Iraq war gets political, again
The latest "scandal" over 380 tons of missing high explosives in Iraq, as reported by the New York Times on Monday, may be another concocted brew of half-truths. NBC's Jim Milkaszewski reported that when U.S. troops arrived at the site during the ground offensive toward Baghdad in April 2003, the explosives were already gone. (See MSNBC for an update.) The fact that CBS News and Kerry's campaign picked up on it so quickly raises eyebrows (Where is Mary Mapes?), and Rush Limbaugh declared that this is the Democrats' "October surprise." (Speaking of which, I thought they were going to capture Osama bin Laden this week.) The polls seem to be tightening, and the Washington Post's daily tracking poll puts Kerry ahead slightly, but I'm not panicking just yet.
As expected, conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan announced he's voting for Kerry, as "the lesser of two risks..." The reasons for his disappointment in Bush are well put, if emotionally strained, but his defense of Kerry on national security issues sounds like wishful thinking: "Besides, the Democratic party needs to be forced to take responsibility for the security of the country that is as much theirs' as anyone's." How about Dennis Kucinich as Secretary of Defense!?
Does Kerry really Have "a Plan" to get European countries to share the burden in Iraq? Sebastian Mallaby writes in the Washington Post:
If neither foreign nor Iraqi troops come to the rescue, a President Kerry might face a choice: Take back his election talk of bringing soldiers home, or take back his election talk of winning. Kerry is a responsible leader surrounded by a tough foreign policy team, and in the past few days I've edged closer to the view that he would not abandon Iraq prematurely. But if his team really did present the Europeans with a [Senator Joe] Biden-style ultimatum -- you get into Iraq or we get out -- it would risk creating a dynamic that would lead to a U.S. withdrawal and terrifying anarchy.
Which leads me to make a point that has been percolating in my mind for many months: Maybe Kerry and/or some of his top supporters actually want the United States to lose? It sounds insane, but the bitter spitefulness many on the Democratic side have showed in the last few years make you wonder. "See, we told you so!" Would Kerry as president be willing to jeopardize American interests down just to prove a partisan point? After reflecting, I will put that option past him, but it's not beyond the realm of possibility.
Perhaps such thinking is what gives rise to the hostile reactions faced by Republicans. Just out of curiousity, a journalist in Southern California decided to don a Kerry-Edwards shirt and strolled through conservative communities such as Bakersfield; then he put on a Bush-Cheney shirt and walked into the hip and posh neighborhoods of Venice, where counterculture Bohemians and the Hollywood set hang out. Guess what kind of reaction he got in each place?? See "Political Poseur: Pretending to be a Republican in Blue California" by Richard Rushfield in slate.com. (via InstaPundit)
World Series and Decision 2004:
Many people have concluded that the Red Sox ALCS triumph is a harbinger for a Kerry victory, since the team from Bush's home state lost in the NLCS. Here's another possibility: The fact that both teams in the World Series have red colors means that the candidate favored by the (GOP) "red states" will win the election!