"Escalating violence and expanding conflict in the Middle East threatens to spin out of control into the broader region. It is a worrisome situation fraught with grave danger, a clear example of competing and unchecked pathologies.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has unconvincingly urged restraint, but does little to back up that call. Meanwhile, President George Bush has sounded more like Israel's coat holder and cheerleader, alternately pointing fingers at Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran, appearing to give Israel "carte blanche" to "defend" itself. Thus the damage done by Israel's asymmetric power edge has been amplified by our own asymmetries of compassion and pressure--Israel gets the compassion, while pressure is reserved for the Arabs."
"The US has now cast eight of the last nine vetoes at the United Nations Security Council. Seven of those were on resolutions dealing with the Israel-Palestinian conflict."* democracynow:
"New developments in the case of Jose Padilla – a federal judge has ruled Padilla will be permitted to view classified documents and videotapes that summarize his statements while in custody. Padilla was only charged in November after over three years in solitary confinement on a military brig in South Carolina. At the time of his arrest in May 2002, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft accused Padilla of involvement in “a terrorist plot to attack the United States by exploding a radioactive ‘dirty bomb.’" None of his current charges include these allegations."
* kathleen reardon:
"The Democratic Party suffers from the latter. They know communication can be managed, but from where I sit based on many years of studying this subject, they're missing several key ingredients of communication effectiveness. In fact, even if they disagreed vehemently on issues such as the Iraq war, contrary to Bill Clinton's admonition, they'd still be able to make a strong case as a party if they knew how to present their ideas. If they could differentiate between substantive and subtle differences within their ranks, major diversions and minor digressions, their opinions would not automatically be tossed into such baskets as "with Clinton or against Clinton" or "with Murtha or against Murtha." And this is just a start. The Democrats need an emergency overhaul of their communication strategies or lack thereof. Since saying this doesn't appear to have helped with the doing of it, I'm suggesting they consider the 5-Cs of Democratic Communication Reform below each time they begin to speak or write."
* chomsky on demnow on the latest 'troubles'
* henley, peacenik:
"If a war is worth years of struggle, billions squandered and thousands or tens of thousands of dead on both sides, why isn’t peaceful change worth as much? Why is it a “bold initiative” to announce a “generational struggle” to transform a region of the world through a war that might or might not achieve its ends, but preemptively absurd to launch a generational struggle to transform the same region through nonintervention, to instill liberalism and justice by exemplifying it? Because people might get killed? People get killed the other way. Because it might not work? Look around you. The other way isn’t working now."