Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Brad DeLong is ticked.

You know, I didn't use to be a very partisan person. While I cannot imagine any likely eventuality that would lead me to cross from the Democratic to the Republican side of the aisle--at least not until the poison injected into the bloodstream of the Republican Party by Richard Nixon's southern strategy dies away enough to reduce its fever beneath 104--I used to think that alternation of power, circulation of elites, give-and-take was useful. There are, after all, good things that the Republican Party can do easily that the Democratic Party cannot: tax simplification for example (with the honorable exception of Bill Bradley, who has done the most heavy lifting on this issue in my lifetime); trade liberalization; a general push forward to try to keep the government from making people spend their lives filling out government forms and checking to be sure they are obeying every single regulation (with the caveat, however, that the same Republicans who inveigh against every regulation of the market are very eager to regulate the bedroom).

What I am trying to say is that I used to think that total political dominance by the Democratic Party would not be good for the country, that Republicans had a place just like abortion has a place--that periods of Republican rule should be safe, legal, and rare.

No more. And it is not the mendacious incompetence of Bush II economic policy that has changed my mind. It is things like this news item noted by Matthew Yglesias: this executive branch team is just too stupid and too incompetent for them to have any place protecting my children. We need them out, and some adults in.
No arguments here. Why is he so ticked, however? Because of this, courtesy of Matt Yglesias:

A specially trained Defense Department team, dispatched after a month of official indecision to survey a major Iraqi radioactive waste repository, today found the site heavily looted and said it was impossible to tell whether nuclear materials were missing.

The discovery at the Baghdad Nuclear Research Facility was the second since the end of the war in which a known nuclear cache was plundered extensively enough that authorities could not rule out the possibility that deadly materials had been stolen. The survey, conducted by a U.S. Special Forces detachment and eight nuclear experts from a Pentagon office called the Direct Support Team, appeared to offer fresh evidence that the war has dispersed the country's most dangerous technologies beyond anyone's knowledge or control.

In all, seven sites associated with Iraq's nuclear program have been visited by the Pentagon's "special nuclear programs" teams since the war ended last month. None was found to be intact, though it remains unclear what materials -- if any -- had been removed.
This is, of course, not proof that Saddam had nuclear weapons. The best evidence (i.e. the stuff that wasn't forged) implies that he didn't. Still, this sort of absolute bungling and incompetance shows that there needs to be a change. The Bush administration's mastery of spin should not and must not keep them in power one second longer than is constitutionally necessary, because they are clearly and demonstrably making the world a more dangerous, more chaotic, and harsher place. It's not even that "the terrorists have won"... it's that Bush is losing, by making things that much worse.

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