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    10 November 2006

    Stay or Leave? Are there any options that will work in Iraq?

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    According an AEI scholar, no. At least none will come from the Iraq Study Group, of which Robert Gates (Sec. of Def. hopeful) is a member of.
    As will soon be apparent, the Iraq Survey Group [???], of which Mr. Gates is a member and to which I'm an adviser, has not discovered any way for the U.S. to exit Iraq -- except under catastrophic conditions. Its recommendations will probably be the least helpful of all the blue-ribbon commissions in Washington since World War II because it cannot escape from an unavoidable reality: We either declare defeat and withdraw completely tout de suite, or we surge troops into Baghdad and fight. The ISG will surely try to find some middle ground between these positions, which, of course, doesn't exist.

    If one works through the different scenarios, they all return quickly to a Rumsfeldian position that the U.S. needs to do more in Iraq with less -- a position that has been proven flatly wrong since the spring of 2003. This is why Washington has not been able to draw down even though the president, his defense secretary and his generals have dearly wanted to do so. Any meaningful reduction of U.S. forces is very likely to collapse the Iraqi Army into Shiite and Sunni militias and bring on massive carnage, the likes of which the Middle East has not seen since the Iran-Iraq War. If Mr. Gates signs off on the ISG's recommendations, which will probably be completed before he assumes office, he will be party to a doomed strategy -- and everyone in Washington and abroad will recognize it as a failure as soon as they start to work through it -- before he even sets foot in the Pentagon. It may not be easy for Mr. Gates to recover from this initial flop.

    However, when the ISG bombs, the Bush administration may finally get serious about correcting its mistakes in Iraq. It's a decent bet that when this happens, America's military officers may start to miss Donald Rumsfeld. He was the best cover any failing general could ever have.

    Again with the blaming of the generals... sigh.

    Of course this guy may be faking his scholar status. No I'm not attacking AEI and neoconism; that's too easy. He says he's an adviser to the "Iraq Survey Group". That group was last heard from in 2004 when it concluded that the WMD stuff we were fed about Iraq and Saddam was either hype or BS and that it wasn't simply moved to Syria.

    Note to Reuel Marc Gerecht, your on the Iraq Study Group. They've been wondering where you are, and David Kay and Charles Duelfer would like you to quit calling.

    Posted by Geoff

    Moral Absolutism, Moral Clarity and Christian Fascism

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    Two inflictions that affect conservatives (actually most people at some point and in some way, but in US politics these are two fallacies held by many conservatives); moral clarity and moral absolutism. I'll -- indirectly I suppose -- attack conservative moral clarity this weekend, and in coming weeks, in a series of posts I've been working on. Moral clarity is related to moral absolutism (when combined together, as they have before, the result is a scary concoction from last century), which is highlighted here in comments by an Iowa Republican (h/t Sully):
    "You've heard of IslamaFascists -- I think we now have Christian fascists. What is the definition of a fascist? Not only do they want to beat you, but they want to destroy you in the process."
    "if things keep going the way things are going locally and statewide, it is going to be more and more difficult for Republicans to recruit candidates. We have elements of the party who are moral absolutists, who take the approach that if you don't take my position every step of the way, not only will I not support you, but I will destroy you."

    Briefly, what is moral clarity? To me, it's when you ignore truths because they go against your current direction or hopes for higher goals.

    Example: some conservatives refuse to believe that US policies (which lead to fragile states, anti-Americanism, et cetera) breed terrorists (at a greater rate than we could ever hope to capture or kill them, minus genocide). They do this because recognition of this fact would call question to things like our tariffs on ME goods (e.g. Pakistani textiles) that benefit US businesses; or they would have to admit that we have been taking the wrong course in the WoT (actually we've just paid less attention to two parts of the "4D strategy"). Instead of debate, they fall back on the belief that they are somehow omniscient and perfect, they demonize the opponent, and avoid debate altogether.

    Stay tuned...

    Posted by Geoff

    09 November 2006

    Drinking Liberally - Charleston, SC

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    With much hoopla and media boo-hooing, the Democratic Party swept back into power yesterday, House Cleaning Day. Not only did Democrats retake the House, but it appears that the Democrats have also managed to clean out a slim majority in the Senate as well. Jim Webb has a 7,000 vote lead over George Allen at the moment. If Joe Lieberman keeps his word, not something we would place our money on, control of the Senate is likely as well.

    But this is only a start for liberals nationwide, and little more than a call to the gates for local liberals. While liberalism may achieve much with Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, locally we did not fare so well. In fact, the only real success for liberals in South Carolina was the election of Jim Rex as Superintendent of Education. Moreover, the detestable Arthur Ravenel won a seat on the school board which appears to be owing more to name recognition than support for his wacko agenda.

    It seems, however, that education is the only area in which South Carolinians seem to have retained even narrow hold onto sanity. The rest of the statewide elections seem to have followed an all too familiar "just vote Republican" blind mentality. Stupidity and bigotry seemed to play a big role as well. You can do anything you want to do so long as you promise to cut taxes; you can even raise taxes just so long as you promise to cut them. Why else would 80 per cent of South Carolinians vote for an artificial cap on property taxes that will only benefit the well-to-do. And why would 77 per cent vote to discriminate against the gay population of South Carolina when support for that minority could pose no threat, but offer progressive benefits to the State as a whole.

    We can be grateful that a large number of voters actually turned out to vote, despite the rain. That is something to look forward to; however, we need those voters to vote liberally on the issues of the day if we are to make progress in this country and, particularly, this state. So what is the answer that awakens the liberalism in every human being?

    Come on out to Juanita Greenberg's on King Street at 5:30 p.m. this Thursday for another adventure in Drinking Liberally and meet with fellow liberals for honest discussion and friendly fellowship. We'll be on the back patio under the tent waiting for you.

    We almost forgot. Superbush fired Rumsfeld today. That is good. Superbush is replacing him with Iran-Contra criminal Robert Gates. That is not good. A man with almost no military experience will lead the military. No new blood for the Deciderer. Well, at least Rummy is gone.

    We almost forgot as well, South Dakotans overruled their anachronistic legislature and cast out a Middle Ages-like ban on allowing women to make decisions about their health care decisions.

    That is Drinking Liberally for this, the 1,285th since the declaration of "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. From Charleston, we are your city leaders, goodnight and good luck.

    Liberally yours,
    Leslie, Mike, & Sadie

    Juanita Greenberg's
    439 King Street - Downtown
    5:30pm until the American Taliban no longer have power
    This and every Thursday
    843.723.NACHO (6224)
    On King, just a couple of blocks above Calhoun. Look for the blinkinglights.

    07 November 2006

    Sanford turned Away

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    the Photo op that got away

    An argument to be made here for making voting both easier and verifiable.

    RNC Chair Ken Mehlman requests an old fashioned paper ballot in place of an electronic machine,

    and Gov. Mark Sanford was turned away from his precinct today for not having his voter registration card.

    I had no problems this morning (#21 in my precinct) but our new machines are of the type that don't seem to secure.

    Next election it's vote by mail for me. Now I only have to quit being so damn lazy...


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