Sunday, May 16 2004
SEYMOUR HERSH:
I don't pretend to be an expert on Sy Hersh. However, about a week into the war with Iraq I remember reading a Hersh piece in The New Yorker. I remember the article so vividly because it was at the height of the press hysteria that the war was turning into a disaster; sandstorms, not enough troops, Rumsfeld, Myers and Bush had no idea what they are doing, etc....

Here's a little sample from Hersh's appraisal on the Iraq War posted on March 31, 2003.

Rumsfeld simply failed to anticipate the consequences of protracted warfare. He put Army and Marine units in the field with few reserves and an insufficient number of tanks and other armored vehicles. Supply lines—inevitably, they say—have become overextended and vulnerable to attack, creating shortages of fuel, water, and ammunition. Pentagon officers spoke contemptuously of the Administration’s optimistic press briefings. “It’s a stalemate now,” the former intelligence official told me. “It’s going to remain one only if we can maintain our supply lines. The carriers are going to run out of jdams” Much of the supply of Tomahawk guided missiles has been expended. “The Marines are worried as hell, they’re all committed, with no reserves, and they’ve never run the lavs”—light armored vehicles—“as long and as hard” as they have in Iraq. There are serious maintenance problems as well. “The only hope is that they can hold out until reinforcements come.”

The 4th Infantry Division—the Army’s most modern mechanized division—whose equipment spent weeks waiting in the Mediterranean before being diverted to the overtaxed American port in Kuwait, is not expected to be operational until the end of April. The 1st Cavalry Division, in Texas, is ready to ship out, the planner said, but by sea it will take twenty-three days to reach Kuwait. “All we have now is front-line positions,” the former intelligence official told me. “Everything else is missing.”

Last week, plans for an assault on Baghdad had stalled, and the six Republican Guard divisions expected to provide the main Iraqi defense had yet to have a significant engagement with American or British soldiers. The shortages forced Central Command to “run around looking for supplies,” the former intelligence official said. The immediate goal, he added, was for the Army and Marine forces “to hold tight and hope that the Republican Guard divisions get chewed up” by bombing. The planner agreed, saying, “The only way out now is back, and to hope for some kind of a miracle—that the Republican Guards commit themselves,” and thus become vulnerable to American air strikes.

“Hope,” a retired four-star general subsequently told me, “is not a course of action.” Last Thursday, the Army’s senior ground commander, Lieutenant General William S. Wallace, said to reporters, “The enemy we’re fighting is different from the one we war-gamed against.” (One senior Administration official commented to me, speaking of the Iraqis, “They’re not scared. Ain’t it something? They’re not scared.”) At a press conference the next day, Rumsfeld and Myers were asked about Wallace’s comments, and defended the war plan—Myers called it “brilliant” and “on track.” They pointed out that the war was only a little more than a week old.

That, of course, was nine days before the fall of Saddam's statue in Baghdad and the collapse of Hussein's evil regime. The war plan was in fact "brilliant" and "on track" and Hersh's reporting and characterization of the war was about as wrong as you can get.

This brought back a memorable recollection from Bob Woodward's, Bush at War:

Musharraf said his deep fear was that the United States would in the end abandon Pakistan, and that other interests would crowd out the war on terrorism.

Bush fixed his gaze. "Tell the Pakistani people that the President of the United States looked you in the eye and told you we wouldn't do that."

Musharraf brought up an article in The New Yorker by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, alleging that the Pentagon, with the help of an Israeli special operations unit, had contingency plans to seize Pakistan's nuclear weapons should the country become unstable.

"Seymour Hersh is a liar, " Bush replied.

To people who think President Bush is a liar, this opinion of the President's might not hold that much weight. But the directness of his answer to Woodward coupled with Hersh's article on the Iraqi War plan has made me extremely skeptical of anything Seymour Hersh has to say.

Which takes me to his latest from The New Yorker, with the heading:

FACT: The Gray Zone - Did secret Pentagon decisions trigger the Abu Ghraib scandal? by Seymour M. Hersh:

The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld’s decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of élite combat units, and hurt America’s prospects in the war on terror.

