the way to address Bush's overreach. And the only way for Democrats to change FISA is for them to take back the Senate. This week, Feingold's censure petition has made that goal just a little bit more difficult to achieve. What an ass.
Scott Lemieux dispatched the inherent absurdity of this Bayh-esque statement yesterday, to wit: How is changing the law going to deal with the problem of a President who doesn't think he has to obey the law? It doesn't even make sense on its own terms.

But I'd like to address the wholehearted swallowing by the Democratic establishment that this startling little bit of GOP group-think represents. As Jamison Foser says today (via Atrios):
Osama bin Laden may be dead? Good news for Republicans: They got bin Laden! New tapes prove bin Laden is still alive? Good news for Republicans: It reminds people of the threat of terrorism! Democrats don't criticize Bush? Good news for Republicans: Democrats are timid! Democrats do criticize Bush? Good news for Republicans: Democrats are shrill!
That's basic marketing 101, no matter what happens it's good for your team. It shouldn't be surprising to anyone that the media has internalized this so thoroughly they don't even know what they're doing; more puzzling is the fact that the Democrats now seem to be doing so as well.

If you're fighting a war you intend to win, you never. Ever. Say. That. Ever. So when token Democrats like Eleanor Clift step up and say Feingold's actions help the GOP, it can only be reflective of what Digby articulates so well: individuals (not the party) who have decided their lives will be made easier if they just stop resisting, lie back and learn to enjoy being throttled. Russ Feingold's fight -- our fight -- makes it uncomfortable for them to do that. Is there any other reason why they should be oh so much more exasperated with our exasperation than with, say, the President himself?

Even Bill Kristol today acknowledges the political efficacy of Feingold's move :
Kristol: I think Feingold has succeeded in casting a big cloud over the President's program.

Wallace: Do you think it's helping Democrats and hurting Republicans?

Kristol: Absolutely, as long as the charge is out there and not rebutted?

Hume: That is absurd. No politician among those who have been thoroughly briefed on this claims the briefings were insufficient and vague…Rockefeller does not claim that. Rockefeller has said many things about this program, but he has never said that he wasn't fully briefed that I know of.
Watch the tape at Crooks and Liars. Brit Hume's head explodes. Tell me he is a Republican happy about these charges being made? His only answer is to cook up a lie about Rockefeller, who most certainly has said he doesn't have enough information about the program. Hume fumbled with nary a Democrat in sight.

The idea that somehow this will hurt the Democrats in the 2006 election is beyond witless. That Feingold is being selfish, only stoking his own 2008 chances, throwing 2006 to the dogs. Please. Can someone explain to me how forcing the Republicans to rally around an unpopular President just as they're trying to distance themselves from him is going to hurt the Democrats? Lincoln Chafee knows it -- he's in the fight of his life for his Rhode Island Senate seat, and is notably the only Republican who said Feingold has raised good points and he wouldn't rule out voting for the measure.

If someone had the guts to hammer that wedge they'd put Chafee in an awfully uncomfortable position vis-a-vis BushCo (who must've kicked the shit out of him over it, because he backed down mighty quickly). Isn't that what Lizza says they're desperate to do? But they don't. They send Evan "Lemming" Bayh to trash Russ Feingold.

It was nice to see Dick Durbin back Feingold up this morning, even if he didn't come out and say he'd vote for the resolution. In doing so he seems to be bucking the one thing the Senate Democrats have been quite good at holding party solidarity on -- something they couldn't muster to oppose putting a rabid, Dobson-loving fundamentalist on the Supreme Court.

Is Bill Kristol the only one who's going to point out the obvious? Not only is Russ Feingold rallying a disspirited base frustrated with lack of leadership on the part of big Senate Democrats, this is a full-on disaster for the GOP in November.



Her masters at WaPo still aren't letting Little Debbie Howell touch national politics, but today she does have this to offer:

There's one big intangible in all this: a paper's connection with its readers. Readers who feel respected and who love their newspaper don't depart easily. If Post journalists write every story, take every photo, compose every headline and design every page with readers in mind, and the newspaper is printed well and delivered on time, The Post will be fine.

