James: The problem I have is that we obviously don't have the belly for it. If we were to have followed this strategy from 9-11, by now Syria would be an Israeli protectorate, Iran would be ruled by someone other than the mullahs and the Saudis would be begging for mercy and selling us oil at $5 a barrell. The more we talk the talk but motionless fail to walk the walk, the strategy -- which is right -- rings more hollow.
The Spectacle Blog
Hang in there, Quin. I hope you're right about Stevens. His departure this year would be great. But if he goes next year -- or in '08 -- there's an even greater chance that the Senate (given the fact that pretty near all of them want to be prez) will be more vulnerable to pressure from our side after '06. We need these nitwits, as hard as it is to stomach them. As long as W doesn't try another Miers, we should be okay.
This whole debate stimulates the big question: how do we get people to run against these guys from the right? There's candidates aplenty to run against Repubs from the left. Where are all the stand tall conservatives?
Jed -- These numbskulls won't move any judges forward anyway, they spend like Ivana Trump on steroids, they act like whores to K Street, and they haven't done anything right since about 1998. SO what's the use of keeping them? As for Stevens, I think he'll retire this summer, so we'll have our shot at replacing him before the election.
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?
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.
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."
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.
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.