Saturday, March 31, 2007

Senate v. Bush Showdown

The administration is raising its rhetoric in its battle over funding for Iraq. It has been none too pleased with the Senate for fulfilling its consitutional duty to check the authority of the executive.

When Bill Clinton had a showdown with the Republican congress over the Budget, the public increasingly sided with Bubba. Bush claims that congress will eventually be held responsible in the same way for "abandoning" our troops. I disagree. There is a fundamental difference between being forced to shut down the federal government and being forced to constrain the operations of our troops.

The public is much futher removed from the latter and, whereas the Republican congress was proposing cuts to social services during Bill Clinton's presidency (difficult to begin with), Bush is fighting to prolong an unpopular war. To win this political battle, the Democrats need to step up the pressure; they must maintain the constant message that Bush and Cheney are untrustworthy as leaders and that they have lost contact with the needs of the country. By discrediting the policies of the administration (which is easy to do, given their incompetence) congress will be able to remove our troops from the civil war.

Lets hope they succeed.

Posted by Peter

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Senate Pulls Through

The Senate voted in favor of a pullout date yesterday, to my great pleasure and to Dick Cheney's great dismay. I'm particularly proud of Chuck Hagel, who's comments echo my own feelings: "There will not be a military solution to Iraq. Iraq belongs to the 25 million Iraqis who live there."

John McCain disagreed. He noted that, "A second-year cadet at West Point could tell you that if you announce when the end will be, it's a recipe for defeat." While I would agree with McCain for conventional battles, his argument does not hold for civil wars. There can be no clear military defeat, because there is no clear military victory. There is no state to surrender; no general to raise the white flag. The insurgency grows organically from within the dysfunctional state and will continue to do so until the Iraqis make the necessary compromises. We cannot force them to make these changes.

Bush will likely veto the final version of the bill, but as with his many failed decisions regarding Iraq, I expect little more from him.

Posted by Peter

Monday, March 19, 2007

"And then you can challenge the Klingons for interstellar domination!"

I know I shouldn't start my day by reading the New York Post, but this column by Amir Taheri almost made me throw up my Kellogs' Crunchy Nut Clusters this morning. Money quote:
Preserving the victory achieved in Iraq means delivering a deathblow to all the Middle East's demons: the pan-Arab chauvinists, the Khomeinists, al Qaeda and other jihadis, Shiite and Sunni sectarians, and reactionary autocrats.

Posted by Kingston

Rolling Stone on Iraq

Rolling Stone recently asked a panel of experts to give their views on the future of Iraq. According to the likes of Zbigniew Brzezinski, Richard Clarke, Gen. Tony McPeak (retired), and Paul Pillar, among others, the best we can hope for is civil war and a stronger al-Qaeda while the worst case scenario is World War III. The most likely scenario, they argue, falls somewhere in between: years of ethnic cleansing and war with Iran. Depressing stuff. But divorced from reality? I wish I could say yes.

Posted by Kingston

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Libby Pardon

People didn't waste any time raising the issue of pardoning Libby for his crimes. The New York Times presents a neutral piece on the issue here, whereas The Wall Street Journal, The Week Standard and the National Review swiftly undermined the purpose of a judicial system by demanding an immediate pardon.

We are either a country ruled by law or we are not; there is no place in a just society for exceptions based on power and connections. Those on the right will try and argue that his crime was not heinous, "he only lied in front of a grand jury." Mobsters have been sentenced to jail over lying to a grand jury; do we discuss pardoning them? The perpetrators of Iran-Contra were pardoned because they acted out of "Patriotism". Those on the right make the same argument for Libby: lying to a grand jury is not patriotic, neither are covert operations or exposing CIA operatives.

I have little doubt that Libby will be pardoned by Bush in the final minutes of his Presidency; his father did the same for the Iran-Contra criminals. That other Presidents have defiled our justice system (Bill Clinton did so, I might add, with Marc Rich) does not mean the current one should do so as well.

I believe in forgiveness, but we need consistency. For a President who executed hundreds without sympathy while in Texas, and has pardoned few during his Presidency, pardoning Libby would show that Justice is not blind, but rather a socialite, tipping the scales as she sees fit.

Posted by Peter

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Libby Gets Ace'd

The guy lied in front a grand-jury...repeatedly. Even Andy McCarthy admits it! He deserves to go down!

The more salient question, however, is - and always has been - why Cheney went to such great lengths to discredit Joe Wilson, who at that time was essentially a nobody. Is this yet another case of mindless Bush administration incompetence or were Cheney & Co. willing to do pretty much anything to prevent their less than honest manipulation of intelligence on Iraq's WMD from being blown wide open? Count me as a believer in the latter.

For more speculation, see Andrew and Kevin.

Posted by Kingston

More Giuliani

In a brilliant column on the farcical three ring circus that is the GOP race for the presidency, Matt saves his best for the "glory-chasing" former Governor of NYC:
A thrice-married occasional cross-dresser with a penchant for seizing guns while turning a blind eye to illegal immigrants who also thinks cutting taxes on the rich is the be-all and end-all of economic policy isn't going to inspire anyone to wonder what's the matter with Kansas. Next to Giuliani, everyone looks like the candidate for values voters.
Read the whole thing!

Posted by Kingston

Saturday, March 03, 2007


I have blogged several times about why McCain is unlikely to be elected in 2008, but with Rudy Giuliani leading significantly in the polls, it's time I wrote a little about the dangers of a Giuliani presidency.

To be fair, with 3 wives and a host of homosexual friends, he would be one of the most culturally liberal presidents ever; but, with his predisposition to draconian security policies, hard-nose politics, and picking fights, Rudy Giuliani is a terrible person to lead this country in the wake of George Bush, Jr.

Americans think of Giuliani as the mythical figure in New York City on September 11th, 2001. Too few have taken the time to consider him, not as the idealized character of that legend, but as the polarizing mayor who killed his own political career, dumped his wife on television and created a racially divisive police state to try and solve New York's crime problems (of course, those who have read Freakonomics, or the original paper by Steven Levitt, know that Giuliani's police state may have had little to do with the turn-around in crime).

With a Democratic Congress I am not particularly concerned about the mistakes Giuliani might make domestically; he will most likely make standard Republican promises of cutting social programs and increasing the size of the military, but the Democratic Congress will help check his folly.

I am concerned about his likely actions in the Middle East, or with new Russia and the rise of China. As a man who seems to charge like a bull at all confrontation, his tendency towards aggression could have grave consequences.

Unfortunately, many Americans support these type of hard-line policies, which means that the most worrisome part of his candidacy will likely go unquestioned.

Social conservatives actually have little to worry about his previous Pro-Abortion, Gun-Control history; he's a good enough politician to flip-flop like a champ and never look back.

That means moderate liberals like me have a fair amount to worry about.