Bush Shifts Yet Again

December 20, 2006 at 10:38 am | Posted in American politics, Iraq, King George, War on Terror | Leave a comment

Scolded by the elections, placed in a position he hates, Bush finally told a partial truth: “We’re not winning, we’re not losing.” Boy, it must have been torturous for him to even say that much. How much his teeth must have been grating. But…..you gotta wonder, and someone needs to ask him this question: Um, Mr. President, just before the election, in another words, less than two months ago, you told the American people, “absolutely, we’re winning.” What changed in these past two months on the ground that made you change your mind? What events took place these past two months that changed the vision of Iraq from a win to not winning?

Quote of the Day – Matt Damon

December 19, 2006 at 5:43 pm | Posted in Torture | Leave a comment

“I believe that if you waterboard anybody, they’ll tell you anything and that torture is completely impractical, on top of being dishonorable.”

—by Matt Damon

The Truth Behind The Surge of Troops For Baghdad

December 18, 2006 at 6:36 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Iraq, King George, Military, War on Terror | 12 Comments

Bush is apparently going to choose the Go Short option, “increase” the troop count in Iraq, and hope for the best. Unfortunately, as shown here this “increase” will come through sleight of hand means.

The word on the street, or in the Pentagon rings, is that he’ll choose to beef up American forces on the ground in Iraq by 20,000 to 30,000 troops by various sleight-of-hand maneuvers — extending the combat tours of soldiers and Marines who are nearing an end to their second or third year in hell and accelerating the shipment of others into that hell — and send them into the bloody streets of Baghdad.

These additional troops are expected to restore order and calm the bombers and murderers when 9,000 Americans already in the sprawling capital couldn’t. They’re expected to do this even when Bush’s favorite (for now) Iraqi politician, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, refuses to allow them to act against his primary benefactor, the anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his Shiite Muslim Mahdi Army militiamen who kill both Americans and Sunni Arabs.

This hardly amounts to a “new way forward,” unless that definition includes a new path deeper into the quicksand of a tribal and religious civil war in which whatever Bush eventually decides is already inadequate and immaterial.

The military commanders on the ground — from Gen. John Abizaid, the head of the U.S. Central Command, to his generals in Iraq — have said flatly that more American troops aren’t the answer and aren’t wanted. For them, it’s obvious that only a political decision — an Iraqi political decision — has even the possibility of producing an acceptable outcome.

The White House hopes that its much-trumpeted reshuffling of a failed strategy and flawed tactics will buy time for its luck to change miraculously. That this time will be paid for with the lives and futures of our soldiers and Marines — and their families — apparently means little to these wise men who’ve never heard a shot fired in anger.

This president has made it painfully obvious that he has no intention of listening to anyone who doesn’t believe that he’s going to win in Iraq. He’ll march stubbornly onward without any real change of course until high noon Jan. 20, 2009, when his successor will inherit both the hard decision to pull out of Iraq and the back bills for Bush’s reckless, feckless misadventure.

The midterm election that handed control of Congress to the Democrats can be ignored. Bush’s own approval rating in the polls, now at an all-time low of 27 percent, likewise means little or nothing.

Only Bush’s definition of reality carries any weight with him, and therein lies the tragedy — both his and ours.

Are you not angry enough yet, America?

The People of Massachusetts Wonder…Who is This Romney?

December 18, 2006 at 3:24 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Christianity, conservatives, Democracy, Mit Romney, Republicans | 7 Comments

Many have said that, hey, people can change their views over time, on an issue or even on everything. Sure, that’s not uncommon. But the people of Massachusetts voted for a governor in 2002, Mit Romney, who promised them to be moderate on issues. Now, he’s shifted hard right, and surprise, what’s ahead? The 2008 presidential election. As a Republican, Romney will have a very hard time selling himself to the Christian right if he continues supporting principles he supported in 2002. Stem cell research? Abortion? Gay rights? Contraception? Abstinence? All for liberal positions in 2002. All for conservative positions in 2006. What gives? The Boston Globe looks at Romney’s shift to the right and asks this question: who is Romney and what does he really stand for?

