Recommended blog: the Iraqi war
Juan Cole, Professor of History at the University of Michigan, provides very useful, very pessimistic summaries of what is going on in Iraq on his blog, Informed Comment. It's clear (to me, anyway) that the U.S. has lost this war, and in a sense lost it even before our government invaded -- because by invading, we lost any chance to establish or encourage democracy there or in other Muslim countries in the region. The debate between Bush & Kerry is over which one will lose the war most disastrously -- "Staying the course" (Bush) is by far the worst option, "Correcting the course" (Kerry) is not a lot better, unless the "correction" is a complete turn-around.

"American Respect," a mysteriously anonymous group that says it is based in Swarthmore, PA has published a very persuasive argument against this war, An Urgent Call for a New World Vision. I think they are absolutely right that "History shows decisively that, over the long haul, attacking terrorism increases terrorism." I question their assertion, "We were right to invade Afghanistan" -- it might have come to that, if the Taliban had refused to turn over Osama bin Laden, but in fact the Taliban had offered to turn him in if the U.S. presented credible evidence that he had been involved in the September 11, 2001 attack on the U.S. Very likely, the offer was no more than a ploy, but we'll never know; Rumsfeld & crowd had already decided to respond by bombing. From all reports I've seen, Afghanistan, like Iraq, is in worse shape than before we "liberated" it. It was awful under the Taliban, but today there is no more practical respect for women's rights (regardless of what the laws say), much less security from random violence, possily just as much torture, and any improvement in the economy is for the very limited sector profiting from the resurgence of opium exports (suppressed under the Taliban as part of their generally repressive policies).