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On the lighter side of life... 

#1445: Tommy, Riposa in Pace

requiescat in pace

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Trump & The Mob

http-//www.politico.com#13C5A6C

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"Give me your tired, your poor

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore

Send these, the homeless, tempest-toss'd to me

I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door."

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Hundreds of Oregon Corporations Escape the Minimum Tax

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Half of the US Is Broke

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The myth of the Christian country

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“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

FDR, 2nd Inaugural Address, Jan 20, 1937

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A Just Peace

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SIP contract online

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Middle East friendship chart

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Corporations enriching shareholders

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- Intel tax abatements

- INTEL, come clean!

- Leashing INTEL  

- Free to Be Hungry

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Facts not fiction on universal gun background checks

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"Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere"

Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The GOP - Not One of US.

Wall Street, our new criminal class...       

   Business in the USA is sitting on $2 trillion dollars refusing to invest their own funds in expanding and hiring workers.  

   When one adds to this the reserves that banks, equity firms and hedge funds have - the picture is clear - "capitalism in the USA is on strike." 

   The engine of our economy - the spirit of entrepreneurship is not in evidence today.  So much for business being dynamic and risk taking. 

   They hire K- Street lobbyists and their ilk at the state level because they are averse to risk taking - pleading for tax breaks, tax credits and endless loopholes. 

   The "business of business" in America today is not about job creation, it's about wealth hoarding and redistribution from the middle class to the top 1%. 

   So for those who claim government doesn't create jobs, my response is that business doesn't either until given "corporate welfare" by government.  The fact is that the private and public sector are highly integrated, something the anti-tax, anti-government Tea Party types don't understand. 

   Job creation requires public/private partnerships but the benefits of such collaboration should go to the 99% not just the 1%.  

 

RAD'S

WEBSITE PICKS: 


 

  • An Independent View

Oregon Outpost

  • A Middle East View      

Rami G. Khouri

  • RealClearPolitics:

Realclearpolitics

  • Jim Hightower:   

Jimhightower.com

  • Robert Reich:

Robert Reich

  • Thomas Friedman: 

Friedman Column

  • Nicholas Kristof: 

Kristof Column

Oregon's Motto: 

She flies with her own wings! 


Hard Times in Oregon: 

Hardtimes

The Oregon story - the rich get richer, the poor and middle class lose ground.  Check this front page Oregonian article out. 

Oregon wage gap widens

Homelessness in Oregon - a call to action

Chuck Currie The crisis of homelessness


  

      Oregon's coming 34th out of 41 states in the Obama "Race to the Top" illustrates the failure of leadership from Governor Kitzhaber and his predecessors as they have built an educational bridge to nowhere called high stakes testing.

   Instead of being in a race to the top we seem to be dumpster diving to the bottom despite doing education reform since 1991.  Insanity is termed doing the same thing over and over again.  When can we put a fork in this stupidity? 

   To confuse matters more the Oregonian's editorial board has pontificated that this was a lost opportunity to get federal funding for innovation.  How firing principals and teachers equals innovation is a mystery to me.   

   The way to reform schools is to reduce class sizes, to encourage teacher collaboration and to support their continued education.  High stakes testing and performance based assessment of teachers are NOT the answer!    

   If you want students to succeed you first have to resolve the issues they confront before they come to school.  Children who face poverty, hunger, homelessness, health care issues and family instability require wrap around services for them and their families, 24/7.   

   Every child needs a safe home of their own and parents who know how to be good parents.   

There is only one way to address this impending crisis.  Schools must have a stable source of funding. Until that happens - we will limp from crisis to crisis.   

 

 

    

    Why does the richest nation in the world have the moral blight of homeless people?

Invisible People

http://www.npr.org


 Homelessness

    Connecting the dots between homelessness & hunger in Oregon and Washington County: 

Homelessness:  

•    The faces of the homeless are families with children, single men and women, vets, and many who are impaired. It is estimated that in Washington County up to 56% of homelessness occurs to families.

