The Spectacle Blog

Re: New National Security Strategy Report

By on 3.17.06 | 1:17PM

The big question for the NSS this time around is whether it has any point or purpose beyond the level of a particularly wide-lens stump speech. Preemptive action doctrine is quite a trip -- but what can you do for an encore? Jed, you're right to ask whether we dare actually implement the rhetoric.

The questions are multiplying. Isn't the NSS supposed to be a policy document? Does it matter if it's not? And if so, what's the point? To whom do we want to spill our strategic guts anyhow?

It's a postmodern thicket: will the text of this message self-destruct?

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Re: Let ‘em Lose

By on 3.17.06 | 1:01PM

Quin: Whoaaaaaa, big fella. I agree with you that the Senate and House are infested with too many big-spending Republicans, and that the republic would be far better off were they retired. But the prez, sitting on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, is little better on that score, and he still has another coupla years to do. Can we wait to toss the Congressbeings out 'til John Paul Stevens is replaced? I feel your pain, pal. But as sorry as this lot is, what sits across the aisle is just that much worse.

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More on N.O. Floodwalls

By on 3.17.06 | 12:47PM

The latest from the excellent Bob Marshall of the Times-Picayune (a former boss of mine, by the way) shows more proof that the floodwall failures in N.O. were the fault of the feds, namely those at the Corps. Tell me again how the devastation in Lakeview and Gentilly and Broadmoor and Mid-City is the fault of the locals? Meanwhile, a friend of mine, a reporter now in Ohio who has never lived in N.O. and therefore has no local bias, reported this to me yesterday: actually, i just bought the old flood maps from FEMA so i could see what parts of the city are in the flood plain. i think that most were not because of the levees.

So, to quote one of the official investigators: "So, yeah, this was a human failure, not a natural disaster."

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Hope in Iraq, Part Two

By on 3.17.06 | 12:15PM

The odd thing (to Westerners' pre-conceived notions) is that so many Iraqis are highly educated people. A source of mine who spent many months there said that their engineers are at least as good as many of the American engineers we've sent over. There is reason to believe that a competent civil society can emerge once the terrorists are crushed -- which, by the way, I think is in the process of happening.

I've been a big Bush critic on spending, and on his insularity, and on Katrina, and on other fronts as well. But I continue to believe that his overall choice for war in Iraq (certainly not every sub-decision and every tactical choice),the main thrust of his policy there, was and is and always will have been right, NO MATTER WHAT THE ULTIMATE OUTCOME. Faced with the situation we were in, with the knowledge (both correct and incorrect) that we had or thought we had, and with the values that we have and the goals (both humanitarian and strategic) that we have in the region, the president made the only morally defensible call. He deserves continued support for it. And I do believe our policies there will be adjudged by historians to have been a success.

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Hope in Iraq, Part One

By on 3.17.06 | 12:00PM

Both here and here, the Wash Post's David Ignatius, who is not exactly a Bush-o-phile, reports that things are looking up in Iraq. Meanwhile, I expect many interesting things to come from the release of the gazillions of pages of documents discovered in Iraq. In short, I think this whole thing could still be a success.

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Let ‘em Lose

By on 3.17.06 | 9:09AM

It really might be time for conservatives to sit out elections. Better to do it this fall, so the Dems get the blame for the next two years and we can come back in 2008, than to work for a bunch of big-government cretins to maintain a bare GOP majority this time, only to have the good guys go down in flames at all levels of government in 2008.

What makes me conclude that it's not even worth the effort for conservatives this year? The latest in a long, long, LONG, LONG string of spineless, unprincipled votes by a congressional GOP utterly unwilling to act like conservatives. Already the Senate GOP had decided to ignored President Bush's call for further savings (from projected increases) in entitlements. Yesterday, they went further, voting to bust the proposed discretionary budget caps by an astonishing $16 billion. And that's $16 billion not spread over five years, but in just the one fiscal year beginning October 1.

These people are hopeless fools. (Actually, the words that come to mind are stronger than that, the sorts of words that in comic strips get represented by symbols like this: %&*%%$*$#.)

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Do As They Say

By on 3.17.06 | 9:09AM

For all the talk in Memphis about reining in spending, even the Post couldn't help noting the irony in reporting yesterday spending spree. And the man ruling the roost in the Senate -- that's Arlen Specter, not Bill Frist -- is downright exultant, writes Dana Milbank.

"The Republican Party is now principally moderate, if not liberal!"

That's Specter himself. Remind me why Pennsylvania Republicans were told they needed to reject Pat Toomey to save the Senate?

More Arlen for you:

"All the talk in Memphis doesn't comport with reality.... I don't have any apologies to make for this 7 billion [in extraneous domestic spending]. I'm still not satisfied."

If conservatism isn't dead in this Senate, it sure has seen better days. Those 55 Republican Senators just aren't 55 Tom Coburns, unfortunately.

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Pence No on Spending Bill

By on 3.17.06 | 8:14AM

House leadership lumped war spending and Katrina relief into the $92 billion supplemental that passed yesterday, by a vote of 348-71. Conservatives wanted to separate the two so as to pass military emergency spending, and then debate the rest (there were extraneous projects attached to the bill). The President had sent the two expenses as separate bills, but Congressional leadership lumped them, probably to guarantee passage.

Rep. Mike Pence's office tells us in a press release that he supports the war supplemental, but could not vote for a bill that weds non-military emergency spending to a military emergency spending bill. Pence and other conservatives are trying to hold the line on Katrina spending, but the House leadership shows little interest in doing so. In addition to Pence, 18 other Republicans voted against the bill. Most of them are members of the House Republican Study Committee.

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Re: Nicks Of Time

By on 3.16.06 | 5:32PM

FOX's Special Report tonight suggests, re: my post below, bingorama. When it comes to Iraqis taking charge, style is substance.

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