What Conservative Christians Really Think

August 20, 2007 at 9:50 pm | Posted in American politics, conservatives, corruption, Iraq, Republicans, secret combinations, Terrorism, violence, War | 4 Comments

Finally, they are no longer afraid to say it as they really think it:

Exclusive: Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy
Philip Atkinson

Author: Philip Atkinson
Source: The Family Security Foundation, Inc.
Date: August 3, 2007

While democratic government is better than dictatorships and theocracies, it has its pitfalls. FSM Contributing Editor Philip Atkinson describes some of the difficulties facing President Bush today.

Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy
By Philip Atkinson

President George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States. He was sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2005 after being chosen by the majority of citizens in America to be president.

Yet in 2007 he is generally despised, with many citizens of Western civilization expressing contempt for his person and his policies, sentiments which now abound on the Internet. This rage at President Bush is an inevitable result of the system of government demanded by the people, which is Democracy.

The inadequacy of Democracy, rule by the majority, is undeniable – for it demands adopting ideas because they are popular, rather than because they are wise. This means that any man chosen to act as an agent of the people is placed in an invidious position: if he commits folly because it is popular, then he will be held responsible for the inevitable result. If he refuses to commit folly, then he will be detested by most citizens because he is frustrating their demands.

When faced with the possible threat that the Iraqis might be amassing terrible weapons that could be used to slay millions of citizens of Western Civilization, President Bush took the only action prudence demanded and the electorate allowed: he conquered Iraq with an army.

This dangerous and expensive act did destroy the Iraqi regime, but left an American army without any clear purpose in a hostile country and subject to attack. If the Army merely returns to its home, then the threat it ended would simply return.

The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead. Then there would be little risk or expense and no American army would be left exposed. But if he did this, his cowardly electorate would have instantly ended his term of office, if not his freedom or his life.

The simple truth that modern weapons now mean a nation must practice genocide or commit suicide. Israel provides the perfect example. If the Israelis do not raze Iran, the Iranians will fulfill their boast and wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Yet Israel is not popular, and so is denied permission to defend itself. In the same vein, President Bush cannot do what is necessary for the survival of Americans. He cannot use the nation’s powerful weapons. All he can do is try and discover a result that will be popular with Americans.

As there appears to be no sensible result of the invasion of Iraq that will be popular with his countrymen other than retreat, President Bush is reviled; he has become another victim of Democracy.

By elevating popular fancy over truth, Democracy is clearly an enemy of not just truth, but duty and justice, which makes it the worst form of government. President Bush must overcome not just the situation in Iraq, but democratic government.

However, President Bush has a valuable historical example that he could choose to follow.

When the ancient Roman general Julius Caesar was struggling to conquer ancient Gaul, he not only had to defeat the Gauls, but he also had to defeat his political enemies in Rome who would destroy him the moment his tenure as consul (president) ended.

Caesar pacified Gaul by mass slaughter; he then used his successful army to crush all political opposition at home and establish himself as permanent ruler of ancient Rome. This brilliant action not only ended the personal threat to Caesar, but ended the civil chaos that was threatening anarchy in ancient Rome – thus marking the start of the ancient Roman Empire that gave peace and prosperity to the known world.

If President Bush copied Julius Caesar by ordering his army to empty Iraq of Arabs and repopulate the country with Americans, he would achieve immediate results: popularity with his military; enrichment of America by converting an Arabian Iraq into an American Iraq (therefore turning it from a liability to an asset); and boost American prestiege while terrifying American enemies.

He could then follow Caesar’s example and use his newfound popularity with the military to wield military power to become the first permanent president of America, and end the civil chaos caused by the continually squabbling Congress and the out-of-control Supreme Court.

President Bush can fail in his duty to himself, his country, and his God, by becoming “ex-president” Bush or he can become “President-for-Life” Bush: the conqueror of Iraq, who brings sense to the Congress and sanity to the Supreme Court. Then who would be able to stop Bush from emulating Augustus Caesar and becoming ruler of the world? For only an America united under one ruler has the power to save humanity from the threat of a new Dark Age wrought by terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.

