"At the outset of the Iraq war, the Bush administration predicted that it would cost $50 billion to $60 billion to oust Saddam Hussein, restore order and install a new government." Now, five years later, the Pentagon says the cost of the war is "roughly $600 billion and counting" while economist Joseph Stiglitz "pegs the long-term cost at more than $4 trillion," which he calls an "excessively conservative" estimate.
71 percent: Americans who think "U.S. spending in Iraq is a reason for the nation's poor economy." According to the new CNN poll, just 36 percent of the American public believes the "situation in Iraq was worth going to war over -- down from 68 percent in March 2003, when the war began."
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a preventative war of choice whose purpose, according to President Bush, was "to disarm Iraq, to free its people, and to defend the world from grave danger." Five years later, it is clear there were no weapons of mass destruction to disarm in Iraq and no grave danger from which to defend. In 2006, a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) concluded that the war in Iraq had become "the 'cause celebre' for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement" faster than the United States and its allies can reduce the threat. The 2007 NIE concluded that "al-Qaeda [had] reorganized to pre-9/11 strength," largely as a result of the United States turning its attention away from Afghanistan and Pakistan in order to focus on Iraq. Also, al Qaeda's association with insurgents in Iraq helped "energize the broader Sunni extremist community, raise resources, and...recruit and indoctrinate operatives." Far from making the United States safer, the Iraq war has made the world much more dangerous.
How ashmed does this make you? Only 28 percent of Americans know that nearly 4,000 U.S. troops have been killed according to an opinion survey released yesterday. The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey found that public awareness of developments in the Iraq war has dropped since last summer, as the news media have paid less attention to the conflict. Earlier surveys showed that about half of those asked about the death tally responded correctly. Do we have our priorities mixed up and flat out wrong or what?
The death of actor Heath Ledger is more of interest to the public according to the survey. 12 percent of those surveyed said they were most closely following the Ledger's death, while in contrast, only 6 percent said they were most closely following coverage of Iraq.
From the Washington Post: Related Pew surveys have found that the number of news stories devoted to the war has sharply declined this year, along with professed public interest. "Coverage of the war has been virtually absent," said Pew survey research director Scott Keeter, totaling about 1 percent of the news hole between Feb. 17 and 23.
The Iraq-associated median for 2007, he said, was 15 percent of all news stories, with major spikes when President Bush announced a "surge" in forces in January of that year and when Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, testified before Congress in September.
"We try not to make any causal statements about the relationship between the absence of news and what the public knows," Keeter said. "But there's certainly a correlation between the two. People are not seeing news about fatalities, and there isn't much in the news about the war, whether it be military action or even political discussion related to it."
With the 5th Anniversary of start of the war in Iraq approaching we all need to take a moment to think about what this war has cost us: Almost 4,000 American lives, Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths, and $275 million every single day.
This anniversary of the war let your voice be heard and join one of the actions going on across the country. Visit 5yearstoomany.org for more information and to sign up for an event.
Obama gains more momentum as Clinton looks to Texas and Ohio
After winning eight Democratic presidential contests in a row, Barack Obama has a large amount of momentum right now. Hillary Clinton is hoping to but a stop to that momentum by winning Texas and Ohio - two states worth a large amount of delegates. Ohio holds 141 pledged delegates and Texas holds 193. She is set to campaign heavily in Texas and Ohio, which hold their primaries on March 4, along with Vermont and Rhode Island.
Obama however, is scheduled to stump in Wisconsin. The state will hold its primaries next Tuesday along with Hawaii. Wisconsin holds 74 pledged delegates and Hawaii holds 20. Tuesday's victories have put Obama in the lead over Clinton for the first time. The delegate count stands at Obama holding 1,215(1,096 of those pledged delegates) delegates and Clinton holding 1,190(977 of those pledged delegates) according to estimates.
With the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama still extremely tight everyone is talking about "superdelegates." At the upcoming Democratic National Convention where the Democratic Nominee will be selected, superdelegates will make up one-fifth of the total number of delegates.
Despite what many people think, this isn't the first time that superdelegates have played such an important and deciding role in the nomination of a Presidential candidate. In a very crowded 1984 election only three Democratic candidates won any state primaries: Mondale, Hart, and Jackson. Mondale was at first seen as the favorite, he had the largest number of party leaders supporting him, and he had raised more money than any other candidate. However, both Jesse Jackson and Gary Hart became troublesome opponents much to the surpise of many. Hart was only slightly behind Mondale in the total number of votes cast, but Mondale won the support of almost all the superdelegates and became the nominee.
With the convention approaching, this nomination race is closer than the 1984 race. It is clear that superdelegates will play a key role, if not the deciding role, in the nomination. So that being said, what do you think of superdelegates and the power they hold?
