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Monday, January 16, 2006

monday news 

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As part of his marketing campaign to persuade the American public "to stay the course," the president is insisting that he has a strategy for victory in the nearly three-year war. This is the same commander in chief who declared "mission accomplished" on May 1, 2003.

As opposition to the war grows, Bush seems to be more frantic in flailing against war critics.

In Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday, the president warned that the critics are hurting the troops who put their lives on the line. He also threatened political repercussions for such opposition.

"I can understand people being abhorrent about war," he said. "War is terrible, but one way people can help as we're coming down the pike in the 2006 elections, is remember the effect that rhetoric can have on our troops in harm's way, and the effect that rhetoric can have in emboldening or weakening the enemy."

Protestors will be punished

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I’m still wrestling, however, with the MSNBC viewer’s admonition that we “start thinking about what happens after George Bush.” It’s a good point, given that we could be talking about the mess in Iraq long after Bush has left office.

For starters, voters should focus on the Iraq question in this year’s congressional elections and in the 2008 race for the White House.

But leaving office without a satisfactory resolution in Iraq would bode poorly for Bush’s place in history, so my guess is that he will manage to declare victory and significantly cut our military presence before he is gone.

Let’s hope he succeeds. It would be nice three years from now to hear someone ask “what happened” to Iraq not for political analysis, but because no more Americans are getting killed there.


What About After Bush?

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Studies of previous wars focused on the huge outlays for military operations. That is still a big concern, along with the collateral impact on such things as oil prices, economic growth and interest on the debt run up to pay for the war. Now some economists have added in the dollar value of a life lost in combat, and that has fed antiwar sentiment.

"The economics profession in general is paying more attention to the cost of lives cut short or curtailed by injury and illness," said David Gold, an economist at the New School in New York. "The whole tobacco issue has encouraged this research."

As the toll of U.S. dead and wounded mounts in Iraq, some economists are arguing that the war's costs, broadly measured, far outweigh its benefits.

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To be fair to the Nation and other the-Iraq-War-is-Over crowd, the magazine as well as many pundits qualified their prediction by stressing that that rosy scenario would take place only if the Democrats seized the opportunity that Murtha offered them to become the tribune of popular sentiment against the war. But let's be honest with ourselves -- and I'm referring here to the critics of the war and the entire Empire Project -- there was a lot of expectation, well, wishfull thinking that the tide was turning against the neocons and the other members of the War Party. Pundits were fantasizing about Senator Chuck Hagel emerging as a Republican presidential candidate not to mention all the talk about the Democrats taking control of Capitol Hill in November,followed by Congressional investigations of the war, and who knows? Impeachment?. Stop dreaming, my friends in the Reality-based Community. It ain't gonna happen anytime soon. The Democrats may gain a small advantage in the House. A few U.S. troops with return home and others will be deployed to Iraq. But America is going to be there for a long time to come.


Help is not on the way

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the 100,000 year fever

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