Hunger:

•    Hunger is highest among single mother households (10%) and poor families (15%) as well as renters, unemployed workers and minority households. 

     In Washington County, Oregon's "economic engine," the divide between the affluent and the working poor continues.  We have a 19,000 unit gap in affordable low income rental housing.  County political and business leaders are indifferent to this crisis...   


A RAD rhetorical question - Were Madison & Marx "Marxists"?  

 

"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments."   

- James Madison

 

"Philosophers have only interpreted the world in different ways. The point is, however, to change it. 

- Karl Marx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAD Lines

See my FACEBOOK @ Russ

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Case-for-Trump-over-Clinton-is-a-loser

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SB 1533 passes!  

http://oregon.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=10863

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Housing Needs in Oregon 

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#1445: Tommy, Riposa in Pace

requiescat in pace

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"There are men who believe that democracy... is limited or measured by a kind of mystical and artificial fate [and that] tyranny and slavery have become the surging wave of the future..." 

FDR, 3rd Inaugural Address, Jan 20, 1941

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Obamacare is working in Oregon!

Oregon's uninsurance rate cut more than half following federal health reforms

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Mourning for a Judaism Being Murdered by Israel

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Taking on the Pro-Israel Lobby 

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Sign the petition ►

Walgreens - pay your fair share of taxes!

"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." - Mayer Amschel Rothschild

Miguel de Cervantes, from The Duke - "I accuse you of being an idealist, a bad poet and an honest man."  Cervantes' response - "Guilty as charged, I have never had the courage to believe in nothing."   from Man of La Mancha  

Intel failed to report fluoride emissions for almost 30 years   

     Why do Intel employees who are house hunting in Hillsboro, Aloha or Beaverton refer to an area within a 5 mile radius of Intel plants as "the dead zone?"  

      Do they know something we don't?  QuestionIntel.com  We couldn't trust banks "too big to fail," so why should we trust Intel?

Professor Kingfield, from the Paper Chase

   "I'm not a teacher: only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead – ahead of myself as well as you." 

- George Bernard Shaw

 

BLOGS:

From the Left Wing:

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman - The New York Times

Democracy Now
democracynow.org

The Daily Kos

dailykos.com

Blue Oregon

blueoregon.com

 

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." 

- Emilie Buchwald 

 


    "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law." 

- Justice John Paul Stevens, Bush v. Gore, 2001


    The state of our union - check out the map, it's a reality check for those who can't figure out why people are so ticked off... 

americanobserver

    Here's Garrison Keillor's rap on the rightwingnuts:   

GarrisonKeillor

 

     Garrison Keillor - "...The Founding Fathers intended the Senate to be a fount of wisdom... but when you consider...  moon-faced Mitch McConnell, your faith in democracy is challenged severely. Any legislative body in which 41 senators from rural states that together represent 10 percent of the population can filibuster you to death is going to be flat-footed, on the verge of paralysis, no matter what. Any time 10 percent of the people can stop 90 percent, it's like driving a bus with a brake pedal for each passenger. That's why Congress has a public approval rating of [11] percent...." 


"Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war"

- John Adams

 

"Loyalty to country always.  Loyalty to government when it deserves it."  

- Mark Twain  

 

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  

- George Santayana 

 

"The love of one's country is a natural thing.  But why should love stop at the border?" 

- Pablo Casals

 

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." 

- William Butler Yeats  

 

"You see things; and you say, 'Why?' 

But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?"  

- George Bernard Shaw, "Back to Methuselah" (1921) 



"...the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society...  The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government..."  

- James Madison, Federalist Papers #11 



 

"Why … should we have government? Why not each individual take to himself the whole fruit of his labor, without having any of it taxed away?”   

The legitimate object of government, is to do for the people whatever they need to have done, but which they can not do, at all, or can not do, so well, for themselves – in their separate and individual capacities … There are many such things … roads, bridges and the like; providing for the helpless young and afflicted; common schools … the criminal and civil [justice] departments."  

