Recent Entries in Politics

  Powell downbeat on Iraq

US Secretary of State Colin Powell has admitted the violence in Iraq is worsening, a harsher view of the insurgency than George W. Bush, who said at the weekend the country was making steady progress toward elections.

In the latest violence, a car bomb yesterday killed three Iraqi National Guards in the northern city of Mosul and five people were killed and 46 wounded in US strikes on the Baghdad stronghold of radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

"It's getting worse," Mr Powell told a US television interviewer. "And the reason it's getting worse is that they are determined to disrupt the election. They do not want the Iraqi people to vote for their own leaders in a free, democratic election."

The Australian: Powell downbeat on Iraq as bomb kills 3 [September 28, 2004]

Before 1950, no President or member of Congress believed that the executive branch could wage war without debate in Congress, when such debate was possible.


Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party. Once, it was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships. They were good-hearted people who vanquished the gnarlier elements of their party, the paranoid Roosevelt-haters, the flat Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element. The genial Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American hero of D-Day, who made it OK for reasonable people to vote Republican. He brought the Korean War to a stalemate, produced the Interstate Highway System, declined to rescue the French colonial army in Vietnam, and gave us a period of peace and prosperity, in which (oddly) American arts and letters flourished and higher education burgeoned—and there was a degree of plain decency in the country. Fifties Republicans were giants compared to today’s. Richard Nixon was the last Republican leader to feel a Christian obligation toward the poor.

We're Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore

The Republican National Convention is over and score it a huge success for President George W. Bush. For one solid week he was on message and got Americans who watched to listen to the message he intends to carry in the fall campaign: leadership, decisiveness and success battling the war on terrorism. The convention actually followed another big week for Mr. Bush and equally dismal one for his opponent, Democratic Senator John Kerry.

Now the first polls are out. I have Mr. Bush leading by 2 points in the simple head-to-head match up - 46% to 44%. Add in the other minor candidates and it becomes a 3 point advantage for the President - 46% to 43%. This is no small achievement. The President was behind 50% to 43% in my mid-August poll and he essentially turned the race around by jumping 3 points as Mr. Kerry lost 7 points. Impressive by any standards.

Zogby News!

Chances are that if you read a few online news reports about Bush's speech at the UN Tuesday, you came across the word "stony-faced" at least once.

For press descriptions of world leaders' reactions to Bush's speech, "stony-faced" seemed to beat out "luke-warm" and "tepid" as the adjective du jour.

Terrorism & Security |

If you don’t want to hear a Democrat say that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating dangerously, listen to a Republican

In a Sept. 20 speech that was long overdue, John Kerry outlined the deceptions and failures of George W. Bush’s policy in Iraq. Because he is the Democratic nominee for President, and because he hasn’t expressed his view of the war with such clarity and cogency before, many voters may remain deaf to Mr. Kerry’s realistic warnings about the price of Mr. Bush’s "stubborn incompetence."

Partisan though his speech at New York University surely was, however, much the same message is being delivered by the most respected figures in the ruling party.

WorkingForChange-Republican Senators tell unpleasant truths

Despite an appearance before the General Assembly that was friendlier and more optimistic than any of his previous speeches to it, President George W. Bush still faces a skeptical crowd at the United Nations.

There was no burst of applause during Bush's speech Tuesday, even when he talked about the world's common struggles against poverty and disease. And the applause at the end was subdued.

This was in contrast to the warm, persistent applause that met his appearance shortly after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Before Bush spoke, Secretary General Kofi Annan gave a stern address warning that even the world's most powerful countries must follow the rule of law, which many interpreted to be a rebuke of Bush's actions in Iraq.

IHT: Skeptical reaction meets Bush at UN

Soldiers from a Fort Carson combat unit say they have been issued an ultimatum - re-enlist for three more years or be transferred to other units expected to deploy to Iraq.

Hundreds of soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team were presented with that message and a re-enlistment form in a series of assemblies last Thursday, said two soldiers who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The effort is part of a restructuring of the Army into smaller, more flexible forces that can deploy rapidly around the world.

