Eat At Joes

Just a regular Joe who is angry that the USA, the country he loves, is being corrupted and damaged from within and trying to tell his fellow Americans the other half of the story that they don’t get on the TV News.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Sunday, December 31, 2006

3000 Americans Have Died in Iraq War

As 2006 draws to a close and Americans prepare to celebrate New Years tonight let us reflect on the more than 3000 American men and women who have died in the Iraq War. Let us bow our heads and pray that this madness does not continue much longer.

Conservative Counterterrorism Expert Richard Clarke Assesses Bush Foreign Policy – It’s Not Good

Richard Clarke, former anti-terror czar under the current Bush Administration as well under Clinton, is respected for his knowledge and expertise of foreign policy by both conservatives and liberals alike. In this article he assesses the Bush Administration’s policies. It is so enlightening I have posted it in its entirety.

While You Were at War . . .

By Richard A. ClarkeSunday, December 31, 2006

In every administration, there are usually only about a dozen barons who can really initiate and manage meaningful changes in national security policy. For most of 2006, some of these critical slots in the Bush administration have been vacant, such as the deputy secretary of state (empty since Robert B. Zoellick left for investment bank Goldman Sachs) and the deputy director of national intelligence (with Gen. Michael V. Hayden now CIA director). And with the nation involved in a messy war spiraling toward a bad conclusion, the key deputies and Cabinet members and advisers are all focusing on one issue, at the expense of all others: Iraq.

National Security Council veteran Rand Beers has called this the "7-year-old's soccer syndrome" -- just like little kids playing soccer, everyone forgets their particular positions and responsibilities and runs like a herd after the ball.

In the end, there are only 12 seats at the conference table in the White House Situation Room, and the key players' schedules mean that they can seldom meet there together in person or on secure video conference for more than about 10 hours each week. When issues don't receive first-tier consideration, they can slip by for months. I learned this firsthand: In the early days of the Bush administration, I called for an urgent meeting to discuss the threat al-Qaeda posed to the United States. The Cabinet-level meeting eventually took place -- but not until Sept. 4, 2001.

Without the distraction of the Iraq war, the administration would have spent this past year -- indeed, every year since Sept. 11, 2001 -- focused on al-Qaeda. But beyond al-Qaeda and the broader struggle for peaceful coexistence with (and within) Islam, seven key "fires in the in-box" national security issues remain unattended, deteriorating and threatening, all while Washington's grown-up 7-year-olds play herd ball with Iraq.

Global warming: When the possibility of invading Iraq surfaced in 2001, senior Bush administration officials hadn't thought much about global warming, except to wonder whether it was caused by human activity or by sunspots. Today, the world's scientists and many national leaders worry that the world has passed the point of no return on global warming. If it has, then human damage to the ecosphere will cause more major cities to flood and make the planet significantly less conducive to human habitation -- all over the lifetime of a child now in kindergarten. British Prime Minister Tony Blair keeps trying to convince President Bush of the magnitude of the problem, but in every session between the two leaders Iraq squeezes out the time to discuss the pending planetary disaster.

Russian revanchism: When Russian President Vladimir Putin and Bush leave office in rapid succession in 2008 and 2009, it seems likely that Russia will be less of a democracy and less inclined to cooperate with Washington than it was six years ago, when Bush stared into the eyes and looked into the heart of the Russian leader. Given her extensive background in Soviet studies, Condoleezza Rice would have been a natural to work on key U.S.-Russian issues, first as national security adviser and now as secretary of state. But the focus on Iraq has precluded such efforts, even as the troubling issues multiply: Russian governors are no longer elected, but appointed; dissidents die mysteriously and probably at the hands of the new KGB; opposition media are suppressed; and corporate leaders are jailed or hounded out of the country.

Meanwhile, Moscow plays petro-politics by dramatically raising the cost of energy to former Soviet republics that do not toe the Kremlin's line, and by threatening to turn off the pipeline to European nations that don't cooperate. If Bush hoped that turning a blind eye to all this would help win Russian cooperation in Iraq and Iran, the strategy failed.

