NEWS & VIEWS ROUNDUP: April 12

Elitist my ass

This former Midwest girl is telling you Obama is not being ‘elite’ or ‘out of touch’ -he could NOT be MORE in touch. He’s LISTENING and understanding that many of us who moved away and many of us that stayed are angry, frustrated, disappointed, disillusioned, and UNEMPLOYED.

War-weary Pa. voters question exit strategy

Both candidates promise to end the war, but in a state with a remarkable history of venerating military service, how that end should be achieved weighs heavily with many voters. Polling shows Democratic voters overwhelmingly disapprove of the war. What divides them is a quick withdrawal versus a longer drawdown of troops.

Strategic confusion

In their testimony before Congress this week, Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker and General David Petraeus portrayed recent clashes between competing Iraqi factions as a fight between the Iraqi government and Iranian-supported groups looking to undermine that government. This simplistic “good guys versus bad guys” depiction masks a much more complicated reality in which U.S. policy in Iraq unwittingly strengthens Iran’s overall hand there and around the region.

A cleric, a pol, a warrior

The iraqi government has decided that the moment has come to crush the Mahdi Army and the followers of Muqtada Sadr once and for all. Despite its failure to eliminate his militiamen in Basra at the end of March, the government, with American backing, is determined to try again, according to senior Iraqi officials.

It is a dangerous strategy for both Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and the U.S. Sadr remains one of the most powerful and revered leaders of the Shiite community — and the Shiites make up 60% of Iraq. What’s more, the 34-year-old Sadr is not exactly the mercurial “firebrand” or “renegade” cleric portrayed by journalistic cliche-mongers; rather, he has repeatedly shown himself to be a cautious and experienced political operator.

9 propositions on the U.S. air war for terror

Let’s start with a few simple propositions.

First, the farther away you are from the ground, the clearer things are likely to look, the more god-like you are likely to feel, the less human those you attack are likely to be to you. How much more so, of course, if you, the “pilot,” are actually sitting at a consol at an air base near Las Vegas, identifying a “suspect” thousands of miles away via video monitor, “following” that suspect into a house, and then letting loose a Hellfire missile from a Predator drone cruising somewhere over Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, or the tribal areas of Pakistan.

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