A Fort Carson spokesman confirmed the re-enlistment drive is under way and one of the soldiers provided the form to the Rocky Mountain News. An Army spokesmen denied, however, that soldiers who don't re-enlist with the brigade were threatened.

The form, if signed, would bind the soldier to the 3rd Brigade until Dec. 31, 2007. The two soldiers said they were told that those who did not sign would be transferred out of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

"They said if you refuse to re-enlist with the 3rd Brigade, we'll send you down to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which is going to Iraq for a year, and you can stay with them, or we'll send you to Korea, or to Fort Riley (in Kansas) where they're going to Iraq," said one of the soldiers, a sergeant.

Rocky Mountain News: State

In a written statement, CBS said Bill Burkett, a retired National Guard lieutenant colonel, has admitted that he deliberately misled a CBS News producer, "giving her a false account of the documents' origins to protect a promise of confidentiality to the actual source."

In the statement, CBS News President Andrew Heyward said his network believed the documents were real but after further reporting cannot establish that they are.

"CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them in the report. We should not have used them. That was a mistake, which we deeply regret." - CBS says it can't prove Bush documents' authenticity - Sep 20, 2004

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's statement that the Bush administration's decision to go to war in Iraq was illegal because it didn't have the Security Council's approval should have been made before the invasion.

However, Annan's admission of the illegality of that invasion only goes to confirm the illegality of the United States' occupation of Iraq and why it is being resisted by many Iraqis.

The United Nations Charter allows nations to take military action with Security Council approval as an explicit enforcement action. Zambia: United States' Illegal Occupation of Iraq

There are two presidential races going on: One here, one in Iraq. George Bush has to convince voters he isn't losing the second to be sure of winning the first.

Putting all the polls together, it's clear that the president has forged a real, if not rock-solid, lead against Sen. John Kerry. But in an odd way the race right now isn't between Kerry and Bush but between Bush and the murderous insurgents in Iraq.

Bush's lead in the polls is built in good measure on questions relating to the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq. On both topics -- unlike, say, the economy or health care -- the president has a fat lead. As commander-in-chief, he's seen as a far steadier, tougher and more successful leader than Kerry would be.

MSNBC - War leaves an opening for Kerry

In jujitsu, the trick is to move quickly to leverage your opponent's strength to your advantage. In this way a lightweight can attack a person of substance and flip him.

We're watching the biggest jujitsu flip ever seen in American politics. President Bush, a slacker, a draft evader, a failure in business, a man so devoid of world curiosity that he rarely left America's shores (even checked "no overseas service" on his Air National Guard application) and a president who has misled the American people about everything from the invasion of Iraq to the cost of Medicare, has managed to flip John Kerry onto his back by turning Kerry's strengths -- his valor in Vietnam, his intellect, his expanded worldview and, yes, his nuanced thinking -- against him. In jujitsu that's how it's meant to be. In politics it's cynical and destructive -- and shamefully effective.

Susan Lenfestey: Blow whistle on our jujitsu president

'Bring them on!" President Bush challenged the early Iraqi insurgency in July of last year. Since then, 812 American soldiers have been killed and 6,290 wounded, according to the Pentagon. Almost every day, in campaign speeches, Bush speaks with bravado about how he is "winning" in Iraq. "Our strategy is succeeding," he boasted to the National Guard convention on Tuesday.

But, according to the US military's leading strategists and prominent retired generals, Bush's war is already lost. Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told me: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He adds: "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends."

Guardian | Far graver than Vietnam

  Preemptive paranoia

House Republicans started clamoring for a congressional inquiry into the documents used by 60 Minutes, saying it might be an attempt to manipulate the election. (Isn’t that what the Democrats are scared the Republicans are doing?)

These same Republicans never wanted investigations into missing WMD, why Congress passed a Medicare bill based on faulty figures, Abu Ghraib or even whether those Swiftie guys were lying, for Pete’s sake.


Britain, Australia and a former U.S. official, stung by criticism from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, have insisted that their countries' military action in Iraq was legal.

