Obama links Iraq war to economic hardship in the USA

This video is called US families pay the price of the Iraq war – 10 Sept 07.

From The Swamp in the USA:

Obama links cost of war to economic hardships

by Mike Dorning

CHARLESTON, W.V.—Barack Obama came to economically struggling West Virginia today to highlight the financial burden that the five-year-long Iraq War presents for the government and broader economy and link the war’s costs to the economic hardships of everyday Americans.

Obama often touches on the theme in campaign appearances. But his speech at the University of Charleston marks an attempt to generate greater attention for an economics-based argument against the war at a time when the nation appears to be falling into a recession and voters are putting a higher priority on economic issues.

The speech was his first appearance as a presidential candidate in West Virginia, which holds its presidential primary May 13.

The Illinois senator, an early opponent of the war, argued that the Iraq War has contributed to rising gasoline prices as well as a swelling national debt that has weakened the economy. At the same, he argued, the war is draining resources that could be used to expand access to health care, improve public education and rebuild roads and bridges.

“Ordinary Americans are paying a price for this war,” Obama said. “It’s not the same price, obviously, as the price borne by our troops and their families. But it’s a price.”

“When you’re spending over $50 to fill up your car because the price of oil is four times what it was before Iraq, you’re paying a price for this war,” Obama added.

Oil industry analysts generally have attributed the surge in oil prices in part to instability in Iraq and uncertainty in the Middle East caused by threats of a conflict between the United States and Iran. …

Obama cited estimates that the war and Iraqi reconstruction already have directly cost U.S. taxpayers a half trillion dollars and cited an estimate that the true cost of the war to the economy will reach $3 trillion by the war’s conclusion.

The larger estimate, which a campaign spokesman said came from a calculation by economist Joseph Stiglitz, includes the lifetime cost of caring for wounded veterans, the cost of replacing spent and damaged military equipment and the lost economic productivity of soldiers and civilian contractors killed or wounded.

Obama noted that government spending on the war and the Bush Administration’s tax cuts, which Obama would repeal for families earning more than $250,000 per year, together have added trillions of dollars to the national debts. The rapidly expanding debt, he said, “is creating problems in our fragile economy.”

“No matter what the costs, no matter what the consequences, John McCain seems determined to carry out a third Bush-term,” Obama said. “That is an outcome America can’t afford.”

Now you’re talking, Senator Obama. This sounds better than generalities about “change” (which made some skeptics say that if Obama wins the election, then the system may change him, instead of Obama changing the system).

If Obama continues this way, then he must prepare for lots of hysterical attacks by professional warmongers, not just open McCain supporters, but also so-called “liberal hawks”. The old rubbish about Obama being supposedly a Muslim, and Muslims supposedly all being terrorists, and blah blah blah blah, and more blah blah blah blah, will be recycled as reactions to this modest statement of home truths.

Obama, McCain, and Hagee: here. And here. Hagee and anti-Semitism: here.

Naomi Klein on US primaries and Iraq: here.

Alice Walker on Obama: here.

Bush administration illegally examined Obama passport file: here.

Obama on class: here.

Cheney’s “peace” trip to Middle East prepares new wars: here.

US politics, pipelines, and Central Asian gas: here.

The Bank of England yesterday mortgaged £11 billion more of taxpayers’ money to shore up the big UK banks, as bank bosses held talks with central bank Governor Mervyn King: here.

Pseudo-reconstruction in Iraq: here.

Stiglitz on Iraq war and the economy: here.

Obama vs. the US religious right: here.

33 thoughts on “Obama links Iraq war to economic hardship in the USA

  1. Hi DTR, as the article says, “the true cost of the war to the economy will reach $3 trillion by the war’s conclusion”, as economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates. So, five times as much as 500 billion $.



    ALERT: GABNet members Judith Mirkinson & daughter Gemma Mirkinson were arrested at the anti-war rally in San Francisco on 19th March. Mirk (Judith Mirkinson) was one of the GABNet 3 whom the Macapagal-Arroyo government harassed and tried to detain in the Philippines last year in a watershed fascist act against an organization based outside the archipelago.