Wow…wow, um…I don’t know what to say.

Even Iraqis Think The US Has Failed

August 18, 2007 at 5:21 pm | Posted in American politics, Iraq | 12 Comments

Read it yourself. By Allawi. He kinda knows what’s going on in Iraq these days.

The Worshipping of Ronald Reagan Continues

August 17, 2007 at 11:35 am | Posted in American politics, Congress, conservatives, corruption, Republicans, Ronald Reagan | 4 Comments

Now conservatives want to place a statue of him in Congress. As Think Progress notes:

During a visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told former first lady Nancy Reagan “that he is working with other senators who want to erect a statue of President Reagan” in the U.S. Capitol. “There could be no more fitting recognition than to welcome his likeness to the halls of Congress,’” McConnell told Mrs. Reagan. Ironically, Reagan never actually served in Congress.

I’m curious about conservatives and their deification of Mr. Reagan. Have they forgotten that they claim to be Christians who follow the Ten Commandments? What was the first commandment?

The Housing Market and a Possible Recession

August 17, 2007 at 11:02 am | Posted in American politics, housing market | Leave a comment

I’m not an economist, and on this particular issue I have not formulated my own opinion, but I thought it would be good to link these two particular pieces here, if for anything, my own edification. The first is a piece in the Volokh Conspiracy called The Fed Part I: Avoiding Recession? The second comes from an ABC piece with Robert Shiller, a Yale professor who discussed back in March 2006 about an impending recession over the housing bubble’s inexorable burst. I recommend those two articles, and an accompanying graph from the former on the inflation of the housing market.

The Continual Tragedy in Iraq

August 16, 2007 at 2:20 pm | Posted in Iraq, violence | Leave a comment


(Courtesy of Iraq Slogger)

A father mourns the loss of his son in a road side bomb.

A Travesty of Justice

August 16, 2007 at 1:57 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, corruption, Jose Padilla, secret combinations | Leave a comment

The jury found Jose Padilla guilty of “conspiracy to support Islamic terrorism overseas.” But as the article astutely points out:

Just as prosecutors did not present the “dirty bomb” plot to the jury, neither were jurors told that Padilla was held in a Navy brig for 3½ years without charges before his indictment in the Miami case.

So the government held an American citizen unconstitutionally for over three years on the charge that he was to plant a “dirty bomb.” The jurors were never presented with this evidence, because of course, if they actually heard or saw what the government did to him, they would never have believed the government’s story.

What this particular case also shows is that the government’s argument that these bad guys cannot be tried in regular civilian courts is well a very weak argument. This decision, while making the DOJ happy, also undermines the Bush administration’s push to create military tribunals for all those at Gitmo. What’s the point of those sham trials when the government can still get away with sham trials in more credible courts?

Bill Sali Is Against the Constitution of the United States of America

August 16, 2007 at 1:20 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Christianity, Congress, conservatives, corruption, Evangelicals, Mormon, Religion, Republicans, secret combinations | 1 Comment

Here is Article VI of the United States Constitution:

All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

And here is Congressman Representative Bill Sali:

“I think that Keith deserves a call from me — not necessarily because of what’s in my heart or in my mind, but because of how it’s been portrayed,” Sali said.

But Sali said he does think the country’s Founding Fathers created a government based on Christian principles and that the best course into the future is to follow those ideas.

The country’s creators fought for the “principles found in Scripture,” he said. “The dangerous part is straying from these principles.

“The idea that somehow we can move to multiculturalism and still remain the same — I think that’s a little dangerous, too,” he said. “From my standpoint, I believe the Founding Fathers were overwhelmingly Christian, and the God they were talking about is the God of the Bible.”

That is an explanation over these earlier comments:

We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes — and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers.