All three governments face elections in the near future and have had to grapple with varying degrees of public disquiet about their decision to wage war against Saddam Hussein.

Speaking to the BBC on Wednesday, Annan said the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was illegal as it violated the U.N. Charter.

U.N. chief says Iraq war was illegal

The White House insisted on Wednesday that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is committed to the U.S.-backed road map Middle East peace plan, despite his comments in a newspaper interview that suggested otherwise.

Top News Article |

Bush has made the world a more dangerous place. America is more debt-ridden and reviled worldwide than ever before. His presidency has been characterized by one colossal blunder after another. In overreacting to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, he abandoned cherished American principles and doctrines, and, at his request, a craven Congress gave him extremely broad powers.

The Daily Star - Opinion Articles - A sliding John Kerry should dare to speak out

Bush has made the world a more dangerous place. America is more debt-ridden and reviled worldwide than ever before. His presidency has been characterized by one colossal blunder after another. In overreacting to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, he abandoned cherished American principles and doctrines, and, at his request, a craven Congress gave him extremely broad powers.

Oh, how I wish this column was capable of special effects. If it was, the newspaper or computer screen you're reading this on would suddenly morph into a Howler, one of those bright red envelopes in the Harry Potter books that, when opened, begin to shout at the recipient in the sender's voice. In this case, my Greek-accented cry would fill the air:


The reason for my distress is simple: I've just seen another round of polls showing that, by a hefty 23-point spread, voters think George W. Bush will make the country safer and more secure than John Kerry. Karl Rove's VBD (Vote for Bush or Die) strategy is clearly working.

AlterNet: Election 2004: A Hogwarts Howler For The American Voter

I’m going out on a limb here, but the red meat, red state dominated RNC may turn out to be what George W. Bush likes to call “a catastrophic success.” His soldiers stormed the podium, reigned shock and awe down on their enemies, and overpowered the viewers without thinking much about the aftermath or an exit strategy.

First came the explosive opening salvos aimed at taking John Kerry out on the first night. John McCain and Rudy Giuliani both gave powerful speeches. And the 9/11 families were beautifully dignified. But the overall effect was that the Republicans were using the 9/11 tragedy for partisan gain. Giuliani added to that feeling when he bragged about saying, in those first moments of the brutal attack, “Thank God George Bush is our president.” Because, as every swing voter knows, had Bill Clinton or Al Gore or John Kerry been president at that moment, they would have just sat there, staring off into space, frozen, too stunned to even-- Oh wait, that’s what the “thank God” president did.

The Washington Dispatch

One of President Bush's top lawyers resigned from his campaign Wednesday, a day after disclosing that he had given legal advice to a veterans group airing TV ads against Democrat John Kerry. The guidance included checking ad scripts, the group said.

Benjamin Ginsberg, who also represented Bush in the 2000 Florida recount that made the Republican president, told Bush in a letter that he felt his legal work for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth had become a distraction for the re-election campaign.

Two of the most prominent examples are the anti-Bush movie "Fahrenheit 9/11" by Michael Moore, and the anti-Kerry TV ads put out by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT), funded in large part by Texan Bob Perry. The objectivity of both attacks is subject to question.

There will always be attacks in political campaigns. Some attacks will be truthful; others won't. But the last thing we need is government regulation telling us which attacks are true, and which aren't. The responsibility for sorting out the truth - and the difference between free speech and purchased speech - ultimately lies with each individual citizen.

Mr. Moore's movie is closer to the spirit of the First Amendment while Mr. Perry's big-money contributions distort the concept of free speech.

Iran's defense minister, Vice Adm. Ali Shamkhani, has warned that Iran may resort to pre-emptive strikes to prevent an attack on its nuclear facilities.

Admiral Shamkhani made his comments in an interview on Al Jazeera television on Wednesday in response to a question about the possibility of an American or Israeli attack against Iran's nuclear projects.

"We will not sit to wait for what others will do to us," he said. "Some military commanders in Iran are convinced that preventive operations which the Americans talk about are not their monopoly. Any nation, if it feels threatened, can resort to that."

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