"President Bush yesterday repeated an increasingly questionable assumption about the U.S. enterprise in Iraq, and of military withdrawal: A "failed" Iraq will provide a haven for terrorists, threatening the United States.
The image the president and the administration want to convey is Iraq-as-Taliban Afghanistan, which they argue was a prime breeding ground for al-Qaeda.
Al-Qaeda may have flourished in Taliban Afghanistan, but the premise about terror's origins, and about the terror threat to the United States today, is wrong.
The breeding ground for terrorism was and is our partners in the war against terrorism, the states the president wants Iraq to emulate: Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia."
* clemons eviscerates elliot abrams:
"Abrams should be suspended in his current position; recused because of his bias and blind-spots on Middle East policy and assigned a new task -- like getting the federal budget balanced, or some other herculean effort that might satisfy Abrams' pretensions without causing the nation much damage.
The person the President should consult with in his stead is Flynt Leverett, my new colleague at the New America Foundation (and I should hasten to add here that Flynt Leverett not only does not know I am preparing this post but will probably object).
Leverett's brilliant expose, "The Case for Negotiation," which appears as the just released cover story of the American Prospect ought to be the National Security Council brief to the President on the direction this nation needs to go to correct the mess that only shows signs of worsening if current policies continue. Leverett's article is written dispassionately and critiques the administration for its choices but also Democrats for their failures as well.
Read every word of this article -- every word, and imagine you are President of the United States receiving a surprise briefing from Flynt Leverett instead of Elliott Abrams, who was up in the Senate talking to Pete Domenici about the budget instead of initiating a war against Syria. Let's just imagine that Leverett refused to put his brief in one-page because the situation is so bad and insisted the President read three pages, with a short list of "what to do" items that could in fact be put on one page.
This document that the American Prospect has run reflects what most sensible Republican and Democratic strategists agree needs to be done in the Middle East. There is enormous (mostly unspoken) consensus between the sort of proposals Leverett is offering. It is important then to realize what damage someone like Abrams is doing by distancing the White House from such strategies. Cheney, Addington, Bolton, and others are complicit -- but this time it's really Abrams that is keeping the President isolated from a sensible policy path that would track somwhat close -- by necessity -- to what Flynt Leverett has written."
* there's a cool V-for-vendetta clip here.