The Washington Post's Fred Hiatt's narrow vision condemns him to the predictable, Democrats' Narrow Vision.
You can look at the Democrats' national security plan, released last week, as simply a political shield, akin to the upgraded body armor they promise for U.S. troops.
Even as simile, Fred is obviously a desk warrior who doesn't even bother to read his own paper when he tosses off the body amour issue as nothing but a pesky nat, Body-Armor Gaps Are Shown to Endanger Troops
The Marine Corps and Army are working to upgrade body armor to prevent fatalities caused by torso wounds from gunshots and explosions, after classified Pentagon forensic studies highlighted how gaps in current armor are leaving troops vulnerable.
A recent military study of a random sample of scores of Marine deaths from torso wounds between the start of the Iraq war in March 2003 and mid-2005 found that more protection on the chest, back, sides and shoulder areas could have prevented up to 80 percent of the fatalities.
Fred would be better off recognizing body armor as a symbol of this administration's rush to get its optional war on. The safety of the troops wasn't even a major consideration except when they could twist the issue to their rhetorical advantage. See Did Kerry Vote "No" on Body Armor for Troops? . Ironic how it was important enough to be a whip for the weasels of the Bush campaign, but isn't important now. Perhaps Fred could call a few of the surviving spouses and parents of those that died because conservatives didn't think body armor was important and tell them what crybabies they are.. Hiatt also likes straw dogs; they are easier to knock down after all,
President Bush believes that the United States "is in the early years of a long struggle," according to his own national security strategy released last month, against "a new totalitarian ideology." To combat radical Islamist terrorism, he says, the United States must first and foremost offer better values, promoting democracy and opposing tyranny. It must be ready to take the fight to the enemy, including with preemptive action, because the nation can never be made safe only by guarding the homeland.
Fred didn't notice that world wide terrorism is at an all time high, like many people he has totally focused on what Bush says instead of the state of the real world that exists beyond boiler plate rhetorics. The Bush Doctrine of pre-emption hasn't worked, just ask the people of Bali, Iraq, England, or Spain. Has Fred noticed that Iranian fundamentalists are not only, not intimidated by Bush, but have been emboldened by his actions. Is there just a chance that the Democratic agenda states more then Hiatt says it does, Real Security
Rebuild a state-of-the-art military by making the needed investments in equipment and manpower so that we can project power to protect America wherever and whenever necessary.
Since Fred mentions "preemptive" twice in the space of four paragraphs, both of which are preceded by wagging finger of the lessons of Sept. 11. Gee maybe Fred needs to learn of the lessons of the past three years. So far the Bush Doctrine has failed its one and only test, Iraq where 37,000 dead Iraqi civilians are missing out on all that democracy that Fred says Bush is spreading, and the party not in power is supposedly not pushing hard enough. Maybe Iraq was the wrong test, should we move on to Iran, maybe we can spread some democracy there. I suspect Fred is a skimmer, as he skimmed he didn't find parroting of Bush talking points so he stopped reading to write his hackery. From the Democrats on Terrorism,
To Defeat Terrorists and Stop the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction, we will:
Eliminate Osama Bin Laden, destroy terrorist networks like al Qaeda, finish the job in Afghanistan, and end the threat posed by the Taliban.
Double the size of our Special Forces, increase our human intelligence capabilities, and ensure our intelligence is free from political pressure.
Eliminate terrorist breeding grounds by combating the economic, social, and political conditions that allow extremism to thrive; lead international efforts to uphold and defend human rights; and renew longstanding alliances that have advanced our national security objectives.
Secure by 2010 loose nuclear materials that terrorists could use to build nuclear weapons or "dirty bombs."
Redouble efforts to stop nuclear weapons development in Iran and North Korea.
