I think NPR's senior
news analyst Republican bootlicker Juan Williams revealed a little more than he intended to on "Morning Edition" this morning. Renee Montagne brought him in to discuss the Senate "all-nighter" last night. After kicking that football around for a while, she asked a follow-up about how being perceived as the "party of the Iraq War" might affect the Republicans' chances to hang on to some of the 21 Senate seats they have to defend next fall (about half of which, according to her, are considered to be in jeopardy).
And that's when Williams let the cat out of the bag. To listen to all those stalwart WINOs (waverers in name only--I forget where I saw that appellation today, but it's apt) in the Republican caucus speaking on the floor of the Senate last night, for the U.S. to begin even to think about pulling our troops out of harm's way in Iraq is the height of craven cowardice, a callous waste of the lives and sacrifices made by all those young men and women wearing the uniform. Fast-forward to next spring, however (at least according to Williams), and the Bush administration is already planning to pull out some troops--again quoting Williams--the better to help Republican candidates in the fall elections.
That bears repeating, so here it is again, slightly rephrased. Starting to think now about an orderly withdrawal to begin next April (the Democratic plan as laid out in the amendment the Republicans filibustered to death this morning) = bad strategy, craven cowardice, playing politics with the lives of the troops, giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Already having plans to pull out some troops in March to help embattled Republican candidates' election chances (the Hedgemony's plan as stated by Juan Williams on NPR this morning) = fine and dandy.
And the Republicans have the gall to call last night's Senate debate a sham political trick? To paraphrase Iñigo Montoya, "I do not think those words mean what you think they mean." Follow me below the fold for a different kind of slip that I also heard about on NPR today.
While driving home from work this afternoon, I caught the start of "Marketplace," the nightly business report. One of the stories it featured tonight was talking about a bill Congress passed awhile ago to remove tariffs from products manufactured in sub-Saharan Africa, as a way of providing some economic assistance to that troubled and underdeveloped region. In theory, all well and good. The problem is, the Chinese have been coming into Africa (and Mexico and other regions where we're using economic incentives as a spur for growth), building or buying up manufacturing plants, and then hiring local laborers at subsistence wages or less--and shipping all of the profits back to China.
Clearly, the texts of these laws were not well thought-out. I hardly think we need to provide any further economic assistance to China. We have a huge trade deficit with them, and they're already buying up our ballooning national debt and making a small fortune (or several small fortunes) off the interest payments. I can't really fault the Chinese businesspeople for taking advantage of a loophole that we were dumb enough to leave in the laws. But I also think that Congress needs to go back and take care of that loophole, and pronto.
The idea of offering development aid to sub-Saharan Africa was, no doubt, to provide jobs and at least the semblance of a working economy to a region that has known precious little of either for far too long. The workers in this region were exploited for decades (or centuries) by colonial powers; those colonial powers were frequently replaced by home-grown dictators who treated their people no better than their former rulers had, and often much worse. Replacing those home-grown despots with another generation of foreign colonizers (even if the colonization is economic rather than political) is hardly an improvement--and is quite unlikely to have been what Congress had in mind.
Fix that, would you please, Congress? And then get back to trying to get our servicemen and -women out of harm's way in Iraq before the Shrubbery leaves office--and well before the Bu$heviki stage an actual piece of political theater, but with living, breathing extras that get shot with real, live bullets and other nasty things.