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Democrats Regaining Their Senses?

The question in this Examiner editorial is could Democrats be regaining their senses on Iraq? I wonder if that would require that they ever made sense on Iraq in the first place?

They still call for varying forms of what amounts to a politically motivated withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, but there are heartening signs that Democratic lawmakers are regaining their equilibrium. Just a month ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., promised renewed efforts after Congress returns from its August recess to force a hasty withdrawal. Now, other Democrats are injecting some much-needed realism into their party's debate on the war.
...
The backstory here is a combination of factors, including the Bush administration's modestly effective communication of evidence of the surge's initial success, a landmark New York Times editorial by Democratic scholars Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution, hints that public support for successfully finishing the war effort is reviving, and the gnawing fear that Democrats will be held responsible if a bloodbath follows withdrawal. With some Democrats coming back from the brink of surrender on Iraq, there are new grounds for cautious optimism that freedom will eventually be allowed to take root in the benighted country.
The piece includes some recent statements from Senators Levin and Clinton regarding the success of the surge.

Update: More from Carol Liebau.


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Comments (34)

Regaining their senses?... (Below threshold)
ExSubNuke:

Regaining their senses?

Um, no.

Baldfaced political oportunism?

Hell, yeah. It's official DNC policy baby!!!

Notice how we haven't heard... (Below threshold)
yo:

Notice how we haven't heard "boo" from Murtha in a while? They've put Mr. Crazy in a box, for the time being.

Still, even though it appears the Dems are finally getting around to supporting their votes to give Bush authorization to follow up on the 1998 Iraqi Liberation Act that Clinton signed, I wouldn't assume that this means the Dems are doing anything more than kicking in their version of saying "good doggie" until they can find a big enough stick.

It's all about getting the moderates to see them as being rational up until the Patreus report comes out, next month. Then we'll probably see and hear a lot of "that's good, but it's not enough" .. followed up by their usual inane catterwalling to make sure they don't alienate the nutroots, and then we're back to square one.

And, then they'll release Murtha again.

The Dems are, if anything, deliciously predictable.

In my opinion, this sentenc... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

In my opinion, this sentence:

and the gnawing fear that Democrats will be held responsible if a bloodbath follows withdrawal

..is the foremost reason for a shift. That and if signs of progress become too much to ignore, that puts Democrats on the losing side. They're more than willing to stand aside and let that train derail, all the while washing thier hands of it...but if instead of derailing, it begins to go somehwere, they want to hop on right on board.

At this point, I'm all for having their support even if for dubious reasons...because even the appearence of a united front on Iraq will demoralize everyone we're fighting there.

the appearence of a united ... (Below threshold)
yo:

the appearence of a united front on Iraq will demoralize everyone we're fighting there.

- Heralder

Which is what we've so sorely needed throughout this whole affair. Too bad the Dems have considered it more important to use the war for power than use their power for war.

Off topic, a bit: I'm watc... (Below threshold)
yo:

Off topic, a bit: I'm watching Bush give his speech right now, and it would appear that GDubs has found his balls and is wagging them in front of a receptive VFW crowd.

Wearing a blue tie, I might add.

For as much as there are times when I'm not a huge fan of the Prez, there are times when I really, really am.

Nope - Dems have not regain... (Below threshold)
GeminiChuck:

Nope - Dems have not regained any sense on Iraq (er, should be 'gain' - they never have exhibited any sense at all on this matter since Bush has been in the WH). Dems now realize that they will not get away with trying to demonize Gen P when he gives a positive report. Listen carefully to what all they are saying: while they admit to military progress, it doesnt matter because the Iraqi govt is a piece of camel dung and we must therefore immediately withdraw from Iraq. The Dems want to blame a war loss on President Bush to destroy republicans and the conservative movement (which, to them, is worse then Islamo-fascism). Even if the dems are succesfull in getting the US out, the bloodbath will be blamed entirely on George Bush. They will find reasons (no matter how illogical) for it being Bush's fault and the Drive By will support the Dems side. This BS about acknowledging military progress is a total smoke screen for their real intentions. gc

