I've been watching news reports most of the day concerning Hurricane Katrina as it blows through New Orleans. I have a cousin that lives there (and hopefully got the heck out of there). It looks like they dodged the big bullet since the storm didn't directly hit the city, but they did get brusied, since there is extensive damage. Pray for those who are dealing with this.
In other news, Bull Moose has a great piece about how the political Right is splintering over Iraq.
My own opinion on Iraq is well known, but I feel that the centrist position, if there is one, is not being heard in this ongoing debate. The extremes have rather myopic views that I don't believe are very helpful. The Left for the most part, wants to troops to leave ASAP. Some believe that maybe the Iraqis would get their act together after the US troops leave. However, I don't know if one would want to base foriegn policy on a hope. We made a mistake on basing the invasion on some vague hope that things would turn out okay, I don't think we should do that again. This is a nation with a still weak government, that could easily collapse and the nation is filled with former scientists who were part of Saddam's WMD program. Leaving right away is folly. But the Right offers no better idea. The President wants to stay the course until Iraq can stand on its own. This is also folly, because it gives no timetable, no goal. Is the Administration and its supporters willing to sacrifice more troops without any plan as to how and when to get out? Granted, the number of dead is no where near what it was in Vietnam, but I don't think we should wait until it gets that high, do you?
The Left doesn't seem to take into account of the 25 million Iraqis who would be affected by our pulling out. The Right seems unconcerned with the nearly 2000 US troops that have died so far and how to reduce the body count. I think we need to stay, but we need to have a plan as to how and when to draw down troops and when to hand things over to the Iraqis. Maybe a year is to soon, but we need to get an idea as to how long it would take. We have to do something in Iraq that will give the nation a chance at a good future, and will also do good for our troops by minizing casualities.
Will such an idea be heeded? One can hope.
By the way, there was an excellent discussion on NPR's Hear and Now.