Benazir Bhutto was standing in an open car in the military city of Rawalpindi when the shrapnel sliced into her. That was just over a day ago. Violence has engulfed the region and we're waiting for the next chapter in this ever-worsening dilemma.
It would be cynical to blame Hillary Clinton for Bhutto's assassination. She didn't pull the trigger, after all. Nonetheless, she voted to authorize George W. Bush, George W. Bush!, to go to war in Iraq. It was a simple, obvious vote based on political calculations. There were still weapons inspectors in Iraq saying they needed more time.
Now we're looking at the rebirth of the Taliban in Afghanistan and a rapidly destabilizing Pakistan. The connections with our failed adventure in Iraq are beyond obvious. By losing focus and spreading our resources too thin we've turned a possible success in Afghanistan into a failure. That failure has spread to Pakistan (and New Orleans). To imagine a stable Afghanistan one just needs to imagine a world where America does not bomb Iraq, focusing on the task at hand instead of opening a war on two fronts with the entire Muslim world.
Hillary spokesman Jay Carson said yesterday in response to comments from the Obama campain, "This is a time to be focused on the tragedy of the situation, its implications for the U.S. and the world, and to be concerned for the people of Pakistan and the country's stability. No one should be politicizing this situation with baseless allegations." I know Jay Carson. We got drunk together in 2004 when he was working for Howard Dean and I was there when he took off his Dean pin and replaced it with a Miller High Life button in Wisconsin. Jay's easy to like and capable of spinning anything. But when Hillary talks about not making politics out of this tragedy, when she talks about looking forward, she's actually urging us not to learn from the past.
Hillary is simply not an acceptable candidate, and it becomes clearer by the day. Progressives don't want to abandon her completely because we think we might have to back her at some point in the near future when she's up against some monster like Rudy Guiliani (who once justified the war in Iraq by stating Saddam Hussein is a weapon of mass destruction, as if he was farting plutonium nuggets). Still, it's hard to believe that someone that voted for that war, and under the exact same circumstances would cast the same vote again, is capable of being president. We're not talking about any mistake, we're talking about the great mistake of our time. She might as well have voted to authorize the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.
In the end, George would have taken us into Iraq even if our Democratic leaders had shown judgment and spine (some did). That lack of judgment probably cost us the White House in 2004 when it was possible to correct so many things. Hillary followed her vote by refusing to apologize and blaming our failure on the Iraqis. Barack Obama is probably the only candidate with a chance at turning this ship around. His impact on the world's perception of America would be immediate. I'm not going to join the bandwagon chanting this is the most important election of our generation. Unless this is your first year in electoral politics that election has already passed, and we blew it. This is the election where we vote yes or no on fixing our mistakes.