Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Blair announces Iraq withdrawal plan - Yahoo! News

Bush rat leaves the sinking ship. White House calls it a sign of success. Up is down. War is peace. Hate is love. Blair announces Iraq withdrawal plan - Yahoo! News

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ahem

Let the record show that when the Republicans filibustered a Democratic initiative again on Saturday, no one in the Democratic leadership suggested abolishing the right to filibuster. The Majority Leader did not launch into a tirade. There was no need for "moderates" like Joe Lieberman and John McCain to strike a compromise to save the right to fillibuster.

Let the record show that much, at least.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Raw Story | Cheney son-in-law used revolving door to stop chemical security regulations

Wonderful family.And they've done so much to help make America safe and secure.The Raw Story | Cheney son-in-law used revolving door to stop chemical security regulations

Thursday, February 15, 2007

GOP musters its own vets for Iraq debate - CNN.com

I am a veteran, and I can't begin to tell you how much I detest veterans who think their status as veterans gives them some sort of special wisdom or insight on things like this. GOP musters its own vets for Iraq debate - CNN.com

These guys don't know any more - or any less - than the people across the aisle - including those on the other side who, like them, happen to be vets.
These guys don't own patriotism. They are not "supporting the troops." They're posing atop a growing mountain of casualties, and ignoring a growing mountain of evidence that the politicians whose position they're supporting cooked the intelligence, and lied us into this god-awful war.

Embolden the enemy, my ass.

Vile

According to the article posted here, the people who planned the war in Iraq (Bush, Rumsfeld, General Tommy Franks) projected there would only be 5,000 American troops left in Iraq by December, 2006.

Stupidity. Arrogance. Hubris.

The same article says that planning for the invasion was under way in December, 2001 (Bush is reported to have asked Rumsfeld about it in November, 2001).

Two months after 9/11, these fools are hard at work, ginning up the wrong war, planning for reconstruction like a bunch of six year-olds clapping for Tinkerbell.

Vile.





http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB214/index.htm

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Regarding Franken

A thought or two about Al Franken and the race to unseat Norm Coleman.

I wrote advertising for Paul Wellstone in 1990, and again in 1996. I am told that the Wellstones framed the storyboard for one of my commercials – and that they’d hung it in the living room of their Washington apartment. I hope it was so.

I went to the memorial service at Williams Arena when they died, and, in the days that followed, I watched the Republicans, main stream media, and right wing radio butcher the intent of the event and the memory of the Wellstones, their daughter, and the others on the plane. I will never forget (or forgive them for) the way they belittled the genuine agony and tears of a lot of really good people.

For that alone, Coleman, Richard Cheney’s hand-picked candidate, deserves to lose. He also deserves to lose for his votes – hundreds of them – in support of the Bush Administration. Further, he deserves to lose for the disingenuity with which he is now trying to sidle away from his record and distance himself from the albatross that is now and forever will be around his self-saving neck.

But Coleman isn’t going to be easy to beat. If Al Franken is the candidate, the same vicious people and the same millionaire money and the same media outlets that denigrated Wellstone (dead or alive) are going to go all-out to present Franken as nothing more than a second-rate comedian.

They will depict his campaign as being as flukey and far-fetched as Ventura’s. They will scrutinize his every word, looking for chances to tar him with John Kerry-like, out of context misquotes.

They will script the Teflon-esque, blow-combed chameleon Coleman with catch phrases. They will do everything they can strip Franken of gravitas.

And it may well be easy for them to do so.

After all, Franken has been, first and foremost, a comedian. And, while Franken was truly wonderful on Air America Radio, (where he se served up a unique mix of humor, policy wonkage, insight and interviews) the sound byte and catch-phrase nature of main stream media is not going to favor long, insightful answers or more cerebral debate.

Coleman, on the other hand, has made his living off the public’s notoriously short-term memory. He is at his best making preposterous contentions in front of interviewers who are either too shallow or too paid-for to cut off the ring and corner him with follow up questions. He is his own made-for-TV event, complete with an entourage of rich pals and a bunch of dumb middle class guy types who haven’t yet figured out hat they’re going to have to pay for his follies from tax cuts for the wealthy to hockey rinks for the wealthy.

