Could The British Have Made A Mistake?

March 31, 2007 at 10:57 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, George W Bush, Great Britain, Iran, Military | 8 Comments

Note the following, at the very end of this report in the Guardian:

But the Ministry of Defence hinted for the first time it may have made mistakes surrounding the incident. An inquiry has been commissioned to explore ‘navigational’ issues around the kidnapping and aspects of maritime law.

Navigational issues? You gotta wonder why the British only offer this bit as “proof” that their soldiers were in Iraqi waters. I mean, look at this image:

Does that instill confidence in you that the British are telling the truth? What’s more, as Firedoglake expounds:

First, we have the report on CNN that the photo was not taken during the event at all but was shot afterwards – they don’t say how long afterwards but they assure us … and of course, we believe then … that the ship being searched “had not moved since the incident.” So there you have it … photo showing hand holding GPS shows ship in Iraqi waters. And we know it’s in Iraqi waters because we’ve been shown a map:

Not quite says Barry Lando:

The BBC for instance has already interviewed a supposed expert regarding the map, who vouched for its authenticity. … Turns out the expert had been referred to the BBC by the British Ministry of Defense–who also turned out the plan. Sounds like the rerun of a bad movie we’ve already seen.

Huh, so the Iranians may actually be right. We won’t know exactly until cooler heads prevail and sensible people can sit down and look at all the facts. But alas, you get our idiot president jumping into the fray demanding their release and calling them “hostages.” Yeah, nice reference to the 1979 incident. Way to cool people off Mr. Idiot President. What a fool we have as our leader.

Violence in Iraq

March 30, 2007 at 9:37 am | Posted in American politics, Iraq, War | 4 Comments

Well, it doesn’t seem to be going well in Iraq. Suicide bombs kill 130 Shi’ites, because see, Sunnis never promised to “lay low” while the Americans did their surge, unlike the Shi’ites, so they keep bombing Shi’ites, while Shi’ites “lay low.” So hundreds of Shi’ites are killed daily and weekly while they sit back and let all this build up inside them. Oh they can’t wait for the day when they can avenge these crimes! You can just feel it.

I don’t know about y’all, but it sure looks like 1.) General Petraeus just doesn’t have enough troops to keep the peace, 2.) efforts at bringing Sunnis into the fold are failing even though they are apparently splitting up their relationship with Al-Qaida.

What do you think? Is the “surge” working?

Congress Has FINALLY Listened to the Will of the People

March 27, 2007 at 5:46 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Congress, Democrats, Iraq, Military | Leave a comment

The Senate, under Harry Reid’s leadership voted to reject a provision to remove the language from the House version of the military funding bill that calls for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq by 2008. Well done, Congress. You FINALLY listened to your constituents. Keep it up Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. You are doing a good job.

And yes, if George W. Bush vetoes this bill, he is essentially saying that he does not support the troops. Congress has approved the funding (well almost, the Senate still has to work out their version). If Bush doesn’t accept the funding, then it is HE who chooses not to support the troops. Congress did its part. The president must do his and sign this bill.

Of Course He’s Guilty!

March 27, 2007 at 1:14 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Gitmo, Torture | 4 Comments

Bush says so, so there.

However, in the real world, the first “conviction” in Guantanamo happens to be Australian David Hicks. The ACLU writes about the very odd occurrences in the military tribunal: Continue Reading Of Course He’s Guilty!…

The Strutting Cock

March 27, 2007 at 7:27 am | Posted in American politics, Iran, Military | 2 Comments

Let me share a parable from Chuang Tzu as quoted on The Shining Wire blog:

Chi Hsing Tzu was a trainer of fighting cocks
for King Hsuan.
He was training a fine bird. Continue Reading The Strutting Cock…

She’s Throwing Sand In Our Eyes

March 27, 2007 at 7:26 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Congress, Democracy | 2 Comments

Underling Monica Goodling, a Justice Department official under Gonzales, subpoenaed to testify in front of Congress this week has refused to testify, claiming the Fifth. Her justification is pretty flimsy: Continue Reading She’s Throwing Sand In Our Eyes…

What It Is Really About – 2008 Of Course

March 26, 2007 at 1:05 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Democracy, Democrats, George W Bush, Republicans, Voter Suppression | Leave a comment

You know why Rove hatched up his plan to remove those US attorneys? The states they are in are key. It is all about the elections. It is all about 2008.