That is the first paragraph from this week's article. Hersh lays out a plausible story of how Rumsfeld and Under-Secretary for Intelligence, Stephen Cambone, are ultimately responsible for the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

The big question is whether Hersh has this story as wrong he had the story from March 31, 2003 of the "faltering ground campaign against Saddam Hussein."

Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita issued a statement calling the claims "outlandish, conspiratorial, and filled with error and anonymous conjecture." Di Rita went on to say:

No responsible official of the Department of Defense approved any program that could conceivably have been intended to result in such abuses as witnessed in the recent photos and videos. This story seems to reflect the fevered insights of those with little, if any, connection to the activities in the Department of Defense.

There is no question that Rumsfeld and the Bush White House have made many mistakes as far as the postwar administration of Iraq. The biggest mistake may have been the idea that the war was over last spring. However, mistakes are an inevitable part of all wars, even successful wars. But the enemies of Bush and his policy in Iraq, which like it or not happens to also be America's policy, are willfully using those mistakes to misrepresent and exaggerate the reality of the overall war.

I suspect there is a good chance we have seen the peak of the Abu Ghraib hysteria, and people should read Hersh's latest "investigative report" with a good deal of skepticism and remember he has gotten a great deal very wrong in the past. J. McIntyre 2:11 pm Link | Email | Send to a Friend

Friday, May 14 2004
COVERING NICK BERG:
The Washington Times reports the press is being accused of giving short shrift to the Nick Berg story while continuing to flood the zone on the scandal at Abu Ghraib. This isn't surprising at all.
Anyone who pays even the slightest attention to media bias knows that the treatment of the two stories was entirely predictable.

To me the real story is how Nick Berg's murder has been covered in the blogosphere. Why? Because in addition to being a vastly bigger place with infinitely more diverse viewpoints than you'll find in any newsroom across the country, the blogosphere makes no claims of being objective.

There are no editors, no deadlines, no external pressures that color or shape the views of the author. The only restraints on partisanship, political correctness, and even decency are those that each blogger places on him or herself. In other words, in the blogosphere you get unvarnished opinion, and you learn what people really think about things.

So I've been fascinated by the different reactions of the big blogs. I read three liberal-leaning blogs regularly: Atrios, Daily Kos, and Josh Marhsall. They're the biggest, the most-widely read, and certainly the most influential lefty blogs around.

As of early this morning, here is how they've covered the Berg story. Atrios devoted one post to the story (here). Daily Kos has devoted two posts (here and here). Josh Marshall devoted zero posts to the story, but he did post an email exchange with a reader yesterday explaining why he had skipped over the story (here).

Both Atrios and Marshall take the line that Berg's murder was an outrage and, well, there just isn't much more to say about it than that. (You certainly don't get that impression if you read the coverage at the three biggest conservative-leaning blogs Instapundit, Andrew Sullivan, and The Corner).

Marshall goes a step further, however, rebuking his reader and telling him "you're not in a position to judge what I think based on my silence." This is a colossal red herring (not to mention an insult to his reader) and Marshall knows it.

People are judged by their silence all the time, and the amount of space one devotes to issues on their blog (even if it isn't a "journal of record") is a good indication of what they find interesting and relevant.

For example, I suppose we could have skipped commenting on the whole Trent Lott affair (the one Marshall covered so thoroughly, by the way) and excused ourselves for it by saying something like, "gee, what Lott said was wrong, but there's not much more to say about it." We didn't do that, however, because we knew it was a story that demanded our attention and that people would judge us and make assumptions about us if we didn't voice an opinion.

Kos lack of comment is more understandable, since he's already told us what he thinks about civilian contractors working in Iraq ("I feel nothing over the death of merceneries...Screw them.")

But the context of his post is still instructive, because Kos quickly draws the conclusion that Berg's murder wasn't the fault of the monsters in the video but of the Bush administration:

So no, the prison abuse didn't cause Berg's horrific murder. Bush's (inept) War, in all its glory, did. The Neocon agenda, in all its folly, did. The war cheerleaders now trying to use this for propaganda purposes, in all their idiocy, did.

Congrats. Your war spirals ever out of control. Good luck trying to wash the blood out of your hands.

