The entire Middle East seems to be entering uncharted political and social territory with a similar mixture of anticipation and dread. Events in Lebanon and Egypt, following a limited vote for municipal councils in Saudi Arabia and landmark elections in Iraq, as well as the Palestinian territories, combined to give the sense, however tentative, that twilight might be descending on authoritarian Arab governments. . .Also, sensible Peter Beinart, writing in the Washington Post :
[P]ressure from the Bush administration . . . has emboldened demonstrators, who believe that their governments will be more hesitant to act against them with Washington linking its security to greater freedom after the Sept. 11 attacks. The United States says it will no longer support repressive governments, and young Arabs, while hardly enamored of American policy in the region, want to test that promise.
Democrats have been alienated from the military since Vietnam, almost as long as Republicans have been alienated from African Americans. They need a generational strategy to repair the rift. . .While Democrats flounder, Iraqis cherish their new-found freedom, and reject terrorism:
[T]he biggest problem is cultural. Democrats should acknowledge that at times the left's understandable anger over Vietnam degenerated into a lack of respect for the military. And they should make amends in very practical ways -- most significantly, as the Progressive Policy Institute's Will Marshall has pointed out, by shaming America's colleges and law schools into letting the military recruit on campus. Liberal students, faculty and administrators have the right to criticize the Pentagon's discriminatory policies toward gays and lesbians. But it is outrageous for them to treat the U.S. military -- especially in a time of war -- as a pariah.
Iraqis are becoming increasingly angry at the rebels, even staging public demonstrations condemning them.I celebrated the occasion with a single-malt and my annual viewing of Zulu. I realized: Not a Yankee, not really a Texan, George Bush must be Welsh. You can sing along, if you like.
"I demand that they be put in the zoo along with the other scavengers, because that is where they belong," said Bassam Yassin, who lost his brother to a terror attack in Mosul.
He spoke Wednesday after relatives of victims protested outside a police station in that city.
Iraq's majority Shiite Arabs and ethnic Kurds have long criticized the largely Sunni Arab insurgents for being terrorists, loyalists of the Saddam Hussein regime and foreign fighters.
But the rebels are now also being criticized publicly by prominent Sunnis, including opponents of the U.S. presence.
All in all, a pretty good night--and an excellent few months.
Bryan Preston in TechCentral:
[T]he words "Democrats" and "sensible" probably don't even belong in the same sentence anymore. That party appears determined to destroy itself flailing against obvious administration success while promoting no useful policies of its own. Thus all around Democrat-dominated Vermont this week, fifty towns voted on whether to support the war in Iraq that began nearly two years ago and is on its way to a successful end. Thus on Jon Stewart's Daily Show the other night, former Clinton aide Nancy Soderberg actually hoped that the Arab street that has been busy of late rising up against local tyrants and terrorists will instead turn on George W. Bush and the American troops in the region on his orders. And thus this week Senator Robert Byrd compared a proposal to change an arcane Senate debating rule to the legal machinations of Adolph Hitler. And thus the new chairman of the Democratic party, Governor Howard Dean (he insists that his new staff at the DNC call him that) describes the usual tussle between his party and the Republicans as "a struggle of good and evil." He added, somewhat defensively, "And we're the good." If you have to add the latter sentence, it's because you either think your audience may not know which side is which, or because you doubt it yourself.
We are seeing not a party that believes it has any chance of regaining lost power, but a party bent on preaching to an ever-shrinking base of its true believers. It may well be the last gasps of a dying political force. If the Democrats keep going they way they are going, they too will become collateral damage in this war. The war against Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and the rest of the Middle East's worst and dimmest will have inadvertently destroyed America's oldest political party.