- Abraham Lincoln 

  

Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society  

- Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. 

  

"Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests, which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates, but Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole..."  

- Edmund Burke  

  

“It is a maxim among these lawyers that whatever hath been done before may legally be done again, and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind.  These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities, to justify the most iniquitous opinions.”  

- Jonathan Swift 

  

" Every satirist who drew breath has flung pots of ink at this parade of tooting lummoxes and here it is come round again, marching down Main Street, rallying to the cause of William McKinley, hail, hail, the gang’s all here, ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay."  

- Garrison Keillor 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Tuesday
Sep112007

THE CULTURE OF MEDIOCRITY

images.jpeg    As a Seattle Mariner's fan the last three weeks have been baseball hell.  The M's have lost 14 of 16 games and are working on losing another one tonight against the Oakland Athletics.  The M's at one point were 20 games over .500.  At the rate they are tanking they will be lucky to get above .500 by the end of the season.
    The slide began in Texas then continued at home being blitzed by the Western Division leading Los Angeles Angels.  Then they lost 9 of 10 on a brutally long road trip to Cleveland, Toronto, New York and Detroit.  What computer genius made the schedule?   Sadly the M's have risen to their level of incompetence! 
    Who is to blame or is it just bad baseball karma?  As they say baseball is a game of inches.  Earlier in the season the M's were golden as the come back kids. Their bench pitching held things together for the hitters to bring it home in the late innings.  So much for then, now it's down and out time.  
  Earlier in the season the M's might have been playing above their potential.  But then again who will ever know for sure?  But one thing for certain, many of the problems can be put at the doorstep of the management of the M's, especially the "Dubya-like" performance of GM Bill Bavasi who got the job via the Peter Principle. 
    When CEO Howard Lincoln and President Chuck Armstrong assess why things fell apart, they should start with the GM.  Also, when one looks at the pitchers there is only one quality starter in the lineup, Felix Hernandez, who needs to grow up if he's really going to be a great one!  The rest are merely bit players who are past their prime or never had one!
    The first order of business is to rearrange the deck chairs of the starting pitching rotation for next season.  Brandon Morrow deserves a shot, so does Ryan Rowland-Smith and maybe Ryan Feieabend.  But starters Jarrod Washburn and Jeff Weaver should be put out to pasture as trade bait.  They had their chances and blew them.
    To have any chance to build a quality team will require something the M's have shown little ability to do, trade, deal and open their deep pockets. Deal Richie Sexson and Jose Lopez out of the lineup deck.  Richie is the team strike out king and a miserable .200 hitter.  Jose is weak at hitting, bunting and fielding.  Put Willie Bloomquist at second.
    Build around Ichiro, Raul Ibanez, Jose Guillen, Yuniesky Betancourt, Jose Vidro and Adrian Beltre along with young guns like Adam Jones, Mike Morse and Ben Broussard.  Go for a bonifide home run hitter and a premier starting pitcher. Check whether Ken Jr. really wants to end his career in Seattle.  You want to compete with the Yanks and Red Sox open up the vault! 
    But something else stinks in Denmark.  The behind the plate umpires of MLB stink! There is NO consistent strike zone any more.  It forces pitchers to be too fine trying to hit the corners, but then when they don't get the calls they are forced to put the ball center cut.  Well we all know what happens then! 
    RAD has long felt that ever since the umpire strike years ago, MLB was being maimed by the control freaks behind the plate in the field of dreams.  In the '50s the strike zone was from your knees to your arm pits.  Who knows where it is now, it changes each game with each damn ump.  And don't tell me the primo players get the same calls!
    But at the end of the day the M's are their own worst enemy.  They are too free swinging and impatient as ex- M's pitcher, now commentator Bill Krieger has been saying all season.  If you work the pitch count and with a little help from the idiot savant behind the plate, you'll wear the pitcher down just like the best teams do, Boston and the Damn Yankees.
    You want to win then be like Tiger Woods, focus, focus and focus and don't accept anything less than being the best in the game.  How many times have you seen an M's pitcher have the sulks on the mound this season or a hitter have a melt down at the plate watching a third strike?  You get paid the big bucks, now earn it, damn it! 
    Manager John McClaren inherited the job at mid-season as a result, in retrospect, from one of the most cowardly decisions made in modern baseball, Mike Hargrove's resignation when the team was flying high. Hargrove deserves the fickle finger of fate award not the M's players.  He took the oath but didn't keep the faith, shame, shame.
    Oh yes, final score Oakland 7, M's 4.  My, Oh My - when will the pain stop?
    Now if the M's were playing in the National League they'd still be in the hunt.  My bet is that we're going to see the Angels, Boston, Cleveland and the Damn Yanks. Anyone but the Damn Yanks. Who will be the NL champ - who cares!  Go Sweet Lou and the Cubbies!
    PS:  If the M's management thinks they can live off this season's 2 million fans, think again!  You went from a full house before "the fall" to half the house and boos after the fall.  Read your history, where are the Seattle Pilots these days?  Safeco won't save this franchise after 6 disaster seasons!  Learn from the Portland Trail bums! 
 

