Wednesday, December 06, 2006

losing sight of the big picture

* garry kasparov in the wsj:
"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."

* Larisa:
"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."

* larisa:
"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?"


noise said...

Perhaps next he can point at a wall and say "wall."

Pretty true. How low has Bush pushed the standards when a lack of delusion is sufficient for Congressional approval?

IMO, Gates is another "Bush family insider" who will keep the secrets and protect the family legacy. Exactly what isn't needed right now.

lukery said...

Noise - im so pissed at the Dems.


rimone said...

fuck the Democratic party. i believe i posted here on your site before, that the question i'm most asked here (and in DE before this) is 'how come your country only has only two major parties?'

LeeB said...

I think we probably need to back up just a bit and remember some of the political realities that could well be in play behind the scenes.

Firstly, the Dems are not yet officially in power, so the old rules (suffering rethuglican heels grinding them into the dirt) is still the order of the day. Note the occasional reports escaping the beltway about how the thugs are planning to indulge themselves to sabotage the Democrats after they have to give up the gavel. None of their plans have anything at all to do with taking care of the country's business; it is ALL about politics. As usual. Any questions still about the difference between Dems and thugs?

Secondly, Gates will be in the office just until 2009 and the Dems DID get him on the record yesterday with statements that will come bck to haunt him if he mis-steps.

Third, while Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have made some changes pertaining to the scheduled Congressional work days, which will make further 'recess appointments' impossible for KGB. That will not be in effect until January, however, so if they had done ANYTHING that delayed Gates' confirmation, I would be willing to bet at least 12 cents that Gates would be recess-appointed before Christmas.

Y'all try to remember what Pat Leahy said and try to stay calm. As I have been cogitating on the role we have to play now that Congress is about to change, it is becoming clearer that right now it is the job of the elected Dems to make nice - to keep the lid on in D.C. - and it is up to US to raise holy hell, hopefully directing our barbs and ire at KGB and his entire band of thugs. I think we should probably try to avoid slamming the Dems in our efforts to motivate them. The job may not be as difficult as we fear. I don't believe that Pat Leahy is the only elected Dem who has had enough of the bozos and is rarin' to go git 'em when the time is right.

None of us are famous for patience, but this is a problem that has to be managed for the long term if we don't want to be right back in the soup in 2009. That doesn't mean we fall apart or behave like docile wimps. What it DOES mean is we need to be smart about this.

One of the things I'm sure did not escape the notice of anyone here is that without making any unseemly (counterproductive) announcements to the press, the Democratic leadership WAS organizing a plan to take back our government. Now, let's support that and give them the ammo to do the rest of the job.

And while we're at it, we can keep track of the behavior of the remaining DINOs and support primary challengers in 2008. This ain't a problem that is going to get totally cured in just one election cycle. F'rinstence, we have a terrific opportunity to increase the Dems in the Senate in 2008 when the Dems will be defending only six seats while the thugs have 28 (?) up for re-election or possible retirement.

I'd love to see a repeat performance of the 2006 and a progressive/liberal majority that extends as far into the future as is possible to pull off. It will take a long time to mend the damage done by these thugs, so we need to keep the long-term goals in mind even as we kick up a ruckus for accountability and criminal trials.

Whattaya think?

steven andresen said...

"I think we should probably try to avoid slamming the Dems in our efforts to motivate them."

I think we should never underestimate the ability of Democrats to be Republicans.

Furthermore, I'm interested in figuring out what should be done about the mess we're in. I'm interested. I think we all are interested. And that involves having our own assessment of the issues and arguing towards our own recommendations.

If the Democrats can't do the same, or come up with some cocamamie trash instead, then we should do whatever is possible and necessary to get them to see as we think best. We might come to some better understanding in the process of discussing our points further with others, like Democrats. That's possible.

However, the more important goal should be to understand what's going on, and that will guide what we do with Democrats, et al. I am not willing to work for them, or have them elected, on the basis of name familiarity alone any more.

LeeB said...

Correction - I found the stats:

Republicans will be defending 21 of the 33 Senate seats that come up in 2008.