From FDL (Scarecrow)<... (Below threshold)
Semanticleo:

From FDL (Scarecrow)

"Yet we must be making progress because the neocon, pro-war experts -- the only kind of experts we seem to have -- say we are. Never mind those seven courageous non-commissioned officers and infantrymen -- courageous because they are expressing a contrary view while still serving in Iraq -- wrote in a Times op ed that the mission has failed and it's time to get out. Unlike the neocon pundits and Congressional delegations who get the military-shepherded dog and pony shows, these men see a very different picture:

To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day.
. . .
Given the situation, it is important not to assess security from an American-centered perspective. The ability of, say, American observers to safely walk down the streets of formerly violent towns is not a resounding indicator of security. What matters is the experience of the local citizenry and the future of our counterinsurgency. When we take this view, we see that a vast majority of Iraqis feel increasingly insecure and view us as an occupation force that has failed to produce normalcy after four years and is increasingly unlikely to do so as we continue to arm each warring side.

the appearence of a unit... (Below threshold)

the appearence of a united front on Iraq will demoralize everyone we're fighting there.

We had a united front for quite a while Re: Iraq but that didn't demoralize the enemy. Instead the enemy was motivated enough to created havoc in Iraq and kill thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis.

If the surge is succeeding it is because the US Military gave up on the Iraqi forces it trained and chose to add more US troops and ally with the local militias. If Bush & his cheerleaders had gone into Iraq with 400K of US troops or not disbanded the Iraqi army then perhaps, four years later, we wouldn't have to do the surge in the first place.

I find it frustrating and amusing that those jumping up and down about the success of the surge are the same people who swore on a stack of bibles that we didn't need more troops in Iraq and thought that disbanding the Iraqi army was a great idea. If, five or six years down the road, we do succeed in Iraq it will be in spite of Bush, Rumsfeld and the war cheerleaders.

The whole thing about the D... (Below threshold)
stan25 Author Profile Page:

The whole thing about the Democrats starting to support the war is just a smoke screen for what they really want to do. They really want to replace the Maliki government, with a government that will support the Democrats' policy of appeasement, not resistance to the terrorists. They also know that if the Maliki government fails, the terrorists will eventually win there and will have a place to train and launch missions against the United States and other western countries, but they don't care about that. They want to keep their position in D C and they will do anything to keep that, even sell out their own country to the enemy. They also know that the Patreus Report will refute their claims that the war is going badly and thus ruin any hope that they might have had of scuttling the policies that are currently in place. Yes, there are a few RINOs that want the same thing, Thankfully, these are small in numbers.

I can't really speak to the... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

I can't really speak to the minds of the Democratic leadership, but I'll take a stab at what the 2006 election might have meant.

My gut feeling about '06 is that the voters' message (far left aside) wasn't "Get out of Iraq now!!" but rather a "Do something about _____!!" vote, with any number of words -- Iraq, health care, corruption, members of Congress diddling the pages -- filling blank.

Changing generals and recalibrating Iraq strategy, I think, neatly fills the "Do something!" requirement.

--|PW|--

>If Bush & his cheerleaders... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>If Bush & his cheerleaders had gone into Iraq with 400K of US troops

Sure because that what all the liberals where calling for at the time. (rolls eyes)

>I find it frustrating and amusing that those jumping up and down about the success of the surge are the same people who swore on a stack of bibles that we didn't need more troops in Iraq and thought that disbanding the Iraqi army was a great idea.

I find it frustration that the Democrats have been cheering for Al Qaeda against out troops.

Your complaint neglects the fact the situation is fluid. The Arab would would never have stood for a half a million troops in Iraq and all you lefties where quick to point that out at the time. A smaller lighter force was required. BY YOU.

Sure with hindsight we know that outside forces form Syria, Iran and Al Qaeda would be more relentless than expected. But nobody EVEN YOU LEFTIES predicted the strength of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Nice hindsight. Now grow up and live in the real world for a change.

I'll tell you what I find m... (Below threshold)

I'll tell you what I find most fascinating about this: "and the gnawing fear that Democrats will be held responsible if a bloodbath follows withdrawal"

The rise of the right message. The rise of the blog. The rise of Fox News. The power of talk radio.

