Let's take a look at the odds to be vice-president, only among the Democrats, as posted by BetUS sportsbook, keeping in mind that you can't win until you get nominated:
BetUS 2008 Election Political Odds May 8, 2008
Next United States Vice President
Hillary Clinton +600
Barack Obama +900
John Edwards +2200
Bill Richardson +700
Ted Strickland +2000
Dennis Kucinich +3500
Bill Clinton +8500
Kathleen Sebelius +800
Evan Bayh +2000
Wesley Clark +4000
Claire McCaskill +1600
Joseph Biden +3000
Christopher Dodd +3000
Jim Webb +1200
Michael Bloomberg +2000
Al Gore +1600
Mark Warner +4500
Anthony Zinni +3000
Bill Nelson +3000
The Surge and Beyond
Former CENTCOM Commander Anthony Zinni discusses the future of Iraq and more
BY ERIC PATERNOT Harvard Political Review
Gen. Anthony Zinni (Ret.) served in the United States Marine Corps for 35 years, including a three-year stint as Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), which deals with operations in the Middle East and North Africa. Since retiring he has become one of the most prominent military critics of the Bush Administration’s handling of the War in Iraq. During a recent visit to Harvard, Zinni sat down with the HPR to reflect on his career and discuss his views on the troop surge and the overall future prospects for Iraq.
Harvard Political Review: Do you feel that thus far the American troop surge has acted as a viable step toward achieving stability in Iraq? Why or why not?
Gen. Anthony Zinni: Well, I think that we should have had a larger number of troops involved from the beginning. The idea would be not to let the insurgency get any traction by controlling the population, protecting resources, and controlling the border. The surge is obviously late, but it was probably the best we could do. I think it has had some successes. Certainly any time you secure more troops you secure more area, pushing potential insurgents out of that area and undermining their ability to influence the people there. With extra manpower you prevent their ability to make the government look weak. I think the surge coincided fortunately with the Sunni awakening and with the Shia militia cease-fire. Also, General Petraeus masterfully handled the surge in terms of where he put troops and moved them around. But all this aside, the surge is a tactical decision. You don’t resolve people’s problems simply by achieving security; security buys you time, but something has to go on in that time.
HPR: And that would be the foundation of political legitimacy and a political process?
AZ: Right. The end must be that the Maliki Government gets sufficient room and space to make critical decisions: sharing federal authority with local authorities, achieving de-Baathification, and fostering political reconciliation. There needs to be political legitimacy, political responsiveness, and democratic systems structured in such a way that they are “off to a good start.” We are coming towards the end of the surge, no matter how you cut it. If the time comes when we have to draw it down, will Iraqi forces be able to fill the void? We are still awaiting the answer to this question.
HPR: As commander of CENTCOM what have you learned about the region that was under your control? What is America doing wrong there and can the damage be repaired?
AZ: Well I think the biggest lesson I learned was that in order to understand the region—any region—you have to have a depth of understanding of the culture. You need to understand its history. In my region for example, if you do not understand Islam, colonial history, Bedouin society, or even the desert, then you will not understand how its inhabitants will function and think. You are not able to see the conceptual differences between the way we do business and the way they do business, or between their approach to free will and our approach to free will. Sometimes we interact with them by applying a Western style of cultural template and that does not work. That said I do not think it is hard for the damage to be undone, because most of the people do not want to have a negative relationship with the United States or the West.
HPR: Even if we continue to support dictators in the region?
AZ: You have to remember that we are trying to impose democracy. But in some societies what might work best is some kind of a constitutional monarchy–not pure democracy, in a sense. Many people in the Middle East are looking for some say in the government, but they do not want to lose the monarch. You are not going to find too many people in the Gulf States who want to lose the Emir. At the same time, they are going to want a parliament. That is what I mean by cultural understanding—going into some of these places and saying that we are here to promote representative government, and not necessarily a democracy modeled in our image.