Here are some thoughts:
I'm no expert in Middle Eastern affairs (or am I?) but I do take an interest in reading up on certain topics. What astonishes me is when I watched prominent members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, who appear on television and, quite simply, say the most ridiculous things. I used to think they were intentionally lying to promote their cause. But now I am convinced they simply dont know what they are talking about. They really dont.
Example: Silvestre Rayes, Democrat, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee (Pelosi's personal choice.) He was interviewed by Congressional Quarterly. He was asked if Al Qaeda was Sunni or Shiite. He said predominantely Shiite (Al Qaeda is Sunni, they hate Shiites almost as much as the USA).
There is much more, Democrats, Republicans, Senators and Congresmen, dont know anything about the Middle East, Islam, Arabs, etc:
I bought Jimmy Carter's "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid". I am very skeptical, for the opposite of most of the criticism he is getting. He has been attacked for the title of his book by Democrats and Republicans for daring to say Israel, once a close ally of South Africa, practices apartheid. I tend to agree with Archbishop Desmond Tutu that the brutal and cruel system imposed on the Palestinians is worse then apartheid.
The Gaza Strip, for example, is a 25-5 mile strip of Palestinian land. It is surrounded by an electric "fence" and nobody is allowed to leave. The US and Israel have imposed a brutal and cruel blockade to the point where most people are starving.
That isnt apartheid, of course. Its collective punishment and quite sickening. The apartheid system is in the West Bank. Palestinians are not allowed to dig wells for water, Israeli settlers are. The entire area is criss-crossed by roads that Palestinians are not allowed to use, but Israeli settlers are. Palestinians have to wait hours to even cross the roads, if they are allowed. About half of them are malnurished and the vast majority live in poverty. But how dare Jimmy Carter use the word Apartheid!
Anyway I opened the book, and I was taken aback. The font is huge. I mean huge. And the margins are huge too. Its a 230 page book, I swear it could be 100 pages. Its like reading a Robert Byrd speech. But anyway I'll give Jimmy Carter's book a chance, even though I dont think Jimmy Carter has much authority of human rights given what happened under his administration. Ive written about it before but Ill quick reiterate, Carter directly aided in the largest genocide relative to the population since the Holocaust, when he backed (through money/arms) the Indonesian's genocide of East Timor. Carter also has an atrocious human right record in Central America and is directly complicit in the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero.
In fact when Carter was on C-Span live promoting this book on a call in show, I desperately tried to call in so I could ask him about his own human rights record. I couldnt get in :-/
I predict Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton will get their party's nominations. Here is why
Rudy Giuliani: Pro-choice and pro-civil unions. He simply wont survive the primaries. He was also married three times. The first time he had it annulled after 14 years when he and mrs. giuliani discovered they were second cousins. The second time, while mayor of NYC, he was fucking one of his staff members and got caught. But as NYC is liberal, no one cared and so he started making public appearances with his mistress, then divorced his wife and married his current one. NYC people didnt care, I think the south will.
John McCain: Scumbag and everyone knows it. Republicans dont think he is conservative enough, everyone else is disgusted as he tries to prove he is a radical conservative, by sucking up to demagogues and acting homophobic.
Mitt Romney: Mormon, yes. That will hurt him in the primaries (I dont think anyone else will care. It simply wasnt an issue when he successfully ran for governor of Mass.) He also used to be pro-choice and pro-gay rights, in fact he ran against ted kennedy and tried to seem more liberal than him! Ha ha. But he has gone through some revelations! And I think the idiots in the GOP primaries will believe that.
Obama: Obama is a media creation. The media became bored a few months ago and decided to build him up. Being naive, he fell for this and thought he was actually something special, so he decided to run for president. Except he doesnt really stand for anything. I mean, he stands for "hope" and "change". I think thats pretty much what every presidential candidate has stood for since Jefferson v. Adams in 1800. Obama's campaign will collapse.
Edwards: Nobody cares about him. He is old news. What I do like about him is, he realizes his chances are slim so he decided to become wildly liberal. I think this will force the other candidates to turn left so he doesnt out flank them. But he has no real chance.
Clinton: Elch! She is awful. But she has the "Clinton Machine" which is this vast network of money and connections. I really think that will ultimately help her. I think the media will be tough on her though. But she will pull it off.
After that, I think Clinton will beat Romney and win. Why? Because Iraq will still be going on and Romney is 100% behind Bush. Because the crazy Christian Right will stay home. Because generally the country wont want another Republican because Bush is so awful. And because of Iraq, Iraq, Iraq!