It's not that those on the left, both in the mainstream press and the blogosphere, don't think Nick Berg's murder was outrage. They do. It's just that they think the abuse of prisoners in Iraq is the real outrage and they don't want anything to interrupt the narrative of Americans being seen as the victimizers rather than the victims.

The difference between the two, however, is that the mainstream press is obligated to give the Nick Berg story coverage, even if it is just lip service. Liberal bloggers, on the other hand, are under no such obligation, and we've seen the results - they've given the Nick Berg story no service at all. As I said, in the blogosphere, you learn what people really think. - T. Bevan 11:45 am Link | Email | Send to a Friend

Thursday, May 13 2004
HOLD YOUR POLLS:
There seems to be a euphoria on the left (see here, here and here) over the new CBS poll showing Bush's approval rating hitting a new low of 44%. Let's not get carried away, shall we?

Even rabid partisans on the left should know better than to take a single snap poll by CBS (which, if you've looked at their sampling is only about a notch or two above a poll coming straight out of the DNC) with a whopping 5% margin of error and conclude that Bush numbers are "collapsing" and "in free fall."

Though the most recent Pew and Gallup numbers also have Bush's approval rating in the mid-forties, Bush's job approval is at 48.2% in our latest RCP Average. Even if you discount the Ayers McHenry poll because they have a Republican bias Bush would still be in the 47.5 range.

Far from saying it's a "collapse", a more objective analysis of Bush's job approval numbers would be to say this: right now they are a cause for concern and the current trendlines do not favor the President.

However, the election is still a long way off and Bush's job approval (as reflected in our RCP Average) would have to decline at least another few points before we'd consider him in serious trouble.

As we've noted before, given the state by state polling data and the incongruous results that have persisted in poll after poll between the horserace numbers and other internal numbers, Bush will most likely remain very competitive even though he may carry a lower job approval into election day than past presidents.

Another thing worth noting: Bush's job approval numbers are linked, more so than we've seen in a very long time, to events that are largely beyond his control (i.e. what happens in Iraq). Any number of things could happen between now and November to give him a short-term boost, start a real reversal, or send him even lower than he is today.

GARBAGE MAN: You may remember that a few months ago we awarded Derrick Z. Jackson of the Boston Globe the runner up Op-Eddy for "Worst Columnist of the Year." His effort yesterday is a good example of just how well deserved the award was:

What happened in Iraq is a natural extension of the humiliation that has gone on for two decades in this country. Whether Americans' behavior in Iraq is due to racial, religious, or other cultural feelings of superiority -- or a numbed acceptance of government sponsored violence -- the abusing soldiers and the commanders who let it happen assumed that they were dealing with people who had no voice. So thought the Los Angeles police who clubbed King in 1991 -- until the videotape.

Bush lately is fond of saying, "Freedom is the Almighty's gift to each man and woman in this world." Yet for tan Muslims in Iraq and black men in the United States, the gift is too often incarceration and worse.

Leaves you speechless, doesn't it?

TWO AMERICAS: Compare two letters I received after yesterday's post. First this one:

"I can only say that 99.99999999% of the Marines out there have the same philosophy as the Marine quoted in your article. I served for 8.5 years in the Corps before transferring to the US Navy and served in the military for 20 years. I can tell you that the 8.5 years I served in the Corps were some of the finest times of my life. You will not find anyone more dedicated to God or country than those serving in the Corps."

Now this:

"You should stop sobbing just long enough to read the Red Cross report that debunks your pro-Bush, anti-American "Abu Garayb was an aberration" myth."

- T. Bevan 12:52 pm Link | Email | Send to a Friend

Wednesday, May 12 2004
HONOR, DIGNITY AND GRACE:
Hugh Hewitt has posted a letter from a Marine in Iraq that everyone in America should be forced to read. It's a fascinating look at circumstances our forces are operating under and the psyche of the Iraqi people.

