At that point I suspect Bolton will develop a sudden desire to spare the country and the president a divisive confirmation debate. The whip marks will be barely visible.
I'm not disagreeing, but if the Administration is going to coerce Bolton into bolting, why did Bush come out so strongly in support of him just days ago? Was it a stupid move by people who, once they say something's going to go one way, can't imagine it going another (a la Iraq), or just setting things up so Bush can maintain plausible deniability and save face?
I really am glad to see that the Democrats, especially in the Senate, seem to have found their backbone and are standing together in stalwart opposition to the various damaging policy rollbacks coming from the Bush cabal. We may not win every fight -- in fact, we may win very few of them -- but by making the GOP exert as much muscle and political capital as possible on every issue, their brutal tactics and their blatant mendacity are incrementally exposed to the public. Not only that, but if every battle is fought to the bitter end, even if they win them, the GOP will be able to do less damage between now and 2006, when we hopefully will be able to change the balance of power in some significant way, or 2008, when we take back the White House.
In the near term, there shouldn't be any expectation that we're going to prevail very often, but we can and must prosecute a holding and delaying strategy, for the good of the nation.
I know Bush isn't Catholic, but I have to wonder sometimes if he or his staff hasn't confused being President with being Pope. What I mean is, he certainly acts with some frequency as if he thinks he is infallible.
Rumsfeld's eagerness to use Iraq as a test bed for his transformation of the military was a disaster. While the US handled stage one capably, his indifferent to disorder set the stage for stage two.
Leaving open the ammo dumps set the bed for the resistance. The Iraqi resistance is the most lavishly equipped in history. Every unit well armed with modern weapons.
Poor planning left the US without their Third World auxillary armies to provide basic security. Without the large Pakistani and Nigerian units to patrol towns and provide basic area denial, US units have had to do two jobs, security and quick reaction.
Disbanding the Army set the stage for the resistance to have trained people running it. These men didn't learn war from textbooks. The senior folks learned in combat and passed those lessons down
US forces have adapted to tactics only to have those tactics shift.
The Iraqis have minimized the use of helicopter units and limited them to observation and attack.
The Iraqi resistance has also limited the use of the roadnet. Without convoys, resupply is impposible. This control is so dominant that US units now get some supplies by air.
They have also thoroughly penetrated US assets in Iraq. No Iraqi unit can move without the guerrilas eventually finding out.
US units are unable to leave their bases except on patrol. During the Vietnam War, Americans could frequent bars and live in the cities. No American can live in Iraq without security at the risk of kidnapping and death.
The lack of infantry leaves the US unable to sustain military successes when they do occur. The scarest military resource is not armor, but trained combat infantry. Sure, you can send artillerymen out on patrol and get tankers on foot. But infantry is irreplacable for guerrilla warfare.
Every day, US forces go out, take casualities and go back to their bases, trying to survive yet another attack that night. The US, in two years, have lost lives and material, but gained little. There is not one area the US can say that guerrillas cannot operate. And that is the most important fact. After two years and 1500 dead, the guerrillas control the highway to the airport, Baghdad's main drags and the country's highways.
This is not winning.
I've got nothing to add, and so what that this is pretty much the exact same post that dKos put up about it -- this is important stuff, and the more it gets around, the better. And don't just read the conclusions I've presented here, look at the entire piece to see the evidence he gives to support them.
Gilliard was one of the more perceptive commentators prior to the war (despite that I occasionally disagreed with him), and he shows here the same ability to see things clearly.
Postscript: The real question here is not if we're winning in Iraq, the real question is how does an accurate assessment of the state of play (whatever it may be at the moment) get through to the American public, when the media either can't or won't report it (or both), the right-wing media apparatus is in full-scale denial, and the lefty blogosphere and other media outlets, either liberal (Air America) or objective (Frontline), have a very limited impact?
The very sad answer is that it's probably going to take a straight-forward large-scale disaster that cannot be ignored by the media to shock the public out of its torpor and shake them into the realization that things are in very bad shape.
Hunter S. Thompson is to Ann Coulter as being hit in the face with a custard pie is to having your face shot off with a .45.
That some people can't tell the difference is yet another indication of the pitiful state of the American educational system. (The evolution / creationism debate is another one.)
BTW, I've unprogrammed CNN and Headline News from the "Favorites" on my TV cable box (although I left CNN International). I'll still go to CNN for breaking news, because of the avaialble American 24/7 news channels, they're, overall, the least objectionable, but I'll no longer be tempted to stop in while surfing through the stations looking for something to watch.
If Bolton was going to back out, Bush just made it harder by reaffirming his support for the nomination. Also, Chafee is now tap dancing as fast as he can. Having displayed a pitiful lack of cojones when it looked like Bolton would be confirmed by the committee, now that Voinovich and Hagel have given him some political cover he's expressing his concern about Bolton and wants to talk to other Republican Senators about it.
