Busy day today. I was on BBC radio to talk about the surge in Iraq. I preceded Maryland Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R), who was mistakenly identified as my own representative. This must have been one of the more confusing parts of the show. I mentioned to the hosts that I too was from Maryland, and they took that to mean I lived in his district, which isn't true (Gilchrest represents the eastern shore, while I live in a D.C. suburb represented by Chris Van Hollen (D)). Plus, they identified me as calling in from Minnesota. Anyway, I noted that while I didn't think the surge would work, the real test for those of us (including myself) who supported the war, as politicians or as statesmen, is to recognize that we made a mistake, and that we'll have to leave recognizing that our operation was a failure. To Gilchrest's credit, he did not reject the formulation of the war as a "mistake", though he did not wholeheartedly endorse it either, and went on to hedge about successes we've had preventing Iraq from getting WMDs or harboring al-Qaeda training camps (!?!). But Gilchrest does appear to be voting against the surge, and is calling for an orderly withdrawal, preferably within the year.
Next, I had an interview with Chalmers Johnson, head of the Japan Policy Research Institute, and author of the acclaimed Blowback trilogy, which recently concluded with the publication of Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic. For those of you who don't know, Johnson wrote Blowback in 2000, arguing that US meddling in global affairs will inevitably lead to a backlash against us by people who feel crushed under the weight of a virtual American empire. It was met with a crushing wave of indifference until September 11th, 2001, when his hypothesis went from radical to prophetic. Since then, Dr. Johnson has become ever more pessimistic about the state of the American Republic, culminating in his latest book, where he literally claims that the US is faced with the choice between its democracy and its empire.
This interview will appear in a few days exclusively on The Debate Link, and then will be published in the Spring 2007 edition of The Lens Magazine.