    Tens of thousands protest on 5th anniversary of war
    Mass marches in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago punctuate week of action

    On March 19, the fifth anniversary of the war, hundreds of protests took place in cities and towns large and small. In San Francisco, ANSWER organized a night-time march of 7,000 people. Thousands of young people joined the very spirited and densely packed march which stretched for several blocks along Mission St. Chants of “Occupation is a crime, from Iraq to Palestine,” “No More War,” and “El Pueblo Unido Jamas Sera Vencido” (the People United Will Never Be Defeated) echoed through the Mission District. Among the speakers at the event were Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq; independent presidential candidates Cynthia McKinney and Gloria La Riva; Zeina Zaatari of the Free Palestine Alliance; Iraqi American activist Muhammed Al-Adeeb; and Eugene Puryear, National Co-Coordinator of Youth and Student ANSWER. Throughout the day in San Francisco there were direct actions and civil disobedience, planned by many different organizations.

    Simultaneously, 4,000 people took to the streets of Chicago. Spirited chants of “Troops Out Now, Iraq for Iraqis” echoed throughout downtown as the march — made up primarily of young, energetic and militant protesters — proceeded through the streets. The demonstration was called by a coalition of organizations, and there was a significant turnout of young people from Arab and Muslim communities.

    At the rally in Federal Plaza prior to the march, A.N.S.W.E.R. Chicago Coordinator John Beacham told thousands that “Our enemies are not in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela or China. They’re in Washington, The Pentagon, and Wall Street. They want us to fight their wars and fight each other. We must resist their divide and conquer strategies and fight them. Change will come through a united struggle against the banks, corporations and the war machine.”

    The March 19 actions came four days after a march of 10,000 through downtown Los Angeles. The march filled the six-lane street from sidewalk to sidewalk on Hollywood Blvd. from Vine to Schrader–many blocks away. During the march, people at the front of the march could see the marchers still joining the action 7 blocks behind them.

    The demonstration was overwhelmingly youthful, with students pouring into the march from hundreds of Southern California schools. A large, militant contingent of over 200 young people wore red shirts and marched together. Other students lined the front banners, chanting “Iraq for Iraqis, troops out now!” and “Alto a la guerra, stop the war!”

    Once the marchers arrived at the main rally point at Sunset and Cahuenga, at least 10,000 people stood at the CNN building. Protesters chanted “CNN, can’t you see? Put the peace march on TV!” Despite strong, cold winds and scattered rain, many thousands stayed at the rally site for hours.

    From March 13-16 in Washington DC, Iraq Veterans Against the War sponsored Winter Soldier, an event that showcased testimony from U.S. veterans who served in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. The veterans delivered powerful accounts of what is really happening day in and day out, on the ground in those countries. Iraq war veteran and ANSWER organizer Michael Prysner spoke at the event, retelling his horrifying responsibilities as an occupation soldier, and denouncing the Army officers who used racism and bigotry in order to justify the oppression of the Iraqi people. Prysner’s eloquent and compelling testimony cuts through the Pentagon’s propaganda and can be viewed here.

    Also in Washington DC, several civil disobedience and direct actions took place around the city. Dramatic actions took place in front of prominent government buildings as well as the corporate offices of the principal war profiteers.


    • • The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. — Alice Walker


  3. Uri Avnery

    Two Americas

    “WAR IS much too serious a thing to be left to military men,” in Talleyrand’s memorable words. In the same spirit, one could say: The American presidential elections are much too serious to be left to the Americans.

    The US is now the only super-power on earth. It will remain so for quite some time to come. The decisions of the President of the United States affect every human being on this planet.

    Unfortunately, the citizens of the world have no part in these elections. But they may, at least, voice an opinion.

    Availing myself of this right I say: I am for Barack Obama.

    FIRST OF ALL I must confess: my attitude towards the US is one of unrequited love. In my youth I was a great admirer. Like many others of my generation, I grew up on the legend of the new, idealistic country of pioneers, the world’s torch of freedom. I admired Abe Lincoln, who freed the slaves, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who hastened to the rescue of besieged Britain, when it stood alone against the Nazi monster, and who entered World War II at the decisive moment. I grew up on Wild West movies.

    Gradually, I lost my illusions. Joe McCarthy helped me along the way. I learned that with depressing regularity, the US is seized by some hysteria or other. But every time, just before the brink of the abyss, it draws back.

    During the Vietnam War I took part in demonstrations. I happened to be in America in 1967, and participated in the legendary march of the half million to the Pentagon. I reached the entrance of the building and saw before me a line of cold-eyed soldiers who seemed to be just itching to open fire. At the last moment it occurred to me that it would be unseemly for an Israeli Member of the Knesset to be implicated, so I jumped from the ledge of the entrance and twisted my ankle.