See, McKay, up in Washington didn’t press ‘voter fraud’ against Democrats (because of course the evidence was scant and flimsy—but of course Republicans never cared about actual evidence—see Iraq WMD for example), and he was outed. Iglecias in New Mexico didn’t rush a possible indictment against Democrats in 2006 and even got pressure calls from Rep Wilson and Senator Domenici (at home no less!!!). He didn’t budge (because that was the law) and he was outed. So on and so forth.

This is about elections, it always was and always will be. Think back to Tom DeLay’s attempts to redefine Texas politics with his illegal redistricting plan. It’s always about getting just enough seats to keep their party in rule? Why? Take a look at the past three months of Democratic control and all the skeletons they have found in the Bush administration closet by just barely shining a small light of oversight. Power corrupts, everybody. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Power is also very addicting. The more you get of it, the more you want.

The more I think about it, the more I fear what might happen in 2008. What cards does the Bush administration have up its sleeve to ensure that a Democrat does not win the 2008 election? Will it come again to a Supreme Court decision? They’ve got their conservative judges on the court as they wanted. Will it come to ‘voter fraud’ cases? If they have their way, their USA attorneys will press false charges against Democratic voters, suppressing just enough votes for a win. Can everyone not see how this stuff just stinks of tyranny?

Last April, while the Justice Department and the White House were planning the firings, Rove gave a speech in Washington to the Republican National Lawyers Association. He ticked off 11 states that he said could be pivotal in the 2008 elections. Bush has appointed new U.S. attorneys in nine of them since 2005: Florida, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Arkansas, Michigan, Nevada and New Mexico. U.S. attorneys in the latter four were among those fired.

Rove thanked the audience for “all that you are doing in those hot spots around the country to ensure that the integrity of the ballot is protected.” He added, “A lot in American politics is up for grabs.”

The department’s civil rights division, for example, supported a Georgia voter identification law that a court later said discriminated against poor, minority voters. It also declined to oppose an unusual Texas redistricting plan that helped expand the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. That plan was partially reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Frank DiMarino, a former federal prosecutor who served six U.S. attorneys in Florida and Georgia during an 18-year Justice Department career, said that too much emphasis on voter fraud investigations “smacks of trying to use prosecutorial power to investigate and potentially indict political enemies.”

Several former voting rights lawyers, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of antagonizing the administration, said the division’s political appointees reversed the recommendations of career lawyers in key cases and transferred or drove out most of the unit’s veteran attorneys.

Bradley Schlozman, who was the civil rights division’s deputy chief, agreed in 2005 to reverse the career staff’s recommendations to challenge a Georgia law that would have required voters to pay $20 for photo IDs and in some cases travel as far as 30 miles to obtain the ID card.

A federal judge threw out the Georgia law, calling it an unconstitutional, Jim Crow-era poll tax.

In an interview, Schlozman, who was named interim U.S. attorney in Kansas City in November 2005, said he merely affirmed a subordinate’s decision to overturn the career staff’s recommendations.

He said it was “absolutely not true” that he drove out career lawyers. “What I tried to do was to depoliticize the hiring process,” Schlozman said. “We hired people across the political spectrum.”

Former voting rights section chief Joseph Rich, however, said longtime career lawyers whose views differed from those of political appointees were routinely “reassigned or stripped of major responsibilities.”

In testimony to a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing this week, Rich said that 20 of the 35 attorneys in the voting rights section have been transferred to other jobs or have left their jobs since April 2005 and a staff of 26 civil rights analysts who reviewed state laws for discrimination has been slashed to 10.

He said he has yet to see evidence of voter fraud on a scale that warrants voter ID laws, which he said are “without exception … supported and pushed by Republicans and objected to by Democrats. I believe it is clear that this kind of law tends to suppress the vote of lower-income and minority voters.”