Conservatives should also ask themselves this question as they ponder their candidate for 2008. If Romney believed one thing in 2002, and four years later, believed something different, more to their liking, what will he say during the summer of 2008, as he tries to woo the independent minded voters? Will it be to the liking of conservatives?

Americans should ask themselves why they keep voting for people who compromise their principles, so that when good candidates seek office, they have to compromise also or they won’t get in. Is this really the kind of process we want in selecting righteous and good leaders?

Passing the Buck

December 18, 2006 at 3:19 pm | Posted in American politics | Leave a comment

The lies continue, the delusion continues.

Cheney calls Rumsfeld the greatest defense secretary in US history. Then General Pace says: “Secretary Rumsfeld accepted the responsibility and not once, in public or in private, did I ever hear this man try to shift responsibility to anyone else but himself.”

As Josh Marshall shows though, that ain’t exactly true….I wonder how deluded General Pace really is, or how much Cheney paid him to say this…..

Condoleezza Rice and Her Wishful Thinking

December 18, 2006 at 12:59 pm | Posted in American politics, conservatives, Democracy, Iran, Iraq, King George, Lebanon, Republicans | Leave a comment

Remember “birth pangs?” That from a woman who, to my knowledge, has yet to give birth…

Well, she continues her delusional logic on the Middle East. As Fred Hyatt says:

“The United States has always been most effective when it is leading both from power and principle,” she said. And: “I don’t see how the United States of America can ever back off of that commitment in the search somehow for stability — which I am quite certain will be a false stability.” The false stability, she implies, of accommodating dictators in Syria and Iran.

This is a moment of emerging “clarity” in the region, the secretary says, “one of those critical junctures in international politics . . . because a lot of the old bargains in the Middle East have really collapsed.” With the lid lifted, there’s a struggle between Shiite and Sunni to redefine their relationship. There’s a struggle inside Islam to redefine the roles of politics and religion.

Most of all, Rice says, there is a struggle between extremism and moderation. The United States needs to “act smartly in that new strategic context rather than being drawn back to the old strategic context in search of, I think, a stability that no longer exists. . .” That false stability, again. Which is why, she says, she resists talks on Iraq with Syria’s strongman and Iran’s mullahs. If they perceive it in their national interest to help stabilize Iraq, they will do so in any event; if not, the price they demand will be exorbitant — the United States standing aside as Syria regobbles Lebanon and Iran pursues its nuclear dreams.

But here’s where things get a bit more complicated than Rice in her fluency makes them sound, because the forces of moderation — the “mainstream actors,” as she calls them — are hardly all democratic, and the fruits of democracy are hardly all moderate. The good guys, in her view, include dictatorships (not her word) such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, while democratic victors include extremist actors such as Hamas in the Palestinian territory and Moqtada al-Sadr in Iraq.

It grows even more complicated when Rice attempts to fit the neat strategic frame of moderation vs. extremism over the mess her administration has helped create in Iraq. Rice says the United States must encourage Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders of the “more moderate center” to work together and to isolate and move against their respective militias. But what if those parties see each other as the enemy, and each value their own militia or terrorists as means of pressuring the other?

I never understood the logic. We prop up authoritarian dictators (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan) with our right hand while preaching democracy (Syria, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon) with our left….and then when groups (Hamas, Hezbollah) are democratically elected that we don’t like, we not only do not give them support, but undermine their efforts….can someone explain to me why we could possibly think this will work?

Then again, when this White House takes counsel from the likes of Kissinger who said of an earlier democratically elected government America did not like:

“I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”

…well, are we really fighting for democracy or not? if we say we are, our actions are surely on the other side of the world from our rhetoric. Does that not undermine the cause of democracy? Or, is the real answer a little more nefarious? Maybe we don’t actually care about democracy. I mean, if we really did, we’d be happy that Hamas won. After all, that’s what the Palestinians wanted.