    Somehow I got on the CIA (or was it the FBI?) black list. I managed to obtain a visa only with great difficulty, and was struck forever from the list of invitees to the American embassy parties in Tel Aviv. I don’t know if this happened because of those protests, or because of my friendship with Henri Curiel, a Jewish-Egyptian revolutionary who helped us in our contacts with the PLO. The Americans held him, quite mistakenly, to be a KGB agent.

    At the same time, my name was struck by the Soviets from every list of people invited from Israel. Perhaps they considered me a CIA agent (as I was called in the Israeli Communist party paper). So I was one of the few people in the world who appeared simultaneously on the black lists of both the USA and the Soviet Union – a source of moderate pride to me.

    My friend Afif Safieh, now the chief PLO representative in the US, argues that there are two Americas: the America which exterminated the Native Americans and enslaved the blacks, the America of Hiroshima and McCarthy, and the other America, the America of the Declaration of Independence, of Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt.

    In these terms, George Bush belongs to the first. Obama, his opposite in almost every respect, represents the second.

    ONE CAN arrive at Obama by a process of elimination.

    John McCain is a continuation of Bush. More attractive, probably more intelligent (which doesn’t mean much). But he is more of the same. The same policy – a dangerous mix of intoxication with power and simple-mindedness. The same world of the Wild West myth, of Good Guys (Americans and their stooges) and Bad Guys (everybody else). A macho world of sham masculinity, where everything is seen through the sights of a gun.

    McCain will go on with the wars, and may start new ones. His economic agenda is the same “swinish capitalism” (Shimon Peres’ phrase), which has now brought disaster on the economy of the US, and the economy of all of us.

    Eight years of Bush are enough for us. Thank you.

    Hillary? True, there is something very positive in the fact that a woman is a potential candidate for the leadership of the most powerful country in the world. As the old Jewish blessing has it: Blessed art thou, the Lord, our God, who let us live to see this day. I believe that the feminist revolution was by far the most important one of the 20th Century, since it overturns the social patterns of thousands of years, and perhaps also the biological patterns of million of years. This revolution is still going on, and the election of a woman president would be a milestone.

    But it is not enough that it be a woman. It is also important which woman it is.

    I spent some years struggling against Golda Meir, the worst Prime Minister Israel ever had. Almost all recent female leaders of countries have started wars: Margaret Thatcher started the Falklands War, Golda Meir bears the responsibility for the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, Indira Gandhi made war on Pakistan, the current presidents of the Philippines and Sri Lanka are conducting internal wars.

    The usual explanation is that in order to prevail in a man’s world, a woman politician has to prove that she is at least as tough as the men are. When she comes to power, she wants to show that she, too, can make war and command armies. Hillary has already acted tough by voting for the disastrous Iraq war.

    (Years ago, when she came out for a Palestinian state, Gush Shalom demonstrated in her honor in front of the US embassy in Tel Aviv. We wanted to present her with a bunch of flowers. The embassy people treated us as enemies and refused to accept the flowers. Since then, Hillary has not uttered another word in favor of the Palestinians.)

    I don’t know how much she was a partner to her husband’s decisions in the White House. The President’s wife may be closest to his ear – and the President’s husband will probably be closest to her ear. Anyhow, in the eight years of Bill Clinton nothing good for Israeli-Palestinian peace happened. In his “peace team” there were a lot of American Jews, but not a single American Arab. He was totally subservient to the Israel lobby, and on his watch the number of Israeli settlers in the Palestinian territories more than doubled.

    Israel doesn’t really need another term of Billary.

    Hillary is a run of the mill politician. If McCain is a continuation of Bush, Hillary is an extension of the entire present American political system, the present policy and the present routine. But the world needs another America.

    THE NAME of another America is Obama. Full name: Barack Hussein Obama.

    The very fact that this person can be a serious contender for the presidency at all restores my faith in the possibilities inherent in America. After the excesses of Senator Joe McCarthy there was President John Kennedy. After Bush there can be Obama. Only in America.

    The great message of Obama is Obama himself. A person who has roots in three continents (and another half: Hawaii). A person whose education spans the wide world. A person who can see reality from the viewpoints of America, Africa and Asia. A person who is both black and white. A new kind of American, an American of the 21st Century.