Other former voting-rights section lawyers said that during the tenure of Alex Acosta, who served as the division chief from the fall of 2003 until he was named interim U.S. attorney in Miami in the summer of 2005, the department didn’t file a single suit alleging that local or state laws or election rules diluted the votes of African-Americans. In a similar time period, the Clinton administration filed six such cases.

Those kinds of cases, Rich said, are “the guts of the Voting Rights Act.”

Our democracy is under attack by Republicans who are trying any trick they can think of to limit the number of Democrats voting. They know they don’t have the actual physical numbers in a straight fight—in our nation, more people align themselves with Democrats than with Republicans—so they have to get dirty in order to get even. This from the party that claims is in line with Christian principles.

A Slow Monday

March 26, 2007 at 11:24 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Congress, Great Britain, Iran, Military, World Events | 8 Comments

Boy, I just don’t have much to talk about today. I wanted to share the following image taken from this article in Newsweek. I think it highlights exactly where the problem of corruption lies; not with Gonzales, but as you can see from the image, the man who walks next to him, in lock step, side by side, Fredo to his Michael. Just like in the Godfather Part II, the real corruption was with Michael all along, not just Fredo.

Looks like we’ll still be seeing Fredo, I mean Gonzales around until at least April, when he is to testify in front of Congress. He’s got about two weeks to tweak his lie well enough in front of Congress. We’ll see what happens.

Otherwise, in the news, Iran still holds those 15 British sailors. Britain demands their release, and the US is thankfully staying silent. Not much else. A slow Monday.

Friday’s Bad News Dump – Officers in Pat Tillman’s Case To Be Held Accountable

March 23, 2007 at 8:30 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, conservatives, Military, Republicans | 2 Comments

Well, for those of you who pay close attention to the Bush administration, they’re M.O. is to dump the really bad news on a Friday afternoon/evening when few pay attention. Today’s big headline is that The Pentagon will recommend that 9 officers who handled Pat Tillman’s friendly fire death case will be held accountable for their missteps (if I can be mild).

Pentagon officials say a Defense Department investigation will recommend that nine officers be held accountable for the aftermath of the friendly-fire death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman, according to The Associated Press.

The Pentagon’s inspector general will describe errors and inappropriate conduct during the military’s investigation of the former football star’s death in Afghanistan in 2004, one defense official told AP.

The official, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the investigation, told AP that military leaders may have lacked adequate information or failed to pursue it.

The U.S. Army last year launched a criminal investigation into the death of Tillman, who gave up his career with the National Foodball League’s Arizona Cardinals to fight terrorism after the 9/11 attacks.

Initial reports after his death said Tillman, 27, was shot and killed by Taliban forces during an ambush on April 22, 2004. An investigation later found that fellow soldiers shot Tillman, thinking he was part of an enemy force firing at them.

Tillman’s family demanded to know why his uniform and body armor were burned a day after he was killed and why they were not immediately told he might have been killed by fellow soldiers.

A 2005 report from Brig. Gen. Gary Jones contained sworn statements from soldiers involved in the incident who said they burned the items because they had taken pictures of the scene and knew how Tillman had been killed.

Initially, Tillman’s blood-covered uniform and armor were said to have been destroyed because they were considered a biohazard.

The key important thing about Pat Tillman’s case is that for the Pentagon, he was their hero, a football superstar who gave up a lucrative career to join the Marines. What a great recruiting tool. Then he gets shot up by his own men. How can the Pentagon now use this man as a recruiting tool? They’ve gotta lie and show he was killed by enemy fire. A fallen hero. This is your Pentagon ladies and gentlemen. This is your Bush administration.

OH and apparently there’s more bad news dumped on this Friday. Apparently new emails contradict Alberto Gonzales (surprise surprise).

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales approved plans to fire several U.S. attorneys in a November meeting, according to documents released Friday that contradict earlier claims that he was not closely involved in the dismissals.

The Nov. 27 meeting, in which the attorney general and at least five top Justice Department officials participated, focused on a five-step plan for carrying out the firings of the prosecutors, Justice Department officials said late Friday.

And we’re to trust officials of this administration to tell the truth in front of Congress? Make them all testify under oath! Don’t give in to them, Mr. Schummer. Don’t let them get away with it.

