"Between 2 percent and 5 percent of Iraq's 27 million people have been killed, wounded or uprooted since the Americans invaded in 2003, calculates Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for International and Strategic Studies."
"The real problem is that we don't actually debate the issues that are the real ones because they are too politically radioactive. The real choice is whether we want to maintain our presence and controlling influence in the Middle East and, if so, (a) why do we want to do that?; and (b) what are we are going to do to enable us to maintain that dominance? But we can't discuss item (a) in any constructive way because doing so requires a debate about the role of oil and our commitment to Israel, both of which are strictly off limits, as the President himself told us:"
* nyt ed:
"With the Democrats now in control of both houses, there is an excellent chance of passing tough electronic voting legislation. Representative Rush Holt, Democrat of New Jersey, had more than 200 co-sponsors for a strong electronic voting bill before this month’s election, and support is likely to grow in the new Congress. In the Senate, Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who will be chairwoman of the Rules and Administration Committee, which oversees elections, plans to develop a similar bill."
* meanwhile, Ohio looks like a disaster, again.
* olbermann discusses the Fox memo.
* bush is apparently drinking again/still
* Sidney Blumenthal :
Yet the neocons plot to confound Baker. Clifford May, president of the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies, on the advisory panel of the ISG, says the ISG member Edwin Meese will oppose the recommendations.
The neocon logic in favour of the Iraq war was that the road to Jerusalem led through Baghdad: an invasion would install an Iraqi democracy that would force the Palestinians to submit to the Israelis. Now near-unanimity exists on Baker's commission to reverse that formula. The central part of a new policy must be, they believe, that the road to Baghdad leads through Jerusalem.
In an article in the Washington Post in July, Brent Scowcroft, the elder Bush's national security adviser, who is very close to Baker, spelled out the notion that security and stability in the region, including Iraq, can only be achieved by re-establishing the Middle East peace process. Scowcroft's piece is a precis of Baker's views as well. On September 15, Philip Zelikow, Condoleezza Rice's legal adviser and a former Scowcroft protege, echoed Scowcroft's ideas in a speech at Washington's Middle East Institute. Afterwards, Cheney pressured Rice and she rebuked her closest deputy, underlining her own weakness.
Then the electoral catastrophe intervened, giving Baker leeway (and sidelining Rice). Baker even summoned Tony Blair to testify on Tuesday in order to support a restart of the Middle East peace process. If Baker were to propose that, he knows - although he will not explicitly say so - that its enactment would require the firing of neocons on the national security council and Cheney's staff, in particular Elliott Abrams, the NSC's near-east affairs director.
If Baker actually advocates what he thinks, Bush will have to either admit the errors of his ways and the wisdom of his father and his father's men - or cast them and caution aside once again.