The left was able to safely duck any blame for the millions that died following our surrender in Vietnam (and they still do). That statement to me says that they know that they can't get away with that again. If they orchestrate the first act in a genocide, people will know they were responsible.

You might notice that the left is desperate to curtail, disgrace, or silence the sources noted above. I think Rupert and Rush are winning this fight. Oddly enough, a 'win' for the right is an equal say. A 'loss' for the left is the right having an equal say.

Oh Paul, you ask too much.<... (Below threshold)
David:

Oh Paul, you ask too much.

Your complaint neglects ... (Below threshold)

Your complaint neglects the fact the situation is fluid. The Arab would would never have stood for a half a million troops in Iraq and all you lefties where quick to point that out at the time. A smaller lighter force was required. BY YOU.

Oh please. When did Rumsfeld and Bush start listening to Lefties? They tore Shinseki a new ... when he told Congress how many troops it would take to pacify Iraq. Their reaction had nothing to do with what Lefties thought about the situation.

Nice hindsight. Now grow up and live in the real world for a change.

If that is the world where Bush & Co. made a mess of Iraq? If so then I think I already live there. You may want to come and join us. Actually it is probably better without you.

"Their reaction had nothing... (Below threshold)
yo:

"Their reaction had nothing to do with what Lefties thought about the situation."

Horseshit.

A big reason that the liberals in Congress voted for this was that they, like most folks, believed that we could replay what we did in Gulf War I - which was to overwhelm them with air power: the highwater mark for the American military might, and then clear out the insurgency, manually.

We cruised through Iraq in '91, and the prominent theory was that we could so again; limiting the number of casualties by limiting the number of required boots on the ground.

In the end, was the assessment correct? Nope. But you can't point to Bush and say that they made a grievous error in not sending enough troops.

And, like Paul says (and as in true in all wars), the situation is fluid. To ignore such fluidity is an exercise in ignorance.

It's not Bush's fault the the left is so cement-footed as to ignore what Napoleon said about war plans: they can be tossed as soon as the first shot is fired.

The original plan didn't fly. A lot of war plans don't fly. Valley Forge. Iwo Jima. The push into Germany which resulted in the Battle of the Bulge, etc etc etc.

The problem was/is that once the going got tough, the Dems spun said toughness to ply the Congress from the GOP, and to beat up the President. They weren't concerned with operational change until Kerry went tits up. And then they went full bore with the "bad planning" rhetoric.

The criticism of the war is well placed, and necessary. What isn't necessary is the foot stomping and pants peeing that the Dems have been doing once they realized that war is in fact hell.

If you're not prepared to deal with that kind of thing, then maybe you should either not vote to go to war or take your head out of your ass long enough to understand the ramifications of your vote.

Note: John Kerry has admitted to voting for authorization in order to make himself look strong for his impending presidential bid.

And the left looked to him, and his party, for leadership.

And you have the gall to come in here and try to convince us that we're lemmings?

That's classic

In the end, was the asse... (Below threshold)

In the end, was the assessment correct? Nope. But you can't point to Bush and say that they made a grievous error in not sending enough troops.

Sure I can. I already did. Check out the links I posted. The articles were from before the war even started. John McCain has been howling about not having enough troops in Iraq for years now. The critics calling for more troops have been a constant since before the war started.

The original plan didn't fly. A lot of war plans don't fly. Valley Forge. Iwo Jima. The push into Germany which resulted in the Battle of the Bulge, etc etc etc.

All three of those battles lasted a number of months. It took Bush & Rumsfeld three & a half years to figure out that they needed to change tactics. Yet that is somehow the fault of those people who were the ones screaming for a change in policy.

Blue,hindsight is ... (Below threshold)
yo:

Blue,

hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

"The articles were from before the war even started."

Are you purposefully ignoring the fact that there were plenty of folks saying that we COULD do it with a smaller force deployment. People OUTSIDE of the Bush "cabal" were saying that.

PS - Whereas I see your point for noting McCain, that fact doesn't add to your argument, at all. Better of you to note someone who is actually on the left.