Then again, I do fear that some conservatives might just get violent if a very liberal person were to become president here in America. I think this is how much they don’t really care about democracy, but about having someone in place that is more ideologically pure.

The Torture of An American in Iraq

December 18, 2006 at 4:10 am | Posted in American politics, Democracy, Iraq, King George, Military, Torture, War on Terror | Leave a comment

When you see smoke, there tends to be a fire. When you see lots of smoke, there is no doubt there is a fire.

An American, working as an informant was tortured by our own military in Iraq. He wasn’t treated the way he was treated because he had actionable intelligence and they were looking to get it from him. He was treated the way he was treated because he was supposedly working for the enemy. Do you really want any more evidence that the lowering of our standards has nothing really to do with getting intelligence, but more to do with our own dumbing down of our standards, taking the gloves off, getting dirty with our enemy?

What the hell are we fighting for?

America’s New Cultural Revolution

December 17, 2006 at 1:46 am | Posted in American politics, Iraq, King George | Leave a comment

The days of trust and honesty are gone, and if we listen to Gingrich, America will enter into their own Cultural Revolution where people turn neighbors in because they looked at you the wrong way, or say the wrong thing. So sad.

Gingrich cited last month’s ejection of six Muslim scholars from a plane in Minneapolis for suspicious behavior, which included reports they prayed before the flight and had sat in the same seats as the Sept. 11 hijackers.

“Those six people should have been arrested and prosecuted for pretending to be terrorists,” Gingrich said. “And the crew of the U.S. airplane should have been invited to the White House and congratulated for being correct in the protection of citizens.”

….In an interview, Gingrich said it is possible to distinguish between terrorists and others when looking to fight threatening expression.

“If you give me any signal in the age of terrorism that you’re a terrorist, I’d say the burden of proof was on you,” Gingrich said.

How to Win in Iraq

December 16, 2006 at 2:20 pm | Posted in Iraq, King George | 9 Comments

by Small and Simple Things

but maybe this is even too late…

America’s Smartest Cities

December 16, 2006 at 1:33 pm | Posted in America, Education, San Francisco | Leave a comment

Forbes magazine has released a report on America’s smartest cities judged by what percentage of the population has at least a bachelor’s degree, as well as more advanced degrees. San Francisco Bay Area has two cities in its mix, the city itself and San Jose. Cambridge, Massachusetts, of course made the list too, as did two places in Colorado, Boulder at number 1. No surprise, they tend to be cities with good schools. It would have been a shocker if Cambridge was not on the list, seeing it has Harvard and MIT plus home to many who work at the Boston area hospitals, some of the best in the nation.

A Case Where Medicine Proves to be the Problem Not the Cure

December 15, 2006 at 1:56 pm | Posted in American politics | 2 Comments

My wife can tell you that I hate seeing commercials during the evening news for this drug or that drug, (here’s a drug to help you sleep better, here’s a drug to have a better sex life, etc). I’ve believed that an overuse of medicine that messes with the natural process of a body will actually harm a body. For example, I don’t care much for giving drugs to little children for things like ADHD and other issues that are not life threatening to a child. You add foreign chemicals to a child and then wonder later on why that child has serious other issues. Well, according to a recent study the use of a drug in this case hormone replacement therapy has led to an increase in cases of breast cancer. When warned to not use it anymore, back in 2002, the cases of breast cancer dropped dramatically by 7%, when before that they were slowly on the rise.

I understand I am not a woman and I don’t know, nor will I ever know, the pains women have to go through during menopause, however, when we mess with our bodies’s natural process to such a degree, we end up paying a price that we might not want to pay.

We should not be relying on medicines, specifically drugs, as frequently as we have been.

Cartoon of the Day – Stuart Carlson

December 14, 2006 at 9:33 pm | Posted in American politics, Iraq, King George, War on Terror | 2 Comments

Dehumanization

December 14, 2006 at 8:45 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Gitmo, Iraq, King George, Torture, War, War on Terror | 2 Comments

That’s really the best word to describe Bush’s idea of taking prisoners and hiding them away without any contact to the real world besides their masked guards. Heck, at least the Soviet guards weren’t masked!