The Fall of the Conservative Empire

March 23, 2007 at 8:15 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Republicans | 3 Comments

PEW has a survey out which shows some very interesting numbers. Most notably that only 35% of Americans consider themselves conservative, while 50% side with liberals and Democrats. Wow. So instead of creating a permanent Republican majority, because of the very vile techniques that Karl Rove used, Republicans are looking to become a permanent minority. Look at the chart (borrowed kindly from The Washington Monthly):

Hint to Republicans: Divisive politics is not a stable long-term strategy to employ. Better stop using it.

end the permanent long-term dead end babysitting service

March 23, 2007 at 3:35 pm | Posted in American politics, Congress, Democrats, Iraq | 2 Comments

Rep. David Obey criticized the Washington Post editorial board. He said:

Let me submit to you the problem we have today is not that we didn’t listen enough to people like The Washington Post. It’s that we listened too much. They endorsed going to war in the first place. They helped drive the drumbeat that drove almost two-thirds of the people in this chamber to vote for that misbegotten, stupid, ill-advised war that has destroyed our influence over a third of the world. So I make no apology if the moral sensibilities of some people on this floor, or the editorial writers of The Washington Post, are offended because they don’t like the specific language contained in our benchmarks or in our timelines.

What matters in the end is not what the specific language is. What matters is whether or not we produce a product today that puts pressure on this Administration and sends a message to Iraq, to the Iraqi politicians that we’re going to end the permanent long-term dead end babysitting service. That’s what we’re trying to do. And if The Washington Post is offended about the way we do it, that’s just too bad.

So well said. Beautiful. The American people are behind you, Mr. Obey. Don’t listen to Republican scare-mongers. End the babysitting NOW!

Sleep Deprivation and the Treatment of Detainees

March 23, 2007 at 12:33 pm | Posted in Gitmo, Torture | 8 Comments

Y’all know I write about this frequently, but we have someone who just went through self-induced sleep deprivation in order to describe it to us. Read his account here and judge for yourself whether someone who has gone through four or five days of sleep deprivation is coherent enough to give you accurate and relevant information. Read his last entry: Continue Reading Sleep Deprivation and the Treatment of Detainees…

Welcome to the Police States of America

March 23, 2007 at 6:43 am | Posted in America, American politics, Bush Administration, Democracy, freedom, George W Bush | Leave a comment

Read this John Doe letter in the Washington Post and tell me if you don’t feel like you live in a police state. The letter is chilling, because this is what we would have expected to see in China in the 1960s, or the Soviet Union in the 1930s.

Three years ago, I received a national security letter (NSL) in my capacity as the president of a small Internet access and consulting business. The letter ordered me to provide sensitive information about one of my clients. There was no indication that a judge had reviewed or approved the letter, and it turned out that none had. The letter came with a gag provision that prohibited me from telling anyone, including my client, that the FBI was seeking this information. Based on the context of the demand — a context that the FBI still won’t let me discuss publicly — I suspected that the FBI was abusing its power and that the letter sought information to which the FBI was not entitled.

Rather than turn over the information, I contacted lawyers at the American Civil Liberties Union, and in April 2004 I filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the NSL power. I never released the information the FBI sought, and last November the FBI decided that it no longer needs the information anyway. But the FBI still hasn’t abandoned the gag order that prevents me from disclosing my experience and concerns with the law or the national security letter that was served on my company. In fact, the government will return to court in the next few weeks to defend the gag orders that are imposed on recipients of these letters.

Living under the gag order has been stressful and surreal. Under the threat of criminal prosecution, I must hide all aspects of my involvement in the case — including the mere fact that I received an NSL — from my colleagues, my family and my friends. When I meet with my attorneys I cannot tell my girlfriend where I am going or where I have been. I hide any papers related to the case in a place where she will not look. When clients and friends ask me whether I am the one challenging the constitutionality of the NSL statute, I have no choice but to look them in the eye and lie.

This is not America. But this is what we get under the Bush administration.

