I've been on hiatus the last month or so for a couple of reasons, mostly due to troubles controlling asthma but also due to a lack of ambition to write anything. That's one of the good points of having a blog that no one reads - I can step out anytime and no one will notice. (So why this bloviation if no one reads it? -Ed).
Quite a lot has happened in the last month and a half, so I'm going to quickly spout opinions on a selected portion of events.
First, Iraq. Sovereignty has been more or less restored to the Iraqi people, and now the real struggle for the future of Iraq has begun, its outcome to be ultimately determined (as has always been the case) by Iraqis. Saddam Hussein has been turned over to the Iraqis and will be put on trial. Robert Scheer takes another opportunity to make a jackass of himself in this piece in the LA Times (free registration required). He seems upset that Saddam was not charged with the actions that precipitated the invasion of Iraq. Well Robert, despite your rock-solid but clueless convictions, I would like to point out that an Iraqi court probably has a different idea about what the important crimes are. They are probably more concerned about his role in populating the mass graves being found all over Iraq and the torture and rape of his own citizens than they are about his support of terrorists and attempts to build WMD. Keep in mind that Saddam's trial does not parallel the Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal all that much. At Nuremberg, the Nazis were primary charged with crimes against the peoples of other nations (excluding the German Jews murdered in the Holocaust). In Saddam's case, the crimes he is charged with are primarily crimes against his own people. It is perfectly just and appropriate that he be tried by Iraqis and punished as they see fit. Claiming that the Iraqi government is just a US puppet (without much evidence) does not change this. In any case, Saddam is getting magnitudes more due process of law than any of his victims.
The Kerry campaign demonstrates more unfitness for high office by his endorsement of the vile, uncalled-for personal attacks at a fundraiser at Radio City in New York. The Democratic Party needs to get its crazies under some semblance of control. For all their complaining about the way the GOP and conservatives treated Bill Clinton, they have gone far beyond that. Various high-profile Dems have accused the president of being a deserter(disproven), a liar (so far unproven), a drug abuser (again with no proof), a dummy, a puppet, etc. since Bush became the GOP nominee for 2000. If Kerry actually has some leadership ability, he should be using it to chastise these intolerant Hollywood hatemongers and morons instead of endorsing their remarks. Example of the stupidity - Meryl Streep castigating the Bush administration for "dropping megaton bombs" on Baghdad during the invasion of Iraq. Since there were no nuclear weapons used in Iraq (fortunately), there were no "megaton" weapons used. My suggestion to Ms. Streep is that she acquire an education before spouting off on foreign policy. She would be less likely to sound like a twit that way.
The Senate report (in pdf format) on the intelligence efforts in Iraq was released today. Conclusion: the intelligence community screwed the pooch and gave the President bad information and analysis. The spin from some Democrats - Bush/Cheney pushed the CIA to produce the erroneous results because they wanted to wage war. Republican spin - Although the intelligence was inexcusably bad the invasion was still correct policy, but we had better fix the intelligence problem. To me, the important bit is the 'Fix the intelligence' part. How do we fix it? I don't have the slightest idea, other than put more emphasis on getting people in on the ground and relying less on technical intelligence gathering.
The death of former President Reagan seemed to generate lots of reverence and respect just short of worship from conservatives and the predictable vitriol from the folks on the left. Personally, I don't know where to rate him as president, other than I think he was above average, especially compared to the folks who served just before and just after him. I think it's really too early to pass historical judgment on his Presidency just yet. I suspect that history will be kind to Ronald Reagan.
Ah, now for my friendly local newspaper. The Star Tribune did indeed live down to my expectations during my hiatus, publishing the usual Bush-hating editorials while ignoring inconvenient facts. The item that most bemused me, however, is a piece by Lori Sturdevant (free registration required). In it, she seems shocked and surpised that two Republicans running in a Republican primary for State Senate would actually um, sound like Republicans and like, mostly agree on how to govern the state. Shocking! She also takes a cheap shot at the Republican leaders in state government, implying they are unable to do the business of government. I suggest she take a look at a Senate DFL leadership that decided that obstruction and inflexibility was the order of the day. They blocked the bonding bill and the budget deal in the last legislative session, and are making a special session impossible through their intransigence.