Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Saturday, September 25, 2004

News items and editorials 9/25/2004 

President Bush and Prime Minister Allawi's claims that Iraq is doing great is further debunked in a front page article in the Washington Post:

Reports covering seven days in a recent 10-day period depict a nation racked by all manner of insurgent violence, from complex ambushes involving 30 guerrillas north of Baghdad on Monday to children tossing molotov cocktails at a U.S. Army patrol in the capital's Sadr City slum on Wednesday. On maps included in the reports, red circles denoting attacks surround nearly every major city in central, western and northern Iraq, except for Kurdish-controlled areas in the far north. Cities in the Shiite Muslim-dominated south, including several that had undergone a period of relative calm in recent months, also have been hit with near-daily attacks.

In number and scope, the attacks compiled in the Kroll reports suggest a broad and intensifying campaign of insurgent violence that contrasts sharply with assessments by Bush administration officials and Iraq's interim prime minister that the instability is contained to small pockets of the country.

I admit I don't understand Bush's strategy going into the first debate with Kerry on Thursday, the puzzle pieces I'm trying to fit together in my mind are,

If the object is to confuse everyone by promoting mutually contradicting thoughts, it might be succeeding.

An essay in the Washington Post on the upcoming debates is fertile soil for speculation on what we might see, although reading it unskeptically leaves the impression whoever "wins" the debates has the election wrapped up.

From the Department of Ironic Irony, US Vietnam vets are appealing to our Vietnam draft dodging President to discourage a monument to Vietnam draft dodgers from being built in Canada.

60 Minutes cancelled an "inappropriate" story on Iraq - "Inappropriate" because it would have been so close to the presidential election. Strange rational for not airing it being that it was slated for the same show they ran the original story on Bush's Guard service. It must have been really bad!

Something I found interesting in the internals of a CBS poll (PDF) is that despite the "Swift Boat Vets" efforts, more people considered Bush to be untruthful about his military service than Kerry,


Telling the entire truth
Kerry 29%
Bush 20%

Hiding something
Kerry 49%
Bush 51%

Kerry 13%
Bush 20%

Refering to Dick Cheney's incendiary comments that America is welcoming a terror attack by voting for Kerry, a new Kerry/Edwards campaign ad points out that the Republicans are"using the appalling and divisive strategy of playing politics with the war on terror, a strategy that undermines the efforts to combat terrorists in America and puts George Bush's own ambition ahead of the national good."

Tom Brokaw conducted a short but interesting interview with Pakistan's Perves Musharaf. He cites the problem of the Iraq invasion not being good for the "Muslim sentiment" about the US, that the US is fighting terror is too centered on "the immediate", and he doesn't know where bin Laden is. The most interesting part,

Brokaw: Do you think the American war against Iraq was a mistake?

Musharraf: Well, I wouldn't comment on that. But I will certainly say that it has complicated the issue.

Brokaw: In your part of the world.

Musharraf: In the Islamic world. In the Iraqi region. In the Middle East.

Brokaw: Made it worse for America?

Musharraf: Yes.

Iraq's "Vice President" Barham Saleh mused that wether all of Iraq should vote is "a bridge that we will have to cross when we come to it."


Jessica Mathews, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace offers some sound ideas for facing the political realities in Iraq.

George Will writes a rather good essay about Iran, although he either is not aware or doesn't care that 13 year olds can get married in in NH, 14 year olds in New York, and with the consent of parents and a judge at any age in a number of states. Will writes,"Since 2002 - this is Iranian moderation - a court's permission has been required to marry younger than 13. Maybe he just holds Iran to a higher standard than the US. I find Will to write occasional brilliant commentary - he's able to sometimes hone down complex topics into the sense or nonsense of their cores, but at other times he's just a wack job. Both sides of him are reflected in this piece.

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