Clearly Mr. Sali is delusional and ignorant. I’m curious what conservative Mormons in Idaho who he represents think about him…

For example, here is a Founding Father who differed with Mr. Sali, some guy named Thomas Jefferson, who said:

The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that it’s protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.” The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it’s protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.

I’m gonna side with Thomas Jefferson on this one, personally.

Quote of the Day – Dick Cheney

August 16, 2007 at 1:07 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Cheney, Iran, Middle East, secret combinations | Leave a comment

Well well well, it seems before 9/11 Dick Cheney actually made some sense, or at least did not let the delusions that were to come after 9/11 get in the way of sound thinking. Here he is in 1998 on sanctions on Iran:

[O]ur sanctions policy oftentimes generates unanticipated consequences. It puts us in a position where a part of our government is pursuing objectives that are at odds with other objectives that the United States has with respect to a particular region.

An example that comes immediately to mind has to do with efforts to develop the resources of the former Soviet Union in the Caspian Sea area. It is a region rich in oil and gas. Unfortunately, Iran is sitting right in the middle of the area and the United States has declared unilateral economic sanctions against that country. As a result, American firms are prohibited from dealing with Iran and find themselves cut out of the action, both in terms of opportunities that develop with respect to Iran itself, and also with respect to our ability to gain access to Caspian resources. Iran is not punished by this decision. There are numerous oil and gas development companies from other countries that are now aggressively pursuing opportunities to develop those resources. That development will proceed, but it will happen without American participation. The most striking result of the government’s use of unilateral sanctions in the region is that only American companies are prohibited from operating there.

Another good example of how our sanctions policy oftentimes gets in the way of our other interests occurred in the fall of 1997 when Saddam Hussein was resisting U.N. weapons inspections. I happened to be in the Gulf region during that period of time. Administration officials in the area were trying to get Arab members of the coalition that executed operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1991 to allow U.S. military forces to be based on their territory. They wanted that capability in the event it was necessary to take military action against Iraq in order to get them to honor the UN resolutions. Our friends in the region cited a number of reasons for not complying with our request. They were concerned with the fragile nature of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, which was stalled. But they also had fundamental concerns about our policy toward Iran. We had been trying to force the governments in the region to adhere to an anti-Iranian policy, and our views raised questions in their mind about the wisdom of U.S. leadership. They cited it as an example of something they thought was unwise, and that they should not do.

So, what effect does this have on our standing in the region? I take note of the fact that all of the Arab countries we approached, with the single exception of Kuwait, rejected our request to base forces on their soil in the event military action was required against Iraq. As if that weren’t enough, most of them boycotted the economic conference that the United States supported in connection with the peace process that was hosted in Qatar during that period of time. Then, having rejected participation in that conference, they all went to Tehran and attended the Islamic summit hosted by the Iranians. The nation that’s isolated in terms of our sanctions policy in that part of the globe is not Iran. It is the United States. And the fact that we have tried to pressure governments in the region to adopt a sanctions policy that they clearly are not interested in pursuing has raised doubts in the minds of many of our friends about the overall wisdom and judgment of U.S. policy in the area.

Let me repeat what he just said again, “The nation that’s isolated in terms of our sanctions policy in that part of the globe is not Iran. It is the United States.” Wow, what the hell happened to this guy after 9/11? Why did his wisdom go the way of the dodo bird?

The Worst Terrorist Attack Since 9/11

August 15, 2007 at 4:57 pm | Posted in 9/11, American politics, Iraq, Military, violence, War, War on Terror | 4 Comments

Well, it looks like this truck bombing in northern Iraq is now the worst terrorist attack since 9/11 in terms of number dead, now placed at 500 poor souls.

The US military continues to lie to the American people. They are saying the purpose of the attack was to “sway public opinion.”

The Tuesday truck bombs that targeted the villages of Qahtaniya, al-Jazeera and Tal Uzair, in northern Iraq near the border with Syria, were a “trademark al Qaeda event” designed to sway U.S. public opinion against the war, a U.S. general said Wednesday.

