Under the Radar
IRAQ — MCCAIN CLAIMS HE BELIEVED IRAQ WAR WOULD BE ‘LONG AND HARD AND TOUGH,’ CONTRADICTING PRE-WAR STATEMENTS: Yesterday on MSNBC, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) claimed that he knew the Iraq war was “probably going to be long and hard and tough,” and that he was “sorry” for those who voted for the war believing it would be “some kind of an easy task.” “Maybe they didn’t know what they were voting for,” McCain said. (Watch the video.) In fact, during the run-up to war in 2002 and 2003, McCain repeatedly described the prospects of war in the rosiest terms, declaring the United States would “win it easily.” As early as Sept. 24, 2002, McCain said on CNN, “I know that as successful as I believe we will be, and I believe that the success will be fairly easy, we will still lose some American young men or women.” A few days later, McCain predicted, “We’re not going to get into house-to-house fighting in Baghdad. We may have to take out buildings, but we’re not going to have a bloodletting of trading American bodies for Iraqi bodies.” In Jan. 2003, McCain said on MSNBC, “[W]e will win this conflict. We will win it easily.”
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS — BUSH IGNORES LAW, FAILS TO APPOINT POLICY COORDINATOR FOR NORTH KOREA: Since President Bush has been in office, North Korea has developed 10-11 bombs worth of plutonium suitable for use in nuclear weapons, and conducted its first nuclear weapons test. All of the administration’s efforts to control North Korea’s nuclear program have failed. Congress decided something had to be done. On Sept. 30, 2006, Congress passed the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act, which required the President to appoint a Coordinator of Policy on North Korea to “provide policy direction and leadership for negotiations with North Korea relating to nuclear weapons.” Bush signed the act into law on Oct. 17, 2006. The law required Bush to make the appointment within 60 days. (View the relevant section of the law.) The 60 days were up on Dec. 16, 2006, which was 19 days ago. The situation in North Korea continues to deteriorate, but Bush still hasn’t acted.
HEALTH CARE — PAYING MORE, GETTING LESS: The U.S. health care system is in shambles. Health care costs are increasing faster than wages and nearly 47 million Americans — 8 million of whom are children — are uninsured. Millions more are underinsured. Yet the United States continues to spend more on health care per person than any other country, including countries that provide health care coverage to its entire citizenry. According to a new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2003 alone, health spending per person was at least 24 percent higher than that of Luxembourg (the second highest spending country) and over 90 percent higher than countries considered global competitors. But unfortunately, our health care system spending is not buying us superior health. Americans, on average, die at a younger age compared to the average age of death of comparable nations and the U.S. infant mortality rate is 6.9 deaths per 1,000 live births, while Japan and Sweden have rates below 3.5 deaths per 1,000 live births. Additionally, U.S. health care resources continue to lag. About 70 percent of deaths and health costs in the U.S. are attributable to chronic disease, which are largely preventable. Yet, only half of recommended preventive services are provided to adults. The United States also has fewer practicing physicians and nurses per 1,000 people than comparable countries. The Center for American Progress has a plan to provide every American affordable health care that emphasizes prevention, while controlling costs and maintaining individuals’ choice of doctors and plans.