  
 

Tuesday
Sep112007

9/11 - WHERE WERE YOU THAT DAY?

wtc_jw2_torn.jpg    As I told students at Pacific University that day in a memorial service on campus that their generation lost their innocence that day, the sense that the USA was invulnerable to the forces of evil in the world something my own generation should have learned from events like Vietnam and Watergate. 
    However, our leadership did not learn the lesson of that day that everyone was "American" in that the whole world was watching and grieving with us.  Instead we sought a type of misplaced vengeance on a county not even involved in the attack on America.
    When will we learn the limits of our power?  Certainly invading Iraq was not the right lesson plan.  And being hostile to immigrants is also not the lesson - after all many of those who died in the Twin Towers were immigrants, especially those who worked at the famous Top of the World Restaurant.
    When you watch the would be presidential candidates lining up for '08 ask yourself who will be the "real" unifier, not the divider, of the nation and the world and who will walk humbly in an even more troubled world thanks to George W. Bush and his minions.  When you figure it out, please let me know.  Right now, I see no light at the end of this election year tunnel. 

Tuesday
Sep112007

A TEACHABLE MOMENT

    Today's Senate Armed Services committee hearing with Ambassador Ryan Crocker and General David Petraeus is a redux of what they said to the House yesterday.  While Crocker and Petraeus assure us that we are on the right track are very careful to avoid claiming victory is at hand or our involvement will be over soon. 
    Their nuanced statements carefully parced to avoid having their words come back to haunt them are maddeningly disingenuous.  But one has to admire the skill they both have in spin control and appearing to be so reasonable. Whitman professors taught Crocker well, so did Petraeus' counterparts at Princeton!  
    But fortunately the blue smoke and mirrors was lifted briefly in the hearings producing a memorable question which might go down in history books like the famous question by Senator Howard Baker (R, Tenn) during the Watergate Hearings - "what did the president know and when did he know it."
    Senator John Warner (R, Va) - the ranking GOP member of the committee asked General Petreaus the central question in regard to the surge - "Does that make us safer?"  General Petraeus declined to answer the question saying in effect he can't think outside the box of Iraq and the military issues we face there.
    Parallel to this stunning Q&A, in his syndicated column "Two question in the wake of failure" in today's Oregonian Georege Will rhetorically asks - "After more than four years of war, two questions persist:  Is there an Iraq?  Are there Iraqis?"  One wonders how Crocker and Petraeus might answer Will's question?
    If we are "not safer" because of the "surge" then what's the point?  And if there is "no Iraq" and there are "no Iraqis" - then why are we there?  All you get from Crocker and Patraeus is that there are no guarantees of success nor a set timeline.  We're back to the Vietnam conundrum, the ambassador and general are simply saying "Trust us."
    Will points out the significance of Bush visiting Anbar Province not Baghdad.  As Will says - "This underscores the fact that the surge has failed, as measured by the president's and Petraeus' standards of success."   So as Will asks - "What is the U.S. military mission in Iraq?"  Good question, George! 
    Maybe "success" in Iraq is like good art, it's all in the eye of the beholder!  So presumably sometime down the road Crocker and Petraeus will declare victory - trust them!  Isn't that what McNamara and Westmorland said during the Vietnam War?  And Nixon of course had a "secret peace plan" during the '68 campaign.
    Senator Joe Lieberman, the political quisling of this era asked Petraeus if the Iranians continued to meddle in Iraq when will we consider invading Iran?  Patraeus said such a question is for persons higher up in the chain of command.  Anybody old enough to remember Nixon's Cambodia incursion should take out their worry beads.
    If "Smokin Joe" is thinking the unthinkable, imagine what Bush & Cheney are doing? 
 