The attacks, targeting Kurdish villages of the Yazidi religious minority, were attempts to “break the will” of the American people and show that the U.S. troop escalation — the “surge” — is failing, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon said.

See, in the eyes of the US military, any big setback like this HAS to be tied to Al-Qaeda. It cannot possibly be the work of anybody else. Because, see, if it isn’t the work of Al-Qaeda, then it really does mean that our “Surge” is not working very well. The thing is that this incident is actually most likely a conflict over territory between ethnic groups. Note who exactly was targeted. A spectacular bombing like this, if really intended to sway American public opinion would not have taken place against the Yazidi religious minority, but rather indiscriminately somewhere close to Baghdad. Baghdad is the epicenter for public opinion about Iraq. But this takes place far in the north, away from all the real conflict. As Juan Cole states:

The operation resembled the horrific bombing of the Shiite Turkmen of Armili on July 2. Note that first Shiite Turkmen were targeted and now Kurdish Yazidis. They have in common not being Sunni Arabs. My suspicion is that these bombings are not just an attempt to spread fear and intimidation, but are actually part of a struggle for control of territory. The Sunni Arab guerrillas face powerful challenges from Kurds and Shiites with regard to the future of provinces such as Ninevah, Diyala and Kirkuk. A lot of Kurdish police and troops have been deployed in Mosul not far from Tuesday’s bombings, and they are seen as among the deadliest enemies by the Sunni Arab guerrillas. Sooner or later, my guess is that the Sunni Arabs will wage a major war with the Kurds over the oil fields of Kirkuk.

Imagine that, Sunnis caring more about their future vis a vis their neighbors than swaying American public opinion. Imagine that, we’re not at the epicenter of all things on this planet.

General Petraeus Will NOT Report in September, The White House Will

August 15, 2007 at 12:04 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, conservatives, corruption, Iraq, Republicans, secret combinations, War, War on Terror | 2 Comments

Surprise surprise, the White House has lied again. General Petraeus is supposed to give a report to Congress in September on the “progress” of the surge. Well, he will not be writing this report.

Despite Bush’s repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government.

Right, input on how to best spin this grand failure. Com’on America, don’t let them continue the bamboozling act!

At Least 100 Iraqis Dead, Meanwhile Surge Supporters Claim Successes

August 14, 2007 at 4:38 pm | Posted in American politics, Iraq, Republicans, secret combinations, violence | 2 Comments

Three suicide bombings in Northern Iraq have killed at least 100 people. Meanwhile Ken Pollack believes the surge is producing real progress.

So sad.

Right Out of 1984

August 14, 2007 at 3:56 pm | Posted in 1984, American politics, Bush Administration, Jose Padilla, Torture | Leave a comment

O’Brien would have been proud of our US military today. Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, on the justification for the permanent detention of one Jose Padilla (and the rest of those detainees outside the bounds of the Constitution).

Developing the kind of relationship of trust and dependency necessary for effective interrogations is a process that can take a significant amount of time. There are numerous examples of situations where interrogators have been unable to obtain valuable intelligence from a subject until months, or even years, after the interrogation process began.

Anything that threatens the perceived dependency and trust between the subject and interrogator directly threatens the value of interrogation as an intelligence-gathering tool. Even seemingly minor interruptions can have profound psychological impacts on the delicate subject-interrogator relationship. Any insertion of counsel into the subject-interrogator relationship, for example — even if only for a limited duration or for a specific purpose — can undo months of work and may permanently shut down the interrogation process. Therefore, it is critical to minimize external influences on the interrogation process.

And

Permitting Padilla any access to counsel may substantially harm our national security interests. As with most detainees, Padilla is unlikely to cooperate if he believes that an attorney will intercede in his detention. DIA’s assessment is that Padilla is even more inclined to resist interrogation than most detainees. DIA is aware that Padilla has had extensive experience in the United States criminal justice system and had access to counsel when he was being held as a material witness. These experiences have likely heightened his expectations that counsel will assist him in the interrogation process. Only after such as Padilla has perceived that help is not on the way can the United States reasonably expect to obtain all possible intelligence information from Padilla.