Then there is Franken’s face. He looks as if he is playing for laughs – even when he is deadly serious. Just standing there, listening to Coleman’s inanities, he will look like he’s double-taking the audience. He will be vulnerable to misinterpretation or plain old misrepresentation.

I love Al Franken, and I admire him for wanting to rid us of Norm Coleman. But I am sincerely afraid that, without the proper funding, the right handlers, and the right coaching, he may turn out to be the perfect opponent for an incumbent Senator who never should have gotten to Washington in the first place.

Chrysler to cut 13,000 jobs after�loss there soars - Feb. 14, 2007

Melinda Henneberger: GOP PR Strategy Blames Dems For "Status Quo" On Iraq | The Huffington Post

Oh... Now I get it... The Dems are the ones who spent years talking about staying the course...Melinda Henneberger: GOP PR Strategy Blames Dems For "Status Quo" On Iraq | The Huffington Post

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Crooks and Liars � “The Republic Party”

Congressman Nadler, D, NY

Madame Speaker, I rise to support this resolution and to call upon my colleagues to make a commitment to protect our troops and to bring them home as quickly and safely as possible.

The Iraq War is President Bush's war. The President deceived the American people and Members of Congress when he made the case for war. Every reason we were given for invading Iraq was false. Weapons of Mass Destruction? Not there. Saddam Hussein working hand-in-glove with Al Qaeda? Not true. And the more information that leaks out, the more apparent it becomes that these were not mistakes, but deliberate lies.

I ask you: if the President had gone to the American people and said we must invade a country that poses no imminent threat to us, and sacrifice thousands of lives in order to create a democratic government in Iraq, would we have assented? I think not.

And as the President now says to us that we should continue indefinitely to expend American blood and treasure to support one side in a sectarian civil war, should Congress continue to consent? I think not.

We need to say "Enough already!" Enough with the lies, and the deceit and the evasions! Enough with the useless bloodshed. We must protect our troops and ensure their safety while they are in Iraq. But we must not send more troops there to intervene in a civil war whose outcome we cannot determine. And we should set a swift timetable to withdraw our troops from Iraq, and let the contending Iraqi factions know that we will not continue to expend American blood and treasure to referee their civil war. Only if faced with the reality of imminent withdrawal of American troops might the Iraqis strike a deal with each other, and end the civil war.

We know that the Administration has botched the handling of this war; they stood by as Baghdad was looted, they failed to guard ammunition depots, they disbanded the Iraqi army, they crippled the government by firing all the competent civil servants in the name of de-Baathification. And they wasted countless billions of dollars on private contractors and on G-d only-knows-what, with no accounting.

And all this while they continue to deny resources to the real war on the terrorists. They let Osama bin Laden escape. They allowed the Taliban to recover and reconquer. They allow our ports to remain unprotected from uninspected shipping containers. And they let loose nuclear materials remain unaccounted for, waiting to be smuggled to Al Qaeda to be made into nuclear weapons.

And why does the President want more troops in Iraq? To expand our role from fighting Sunni insurgents to fighting the Shiite militias too. Of course, when we attack the Shiite militias, they will respond by shifting their targets from Sunnis to American troops. American casualties will skyrocket, and we will be fighting two insurgencies instead of one.

I believe the President has no real plan other than not to "lose Iraq" on his watch, and to hand over the whole mess to his successor two years from now. He will ignore anything Congress does that doesn't have the force of law.

That is why this resolution must be only the first step.

In the Supplemental Budget we will consider next month, we should exercise the only real power we have - the Congressional power of the purse. We will not cut off the funds, and leave our troops defenseless before the enemy, as the demagogues would imply, but we should limit the use of the funds we provide to protecting the troops while they are in Iraq and to withdrawing them on a timetable mandated in the law. We should provide funds to rebuild the army and to raise our readiness levels, for diplomatic conferences in case there is any possibility of negotiating an end to the Iraqi civil war, and for economic reconstruction assistance, but above all, we must use the power of the purse to mandate a timetable to withdraw our troops from Iraq.

We must use the power the people have entrusted to us. The best way to protect our troops is to withdraw them from the middle of a civil war they cannot win, and that is not our fight.