Latin America's leftist lurch: In the years before the Iraq war, U.S. presidents were welcomed at summits throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Indeed, the attacks of Sept. 11 found then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell in South America, visiting one area of the world where U.S. policies had worked. Friendly, democratic governments were in power in every nation in the hemisphere except Cuba. Formerly debt-ridden economies were implementing pro-market reforms, and the United States was welcomed as a partner. Washington seemed confident that if and when Fidel Castro died (there was always some doubt), even Cuba might join the democracy/free market club.

Today, Castro has been replaced, but not just by another Cuban dictator. The leader of the hemisphere's new anti-Yankee alliance is Hugo Chávez, the democratically elected president of Venezuela. Chávez's anti-U.S. campaign is supported by Cuban intelligence and Venezuelan oil money. By 2006, Venezuela and Cuba were not alone in their opposition to Washington; kindred spirits have been elected in Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. Having begun his administration pledging new cooperation with Mexico, Bush backtracked after Sept. 11, focusing instead on tightening immigration and border controls.

Africa at war: The genocide spilling from the Darfur region of Sudan into neighboring Chad has captured attention in the United States mainly because of (belated) media coverage and an aggressive advocacy campaign by concerned groups, but the prospects of Washington dealing with the problem seem slim. Darfur, however, is only one of a pox of conflicts that, together with HIV/AIDS, are depopulating parts of Africa and robbing it of potential wealth from mineral, oil and gas deposits. Wars have also raged in Chad, Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Somalia. Were it not for the Iraq war, Washington may have acted to stop what the Bush administration admits is genocide in Darfur, or taken steps to prevent the chaos sweeping Somalia after a group affiliated with al-Qaeda took over the country and left Ethiopia no choice but to invade in hopes of preventing a more disastrous war. Unfortunately, even designating a small presence of U.S. Special Forces to lead a U.N.-approved peacekeeping force in Darfur appears beyond the capability of the badly stretched American military.

Arms control freeze: Once atop several administrations' national security agendas, international arms control has received little White House attention since the Bush administration decided early on to walk away from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. National security adviser Stephen J. Hadley has extensive government experience working on arms control and he began to focus on this turf in early 2001, when he was number two at the National Security Council. But after 9/11, Hadley has had little opportunity to advance international efforts to control biological weapons, nuclear testing and proliferation, or the threat of nuclear or radioactive terrorist weapons. For a long time, the White House outsourced dealing with Iran's nuclear weapons to the Europeans, just as the onus of stopping North Korea's nuclear development was placed on Asian nations. The sustained senior-level attention that is needed to stop two nuclear weapons programs at the same time has simply not been available -- because of Iraq.

Transnational crime: In a nationally televised address in 1989, President George H.W. Bush held aloft a bag of cocaine that had been sold near the White House and declared a "War on Drugs." That initiative was later enlarged to target the international criminal cartels engaged in human trafficking, gun and contraband smuggling, money laundering and cyber fraud. The momentum from these efforts produced international treaties to combat hidden global crime conglomerates, but the White House leadership necessary to coordinate dozens of U.S. agencies and mobilize other nations has dissipated. Moreover, the world's international crime cartels received a major shot in the arm with the occupation of Afghanistan by NATO forces. From relatively low levels of heroin production in 2001, Afghanistan's economy is now dependent upon the widespread cultivation of heroin that is flooding black markets in Europe and Asia. With most of the U.S. Army either in Iraq, heading to Iraq or returning from Iraq, insufficient U.S. forces were available to prevent the once-liberated Afghanistan from morphing into a narco-state.

The Pakistani-Afghan border: Afghanistan increasingly receives the attention of senior U.S. policymakers, not because of the narcotics problem, but mainly because the once-defeated Taliban again threaten Afghan and coalition forces. However, if there is a solution, it lies on the other side of the Khyber Pass where a sanctuary has emerged, a Taliban-like state within a state in western Pakistan. Dealing with that problem is more than Washington has been willing or able to handle, for it involves the complex issue of who governs nuclear-armed Pakistan and how.

Thus far, Washington has accepted Gen. Pervez Musharraf's half-hearted measures for dealing with the nuclear proliferation network of A.Q. Khan, addressing the terrorist involvement of Pakistani intelligence and controlling the Taliban/al-Qaeda bases in Waziristan. Getting Pakistan to do more would require a major sustained effort by senior U.S. officials, including addressing the longstanding tensions with India. Because of Iraq, Washington's national security gurus do not have the hours in their days to manage that -- nor the troops needed to secure Afghanistan.

As the president contemplates sending even more U.S. forces into the Iraqi sinkhole, he should consider not only the thousands of fatalities, the tens of thousands of casualties and the hundreds of billions of dollars already lost. He must also weigh the opportunity cost of taking his national security barons off all the other critical problems they should be addressing -- problems whose windows of opportunity are slamming shut, unheard over the wail of Baghdad sirens.

Richard A. Clarke, former national coordinator for counterterrorism, is chairman of Good Harbor Consulting and author of "Against All Enemies" (Free Press) and "Breakpoint" (Putnam).

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Read the dirty truth behind the dreaded Liberal Media.

This is why my brother-in-law and so many others think liberals hate America. I tried to explain to him that corporate pressures bias the news we get in ways that supposedly liberal reporters couldn’t. Many journalists report that their best work is spiked (not printed or broadcasted) because it may offend someone higher up. After a while to get anything in print or broadcast and keep your job you produce what the bosses want. Simple as that. The fact that many journalists have blogs or contribute to blogs (many anonymously to avoid being fired by those same bosses) in which they try to get the information that doesn’t pass through the corporate censor gives me hope. The increased readership of these blogs does the same. In fact the Time Magazine person of the year is us. Let’s not blow it. Blog on America. We can make our nation the best it can be.

Further Reflections on My Dinners with Brother-In-Law

One other thing about my Christmas Eve and Christmas Day political discussions with my brother-in-law that struck me was the frequent appearances made by Adolf Hitler. Not in the flesh of course but in reference. Every two minute or so he would mention Hitler, fascism, or Mein Kampf. It was usually Muslims, especially Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran (who I will admit is a nut-case and a Holocaust denier), to Hitler; the word Islamic always followed by fascism; and book sales of Mein Kampf among Palestinians was brought up more than once.

There are a few problems with these. Ahmadinejad has very little real power in Iran unlike Hitler in Germany. Ahmadinejad is not the commander of the military; the Ayatollahs control the military. Fascism is a blending of Corporatism with Government and the Islamists are staunchly against Corporatism in favor of Theocracy. If anything the last six years have seen a blending of Corporatism with Government in the US. The story of the sales of Mein Kampf in the West Bank is based on a brief spike in sales many years ago. Today far more copies of the Arabic edition of Mein Kampf are sold in London than in the Palestinian territories. And the English edition outsells the Arabic edition by orders of magnitude. More copies of Mein Kampf are sold in the US than anywhere else. Not only to Skinheads and Klansmen but to college students in universities where that book is studied in its historical and social context.

I don’t mean to single out my brother-in-law. Many Bush supporters I talk to, see on TV, read the posts of on the Internet, etc, do the exact same thing. They incessantly bring up Hitler and Nazis and fascism when addressing critics of Bush but rail at any mention of those topics in relation to the Bush Administration itself. I understand the American Right-Wing’s fascination with Hitler since he was such a powerful Right-Wing leader, but their use of him to demonize their ideological opponents smacks of transference (if I remember that term correctly from psychology classes in my college days).

My brother-in-law like many Right-Wingers kept harping on comparisons made between George W. Bush and Hitler. I informed him that people had compared Clinton to Hitler and invited him to Google Clinton Hitler and see for himself that there are more than a million hits. I did the same afterwards and was amazed to learn that nearly every US president since Hitler has been compared to Hitler by opponents. In the last few years I have heard and read many Right-Wingers compare all sorts of Democrats to Nazis. It was only a couple of months ago that Donald Rumsfeld compared critics of the Bush Administration to Nazi Appeasers. My brother-in-law made the same comparison in almost the same breath as he bemoaned those who would dare compare Bush to Hitler. Supporters of equal rights for women have been labeled FemiNazis for years. But the Right’s hypersensitivity to Bush being compared to Hitler or serious parallels between actions of the Bush Administration with policies taken in Germany in the 30s and 40s conjure up the phrase methinks they doth protest too much.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Saddam to be Executed Within 30 Days

Saddam Hussein, who has several trials accusing him of crimes during his reign yet to be tried, must be hanged within 30 days according to the highest Iraqi appeals court. The Iraqi judges were selected by the Bush administration and the trial was paid for with our tax dollars.