Indeed. Nice bromide. Shame about the content. And we're still waiting for those factual errors to be corrected. That would be one way to demonstrate respect. Eh?


Spector: Electing Santorum my "top priority in 2006"

Via ( Avedon (Rittenhouse Review (the Philadelphia Inkwire))):

I strongly disagree with the comments of Jennifer Stockman, on behalf of the Republican Majority for Choice, criticizing U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum ("S. Dakota abortion law is an assault," March 8).

While Sen. Santorum and I disagree on issues, I believe that he has done an excellent job for Pennsylvania and ought to be reelected. Without his support, I would not have won the 2004 Republican primary. Sen. Santorum's reelection is my top priority in 2006.

The organization which identifies itself as the Republican Majority for Choice ought not to be actively seeking to defeat Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate.

U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter

Washington, D.C.


The new, new conventional wisdom

Of course Iraq is a civil war.

At least that's what everybody's saying on This Week. C&L has the clip; Xan has the interpretive redaction.


Democrats vs. Theocrats

The Times has an interesting juxtaposition today.

The Good Guy
From Deborah Solomon's interview in the Magazine:
The strongest part of your book argues that Democrats are in desperate need of savvier consultants, their own Karl Rove, to help them build [sic--remember Florida 2000] a political majority. Why would you want them to be more like Republicans?

[KOS] To get their message out, the Republicans created this entire conservative noise machine. They have Fox News and The Washington Times and the 700 Club and just about the entire talk-radio dial. They have this incredible ability to promote whatever the big issue of the day is. There is no partisan liberal media that is working in concert with the Democratic Party in order to sell whatever the party is selling.
The dark overlords of the authoritarian cultist Sith
From Allan Brinkley's review of Kevin Phillips's American Theocracy in the Book Review:
On the far right is a still obscure but, Phillips says, rapidly growing group of "Christian Reconstructionists" who believe in a "Taliban-like" reversal of women's rights, who describe the separation of church and state as a "myth" and who call openly for a theocratic government shaped by Christian doctrine. A much larger group of Protestants, perhaps as many as a third of the population, claims to believe in the supposed biblical prophecies of an imminent "rapture" — the return of Jesus to the world and the elevation of believers to heaven.

Prophetic Christians, Phillips writes, often shape their view of politics and the world around signs that charlatan biblical scholars have identified as predictors of the apocalypse — among them a war in Iraq, the Jewish settlement of the whole of biblical Israel, even the rise of terrorism. [Phillips] convincingly demonstrates that the Bush administration has calculatedly reached out to such believers and encouraged them to see the president's policies as a response to premillennialist thought. He also suggests that the president and other members of his administration may actually believe these things themselves, that religious belief is the basis of policy, not just a tactic for selling it to the public.
Oh, and this little lagniappe from Brinkley:
Phillips's evidence for this disturbing claim is significant, but not conclusive.
Tranlation: "They can't be serious." When, oh when, will we learn to take these people at their word?

It will be, indeed, a long war.

NOTE Of course, the blogosphere (in particular, farmer) has been all over christianism from before beginning. So it's nice to see Phillips join the analytical mainstream on this one.

UPDATE Rapture Index closes down 2 on Oil and lack of activity in Kings of the East. See, oil prices dropped, so the rapture is farther away. So it's bad that oil prices dropped... Maybe we really need look no further than these loons for the source of the malAdministration's blac-is-white-ism.


When the cleaning people don't actually move the vacuum, you know they're FBI thugs

By now we know that not only does Bush conduct secret, warrantless, illegal electronic surveillance, He conducts secret, warrantless, illegal physical searches as well. So much for The Fourth Amendment.

But that's old--and expected--news. (Would it be simpler just to make a list of Constitutional clauses these guys haven't trashed? Because I'm having a hard time keeping track.) Here's my favorite part of the US News article that broke this story.

Thomas Nelson is the defense attorney who was a target of the latest outbreak of Republican bag jobs, and who, nine months before the NSA story broke, wrote U.S. Attorney Karin Immergut in Oregon that in the previous nine months, "I and others have seen strong indications that my office and my home have been the target of clandestine searches."

