I just might vote for Hillary…

I definitely have my problems with Hillary Clinton when it comes to a presidential run. I’m very happy she’s my local Senator, but to have taken such a horribly ill-advised stance on launching the war in Iraq, well, that says a lot about her judgement. I don’t know if I can accept as my party’s presidential nominee anyone who still believes that going into Iraq was the right thing to do, especially if they have not renounced that position as a mistake. It’s bad enough that she made that mistake in the first place, but it’s compounded by the fact that she still believes she did the right thing.

That said, I now have new incentive to vote for Hillary for POTUS. That’s right, folks. Dick Morris has publicly stated that he will move out of the country if a Clinton/Obama ticket is victorious in 2008. This is reason enough to vote for the former First Lady. In fact, if Hillary and Obama win, I’ll even help the notorious liar pack his house and put all his belongings on the truck for FREE! Hear that, Dick?

Leave it to Microsoft…

Figures… Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 doesn’t render this page correctly. IE6 did, Firefox does. It actually looks better on Opera than on any other browser. Dammit, even Lynx and elinks render it correctly. MSIE7 is messing up other sites for me too, including one that I manage for my employer. No doubt this is something to do with the Microsoft mantra of embrace and extend. Ugh. Well, I’m going to take a page out of Bush’s book… I’m not going to change, Microsoft will have to change. Let the mountain move, because I’m staying right friggin here.

As for current events, I find it disheartening that I (in my last post) and so many others were correct in our assessments that Bush would decide to escalate the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Today Bush held a news conference and announced that he wanted to increase the size of the Army and Marines because the Iraq war will require “additional sacrifices” in the coming year. That article from Bloomberg also notes that “Violence in the Middle East nation is at an all-time high, according to a Pentagon report Dec. 18.” This, despite Dick Cheney’s assertion back in May of 2005 ago that the “insurgency [was] in it’s last throes.”

Bush Rejects Dad Again

The Iraq Study Group Report is finally out. We’ve all heard the key points of the proposal, but Media Matters for America has a great piece on elements the mainstream media has missed, just in case you want a little more info. This morning on the Sam Seder Show, Mr. Seder essentially referred to this gathering of advice from Bush Sr.’s foreign policy experts as an “intervention.” That’s precisely what this was — a series of recommendations meant to save Bush Jr. from a legacy of the most disasterous presidency in the history of the United States. But as Sidney Blumenthal notes in this entry at Salon.com, Dubya is in no mood to take any of these recommendations, and in fact, has set out to do just the opposite. This seems to be Standard Operating Procedure with Bush — “I’ll do what I want, and if you tell me to do something else, I’ll do the opposite.” Pure stubbornness in the face of facts. This is exactly what we’ve seen for six years now, and I expected this to change? How silly was I. Here’s Blumenthal’s thoughts on that:

Since the midterm elections loss, Bush has conducted a foreign policy intended to counter the Baker-Hamilton Commission. In a sense, his entire foreign policy is a case study in reaction formation. From the start, he was determined to do everything opposite from what President Clinton had done. Bush abandoned the Middle East peace process, cast aside the negotiations with North Korea over its development of nuclear weapons, withdrew from the secret diplomacy with reform-minded Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, and brushed aside concerns about terrorism.

So what now? It would appear the “exact opposite” to the Iraq Study Group Report would be to take one or more of the recommendations of Donald Rumsfeld in his exit memo. You know, the memo where he completely covered his ass for his six-year tenure in the administration and lays out every possible option that could be taken in Iraq? Since most of the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations fall under Rumsfeld’s “Above the Line” options (which Rumsfeld describes as scenarios that should be implemented), I have to assume that Bush’s most likely course of action at this point could be found in “Below the Line” options, which Rumsfeld calls, “less attractive options.”