I know that, if we withdraw the troops, the civil war may continue and could get worse. But this is probably inevitable, no matter how long our troops remain. And if the Iraqis must fight a civil war, I would rather they fight it without 20,000 more Americans dying.

Yes, the blindness of the Administration is largely to blame for starting the civil war in Iraq, but we cannot end it. Only the Iraqis can settle their civil war. We can only make it worse, and waste our blood and treasure pointlessly.

So let us pass this resolution, and then let us lead this country out of the morass in Iraq, so that we can devote our resources to protecting ourselves from the terrorists and to improving the lives of our people.

Think Progress � McCain To Deliver Keynote Speech For Creationists

Hot damn. A presidential candidate pandering to people who think Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs just like Fred and Barney. Think Progress � McCain To Deliver Keynote Speech For Creationists

The Raw Story | 'Clean as an F'ing whistle:' Expletive-laden audio of CIA leaker released

Here, for your amusement and edification, are Richard Armitage and Bob Woodward discussing the future of the American people with a callowness and vapidity worthy of a couple of chapter officers at a secnd rate land grant college fraternity.

Like Flounder in Animal House, we fucked up. We trusted them.The Raw Story | 'Clean as an F'ing whistle:' Expletive-laden audio of CIA leaker released

The Libby Trial

So there they were – Judith Miller and Scooter Libby, and Robert Novak and Richard Armitage and Bob Woodward and Karl Rove and Tim Russert and all the other self-important inside-the-beltway people, discussing Joseph Wilson, his op-ed piece and Valerie Plame, Joseph Wilson’s CIA employee wife.

Do you suppose it ever crossed their minds that they were playing fast and loose with the United States of America? Did they think for a moment that maybe they weren’t entitled to do so? Did they stop to think that Wilson, Plame, and their children – or the then-mostly-living 3000-plus Americans who died in Iraq – or the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis – were real people with real lives, not vague abstractions?

No. They shilled, flacked and worried the Iraq war into existence, (or in Woodward’s case, withheld critical information) in order to advance their own self interest. The Plame-Wilson story was nothing more than a malignant little shuttlecock in a bizarre game of Tim Burton-esque badminton out on the lawn.

Such silly, shallow and vane little people. They are courtiers six ranks back in the throng at King George’s court.

And there they were, fucking America Iraq and the Wilsons over, toying with the lives of others – feeling entitled – even obligated to do so. They are our high school cool kids gone to seed. Vainglorious preening people. Millionaires who’ve allowed – and continue to allow – themselves to be played for fools. Pompous asses who ignored the stink of the Clinton impeachment, stood by for the coup that was Bush vs Gore, allowed – and continue to allow – the conflation of 9/11 and Iraq and parroted the false alarms about WMD’s.

Our national politics are their office politics, nothing more – and certainly nothing personal. God, it’s galling.

Comedian Louie Anderson used to have a bit where he said that he wished somebody would come up with an “asshole bullet” that only killed you for five minutes.

You’d wake up, face down on the sidewalk and realize somebody had killed you for five minutes and you’d sit up and say, “Damn. I must have been a real asshole.”

Where are the asshole bullets when we really need them?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Time for the Senate to grow a pair.

Bipartisanship is still dead. The question is, do the D's realize it?
Consortiumnews.com

Russert The Hack

More on Tim Russert as hack and tool. This from today's LA Times:

Russert's fault? A lack of outrage
SCOTT COLLINS
February 12, 2007

THOSE of us who get a kick out of watching Tim Russert every Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" are feeling a little hangdog these days. We always thought Big Russ Jr. was tough on the powerful. Now we learn that to some Washington media types on both the right and the left, he's just a tool for the powerful.

What's occasioned this perceptual turnabout is, of course, the perjury and obstruction trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, where Russert wrapped up two days of testimony last week. Libby says the NBC newsman fed him the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, who is at the center of the trial. Russert says he didn't.

To ordinary viewers, though, whatever transpired during Libby's phone call to Russert back in 2003 couldn't be as jarring as what the trial has unearthed about Washington's deeply cynical attitude toward "Meet the Press," a venerable, 60-year-old staple of network TV and the No. 1-rated Sunday news talk show.

A former Cheney press aide testified last month that she pushed to get the vice president on Russert's show to bat down negative news because it was "our best format," a program where political handlers can "control the message."