David Hicks, the “Australian Taliban” as he is nicknamed is so traumatized that he cannot take a call from his family. He’s so dehumanized that such human contact is too hard for him.

Major Mori, who declined to comment on the phone call, said Hicks continued to be held in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day and suffered underlying depression that was worsened by the conditions in which he was being held.

Hicks and other Guantanamo Bay detainees have been submitted to “stress and duress” techniques as part of their interrogation, including exposure to constant bright lighting and loud music.

Terry Hicks, who spoke to his son during a 90-minute family call in July, said Hicks had trouble managing the emotional aftermath of a phone call.

See here’s the problem. Intelligence experts believe operative intelligence gathered from the enemy captured has a shelf life of about 24 to 48 hours. After that, whatever an individual might know will basically be outdated. So…why are these people held in Gitmo when what they know is most certainly outdated, seeing that most of them have been there now for at minimum 3 years! What could they possibly know that the use of stress positions could possibly provide? All they are doing is breaking human beings, dehumanizing them, turning them into traumatized freaks. Is this really America?

How can we not be but emotional about something like this? This is not what America stands for! This is what we fought against all throughout the Cold War. Why are we doing this? What are we getting out of these individuals that is so valuable that we risk utterly destroying their souls? It would certainly have been better for them if they were just killed on the battlefield. How utterly disgraceful America!

It’s This Bad In Iraq, A Pinochet Looks Good

December 14, 2006 at 5:52 pm | Posted in American politics, Iraq, King George, neo-conservatives | 3 Comments

Heh, neo-conservatives never cease to surprise us. Things are so bad in Iraq that they actually see a Pinochet taking control. I guess we shouldn’t remind Mr. Goldberg that Saddam was basically a Pinochet….er….um…..

The Loss of American Power

December 14, 2006 at 3:20 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Cheney, Democracy, Iraq, King George | 3 Comments

In an op-ed today, Robert Samuelson decries the loss of American power in the world today. He rightly notes that though we may have the strongest military on the planet, our power has weakened:

The trouble is that strength — measurable and impressive — does not translate directly into power. Power is the ability to get others to do what you want. Here, America is weaker

Zim, an instructor in Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers said:

The purpose is never to kill the enemy just to be killing him…but to make him do what you want him to do. Not killing…but controlled and purposeful violence.

Samuelson points out that the end of the Cold War actually brought about a decline in America’s power, which is pretty accurate. During the Cold War, as he states, countries had to stay in line with what the United States said, or they might fall victim to the Soviet Union. After the Soviet Union fell, countries didn’t have an overpowering incentive to listen to the United States. The trouble with this thinking is that during the Cold War, America had to use questionable tactics (such as Operation Ajax in Iran, the overthrow of Allende’s democratically elected government in Chile, etc.) that eroded our standing, and the only thing holding people to our side was the greater threat from the other side. The fall of the Soviet Union gave countries a freedom to defy America they would not otherwise have.

Furthermore, the problem exacerbated after the fall of the Soviet Union, because America continued using strong-arm tactics against nations, fearing a similar domino effect they feared under the Soviet Union’s domination of this world.

Given the rampant anti-Americanism abroad today, the fading of Pax Americana may inspire much glee. The United States is widely regarded as an arrogant source of instability, blamed for many global woes — from greenhouse gases to Islamic militancy to unpopular globalization. No one can know what will replace Pax Americana, but with time, the people who now celebrate its decline may conclude that its failures were mainly those of good intentions and that its successes were unwisely taken for granted.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, Mr. Samuelson. Good intentions are not enough to preserve a position of strength and power, especially when they are executed so poorly and with a very flawed ideology. Intentions matter not when you start killing.

