As this is Memorial Day, I’d like to pay my respects to all those who have lost their lives in service to our country over the past two centuries, but especially to the 813 men and women who have died in Iraq thus far. To repeat a familiar line, I do not support their mission, but I do support them.
Great. Our president is not just being undeniably creepy by keeping the gun Saddam Hussein was found with in the Oval Office, he’s breaking the law.
When the law hits your eye with a slice of jail time,
Atrios reprints a 4-year old letter to the editor from my local (and very small) newspaper. It’s a touching letter, written in the middle of the civil unions dispute, when you couldn’t drive for a mile without seeing a “Take Back Vermont” sign. And it’s also neat to see such a small paper get listed in a huge blog. Cool.
Why isn’t this story getting more play? If it’s true, it means that a former U.S. President was physically assaulted. By a former U.S. President. Why isn’t that news?
The Daily Kos just sinks lower and lower. Calling Iraq a “holy war”? Comparing Bush to Hitler? That’s just too far. Regardless of what you think about going to war, the war was fought because of alleged WMD, and one cranky general doesn’t change that. And comparing a U.S. president, albeit an extremely incompetent one, to one of worst genocidal maniacs that society has ever faced trivializes the suffering of all Holocaust victims. They deserve an apology.
I’m really torn on the Colorado Senate race. On the one hand, Attorney General Ken Salazar seems more electable, as he’s moderate, and Mike Miles, as a liberal Deaniac in a very conservative state, doesn’t seem to stand a chance against beer giant Pete Coors or ex-Congressman Bob Schaeffer. But Mike Miles, as a person, just seems impossible to oppose. Everything he’s done, it seems, has been to serve his country and his community. He attended West Point and is a former Army Ranger; he was a Foreign Service Officer who rose to be the special assistant to the Ambassador to Russia, Tom Pickering, at the end of the Cold War; he currently is a principal who turned around a failing middle school. He, at least to me, is the American hero incarnate. I can’t oppose that!
I’ve been reading a book on foreign affairs recently, entitled The Breaking of Nations. It’s by Robert Cooper, who, until recently, was to Tony Blair as Condoleeza Rice is to President Bush. As you could guess from the title, much of the book is about failed states, such as Afghanistan under the Taliban, and Somalia. One point he raises sticks out prominently now: the need for legitimacy in government. Law on its own is useless; it is unenforceable if the government enforces it either does not have the respect of its people, or, in a more cynical circumstance, the fear of its people. Stability in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq stemmed from the latter; in a democracy, which we all hope Iraq will become, it must come from the former. The problem is that we don’t have legitimacy with the Iraqi people. Our support for Israel, despite being right and moral, has diminished America’s reputation in the Arab world, as has our support for repressive regimes, such as Saudi Arabia, the Shah’s Iran (which, in fact, we propped up), and, during the Iraq-Iran war, Hussein’s Iraq. If we’re to gain the respect of Iraq, and thus make it stable, we must put in place a leader already respected by the Iraqi people, preferably one friendly to the U.S., to transition Iraq to democracy. I’m not sure who this leader is; I’m no expert on Iraq. But he or she must be found.
Oops. My bad. Turns out that at Dartmouth, “associate professor” equals “tenured”. So Allan Stam (see previous post) is tenured. Very depressing.