Reason Express

Saddam, Midterms, Rummy, and More.

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Reason Express
November 7, 2006
Vol. 9, No. 45

In this issue:

1. The Saddam Endgame
2. Win or Go Home
3. The War on Rummy
4. Quick Hits
5. New at Reason Online—Divide This Government
6. News and Events


1. The Saddam Endgame

A death sentence for Saddam Hussein is no surprise. What's still unknown is the timing of the execution and the reaction in Iraq to it. On the timing front, there seems to be some movement toward delaying carrying out the sentence, although it's unclear why that would be a good idea. Sooner would seem to be better, especially if the goal is to head off organized violence in connection with the execution.

But there are also questions about the very assumption that violence will ratchet up in response to Saddam's demise. Will it? The conventional wisdom about what causes and sustains Iraq's violence has been spectacularly wrong in the past, perhaps it will be this time as well.

There is the distinct possibility that the actual metaphysical certainty of a post-Saddam Iraq will cause the former Baathist elements to wonder what comes next. There may also be a period where the violence turns inward, as various elements within the Sunni community try to come to grips with the end—the total, final end—of Saddam.

Link.


2. Win or Go Home

The 2006 midterm may go down as the Tinkerbell election: It was all decided by belief. Turnout, as we've heard a thousand times, will decide who controls Congress. And turnout is driven by the belief that going to vote matters, that staying home has consequences.

But seldom has the mindset of voters been more unclear. Voters say they want change, but the Democrats have not offered much, ultimately, in the way change. And the GOP base, which has been so consistent in turning out to vote, now raises questions about its own propensity to vote for a disappointing batch of candidates. Is this real disenchantment, or a petulant bluff?

No one knows. All that seems certain is that the Democrats will pick up some seats in each chamber. Control of Congress will hang on the balance of perhaps five or six House seats and two or three Senate seats. Faith, trust, and pixie dust will tilt things one way or the other.

Link.


3. The War on Rummy

Apart from the massive midterm election, the news of the week is the Army Times calling for the ouster of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The Times is the very definition of informed commentary on the goings-on at the Pentagon, and they've had it with Rummy.

Most importantly, they've had it with Rummy's policies and steady denial of reality in Iraq. "For two years, American sergeants, captains and majors training the Iraqis have told their bosses that Iraqi troops have no sense of national identity, are only in it for the money, don't show up for duty and cannot sustain themselves. Meanwhile, colonels and generals have asked their bosses for more troops.

Service chiefs have asked for more money. And all along, Rumsfeld has assured us that things are well in hand," the Times editorial observes.

Building an effective Iraqi army was, and remains, the key policy goal for the United States in Iraq. To have made virtually no progress on that front in two years is a stunning indictment of Rumsfeld and his senior staff.

Link.


4. Quick Hits

Quote of the Week

"This is making me nervous."—– Rep. Rahm Emanuel (R-Ill.) on polls showing Republicans closing a little in the final days of the campaign.
Link.


Neocons Turn on Bush

Several neocon thinkers are quoted doubting President Bush's policies and wisdom, and then some say they were misquoted. You decide.
Link.

Airport Security at Work

A two-year-old-boy gets hassled trying to fly from the UAE to Turkey. Seems his name clicked with some other actual threat.
Link.

The Great Sudafed Freedom Fight

Finally, some pushback on the government's insane war on cold medicine. A Florida writer notes all the hoops he has to jump through to stop his sniffles, all so the evil meth monkey can be kept at bay.
Link.


5. New at Reason Online

Divide This Government
When one party rules, both parties fail.
By Jonathan Rauch
Link.

How Reason Staffers Are Voting
Get the skinny on who we're backing, backhanding, and ignoring altogether.
Link.

Porn on Trial
The ACLU battles the Justice Department over the Child Online Protection Act.
By Kerry Howley
Link.


And much more!


6. News and Events

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