Monday
Sep102007

THE TIGER SURGE

32437998.jpg    Tiger Woods got his 60th PGA tour victory yesterday winning the BMW tournament at Cobb Hill GC just outside Chicago. This was his sixth win of the '07 season as he enters the last leg of the FEDEX cup championship this week at Eastlake GC in Atlanta.  That 50 foot downhill putt on Cobb Hill's #12 was something else!  Now let's see if Lefty can match Tiger.  This should be good.  It's really too bad the West Coast doesn't have a course in the FEDEX mix.  Why not?  The PGA and USGA bias against the West is showing.  Maybe Tiger should put in a good word for Pumpkin Ridge? 
Monday
Sep102007

HERE WE GO AGAIN

    RAD is having a surreal experience listening and/or watching the "live" testimony of General David Patraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker before the House Armed Services Committee. We've been hear before, but not just during the current war/occupation of Iraq but in another time and with a different cast.
    In the fall of 1965 Senator J. William Fulbright (D, Ark) as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations committee held gavel to gavel hearings for a week asking the top brass of the Johnson administration for their assessment of that other imperial fiasco - called Vietnam.
    Unlike the current hearings where we are seeing the "B" team in action, the Fulbright hearings saw the top decision-makers: luminaries such as West Wing insiders Walt Rostow and McGeorge Bundy, General Maxwell Taylor, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense and Dean Rusk, Secretary of State.
    Another difference is that the commercial TV networks ran the hearings live in prime time, not just NPR radio, C-SPAN or streaming video on the net. The cumulative effect of a week of testimony funneled into every home in the USA was that public opinion on the war in Vietnam began to change slowly but surely so that by the '68 presidential race the war was "the" issue.
    But in this sense, events this time are way ahead of the administration, Congress and the White House. The people of the USA have already made of their minds that this war serves no long term American interest and must end sooner than latter. It's not about staying the course anymore, it's about deciding the terms of disengagement.
    However, listening to the testimony today one doesn't get from either General Patraeus nor Ambassador Crocker the essence of our failure in Iraq. They, like LBJ's team in '65, are still spinning a line that staying the course is still possible however tenuous any positive results.
    It's become very fashionable in DC and on the presidential campaign trail to argue that there are no good choices but staying the course is the least "bad" choice. In Vietnam the line McNamara used so well was that "there is a light at the end of the tunnel" - of victory over the enemy.
    The "no good choices" line doesn't promise victory but suggests that however illusive "victory" might be "losing" is a worse option. Well the reality on the ground is that the war in Iraq is already LOST... Refusing to acknowledge this reality simply means sacrificing more of our own and more of our treasure on a lost cause.
    Let me use the stock market bust over the sub-prime loan fiasco as a metaphor. Who on Wall Street or Main Street is brain dead enough to have not figured out that too many people and mortgage brokers made a lot of bad loans and that it's time to end the stupidity and lies? The market is down, so folks are getting the message.
    So why can't our legislators understand this and force the administration to cry uncle?  Sadly because we're in a elongated presidential election cycle nothing is going to change until we have a Democratic president and a larger Democratic majority in the House and Senate. So the pain, waste and suffering will continue well into 2009.
    We're on a political time clock here where campaign politics will largely determine the course we follow. So and if a new administration comes to power we're stuck in neutral with the "B" group of Patraeus and Crocker calling the shots in Iraq behind the Green Zone providing cover for the dumb dodo who started this mess - George W. Bush.
    So while Patraeus and Crocker make the case for the "surge" the realities on the ground in Baghdad and beyond suggest another reality is in play. Check out Sunday's NYTimes front page article "At Street Level, Unmet Goals in Iraq" which gives a more gloomy view of things on the ground.  
    New Yorker columnist George Packer's longish article "Planning for Defeat" also offers us a more sober assessment of life in Iraq compared to the carefully nuanced testimony of Patraeus and Crocker. Here are some excerpts:

  • "…the inadequacy of the surge is already clear, if one honestly assesses the daily lives of Iraqis. Though the streets of Baghdad are marginally less lethal than they were during 2006, sixty thousand Iraqis a month continue to leave their homes, according to the International Organization for Migration, joining the two million who have become refugees and the two million others displaced inside Iraq…"
  • "…The militias, which have become less conspicuous as they wait out the surge, are nevertheless growing in strength, as they extend their control over neighborhoods... In the backstreets, the local markets, the university classrooms, and other realms beyond the reach of American observers or American troops, there is no rule of law, only the rule of the gun…" 
  • "…The lives of most Iraqis are dominated by a complex array of militias and criminal gangs that are ruthlessly competing with one another, and whose motives for killing are more often economic or personal than religious or ideological. A recent report by the International Crisis Group urged the American and British governments to acknowledge that their “so-called Iraqi partners, far from building a new state, are tirelessly working to tear it down…”
  • "…The inability of Iraq’s communities to reconcile doesn’t absolve the United States of responsibility. Instead, it raises a new set of moral and strategic questions that are, in their way, more painful than at any other phase of the war. Facing these questions requires American leaders to do what they have not yet done—to look beyond the next three or six months, to the next two or three years. When America prepares, inevitably, to leave, what can we do to limit the damage that will follow our departure, not just for Iraq’s sake but for our own?..."

