Within the boring and irrelevant format of too many candidates dishing too much spin for their party nominations, with the armada of full employment campaign analysts sounding gravely important trying to find a winner like counting the angels on the head of a pin, all the candidates did fine tonight.
None of the Democrats were JFK; none of the Republicans were Reagan; none of this was a surprise; and none of it mattered either to the quality of our national discussion, the standings of the candidates, or the verdict of history, will which remember none of this.

Our country has a really big problem, and it is Iraq. In neither debate did any of the candidates saying anything important, or memorable, or relevant to the outcome.

Now we learn that the Parliament of Iraq wants to insult American troops, make a mockery of the idea of Iraqi democracy, and infuriate our commanders by taking a two month vacation while American casualties surge. In the end, maybe they will, maybe they won't, but the real story is why they might and that no-one in either debate discussed the importance and enormity of what this tells us.

Now we know that there is a group called the office of commander in chief in Iraq, which reports to Maliki as his henchmen, or more accurately led by a henchwoman, that is removing some of the better Iraqi generals because they try to treat both Sunni and Shi'ite with dignity. They promote some of the worst Iraqi generals, because they view the surge as Americans dying to advance Shi'ite ethnic cleansing in the sectarian war Americans are policing in the middle.

This is a vile, revealing and sinister group that remains dramatically under-reported by the American media which doesn't miss a beat about which candidate scored minor points in irrelevant debates, in a campaign that says nothing, began much too soon, and adds little but gaseous emissions to an already polluted political atmosphere.

The hard and bitter truth about American involvement in Iraq is that it serves the goals of Shi'ites seeking military victory in sectarian war that seems destined never to end, while Iraqi parliamentarians consider prolonged vacations, the Iraqi Prime Minister has an office using the surge to escalate its sectarian warfare, and American casualties surge for reasons not discussed intelligently in either party's debate.

Now we know that even more American reconstruction money than we expected has been wasted while our troops give their lives, in yet another report from the Inspector General, adding to the $10 billion of missing or stolen American money, $12 billion of lost Iraqi cash, and the implications for American policy that were also not discussed intelligently in either debate.

The dance of death goes on in Iraq, the winds of words blow irrelevantly in these debates. The champions of each candidate enthusiastically claim total victory for their horse, the experts pontificate gravely about who won or lost, the sponsors get a little easy publicity, the voters learn nothing and the dance of death for American troops goes on in Iraq, unabated and not seriously debated.

Our troops die while gasbags talk, spinners spin, analysts analyze the irrelevant, and a desperately frustrated country awaits the debates and decisions that do not happen. The whole thing quite frankly is a waste and a farce that adds nothing, diverts attention from the urgent debate that is desperately needed but is not happening here or elsewhere.

The Congress should call the Joint Chiefs of Staff to testify in public, state with honor and clarity what they truly believe, then stand by their publicly stated views offering honest and honorable judgments about this war for the court of public opinion now, and the verdict of history later.

One hour of this public testimony would do more for American security, American honor and the lives of American troops than the hundred hours of these vapid debates that the American people will be asked to endure, and will largely ignore, when what they want is truth to power and courage of leadership.

America has a serious problem, and we need a serious debate about whether we are really supporting a government that has as much in common with our enemies as our friends, and about whether we should remove our troops from police roles that effectively take one side in a sectarian war while being shot at by all sides.

America has a serious problem, and we need a serious debate about redeploying our troops to less deadly and more productive roles within Iraq, and devising serious policies to reduce our casualties in Iraq.

America needs a serious debate about telling the government of Iraq that if they have offices of the Prime Minister that dictate terms that are hostile to our own, we will not continue this support, and not let Americans give their lives for a government that so mocks their words and our troops.

America has a serious problem, and we need a serious debate about why the result of the catastrophic policy could be the victory for Iran, and the friends of Iran, who are the owners and benefactors of the government our soldiers die for.

We did not get that debate when Democrats met. We did not get that debate when the Republicans met tonight. We will not get that debate from a leadership class that is obsessed with the politics of its own advancement and lacks the courage, clarity and honor to make the hard decisions of life, death and blood that the situation urgently calls for, and our people urgently pray for.

What we heard, in the Democratic debate, and now the Republican debate, was a feast of gaseous emissions in a political discourse already too polluted.

Too many people are dying and we must find a way to stop it. These debates are the bread and circus of why it happened and why it continues, when serious people in a serious country should be discussing how and when it ends.