And here's one of those indications:

Late at night on two occasions, Nelson's colleague Jonathan Norling noticed a heavyset, middle-aged, non-Hispanic white man claiming to be a member of an otherwise all-Hispanic cleaning crew, wearing an apron and a badge and toting a vacuum. But, says Norling, "it was clear the vacuum was not moving." Three months later, the same man, waving a brillo pad, spent some time trying to open Nelson's locked office door, Norling says. Nelson's wife and son, meanwhile, repeatedly called their home security company asking why their alarm system seemed to keep malfunctioning. The company could find no fault with the system.

Of course, I'm sure this is an isolated incident, perpetrated by over-zealous, brillo pad-waving, apron-wearing field operatives....


Ho Lieberman doesn't need the Times to be his pimp

Because Joe's an independent, right?

Put down your coffee.

Now read General Paul Eaton on The Times Op-Ed page:

First, President Bush should accept the offer to resign that Mr. Rumsfeld says he has tendered more than once, and hire a man who will listen to and support the magnificent soldiers on the ground. Perhaps a proven Democrat like Senator Joseph Lieberman could repair fissures that have arisen both between parties and between uniformed men and the Pentagon big shots.

I love it! "Proven Democrat..." Proven at what? Repeating Republican talking points on Fox and stabbing other Democrats in the back?

NOTE You can contribute to Lieberman's primary opponent, Ned Lamont, here.


Putting the question

Bush breaks the law, admits that he broke the law, claims he has the authority to break the law, and does all this with impunity.

I don't see how there can be a bigger issue than Bush's impunity from lawbreaking. If Bush can cherrypick which laws to obey, and when and how to obey them, then he might as well be writing the laws and interpreting them too, besides executing them. That means the end of the separation of powers, the concentration of all power in the executive, and the end of the independent legislative and judicial branches. That means the end of our Constitution.

This is tyranny, exactly in the form the Founders understood and were determined to prevent. Federalist 47:

The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.

So the question I'd like to see posed to every elected representative, Democratic or Republican, is this:

What is your plan to restore Constitutional government in the United States?

NOTE Has it escaped anyone's notice that raising this question would be a very good way to nationalize the 2006 midterms?

UPDATE Alert, and Constant, Reader points out that Gary Trudeau gets it. Funny, though not exactly funnny ha-ha, eh?


Well, That Was Fun...

Well, that was actually fun. Am back at my hotel -- awaiting my breakfast from room service. Amazing how hungry being up early and talking politics on television can make you. I'm STARVING. And in need of much more coffee before my drive home.

But I wanted to stop in and say thanks to everyone for watching this morning. You guys are the best, do you know that?

The C-Span Washington Journal set has the most amazing view of the Capitol. It was the perfect backdrop for political discourse this morning. A big thank you to Eloise and Lisa at C-Span for taking such good care of me. Peter, the host, has a wry sense of humor -- would have liked to have spoken more with him (I hear he has a good Cher calling into the show story...).

It turns out that Paul Mirengoff and I have a mutual legal acquaintance -- wow, the world is small, eh? And for my very first television interview, I could not have asked for a better conservative counterpart across the desk.

Had dinner with Pach yesterday at a fantastic Vietnamese restaurant somewhere in Virginia. Poor fella, I dragged him around the mall because I left my black cashmere sweater at home (oops!) and had to find something to wear on camera beyond my sleeping t-shirt. We had a great time, though -- and some exceptional food and conversation at dinner. Pach is a peach!

Ahhhh...the room service is here and I must have more coffee. Have I mentioned how great you all are for getting up this morning? This was lots of fun, but I miss my morning routine...and blogspot isn't letting me upload a photo, so I'll have to put up the lovely robin I had picked out for TeddySanFran when I get home later today.


Three Years Of Hell

Three years ago tomorrow night was when our news channels filled with images of bombs exploding in Baghdad. 9:34pm est. time will mark the anniversary of the actual start of the invasion.

So where have we gone since then? Well we did make it to Baghdad with little effort. We did find Saddam Hussein. That’s about it for the good points..