In the next few days or weeks, President Bush is expected to announce an escalation of US troops in Iraq. This will be very unpopular as 82% of Americans want us to reduce troop strength in Iraq and work toward withdrawing our soldiers and marines in 2007 or at least by 2008.

President Bush will be giving his State of the Union address to the nation right after Saddam will be put to death. The execution will be after the unpopular announcement of the troop build-up.

You do the math.

Oh, and it is believed that the Sunni reaction to Saddam’s execution will be huge and likely costly to our troops. I pray for them.

My Christmas

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Happy belated Hanukah. Happy Kwanza.

I spent the day before Christmas Eve with my side of the family. It was a wonderful day. My wife’s family are great people, too. Most of them.

I had to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my brother-in-law. He’s a die-hard conservative Republican Bush supporter. He is supposed to be well educated: bachelors from the University of Virginia and a law degree from Harvard Law School. I have no proof he actually earned these degrees, but I have to give him the benefit of the doubt.

The Christmas Eve political debate at dinner was as turbulent as I expected. As usual he spent most of the time shouting over me and interrupting me. If you ever watch Bill O’Reilly (one of my brother-in-law’s heroes) interview someone he disagrees with, you will see the same technique. Conservatives, I believe, secretly realize that many of their arguments are without merit or have only a tenuous connection with reality, so screaming and interrupting those they disagree with is the only way to “win” an argument. They must interrupt and talk over their opponents because they fear the inadequacies of their own positions will become apparent to others.

Christmas Day’s discussion was more civil because I bent over backwards trying to find some common ground between us. I found that after about 40 minutes of doing this (and it was a struggle to find agreement points, but I did find some) his tone lowered to a normal level, and his interrupting became less frequent but did not entirely disappear. I believe I calmed him and convinced him that I was not going to topple his house of cards, and in the end he granted some concession points that I was pleasantly surprised to receive.

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law know that I have voted for and supported Democratic candidates, but I usually avoid political discussions with him (I don’t relish being shouted at or interrupted) and have never used the L word in his presence. It causes him to explode.

During the Christmas Eve debate he went on about how all Muslims are evil and you can’t rationalize with them and they only understand power so you have to utterly destroy them in order to have any success. Naturally I disagreed with this. He countered by saying that if Iran exploded a nuclear bomb destroying Chicago the liberals (the dreaded L word) wouldn’t allow the US to retaliate.

“Bullshit!” I said, “We’d blow them to kingdom come.”

“Oh, no.” He maintained, “Liberals won’t do anything that might result in innocent civilians being killed. So the liberals would allow Iran to nuke us and get away with it!”

“Bullshit!” I repeated, “I’m a liberal and if any country nuked us we’d bomb them back to the Stone Age.”

As I said “I’m a liberal” there was an audible gasp from my brother-in-law. The Stone Age part he had no problem with, but the liberal part caused him to sputter.

“He’s really a conservative liberal, honey.” My sister-in-law tried to console her husband.

“Liberals hate America. Liberals think everything America does is wrong and evil. They’d never retaliate if we were nuked.” He insisted; his eyes now slits looking at me askance.

“Well, there are probably some liberals who would retaliate.” My sister-in-law interjected, “But Kerry and Gore certainly wouldn’t.”

“They were the Democrat’s candidates for President.” He crowed.

“We’ve done it before.” I announced. “Liberal Democratic president FDR approved plans for the nuking of Japan and Democratic president Truman executed those plans. Both Kerry and Gore would definitely attack any country that nuked the US.”

“No they wouldn’t. Liberals hate America.” The Harvard educated man muttered.

“It’s just that he loves his country.” My sister-in-law explained.

“I love my country too!” I said.

“Oh, I’m sure you do.” She responded.

“I’m not!” He scowled, “All liberals hate America.”

Given his supposed level of education and the fact that he allegedly attended Harvard I was most surprised by the two-dimensional cardboard cut-out idea of a liberal he had. I explained to him that his was a straw man liberal who didn’t exist or if he did, did not represent the views of most of us. I further explained that there are a myriad of views on the left, but we simply disagree with many of President Bush’s policies and actions and certainly do not hate America.

“Well, guess what?” he gloated, “Bush’s policies are the policies of the United States! And if you don’t like America’s policies you don’t like America!” The look of satisfaction didn’t remain long on his face once I responded.

“Why is it?” I asked, “That when Clinton was president those who didn’t like his policies were never called un-American, but as soon as Bush became president, anyone who disagreed with his policies was anti-America and unpatriotic? George Bush is not America. He is simply a man hired to do a job of representing all of the American people in the position of president.”

“Disagreement with any president is not un-American.” Another guest said.

“You can disagree with Bush’s policies.” My brother-in-law then reversed.

“Well, I do.” I said.

“That’s fine. It’s a free country. I never said you couldn’t.”

And on it went. I’ll add more of our discussions as time allows. They are most enlightening.

The long and short of it is that both liberals and conservatives believe in the old adage my country right or wrong. It’s just that we progressive liberals believe we must address the wrong parts and make them right in order that our country will be the best it can be. That’s really loving your country. The modern crop of conservatives, like my brother-in-law, believes that we must ignore the wrongs because to draw attention to them will make America appear weak or lessened in the sight of other nations. I don’t think that’s loving America.

Whenever I pointed out areas where we need to improve he countered by stating the obvious that America is better than Hitler’s Germany and life under the Taliban. For liberals it isn’t good enough for America to be better than the worst. We have to strive, really work at being the best we can be. Always improving and pushing forward. That’s progressivism and is central to liberals’ outlook. For the new crop of conservatives it is good enough for America to simply be better than the worst. It wasn’t good enough for the conservatives of a generation ago. It wasn’t good enough for conservative Barry Goldwater whose views are echoed in John Dean’s book Conservatives Without a Conscience which is based on discussions with Goldwater. It wasn’t good enough for progressive Republican Teddy Roosevelt who believed so much in the right and responsibility to criticize the President that he said to not allow such dissent is morally treasonous.

My brother-in-law brought up that many (he says 70%) of the Muslims in the world believe that it was not really Muslims who committed the September 11 attack. I pointed out to him that they were in denial because they didn’t want to believe that people of their faith could do something so horribly immoral. By the same token people like my brother-in-law are in denial about wrongs committed by the Bush Administration and the Republican Party. They refuse to believe that people of their party do the things they do. So they find others to blame. Usually it is liberal Democrats who bear their blame just as the Muslims he speaks of say Bush and Israel were behind 9/11. Conservatives convince themselves that they alone love America and that liberals hate our country. Therefore liberals should not be listened to, and conservatives despite whatever failures they may have are the only ones to listen to.

I’ll try not to follow either of these models. The Democratic Party has made many mistakes, and I will point out any the new majority in Congress make, here in this blog. I’ll leave denial as a river in Egypt.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bush Lied – Tony (the Poodle) Blair Kept His Lies Secret – US Dragged Into War under False Pretenses

Documents just released show that prior the start of the Iraq War, both the Bush Administration and Tony Blair’s Administration knew that Saddam had no Biological, Chemical or Nuclear WMD and that Iraq posed no serious threat to its neighbors, the US or the UK. Britain has kept these documents suppressed and locked up for years under their “Official Secrets Act,” but they have now been deemed not a threat to Britain’s National Security and have been released.

Carne Ross, Britain's key negotiator at the UN said in late 2002 that he "discussed this at some length with David Kelly", the weapons expert who a year later was found dead after he was named as the source of a BBC report saying Downing Street had "sexed up" the WMD claims in a dossier. A British government (whitewash) inquiry into Kelly’s death ruled it a “suicide” and the (whitewash) Butler inquiry cleared Blair and Downing Street of "sexing up" the dossier. Publication of the Carne Ross evidence will cast fresh doubts on its findings.

Read about them here. And further information can be found here, and here and here. A different instance of false information used to justify the Iraq War is covered here.

Update: As of December 27, the US Corporate Mainstream Media has not picked up this information vital to the American people. Don’t hold your breath. They won’t report it. Still think we have a liberal media?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hate To Tell You We Told You So

In the lead up the Iraq War, I wrote several letters to the President of the United States expressing my belief that we were rushing into a war that was not in our nation’s best interest. I had great faith that with the threat of an invasion and the pressure of UN weapons inspectors we could rid Iraq of any WMD and ensure that Saddam would not be a threat to the Middle East. Why did I have faith, because it was already working. Fearing the wrath of our troops Saddam caved in and began destroying his al-Samoud missiles based on those UN weapons inspectors’ insistence that he do so. Even though they were not WMD they were a threat to the region. Saddam knuckled under. But, when the invasion began the inspectors were forced out of Iraq and Saddam stopped his destruction of his missiles.