"All three of those battles lasted a number of months. "

And ...?

"It took Bush & Rumsfeld three & a half years to figure out that they needed to change tactics. "

So ... ?

The main thrust of your issue is time-based? Who cares? Relevance is not your strong point.

Fact: things don't always go your way.

Irrelevant point: the timeline.

But let's spin that out, just for fun:

Over the span of a DAY, the US lost almost 2,000 soldiers on the beaches of Normandy.

Over the spin of 4 years, the US has lost (and I'll round up, for giggles) 4,000 troops.

Do casualty numbers mean anything in this argument? No. Neither does your point about the amount of time it took someone to do something (in this context).

"Yet that is somehow the fault of those people who were the ones screaming for a change in policy"

I might argue that point, if it were related to the point I was trying to make. Which is wasn't.

My point is that the Dems have no moral authority upon which to stand and denounce the war. A war they authorized. A war they've chickened out of and are trying to spin their cowardice as some sort of foundation for governmental change - at the expense of the troops that they stated so vehemently support (even though they don't support the cause ... whatever that means).

Your "they told you so" argument doesn't hold water.

Again, Kerry .., in September of '02, on O'Reilly's show, no less, stated that we should go get Saddam, regardless of whether or not he had WMD. Was he right?

A lot of people said that Japan couldn't and wouldn't accept democracy after WWII.

Were they right?

Jack Murtha said that all of the Haditha Marines were guilty.

Was he right?

Harry Reid said the war is lost.

Is he right?

Hell, people say we lost Vietnam.

Are they right even though there's a McDonald's in Hanoi?

Oh, if only this (and all o... (Below threshold)

Oh, if only this (and all other) administration(s) and our military were as perfect and brilliant as the very near perfect and brilliantly (hind)sighted "Blue Neponset", then maybe all wars throughout history would have been as perfect and brilliant as these geniouses would no doubt have run them.

Say, why aren't you shitheads ever in a position of power instead of just carping from the sidelines after the powers that be have already failed to follow your advice from far away and after the fact ? Criminy, what a bunch of sniping a-holes.

Um, well, I was going to wr... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Um, well, I was going to write something but it would only be repeating what 'yo' said.

Are you purposefully ign... (Below threshold)

Are you purposefully ignoring the fact that there were plenty of folks saying that we COULD do it with a smaller force deployment. People OUTSIDE of the Bush "cabal" were saying that.

No, I am not ignoring that fact. I am unaware of any non-Bushies claiming speed was more important than mass in regard to pacifying Iraq. Please provide some examples.

The main thrust of your issue is time-based? Who cares? Relevance is not your strong point.

The loved ones of all the people killed as a result of the delay care. I care because it may have doomed the war effort.

My point is that the Dems have no moral authority upon which to stand and denounce the war.

All the people who voted for the Dems this past November disagree with you about that.

Your "they told you so" argument doesn't hold water.

Why?

Oh, if only this (and al... (Below threshold)

Oh, if only this (and all other) administration(s) and our military were as perfect and brilliant as the very near perfect and brilliantly (hind)sighted "Blue Neponset", then maybe all wars throughout history would have been as perfect and brilliant as these geniouses would no doubt have run them.

O.K. "pudge", I guess I am just a perfectionist. How long after the war ends do we have to wait before we can offer our opinion about it?

I''ll give you credit Blue,... (Below threshold)
Paul:

I''ll give you credit Blue, it was a nice try but you missed the mark....

Anyone can look back at history at any decision and find someone against it. Hell, Richard Clake has ridden his 15 minutes of fame because he supposedly was a paranoid freak over AQ when Tenent was sitting on his ass.

Can you show me the Dems telling Bush he needed 400K troops? No you can't.

YOUR OWN LINK has the Dems complaining that the cost of war would be too high and the Dems wanting it lower. So if Bush was dumb, the Dems where dumber.

You can't have it both ways.