Tomorrow voters from Louisiana, Washington, and Nebraska will be heading to the polls to place their votes in the Democratic Presidential Primary. On Sunday voters in Maine will head to the Democratic Primary caucus. The race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is still neck and neck and it is becoming more and more likely that Superdelegates will be the deciding factor in the election. This has many voters and people within the party upset. Donna Brazil recently said, "If 795 of my colleagues decide this election, I will quit the Democratic Party. I feel very strongly about this." This seems to be the view of many Democratic voters.
In the Republican race John McCain is far in the lead and with Mitt Romney recently dropping out of the race he now has an extremely large lead over the remain two candidates Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul. On Saturday Republican voters in Louisiana and Kansas will be making their choices for the GOP nominee.
Keep an eye on the news Saturday. This sure is an exciting election season! Who do you think is going to stock up on more delegate tomorrow?
I'll be blogging some tomorrow as the polls open and close, but I'll also be taking the ACT tomorrow and will not be able to blog until later in the day. Wish me luck.
Estimates are showing that Clinton earned a handful more delegates than Obama, although Obama won 13 states in comparison to Clinton's win of 8 states. New Mexico is still up for grabs. The latest estimate has given Clinton 582 of the 1,681 delegates that were at stake this Super Tuesday, compared with the 562 that Obama won. It will take time to determine the final distribution because of complicated formulas in dividing up delegates. By these estimates the overall count would show Clinton leading at this point in delegates with 823 to Obama's 731. In order to secure they party's nomination they will need 2,025 delegates.
Here's a breakdown of who won the popular vote within each state:
Obama took Alabama , Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, and Utah.
Clinton took Arizona , Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
Estimates are showing McCain as a clear winner in Tuesday's Republican primaries. McCain received 497 delegates in the Super Tuesday primaries, while Romney received just 157 delegates and Huckabee received 137. 1,191 delegates are needed to secure the GOP nomination and although McCain won a large majority of last night's primaries he still has only about 51 percent of the amount needed to secure his party's nomination.
Here's a breakdown of who won the popular vote within each state:
McCain took Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and Oklahoma.
Romney took Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and Utah.
Huckabee took Alabama , Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
Voters in 24 states are heading to the polls today for Super Tuesday, which is virtually a national primary day. What, more more accurately where, is up for grabs today? Delegate-rich states like New York and California could be deciding states in the contests for both party nominations, but states like Georgia will also prove to be important states in this super tight election.
I'm sure that all of my fellow political junkies will agree that tomorrow is like Christmas morning for us! With the Democratic race as close as ever, today is an important campaigning day for both nominees.
A new CNN/Research Corp. national poll released today had Barack Obam with 49 percent and Hillary Clinton with 46 percent. Because there is a 4.5 percentage point margin of error this puts the two candidates in a statistical tie. Clinton has secured 48 delegates and Obama has secured 63. This would seem to put Obama in the lead, but superdelegates are proving to be a big factor in this election. Clinton has 184 superdelegates while Obama only has 95. Superdelegates are delegates to the nominating convention who are not bound by the decisions of party primaries or caucuses. Superdelegates are made up of elected officeholders and party officials.
In the Republican race things aren't as close. John McCain is the clear front runner in the polls right now with the support 44 percent of registered Republicans polled, while Mitt Romney has 29 percent, Mike Huckabee has 18 percent and Ron Paul trails in last with 6 percent. However this election season has proven to be one filled with surprises. McCain has secured 95 delegates, Romney 85, Huckabee 26, and Paul 6.
Tomorrow is going to be an exciting day and tomorrow night is going to be an especially exciting night. I feel like it's Christmas Eve! Tomorrow night we'll see what the political Santa has brought the candidates.
This is the best campaign video I've seen this election season.. if not ever. It is extremely inspiring. I think you can all agree on that no matter who your candidate(s) of choice are.
It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation. Yes we can.
It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom. Yes we can.
It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness. Yes we can.
It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.
Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this world. Yes we can.
And I'm left with a video about a Presidential candidate that no longer exists. Quick, I'm going to post a video about the team that I think is going to win the Superbowl so that everyone knows who not to bet on.
I asked my Mom after hearing the news how this made PeaceTakesCourage and me look after I had endorsed Edwards. She said it made me look young and idealistic. I guess that is a good thing.
I would be equally happy to have either a woman or an African American in the oval office. I refuse to publicly choose between either, but know that whoever the Democratic Nominee is will have my full support. I encourage all of my fellow Edwards supporters to look at the voting records and positions of all remaining candidates and choose the candidate that you think would be the best President.
For now I will leave up the John Edwards video, but it will have one slight change. Now it will be: John Edwards for Attorney General. Not quite the ring of Mr. President, but still a nice sound. ;)