Rumsfeld’s first “Below the Line” option is “Continue on the current path.” Well, we already know Bush agrees with this one. This has been his official policy for over three years now. Rummy’s second “Below the Line” option is “Move a large fraction of all U.S. Forces in to Baghdad to attempt to control it.” Third option, “Increase Brigade Combat Teams and U.S. Forces in Iraq substantially.” Fourth option, which we can completely dismiss based on Bush’s previous statements, “Set a firm withdrawal date to leave.” Fifth, another option we can dismiss because it was initially suggested by a Democrat, and Bush will never let the Democrats claim credit for anything, “Assist in accelerating an aggressive federalism plan, moving towards three separate states — Sunni, Shia and Kurd.” Sixth, yet another option we can dismiss because it’s too “Clintonian,” — “Try a Dayton-like Process.”

So what are we left with? Basically, increase troops substantially, possibly focusing on securing Baghdad. This could also be called the “John McCain” plan, as the Republican Neocon has been the lone voice in the wilderness proposing that the Iraq confict can be ended if we would only send more troops to the region.

McCain must be shaking in his boots right now. If more troops are sent in, meaning that the White House has essentially agreed with his proposal, and the situation in Iraq doesn’t stabilize, he can kiss his 2008 White House bid goodbye. I don’t know if McCain really believes that sending more troops into Iraq is the answer, but it defined a “separate” approach for him and served to get him on lots of talk shows over the past few weeks.

Whether this possible course of action is even viable at this point is up for debate, as the report also concludes that America is at it’s lowest military readiness since the Vietnam War. Which leads me to another point — I’m sick and tired of hearing guys like Sean Hannity and Mark Levin talking about how Clinton hated the military. It wasn’t Clinton that brought us to the lowest level of military readiness in thirty years. In fact, Dick Cheney himself said, “A commander-in-chief leads the military built by those who came before him. There is little that he or his defense secretary can do to improve the force they have to deploy. It is all the work of previous administrations. Decisions made today shape the force of tomorrow.” Given that statement, why doesn’t Cheney credit Clinton for the quick initial military progress made in Afghanistan and Iraq? It is the occupation of these countries that have caused so many problems for the “coalition of the leaving” (I can’t take credit for that term, but I forget where I first heard it). It is a fact that Bush will leave a broken military to his successor. If you want to see who really hates the military, check out this article. It ought to set the record straight.

So where does this all leave the United States in regard to what we’re going to do in Iraq? It leaves us in the middle of nowhere. Let’s review. Bush rejects the experts’ proposals. In reaction, he may call for more troops to enter Iraq. But we might not have more troops to send. So what happens? Exactly what Bush really wants — he wants nothing to happen until he’s out of office so he can claim that someone else “failed.” Meanwhile, he’ll keep stalling, and people will keep dying. Only someone truly evil would allow “nothing” to happen in this situation.

Tragic Story…

My thoughts go out to the family of James Kim who lost his life in a tragic series of missteps on the way back from a Thanksgiving trip. For the past few days and like millions of others around the globe and on the internet, I’ve been following this story far more closely than any political goings-on, hoping that search teams would find Kim alive. Those hopes were dashed yesterday when he was found dead at the bottom of a creek.

The website set up by friends and family is accepting donations, noting “We will offer the funds to the Kim and Fleming families and they can make a determination as to how these funds can best be used to support the Search and Rescue effort that has taken place.” Apparently much of the search-and-rescue operation was funded by the Kim and Fleming parents.

Stay The Course…

The Bush administration can claim all it wants that things are going great in Afghanistan. However, there are reports indicating just the opposite, particularly that the Taliban has gained such a foothold in that country again that teachers who embark upon the forbidden — teaching girls — are disembowelled.

This is just the latest in a series of stories that show the situation in Afghanistan getting worse.

Meanwhile, George W. Bush noted only yesterday that despite the recommendations of the Iraq study group, his preference is to stay the course.

we’ll be in Iraq until the job is complete, at the request of a sovereign government elected by the people. I know there’s a lot of speculation that these reports in Washington mean there’s going to be some kind of graceful exit out of Iraq. We’re going to stay in Iraq to get the job done, so long as the government wants us there.