Thursday, June 21, 2007

Read Juan Cole today

You really should read Juan Cole's blog, Informed Comment, every day, boys and girls, but especially today, June 21. In fact, if you only have time to read one of us, Spot says to go read Informed Comment and skip the Stool. Here are a couple snippets from today's post:

The demonstrators [at Clinton's speech at the Take Back America conference] objected when she blamed what went wrong in Iraq on the Iraqi government. They were right to protest.

If I were advising Senator Clinton on what to say about Iraq, this would be it: "Our troops have fought courageously and with great skill against the totalitarian, genocidal Saddam Hussein regime and its security forces. They did their job, but the Bush administration did not do its. Bush failed to secure a United Nations Security Council resolution for the war, depriving the war effort of key international support and casting the administration as an outlaw regime in the eyes of much of the world. There was no planning for the aftermath of the war. Stupid decisions were taken to dissolve the Iraqi army, to fire thousands of experienced bureaucrats and teachers, to marginalize the Sunni Arab community, and to deliver Iraq into the hands of expatriate carpetbaggers, some of them overly friendly with the ayatollahs in Tehran. Neither the US military nor the Iraqis bear the primary blame for the subsequent catastrophe. It is on the shoulders of the Bush administration. The administration has so spoiled the situation that there is no longer any hope of a military solution. Any solution to this festering crisis must be political and diplomatic. The US military is essentially being ordered to support some sides in a multi-pronged civil war against others, but without any real hope of having being able to triumph decisively in these low-intensity guerrilla wars. That is why I favor getting our troops out of Iraq and insisting that regional powers, NATO and the UN now come in to bring about a political resolution, even as the world ensures that a nonsectarian Iraqi military is trained, equipped and deployed for the protection of all Iraqis."

Caveat: I am not giving my own speech above. I'm just taking what Senator Clinton often says and rephrasing it so that the blame is put where it belongs, which is not on the poor Iraqi public but on Bush-Cheney. I think she'd find this approach a stronger rallying cry and also that it would allow her to occupy a higher moral ground.

So we invaded the country, tore up both its infrastructure and its institutions, and the resulting chaos is the Iraqis' fault? Spot doesn't think so, Hillary. This is the Republican line, and you are foolish, or disingenuous, or both, to buy into it.

Professor Cole has a little advice for candidate Obama about energy:

And, just a word of advice to Senator Obama: the petroleum market is just one global market. It doesn't matter whether the US gets petroleum from the Middle East or from Venezuela. In fact, the Saudis deliberately make petroleum deals with US firms so as to make political points, when from a market point of view they could just let the contracts fall where they may. You can't fix any problems by switching which countries you buy petroleum from. It is like trying to get the level of the water in your bathtub lower in one corner. Can't be done. It is just one bathtub and level will equalize throughout.

Other than the fact that he teaches at a Big Ten school other than Spotty's alma mater, Spot cannot recommend Professor Cole enough.

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