My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Trying To Keep My Eye On The Ball

While Washington gets itself all worked up over the rumor that indictments will be handed down tomorrow in the The Plame Game, two really big, interconnected stories are also on the front page.

One: The American military death toll in the Iraq war reached 2,000 Tuesday with the announcements of three more deaths, including an Army sergeant who died of wounds at a military hospital in Texas and two Marines killed last week in fighting west of Baghdad.

May God Bless each and every one of their souls, and those of their families. Their noble and able sacrifice has made possible the second story:

Iraq's landmark constitution was adopted by a majority of voters during the country's Oct. 15 referendum, as Sunni Arab opponents failed to muster enough support to defeat it, election officials said Tuesday.

Out of those two major stories, two farcical observations come to mind. The first one needs a little setup, with my own writing interjected within the brackets.

Nationwide, 78.59 percent voted for the charter while 21.41 percent voted against, the commission said. The charter required a simple majority nationwide with the provision that if two-thirds of the voters in any three provinces rejected it, the constitution would be defeated. . . .

Two mostly Sunni Arab provinces - Salahuddin and Anbar - had voted against the constitution by at least a two-thirds vote. The commission, which had been auditing the referendum results for 10 days, said a third province where many Sunnis live - Ninevah - produced a ``no'' vote of only 55 percent.

[Asked for comment, Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean responded: "Here's another example of Republicans getting what they want at the ballot box under shady circumstances, at best. Really, if you look at it, another 10,000 votes in Ninevah Province in the other direction, and you're now looking at a President Ker . . . at a whole different circumstance, just like in Ohio and in Florida. ]

And the second comes off of the wit and wisdom of Ted Kennedy:

"Our armed forces are serving ably in Iraq under enormously difficult circumstances, and the policy of our government must be worthy of their sacrifice. Unfortunately, it is not, and the American people know it," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat.

I wonder what Sen. Kennedy considers "serving ably?" Is it possible to "serve ably" in a failing mission? That is certainly what Kennedy is intimating. Perhaps he's narrowing his comments to the privates--in such a case it would be possible to sere well and honorably in a failing effort. But that failing effort must, then, indict the planners of the mission. Since Kennedy specifically says "Our armed forces" he is clearly including the lieutenants, corporals, sargeants, commanders, captains, colonels and generals in his assessment. That implies competence up and down the chain--all the way to the CINC.

Or perhaps more directly, if pulling off two successful elections in this part of the world while overthrowing a tyrant who has long been a threat to the entire region constitutes an unworthy policy--if committing Americans to follow through militarily on a policy signed into law by Bill Clinton--then perhaps the Senator ought to enlighten all of us as to HIS wiser course of action. Because he's been plenty happy to get air time, but predictably short of actual IDEAS as to how to manage this.

But, just for a little perspective, let's all remember that our own road to a Constitution was watered with the blood of 6,800 Americans, with over 18,000 additional servicemen dying from disease during the war. And from the beginning of the war to the successful Constitutional Referendum took over a decade.

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