Faster Katrina Recriminations
Backfill: Umansky flagged a possible El-Amir confusion last week. ...
[If the Able Danger project confused the 9/11 Mohamed El-Amir (Atta) with another Mohamed El-Amir, that might explain why that name would be on a chart. But J.D. Smith emphatically says they had the 9/11 Atta'sphoto. How to explain that?--ed I've been assuming that if you could account for Able Danger getting Atta's name, the photo might be explained as a case of honest memory confusion. Or maybe they managed to obtain the right photo for the wrong man!] 2:59 P.M. link
kf senses a subtle media shift against the visionary Jon Klein. This could disrupt Klein's obvious plan to secure himself a lucrative Pew fellowship when he's forced to leave CNN. ... 12:25 P.M.
The Hillary Train Wreck: Recent multiple exposures to Westside L.A. liberals confirms that (as George Will and Kevin Drum suggest) Hillary Clinton is currently heading for a much bigger train wreck in her party than anticipated--a wreck all her cautious planning failed to anticipate, and probably exacerbated.
The same press drumbeat of defeatism about Iraq that has helped bring down Bush's numbers has also emboldened the party's mainstream left base (i.e., not just MoveOn or the DailyKos crowd). They hardly care whether Hillary is a member of the DLC. But they do not want to support someone who voted for the war, as Hillary did. They might have been willing to do that in 2004, when they didn't think a majority of Americans also opposed the war. But that was then. ... What's more, they want a Democrat who is willing to break from the respectable Beltway Tough-It-Out Consensus now, publicly, in a way Hillary has been unable to do. They're so desperate for a champion they're even temporarily captivated by Sen. Hagel's mere mention of "Vietnam." Hagel/Dean for America! Or maybe Hagel/Gingrich. ...
P.S.: Hillary's dilemma is similar to the one that must have been faced by Bobby Kennedy in 1968--how to break with LBJ and the surface D.C. consensus in favor of the war. But Hillary's dilemma is worse, because Iraq isn't Vietnam and the current Beltway consensus she's being asked to denounce is a lot righter than LBJ was. Even mainstream Bush-bashing libs, in my experience, readily recognize that just withdrawing from Iraq now would be a global strategic disaster in a way withdrawing from Vietnam wasn't. That of course makes them even more determined to hold accountable politicians who got us into Iraq in the first place, and Hillary is arguably one of them. ...
P.P.S.: The obvious, crowd-pleasing Kabuki-move--which Hillary has to be considering right now--is to follow Drum's advice and come out for
a gradual, phased withdrawal based on specified interim goals and a hard end-date two years from now.
I say it's a Kabuki move because it's mainly for show: It's hard to believe that Hillary, or any leading contender, will really leave Iraq if the "specified interim goals" aren't met and two years from now it looks as if staying another year is necessary to prevent a failed, Somalia-like state. Either there will (under press questioning) be an explicit contingency escape clause to this effect or if there isn't the public won't believe there isn't. That's because sticking to a hard end date in that circumstance would be insane!**
Photograph of John Kerry by Brian Snyder/Reuters. Still from Star Trek on Slate's Table of Contents © Bettmann/Corbis.