'A Moment of Opportunity'
By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Monday, July 31, 2006; 1:42 PM
President Bush's "moment of opportunity" in the Middle East is increasingly looking like an opportunity for disaster.
Bush's official position is that some blood-spilling in the Middle East is worth it in pursuit of the region's positive transformation.
Even in the wake of an Israeli airstrike Sunday that killed 57 civilians in the Southern Lebanese town of Qana, every terse presidential acknowledgment of the human toll is accompanied by soaring rhetoric about freedom and democracy and lasting stability.
In the best of circumstances, Bush would be running the risk of being considered callous. But in the current circumstances, he runs the risk of being considered both callous and delusional.
By almost no stretch of the imagination is the current conflict strengthening Bush's hand or advancing democracy. Rather, it appears to be emboldening Bush's enemies.
It's increasingly accepted wisdom in Washington that what's going on in the Middle East right now is a "proxy war" between the U.S. and Iran. But even through that lens, the U.S. appears to be losing.
And Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, heading back to the U.S. after another round of what some journalists are credulously calling "shuttle diplomacy," appears to be "negotiating" primarily with Israel -- her own proxy.
You don't get much more Washington Establishment than Richard N. Haass, who was Bush's first-term State Department policy planning director and now leads the Council on Foreign Relations. And he apparently finds Bush's position laughable. Literally.
Peter Baker writes in the Washington Post that Haass "laughed at the president's public optimism. 'An opportunity?' Haass said with an incredulous tone. 'Lord, spare me. I don't laugh a lot. That's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time. If this is an opportunity, what's Iraq? A once-in-a-lifetime chance?' "
We were concerned (and I still am) about the reliability of voting machines.
Swiftboaters were going after John Murtha.
Jerusalem Post: U.S. Urges Attack on Syria
by Jeff Huber
Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 08:36:22 AM PDT
No, this doesn't come from the Conspiracy Free Press. It's from Sunday's Jerusalem Post:
[Israeli] Defense officials told the Post last week that they were receiving indications from the US that America would be interested in seeing Israel attack Syria.
The Democratic leadership of Congress sent a letter to GWB:
Despite the latest evidence that your Administration lacks a coherent strategy to stabilize Iraq and achieve victory, there has been virtually no diplomatic effort to resolve sectarian differences, no regional effort to establish a broader security framework, and no attempt to revive a struggling reconstruction effort. Instead, we learned of your plans to redeploy an additional 5,000 U.S. troops into an urban war zone in Baghdad. Far from implementing a comprehensive "Strategy for Victory" as you promised months ago, your Administration=' strategy appears to be one of trying to avoid defeat.
63 killed in Iraq as government struggles to impose control
Mainichi Daily News - 1 hour ago
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A roadside bomb blew up a bus, killing 24 people in it as gunmen ambushed and shot dead five workers of a power station in a day of widespread violence across Iraq that left 63 people dead Tuesday. ...
bomb attacks kill more than 40 in Iraq Times Online
52 killed in Iraq attacks The Australian
We will have a better idea of where we are if we remember how we got here.