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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A kind word for Obama: At least he's not insane

WWI amputee at Walter ReedImage by yksin via FlickrBarry O. has been a terrible disappointment, a man who never went into a negotiation without first giving his opponent all his bargaining chips.

UPDATE: Alas, it is true that he has a spine of overcooked pasta. He doesn't even know how to turn aggressive overreaching by his opponents to his advantage. Pitiful.
But then you read something like this and you realize how lucky we are that John McCain and Sarah Palin aren't in charge.

An Unknown Soldier

. . . Several U.S. senators had gathered at the Halifax International Security Forum, an annual gathering that is the brainchild of Peter MacKay, Canada's defense minister. One of them, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, immediately put President Obama on notice.

Resurgent Republicans would be looking for him to "be tough with Iran beyond sanctions." If it came to war, the United States should "sink their navy, destroy their air force and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard, in other words neuter that regime."

Sure, Graham conceded, "you can expect, for a period of time, all hell to break loose." Another war is the "last thing America wants." But a nuclear-armed Iran was unacceptable and containment "off the table."

This is dangerous talk from an influential Republican who sits on the Armed Services Committee. The United States, in its current depleted state, cannot afford another war in a Muslim country. It cannot find itself fighting across a 2,000-mile front stretching through Arab, Persian and Central Asian worlds. You could forget about the tenuous progress in Iraq and Afghanistan, where Iran can flick switches. From Lebanon to Gaza, on Israel's borders, tensions would boil.

But Graham's words were instructive. The pressure on Obama from Congress is going to grow. David Broder of the Washington Post even suggested recently that a war in Iran might spur the U.S. economy, just as World War II did.

The United States does not need the stimulus package from hell. This is a moment of great American uncertainty, a volatile passage. Sunni Pakistan has nukes and Al Qaeda. Shiite Iran has neither. It would be tragic to ignore the lessons of Iraq, stumble onto a war train armed with flimsy evidence, and imagine Iran is close to a bomb when there's no conclusive evidence it's made the decision to build one. Remember, the mullahs love ambiguity. It's their element, along with maddening inertia. To risk "breakout" is to risk the Islamic Republic. Hence the waiting-for-Godot aspects of their nuclear zigzag.

When I heard those words — "neuter that regime" — what I saw was a shattered body in Tampa. A third U.S war is inconceivable.

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WORD: But no cop, DA, or judge will be jailed or even fined over this

Map of Death Penalty State statutes in the Uni...Image via Wikipedia

Death for the death penalty

By Leonard Pitts Jr.
. . . Graves' release came after his story appeared in Texas Monthly magazine (www.texasmonthly.com). The article by Pamela Colloff detailed how he was convicted even though no physical evidence tied him to the crime, even though he had no motive to kill six strangers, even though three witnesses testified he was home at the time of the slaughter.

The case against Graves rested entirely upon jailhouse denizens who claimed they'd heard him confess and upon one Robert Carter, who admitted committing the crime, but initially blamed Graves. Carter, executed in 2000, recanted that claim repeatedly, most notably to District Attorney Charles Sebesta the day before Sebesta put him on the stand to testify against Graves. Defense attorneys say Sebesta never shared that exculpatory tidbit with them, even though he was required to do so. . . .
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Will Rogers's ghost writes from the present about the GOP takeover

Will RogersImage via WikipediaKenneth Chapman
Astoria
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