Why Libby’s Pardon Is a Slam Dunk - New York Times
Topic: Current Events
10:29 am EDT, Mar 11, 2007
EVEN by Washington’s standards, few debates have been more fatuous or wasted more energy than the frenzied speculation over whether President Bush will or will not pardon Scooter Libby. Of course he will.
The Kremlin has been sending persistent signals that autonomous political activism will not be tolerated. As a result, political action on the streets has become highly risky in Russia, and those venturing to participate in events unwelcome by the government should be prepared to get in trouble.
General Is Fired Over Conditions at Walter Reed - New York Times
Topic: Current Events
7:10 am EST, Mar 2, 2007
The two-star general in charge of Walter Reed Army Medical Center was relieved of command on Thursday, following disclosures that wounded soldiers being treated as outpatients there were living in dilapidated quarters and enduring long waits for treatment. ... Mr. Boyce [an Army spokesman] said the worst conditions in the outpatient residences had been corrected but added the Army was planning to make more repairs, like replacing a faulty heating and air-conditioning system that was the cause of the mold on the walls.
scape goat? any of the hospital's "customers" born on the 4th of July? in this war no-one can say that vets have received sub standard medical care because Congress has been parsimonious. One of my main concerns about Congress attempting to shut down the war by stopping the funding was that if finances were squeezed the medical care to the vets would be one the first places to see cut backs in expenditure but it's happened anyway. I oppose the war and I support the troops -- the Bush administration does the reverse -- the vets receiving anything but the finest care is a disgrace *cold anger*
Zbigniew Brzezinski's Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony, 2/1/2007
Topic: Current Events
8:37 pm EST, Feb 20, 2007
Testimony from Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor, 1977-1981. Original is a PDF. Also available via Google in HTML.
I've quoted four contiguous paragraphs below. Interesting words from one of the architects of the Mujahideen resistance forces in Soviet occupied Afghanistan. When he says that "most Muslims are not embracing Islamic fundamentalism," he's probably in a position to know something about the subject.
* * *
If the United States continues to be bogged down in a protracted bloody involvement in Iraq, the final destination on this downhill track is likely to be a head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large. A plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks; followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure; then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the U.S. blamed on Iran; culminating in a "defensive" U.S. military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
A mythical historical narrative to justify the case for such a protracted and potentially expanding war is already being articulated. Initially justified by false claims about WMD's in Iraq, the war is now being redefined as the "decisive ideological struggle" of our time, reminiscent of the earlier collisions with Nazism and Stalinism. In that context, Islamist extremism and al Qaeda are presented as the equivalents of the threat posed by Nazi Germany and then Soviet Russia, and 9/11 as the equivalent of the Pearl Harbor attack which precipitated America’s involvement in World War II.
This simplistic and demagogic narrative overlooks the fact that Nazism was based on the military power of the industrially most advanced European state; and that Stalinism was able to mobilize not only the resources of the victorious and militarily powerful Soviet Union but also had worldwide appeal through its Marxist doctrine. In contrast, most Muslims are not embracing Islamic fundamentalism; al Qaeda is an isolated fundamentalist Islamist aberration; most Iraqis are engaged in strife because the American occupation of Iraq destroyed the Iraqi state; while Iran, though gaining in regional influence, is itself politically divided, economically and militarily weak. To argue that America is already at war in the region with a wider Islamic threat, of which Iran is the epicenter, is to promote a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Deplorably, the Administration's foreign policy in the Middle East region has lately relied almost entirely on such sloganeering. Vague and inflammatory talk about "a new strategic context" which is based on "clarity" and which prompts "the birth pangs of a new Middle East" is breeding intensifying anti-Americanism and is increasing the danger of a long-term collision between the United States and the Islamic world. Those in charge of U.S. diplomacy have also adopted a posture of moralistic self-ostracism toward Iran strongly reminiscent of John Foster Dulles's attitude of the early 1950's toward Chinese Communist leaders (resulting among other things in the well-known episode of the refused handshake). It took some two decades and a half before another Republican president was finally able to undo that legacy.
Far be it from me to get in the middle of a liberal purge, but would anybody mind if I pointed out that the calls for Hillary Clinton to apologize for her support of the Iraq war are almost entirely bogus?
Put simply: Happy viewing. Although navigating the world of online war videos is at best a haphazard venture, there is enough material to provide as clear a view into the lives of combat, boredom and pointless amusement of the soldiers in Iraq as one will find anywhere.
On this particular video:
A characteristic and terrifying example of the invisible menace posed by insurgents is a YouTube video in which a camera lying on a barracks floor during an intense mortar attack captures troops praying and screaming as rounds land ever closer to their position.
In short, the U.S. has taken its share of blows over the past few years, but the isolationist dog is not barking. The hegemon will change. The hegemon will do more negotiating. But the hegemon will live.