Wow. Really? With his Buick-like physique, piercing stare and rumbling baritone — plus his interrogatory style of brandishing incriminating documents and video in front of his guests — Russert sure doesn't look like any flack's patsy.

But to Russert's longtime critics, this was an a-ha! moment. Arianna Huffington, who once penned the critical "RussertWatch" feature for her liberal Huffington Post website, said she attended the Libby trial last week. There she found fresh confirmation for her view of Russert as one of the media handmaidens who carried water for the Bush administration in the run-up to the Iraq war.

"When we started RussertWatch, we didn't know he was on Dick Cheney and [ex-aide] Mary Matalin's list of ways to get their message out," Huffington told me Friday. She also heaped scorn on Russert's testimony that he always assumed his off-camera conversations with government officials were automatically off-the-record, so as "not to blindside anyone."

"That's the exact opposite of how journalists operate," Huffington said. "Russert's responsibility is to the public, unless there's some specific granting of anonymity."

So which is it? Is Russert the lantern-jawed tough guy many of us thought he was, the hard-boiled lawyer-turned-journo who hoists wayward pols on their own rhetorical petards? Or is he really just a Beltway Cowardly Lion who blows hard but allows his prey to wink and nudge their way out of tight spots with the nation's future at stake? (An NBC spokeswoman, citing the sensitive nature of the court testimony, said neither Russert nor network officials would comment.)

Evidence for Russert as a big softie has long existed. In 2004, when it came time to leverage his celebrity into a book-length treatise, he gave us not the standard "how I became an intrepid reporter" odyssey, the broadcast journalists' default choice, but rather "Big Russ and Me," a sentimental memoir of his categorically decent but emotionally withholding Irish-Catholic father.

"Big Russ" may not stack up as great literature, but it became a surprise bestseller and humanized Russert to millions who'd known him simply as a guy who liked to play "gotcha" with elected officials.

But writing a heartwarming book that merchants might file alongside "Tuesdays With Morrie" doesn't help demonstrate journalistic toughness. And watching "Meet the Press" over the last few weeks, I think I can understand why both Cheney's office and critics such as Huffington believe Russert can be readily controlled.

As an interviewer, Russert relies on documentary evidence to ask the pointed questions you want asked and answered. He hardly permits our leaders to slip away freely. Russert aggressively pursued, for example, the U.S. failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq during President Bush's February 2004 appearance on "Meet the Press."

But Russert can seem overly dispassionate, particularly during a time when opinion has increasingly bled into the news. And it's the lack of emotion that can make his approach look, after a while, less like real toughness than a facsimile of it.

Outrage is the reporter's ultimate stock in trade, from Oriana Fallaci jabbing Ayatollah Khomeini over Islamic veils to the on-camera meltdowns of Anderson Cooper and Shepard Smith during Hurricane Katrina. But Russert doesn't do outrage. He doesn't pound his desk and tell guests to shut up, like Bill O'Reilly. He doesn't try to pry open subjects by telling them, as Mike Wallace is known to have done, that their story is "pabulum." He's not on the receiving end of angry lectures, like the kind that Bill Clinton gave Chris Wallace, or the kind Dan Rather seemed to get from everyone.

Is there something vaudevillian about all these histrionics? Sure, but that's part of journalism. Maybe not the most handsome part, but a part nonetheless. It's revealing that when Libby rang Russert in 2003, it was to lodge a complaint, not about Russert, but about his high-volume MSNBC colleague Chris Matthews. The "Hardball" host is exactly the kind of outburst-prone broadcaster who can drive handlers up the wall.

On the Feb. 4 show, Russert drilled former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards over his stance on the Iraq war, tracing how the Democratic presidential candidate shifted from support to opposition. Russert asked all the right questions, presented all the right evidence, but there was an emotional element missing. Isn't it at least a little disappointing that a leading voice from the supposed opposition party went along for so long with a war plan that he now tells us, with the benefit of several years' hindsight and when the information is of little use, was grievously flawed?

But because that sense of outrage was missing from the "Meet the Press" host — he asked the questions in the same lawyerly tone of polite urgency and slight incredulousness he always uses — Edwards was basically allowed to shrug: Oh, well. Can't win 'em all.

