I grant that its something of a relief to see evidence that, despite gerrymanders and Diebold, Roves "permanent majority" hasnt yet been locked in. And watching Bush contradict himself and accept Rumsfelds resignation was fun. But looking over the "Blue Wave," I just want to shout, "Where the fuck were you people in 2004?" More to the point, what do we know now that we didnt know two years ago? Nothing, of course. And now we have Roberts and Alito on the bench, the Military Commissions Act suspended habeus corpus, and thousands more Americans and Iraqis have been maimed and killed. So pardon me if Im not very gracious.
Please remember Veterans Day.
In recent years, however, I have acquired a new reason to dread reports of exit poll data. In cases of election fraud, there are varying levels of evidence, from tainted or lost ballots to unaccountable electronic tallies. It is impossible to conceive, however, of a serious challenge to an electoral result without widespread and rigorous exit poll data indicating that a plurality of voters voted for another candidate. The result of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio featured just such data, contributing to a poisonous unease that I cannot foresee ever lifting. We can fight for more accountable elections, but even if Diebold and similar systems are categorically rejected, I dont think Ill ever be able to watch live election returns again without an icy trickle of bile in my gut.
The "instability" resulting from the invasion of Iraq that most worried me (and, I imagine, many others excluding, tragically, Hitchens) was not that of Iraqi governmental institutions, or even any of the local players in the Middle East, but rather that of the Bush Administration. All of the purported concerns that the Bushies allegedly had that necessitated regime changeWMD, pursuing al-Qaeda, fostering democracyhave been given systematic short shrift by Bushs actual policies.
- Russian and Pakistani nuclear weapons remain unsecured due to willful neglect by the Bush Administration, both before and after 9/11.
- Osama Bin Laden was permitted to escape and the Taliban has reconsolidated control over southern Afghanistan.
- Safeguarding the Iraqi infrastructure and giving the Iraqi professional class reason to hope that strident political participation would not result in kidnapping and assassination have taken a back seat to force-protection and corporate graft in the Green Zone.
The best reason for opposing the Bush-led invasion of Iraq has always been that Bush clearly never believed in any of his stated war aims or principles, and that he valued the invasion and occupation solely to the degree that they created circumstances of domestic political advantage for (loyal) Republicans.