Democrats are not only inve... (Below threshold)
OLDPUPPYMAX:

Democrats are not only invested politically in this nations defeat and utter ruin in Iraq, they personally savor the idea. It's what they desire, given the contempt they have for the United States and the American people. After all, we are responsible for the implosion of their utopian vision--the Soviet Union. It has always been their goal to destroy this country and replace it with a socialist nanny state, reserving for themselves the positions of rule they believe to be their birthright. Exposing the deficiencies of their holy model only fired their resolve, making them lash out against America and its people in every way possible. The point is to not believe for one moment that the left has somehow "come to its senses". Bull. It is the same group of America-hating elitists it has been for the past 5 decades. Their attacks against Iraq policy and their desire for ultimate defeat will simply take a different course. These people are not about to become patriots.

"No, I am not ignoring that... (Below threshold)
yo:

"No, I am not ignoring that fact. I am unaware of any non-Bushies claiming speed was more important than mass in regard to pacifying Iraq. Please provide some examples."

Hell, I'll go ya' one better than that. Paul Bremmer said we didn't have enough troops. He was the one who dissolved the Iraqi army.

But advice as to how many troops were needed?

According to the Army's Center for Military History: 100,000

http://www.why-war.com/news/2002/09/23/studysol.html

Tommy Franks, a non-Bushite, drew up the plan, and he thought the troop level was sufficient.

Go figure, the President listens to the General over Senators.


"The loved ones of all the people killed as a result of the delay care. I care because it may have doomed the war effort."

Another irrelevant argument, but I'll ask you this: do you, and they, also care about how Harry Reid wasted time trying to force through a military appropriations bill the President said he'd veto if it had any sort of timeline in it?

Slowing up the cash for war doesn't cause a delay?

Additionally, if ANYTHING can doom a war effort, it's some pansy-assed Senator stating before the entire world that an ongoing war is "lost" just so he can curry the favor of a bunch of freaks.

"All the people who voted for the Dems this past November disagree with you about that."

Horseshit.

The main thrust of the house cleaning in Congress during the mid-terms was not about the war, but about corruption.

I cite Ned Lamont. If your statement were at all valid, Lamont's ass would be in Lieberman's chair, right now.

Oh, and Kerry would be President.

As for the "why?" of the your "they told you so argument" doesn't hold water: it just doesn't.

Even Colin Powell had reservations about troop levels. What did he do about it? Nada.

What did any of those folks who raised concerns about troops levels do with those concerns?

Did Congress step up? Did Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi push forward anything on their respective floors to force the President to consider adding more troops? I don't care if they were in the minority, then. They still have the power to put forth legislation.

Tell me where any of this concerns were raised in a formal setting.

Can you show me the Dems... (Below threshold)

Can you show me the Dems telling Bush he needed 400K troops? No you can't.

I can't find anyone asking specifically for 400,000 troops but I can find the Democratic Congressional leaders asking for more troops when it became apparent to them that Shinseki was right.

Here you go:

First, establish security in Iraq. If the Iraqi people do not feel safe enough to go back to work, walk their streets after dark, or send their children to school, resentment will intensify. We do not have sufficient numbers of troops in Iraq, or the right mix, to protect our own forces, much less establish a secure environment for 22 million Iraqis. We urge you to increase overall force levels by drawing on more troops from more nations, and not just our own. For our own forces, we should set up a rotation system that conforms to the reality of a long-term presence in Iraq, and the ability of our military to sustain it.
Democrats Regaining Thei... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Democrats Regaining Their Senses?

You assume they had sense to begin with.

Poor assumption.

Did you read that ... (Below threshold)

Did you read that article? It says:

A new study by the Army's Center of Military History has found that the U.S. military would have to commit 300,000 peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan and 100,000 in Iraq if it were to occupy and reconstruct those nations on the scale that occurred in Japan and Germany after World War II.

What happened to the 300K troops needed for Afghanistan?

Tommy Franks, a non-Bushite, drew up the plan, and he thought the troop level was sufficient.

I think we will have to agree to disagree about whether Gen. Frank's is a Bushie.

The main thrust of the house cleaning in Congress during the mid-terms was not about the war, but about corruption.

If you believe that then there is no point arguing about it.

