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The beginning of the end


Fri, Apr 18th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

The news from our leaders regarding the war in Iraq continues in the same old vein: just hang in there, it will all turn out OK. General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, during their appearances before Congressional committees this past week, essentially said we need more time: time for the situation to become more stable, time to firm up the Iraqi government. And as before, President Bush said he would accept their recommendations.

Why would we expect anything else from the General or the Ambassador? Soldiers are trained to get the job done. They are dedicated to the mission to which they are assigned. They are duty bound not to question (at least in public) the directives of the Commander-in-Chief. One does not become a 4-star General by going outside the rules. In addition, one does not become a 4-star General without knowing how to play the game of politics between civilian commanders and military leaders.

Let's be very clear. In no way am I denigrating the General, his troops, or their dedication to their assignment. I believe the General when he says things may not be as we had hoped, but with more time we may see more fragile but potentially reversible progress.

The same can be said for Ambassador Crocker. He is the official civilian representative of the Executive Branch to the government of Iraq. As I see it, his main job is to assist the Iraqis in bringing order to their country via the political process. Like the General, his task is not an easy one. It was telling, however, when asked to define victory in Iraq neither the General nor the Ambassador answered the question with any specificity. That's probably because we ourselves have not defined or agreed upon the definition of victory in Iraq. There is little doubt that Iraq is now in the midst of a civil war. A civil war can be thought of as a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country fighting for control of the political center. That different sects of the same religion are fighting each other and themselves adds a somewhat different slant to the conflict. But, none the less, a civil war it is.

Many have called for an immediate withdrawal of our forces. Others want a more orderly withdrawal, although "orderly" is not defined. I assume they mean leaving without the appearance of retreat. Odd how we no longer hear the term "cut and run". Maybe it's because the great majority of Americans want our presence in Iraq to end. Withdrawing 140,000 .....
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Everyone loves a loser

Fri, Apr 18th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Our collective mean streak sure does show itself on television. I know you think we're nice people. I think I'm nice, my friends are nice and some of my relatives are nice but somebody is enjoying the blood sport of televisions "You are a Loser!" fr ..... 
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The Three Trillion Dollar War

Fri, Apr 11th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

A new book, by Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Blimes, a public policy professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, called The Three Trillion Dollar War - the true cost of the Iraq conflict challenges the Bush administration's ..... 
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Looking back five years later

Fri, Mar 28th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Now that we've come to the 5th anniversary of the Iraq War, it's time to look back and see what we have obtained by prematurely abandoning the search for Osama bin Laden to invade Iraq. At least we should see how the predictions of great minds that ..... 
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Water, water, everywhere?

Fri, Mar 21st, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Recent newspaper and television stories have reported scientific concerns with the appearance of medications, both human and animal in our water supplies. These are only a tiny drop in the enormous bucket of the problem. I believe that in the future, ..... 
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And We Prayed

Fri, Mar 21st, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Many of us, of certain age and blessed or handicapped as long time Minnesotans, know religious diversity as Lutheran vs: Catholic. What the Lutherans had in numbers the Catholics battled with fully uniformed nuns and movies starring Bing Crosby. Eve ..... 
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Them that serve

Fri, Mar 7th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

It must be difficult to be an elected government official. They must be responsive and accountable to various constituencies including themselves. These include the people whom they represent, which also includes people from their state or district ..... 
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Death by a thousand catastrophes

Fri, Mar 7th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

One day in the not so distant future, the Discovery Channel will air a documentary detailing the life and death of the Conservative Movement, that all-white tribe of bible-thumping, war-mongering, rich folk, who, for a brief period in American histo ..... 
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My forbidden fruits (and vegetables)

Fri, Mar 7th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Rushford, Minn. - If you've stood in line at a farmers' market recently, you know that the local food movement is thriving, to the point that small farmers are having a tough time keeping up with the demand.

But consumers who would like to b ..... 
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