American Silence on Pakistan

March 21, 2007 at 6:30 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Pakistan | 1 Comment

As Pakistan roils in a challenge to Musharraf, America stays silent. Can the Bush administration criticize Musharraf’s removal of the chief justice over questionable accusations? Can America criticize Musharraf’s heavy handed responses to lawyers protesting? To do so would further undermine and weaken Musharraf’s dictatorship. I thought this is what America wants, democracy. Or is the Bush administration silent because they would rather have a dictator holding on to nukes in Pakistan?

I hope normal regular Americans understand this. The Bush administration is NOT for democracy spread around the world. There are places where they would definitely NOT want the rule of the people. One of these places is Pakistan. The Bush administration will do what they can to ensure that Pakistanis do not have a democracy. Why? Because most Pakistanis are against America’s Middle East policies (well, like every country in the Middle East, actually—note that there are no democracies in the Middle East besides Israel—Lebanon is too messed up now to call it a democracy), and letting the people decide would mean losing Pakistan.

On Rove and Myers Testifying Not Under Oath

March 20, 2007 at 4:44 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Congress | 5 Comments

The White House, continually acting stupidly, won’t agree to Rove and Myers testifying under oath and in public. They offer the following conditions for Rove and Myers testifying:

Questioning of White House officials would be conducted by a Member or limited number of Members, who would be accompanied by committee staff. Such interviews would be private and conducted without the need for an oath, transcript, subsequent testimony, or the subsequent issuance of subpoenas. A representative of the Office of the Counsel to the President would attend these interviews and personal counsel to the invited officials may be present at their election.

Now, if the White House has nothing to hide, if it did nothing wrong, just why would they need to keep Rove’s and Myers’ testimonies private and not under oath? If you have the truth behind you, what do you fear?

Joshua Marshall states the obvious:

Let’s be honest. Presidential advisors testify all the time. They don’t have the same responsibilities vis a vis Congress as members of the executive departments. But they can and do testify. There’s only one reason why you agree to ‘talk’ to Congress unsworn, in private and without a transcript: because you want to be able to lie or dodge questions in a way that’s too embarrassing to do in public.

Kos adds to the obvious:

What the White House is really saying is, “We reserve the right to lie.” Otherwise, if they intend to tell the truth, why would it matter whether they’re under oath or not?

That’s a weird message to be sending out…

The signs are pointing to Democrats not backing down. Rove’s and Myers’ testimonies WILL be under oath, as they should be. Com’on Mr. Rove, what have you got to hide? Ms. Myers? What are you afraid of?

Glenn Greenwald has a great post about the huffing and puffing of those on the right when Clinton evoked executive privilege, which most assuredly Bush will try to do (and lose). Here is Tony Snow, Bush’s Press Secretary in 1998 on executive privilege:

Evidently, Mr. Clinton wants to shield virtually any communications that take place within the White House compound on the theory that all such talk contributes in some way, shape or form to the continuing success and harmony of an administration. Taken to its logical extreme, that position would make it impossible for citizens to hold a chief executive accountable for anything. He would have a constitutional right to cover up.

Chances are that the courts will hurl such a claim out, but it will take time.

One gets the impression that Team Clinton values its survival more than most people want justice and thus will delay without qualm. But as the clock ticks, the public’s faith in Mr. Clinton will ebb away for a simple reason: Most of us want no part of a president who is cynical enough to use the majesty of his office to evade the one thing he is sworn to uphold the rule of law.

Well said, Mr. Snow.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has the following to say:

“After telling a bunch of different stories about why they fired the U.S. Attorneys, the Bush Administration is not entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Congress and the American people deserve a straight answer. If Karl Rove plans to tell the truth, he has nothing to fear from being under oath like any other witness.”

Finally, Obsidian Wings has this extra on Kyle Sampson, who may find life tough in the near future:

Also: you can see Kyle Sampson not just lying, but drafting dishonest letters for his superiors to send to Harry Reid under their own name, in part 3.7 of the documents, pp. 48-9 and 53-5 (pdf). He tells Gonzales that “I am not aware of Karl Rove playing any role in the Attorney General’s decision to appoint Griffin”, and puts almost the same statement in his draft of a letter sent to Harry Reid under the signature of Richard Hertling, the Assistant Acting Attorney General. I honestly can’t imagine why anyone would hire him after this, except for political reasons. And if someone does hire him to curry political favor, I can’t imagine they’ll trust him much.

