Always like to throw a little political commentary. Watched Bush's Brain, a video documentary based on the book of the same name. Follows the political life of Karl Rove--how he always win and how his opponent always faces a strange coincidentally negative set of circumstances during the campaign. Helped clarify quite a bit. Namely what Uncle Don said. That Bush, no matter what people think about him, is always in charge. And that he had no idea what flipped in him. Rove that's who (or what). It's Rove-Bush that are co-running the country not Rummy or even Cheney. Colin was always on the outside. Condi's nomination will be passed this week. She seems to be more a mouthpiece and fairly apolitical. I think she is going to be in for a real shock when she goes abroad. Her foreign counterparts are going to be pretty vicious I imagine. The Senate Confirmation Hearing and the 9/11 Panel both stunned her with hard-edge questioning. I wonder if she is just not up to speed or dangerously naive or touchy or what.
The neo-con agenda is clear--Neocons=Wolfowitz, Abrahms, Rumsfield, Cheney. It is to implement The New American Century Proposal drafted in the early 90s. The whole plan was predicated on needing a catastrophic attack on American soil to undertake the plan. And they got it. Some have used this to point towards a possible conspiracy around 9/11. I don't buy that. What I do think, is that the neocons got the right domino to fall. Richard Clarke's book is the link. Wolfowitz was thinking about Iraq since the 70s. Bush got what he wanted as well--to get back at the guy who tried to kill his dad. The Afghanistan expendition was a warm-up. We are not fighting the terrorists really. I'm not sure we ever really have been. Why else did they send insufficient number of troops late to the mountains when they had Osama in the sights? I think that the Administration feels the threat is no over after the post-9/11 Afghanistan mop up?
Why the rush for Iraq though? What was the hurry? Why get bogged down.
So I'm leaning more and more towards thinking that there is another agenda supra the neocon foreign policy one. And it is in the head of Rove and possibly Bush. No liberal has really brought this up. No one has really asked the question: what is Rove after? Even the movie didn't raise that issue strongly enough. What does he want? It's one thing to point out his tactics, but what is he after? He tells the neocons to stand down when necessary. The neocon is foreign imperialism....no domestic policy. Rove is a Texan Kingmaker, a Mark Henna with a serial attitude. He's not as concerned (or probably as knowledgable) on foreign issues.
Is it Bush's fundamentalist millenarian Christianity or is that a front too? Why is Tim LaHaye at the White House? The Republicans in The House and Senate have been shut out of the party in large measure. So Rove-Bush have allies: the neocons; Frist/Hastert/DeLay; Condi; corporations, particularly Murdock and the Media Conglomerates; and of course the Evangelical Block. I wonder if they are using them for their own (I still don't know what) agenda? Bush lets Rummy-Cheney rebuild the military along their vision. He lets The Speaker, Senate Majority Leader and Whip have their fun in Congress. He plays the moral card at election time. He gets off the hook for most of his blunders in the press. BUT FOR WHAT?
How does holding Taleban in Guatanamo Bay fight terrorism? The Taleban and al-Qaeda are vastly different. al-Qaeda is a high-tech organization plotting World Jihad; Bin Laden wants to be reinstate the Caliphate and have himself crowned the Successor to the Prophet for the 21st century. The Taleban are a tribal (red meme) group who employed a literalist, backwards, uneducated (nearly heretical) brand of Islam to control the mountains of Afghanistan. They had no idea of overthrowing the Americans. When we bombed them, of course they fought for their regime (they would call themselves freedom fighters, nationalists of a sort). al-Qaeda truly believes they can overthrow the Americans, worldwide, as they did with the Soviets. Afghanistan was for them only one battle in a much larger worldwide war.
Now in Iraq we are seeing what I believe might be a more dangerous trend. The insurgency lining up more strongly with al-Qaeda. Zarqawi calls his group al-Qaeda in Iraq. The US had no Sunni Plan. The Shias of course want elections (al Sistani can't get them quickly enough). They are the majority, they will win. The Kurds will get their de facto regional autonomy officially recognized. The Baathists are fighting to bring back The Baath Regime, minus Saddam. But they are probably cash strapped in a way al-Qaeda is not. So is the Iraqi situation, just basically a longer, bloodier version of Afghanistan? I.e. There are "nationalist" insurgents and al-Qaeda fighting together against a common enemy, even though their motives are generally separate, even at odds. Say the insurgency triumphs and the Americans depart, will the al-Qaeda operatives fight a renewed secular Baathist regime. (Remember bin Laden hated Saddam). Or are the two becoming more linked? Will al-Qaeda itself start to wane, but a more dispersed, threat emerge, possibly even more dangerous?
Is the terrorism thing really as simple as all of the hijackers on 9/11 were Saudis and Egyptians. Those are two regimes we prop up who are despised in large measure by their populaces. If they had elections, Mubarak, I'm guessing, would no longer hold power, dito for the Saudi Royal House.
The war has been so badly mismanged, no matter what one's views on whether it was a just-smart war or not in the first place. This is the bane of ideologes, so far as I can tell. They had this unspoken belief--we go in there and then boom everyone loves us and Iraq will be free and happy. It is the same sorta faith in supply-side economics. Magically, by the grace of the market, revenue appears, as if out of the sky.
I wonder if the administration had been reading more of people like Noah Feldman or maybe it was Sharansky vis a vis the repeated emphasis on freedom in the inaugural address. Is freedom a codeword for something?