As for the "why?" of the your "they told you so argument" doesn't hold water: it just doesn't.

"Because I say so" isn't a very good argument.

"What happened to the 300K ... (Below threshold)
yo:

"What happened to the 300K troops needed for Afghanistan?"

What about them? I thought we were talking about Iraq.

"If you believe that then there is no point arguing about it."

?? Lamont was as anti-war as you get. Did he defeat the pro-war Liebs? Even Rahm Emanual stated the election was about corruption - getting rid of the corrupted GOP'ers. Don't you listen to your party reps?

Besides that, you can take that intellectual condescension and shove it up your ass. Liberal debating parlor tricks don't fly with me, man.


"when it became apparent to them that Shinseki was right."

When it became apparent that someone else is right. I ask you, again, where was the discussion of troop levels, proffered by the Dems, in a formal setting, BEFORE the war started .. when we still had a chance to make the changes?

Stumping in front of reporters doesn't count. Where's the legislation? Where's the action? Where's the protection of the American troops the Dems are so hell fired up about? Or, can they only do that after the horse has left the barn, and then blame Bush for keeping the door unlocked?

Also, don't lose sight of the fact that a large number of our troops had planned to go through Turkey, until Turkey balked at the last minute.

Oh, and ... "Because I say ... (Below threshold)
yo:

Oh, and ... "Because I say so" isn't a very good argument."

Sure it does; if you read the entire context inwhich that comment was made.

Quote sniping is a parlor trick.

What about them? I thoug... (Below threshold)

What about them? I thought we were talking about Iraq.

You linked to the article. If you want to claim those experts were right about Iraq then why do you dismiss their 300K theory about Afghanistan?

Don't you listen to your party reps?

I consider what they have to say but I generally make up my own mind.

Besides that, you can take that intellectual condescension and shove it up your ass. Liberal debating parlor tricks don't fly with me, man.

Lighten up Francis. If you don't want me to respond to your comments then just say so and I will be quite happy to ignore you.

When it became apparent that someone else is right. I ask you, again, where was the discussion of troop levels, proffered by the Dems, in a formal setting, BEFORE the war started .. when we still had a chance to make the changes?

We added troops four years after the war started why couldn't we add troops four months after the war started? Also, writing a letter to the President is a formal setting.

"If you want to claim those... (Below threshold)
yo:

"If you want to claim those experts were right about Iraq then why do you dismiss their 300K theory about Afghanistan?"

I didn't dismiss, I deferred because we weren't talking about Afghanistan.

And who said I said they were right? I agree that we should have gone in with more troops. Overwhelming force and all of that. Hell, nuke the f**kin' joint for all I care. Turn the whole of the middle east into a glassy parking lot and rebuild Baghdad as one big ass Super Wal-Mart.

You're trying to say that only the Dems were spouting off about low troop levels.

".. but I generally make up my own mind."

Suuuuuuuuuure you do.


"We added troops four years after the war started why couldn't we add troops four months after the war started? Also, writing a letter to the President is a formal setting."

Why couldn't we add the troops BEFORE we left? Again, I ask you, where's the action? Letters to the President is not legislation.

As for the Francis comment: responding to questions does not allow one to be an condescending prick.

As for the Francis comme... (Below threshold)

As for the Francis comment: responding to questions does not allow one to be an condescending prick.

It "Suuuuuuuuuure" didn't stop you?

*yawn*... (Below threshold)
yo:

*yawn*

All three of thos... (Below threshold)
stan25:
All three of those battles lasted a number of months. "

And ...?

"It took Bush & Rumsfeld three & a half years to figure out that they needed to change tactics. "

The Battle of the Bulge lasted three weeks from the day that the Germans launched the offensive on December 16, 1944 until the American troops pushed them out of Belgium forever on January 10, 1945. There many changes of tactics usually on the fly as it was a very fluid situation. Even General Patton did not really know what was happening and he was the most astute tactician the American army had at the time.

As for Bush and Rumsfeld, if the Dims and the drive by media armchair generals had left them alone things would have been different. Most, if not all, never served a day in the military, They also listened the generals that were cashiered for incompetence and other things.




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