More good analysis:

What’s Bush’s Game

What Happens Now

Kurdistan on the Rise

March 20, 2007 at 1:28 pm | Posted in Iraq | 3 Comments

Michael J. Totten, who normally writes about Lebanon, is touring Iraq, starting with Kurdistan, and his account of the north of Iraq is marvelous. I highly recommend this read. He takes some good pictures, and interviews local people to get a good sense of what they think.

Kurdistan’s rise flips Iraq on its head. The Kurds are ahead, but they started from nothing. Under Saddam’s regime they had the worst of everything – the worst poverty, the worst underdevelopment, and worst of all they bore the brunt of the worst violence from Baghdad. 200,000 people were killed (out of less than four million) and 95 percent of the villages were completely destroyed.

The Kurds seem happy and well-adjusted. Scratch the surface, though, and any one of them can tell you tales that make you tremble and shudder. Everyone here was touched by the Baath and by the genocide. If living well is the best revenge, the Kurds got theirs.

“You see this place now with its government, its democracy, and its system of laws,” my guide Hamid said. “It wasn’t like this even recently, believe me. Before, it was a jungle.”

Baghdad, the Sunni Triangle, and Shia South are still jungles. No one I know here thinks the Sunni and Shia Arabs will be able to reconcile and live with each other in peace – there is too much bad blood between them. I don’t know if that’s true or if it’s not. The Middle East is an unpredictable place, and I’ve made a fool of myself often enough by thinking I know what will happen.

What I do know for sure is that Baghdad is burning and Kurdish power is rising. The question up north isn’t whether Iraq will come apart, but only when, how, and into how many pieces.

“Moderate Candidates Who Live Like Liberals”

March 19, 2007 at 7:52 pm | Posted in American politics, Barack Obama, conservatives, Democrats, Education, family values, liberals, Republicans | Leave a comment

Joe Klein writes in Time Magazine the following when describing the Republican candidates for the 2008 election:

Then again, the Republicans are fielding a motley crew right now: if you count Newt Gingrich, who’ll probably join the fray in the fall, the four leading candidates have had nine marriages among them: Giuliani three, Gingrich three, McCain two and Romney one. The Republican faithful are left with a devil of a choice: moderate candidates who live like liberals, or religious conservatives who talk like liberals.

Now, as a liberal who is in a loving marriage, I find that somewhat offensive. Is Joe Klein saying because I’m liberal I will have a higher risk of divorce? Well, let’s compare these candidates to the Democratic field. Greg Seargant of Horse’s Mouth has done just that. What do we find?

How many divorces have their been among the men — and women — in the Democratic field? Let’s run through them real quick, just for the fun of it. None of the following liberal Dem candidates has gotten divorced:

(1) Hillary: You know the story. No need to repeat it

(2) Obama: Married to Michelle, whom he met when she was just out of law school, for 15 years.

(3) Edwards: Married to Elizabeth since 1977; they’ve had four children, one of whom was killed in a car crash. As Andrew Sullivan recently observed: “Most couples never survive the death of a child. The Edwards family did — and went on to have two more.”

(4) Richardson: Married to his high-school sweetheart for 33 years.

(5) Biden: First wife killed in car accident in 1972; married to his current wife for almost 30 years.

Yeah, you have to really scrape your way to the bottom of the Democratic field to find divorces. The only Dem Presidential candidate with any kind of credible shot who has gotten divorced is…Chris Dodd, who divorced in 1982.

In fact, if you think about it, the entire field of Dems deemed credible boasts fewer divorces than Rudy Giuliani alone!

Huh, how about that. So just what point is Mr. Klein making? It seems that liberals are faring better in family values than their conservative counterparts. I’ve argued this point before, especially when you compare liberal states with conservative states, say Texas and Massachusetts. Texas has a greater proportion of divorces than Massachusetts, while Massachusetts also has a larger percentage of well educated people. Better education, stabler families, seems liberal values are quite strongly pro-family. So why the smear, Mr. Klein?

