Monday, April 30, 2007

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere

Under the protective canopy of the no-fly zone — actually it was also called the "you-fly-you-die zone' — an embryonic free Iraq had a chance to grow. I was among those who thought and believed and argued that this example could, and should, be extended to the rest of the country; the cause became a consuming thing in my life. To describe the resulting shambles as a disappointment or a failure or even a defeat would be the weakest statement I could possibly make: it feels more like a sick, choking nightmare of betrayal from which there can be no awakening.


After failing to visualize the conditions of combat in Iraq, America's generals failed to adapt to the demands of counterinsurgency. . . . After going into Iraq with too few troops and no coherent plan for postwar stabilization, America's general officer corps did not accurately portray the intensity of the insurgency to the American public. . . . The intellectual and moral failures common to America's general officer corps in Vietnam and Iraq constitute a crisis in American generalship.


It has long been evident that President Bush decided to invade Iraq first, and constructed his ramshackle case for the war after the fact. So why, after all this time, are Americans still in the dark about the details of that campaign?


Flash! A senior al-Qaeda commander with ties to both Pakistan and Iraq was captured four months ago by the CIA and the secret was kept until now from the newspapers. Bill Roggio has details. The Washington Post devotes the bulk of its coverage to questioning when Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi was captured, raising questions about the timing of the announcement and the prisoner's value. But the Post has a point: has the CIA suddenly becoming better at capturing terrorists or more skilled at keeping the secret from the media? Which development should be feared the more?


The State Department is gearing to release data showing a huge rise in terrorist incidents in the world last year, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the war on terror is focused. I fear we have cnjured up the worst of both worlds. We have picked a fight with an enemy - on his own turf, with just enough resources to lose and just enough to stir Muslim resentment to create even more terrorists. It has none of the advantages of offense; and none of defense. And we have a president insisting that he won't budge.


Democracy promotion, once the centerpiece of the Bush administration's foreign policy, has almost completely been forgotten.. . . As a result, Arab governments have worked to squash domestic calls for reform and undermine the progress that had been made.


On Capitol Hill, there is a strange passivity in Republican ranks. Republicans are privately disgusted with how President Bush has led their party and the nation, but they don’t publicly offer any alternatives. They just follow sullenly along. . . . They are like people marching quietly to their doom.


President Bush sent out an e-mail today asking people to send money to the Republican Party. How come those e-mails never get deleted?


Essentially, the U.S. government -- with the knowledge and inaction of the Bush Administration, which covered it up -- denied Katrina victims massive amounts of foreign aid and support, even aid and support from America's closest friends.

How fucked up is that? And how reprehensible?


It is hard to figure out what Paul Wolfowitz is telling himself as he wages an unseemly fight to hang on to his job as head of the World Bank.

Any hope he had of reforming the bank has evaporated in the face of allegations of conflicts of interest and undeniably poor judgment. Any hope of expiating his sins for the disastrous Iraq war have also disappeared as once again he stubbornly denies reality and the damage that denial is causing to his reputation and to the bank’s ability to do its work.


There is absolutely no sound scientific evidence that marijuana has any medicinal value.

The way that our country treats chronic pain sufferers who use too much pain medication seems insane to me. I can't find any evidence that Oxycontin, say, is anywhere near as dangerous as alcohol -- i.e., tens of thousands of fatalities every single year. But we don't make people get a prescription to buy a beer, let alone throw people in jail for 25 years for having a bottle of vodka in the house.


Jack Valenti lived a unique life between two of society's fascinations -- politics and Hollywood. For Republicans and Democrats, for senators and young aides, for celebrities and the legions behind the cameras, interactions with him were graduate seminars in history, politics, human nature and common sense. This extraordinary communicator punctuated every conversation with a witticism linked to his beloved Texas, a quote from an obscure historical figure or a rule passed on to him by his mentor, Lyndon Johnson. In the weeks leading up to his death Thursday, all over town a simple "How's Jack?" almost always led to, "You know, I try to live by something I once heard him say."


It was amazing. The zero-G part was wonderful and the full-G part was no problem. I could have gone on and on. Space, here I come.


Cartoon by Pat Oliphant/Universal Press Syndicate

No comments: