Sunday, June 5


Why am I compelled today to watch the opinion shows? "WE WATCH SO YOU WON'T HAVE TO?"

Nice phrase from Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) on Wolf Blitzer: There seems to be a disconnect between "Rose Garden optimism" and "Baghdad Pessimism."

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Majority Whip): There are only two ways we can leave Iraq: either the government asks us to leave or the insurgency is defeated.

Dodd: We have to keep going. And the Iraqi people have to make this work or all the resources of the U.S. will not solve this problem. But we have to be realistic and not keep uttering optimistic statements.

Amnesty International's allegations and the BushCo reaction:

McConnell: The gulag thing is absolutely absurd. Individual soldiers might have made mistakes. Our people aren't perfect. But to compare it to a gulag is outrageous.

Dodd: We're going to have an anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials. Some people thought we should just execute all the defendants. But we ruled by law, and some defendants were even exonerated. What worries me here is that we're getting away from that example, that we're a nation of laws. I don't go so far as to say shut down Gitmo. But it's important for our legacy, for the way people think about us, that we do what's right.

McConnell: Hearings, schmearings. It's hard to run a perfect prison, but the United States does that better than anyone.

There are indications that the U.S. will go to the U.N. to seek sanctions against North Korea. Is that a good idea?

McConnell: I would leave it up to the administration.

Dodd: I don't disagree with that. The key is really going to be China. They're the suppliers to North Korea.

Bolton's confirmation?

Dodd: What's holding this up is a desire to get some additional information about Bolton. I have no desire to have this go on any longer. But the Senate as an institution has the right to this information, and I don't think we should back down from that.

McConnell: It'll be up to the Dems whether he gets an up or down vote. If he does, he'll win confirmation. I was guilty of holding up nominations when we didn't get the information we were entitled to in the past.

Bush judicial nominations?

Dodd: Reasonable is the key word. Reasonableness of the nominations and Democrats' reasonable responses.

McConnell: Every judge got an up or down vote before. If they go back to filibustering, the "Constitutional option" is still on the board and will be exercised.

Howard Dean?

Dodd: He's doing a good job as party leader.

McConnell: I can't think of anybody we'd like better heading your party than Howard Dean.

Interview with WaPo's John Harris, author of The Survivor, a tome about Bill Clinton.

JH: One of the keys is the relationship between Bill and Hillary. During her 2000 Senate campaign Bill remarked, "Women want to know why you stayed with me." Hillary: "I've been wondering about that myself." Bill: 'Because you're a sticker." He is too. It's a genuine relationship motivated by mutual respect and, even, love. But she likes having her own role. We're seeing this fascinating role reversal. Everyone I've talked to in the Clinton circle is operating on the assumption she's going to run for president.

Was Bill poll-driven? No, his values always rose to the top of any issue. The time to really listen to Bill Clinton was after the workday was done, when he would inevitably say what he really thought, constantly he'd throw the notes away. You could almost always read Clinton, he wasn't dark or secretive.

How did he survive Monica?

The personal and the political. The country said look, we'll look at the personal stuff but on the political and economic front we're happy. Bill Clinton has a hunger, he'll never be beaten, that penchant both gets him in trouble and gets him out.

Bin Laden:

BC is highly attuned to risks and he can always see the trade-offs, it sometimes inhibits him from taking risks. It puts him in the middle zone of good or perhaps not in the tune of great.

Al Haig and Zbigniev Brzezinski:

ZB: I doubt these are the last throes of the insurgency. Iraqis are nationalistic and they do not like the occupation. It's keeping the insurgency alive.

AH: We are making progress, but the real issue all along is, can we close the border? Not enough resources to deal with it. It's not comparable to the Ho Chi Minh Trail, but it's a grim artery.

ZB: I don't think it's a Vietnam because we were facing an organized army supported by Red China and the Soviet Union. In Iraq, we're dealing primarily with the insurgency, and it's not outside forces. We have not produced hardly any serious foreign agents in combat. These are Iraqis who don't want to be occupied by a foreign power.

AH: There are some civil war overtones associated with the current dilemma. The potential threat, ultimately, is from non-Arab Muslim fundamentalist countries. Turkey, Iran. We have to be very careful that we do not force non-Arab countries who are concerned about American non-resolve and manlihood, that we will also fail them.

ZB: It's important that Europe does not push Turkey into becoming another Middle Eastern problem. We must face the fact that Iraq is going to be living to Iran, Turkey and Syria, forever, and will find its balance only when the problem-maker is gone. Without us I'm convinced they'll find some stability -- not democracy, but stability. Otherwise the blood is going to go on and on and on...

Exposing Saddam's crimes will probably help somewhat. Where is the Iraqi leadership located? In the Green Zone, a closed American station.

AH: We're not ready to withdraw from Iraq.

ZB: I would like to encourage the Iraqi officials to tell us, "We're ready for you to leave."

AH: If we can keep our patience, our resolve, stay behind the policies --

Cheney on North Korea?

AH: Very important that we get China's cooperation. We should handle with a little less public diplomacy and more private talks with those who share our interests. And China shares our interests. They don't want a country with a nuclear weapon on their border.

ZB: I agree basically with Al.

ZB: Just think of that statement. It came from the DefSec that's spending more on military than the combined countries of the world. And he says, "China has no enemy."

AH: I think we should cool some of the anti-China rhetoric coming from the Pentagon.

Deep Throat?

AH: John Dean perpetrated the idea that I was Deep Throat. It's a dead story, Watergate, and certainly Deep Throat. The true death kneel for Mister Nixon was the tapes. The American people were offended by those tapes, which resulted in the deserting of the "Boll Weevils" of the South. I thought Mark Felt was Deep Throat. It wasn't difficult because the really accurate part of the Woodward/Bernstein book was the "follow the money" part, and that was the FBI's responsiblity. Felt should have gone through channels, like I did when I resigned from two administrations. He should have gone upstairs and said, "This isn't tolerable."

UPDATE: Apparently, this is where Dodd got his pithy "Rose Garden optimism versus Baghdad pessimism" phrase. It's also worth reading the whole article.


Post a Comment

<< Home