Russert fans say the host is getting a raw deal. Marvin Kalb, "Meet the Press" host during the 1980s, praises his successor for building the program to its No. 1 status, and said whatever trade-offs Russert lives by were inevitable. "The politician wants exposure, the journalist wants a story," Kalb said. "On 'Meet the Press,' the two attempt to come together with dignity. Most of the time, it works."

It's also probably not a good idea to put too much faith in the proclamations of the pro-Libby folk. "It may be tactically in the interests of the administration to say Russert is easy," noted Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. "Any time a politician plays press critic and tells you who's good, you need to carry a large container of salt."

Even Huffington admits that Russert attracts a lot of attention simply because his Sunday program is No. 1 in the ratings.

Still, it's clear that the ground has shifted beneath Russert's feet. Sixteen years hosting "Meet the Press," and he's suddenly becoming the story. Surely that's not a welcome switch, but Russert's plenty smart enough to know something is going on.

When a Libby attorney, during his cross examination, went over the specifics of a newspaper column critical of Russert and then asked whether it was "one of the more personal attacks you've experienced," Russert replied, "Probably not anymore."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

peacetrain

Lawmaker: U.S. sent giant pallets of cash into Iraq - CNN.com

"Who in their right mind would send 363 tons of cash into a war zone? But that's exactly what our government did." Lawmaker: U.S. sent giant pallets of cash into Iraq - CNN.com: "'Who in their right mind would send 363 tons of cash into a war zone? But that's exactly what our government did,' "

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

David Broder Libels Democrats [Oliver Willis: Like Kryptonite To Stupid]

As someone who went to Vietnam, as someone who resents every goddaam chicken hawk asshole who never heard a shot fired in anger but has no problem sending your kid or my kid to the shit hole war they started, I can't tell you how much I loathe lying bastards like Broder. David Broder Libels Democrats [Oliver Willis: Like Kryptonite To Stupid]

Monday, February 05, 2007

Republicans block Senate debate on Iraq - Yahoo! News

Happy Colin Powel Day

Atrios comeomorates Poewl's UN appearance. Eschaton

Friday, February 02, 2007

Lawmakers square off on climate report - CNN.com

Classsic conservative myopia. Loss of jobs in greenhouse gas-intense industries justifies continuing to spew CO2 into the atmosphere. Meanwhile the opportunity to create jobs in clean energy industries goes largely ignored, paid sound bite lipservice in speeches like the State of the Union where the news on Iraq was so dire, Bush had to acknowledge global warming just to fill. Lawmakers square off on climate report - CNN.com

BBC NEWS | Europe | Russia probes smelly orange snow

Ucky, Mommy. Something about growing up in Omsk, Siberia sounds just plain scarry. Like Zappa said - Don't eaat the yellow snow.
BBC NEWS | Europe | Russia probes smelly orange snow

Debunking David Brooks

Daavid Brook's latest (Bubba's comments in caps and parentheses)

February 1, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
The Iraq Syndrome, R.I.P.

By DAVID BROOKS
After Vietnam, Americans turned inward. (WHAT THE HELL DOES "TURN INWARD" MEAN?)Having lost faith in their leadership class (FUNNY-OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY WE HEAR AMERICA IS ALL ABOUT EQUALITY - THERE'S A "LEADERSHIP CLASSES?"), many Americans grew suspicious of power politics and hesitant about projecting American might around the world.(HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH "PROJECTING AMERICAN MIGHT" HAD EVERYTHING TO DO WITH GETTING DOUBLE-CROSSED BY RICHARD NIXON AND FRIENDS - ALSO WITH INFLATION.)

The Vietnam (AND NIXON AND WATERGATE AND INFLATION AND OPEC) syndrome was real. It lasted all of five years — the time between the fall of Saigon and the election of Ronald Reagan (BROOKS IS IMPLYING HERE THAT REAGAN CAME INTO OFFICE AND FIXED EVERYTHING, WHICH IS, OF COURSE, ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT).