On reconsidering the situation, I do indeed think this will ultimately be Chafee's downfall. He's shown that he's got no backbone, that he's not interested in representing the views of his constituents, and it's clear he's never going to jump ship to the Democrats. He's a hopeless case, a spineless weasal, and I'm no longer interested in him. He's toast to me.
Incidentally, Kevin Drum's argument that concentrating on Bolton's personality shortcomings and his mistreatment of underlings and colleagues is the wrong tack to take in bringing him down is entirely wrong. You use whatever ammunition you have, and make the argument that has a chace of influencing enough people to make a difference. U.N.-bashing is an official part of the Bush Republican ideology, which makes it very difficult for Republican Senators -- even the few who haven't quite digested the kool-aid -- to vote against Bolton on that account, but they can (and apparently might) vote against him for reasons of personality. It's the equivalent of the nanny attack.
In politics, what'll work is what gets used, and there's nothing wrong with that as long as it's in service of the correct result -- especially when the argument being used is both true and relevant, if not quite as relevant as the argument not being used.
Update:Steve Clemons has a more forgiving attitude towards Chafee, praising him for finally seeing the light. From a practical standpoint, Clemons is probably right, but I would like to point out that seeing the light is much easier when someone else has already turned on the switch.
I ran unfutz through this website, which calculates "readability":
Total sentences 511 Total words 10,653 Average words per Sentence 20.85 Words with 1 Syllable 6,918 Words with 2 Syllables 2,037 Words with 3 Syllables 1,150 Words with 4 or more Syllables 548 Percentage of word with three or more syllables 15.94% Average Syllables per Word 1.56 Gunning Fog Index 14.71 Flesch Reading Ease 53.58 Flesch-Kincaid Grade 10.97
According to the site's interpretation information:
"[The] Gunning-Fog index ... is a rough measure of how many years of schooling it would take someone to understand the content. The lower the number, the more understandable the content will be to your visitors. Results over seventeen are reported as seventeen, where seventeen is considered post-graduate level." Fourteen is about the level of the Times (of London) or the Guardian, and 15-20 is "Academic papers" -- my score was 14.71.
Flesch Reading Ease "is an index number that rates the text on a 100-point scale. The higher the score, the easier it is to understand the document. Authors are encouraged to aim for a score of approximately 60 to 70." My score was 53.58.
"[The] Flesch-Kincaid grade level ... is a rough measure of how many years of schooling it would take someone to understand the content. Negative results are reported as zero, and numbers over twelve are reported as twelve." I scored at 10.97
Update: I finally realized that the totals didn't add up to 100% and re-took the test -- I must have inadvertantly left out one question. Also, I answered one question (about the topping on a cake) incorrectly, so my new result is:
There would be no state funeral for Franklin Roosevelt. He had insisted it would be inappropriate with American boys dying in distant lands. Instead, th caisson was borne slowly through the streets of the nation;s capital to he White House, a time for Americans to reflect on what they had lost.
Contrast that to this summary of the high honors, including a state funeral, given to Ronald Reagan while American troops were fighting the insurgency in Iraq -- Reagan, a President who won a war against a tiny Caribbean island, and started us on the path to destroying the legacy of FDR and moving us back to the Gilded Age of robber barons and vast economic inequality.
Earlier in the program, one of FDR's worst moral failings, the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII was discussed. Reagan, of course, was the President who finally apologized for that, endorsing an official statement which blamed the decision it on race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of politica leadership. One wonders if Reagan would have signed it that document if the President at fault had been a Republican and not a Democrat -- but, of course, if it was something to do with one of those "Democrat wars" (in Bob Dole's infelicitous phrase).
When I heard that moderate Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island had announced that he was going to vote to confirm John Bolton as U.N. Ambassador, I thought to myself "This marks the moment Chafee loses his seat," but now it seems that he may be saved from that fate, since GOP Senator George Voinovich of Ohio indicated he would vote against Bolton, forcing Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richar Lugar to postpone the vote in order to allow more time for further hearings.
Now, if memory serves me correctly, in the past, postponing a committee confirmation vote to do some more investigating of the nominee has been taken as a strong indication that there are really serious political problems, and candidates are supposed to take the hint and withdraw their names from consideration in order to spare the President and the party the ignominy of having a nominee be rejected. But Bush & Company frequently don't follow those rules of civil political behavior, and Bolton seems like a pretty damn arrogant man, so I wonder what the odds are that he'll withdraw?
Watching the History Channel FDR documentary the other day, I was struck by the fact that just after he won office for his second term in 1936, FDR's political common sense apparently abandoned him, and he squandered much of the political capital he had accumulated over his first term when he travelled the country trying to sell his Supreme Court-packing scheme (which he conceived to punish and control the court after it had ruled that his National Recovery Act legislation was an unconstitutional expansion of the federal government's powers) in the face of almost universal popular opposition.
