Voting Counts

The news from Washington, D.C., is grim, and the news from Iraq and North Korea grimmer still. Congressional Republican leadership is embroiled in one scandal after another, providing yet more evidence that one-party control of all three branches of the government is bad for democracy. In Iraq, an already untenable situation is getting worse. Whether the next Congress can find the backbone needed to right the course of U.S. foreign policy and reign in this president’s dangerous assertions of executive power will be determined by the November 7 midterm elections.

In Iraq, the U.S. effort to control mounting sectarian violence has predictably resulted in the highest monthly toll of American casualties in two years. Nearly eight hundred U.S. troops were wounded in September, and another three hundred in the first week of October. Despite the administration’s claims of “progress,” by almost every measure the intensity of combat, especially in Baghdad, is building. Total U.S. casualties now number more than twenty thousand, many of them maimed for life. According to a recent University of Maryland poll, even those Iraqis who welcomed the U.S. occupation now want us to leave. Sixty-one percent of Iraqis now approve of attacks on Americans, and 78 percent think the U.S. presence is fueling rather than suppressing the insurgency. As Nicholas Kristof wrote in the New York Times (October 8), “counterinsurgency efforts [...

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