    I am not as naïve as I sound. I realize that in his speeches there is more enthusiasm than content. We can’t know what he will do once elected president. President Obama may disappoint us. But I prefer to take a risk with a man like this than to know in advance what the two routine politicians, his competitors, will do.

    I am not overly impressed by election speeches. I have conducted four election campaigns myself and I know that there are things one has to say and things one must not say. It’s all with limited liability. But beyond all the speechifying, one fact is more important than a million words: Obama opposed the Iraq invasion from the start, when this took integrity and a lot of courage. Hillary voted for the war and changed her position only when public opinion had changed. McCain supports the war even now.

    We in Israel know the huge difference between opposing a war in its first, decisive hour, and opposing it after a month, a year or five years.

    On the other hand, perhaps this very fact – more even than the color of his skin, his middle name and his “lack of experience” – will work against him. The voters do not like a person who was right when they were wrong. It’s like admitting: he was wise and we were stupid. When a politician wants to be elected, he would be well advised to hide the fact that he was right.

    A personal note: as an optimist from birth, I like Obama’s optimism. I prefer a candidate who brings hope over one destroying hope. Optimism spurs to action, pessimism produces nothing but despair.

    America needs a complete overhaul. Not just a wash, not just a wax job, not just a new coat of paint. It needs a new motor, a change of the entire leadership, a reappraisal of its position in the world, a change of values.

    Can Obama do this? I hope so. I am not sure. But I am quite sure that the other two will not.

    HERE A JEW will pop the classic question: Is it good for the Jews?

    The people who claim to speak for the American Jews, the “leaders” who were not elected by anyone, the chiefs of the fetid “organizations”, are conducting a dirty campaign of defamation and sly hints against him. If his middle name is Hussein and he is black, he must be an “Arab-lover”. Also, he did not distance himself enough from the anti-Semite Louis Farakhan.

    The same “leaders” are in bed with the most loathsome racists in the US, obscurantist fundamentalists and blood-stained neo-cons. But most American Jews know that their place is not there. The unholy alliance with those types will inevitably come home to roost. The Jews have to be where they have always been: in the progressive camp, striving for equality and the separation between state and religion.

    IT MUST be asked: Is it good for Israel?

    All three candidates have groveled at the feet of AIPAC. The fawning of all three before the Israeli leadership is disgusting. They all show a lack of integrity. But I know that they have no choice. That’s how it is in the USA.

    In spite of this, Obama succeeded in getting out one courageous sentence. Speaking before a mainly Jewish audience in Cleveland, he said: “There is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel, you’re anti-Israel and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel.”

    I hope that the American Barack (blessed, in Arabic), if elected, will not turn into a replica of the Israeli Barak (lightning, in Hebrew).

    Real friendship means: when you see that your friend is drunk, you don’t encourage him to drive. You offer to take him home. I am longing for an American president who will have the courage and the honesty to tell our leaders: Dear friends, you are drunk with power! You are speeding along a highway that leads to an abyss!

    Perhaps Barack Obama will be such a friend. This would be a blessing for us, too.

    permlink http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1206223410/


  4. Posted by: “Becky Louden” bebecca2298@yahoo.com
    Sun Mar 23, 2008 7:13 am (PDT)

    The Republican Resurrection

    The New York Times
    March 23, 2008

    The day before Barack Obama gave The Speech, Hillary Clinton gave a big speech of her own, billed by her campaign as a “major policy address on the war in Iraq.” What, you didn’t hear about it?

    Clinton partisans can blame the Obamaphilic press corps for underplaying their candidate’s uncompromising antiwar sentiments. But intentionally or not, the press did Mrs. Clinton a favor. Every time she opens her mouth about Iraq, she reminds voters of how she enabled the catastrophe that has devoured American lives and treasure for five years.

    Race has been America’s transcendent issue far longer than that. I share the general view that Mr. Obama’s speech is the most remarkable utterance on the subject by a public figure in modern memory. But what impressed me most was not Mr. Obama’s rhetorical elegance or his nuanced view of both America’s undeniable racial divide and equally undeniable racial progress. The real novelty was to find a politician who didn’t talk down to his audience but instead trusted it to listen to complete, paragraph-long thoughts that couldn’t be reduced to sound bites.

