I like it, but doesn't it reinforce the "big gov't" vs. "small gov't" paradigm? Republicans lean on the "big gov't" smear all the time, and this might just back them up. I think what we're really about is vigorous and efficient government.
I don't give two shits about analysis - there's enough bloviating and blathering about races out there. What irks me is the constant pimping. The lefty blogs are directing traffic and money to Lamont, at the expense of folks like Jim Pederson and Claire McCaskill. It's their prerogative, certainly, since they're the ones paying for the webspace. Just don't want to hear a lot of bitching when the GOP still controls both houses of Congress.
Generally speaking, this site does a great job of raising awareness about races like those in AZ, MO, OH, etc. It's just that the last few months have been so tilted towards Lamont that I worry we're losing focus.
I definitely agree with you that Iraqis should be responsible for cultivating their own political leadership. It makes more sense and will be more effective than us doing it. However, it would be irresponsible to leave before the security situation is stabilized. Obviously, there will always be some degree of ethnic or religious conflict in a country like Iraq. However, we need to admit to ourselves that we let the genie out of the bottle. It's our responsibility to ensure that we are not leaving behind a civil war.
Let's be honest: we will not be out of Iraq in the next eight months. That means that when the next Congress is sworn in, there will still be American troops in the country. That is, in my mind, the single greatest reason to vote for a Democrat for Congress in the fall. In the meantime, what can Dems do? This President is obviously not about to listen to opposing viewpoints, but Congress still has the power of the purse. That means that it can ask questions about the policies it funds. We can start demanding benchmarks for victory in exchange for the money needed to fight the war. Are there enough Republicans that can be swayed away from the President? I think so, but it's hard work.
Finally, with regards to cleaning up the mess: we have a responsibility here. Take the oil smuggling situation. The Iraqis are not prepared to fight that problem by themselves. If we left, that problem would only get worse. Also, stabilizing the borders: Iraq cannot stop the flow of foreign fighters without some help. If we take off, you will the fighting intensify. The answer may be to bring in international help. This would allow us to bring some American troops home, while still keeping enough boots on the ground to protect Iraq.
Self interest cannot take precendece in this case - Iraq is a mess and we started it! It would be morally reprehensible to pack up our things and say "You're on your own!" after we destroyed the country. We shouldn't stay indefinitely, but we cannot just withdraw immiediately.
Your blanket statement about moderates having no plan is hard to respond to, since I don't know who you're talking about. Most moderate Democrats believe that we need to stay until Iraq has capability to stand on its own. This in and of itself sounds like "stay the course" until you recognize that a prerequisite for Iraq being able to stand on its own is that we have to put pressure on the govt. This is why many folks are encouraging the President to tell the Iraqis that we won't be there indefinitely. For some, this means laying out a timetable so that the Iraqis feel the pressure to act. Others think that a timetable is not productive, and that we simply need to set general benchmarks.
Personally, I think we do have a timetable, it's just not public. They're already talking about drawing down troop levels, though that might be election year posturing. I think the DoD is feeling the heat from the military brass to start formulating a plan to extricate ourselves, and the political climate is conducive to this.
Iraq is complicated. Rabid anti-war folks and rabid pro-war folks will never admit it, but it is a complicated situation. It's difficult now, and getting out will be difficult. We need fewer polemics and more realistic dialogue. That's what it will take to rectify a horrible situation.
I'm not sure that's accurate. To say that most white males in the south actively participated in the slavery system might be an overstatement. That's not to say that they didn't believe wholeheartedly in the slavery way of life, just that they didn't participate very much in it. As far as I'm concerned, there's no moral difference. Just historical.
I think there's a difference between honoring the cause these men died for and recognizing that those who fight make the ultimate sacrifice. Lincoln himself made sure he was always respectful of the fact that war claims the lives of good men.
I was under the impression that Hayden was very close to the DoD. Am I wrong?
Ultimately, Hayden was picked for one reason: the President is picking a fight he knows he can win. The Democrats proved incapable of fighting the President on the wiretapping, and Bush sees an opportunity to pound them as weak on security. Honestly, I don't know how Dems avoid the trap.
It's quite easy to sit here and reflect on how badly the administration has messed up the war and lied to the country. It's significantly harder to discuss what we should do now. It's dissapointing that so many on the left are taking the easy way out.
I don't support Hillary for President, though if she's the nominee I will vote for her and help her get elected. Of course the larger invading force would not have fixed all the problems, there were miserable planning failures at every stage. But, to paraphrase Wes Clark, a larger invading force would have improved our Iraq grade from an F to a D- or a D.
As far as knowing about the poor planning, hindsight gets the best of us sometimes. I don't think anyone could have foreseen the kind of gross mismanagement we have witnessed. I was against the war, but I never anticipated that the civilians would ignore the military brass to this degree.
The Iraq stuff is happening in a context. We have to remember that we have elections in 6 months and Democrats are in a really great position. Thus, we're playing not to lose in a sense. That's why Democrats are being so cautious in how they talk about Iraq. Is it frustrating? Sure. Stupid? Possibly. Understandable? Definitely.
Amen. I'm born and raised in the South, descended from men who fought and died in that awful war. They were brave men, but they were fighting for slavery. I've seen people trying to rewrite history my whole life, and I'm sick of it. The Civil War was about a state's right to secede and make its own rules about the rights of citizens. Thankfully, a great President led the U.S. to victory and restored our Union.
I can see where Webb is coming from, defending those who gave their lives on the battlefield. Lincoln did the same. But we can't pretend that the war was something it wasn't.
I think you misrepresent some of HRC's positions with regards to Iraq, but my main qualm is your insinuation that it would not have been a good move to send more troops into Iraq. Ask anyone at the Pentagon, they'll tell you that if we had gone in with a larger invading force, we would not have seen these levels of casualties. A massive force would have enabled us to impose our will on the country and take control of the situation, rather than letting the insurgency gain strength.
As I understand it, HRC's position on getting out of Iraq is different from the President's in that she wants the Iraqis to stand up within the next 18 months or we will start talking about leaving. Bush hasn't said that; his position is "we stay as long as I say so"