Now here we sit 3 years later and where are we. We have lost 2,318 soldiers, over 30,000 Iraqi citizens; spent over half a trillion dollars (increasing by $200 million a day) and we sit here, isolated from the rest of the world. What does our President have to say about the war now?

"More fighting and sacrifice will be required," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "For some, the temptation to retreat and abandon our commitments is strong. Yet there is no peace, there's no honor and there's no security in retreat. So America will not abandon Iraq to the terrorists who want to attack us again."

Basically the Bush plan for Iraq is the same it has been since the invasion. Think of it as football. We see upsets time and time again. A team takes to the field with an over optimistic attitude because their opponents rated a large underdog. Of course that over optimistic team comes home with their heads held down low because they were just upset. I am not saying our outcome in Iraq will be the same because we can change the rules. We can redefine what we call a win. True in war, the only winner is war.

In January of 2003, Saddam Huessein vowed to give the Americans “a war like no other they have fought before”. Many people laughed at that comment. Well there are 2, 318 families not laughing now. In fact Saddam has given us exactly what he vowed. The insurgency is that war which Saddam vowed.

Last fall Donald Rumsfeld took to the Sunday morning talk shows to try and build support for the war. One question he was asked on Meet the Press was about the insurgency. Rumsfeld said he does not believe a “robust” insurgency was something they planned for. Of course it wasn’t. What they planned for were people greeting their liberators and throwing flowers and candy at them. It is not a lack of planning, but rather a lack of perspective.

Prior to the invasion, our President did not even know the difference between Sunni, Shiite and Kurds. He thought Iraq was nothing more than “Iraqis”. It is that sort of monochrome view that has helped contribute to this disastrous nightmare.

One of the benefits I have on IntoxiNation, is having a great partner in blogging who shares my same views. The only difference we have is the fact that I am in the United States and he is in the United Kingdom.

In the U.K. public support for the war has always been very low. Tony Blair is now facing some big political challenges and one way he is trying to gain public support is by fixing Iraq. This week the U.K. announced that they were withdrawing 800 troops from Iraq. The next day the U.S. announces they are sending over 700 more troops. Kind of hard to say we are making progress when we have to offset our allies’ withdrawal like that.

This move by Blair was also done the same week a new Downing Street Memo was published in the Guardian.

Senior British diplomatic and military staff gave Tony Blair explicit warnings three years ago that the US was disastrously mishandling the occupation of Iraq, according to leaked memos.

John Sawers, Mr Blair's envoy in Baghdad in the aftermath of the invasion, sent a series of confidential memos to Downing Street in May and June 2003 cataloguing US failures. With unusual frankness, he described the US postwar administration, led by the retired general Jay Garner, as "an unbelievable mess" and said "Garner and his top team of 60-year-old retired generals" were "well-meaning but out of their depth".

Of course we already knew this. There was a five year project headed up in the State Department, which started under Clinton, whose mission was to deal with a strategy when it comes to dealing with a post war Iraq. This project employed some of the brightest minds in our nation when it comes to Iraq and cost the taxpayers’ millions. What did George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld do with this plan? They threw it out. Instead they went into Iraq with no plan because they were that over optimistic team I talked about earlier. In war the greatest enemy is optimism.

In the past three years we have created a breeding ground for terrorists. We have also destabilized the most dangerous region in the world. We ignored the offers of help last year from other Middle Eastern countries and now Iraq is on the verge of civil war – a war which will most likely span across its borders and further destabilize the region as a whole.

Three years later and we got the President out giving his same talking points. The year may be different but the rhetoric is the same. Today you can turn on the television and see General Casey talk about the war. He is scheduled on three Sunday Morning talk shows while Dick Cheney is slotted on Face the Nation. While the citizens of this country mourn what we have lost, we got the cheerleaders out trying to muster support for a highly unpopular war. If they want to gain support then they should be locked in a room in Washington trying to figure out a plan to get us out of this nightmare.

Cross posted at IntoxiNation

(On another note: Great job Reddhedd on Washington Journal this morning)