Because Padilla is likely more attuned to the possibility of counsel intervention than most detainees, I believe that any potential sign of counsel involvement would disrupt our ability to gather intelligence from Padilla. Padilla has been detained without access to counsel for seven months — since the [Department of Defense] took control of him on 9 June 2002. Providing him access to counsel now would create expectations by Padilla that his ultimate release may be obtained through an adversarial civil litigation process. This would break — probably irreparably – the sense of dependency and trust that the interrogators are attempting to create.

At a minimum, Padilla might delay providing information until he believes that his judicial avenues have been exhausted. Given the nature of his case, his prior experience in the criminal justice system, and the length of that has already elapsed since his detention, Padilla might reasonably expect that his judicial avenues of relief may not be exhausted for many months or years. Moreover, Padilla might harbor the belief that his counsel would be available to assist him at any point and that seven months is not an unprecedented for him to be without access to counsel.

Any such delay in Padilla’s case risks that plans for future attacks will go undetected during that period, and that whatever information Padilla may eventually provide will be outdated and more difficult to corroborate.

Here are the summaries of the later chapters of 1984 for comparison:

http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/20/

Chapter 2
Winston’s torture starts in real earnest and is presided over by O’Brien himself. At first it is sheer brutal physical torture, incessant blows all over, reducing him to a cowering animal confessing to anything and everything, implicating everybody if only the pain would stop. Then the guards are replaced by the intellectuals of the Party who inflict subtler kinds of pain and reduce him to an abject cringing wreck crying from sheer humiliation and exhaustion. In between, he is administered frequent drug injections which sometimes increase his pain and sometimes knock him out completely. In the last stage, O’Brien takes over personally, with Winston connected to an electric dial by means of which O’Brien can impose any degree of pain he wishes.
O’Brien tells Winston that he is there to be cured of his mental fallacies. He combines the relentless logic of doublethink and the administration of pain till Winston is reduced o saying that four fingers are actually five. O’Brien points out that unlike the persecutors of the old Regimes, Nazism or the inquisition, they did not stop with extorting forced confessions, they break men till they actually become what they are tortured into being. Even the three leaders Winston had once admired – Jones, Aaronson and Rutherford had been broken by the same method till they had been completely broken. He tells Winston that there is no escape, even if they allow him to live, there would be no capacity left in him to be a full human being again, and posterity will not vindicate him as posterity will not even hear of him.
Finally, O’Brien invites Winston to ask any questions he wants to. Winston asks about Julia and is told that she betrayed him totally and completely. He asks if Big Brother exists and is told that as the party says Big Brother exists then he exists. He asks about the Brotherhood and is told that that was something he would never know, even if he lives to be ninety it would be an unsolved mystery for him. Then Winston nerves himself to ask the last question “What is in Room 101?” O’Brien’s mocking answer is that everyone KNOWS what is in Room 101.

http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/21/

Chapter 3
In the next stage of his “education” Winston is told plainly by O’Brien that the Party wants power for its own sake. There are no lies now, the Party is not promising Utopia. The aim is to dehumanize the human race, to obliterate every emotion and instinct except loyalty to the Party. And Winston, as much as anyone else would come to accept this not just as inevitable, but desirable.
Winston puts up a feeble resistance even now. He says that finally, in the last instance the human spirit would overthrow the regime O’Brien was describing. O’Brien mockingly asks him if he considers himself a man. When he says that he does, he is told to look at himself in a mirror and he sees a rotting, emaciated stinking body. That, O’Brien tells him is the last remnant of humanity. It cannot survive. The symbol of the future, O’Brien says is a boot permanently stamping on the human face. He then tells Winston that they have broken his mind as badly as they have shattered his body and asks him if there is any degradation or humiliation that he has not been reduced to. As his last stand Winston claims that he has despite everything not betrayed Julia. O’Brien immediately understands what he means by this – he has revealed all of their secrets, but in the sense of not ceasing to love her, Winston had not betrayed Julia. That, then was the final stage he had to be reduced to.

