Just a few random thoughts, as I sit here on a Saturday afternoon drinking coffee.
I went to see Dennis Kucinich speak this morning. Interesting speech…it was mostly his regular stump address, but he delivered it well, and the crowd was receptive, which always helps. U.S. Senate candidate Mike Miles was also there (he spoke before Rep. Kucinich did), and delivered a good speech, as well, basically arguing that the journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step forward.
I’m reading Conscience of a Liberal, by the late Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, and I think that there are some intriguing parallels between Miles and Wellstone. Both are stoutly liberal, both believe in organizing and fieldwork, and both aren’t afraid to run against some strong odds.* I wouldn’t count Miles out yet, either against Salazar in the caucus/primary, or against either Bob Schaeffer or Pete Coors in the general. And I think Miles would be a good senator. Just a hunch…call it what you will.
The event was good. I liked talking to Rep. Kucinich (brief as it was), and Miles as well. He may not have won the nomination (he cracked several jokes about that), but he’s arguing a position that needs to be argued in the Democratic Party, even if I disagree with some of the particulars.
More casualties in Iraq…apparently, LSA Anaconda came under mortar fire last night. That used to be one of my old hangouts, back when I was there. Also, we seem to be discussing a ceasefire, but the situation is still very, very fluid. Prof. Juan Cole and Sean-Paul Kelley have some outstanding coverage on what’s going on there. I can’t stress this enough: we’re at the tipping point, and even if we get rid of al-Sadr (no great loss, that), someone else will take his place, and continue leading some kind of popular resistance to us.
I can’t shake the feeling that we’re between a rock and a hard place. We need more bodies, more resources, more of, well, everything, and I don’t know where we’ll get it. The question of troops is the critical one, now. The cupboard is fairly bare, now, and even if we start a draft, it’ll still take time to train those forces, not to mention the time necessary to prepare the vehicles they’ll use, or the supplies they’ll need, or the time needed to ship those things, and those people, from here to Iraq.
Any option the President considers is, politically, a loser. And militarily, they aren’t great, either. Some are more damaging than others, but they all leave him more vulnerable than before. And what’s more, they leave us, as a nation, more vulnerable than before.
The troops will do what’s asked of them–that’s beyond question. But we need to do better by them. Our military isn’t some kind of free resource that can be willfully used and wasted whenever the President feels like it. And that’s more and more what it’s looking like: a waste. Especially when the Commander-in-Chief decides to take a break while his troops are under fire, day in and night out. Must be nice.
But I suppose ducking responsibility is a tiring effort, and he needs his rest.
Note to Sean-Paul: Thanks for the link. Traffic’s through the roof.
Note to Tom: Thanks for the email. Never thought that I’d talk with someone who was there, but, sadly, I’m not surprised that we’re repeating the same mistakes.
UPDATE: Wow. I’m north of 1000 visits today. At this rate…
Later Update: Now north of 1500. Also, I’m reading the August 6 Presidential Daily Brief (click on link to read it), courtesy of Sean-Paul Kelley at the Agonist. I’ll post on it tomorrow, after I digest it all.
Thanks for the views.
*In 1990, Wellstone faced off against Tom Berg and, I think, a guy named Doug Frost. Anyway, he was a clear underdog, yet through careful organizing and dilligent campaigning, got himself the Democratic nod, and then went on to whip Rudy Boschwitz in the general. I think Miles is in the same position, but that’s just me–I could be wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time (see the featured post).