Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Where we are
(Photo credit: Caricatures by Lisa)

A sobering look at the U.S. condition, from the conservative Times of London:

I REMEMBER a time when, following an event of international significance, the world would wait to hear what the president of the United States had to say about it. In Britain we would have an impatient few hours before America had woken up. Because until the President had spoken, you couldn’t be sure of even the shape of what might happen next.

On Monday we woke to the news of North Korea’s nuclear test, and to a banal commentary of people who didn’t really know what to say about it. Just when you wanted some real insight and even facts, the Today programme again indulged its tiresome obsession with Iraq, focusing upon whether Tony Blair’s actions there had made this move by Kim Jong Il more likely blah blah. That didn’t surprise me. What did was my instinctive reaction when George W. Bush did speak much later in the day. There he was gravely intoning on one or other news channel that this “constitutes a threat to international peace and security”, and “Oh sod off” I heard myself muttering, with no desire to hear any more. It was as much ennui as irritation: I didn’t believe he would have anything useful to say and found it faintly annoying that he spoke as though the world would care.

One reaction from a completely insignificant voice in the political process. Yet it reveals, I think, a sad truth: the 43rd President of the United States of America has squandered the political authority of a great country. Never mind whether world leaders still feel the need to check in with the US; ordinary people no longer expect from Washington international leadership of any use. So spent is the authority of the United States that even a foreign affairs ingénue such as myself recognises that there is little constructive it can do any more. So it doesn’t really matter what the President thinks. ...
The latter conclusion is not much better:
However murky these causes and effects, it is clear that the US cannot respond as it once might have to the test conducted in North Korea. Because of the muck it has made in Iraq, it lacks the political and moral authority to do so. Were it to have wanted to address North Korea’s nuclear pretensions, it should have prioritised it over Iraq; the world knew Kim was a brutal tyrant with a nuclear weapon within his reach.

And now we have this: a tinpot totalitarian with no economy to speak of, whose people are starving, thumbing his nose at the world. And we look to China to tell us what happens next.
And this from a Brit who is an admitted fan of the United States. Damn.

Meanwhile, a new analysis is placing the civilian body count in Iraq at an extraordinary 655,000.

"Deaths are occurring in Iraq now at a rate more than three times that from before the invasion of March 2003," Dr. Gilbert Burnham, lead author of the study, said in a statement.

The study by Burnham, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and others is to be published Thursday on the Web site of The Lancet, a medical journal.

Critics of the study are calling it political, coming so close to the election. But it's just another nail in the Bush administration's credibility coffin.

Tags: , Politics, Iraq, News, Republicans, War, Government
posted by JReid @ 5:43 AM  
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