One of President Obama's first actions must be to assemble the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Middle East command structure, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security advisor and ask them for the plan for exiting Iraq. He will likely discover that no such plan exists, in which case he must order the preparation of one that ends American military involvement in Iraq within the 16-month window he has already proposed.
The time for this has come at last. The entire misadventure has been a strategic catastrophe from its onset. The neocon Bush vision of a democratic Middle East under American guidance and protection lies shattered in a million jagged shards. We're hemorrhaging money there that is badly needed here. We don't want to be in Iraq and -- equally to the point -- they don't want us there. It's past time to get out, and we finally have a president who knows that and who will act on it.
Warren Zevon, Warren Zevon (Collector's Edition). The late great Warren Z. wrote many great songs and made plenty of memorable albums. But none surpass his debut, a masterful portrayal of counterculture decay in post-60's Los Angeles that tells its story through a deft blend of autobiography and myth. The outlaw songs, balls-out rockers, poignant ballads about junkies and whores, breakup songs, and stirring anthems all reflect Zevon's mordant wit and keen powers of observation. The remastering is superb: You can hear every instrument and voice in the just the right proportion. Since the extra disc of out takes and demos is of interest primarily to Zevon fans, the question is whether the remastered album justifies the purchase. Well, anyone who buys it will not only get the work of great songwriter at the top of his game, they'll be getting one of the top albums of the 70's.