The part about Abu Ghraib stopped me cold:

As for the Abu Garayb atrocities, that is exactly what they are. I have been inside this prison several times. I never saw anything like what is now on the news but we did see a general lack of discipline among the service members in there when we arrived. We are horribly ashamed that fellow service members would do such a thing. It does not matter that it was Army or National Guard. Most Marines and Sailors in the Regiment have had their hands on detainees. It is a very emotional and taxing situation especially if the guy was just shooting at you. However, these prison guards didn't go out on patrol and capture the Iraqis, nor did they conduct a raid and grab them in a very dangerous operation. They simply failed at every level to maintain even the most basic standards not only of US servicemembers but as human beings. They traded the Nations moral high ground and fueled the extremists message of hate as a result of their weakness. Unfortunately they did it not just to themselves but every where a Marine or Soldier patrols tonight across the globe and even for every American citizen who travels abroad and naturally represents the United States.

What do we do? I can only imagine this is what people must be asking. I can only share what the Marines here believe. We stand and fight. We honestly and absolutely accept responsibility and do our best through out actions to convince the world that those acts were conducted by criminals and are not indicative of our values or intentions. We continue to go on patrol and do our best to kill the terrorists and protect the people. We stay tolerant one second longer. We adjust to a very fluid environment and stay faithful to our values. We live up to what the American people expect of United States Marines and we maintain high expectations of the American people. We share our courage with both the Iraqi people and even our neighbors, fight like hell when the situation dictates and maintain our humanity through it all.

I admit I'm a bit of a sap. But this letter filled me with such pride for our servicemen and our country that it literally brought me to tears.

What astounds me, however, is that there are people in America who would read this same letter and feel nothing but indifference (or worse) instead of pride. They would call its author an "idiot" rather than a hero.

These people live in Ted Rall's America. It's hate-filled, morally inverted place where the U.S. military is an oppressive, evil force (only when Republicans are in the White House, of course) and those serving are not individuals worthy of honor but mindless cogs in a killing machine. We can all be thankful the people living in Ted Rall's America represent only a tiny minority of the real America.

More disturbing than than the bile-spitting wingnutters on the left, however, we're seeing a broader section of the Democratic party willing to take the honor and integrity of the Marine who wrote this letter and all those like him in Iraq and flush it down the toilet to score some points against President Bush and his Secretary of Defense.

These people live in Ted Kennedy's America, and they're so hungry for power it seems there is no angle they are unwilling to exploit, including telling the world that the U.S. military is now running torture chambers in Iraq.

Ted Rall's America doesn't frighten me. The people who live there will always be on the pathetic fringe and they marginalize themselves every day with their words and deeds.

Ted Kennedy's America is a different story. It's big and it's full of people - like Kennedy himself - who already hold positions of considerable power. Their influence on our country will increase exponentially if John Kerry wins the White House in November.

After watching them politicize the issue of Abu Ghraib, trying to climb back into power by exploiting the misdeeds of a few soldiers at the expense of all who serve, it makes me worry and wonder. Frankly, Ted Kennedy's America scares me to death. - T. Bevan 3:28 pm Link | Email | Send to a Friend

THE EXECUTION OF NICK BERG: I just forced myself to watch the video of Nick Berg's beheading, which you can find here. Mort Kondracke's comments on FOX News last night are the best summation I've heard:

"Look at those monsters standing there five of them and they cut the guy's head off, they sawed his head off, shouting God is great. Now that is what we are dealing with, that is the kind of people who will run the world if we do not win this war on terrorism. And it is being fought in Iraq and we have got to win and that is it. Full stop. There is just no losing this thing or else the world will be run by monsters."

This certainly puts into context the issue of abuse of prisoners and who the good guys and the bad guys are.

The five men in this video who cruelly sawed off Nick Berg's head while he was alive are exactly like the 19 who flew those planes on 9/11. Kondrake is right, Iraq is now a central battle in the War on Terror and we have no choice but to win this war or the world will be tormented by these monsters.

TAGUBA'S TESTIMONY: I found Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba to be a straightforward and impressive witness. One exchange was particularly revealing:

WARNER: In simple words -- your own soldier's language -- how did this happen?

TAGUBA: Failure in leadership, sir, from the brigade commander on down. Lack of discipline, no training whatsoever and no supervision. Supervisory omission was rampant. Those are my comments.

