"...We do, however, fault Mr. Bush for exaggerating to the public the intelligence given him privately and for alienating allies unnecessarily. Above all, we fault him for ignoring advice to better prepare for postwar reconstruction. The damage caused by that willful indifference is incalculable. There is no guarantee that Iraq would be more peaceful today if U.S. forces had prevented postwar looting, secured arms depots, welcomed international involvement and transferred authority to Iraqis more quickly. But the chances of success would have been higher. Yet the administration repeatedly rebuffed advice to commit sufficient troops. Its disregard for the Geneva Conventions led to a prison-torture scandal in both Iraq and Afghanistan that has diminished for years, if not decades, the United States' image and influence abroad. In much of the world, in fact, U.S. prestige is at a historic low, partly because of the president's high-handed approach to allies on issues ranging far beyond Iraq.
These failings have a common source in Mr. Bush's cocksureness, his failure to seek advice from anyone outside a narrow circle and his unwillingness to expect the unexpected or adapt to new facts. These are dangerous traits in any president but especially in a wartime leader. They are matched by his failure to admit his errors or to hold senior officials accountable for theirs....
We do not view a vote for Mr. Kerry as a vote without risks. But the risks on the other side are well known, and the strengths Mr. Kerry brings are considerable. He pledges both to fight in Iraq and to reach out to allies; to hunt down terrorists, and to engage without arrogance the Islamic world. These are the right goals, and we think Mr. Kerry is the better bet to achieve them."
Portrait of Eiko Oshima, the actress in the film "Shiiku," 1961. - Shomei Tomatsu
"It is difficult to encapsulate. It is both capricious and severe. It is about the aftereffects of war, which can be nearly imperceptible on the surface but which, if you look more intently, can be seen to have made a wreckage of everything, past and present.
The German writer W. G. Sebald titled a novel after the rings of Saturn, which look orderly and elegant from far away but are in reality the detritus of some immense catastrophe - shards from an act of violence that continue to drift endlessly through time." - Michael Kimmelman, The New York Times.
A nice introduction to another wonderful post-WWII Japanese photographer, Shomei Tomatsu, who has a retrospective, Skin of the Nation, in New York at the Japan Society. I have been a fan of his work for a long time, especially his early projects on Nagasaki survivors and Okinawa's American Military bases. As the article mentions, his work is right up there with Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand in its ability to document in between the cultural lines of societies in transition. For Frank it was America of the 50's; for Winogrand the U.S. in the 60's and 70's; and for Tomatsu, Japan being born again in a Western-centered, nuclear powered world. Read the article, take a look at the slideshow, and, if you are in NY, go see the show!
"As reported previously here, here and here, it looks like the scrubbing of various historical documents and other elements of the White House Website is continuing! And may be wider and more systematic than previously known. The BRAD BLOG has discovered a boat-load of audio and video that has been removed from the website!
It's more than just Bush's "I'm not that concerned about Bin Laden" Audio and Video (reported here previously) that's been taken down. And more than the White House's "List of Coalition Members" as reported here.
After reviewing scores of pages of White House transcribed Press Conferences by George Bush, it seems that the removal of certain audio and video clips has perhaps been strategically or systematically orchestrated. Here's a few examples of some of the pages that have had their linked Audio and/or Video clips removed, along with some of the notable Bush quotes -- that "notability" is mere conjecture on my part -- from their transcripts that perhaps the White House would prefer not be easily available to folks anymore (NOTE: The Audio and Video links are still on the following pages, but the content for them, when those links are clicked upon, is no longer available.)"
"It can be assumed that the next president, be it Bush or Kerry, will do everything in his power to make America safe from terrorism. That's job No. 1, and the American people will stand for no less. But on the broad range of other issues, Kerry has more to offer. He is in touch with the middle class. He is better informed on health care and has sound ideas for creating jobs. He understands that protecting the environment need not be a drag on the economy but can be a great boon as new energy technologies are developed.
By nature, he is more of a uniter than Bush." - Register Editorial Board
"Imagine one of those cinematic camera tricks that start you off in outer space, way above planet Earth. As you zoom in toward the blue of the Pacific Ocean, the blackness disappears. You aim a little east of Asia, just above the equator, at an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands. It's the Philippines. As you approach you decide to take the big northern island, Luzon. The land gets closer, and you veer southeast, toward an arcing peninsula. There, you find the province of Sorsogon. Zoom in again and it's the region of Bicol, closer, and you hit the city of Legaspi. Land and hop into a van for a meandering two-hour drive, and finally, you reach Irosin, the only land-locked town on the peninsula. Two miles outside of town, in an impoverished barrio, is where my father was born." - Jennifer Balderama
"When I see Dick Cheney on TV I wonder if he's really running for vice-president of the United States, or vice-president of the sixth grade. With his wife laughing in the background as he takes cheap personal shots at a man who very well might be President of the United States shortly, I feel sad for my country that this is the best we've been able to elect to the second highest office in our country. Shame on Cheney, shame on the Republicans, shame on us." - Dave Winer
"There is no denying that this race is mainly about Mr. Bush's disastrous tenure. Nearly four years ago, after the Supreme Court awarded him the presidency, Mr. Bush came into office amid popular expectation that he would acknowledge his lack of a mandate by sticking close to the center. Instead, he turned the government over to the radical right."