Wednesday, July 18, 2007

when Harry met fili

I’m here somewhere past the middle of my all-nighter with Harry—that would be the overnight session called by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in an attempt to break the Republican filibuster (not, as Diane Sawyer carelessly reported, the Democratic filibuster—sheesh!) and move forward with a straight up-or-down, simple majority vote on the Levin/Reed Amendment (which would mandate an ordered redeployment of American combat troops out of Iraq starting in no less than 120 days)—and I have a few thoughts:

  • Do you think that Senator Clinton requested the 4 AM slot?

  • The revolution should be televised—Watching the C-SPAN stream on my laptop all night is nice and all, but I can’t help but think as I squint at the tiny frame and occasionally have to reload the page, America should be watching—and they ain’t gonna want to be watching like this!

    I remember being transfixed—as a young kid, mind you—by the Watergate hearings. It taught me so much about government and instilled in me a hunger for political news that exists to this day.

    Those hearings were covered gavel-to-gavel on regular broadcast television—there was nothing else back then—you couldn't escape them, and so, you had no choice but to watch, listen, and, most importantly, learn.

    I think I heard Bill Moyers, at the end of last Friday's great show about impeachment, saying something about how PBS should be honoring its mandate and televising this debate. . . I guess they didn't listen to him.

  • I’m a bit surprised to see Senator John McCain in attendance for this vote—he has skipped something like the last 13 important Iraq votes. I guess the asshole needs all the free media he can get. . . even if it’s only C-SPAN2.

  • This debate has given us a new ‘INO epithet: the WINO—those that support Withdrawal In Name Only. . . or at least it has served to identify the WINOs.

  • Republicans who reference the latest selectively declassified propaganda National Intelligence Estimate are just nuts. . . or liars. . . or both.

  • This “Let the Generals decide” trope is so messed up, it’s hard to argue with it in a concise form—but here goes: First, that’s not how America works. Generals carry out policies—they don’t make them. But, second, Bush, who is so fond of this saying, has done nothing of the sort. Every time a General disagrees with the Bush “strategy,” he is relieved or forced to quit. This happened most recently when General Abizaid and General Casey were replaced, respectively, with Admiral Fallon and General Patraeus because the former two did not support Bush’s plan to escalate the war (oh, sorry, the “surge”).

  • Republicans seem hell-bent on using this twisted you-can’t-disprove-a-negative logic that says “You think things suck now, well, they would suck more if we hadn’t done what we did.” Of course, that is only made more ridiculous by those that warn that Iraq will become a horrid mess if we leave. . . because now its just the happiest place on earth™, I guess.

  • And, finally, you can argue all kinds of scenarios contingent upon all kinds of build-ups and drawdowns, but you can’t argue that any story will end with a US military victory. It seems that almost all supporters of this war debacle, along with everyone that knows better, agrees that you can’t win this thing militarily. Yet, knowing that, I read today that Pentagon personnel outnumber the staffs of the Department of State and USAID combined—210 to one! There are “substantially more people employed as musicians in Defense bands than in the entire foreign service”! Since we can’t solve our problems with blood and bombs, isn’t it about time that we realigned out priorities, wound down the failed military fiasco that passes for Bush Middle East/GWOT™ “policy,” and got busy arming our diplomatic corps with money, people, and authority to actually make some real progress?


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