"Failure in leadership, sir, from the brigade commander on down." Unless Taguba is covering up or clueless, it doesn't sound like the failure at Abu Ghraib was the fault of Donald Rumsfeld.

INHOFE: Senator James Inhofe's comments seem to have exercised many on the left. In their lead editorial The New York Times is astounded that Inhofe is "more outraged by the outrage."

Josh Marshall opines that "I don't think I can remember a more shameful spectacle in the United States Congress, in my living memory."

I guess Josh can't remember back to Monday, when Senator Kennedy announced to the world that our troops in Iraq had reopened Saddam's torture chambers under U.S. management.

So what exactly did Inhofe say that so upset the left? Read for yourself:

First of all, I regret I wasn't here on Friday. I was unable to be here but maybe it's better that I wasn't because as I watch this outrage -- this outrage everyone seems to have about the treatment of these prisoners -- I have to say, and I'm probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment.

The idea that these prisoners -- you know, they're not there for traffic violations. If they're in cell block 1A or 1B, these prisoners -- they're murderers, they're terrorists, they're insurgents. Many of them probably have American blood on their hands. And here we're so concerned about the treatment of those individuals.

And I hasten to say, yes, there are seven bad guys and gals that didn't do what they should have done. They were misguided. I think maybe even perverted. And the things they did have to be punished, and they're being punished. They're being tried right now and that's all taking place.

But I'm also outraged by the press and the politicians and the political agendas that are being served by this, and I say political agendas because that's actually what is happening.

I have to say when we talk about the treatment of these prisoners that I would guess that these prisoners wake up every morning thanking Allah that Saddam Hussein is not in charge of these prisons

When he was in charge, they would take electric drills and drill holes through hands, they would cut their tongues out, they would cut their ears off. We've seen accounts of lowering their bodies into vats of acid. All of these things were taking place.

This was the type of treatment that they had -- and I would want everyone to get this and read it. This is a documentary of the Iraq special report. It talks about the unspeakable acts of mass murder, unspeakable acts of torture, unspeakable acts of mutilation, the murdering of kids -- lining up 312 little kids under 12 years old and executing them.

Then, of course, what they do to Americans, too.....

We just saw what they do with Americans. They sawed off Nick Berg's head while chanting God is great. Just like they slashed the throat of Danny Pearl, and burned and mutilated the four in Fallujah, and flew those planes into the Pentagon and Twin Towers on 9/11.

I'm outraged that the Europeans and the left in this country don't understand the consequences of this War. I'm outraged that Teddy Kennedy compares our troops to Saddam Hussein. I'm outraged that Senators Levin and Dayton use the depravity of some bad apples to suggest "systemic" and "pervasive" abuse in our military, tarring the over 300,000 young men and women who have fought honorably for us in Iraq.

The NY Times and the anti-American left may be outraged at Senator Inhofe's comments, but I'd bet the bulk of America agrees with Inhofe. - J. McIntyre 7:21 am | Link | Email | Send to a Friend

Tuesday, May 11 2004
A QUESTION OF HATE: Did Rush Limbaugh ever suggest that someone take President Clinton on a fishing trip and blow his brains out? I didn't think so.

Yesterday on her Air America radio show, Randi Rhodes said that's exactly what should be done to President Bush. Rhodes commented that Bush was like Fredo Corleone and that either Poppy or Jeb should take W. out for a fishing trip and blow him away.

After imitating the sound of gun going off Rhodes said, "Works for me." Nice.

Listen to the clip for yourself over at Cynical Nation. - T. Bevan 9:44 am | Link | Email | Send to a Friend

TED KENNEDY, OXYGEN THIEF: Back in college, a good friend of mine had a name for people who were interminably stupid, annoying, arrogant, or otherwise insufferable. He called them "oxygen thieves."

The name always struck me as a wicked blend of humor and contempt, carrying with it the harsh implication that a person's very existence was not only wasting, but in fact robbing the rest of us of a valuable (though infinitely abundant) resource.

Needless to say, my friend didn't use the term often. It was always reserved for the worst of the worst, the sort of habitual offenders that made life unbearable.

The moniker came rushing back to me last night after hearing Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the floor of the United States Senate:

"On March 19, 2004, President Bush asked, 'Who would prefer that Saddam's torture chambers still be open?

"Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management: U.S. management."

What sort of dysfunctional moral compass must one have to make such a comparison?

It's one thing for someone like Michael Moore to utter garbage like this at the film festival in Cannes. It's something altogether different for one of the country's highest elected officials to speak these words in the well of the United States Senate.

I received a slew of emails yesterday from people ripping Joe Lieberman's remarks (see below) and saying that he doesn't have a "shred" of moral credibility left. Please, spare the bandwith. Lieberman is a moral Goliath compared to Kennedy.

Over the years, in addition to being a formidable legislative force, Kennedy has always been one of the worst purveyors of maleficent rhetoric. Kennedy's remarks yesterday, however, were not only the acme of rank partisanship but crossed a line that truly disgraced the Senate as well as the Senator.

Kennedy is now using the scandal at Abu Ghraib to work openly and actively against U.S. policy and U.S. interests in Iraq. By his own words, Kennedy is trying to "shame" America before the world, and in doing so he is emboldening our enemies and endangering our soldiers. There is just no other way to explain what he did yesterday.

Republicans in the Senate have the votes, and they should use them to rebuke Kennedy immediately.

And as the nominee of the Democratic party and one of his closest personal friends, John Kerry should distance himself from Kennedy's remarks as well. He won't, but he should.
UPDATE: I didn't see it when I wrote it, but I do now. A reader emails: "Well, he [Ted Kennedy] certainly stole Mary Jo Kopechne's oxygen."

THE STRANGE RESULTS CONTINUE: The Gallup poll from yesterday shows Bush experiencing a negative 6-point swing in his job approval numbers from the previous week (46-51 vs 49-48).

So how did this impact the horserace numbers? You guessed it: Bush moved ahead of Kerry among likely voters by 1 point in the head-to-head race and by 2 points in the 3-way race. It's interesting to note that the gain wasn't from Bush's support going up (it was absolutely constant from the previous week) but from Kerry losing support among likely voters.

The Investor's Business Daily poll that came out last night also shows Bush widening his lead over Kerry despite the terrible news of Abu Ghraib. Again, the poll points out the sharp contrast between the candidates' support: Bush's is intense and rock solid, Kerry's is much softer and wavers back and forth:

Intensity of support among Bush voters is much stronger than support for Kerry, the poll continues to show. While 68% of Bush's supporters say they support him strongly, only 38% of Kerry's supporters say the same for him.

Kerry also lags Bush in tapping his party's constituencies. Bush gets 90% of Republican votes while Kerry gets 77% of Democrats. In fact, one in eight Democrats (12%) want to vote for Bush..

The poll has some good news for Kerry, however. Nearly three-fourths (71%) say they made up their minds about whom they'll vote for back in February or even earlier. One in five (18%) say they decided in April and March. While Bush dominates among the early deciders (58% to 37%), Kerry is gaining among more recent deciders (70% to 24%).

The last paragraph is key. If Kerry can stay within a couple of points of Bush up until election day, history says he should win the undecided vote - probably about 5-8% on election day - by a margin of two to one, which would make this election a virtual repeat of 2000. - T. Bevan 9:44 am | Link | Email | Send to a Friend

Monday, May 10 2004
WHAT JOE SHOWED:
If you watched the Abu Ghraib testimony in the Senate on Friday I'm sure you were struck, as I was, by the comments of Joe Lieberman:

"Mr. Secretary, the behavior by Americans at the prison in Iraq is, as we all acknowledge, immoral, intolerable and un-American. It deserves the apology that you have given today and that have been given by others in high positions in our government and our military.

I cannot help but say, however, that those who were responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on September 11th, 2001, never apologized. Those who have killed hundreds of Americans in uniform in Iraq working to liberate Iraq and protect our security have never apologized.

And those who murdered and burned and humiliated four Americans in Fallujah a while ago never received an apology from anybody. So it's part of -- wrongs occurred here, by the people in those pictures and perhaps by people up the chain of command.

