Tuesday, March 19, 2013

News Nuggets 1205

DAYLEE PICTURE: Lake Baikel in Siberia.  From National Geographic.

MI6 and CIA Were Told Before Invasion that Iraq had No Active WMD from the Guardian [of the UK]
"Fresh evidence is revealed today about how MI6 and the CIA were told through secret channels by Saddam Hussein's foreign minister and his head of intelligence that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction. Tony Blair told parliament before the war that intelligence showed Iraq's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programme was "active", "growing" and "up and running"."
So much for the "EVERYONE thought Iraq had WMDs" excuse!

Marches of Folly (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"To this day, pundits who got it wrong excuse themselves on the grounds that “everyone” thought that there was a solid case for war. Of course, they acknowledge, there were war opponents — but they were out of the mainstream. The trouble with this argument is that it was and is circular: support for the war became part of the definition of what it meant to hold a mainstream opinion. Anyone who dissented, no matter how qualified, was ipso facto labeled as unworthy of consideration."

Media's Failure on Iraq Still Stings (Howard Kurtz) from CNN
"Tom Ricks, who was the paper's top military reporter, turned in a piece in the fall of 2002 that he titled "Doubts," saying that senior Pentagon officials were resigned to an invasion but were reluctant and worried that the risks were being underestimated. An editor killed the story, saying it relied too heavily on retired military officials and outside experts -- in other words, those with sufficient independence to question the rationale for war. "There was an attitude among editors: Look, we're going to war, why do we even worry about all this contrary stuff?" Ricks said."

Lessons on Ends and Means in Iraq from Foreign Policy Magazine
"A decade later, what lessons haven't we learned from the war in Iraq that we should?"

Iraq, 10 Years On: Did Invasion Bring 'Hope and Progress' to Millions as Bush Vowed? (F. Brinley Bruton and Ghazi Balkiz) from NBC News
"[P]resident [Bush] had stressed that "a liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions." An estimated $61 billion in U.S.
reconstruction funds later, reality has fallen short of these expectations. Iraq is considered one of the most corrupt countries in the world, and many of the improvements promised have not materialized. Sectarian tensions regularly explode into open violence."

Iraq War Anniversary Finds Republicans Regretful, Seeking A Path Forward (Jon Ward) from the Huffington Post
"Where the GOP goes from here is unclear. It is in the midst of what The Atlantic's Steve Clemons called "an unresolved simmering civil war." And Rand Paul's rise raises more questions than it answers. The traditional conflict within the party between two dominant schools -- what Clemons called the "cold-eyed realists" of the Nixonian bent and the "messianic" interventionist neocons -- has been complicated with the entry of a third wing: the Randians."

How to Shrink the Dangerous Republican Empathy Gap (Jill Lawrence) from National Journal
"New outreach efforts won't work until the party aligns its policies with how people really live and strive to get ahead."

CPAC 2013: Postmortem (Hunter) from Daily Kos
"I am, finally, back from CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, aka the Blunderdome, aka PullUpTheLadderPalooza, aka The Great White Mope, aka The Place That Still Likes Sarah Palin. ... I sat in the panels, and chatted very politely with the other attendees, and listened to agonizingly silly things being tossed around as gospel truth by various vendors."

The GOP’s Smart Plan to Avoid Change (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"The aggregate effect of these changes would be to have Republicans spend less time communicating their ideas via moderated public debate, and more time communicating them via crafted propaganda. Whatever the civic merits of the idea, it appears to be a shrewd gambit to present a more appealing face to the public."
There is a direct line between John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as VP in '08 and this broad strategic decision by (basically) this core of the Republican Party leadership.  They have now abandoned any serious attempt at convincing voters of the rightness of their positions and embraced instead a program of misleading voters about what they might actually be voting for.  Look for GOP candidates to design whole campaigns around isolating themselves from reporters, voters, and just about anyone who might ask them real questions.

Habeas GOP (John Dickerson) from Slate
"The Republican Party’s autopsy of its 2012 loss puts political expediency over principles. Now it just needs to find a body to lead it."

The GOP, Now With Less Crazy (David Weigel) from Slate
"The Republican plan to reform the party is less a program of reform than a rough blueprint about how to marginalize the nutters at the base."

Winning the Voting Wars from Democracy: A Journal of Ideas
Check the entire issue of Michael Tomasky's online journal!!  Lots of interesting content!!
"The assault on voting may not have succeeded in 2012—but that doesn’t mean that the forces behind voter-suppression efforts are going into hibernation. Far from it. What can we expect from them in 2014 and beyond? And what kind of positive voting-rights agenda can change the terms of the debate?"

Winifred Smith, 92-Year-Old Cincinnati Woman, 'Reunites' With Gorilla She Cared For As A Girl from the Huffington Post
"A 92-year-old Cincinnati woman reunited on Sunday with one of her dearest friends from her childhood, whom she hadn't seen in over 60 years -- who just happened to be a gorilla."
Below this rather odd story is a WONDERFUL series of videos of moving animal-human reunions!

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