"What is alarmingly clear is that the internal power struggles inside of the administration have all been decisively resolved in favor of the extremists who are, in every way, indistinguishable from the right-wing bloggers and pundits whose views are so radical and unhinged that they never cease to shock or disgust. As Digby put it: "the nation is being led by Limbaugh, Powerline and Michele Malkin."* glenn:
One can listen to Sean Hannity, or read John Hinderaker or Michelle Malkin or David Horowitz, and mock the derangement and dishonesty. But that isn't how Dick Cheney or Don Rumsfeld or the President react, and it's certainly not how their top-tier of aides in the various power centers in the administration react. If Dick Cheney had a blog, it would look like Powerline. If Don Rumsfeld had a blog, it would read like LGF. And any of their most influential aides and advisors could post at the Corner or write regularly for The Weekly Standard and nothing would be different.
The longer the administration stays in power and -- even more significantly -- the less popular they become, the more willing, even eager, they become to throw caution to the wind. Almost from a sense of vindictive bitterness, they insist upon their entitlement to do whatever they want. And "what they want" has become progressively more orthodox, more radical, and more dangerous.
That is, more than anything else, what this election is about tomorrow. It really only will determine one question -- will this extremist movement be fully liberated to spend the next two years pursuing its twisted visions with no limits at all, or will it at least have some mild hurdles and impediments to slow it down? I don't write about the John Hinderakers or Glenn Reynolds or Michael Ledeens of the world because it's fun and easy to mock their deceit and derangement, even if that's true. I write about them because they are perfect reflections of the mentality that is governing our country and that has been governing it -- and destroying it -- with no limits at all for five years now."
"Despite all of that, the Bush administration — by necessity — has "reduced financing for Afghanistan by 30 percent and proposed the withdrawal of up to 3,000 American troops." Put another way, preventing Afghanistan from collapsing into chaos and allowing a full return of the Taliban will require vast resources and troops which we do not have. That we chose to invade and occupy Iraq with 140,000 troops, at a cost of $8 billion per month, is the obvious reason why we are incapable of sustaining the necessary commitment. Chaos in Afghanistan — or, worse, a full-scale return of Taliban rule — may be yet another price to be paid for the invasion of Iraq, the single worst strategic disaster in our nation's history."