Friday, April 16, 2004

In and Out of the Box
Pepe Escobar of Asia Times paints a dark picture of what's going on in Najaf and Fallujah--its roots and likely fruits. To me, it looks as though if we attack Najaf and another holy city, Karbala, what happens next may be something we can no longer control with firepower. Elsewhere, Carolyn Lochhead of the San Francisco Chronicle surveys the concerns of Washington insiders about Iraq. While not ready to declare failure yet, what the analysts have to say makes it clear that failure is not unthinkable, no matter what Bush believes.

(By the way, hats off to the Chronicle's website, SF Gate, which has finally seen fit to bring back columnist Mark Morford, who vanished without a trace nearly six weeks ago and only resurfaced last weekend. Seems there was an unexpected, ugly legal kerfuffle caused by his daily e-mail newsletter--which may not be back.)

Recommended reading: Democrats are forever getting put in boxes by the way Republicans choose to frame debate. They're left to explain how they can vote against something called the Healthy Forests Initiative (even though it's actually about increased logging) or the No Child Left Behind Act (which leaves behind millions). At Best of the Blogs today, Evelyn Keyes imagines making Republicans play a similar sort of impossible defense. She comments on a tax increase bill passed by the lower house of the Virginia state legislature. Repugs would like to put the increase proposal to a referendum, presumably so they could demagogue it to death. If so, Evelyn suggests phrasing the question this way: "If we raised the taxes for the very richest people in the state so you folks would have better education and roads, would you vote 'yes' or 'no'?"

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