Today's Blogs

Surge Storm

Bloggers are lamenting the surge’s lack of success, dissecting the second Democratic debate, and marveling at a Polish man who slept through the end of communism.

Surge storm: A internal military report leaked to the New York Times shows that commanders on the ground think the surge, three months in, is failing to meet expectations. American forces working alongside Iraqis have not secured even a third of Baghdad’s neighborhoods. Troops appear simply to be pushing insurgents to other parts of town rather than stemming the violence.

Bloggers are all doom and gloom. At Crunchy Con on Beliefnet, Dallas Morning News editorial columnist Rod Dreher has lost faith:  “And so, come September, they’re going to be asking for more time. We can take all the time in the world and we’re not going to fix this. … We can’t stop this. We can’t win this. What’s the point in continuing?” Liberal Fester The Newshoggers has déjà vu. “We know the script, they know the script, and we keep on replaying the script. We expect the Iraqi Army and police to be competent and listen to the great and authoratitive wisdom of their US officers without thinking about what is motivating a Shi’ite infantry battalion to fight and to fight hard. We expect units to actually show up at 95% strength and to care about what is happening at a place where they have no direct stake.”

At Eunomia, Ph.D. student Daniel Larison opines that earlier assessments of the surge should have been more realistic. “Support for the war would have bled away at a slower rate had the administration and military been more cautious in their pronouncements of progress and much less optimistic about the time it would take to get things done,” he writes, concluding, “Perhaps it is inimical to a military ethos to do this, but with this administration it seems like the safe advice for managing expectations is ‘aim low. ’”

At The Moderate Voice, Elrod cannot imagine a turn from sectarianism: “If the Iraqis we are training and supporting are turning around and killing our soldiers, why are we persisting in this strategy? The Iraqi policemen and soldiers will not change their loyalties based on a heavy US presence. They will only adhere to a multi-sectarian Iraq when the politicians establish the basis for nationwide peace. Judging by the performance of Iraq’s political elite, that day is a long way off,” he writes.

Read more about how the surge is failing.

Debatable: The Democratic presidentical candidates squared off in their second debate  Sunday night. Many bloggers liveblogged the debate or posted video (and at least one was blogging about the implications of liveblogging for journalism).

 “Hillary took this one, and took it easily,” writes liberal Ezra Klein. “The best performances of the night were actually delivered by Biden, but Hillary didn’t need to be the best – merely the most commanding, and at ease.” At liberal Firedoglake, Scarecrow also declared Clinton the winner (though she has yet to win her over). “I thought Clinton blew ‘inauthentic’ away. And her supporters knew it: in the post-debate spin room, campaign adviser Mandy Grunwald explained that Hillary lived in a world where everyone else was constantly trying to define her, but the caricatures never matched the candidate her closest supporters saw every day. ‘Last night, Hillary defined herself,’ she said; it is pretty standard spin, but I think she’s right.”

At the New York Sun’s Latest Politics Blog, Ryan Sagar tries his hand at augury: “Here’s a little secret that drama-craving political reporters are reluctant to let you in on: Hillary Clinton will be the nominee of the Democratic Party for president in 2008 (barring an unforeseen entry into the race by Al Gore or Martin Sheen).”

Creature at State of the Day applauds the Democrats’ diversity: “Of course, when comparing this presidential hopeful crowd with the stuffy, old, white men the GOP is parading around there really is no contest. With the GOP I get the distinct smell of mothballs through the TeeVee. With the Dems it’s all about the Febreze. And that’s, well, refreshing.”

Washington snarksmith Wonkette highlights the beauty of how CNN lined up the candidates on-stage, which  “allow[ed] us all to witness the sexual tension simmer between Obama and Hillary, and sticking Kucinich and Gravel on the furtherest ends of the stage where they wouldn’t bother the real candidates.”

A fancy “talk clock” widget at Chris Dodd’s campaign site tracked how long each candidate (and Wolf) spoke, showing that Obama and Hillary gabbed the most, eating up 16 minutes and 14:26 respectively.

Read more about the second Democratic debates. Slate’s John Dickerson offers his assessment.

Goodbye, coma! A 65-year-old Polish man has regained consciousness after falling into a coma in 1988. Some things have changed since then, and he is discovering that life in the European Union does not resemble that in the Eastern Bloc. Many bloggers comment on the following quote by Jan Grzebski: “What amazes me today is all these people who walk around with their mobile phones and never stop moaning. … I’ve got nothing to complain about.”

“I guess it proves once again that happiness isn’t dependent on our circumstances. It’s a decision we must make, an attitude of the heart,” writes Australian radio announcer Rodney Olsen at The Journey. “

“Mr. Grzebski may not be aware yet, that under the new regime, complaining is not penalized but actually encouraged,” Emil Steiner at the Washington Post’s Off/beat blog chimes in.

At The Paperback Museum, grad student Kinohi Nishikawa ponders the significance of Grzebski’s comment. “Communist habits die hard? Or is it that Grzebski, by virtue of historical accident, has been afforded keen insight into our contemporary market-mediated condition? What’s the point, he seems to ask, of so many consumer ‘choices’ if we’re becoming increasingly unhappy human beings – people who don’t appreciate the fact of life, the gift of consciousness, itself?”

Read more about Jan Grzebski’s return to consciousness.