How does America get back this power it once had? Well to begin with, it must dump Bush and Cheney. The longer they remain in power, the further our power erodes. America must dump the Bush Doctrine. Immediately. There is no need for apologies, but there is a need for acknowledgment of understanding. Our power increased, as Mr. Samuelson notes, because of a doctrine called the Marshall Plan, and because of touting our “soft” principles.

It might be a while before America gets this power back. So sad how quickly we lose our greatest strength, all because one man wished to be re-elected.

Saudi American Relations

December 12, 2006 at 11:50 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Cheney, Iraq, King George, Republicans, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

I just have a few comments on recent events between Saudi Arabia and the United States. The current Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Turki, abruptly resigned and flew back to Saudi Arabia. No ambassador quits so quickly, especially not one that has such powerful connections, unless something is wrong. The article states that Turki wishes to spend more time with his family. Isn’t this excuse overused? Especially since later in the article they talk about the fact that he will probably replace Saud as the foreign minister.

Most telling in the piece is this little gem:

King Abdullah summoned Vice President Cheney after Thanksgiving for talks on Iraq and other Middle East flashpoints.

Who has the power to “summon” the vice president of the United States! And Cheney, blusterous, blundering, I-am-He-Man hear me roar, Cheney meekly and quietly obeyed. No comments from Cheney about being ordered around? No comments from right wingers on their vice president so easily commanded by a foreign entity? A king no less. An authoritarian, a despot. Not some democratically elected individual, mind you.

Boy when all secrets are finally revealed, I wonder how disturbed we might be about the relationship between the Saudi Royal Kingdom and the United States government, especially the Bushes. I think it will make Jefferson’s treasonous relationship with the French look like child’s play by comparison.

Barack Obama, an Unfortunate Name in America

December 12, 2006 at 11:38 pm | Posted in American politics | Leave a comment

Americans, showing their Euro-centrisicm, are amused by the good Senator’s name, Barack Obama. On CNN, they are showing images of him in a split screen with Osama Bin Laden, and then with Saddam Hussein (as Barack’s middle name is Hussein).

I wonder though why they don’t put Barack’s face next to another foreigner, with slightly more pro-Western tendencies….

Do Americans even recognize him? He has been out of the spotlight for a good six years now. Much too long for Americans and their ultra-short term memories…

He Could Not Understand, He Had Seen A Vision

December 12, 2006 at 9:47 pm | Posted in American politics, Christianity, Democracy, Democrats, Evangelicals, freedom, Iran, Iraq, Israel, King George, Muslim, Peace, Religion, Republicans, Rumsfeld, Torture, violence, War, War on Terror | Leave a comment

I have written a poem that I would like to share with my political readers. Please follow the link and tell me what you think.

He Could Not Understand, He Had Seen A Vision

Convert or Die

December 12, 2006 at 9:11 pm | Posted in Christianity, Islam, Muslim, War | 5 Comments

That’s the premise of the new video game, Left Behind, based on the popular but terribly written Christian books. So is it okay to create a game where players take either the side of Christians or the side of Satanists, and go around “converting” people? Not only that but they go around with guns in their hands converting people…isn’t that…er…what extremist Muslims want to do? Isn’t their supposed goal the forcible conversion of the world to Islam?

Evangelical Warriors

December 12, 2006 at 5:21 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Christianity, Evangelicals, Iraq, King George, Military, Religion, Republicans, War, War on Terror | Leave a comment

A extremist group called the Christian Embassy is apparently recruiting military leaders in the Pentagon, even to a point of coersion. Now, it is one thing to have soldiers and military leaders believe in Christianity, but doesn’t it sound eerily similar to our enemies when we turn our military leaders into fundamentalist religious fanatics? When they start talking about this being a war on Islam, does that not in turn alter what our mission in the Middle East really becomes? Confucius said:

“If the names are not correct and do not match realities, language has no object. If language has no object, action becomes impossible — and therefore all human affairs disintegrate.”

When will this madness end? Are we so childish that it takes the return of our Savior for us to finally stop fighting one with another?

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