This is why I support Wes Clark for President, by the way, and primarily because of this policy. Oh, and read Judis's essay on what grown-up diplomacy looks like. His book is pretty great. One of those rare books that makes you want to go out and read five more on the same subject. Thanks to Ezra Klein for the recommend.
I'm wandering. This is prompted by the good Dr. Howard Dean today illustrating my point nicely --
"[A]s Iraq descends into civil war and becomes a new training ground for international terrorists, cargo coming into our country still isn't being inspected. While the Party of Bush scrambles to write its latest talking points calling anyone who opposes them "al Qaeda types", nuclear materials sit unguarded in the former Soviet Union.
While the administration organizes lawyers to try to salvage its illegal domestic spying program, Osama bin Laden continues to remain free roaming around northwest Pakistan making videotapes five years after the tragic events of September 11th. [...]
People have had enough. This administration cannot be trusted with our security. Democrats are going to reclaim American leadership with a tough, smart plan to transform failed policies in Iraq, the Middle East and around the world.
We will double the size of Special Forces to destroy Osama Bin Laden and terrorist networks like al Qaeda. We will implement the bipartisan 9/11 Commission proposal to secure America's borders and ports and screen every container. And we will fully man, train, and equip our National Guard and our police, firefighters and other first responders ...
---Gov. Howard Dean, M.D. [via email]
P.S. We are spending $8 billion a month in Iraq. That's $2 billion each week, $267 million each day, or $11 million each hour. For what we spend in three weeks, we could make needed improvements in order to properly secure our public transportation systems. For what we spend in five days, we could put radiation detectors in all of our ports. And for two days in Iraq, we could screen all air cargo."
Setting aside the party pimpage, in answer to your e-mail questions: that. That is what I want to see rather than useless color alerts and security theater. Do that first, and then you can have your little foreign wars and breathless CNN kabuki.
This all aside to the main point of the post -- or rather the postlet, as I am still off writing, and turn the Comments over to you -- what's the vibe on Howard Dean? He's been a remarkably successful DNC chair, and really the best example of what I think politics should be:" "this is my rifle ..." He lost the primary, put his head down and dug in deep to help advance progressive politics on a grassroots, 50-state level. He's a sharp, smart attack dog with proven problem-solving abilites and a track record of good governance. Unlike some Senators who I have avoided discussing but are, say, embodying the worst characteristics of the entitlement mindset by being, oh, a self-righteous self-involved Nutmeg fuck ... it ain't all about Howard Dean.
More to the point, even my Republican Dad will spot Dean got a rough treatment by the press (in a way he won't give Gore, mind you), and I've heard other conservative friends and e-mail correspondents issue the same sentiment. An unexpected respect and warmth. This is ... odd. And thought-provoking.
Putting aside his own stated intent -- what next for Dean? Should progressives even want him to run again, in the same way you don't necessarily want to promote your best sargeant right out of the field? Cabinet position, stay in the electoral process, what? Or are you ready to jump back on the train? Go ahead and discuss.
Or ask questions about Blue Beetle #6. Either one. It's that kind of site.