Today, Americans are disillusioned with the war in Iraq (HE NEGLECTS TO MENTION THAT MANY AMERICANS ARE ALSO DISILLUSIONED WITH THE BUSH CROWD WHO FOBBED THE WAR OFF ON US), and many around the world predict that an exhausted America will turn inward again (AMERICA HASN'T "TURNED INWARD" SINCE PEARL HARBOR. LET'S SEE BROOKS CITE ONE EXAMPLE OF AMERICA "TURNING INWARD" SINCE DECEMBER 7, 1941). Some see a nation in permanent decline and an end to American hegemony (WE'RE BURNING THROUGH $2 BILLION A WEEK IN IRAQ. WE'RE BORROWING THAT MONEY FROM RED CHINA. DO YOU THINK THAT MIGHT PUT A KINK IN OUR HEGEMONY?). At Davos, some Europeans apparently envisioned a post-American world (SILLY THEM. THEY MUST THINK WE'RE LED BY A BUNCH OF MORONS).

Forget about it. (YOU MEAN ALL THAT STUFF ABOUT HOW PEOPLE ARE TURNING INWARD? THAT STRAW MAN YOU'RE HOLDING UP FOR US TO SEE?)Americans are having a debate about how to proceed in Iraq (ACTUALLY, THE DEBATE IS MORE ABOUT HOW TO EXTRACT OUR TALLAWHACKERS FROM THAT MEATGRINDER THANN HOW TO INSERT OUR TALLAWHACKERS EVEN DEEPER), but we are not having a strategic debate about retracting American power and influence. What’s most important about this debate is what doesn’t need to be said. No major American leader doubts that America must remain, as Dean Acheson put it, the locomotive of the world.(LUCKILY FOR DEAN ACHESON, HE DIDN'T LIVE TO SEE THE DAY WHEN AMERICA DIDN'T MAKE LOCOMOTIVES ANY MORE)

Look at the leaders emerging amid this crisis. The two major Republican presidential contenders are John McCain and Rudy Giuliani (TOOLS), the most aggressive internationalists (AND INTERNATIONALISM IS WORKING SO WELL FOR THE 3 MILLION AMERICANS WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS TO IT) in a party that used to have an isolationist wing (BACK BEFORE PEARL HARBOR).

The Democrats, meanwhile, campaigned for Congress in 2006 by promising to increase the size of the military. The presidential front-runner, Hillary Clinton, is the leader of the party’s hawkish wing and recently called for a surge of U.S. troops into Afghanistan. John Edwards, the most “leftward” major presidential contender, just delivered a bare-knuckled speech in which he castigated the Bush administration for not being tough enough with Iran. “To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep all options on the table,” Edwards warned.(CAMPAIGN-DRIVEN POSITIONS AND RHETORIC IN BOTH CASES.)

This is not a country looking to avoid entangling alliances (NO. WE'VE GOT THAT "COALITION OF THE WILLING" THING GOING FOR US). This is not a country renouncing the threat of force (NO. THE BUSHIES HAVE RENOUNCED DIPLOMACY INSTEAD). This is not a country looking to come home again (70% OF AMERICANS WANT OUR TROOPS OUT OF IRAQ - JUST NOT 70% OF BROOK'S "LEADERSHIP CLASS"). The Iraq syndrome is over before it even had a chance to begin.(?!)

The U.S. has no material need to reconsider its dominant role in the world (A COMMON SENSE NEED MAYBE, BUT CERTAINLY NO MATERIAL NEED). The U.S. military still has no serious rivals, even after the strains of Iraq (JUST ASK THE SOLDIER IN THE WORN OUT, YET-TO-BE-UP-ARMORED HUMVEE). The economy is humming along nicely (IF YOU'RE IN THE "INVESTOR CLASS" SECTION OF BROOKS' "LEADERSHIP CLASS").

The U.S. has no cultural need to retrench (RE-THINKING, HOWEVER, MIGHT BE IN ORDER). Vietnam (NIXON, WATERGATE, RUNAWAY INFLATION) sparked a broad cultural revolution, a shift in values and a loss of confidence. Iraq has not had the same effect (IN THE LEADERSHIP CLASS - 70% of THE REST OF US want out of iraq). Many Americans have lost faith in the Bush administration and in this particular venture,(do ya think?) but there has been no generalized loss of faith in the American system (EXCEPT FOR BUSH VS GORE, 2004 OHIO VOTE TALLEYS, PRESIDENTIAL SIGNING STATEMENTS, THE PATRIOT ACT, EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION, THE LOSS OF HABEUS CORPUS, TORTURE, WARRANTLESS SURVEILANCE...) or in American goodness (EXCEPT FOR BUSH VS GORE, 2004 OHIO VOTE TALLEYS, PRESIDENTIAL SIGNING STATEMENTS, THE PATRIOT ACT, EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION, THE LOSS OF HABEUS CORPUS, TORTURE, WARRANTLESS SURVEILANCE...).