    In a political culture where even campaign debates can resemble “Jeopardy,” this is tantamount to revolution. As if to prove the point, some of the Beltway bloviators who had hyped Mitt Romney’s instantly forgotten snake oil on “Faith in America” soon fell to fretting about whether “ordinary Americans” would comprehend Mr. Obama.

    Mrs. Clinton is fond of mocking her adversary for offering “just words.” But words can matter, and Mrs. Clinton’s tragedy is that she never realized they could have mattered for her, too. You have to wonder if her Iraq speech would have been greeted with the same shrug if she had tossed away her usual talking points and seized the opportunity to address the war in the same adult way that Mr. Obama addressed race. Mrs. Clinton might have reconnected with the half of her party that has tuned her out.

    She is no less bright than Mr. Obama and no less dedicated to public service. It’s not her fault that she doesn’t have his verbal gifts – who does? But her real problem isn’t her speaking style. It’s the content. Mrs. Clinton needn’t have Mr. Obama’s poetry or pearly oratorical tones to deliver a game-changing speech. She just needs the audacity of candor. Yet she seems incapable of revisiting her history on Iraq (or much else) with the directness that Mr. Obama brought to his reappraisal of his relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

    On Monday she once again pretended her own record didn’t exist while misrepresenting her opponent’s. “I’ve been working day in and day out in the Senate to provide leadership to end this war,” she said, once more implying he’s all words and she’s all action. But Mrs. Clinton didn’t ratchet up her criticisms of the war until she wrote a letter expressing her misgivings to her constituents in late 2005, two and a half years after Shock and Awe. By then, she was not leading but following – not just Mr. Obama, who publicly called for an Iraq exit strategy a week before the release of her letter, but John Murtha, the once-hawkish Pennsylvania congressman who called for a prompt withdrawal a few days earlier still.

    What if Mrs. Clinton had come clean Monday, admitting that she had made a mistake in her original vote and highlighting her efforts to make amends since? John Edwards, arguably a more strident proponent of invading Iraq in 2003 than Mrs. Clinton, did exactly that also in the weeks before her 2005 letter. He succeeded in lifting the cloud, even among those on the left of his party.

    Instead Mrs. Clinton darkened that cloud by claiming that she was fooled by the prewar intelligence that didn’t dupe nearly half her Democratic Senate colleagues, including Bob Graham, Teddy Kennedy and Carl Levin. Even worse, she repeatedly pretends that she didn’t know President Bush would regard a bill titled “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002” as an authorization to go to war. No one believes this spin for the simple reason that no one believes Mrs. Clinton is an idiot. Her patently bogus explanations for her vote have in the end done far more damage to her credibility than the vote itself.

    That she has never given a forthright speech on Iraq is what can happen when your chief campaign strategist is a pollster. Focus groups no doubt say it would be hara-kiri for her to admit such a failing. But surely many Americans would have applauded her for confessing to mistakes and saying what she learned from them. As her husband could have told her, that’s best done sooner rather than later.

    It’s too late now, and so the Democratic stars are rapidly aligning for disaster. Mrs. Clinton is no longer trying to overcome Mr. Obama’s lead in the popular vote and among pledged delegates by making bold statements about Iraq or any other issue. Instead of enhancing her own case for the presidency, she’s going to tear him down. As Adam Nagourney of The New York Times delicately put it last week, she is “looking for some development to shake confidence in Mr. Obama” so that she can win over superdelegates in covert 3 a.m. phone calls. If Mr. Wright doesn’t do it, she’ll seek another weapon. Mr. Obama, who is, after all, a politician and not a deity, could well respond in kind.

    For Republicans, the prospect of marathon Democratic trench warfare is an Easter miracle. Saddled with the legacy of both Iraq and a cratering economy, the G.O.P. can only rejoice at its opponents’ talent for self-destruction. The Republicans can also count on the help of a political press that, whatever its supposed tilt toward Mr. Obama, remains most benevolent toward John McCain.

    This was strikingly apparent last week, when Mr. McCain’s calamitous behavior was relegated to sideshow status by many, if not most, news media. At a time of serious peril for America, the G.O.P.’s presumptive presidential nominee revealed himself to be alarmingly out of touch on both of the most pressing issues roiling the country.