But Americans are different. That's why we're outraged by this. That's why the apologies were due. And that's why I hope as we go about this investigation, we do it in a way that does not dishonor the hundreds of thousands of Americans in uniform who are a lot more like Pat Tillman and Americans that are not know, like Army National Guard Sergeant Felix Del Greco of Simsbury, Connecticut, who was killed in action a few weeks ago; that we not dishonor their service or discredit the cause that brought us to send them to Iraq, because it remains one that is just and necessary.

We've got to get to the whole truth here, and nothing but the truth. We can't be defensive. We've got to be aggressive about it. And as Senator McCain said, we've got to do it quickly so that we and you and most of all our soldiers can get back to fighting and winning the war on terrorism with determination.

As far as I'm concerned, we do have to know how this happened. And we have to know it so we can stop it from happening ever again."

After listening to Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd bloviate over the abuses for maximum partisan effect, Lieberman's comments added a perspective that was not only important, but sorely lacking from the debate.

At least that's how I felt, as well as a number of other people I spoke with.

Not so those on the left. Liberal blogger Atrios immediately attacked Lieberman's comments as "unbelievably vile" and Josh Marshall derided them as "the sort of subject-changing our parents try to wean us from when we're in grade school."

Why such a visceral reaction? After all, nothing Lieberman said was untrue. It's simply unconscionable to some on the left that Lieberman would interrrupt the orgy of self-flagellation ignited by the abuses at Abu Ghraib to inject a small dose of reality.

From a blatantly partisan political perspective, Abu Ghraib is a trifecta for the left. It represents an opportunity to decry our military (which many on the left loathe), to discredit our policy in Iraq (which most on the left disagree with), and to indict George W. Bush personally (whom everyone on the left abhors). Apparently, anything that might diminish these opportunities is viewed as heresy.

But shouldn't it be reasonable for Lieberman to condemn the abuses at Abu Ghraib and to also point out that the process we're currently engaged in (apologizing, investigating, trying, convicting and punishing those responsible) is something that we believe deeply in but our enemies do not?- T. Bevan 12:44 pm | Link | Email | Send to a Friend

TODAY WE'LL DO THE PM EDITION: Check back around 1 pm Eastern for today's blog.......

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5/3-5/9 | 4/26-5/2 | 4/19-25 | 4/12-18 | 4/5-11 | 3/29-4/4 | 3/22-28 | 3/15-21 | 3/8-14 | 3/1-7 | 2/23-27 | 2/16-22 | 2/9-15 | 2/2-2/8 | 1/26-2/1 | 1/19-25 | 1/12-18 | 1/5-11 | 12/29/03-1/4/04

Archives - 2003
12/22-28 | 12/15-21 | 12/8-14 | 12/1-7 | 11/24-11/30 | 11/17-11/23 | 11/10-11/16 | 11/3-11/9 | 10/27-11/2 | 10/20-26 | 10/13-19 | 10/6-10/12 | 9/29-10/5 | 9/22-28 | 9/15-9/21 | 9/8-9/14 | 9/1-9/7 | 8/25-8/31 | 8/17-8/24 | 8/11-8/16 | 8/4-8/10 | 7/28-8/3 | 7/21-7/27 | 7/14-7/20 | 7/7-7/13 | 6/30-7/6 | 6/23-6/29 | 6/16-6/22 | 6/9-6/15 | 6/2-6/8 | 5/26-6/1 | 5/19-5/25 | 5/12-5/18 | 5/5-5/11 | 4/28-5/4 | 4/21-4/27 | 4/14-4/20 | 4/7-4/13 | 3/31-4/6 | 3/24 - 3/30 | 3/10 - 3/17 | 3/3-3/9 | 2/24-3/2 | 2/17-2/23 |
2/10-2/16 | 2/3- 2/9 | 1/27 - 2/2 | 1/20 -1/26 | 1/13-1/19 | 1/6-1/12 | 12/31/02-1/5/03

Archives - 2002
12/23-12/29 | 12/16-12/22 | 12/9-12/15 | 12/2-12/8 | 11/25-12/1 | 11/18-11/24 | 11/11-11/17 | 11/4-11/10 | 10/28-11/3 | 10/21-10/27 | 10/14 -10/20 | 10/7-10/13 | 9/30-10/6 | 9/23 -9/29 | 9/16-9/22