    Patraeus and Crocker hold out hope, however, tenuous that the surge is working.  Packer suggests are darker vision - that the way we exit Iraq poses huge risks as well.  So it does. 
    That's why our exit must be phased in over probably a year or longer.  So the new president will be faced with a very discomforting inheritance - presiding over our exit with all of its long-term political risks. 
    One can imagine the GOP think tanks already readying lines for 2010 such as "how the Dems lost Iraq" or "Dems have the blood of patriots on their hands" or "Why did the Dems forget the lessons of 9/11?" 
    Well, as the most likely Democratic president to be - Hillary knows how to deal with the "vast right wing conspiracy" - go on attack mode.  The best defense is a good offense.  Good luck. 
    But even Queen Hillary has a fairly nuanced position on leaving Iraq suggesting we have long term interests which will keep us there, on the ground in some form.  She seems to be living in a Vietnam-like echo chamber! 
    If our exit from Iraq is less exit than a changing of "mission" - then the American public may be really angry after election '08 if they expect the troops will be home by the end of '09. 
    If the exit is more a change of missions than bringing the troops home and we have under the Patraeus/Crocker option a pre-surge contingent of @ 120,000 troops in country along with an equal number of private security forces - what's the change? 
    If Hillary has her way - then we might see smaller numbers but still permanent US bases in Iraq plus that very large new embassy along with those ubiquitous "advisers" as in Vietnam under JFK.  The more things change, the more they stay the same. 
    Imagine a post-Bush Iraq with American advisors, bases in and around Iraq.  Now take the clock back to Vietnam 1954 and the French military position in their infamous fort at Dien Bien Phu. 
    How did that end?  You don't know?  Shame on your history professor!  Well, General Giap did a number on the French and out of it came the defeat of France and the Geneva Accords which ended French occupation and the war. 
    But it didn't end the war!  Harry Truman and his Secretary of State Dean Acheson saw to that.  The US refused to sign the accords and began to secretly funneling money to the corrupt government of South Vietnam under Diem. 
    So the promise that the DMZ separating the south and north was to be temporary was violated by US policy and became our excuse for replacing the French.  Sound familiar? 
    If one measures the time of our meddling in Vietnam beginning with Truman in 1947 to the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975 - staying the course in Vietnam took 28 years.    Ambassador Crocker suggested that the electrical grid in Iraq will not be fully up and running until 2016.  That implies a US presence in Iraq starting with the First Gulf War in 1991 to 2016 - so staying the course in Iraq would be 25 years. 
    If one reads between the lines of the Patraeus/Crocker testimony it's déjà vu all over again!  But Packer suggests something along these lines is in the mix from non-administration sources that people like Hillary probably will listen to:   
    "…In June, a new center-left think tank, the Center for a New American Security, issued a report called “Phased Transition.” It envisions a gradual shift from the current strategy of taking the lead in counter-insurgency operations to a “support” role in Iraq…"   
    "…Troop levels would be reduced to sixty thousand by January, 2009, with a third of those remaining involved in a greatly expanded advisory effort—U.S. soldiers would embed with Iraqi forces, help them plan and conduct operations, and act as intelligence sources, identifying capable, corrupt, and sectarian Iraqi leaders. This process would continue for several years before a complete withdrawal would begin, around 2012…"
    Do I have your attention now?  And what does "complete" withdrawal mean?  2012 would be Hillary's second term of office.  Is she "tough" enough to be a peace maker or will she like JFK and LBJ be the "war" monger trying to stave off the GOP spin doctors attacking her for being weak on terrorism? 
    Packer, who at times seems to be a covert journalistic lapdog of Bushism concludes his article with a very serious question which demands an answer: 
    "…The problems created by the war will require solutions that don’t belong to a single political party or President:

o    the rise of Iranian power,
o    the emergence of Al Qaeda in Iraq,
o    the radicalization of populations,
o    the huge refugee crisis,
o    the damage to a new generation of Iraqis who are growing up amid the unimaginable.

    Whenever this country decides that the bloody experience in Iraq requires the departure of American troops, complete disengagement will be neither desirable nor possible. We might want to be rid of Iraq, but Iraq won’t let it happen…" 
    Packer is right.  It will be hard to be "rid" of Iraq due to our complicity in its destruction.  But staying the course will merely delay not prevent the day of reckoning from happening. 
    Iran will emerge as the region's super power; Al Qaeda will inherit another geo-political wasteland to move into; the forces of radicalization in the Middle East will grow; we will see a refugee crisis akin to Darfur or worse and we will lose access to 10% of the world's oil reserves!  But more American lives lost or more tax dollars spent on this futile war will NOT stop any of this! 
    Our moral obligation is to facilitate the emigration of several million Iraqi refugees to the US and Europe.  Before we leave we also must enlist the help of the UN to bring the regional powers - Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey to the table to fend off the partition of Iraq - however unlikely of success.  But staying in Iraq will only foster radicalization and embolden Al Qaeda. 
    So the key question is not being rid of Iraq, it's a question of learning from our hubris and doing what we can to minimize the damage left in the wake of our fiasco.  Politics is a process of discovering proximate solutions to impossible problems.  It's time we tried the "political" option as opposed to the "military" option.    
    Are you listening and learning Hillary?  Barack?  John?   Forget about the GOP wannabes - they are as brain dead on Iraq as Bush!