    Never mind that Bear Stearns was disposed of in a fire sale, the dollar was collapsing, job losses hit a five-year low, and the price of oil hit an all-time high. Mr. McCain, arriving in Iraq, went AWOL on capitalism’s meltdown, delegating his economic adviser to release an anodyne two-sentence statement of confidence in Ben Bernanke.

    This is consistent with Mr. McCain’s laissez-faire approach to economic matters. In January he proposed tasking any problems to “a committee headed by Alan Greenspan, whether he’s alive or dead.” This witty salvo must be very comforting to the large share of Americans – the largest since the Great Depression – who now owe more on their homes than they’re worth.

    In Iraq, Mr. McCain did not repeat his April 2007 mistake of touring a “safe” market while protected by a small army. (CNN tried to revisit that market last week, but the idea was vetoed as too risky by the network’s security advisers.) Instead he made a bigger mistake. As if to emulate Dick Cheney, who arrived in Baghdad a day behind him, he embraced the vice president’s habit of manufacturing false links in the war on terror: Mr. McCain told reporters that Iran is training Al Qaeda operatives and sending them into Iraq.

    His Sancho Panza, Joe Lieberman, whispered in his ear that a correction was in order. But this wasn’t a one-time slip, like Gerald Ford’s debate gaffe about Poland in 1976. Mr. McCain has said this repeatedly. Troubling as it is that he conflates Shiite Iran with Sunni terrorists, it’s even more bizarre that he doesn’t acknowledge the identity of Iran’s actual ally in Iraq – the American-sponsored Shiite government led by Nuri al-Maliki. Only two weeks before the Iraqi prime minister welcomed Mr. McCain to Baghdad, he played host to a bubbly state visit by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    Whatever Mrs. Clinton’s or Mr. Obama’s inconsistencies about how to wind down the war, they are both models of coherence next to Mr. McCain. He keeps saying the surge is a “success,” but he can’t explain why that success keeps us trapped in Iraq indefinitely. He never says precisely what constitutes that “victory” he keeps seeing around the corner. His repeated declaration that he will only bring home the troops “with honor” is a Vietnam acid flashback recycled as a non sequitur. Our troops have already piled up more than enough honor in their five years of service under horrific circumstances. Meanwhile, as Al Qaeda proliferates in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a survey by Foreign Policy magazine of 3,400 active and retired American officers finds that 88 percent believe that the Iraq war has “stretched the U.S. military dangerously thin.”

    But as violence flares up again in Iraq and the American economy skids, the issues consuming the Democrats are Mr. Wright and Geraldine Ferraro, race and gender, unsanctioned primaries and unaccountable superdelegates. Unless Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton find a way to come together for the good of their country as well as their party, no speech by either of them may prevent Mr. McCain from making his second unlikely resurrection in a single political year.


    Maureen Dowd
    Posted by: “Becky Louden” bebecca2298@yahoo.com bebecca2298
    Sun Mar 23, 2008 7:14 am (PDT)