There hasn’t even been a broad political shift in favor of the doves (THANKS FOR THE GRATUITOUS STEREOTYPE.). The most important war critics are military types like Jack Murtha, Chuck Hagel and Jim Webb, who hate this particular war but were superhawks in other circumstances. (YOU MEAN THEY WENT TO WAR AS YOUNG MEN UNLIKE CHICKEN HAWKS BUSH, CHENEY ET AL?)

Finally, there has been no change in America’s essential nature (NOPE. LEADER CLASS ASSHOLES ARE STILL LEADER CLASS ASSHOLES). As Robert Kagan (DESIGNER AND KING-KONG ADVOCATE OF BUSH'S ILL-FATED SURGE) writes in his masterful book “Dangerous Nation,” America has never really been an isolationist or aloof nation. The United States has always exercised as much power as it could. It has always coupled that power with efforts to spread freedom (NOW WHAT THE HELL DOES "SPREAAD FREEDDOM" MEAN? WERE WE SPREADING FREEDOM WHEN WE INSTALLED THE SHAH IN IRAN? WHEN WE TOPPLE ALLENNDE IN CHILE? CHRIST, I LOATHE PLATITUDES LIKE "SPREAD FREEDOM"). And Americans have always fought over how best to fulfill their mission as the vanguard of progress (THAT'S WHY WE DON'T SUPPORT STEM CELL RESEARCH. THAT'S WHY WE REFUSED TO SIGN THE KYOTO ACCORDS REGARDING GLOBAL WARMING).

What’s happening today is just another chapter in that long expansionist story. Today’s debate in the Senate flows seamlessly from the history Kagan describes. Most senators agree that the tactical question of sending 20,000 more troops is not the central issue. Their core concern, they say, is finding a new grand strategy to stabilize the region (PRIMARILY BECAUSE NEOCON PIPE DREAMS, BUSH'S WAR, AND THE COMPLETE ABSENCE OF ANY AMERICAN DIPLOMATIC GRAVITAS HAS DESTABILIZED THE REGION SO PRECIPITOUSLY).

Most senators want a much more aggressive diplomatic effort to go along with the military one (CONDI HAS DONE SO MUCH TO ACHIEVE CREDIBILITY INTHE DIPLOMATIC ARENA). (If President Bush said his surge was part of an effort to establish a regional diplomatic conference, he’d have majority support tomorrow.)(BUT PRESIDENT BUSH IS TOO DAMNED DUMB AND OBSTINATE TO DO SOMETHING AS SMART AS SEEK A DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION) But they don’t question the need for America to play a leading role. They take it for granted that the U.S. is going to be in the Middle East for a long time to come.(BUSH BROKE IT. WE BOUGHT IT.)

When you look further into the future, you see that the next president’s big efforts will not be about retrenchment, but about expansion (HOT DAMN. DEEPER INTO THE QUAGMIRE). They’ll be about expanding the U.S. military, expanding the diplomatic corps (SOMETHING BUSH WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO), asking for more shared sacrifice, (FROM THOSE OF US NOT IN THE "LEADERSHIP CLASS" creating new interagency bureaus that will give America more nation-building capacity (AND ISN'T NATION BUILDING WHAT AMERICA IS ALL ABOUT?).

In short, the U.S. has taken its share of blows over the past few years, but the isolationist dog is not barking (INSIDE THE BELTWAY). The hegemon will change (ESPECIALLY WITH ALL THE $$ WE'RE BORROWING FROM CHINA - AND AALL THE CHINESE GOODS WE'RE BUYING AT WALMART). The hegemon will do more negotiating (MOSTLY ABOUT INTEREST RATES). But the hegemon will live (AND AREN'T WE LUCKY DUCKS ON THAT NOTE?).