Let's see ... what other president in recent years has travelled the country trying to sell a wildly unpopular scheme?
Of course, there are significant differences. FDR won with 60.8% of the popular vote and 98.49% of the electoral votes, while Bush's victory was razor thin. Thus, FDR had a lot more political capital available to him than Bush did.
(The other major difference was, of course, that FDR's ire was aroused by the Supreme Court getting in the way of his attempts to pull the country out of the Great Depression, while Bush is trying to strike down one of the lynchpins of the social safety net FDR created. FDR was trying to help all Americans, and Bush is trying to put money in the pockets of rich Americans.)
What I found significant, and interesting, was that the voters took out their annoyance at Roosevelt in the off-year election in 1938, where the Democrats suffered large losses (71 seats, in fact. Is it possible that the same thing will happen in 2006, that the Republicans will suffer at the ballot box for Bush's spitting in the face of popular sentiment in favor of Social Security? One can only hope -- and the historical trends for 6th-year elections seems to be in our favor.
In the meantime, Kevin Drum argues that 2008 will be a good year for Democrats, but it would be a very good thing if we could break the right-wing hegemony over the federal government before then, or at least poke some significant holes in it.
Scenario - A change of 59,300 votes (0.048% of national total) from Bush to Kerry in one state results in a victory for Kerry.
Ohio - 59,300 votes (1.05%).
Scenario - a change of 18,776 votes (0.015% of national total) in three states between Bush and Kerry results in no electoral majority. The election would have been decided by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Iowa - 5,030 votes (0.33% from Bush to Kerry); New Mexico - 2,995 votes (0.40% from Bush to Kerry); and Nevada - 10,751 votes (1.30% from Bush to Kerry).
Scenario - A change of 70,023 votes (0.057% of national total) between Bush and Kerry in three states results in no electoral majority. The election would have been decided by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Wisconsin - 5,693 votes (0.19%) from Kerry to Bush, Iowa - 5,030 votes (0.33%) from Bush to Kerry, and Ohio - 59,300 votes (1.05%) from Bush to Kerry.
[Emphasis added and text re-formatted -- Ed]
Of course, throwing the election into the House would almost certainly have resulted in a Bush win, but the real point is that this election was remarkably close -- a change of just 1.24% of the vote would have resulted in Kerry winning the popular vote, but more remarkable is Leip's first scenario, where a change of just 60,000 votes, less than one half of 1/10 of a percent of the total national vote swings the election.
As I've written before, Bush's margin of victory was the smallest for any full-term President seeking re-election since 1892.
Kevin Drum has a post about Democratic presidential candidates for 2008: he thinks it's going to be a crowded field.
One name he doesn't mention, but I think shouldn't be overlooked, is Barack Obama.
I know the objection will be that he has too little experience, but I saw him briefly on C-SPAN asking questions during the Bolton nomination hearings, and I was pretty damn taken with him: the guy's got charisma out the wazoo.
I mean, it's one thing to be moved by someone giving the keynote speech in the highly emotionally-charged atmosphere of a party presidential convention, but it's quite another to be struck by the person when he's asking routine questions at a hearing. He really is the real thing, blessed with the looks, voice and demeanor of a winner, and his very brief Senate experience takes away the major disadvantage facing Senators: their legislative records, which generally give numerous handles for the opposition to use as truncheons.
Obama / Clark in 2008? (Too green, in different ways.) Obama / Edwards? (North/south, black/white, still not a lot of experience in the ticket.) Clinton / Obama? (Very risky -- I still think Hillary's never going to be President.)
Perhaps what we need is Obama and someone with a lot of experience, our equivalent of Cheney (in terms of function on the ticket).
What about Obama / Kerry?
Postscript: Just kidding about Obama/Kerry, I mean -- I'mnot kidding about Obama.
Yesterday, I flipped by a discussion on one of the news channels (I think it was "Diplomatic License" on CNN International) about the Bolton nomination. It was your typical point/counterpoint set-up, with one person opposed to Bolton and one in favor. Bolton's supporter said at one point something to the extent that Bush deserved to have the person he wants to represent him at the UN. The anti-Bolton guy (who I think was a moderate Republican or a former ambassador) lamely replied he didn't think that Bolton did represent Bush's views, when the obvious response was "The last time I looked, we live in a republic and a democracy, not a monarchy, and every ambassador represents not the President, but all the people of the United States. That is why the Senate must consent to the President's choices for ambassadors, because he or she is not a personal envoy representing either the person of the President or the office of the Executive, but someone who represents the United States of America, and all of its people."
It's really hard to understand where these people get their concept of sovereignity and their understanding of way our system has been set up to function -- I mean, do they really think that the judiciary wasn't designed to be independent of most political pressures, or do they just say that stuff because they're annoyed by not being able to do whatever they want to?
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.