Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Three Items from Washington

Sometimes I look at the news and I wonder what I'm supposed to say. A Republican campaign donor appears to have also donated money to al Qaida? McCain says he 'knew' all along how difficult the war in Iraq would be but there are several recording from before the war where he said the thing would be done in short order? Helen Thomas loses her front row seat at the White House press room as some kind of cheap political payback? Bush defends Rumsfeld after all we have learned about his arrogance and incompetence? The Republican Party has nothing to offer these days and the Bush Administration is a train wreck—I feel funny some days pointing out the obvious.

So here's some quick news on Democrats. First, The Raw Story has an article from Yahoo News that Senator Tim Johnson is leaving the hospital to continue his rehab elsewhere. He continues to show progress from his brain surgery last December and is doing more Senate work. We continue to wish him well.

The McClatchy Washington Bureau has a story on new Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA), a former admiral who is calling for a complete withdrawal from Iraq and has a few words about Bush's foreign policy:
...the war in Iraq is hurting American national security: It's diverted resources and attention from the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and from other challenges to U.S. interests around the world.

"We diverted our attention, our resources and our forces ... to Iraq," he said. "To my mind Afghanistan is the poster child for what isn't being done in this world where the real war on terrorism is elsewhere, not Iraq."

(snip)

Spending on the war also has diverted investment from what he calls three "pillars of national security": health, education and economic development at home.

I appreciate what Sestak is saying about withdrawing from Iraq though I'm sure a more sophisticated withdrawal plan can be put together than the one he suggests. But he's absolutely right that Bush's war in Iraq is hurting our national security.

Finally, Senator Ted Kennedy has a column on The Huffington Post about Abu Ghraib:
These images are seared into our national conscience. The reports of widespread abuse by U.S. personnel were initially met with disbelief, then incomprehension. They stand in sharp contrast to the ideals America has always stood for: our belief in the dignity and worth of all people, our unequivocal rejection of torture and abuse, our commitment to the rule of law. The images horrified us, and severely damaged America's reputation in the Middle East and around the world, and made the war on terrorism harder to win.

It may well be the steepest and deepest fall from grace in our history. Yet at every opportunity, the Administration has tried to minimize the problem and avoid responsibility for it.

What I appreciate is that Senator Kennedy has kept the issue alive. Abu Ghraib is one of the most profound failures by our government in our nation's history and represents only part of the picture of abuses by our government. And the mainstream media never managed to come to grips with the story. Abu Ghraib is one of the reasons why Bush's foreign policy has so little credibility throughout the world. Anything Bush says about democracy and freedom is largely cancelled by the mention of those two words: Abu Ghraib.

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