from a public HS teacher (Gov't, Religion, Soc. Issues), who is eclectic (Dem-leaning) politically and Quaker (& open) on everything else. Hope you enjoy what you find here.

Friday, February 06, 2004


I was called by the Falls Church office of the Dean campaign and asked to come in and help, and I declined. If he does not feel it is important enough for him to appear at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner for which he was going to be principal speaker, then I do not even see him getting 15% state wide, and I have better things to do with my time. Yes, the lawn sign is still up, and will remain up until he officially withdraws, but I am no longer willing to put my time and energy into the campaign. He will get clobbered in the caucuses this weekend -- including in Washington State. And while it is nice that he is still able to raise money, I am not sure what purpose is being served as the campaign becomes even more shrill.

There is no doubt that bad things were done to undermine Dean's candidacy. But he -- and the campaign -- needed to be prepared for it. Similarly, the press is beast that needs to be fed, and he gave it insufficient nourishment that he controlled, so they foraged for their own fodder, which was sometimes happily (and with negative consequences for Dean) given them by opposing campaigns.

I'm frustrated because the campaign had the potential to turn into something very important. Now whatever good comes out of it will be almost incidental to the official campaign, as people at the grassroots level attempt to find a way to keep their organziation going, perhaps by focusing on Congressional races. We have a lot of skill {actually, given how little I have done, I fairly should say "they"] of which the official campaign made little constructive use. That skill is now available for other purposes, and still has the potential to make major changes in the political structure of this nation, only it will not happen as quickly without the focus of a presidential campaign.

The charge to the commission Bush has established to investigate the intelligence failures is clearly a sham - as I read it, the definition it uses of the intelligence community would not include the parallel shop set up by Wolfowitz over at Defense. That is where the real "cooking" took place, and that is apparently off limits. It also seems set up in such a way that there can be no oversight by Congress or by the Courts. The members appointed provide a veneer of independence, but one does wonder. Chuck Robb is not one inclined to rock the boat. McCain has already said that he doesn't think the president is to blame. The most noatble liberal, Patrica Wald, is a retired chief judge of the DC Circuit Court, and has little prior expertise or experience in intelligence matters. She is a very sharp lady, but probably will not be able to know how to dig for what is really needed.

Of course, David Kay has had a very itnersting reaction to the Tenet speech, one that seems to undermine the wall around the White House. And now there are some senators saying that the evidence they were presented in the closed session in the Senate was not sufficient to justify going to war - why the hell didn't they say that during the debate and oppose the damn thing in October of 2002 and subsequently?

About the only thing I see positive is that it would be very hard right now for this administration to do another preemptive war - their credibility on matters of intelligence and national security are very much in question.

The only other issue is the repeated stories that Osama is already in custody to be produced whenever it is most politically advantageous. This gets fed by statements of people like generals and Sen. Grassley who say that they exepct both bin Laden and Mullah Omar to be captured fairly soon. First, I do not think the capture could be kept a secret, either from Americans, or from Al Qaeda, who would use it as an excuse to increase their attacks against the U.S. Second, if he were captured alive for the purposes of producing him, there would be insistence on presenting him in a public arena, and I very much doubt that he would be cooperative with the fiction that he had just been captured. Finally, were they to produce him at a propitious political moment, after what has been learned recently, there would be the real possibility of the press and the Congress {and the certainty of people voersease} raising questions about the timing and questioning how much of a political manipulation this was. Since I'm reading about Rove, I would not put it beyond him to WANT to do something like this. I do not, however, think that he could arrange sufficient compliance of things like Special Forces and Intelligence professional, particuarly when the latter can now see that they may be being set up as the fall guys for this administration's manipulations and failures. Thus nit would be very ironic if the U.S. did capture either or both of the two at a moment that was plitcally propitious and the end results was that it backfired because everyone would believe that it was a staged manipulation.

Enough for this evening. I have done far less than I had hoped, and I will need to be fully focused for the morrow, both with respect to my teaching duties and to my responsibilities around the house. The rest of this evening is for baths, books, bed and cats.

FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME OFFLINE at kber@earthlink.net Comments, suggestions and even rude remarks are welcomed! Preface any messages with "teacherken" so I know they are not spam.
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