"For the past few years, the dictators and terrorists have been gaining ground, and with good reason. The deepening catastrophe in Iraq has distracted the world's sole superpower from its true goals, and weakened the U.S. politically as well as militarily. With new congressional leadership threatening to make the same mistake--failing to see Iraq as only one piece of a greater puzzle--it is time to return to the basics of strategic planning.
Thirty years as a chess player ingrained in me the importance of never losing sight of the big picture. Paying too much attention to one area of the chessboard can quickly lead to the collapse of your entire position. America and its allies are so focused on Iraq they are ceding territory all over the map. Even the vague goals of President Bush's ambiguous war on terror have been pushed aside by the crisis in Baghdad.
The U.S. must refocus and recognize the failure of its post-9/11 foreign policy. Pre-emptive strikes and deposing dictators may or may not have been a good plan, but at least it was a plan. However, if you attack Iraq, the potential to go after Iran and Syria must also be on the table. Instead, the U.S. finds itself supervising a civil war while helplessly making concessions elsewhere.
This dire situation is a result of the only thing worse than a failed strategy: the inability to recognize, or to admit, that a strategy has failed. Since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon. Iran is openly boasting of its uranium enrichment program while pouring money into Hezbollah and Hamas. A resurgent Taliban is on the rise in Afghanistan. Nearly off the radar, Somalia is becoming an al Qaeda haven. Worst of all is the answer to the question that ties all of these burning fuses together: No, we are not safer now than we were before."
"Apparently British investigators are having one hell of a time obtaining access to witnesses, despite Russia's claims that it would corporate fully in the Litvinenko assassination case.
I suspect we are about to see the expulsion of the Russian ambassador from the UK if things keep going this way. For people claiming a great deal of fairness from the public in regard to the allegations made against them, they seem to be terribly unwilling to clear their own names."
"So I ask again, have we gone so far toward fascism that criminal conspiracy to defraud this nation, and give comfort to our enemies is no longer something to discuss at a confirmation hearing? Is simply enough that Gates is not Rummy? Or do we want someone whom we can trust and whom those on the ground can trust?
I suppose Gates' is just yet another addition to a cast that is remarkable in its criminal past and no one seems to question how we got where we are now.
When Congress gives power to people who have already abused power, is there any reason for the people of this country to trust the judgment of Congress and see it as a competent check against the Executive Branch?"