In those days the media and the pro-war pundits both in the administration and outside cast those of us who disagreed with the Iraq War as unpatriotic, un-American and unsupportive of the troops. Everyone I knew who opposed the Iraq invasion was very supportive and grateful for our troops. I wrote about a dozen letters to the editors of American newspapers explaining this and thanking the troops for their sacrifices. Only one, The Stars and Stripes, the official newspaper of the US Military had the courage to print such a letter. The others refused to print my or any other letter from dissenters expressing appreciation for our troops because it didn’t match the image of us they wanted to project: those critical of Bush must not support our troops.

Paul Krugman’s most recent column highlights some warnings about the Iraq War given by Democrats prior to the war’s start. They, too, were cast as unpatriotic, un-American and unsupportive of the troops. In recent years they have been labeled “cut and runners” by Bush and his supporters. Now with 82% of the American people wanting our troops out of Iraq within two years and most, 70% wanting them out by 2008, it is time to re-read the warnings of these American patriots who took claims of being un-American, unpatriotic and unsupportive of the troops on the chin:

They Told You So
Published: December 8, 2006
New York Times

Shortly after U.S. forces marched into Baghdad in 2003, The Weekly Standard published a jeering article titled, “The Cassandra Chronicles: The stupidity of the antiwar doomsayers.” Among those the article mocked was a “war novelist” named James Webb, who is now the senator-elect from Virginia.

The article’s title was more revealing than its authors knew. People forget the nature of Cassandra’s curse: although nobody would believe her, all her prophecies came true. And so it was with those who warned against invading Iraq. At best, they were ignored. A recent article in The Washington Post ruefully conceded that the paper’s account of the debate in the House of Representatives over the resolution authorizing the Iraq war — a resolution opposed by a majority of the Democrats — gave no coverage at all to those antiwar arguments that now seem prescient.

At worst, those who were skeptical about the case for war had their patriotism and/or their sanity questioned. The New Republic now says that it “deeply regrets its early support for this war.” Does it also deeply regret accusing those who opposed rushing into war of “abject pacifism?”

Now, only a few neocon dead-enders still believe that this war was anything but a vast exercise in folly. And those who braved political pressure and ridicule to oppose what Al Gore has rightly called “the worst strategic mistake in the history of the United States” deserve some credit.

Unlike The Weekly Standard, which singled out those it thought had been proved wrong, I’d like to offer some praise to those who got it right. Here’s a partial honor roll:

Former President George H. W. Bush and Brent Scowcroft, explaining in 1998 why they didn’t go on to Baghdad in 1991: “Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land.”

Representative Ike Skelton, September 2002: “I have no doubt that our military would decisively defeat Iraq’s forces and remove Saddam. But like the proverbial dog chasing the car down the road, we must consider what we would do after we caught it.”

Al Gore, September 2002: “I am deeply concerned that the course of action that we are presently embarking upon with respect to Iraq has the potential to seriously damage our ability to win the war against terrorism and to weaken our ability to lead the world in this new century.”

Barack Obama, now a United States senator, September 2002: “I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.”

Representative John Spratt, October 2002: “The outcome after the conflict is actually going to be the hardest part, and it is far less certain.”

Representative Nancy Pelosi, now the House speaker-elect, October 2002: “When we go in, the occupation, which is now being called the liberation, could be interminable and the amount of money it costs could be unlimited.”

Senator Russ Feingold, October 2002: “I am increasingly troubled by the seemingly shifting justifications for an invasion at this time. … When the administration moves back and forth from one argument to another, I think it undercuts the credibility of the case and the belief in its urgency. I believe that this practice of shifting justifications has much to do with the troubling phenomenon of many Americans questioning the administration’s motives.”

Howard Dean, then a candidate for president and now the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, February 2003: “I firmly believe that the president is focusing our diplomats, our military, our intelligence agencies, and even our people on the wrong war, at the wrong time. … Iraq is a divided country, with Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions that share both bitter rivalries and access to large quantities of arms.”

We should honor these people for their wisdom and courage. We should also ask why anyone who didn’t raise questions about the war — or, at any rate, anyone who acted as a cheerleader for this march of folly — should be taken seriously when he or she talks about matters of national security.