My favorite political writer today is Matthew Yglesias.
He had been writing three separate blogs, one on TPM Cafe, one on TAPPED, and a personal one. He just moved to a single, relaunched www.matthewyglesias.com. You can subscribe here: feedburner.com/matthewyglesias
This post is a public callout and request for Matt to please, please bring back the full-text RSS feed.
TalkingPointsMemo has a funny political theater gotcha I’d like to share.
This guy who is running for Duke Cunningham’s congressional spot in California put up this picture of “Bhagdad” from his recent trip there as a way of illustrating that the media is over-selling the negatives like, say, civil war and not talking about all the groovy good stuff that is going on over there. He offers this picture -> as evidence.
Except that isn’t Bhagdad. It is a suburb of Istanbul, Turkey called Bakirkoy. TPM’s got a picture of the same intersection from a different angle with arrows and everything.
My only experience in Turkey was spending a few hours in the Airport in Instanbul. Stuff I noticed a) the airport was one of the nicest airports I’ve ever been in, every high end luxury brand imaginable was represented, immaculately clean and well maintained b) the security was incredibly diligent and professional. As a transferring passenger they had you go down onto the tarmac where they opened up your checked baggage and asked you pointed questions Israeli style before they loaded the next plane. Very impressive stuff, handled discretely and seriously; made the TSA look like your local mini-mall security staff.
Today’s blogger conspiracy theory:
The administration purposefully made Medicare D a terrible program to “prove” that government run healthcare is a bad idea in general.
"A new poll shows that 66 percent of Americans think President Bush is doing a poor job of handling the war in Iraq. And the remaining 34 percent think Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs to church."
-Tina Fey on SNL (that I just watched in Tivo)
If you take the Iraq war down to the core, you will find a deadly simple rational.
We were attacked on 9/11, the White House needed to strike back, show significant force. Afghanistan was too easy a victory. It didn’t do enough to strike enough fear. I won’t spend time caveating this Iraq war statement with endless words on the long term benefits of democracy in the middle east, regime changes, etc. I believe those all to be simply supplementary justifications of a core emotion. There is enough nuance in this argument to keep people talking forever, but check this frank piece out from The American Conservative via Matthew Yglesias on TPM Cafe:
The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing--that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack--but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.
So they’re saying if we are attacked by terrorists of any nationality or background on a big enough scale, Iran’s gonna get nuked, no questions asked. The whole trying-to-manufacture-evidence-of-wmd thing is too much work and hassle.
Also, for sake of hammering this point home, one of the commenters adds this nugget from last week:
(AP) -- A Colorado congressman (Rep. Tom Tancredo) told a radio show host that the U.S. could "take out" Islamic holy sites if Muslim fundamentalist terrorists attacked the country with nuclear weapons. … Talk show host Pat Campbell asked the Littleton Republican how the country should respond if terrorists struck several U.S. cities with nuclear weapons. "Well, what if you said something like -- if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites," Tancredo answered. "You're talking about bombing Mecca," Campbell said. "Yeah," Tancredo responded. [cnn]
The thing is — these quotes clearly illustrate my original point. Our war today and future wars are going to be about revenge. And I know a whole lot of Americans are fine with that.
I just got nauseous (or is it nauseated?) thinking about the long-term damage GWB is about to do with his replacement suggestions for new supremes.
Terror from the Inside:
Every morning starts out with Slate’s Today’s Papers. The seventh paragraph:
The Post, alone, fronts about 60 Iraqis killed in mostly terrorist attacks around the country. (The other papers reefer the bombings.) Ten Iraqis were killed and roughly 100 wounded by the bombing of a popular falafel restaurant in Baghdad. Another 20 to 30 people were killed by two car bombs outside a Shiite community center near Mosul. Late last night another car bomb outside a Shiite mosque south of Baghdad killed 10. Also, a top Iraqi national security official was assassinated. And the military announced that five American soldiers had died over the weekend.
Just imagine for a second that the same exact bolded situation occurred in Brooklyn instead of Baghdad. What would the front cover of the NY Post say? The local news would run a story “Is your family safe from falafel?”. Nobody would be able to eat falafel for a year without crying (Crying, while eating). A month later we’d be talking about falafel places closing down or converting to Kennedy Fried Chickens. But legitimately-sadly this is just a throw away sentence in a 7th paragraph recap of the news that almost nobody in America will be aware of.