Thursday, September 07, 2006

Notes and Commentary

It feels like this place is becoming more of a personal journal these days! Regardless, I'm just trying to keep it going today with a few diverse notes until perhaps the busier schedules of my TPS colleagues ease. In the meantime, we're still getting good hits here. So I'll try to stir things up to generate some comments!

Tony Blair confirms his forthcoming retirement in 2007 from the Prime Minister post of Great Britain that he has held for a decade. Personal views on Blair aside, I believe this will have a major (and possibly negative) impact on America's current global policies. Blair has been a strong ally of two American presidents in a series of diverse struggles. None has been bigger than the fight in Iraq. And he's taken a lot of heat for it at home but always had the politcal capital to survive. Blair is evertyhing Bush isn't in so many ways. He sounds like he could charm the pants off any womam and then sell a bottle of snake oil to her husband on the way out. And communication is so very important in pursuing the new war on terror - one of our own administration's biggest shortcomings. I wonder if Great Britain will have America's back after Blair is gone? Whether his Tory opponents take power or the more liberal elements of the Labor Part remain in control, I don't see Britain being as pro-active in the Middle East. Thoughts?

So did the rest of ya'll in those other 49 states see the results of our Florida primary? I have mixed thoughts on the outcome. Apart from the Gold Coast stretching from Melbourne to Miami, the Florida Republican party is very strong on the local level. Charlie Crist won the GOP nomination to run for Governor and all signs indicate that the outgoing Attorney General would be a worthy successor to the popular Gov. Jeb Bush. However, in equally discouraging news, Katherine Harris of Sarasota County indeed won the primary to run against Senator Bill Nelson. Challengers Bill McBride and LeRoy Collins entered the race late and with little experience. Sadly Harris' name recognition motivated 49% of Republicans to vote for her. While I am planning to support my Republican Congressman Connie Mack, Jr (who faces no real opposition), I also intend to vote for Senator Nelson. It will be my first ever vote for a Democrat and I feel a very worthy choice.

Any thoughts of George Bush's "War on Terror" speeches? I notice he continues to talk "terror" and not "Iraq." I know, I know - they're one in the same. Silly me! But the admission by Mr. Bush of his knowledge of and role in developing these CIA prisons is long-in-coming. I'm surprised it's getting very little play on the news. I don't have problems with this development in principle. These prisons and even the use of some draconian methods may be a necessary evil. But why cover it up? However, once again, the real problem here is that the administration has lost its credibility through our follies in Iraq and that taints other legitimate security measures.

Finally, as the administration trumpets handing over limited control of the Iraqi army to the Iraqis, let's continue to remember our fallen. This is very important, especially for those of us opposed to an endless mission in Iraq and who believe our troops should be coming home by now. 8 US soldiers have died in Iraq this month alone. It's only September 7th, people! I recommend this site where you can learn more about those who have fallen and remember their sacrifices. On a personal note, I got a phone call yesterday from a buddy of mine stationed in Iraq. He sounded ok - at least as good as one can sound when fighting in a war zone. This guy entered the Army way back in January 2006! And now he's fighting this war in Iraq? I hope people are aware of dynamics like this. Some who have less familiarity with the military may think we have nothing but willing, professional, well-trained, and battle-tested troops in Iraq. There may be some, but there are also a lot of kids like my friend. Guys and gals who needed a job and literally have no clue who the prime minister of Iraq is or for what the letters WMD stand. Let's remember these are the very folks who are waging the war in Iraq. Yes, they are good troops. No, they are not all-powerful and certainly not able to make a mound of gold from of a pile of crap -- that flawed neo-conservative dream for Iraq and beyond being proved more and more futile everyday.


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