    Published: March 23, 2008
    The New York Times
    Maureen Dowd

    It is a tribute to Hillary Clinton that even though, rationally, political soothsayers think she can no longer win, irrationally, they wonder how she will pull it off.
    It€ ¦’²s impossible to imagine The Terminator, as a former aide calls her, giving up. Unless every circuit is out, she€ ¦’²ll regenerate enough to claw her way out of the grave, crawl through the Rezko Memorial Lawn and up Obama€ ¦’²s wall, hurl her torso into the house and brutally haunt his dreams.
    € ¦’³It€ ¦’²s like one of those movies where you think you know the end, but then you watch with your fingers over your eyes,€ ¦’´ said one leading Democrat.
    Hillary got a boost from the wackadoodle Jeremiah Wright. As a top pol noted, the Reverend turned Obama € ¦’· in the minds of some working-class and crossover white voters € ¦’· from € ¦’³a Harvard law graduate into a South Side Black Panther.€ ¦’´
    Obama blunted the ugliness of Wright€ ¦’²s YouTube € ¦’³greatest hits€ ¦’´ with his elegant and bold speech on race. But how will he get the genie back into the bottle?
    Pressed about race on a Philly radio sports show, where he wanted to talk basketball, he called his grandmother € ¦’³a typical white person, who, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn€ ¦’²t know, well there€ ¦’²s a reaction that€ ¦’²s in our experiences that won€ ¦’²t go away and can sometimes come out in the wrong way.€ ¦’´
    Obama might be right, but he should stay away from the phrase € ¦’³typical white person€ ¦’´ because typically white people don€ ¦’²t like to be reminded of their prejudices. It also undermines Obama€ ¦’²s feel-good appeal in which whites are allowed to transcend race because the candidate himself has transcended race.
    Even swaddled in flags, Obama is vulnerable on the issue of patriotism. He€ ¦’²s right that you don€ ¦’²t have to wear a flag pin to be patriotic, and that Republicans have coarsely exploited patriotism for ideological ends while failing to do truly patriotic things, like giving our troops the right armor and the proper care at Walter Reed.
    But Republicans are salivating over Reverend Wright€ ¦’²s € ¦’³God damn America€ ¦’´ imprecation and his post-9/11 € ¦’³America€ ¦’²s chickens coming home to roost€ ¦’´ crack, combined with Michelle Obama€ ¦’²s aggrieved line about belatedly feeling really proud of her country.
    On Friday in Charlotte, N.C., Bill Clinton, the man who once thanked an R.O.T.C. recruiter € ¦’³for saving me from the draft€ ¦’´ during Vietnam, sounded like Sean Hannity without the finesse.
    Extolling John McCain as € ¦’³an honorable man,€ ¦’´ and talking about McCain€ ¦’²s friendship with his wife, the former president told veterans: € ¦’³I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country. And people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics.€ ¦’´
    Some people consider the Clintons to be the € ¦’³stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics.€ ¦’´ Tony McPeak, a former Air Force chief of staff and an Obama adviser, accused Hillary€ ¦’²s hatchet husband of McCarthyism.
    After the Hillary camp lost € ¦’· and trashed € ¦’· Bill Richardson and was outmaneuvered by the Obama forces on mulligans in Michigan and Florida, Hillary€ ¦’²s hopes dwindled down to the superdelegates.
    If Jimmy Carter, Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi are the dealmakers, it won€ ¦’²t take Hercule Poirot to figure out who had knives out for Hillary in this € ¦’³Murder on the Orient Express.€ ¦’´
    Carter, who felt he was not treated with a lot of respect by the Clintons when they were in the White House, favors Obama.
    € ¦’³The Clintons will be there when they need you,€ ¦’´ said a Carter friend.
    Al Gore blames Bill Clinton€ ¦’²s trysts with Monica for losing him the White House. He resented sharing the vice presidency with Hillary and sharing the donors and attention with her when she ran for Senate as he ran for president.
    € ¦’³There€ ¦’²s no love between him and Hillary,€ ¦’´ said one former Clintonista. € ¦’³It was like Mitterrand with his wife and girlfriend. They were always competing for the affection of the big guy.€ ¦’´
    Like Carter and Gore, Nancy Pelosi was appalled by Bill€ ¦’²s escapades with Monica. And, as The Times€ ¦’²s Carl Hulse wrote, the Speaker has been viewed as € ¦’³putting her thumb on the scale for Mr. Obama€ ¦’´ in recent weeks. As a leading China basher, the San Francisco pol tangled bitterly with President Clinton over his pursuit of a free-trade agreement with China, once charging him with papering over China€ ¦’²s horrible record on human rights. And she has been put off by the abrasive ways of some top Hillary people.
    If Hillary€ ¦’²s fate falls into the hands of Jimmy, Al and Nancy, the Clinton chickens may come home to roost.


  5. FRONTLINE: Bush’s War – March 24 and 25
    Posted by: “Compañero” companyero@bellsouth.net
    Sun Mar 23, 2008 9:03 pm (PDT)

    From the horror of 9/11 to the invasion of Iraq; the truth about WMD to the rise of an insurgency; the scandal of Abu Ghraib to the strategy of the surge — for six years, FRONTLINE has revealed the defining stories of the war on terror in meticulous detail, and the political dramas that played out at the highest levels of power and influence. Now, on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, the full saga unfolds in the two-part FRONTLINE special Bush’s War, airing Monday, March 24, from 9 to 11:30 P.M. and Tuesday, March 25, 2008, from 9 to 11 P.M. ET on PBS (check local listings). Veteran producer Michael Kirk (The Torture Question, The Dark Side) draws on one of the richest archives in broadcast journalism — more than 40 FRONTLINE reports on the war on terror. Combined with fresh reporting and new interviews, Bush’s War will be the definitive documentary analysis of one of the most challenging periods in the nation’s history.


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