Monday, April 28, 2008
39 down - 9 to go
- The US deaths have remained static in the ~35/month range. There's no reason to believe that there will be much variation for the remainder of Bush's term as the troop levels will remain roughly where they are 140,000 for the rest of his term.
- Deficit - any fiscal conservative out there has to be disappointed with Bush's approach to the deficit. Shell out $160,000,000,000 to hopefully Keynesian goose the economy out of its doldrums. Does this mean that every recession from now on, we help ourselves to the government trough to buy our way out? The estimates i've read for this fiscal year's deficit are roughly $400B or roughly the highest deficit in nominal terms of Bush's presidency. Obviously my metric was poorly written - not specifying %GDP or what time frame - but it's hard to view Bush as a success fiscally as the deficits will be quite high for years to come.
- Trade - CAFTA was the best Bush could produce and now the country clearly has a protectionist bent, albeit mostly against Mexico and not Saudi Arabia or China (believe our worst deficits are with those 2 nations, but too tired & unsuccessful to find the correct link tonight).
Obama & Wright - given how calculating politicians are, I'm a bit surprised that Obama stayed with Wright so long. Seems like it would have dawned on him that being with a bombastic and outlandish "spiritual mentor" would hurt his political chances. Hit & Run wrote a defence - who doesn't have a friend with loony beliefs ("U.S. government had created AIDS") - and that's true. I work with one fellow who 'has doubts' about whether we landed on the moon, but I'm not running for president and usually someone running for president creates a facade that will hold up well enough while running for office. At this point, Obama doesn't have any good options - you can't really dis your 'spiritual mentor' but he's back dominating another few news cycles meaning that anything else you have to offer is being drowned out.
Would still give the Dems 55% probability of winning - McCain is basically below the radar now, but once the general campaign starts, his negatives (basically no domestic policy beyond "veto ear marks") will increase as he gets more scrutiny.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
friday night wine blogging
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Why I didn't get Iraq wrong
- It made no sense. We were attacked by a bunch of (mostly) Saudi Arabians lead by an Egyptian, inspired/trained by a Saudi Arabian. You attack who attacked you, and Saddam was not responsible for September 11th or the embassy bombings or the Cole or the Khobar Towers or the Beirut Embassy or...
- Containment was working. Saddam was a minor threat who had been contained successfully for over a decade. Once the UN inspectors returned to Iraq and found nothing working off of our best intelligence that should have been a warning bell for all that our best intelligence wasn't very good.
- It was obvious that Saddam had no nukes. Unlike Biological or Chemical weapons, you cannot easily hide radiation/nuclear weapons. The detection equipment is too sensitive and the infrastructure to support a nuclear program could not have been hidden from extensive inspections.
- The fear button (conflating September 11th) didn't work with me. Noticed that Bush continually conflated Iraq and September 11th. Before September the 11th, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. ....Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans, this time armed by Saddam Hussein.
- I remembered the Gulf of Tonkin though I didn't believe the US populace would be conned again so easily in my lifetime. Anyone with passing knowledge of the Gulf of Tonkin would not easily trust any US president with a suspect case to get us into war.
- We hadn't caught Bin Laden yet. Why take our resources away from our known enemy?
- We weren't changing the status quo. The status quo has long been - friend dictators we support/ un-friendly we over throw. Cutting off foreign aid to benign dictators like Mubarak would be changing the status quo.
Guess that's enough. I can remember futile arguments in a Yahoo group of folks comparing Saddam to Hitler or stating that we were attacked. I can remember reading other salient bits - the only successful nation building exercises by the US were Grenada & Panama (both small, nearby, speaking languages that we spoke English/Spanish, and in the case of Panama a nation with a nearly a century of close ties) - never had people been so sure of the outcome of a war and so unsure of the aftermath (NYT just before the war). But all that is side issues. Now it's history's judgement and it won't be kind. You don't go into war lightly and without very good reasons - reasons we lacked.