I'm just swamped, as Humperdinck once said; work, family, a major house project, and a production of the Ring (that I actually have very little to do with except worry about).
But that's not necessarily a good excuse.
Over at Crooked Timber, John Quiggin dings us, as I think he should have, for not mentioning the Administration's bizarre decision not to fund Iraqi reconstruction in the current cycle.
There may be a valid and reasonable explanation for it that I just haven't seen (if you've got it, please feel free to put it into the comments); but just as I noted on the NSA issue, it's horrible optics at a time when appearances matter a lot. And that's forgetting the very real and negative consequences of projects that won't get done because there are no funds for them.
I don't get it. I think that Bush is a masterful politician who has badly misplayed the domestic hand on the issue of this war. I can't help imagining that a President more worried about victory, and less worried about midterm political advantage could have coopted much of the Democratic Party and left the Kossacks out on a limb by themselves. But we go to war with the President we've got, as they say.
We're involved in card game where the size of our poke matters; as soon as it becomes obvious that we lack the political means to see the game out and simply outsit the other bastards in the game, we're likely to lose very damn quickly.
Losing in this case would, I believe be catastrophic (I know there are some who will disagree).
So it matters a lot that we not only plan stick it out, but are widely seen to plan to stick it out.
That doesn't speak to exact troop levels, or the mechanics of our negotiations with the various factions within Iraq. But a few hundred million more right now would send the clear message that we're in the game, for the rest of the night, and not counting our chips and nervously looking at our watch.
I've seen am important part of our role here as keeping the President's butt in the chair, and I certainly don't think that now is the time to stop.