Former Senator and Presidential Candidate Gary Hart has published a great piece on the Huffington Post:
Very soon a new industry called “The Lessons of Iraq” will be born, even as the search for the end-game continues against the back-drop of the theme “who lost Iraq.” Partisan strategists will be allocating blame while more thoughtful citizens will try to draw lessons for future generations.
Some lessons are apparent. Do not manufacture justification for invasions. Plan for all eventualities, including the most unpleasant. Do not pay exiles to tell you what you want to hear. Deal honestly with Congress and the American people. Be candid about possible costs in lives and money. And an endless list of common sense, and Constitutional, dos and don’ts.
The second kind of lessons are less obvious and have to do with the new realities of the 21st century:
First, treat jihadist terrorism more like organized crime than traditional warfare. By declaring “war on terrorism” we made the fatal mistake that it could be crushed using conventional warfare and massed armies…
Second, liberate the U.S. from dependence on Persian Gulf oil. We can then sharply reduce the U.S. military presence in the region and remove the single most important incentive for jihadism…
Third, restore principle to American foreign policy. Neoconservatives who dominate the Bush administration have used the Wilsonian rhetoric of “democratic idealism” even as they pursue the most cynical and dishonest policies…
Fourth, engage the nations of the world in achieving security for the global commons. Security in the 21st century now means much more than it did in the Cold War 20th century.
Read the full article at the link below:
And you thought suicide bombings couldn’t become any more abhorrent:
A US military official has said children have been used in a bomb attack in Iraq, raising fears that insurgents are using a new tactic.
Gen Michael Barbero said a vehicle stopped at a checkpoint was waved through because two children were seen in the back, but was then detonated.Â Militants were changing tactics in response to tighter security, he said.
Gen Barbero said there had been also two adults in the car. They parked it near a market, abandoned it with the children inside and apparently detonated it.
The two children died, along with three civilians in the vicinity, officials said.
Rep. Waxman – House Oversight Committee
In testimony given today before the house oversight committee, James Knodell, Director of the Office of Security at the White House, revealed that the the administration had never launched an internal probe to determine the source for the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame in 2003. In addition to revealing a deep reluctance on the part of the administration in determining the party responsible for the leak, Knodell’s testimony directly contradicted a prior statement from President Bush promising a full internal probe.
Ms. Plame Wilson, who in testimony earlier today confirmed her status at the time of the scandal as a covert CIA official and struck down assertions that she designed her husband’s 2002 mission to Niger, told the committee, “My name and identity were carelessly and recklessly abused by senior officials in the White House and State Department. I could no longer perform the work for which I had been highly trained.”
Asked about an obligation of federal officials to report on any knowledge of a leak to a security officer, Knodell confirmed the requirement and admitted that not a single member of the administration had come to speak to him.
Committee chair Henry Waxman, who in his opening statement described the the panel’s duty to “determine what went wrong and insist on accountability,” was taken aback by the implications of Knodell’s testimony, describing it as “a breach within a breach.”
WASHINGTON _ The most liberal member of Congress running for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination isn’t Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio.
It’s Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.
And the Republican candidate who’s grown less conservative over his years in Congress? Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
Those are among the interesting findings in a recent analysis of votes by all the members of Congress who are running for president.
They cut to the heart of debates going on among activists in both major parties: Can a liberal Democrat win a general election? Which Republican is ideologically pure enough to win support from conservatives?
The study, released this month by the National Journal, a respected inside-the-Beltway research report, will help voters cut through the spin and hype of TV sound bites in coming months and judge these candidates for themselves.
Read more of the findings at the link below:
Another great piece from Nicholas Kristof:
There is no serious political debate among either Democrats or Republicans about our policy toward Israelis and Palestinians. And that silence harms America, Middle East peace prospects and Israel itself.
Within Israel, you hear vitriolic debates in politics and the news media about the use of force and the occupation of Palestinian territories. Yet no major American candidate is willing today to be half as critical of hard-line Israeli government policies as, say, Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper.
Three years ago, Israelâ€™s minister of justice spoke publicly of photos of an elderly Palestinian woman beside the ruins of her home, after it had been destroyed by the Israeli army. He said that they reminded him of his own grandmother, who had been dispossessed by the Nazis. Can you imagine an American cabinet secretary ever saying such a thing?
…You can argue that Arabs pursue a double standard, focusing on repression by Israelis while ignoring greater human rights violations by fellow Arabs. But the suffering in Palestinian territories, while not remotely at the scale of brutality in Sudan or Iraq, is still tragically real…
…Hard-line Israeli policies have profoundly harmed that countryâ€™s long-term security by adding vulnerable settlements, radicalizing young Palestinians, empowering Hamas and Hezbollah, isolating Israel in the world and nurturing another generation of terrorists in Lebanon. The Israeli rightâ€™s aggressive approach has only hurt Israeli security, just as President Bushâ€™s invasion of Iraq ended up harming U.S. interests…
(Times Select subscription required)