Empty Rhetoric And Painful Substance
While we’re all waiting to find out the next step in the Sen. Leahy empty in-box subpoena sweepstakes this afternoon — presser scheduled for 2:30 pm ET, and I hear the WH will not meet its deadline — I thought a little reading on the empty rhetoric spewing forth within the Beltway “serious minds” crowd was in order:
— Joe Lieberman advises (H/T to Think Progress) that the “road to victory” goes through
Iraq Iran Syria. Yeah, that’s it. That’s the ticket. (Is it me, or is he becoming a Jon Lovitz parody (YouTube) more and more every day?)
— Something you may never see again: I agree with Joe Klein. Read this now.
…In short, we operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear. (In the course of writing this article, this fact became all too clear: one of us, Staff Sergeant Murphy, an Army Ranger and reconnaissance team leader, was shot in the head during a “time-sensitive target acquisition mission” on Aug. 12; he is expected to survive and is being flown to a military hospital in the United States.) While we have the will and the resources to fight in this context, we are effectively hamstrung because realities on the ground require measures we will always refuse — namely, the widespread use of lethal and brutal force.
In a lawless environment where men with guns rule the streets, engaging in the banalities of life has become a death-defying act. Four years into our occupation, we have failed on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence. When the primary preoccupation of average Iraqis is when and how they are likely to be killed, we can hardly feel smug as we hand out care packages. As an Iraqi man told us a few days ago with deep resignation, “We need security, not free food.”…
Until that happens, it would be prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis take center stage in all matters, to come up with a nuanced policy in which we assist them from the margins but let them resolve their differences as they see fit. This suggestion is not meant to be defeatist, but rather to highlight our pursuit of incompatible policies to absurd ends without recognizing the incongruities.
— Laura Rozen picks apart the holes in Peter Baker’s WaPo piece on the Bush failures in strategery.
— Via Reuters, we find that the majority of foreign policy experts — including more than 60% of conservative scholars — think that Bush’s “surge”/”escalation” policy is a big fat failure.
More than half of top U.S. foreign policy experts oppose President George W. Bush’s troop increase as a strategy for stabilizing Baghdad, saying the plan has harmed U.S. national security, according to a new survey.
As Congress and the White House await the September release of a key progress report on Iraq, 53 percent of the experts polled by Foreign Policy magazine and the Center for American Progress said they now oppose Bush’s troop build-up.
That is a 22 percentage point jump since the strategy was announced early this year.
The survey of 108 experts, including Republicans and Democrats, showed opposition to the so-called “surge” across the political spectrum, with about two-thirds of conservatives saying it has been ineffective or made things worse in Iraq….
Ninety-one percent of those polled said the world has grown more dangerous for Americans and the United States, up 10 percent from February.
Heckuva job, Bushie. (No wonder Lieberman is going for the divide and Syria shiny object strategery…they’ve sent him out to wag the finger of distraction again.) ThinkProgress has some of the charts from the survey here.
— This read is simply painful (H/T to reader WB), and unfortunately adds to the total of increased suicides among active military. As Jon Soltz points out, there simply is no logical way to reconcile the low instance of diagnosis of PTSD through the VA and military records and this increasing number of suicides. The public, our military and their families deserve better answers.
— Nitpicker takes on Victor Davis Hanson’s self-refuting idiocy.
PS — Do watch Matt Cooper from Meet the Press in this clip on C&L. We knew Rove was a lying weasel, but it’s fun to watch Cooper have to be so blunt with Daivd Gregory who — as Marcy ably points out — is trying to tap dance around having to ever call Rove out as a liar. Priceless teevee.
(Great shot of empty in-box tray via Jeffk.)
UPDATE: Meant to link this up as well: the view from Basra through British eyes. (H/T to LS for the link.)