The War In Iraq at Four Years And Counting

March 19, 2007 at 12:46 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Iran, Iraq, Military, Peace, Republicans, War | 5 Comments

Several other bloggers in the Bloggernacle have written their views on the fourth anniversary, going back to what they wrote four years ago about the war when it first began. I did not have a blog four years ago (the one year anniversary is coming up next month for my blog), but I was very much against this war back then. I just can’t get past the point that Colin Powell said in February 2001 that Iraq was basically contained:

We had a good discussion, the Foreign Minister and I and the President and I, had a good discussion about the nature of the sanctions — the fact that the sanctions exist — not for the purpose of hurting the Iraqi people, but for the purpose of keeping in check Saddam Hussein’s ambitions toward developing weapons of mass destruction. We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they are directed toward that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was ten years ago when we began it. And frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors. So in effect, our policies have strengthened the security of the neighbors of Iraq…

Unfortunately we are not anywhere near the end of this war. This administration, liars from the start, are still not being honest with Americans about this war. Americans, know this, the more you keep this administration in power, the more you vote for these kinds of people, the longer this war will continue. General Petraeus revealed as much, that the surge was going to continue at least through next year. And don’t confuse the point, to make this plan work, American soldiers will be needed in Iraq for a lot longer to come. Think about it, how many soldiers do we still have in the comparably heaven Bosnia and Kosovo? Think also of the soldiers we still have in Germany, even 60 years after World War II. The reason for their position in Germany was to counter the Soviet Union. These bases are slowly being moved further eastward, into Bulgaria and Romania, but their purpose is beyond just pacifying Germany. So it is in Iraq. The purpose for us being in Baghdad is not just to maintain some semblance of order and peace, but also as a strategic positioning vis a vis Iran and the rest of the Middle East. We’re nowhere near close to bringing these soldiers home, not as long as you have people like Bush with anything close to resembling power and influence.

You want peace in the world? There must be a fundamental change in American culture for that to happen, but I fear Americans are past the point of no return.

Finally I recommend these four additional readings on the anniversary of this ugly war:

Voices from Iraq 2007

Iraq at Four Years: The past is indeed prologue

The desire for Freedom resides in every human heart

Four Years Later

Annotated Story of Iraq

Glenn Beck on KSM and Jimmy Carter

March 16, 2007 at 7:15 pm | Posted in American politics, conservatives, glen beck, Islam, liberals, neo-conservatives, Republicans, Torture, War | 3 Comments

BECK: You know Khalid Shaikh Mohammed has confessed to 9-11 and trying to kill President Carter. Why would you try to kill President Carter? He’s on your side, for the love of Pete.

Those are Glenn Beck’s thoughts about KSM and his boast that he was going too assassinate Carter. You can just smell the disappointment in Beck’s words that KSM didn’t manage to go through this plot. When this bit of news came out, conservative bloggers were also disappointed that KSM didn’t go through with this plot.

Instead of realizing that these terrorists don’t really care which Americans they kill, and as such, are not aligned with any Americans, especially not a former president, people like Glenn Beck continue pressing the vitriolic and of course incorrect point that terrorists and liberals are fighting on the same side. How childish. As Glenn Greenwald states:

Revelations that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed planned assassination plots against former Presidents Carter and Clinton — especially Carter — are causing great confusion among right-wing Civilization Warriors. After all, as John Hinderaker previously pointed out: “Jimmy Carter isn’t just misguided or ill-informed. He’s on the other side.”

Michelle Malkin’s Hot Air expressed this confusion: “[Mohammed] confessed to 29 plots in all, including the Richard Reid shoebomb plot and planned assassinations of the pope and . . . Jimmy Carter?” These extremists come to believe their twisted rhetoric that Democrats are on the side of Al Qaeda and so they literally can’t understand why Mohammed would want to assassinate his own allies like President Carter.

Degrading Situation in Pakistan

March 16, 2007 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Pakistan | 1 Comment

Things are looking bad right now in Pakistan. Massive protests over Musharraf’s decision to fire the chief justice. Lots of police clampdowns. I wonder, who will last longer? Musharraf, or Gonzales?

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