As Democrats have pointed out, Bush has failed to define the one thing that he and his supporters say matters the most, victory. What is victory in Iraq, how does Hiatt or Bush define victory. Is it when every last insurgent or foreign fighter is dead? Is victory when the streets of Baghdad are as safe as the streets of St. Augustine, Florida? America is still waiting after three years, though Hiatt and Bush doesn't think it's important to tell us. What Hiatt thinks is important is " the Democrats do not find space to mention democracy even once." If Fred would have given an example of one, just one nation that has become a real working democracy as a direct result of Bush's approach to foreign policy this might make the Democratic plan for security less urgent, but he doesn't. With the exception of a few diehard peaceniks there was overwhelming support for going into Afghanistan, getting Bin Laden and crushing the Taliban, a country so isolated from the sectarian infighting of the middle-east that it actually had a chance to be pushed into at least an illiberal democracy and Bush blew that. If Democrats closed their eyes and threw a dart it at a board of different Democratic plans, America would be on a better track then we're on now ( Ijust listened to General Wesley Clark on c-span tonight, he's a Democrat with a plan). Much easier for the pundit class to simply say that Democrats have no ideas then actually pick up a phone and find out what they are.
Speaking at the event, Rhode Island Senator and former US Army Ranger Jack Reed stated, "It has been over three years since the beginning of the war in Iraq, and nearly five years since the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, yet the Bush Administration continues to use rhetoric rather than reality when dealing with our nation's security. We are engaged in a long war that transcends the boundaries of any one country. This struggle demands a strategy grounded in a realistic assessment of threats, not ideological presumptions. It also demands real and extensive resources and commitment. This is what our Real Security plan achieves."
It seems like most smug columnists, Hiatt chastises Democrats for not dotting every "I", but lets Bush slide on an agenda with gaping holes. What is the message between the lines of the Democratic plan: competence, common sense, accountability. If Fred doesn't think those things are important he might want to talk to a Marine commander, or a career diplomat, or the deck crew on an aircraft carrier. While luck plays a role in any cofrontation, its competence, attention to detail and execution that wins the day. If you can't execute the fundamentals of real world tasks then grandiose speeches about world democracy might as well be the rantings of any street corner ragamuffin prophet on a soapbox.
So, it seems, in the middle of the civil war muddle, it's time to split the spin yet again. Are we going to be in Iraq "permanently" or just have a "long-term" presence. It depends on your meaning of forever. Are you going to live with the Iraqis, or have a marriage of military, geopolitical and regional commitment. It depends on whether you're talking to a Democrat or a Republican (or Joe Lieberman).
Lt. Cmdr. Joe Carpenter, a Pentagon spokesperson, told AP that it would be "inappropriate" to talk about the future prospects of having bases in Iraq until there is a permanent government in place.
That brings up another issue: Just when is George W. Bush going to make the Iraqis get their act together and form their permanent government? The final vote was over 3 months ago. What's the hold up?
Bush didn't stop another 9-11 by preemptively invading Iraq. Where is the rational empirical evidence to support that assertion. Bush has made America more vulnerable then ever by pushing moderate Muslims a step closer to the reactionism that is inevitable when most of the victims of your "preemption" were poor and oppressed.
Jackie McLean, 74, one of the foremost alto saxophone players of the past 50 years, who also helped elevate jazz studies to a serious academic discipline, died March 31 at his home in Hartford, Conn. His family said that he died of "a long illness" and that the cause of death would be announced later.
A musical descendant of bebop master Charlie Parker, Mr. McLean developed a strong, uncompromising style in the 1950s and remained a prominent voice on his instrument for decades. He recorded more than 60 albums and was a mentor to younger musicians as a bandleader and as a teacher.
Amazon has a digitally remastered CD of Let Freedom Ring, with some song sampling.
Dat is what it tole me as I watched it slowly rollin',
But somp'n way inside me rared up an' say,
"Better be movin' . . . better be travelin' . . . Riverbank'll
git you ef you stay . . ."
Towns are sinkin' deeper, deeper in de riverbank,
Takin' on de ways of deir sulky Ole Man–
Takin' on his creepy ways, takin' on his evil ways,
"Bes' git way, a long way . . . whiles you can."Man got his
sea too lak de Mississippi Ain't got so long for a whole lot longer way,
Man better move some, better not git rooted Muddy water fool you, ef you stay
from Riverbank Blues written by Sterling A. Brown (1901-1989)