http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/22/

Chapter 4
Winston was still in solitary confinement, but he was not tortured now. He was fed at regular intervals, he was even given cigarettes. At first he was content to lie free from pain, that in itself was bliss. Slowly as his physical health improved, he retreated into a dream world with the faces changing – his mother, O’Brien, Julia, it was all the same now. He was provided with a slate and pencil, slowly he set about educating himself in the way the Party wanted. He wrote the Party slogans on the slate and made himself believe them. He convinced himself that two and two was five, he acquired, laboriously the stupidity required to do that. Ha managed to convince himself that he had never seen the photograph confirming the innocence of the three executed leaders. He remembered seeing it, but that was an aberration.
On the whole, he was making excellent “progress” when one day he suddenly woke up from a dream crying out “Julia, my love.” His feelings, he realized were unchanged. He had surrendered his mind, but he still hoped to retain his heart. He clung to one last shred of hope, that in his heart he could continue to hate the Party, disguise that hatred even from himself and release it into consciousness only at the moment of his execution. Thus the Party would be unable to destroy his hatred and he would score a small victory by dying with his hatred inviolate.
However, O’Brien anticipated this as he did ever other thought of Winston’s. Entering the cell he tells Winston that intellectually he has made good progress but emotionally the final step remained to be taken. He then asks Winston about his true feelings towards Big Brother. Recognizing the futility of lying, Winston confesses “I hate him.” O’Brien now passes judgment, it is not enough to obey Big Brother, one must also love him. He then utters the dreaded words “Room 101.”

http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/23/

Chapter 5
Winston is confined in Room101, strapped to a chair in a way which rendered him completely immobile. In front of him were two tables on which stood two covered wire cages. O’Brien was holding a lever which would operate the cages. Impassively, O’Brien explains that what Room 101 contains is quite simply, “the worst thing in the world.” This varies from individual to individual. For some it may be torture, fire for some one else, drowning for yet others. For each individual, Room 101 held his greatest fear. When confronted with that, courage and cowardice lose their meaning, one will do whatever one has to do to avoid the horror in Room 101 as naturally and automatically as one will grab at a rope to keep from falling.
In Winston’s case, his greatest fear, his worst nightmare was rats and it was rats there were there in the cages in front of him. O’Brien informs him that he is going to open the cages and set the rats onto him. The rats are starving, they will sense Winston’s helplessness and devour him inch by inch. Winston cries out in terror asking O’Brien to only tell him what he has to do to avoid this. O’Brien vouchsafes no answer and lays his hand on the lever which would open the cages. In a total frenzy Winston sees the rats behind the bar and with a sudden flash of intuition realizes what he has to do to save himself. He has to take the final step of degradation, he has to betray Julia. It is no longer a matter of choice, before this threat, he is helpless. He cries out “Do it to Julia! Not me!” Repeating that cry he is aware that the lever has clicked back into place, the cage is closed. His degradation is finally completed in Room 101.

What is the relationship of the benefits of employing these techniques to the costs incurred upon using them? How does using these techniques reflect on America’s image, and more importantly on America’s credibility as an honest broker of justice? Is “security for all” really the overriding priority in life? Does that not, in fact, coincide with Satan’s plan, to save all, whatever the cost? Who still thinks any of this is right?

The Fruits of Our Labors in Iraq

August 13, 2007 at 3:28 pm | Posted in American politics, Iran, Iraq | 2 Comments


(courtesy of Needlenose.

Note how well they hold hands…

George W. Bush Is A Jerk And Pretty Stupid Too

August 13, 2007 at 1:16 pm | Posted in American politics, family values, George W Bush | Leave a comment

From the Plank:

Dick Armey, the House Republican majority leader when Bush took office (and no more a shrinking violet than DeLay), told me a story that captures the exquisite pettiness of most members of Congress and the arrogance that made Bush and Rove so inept at handling them. “For all the years he was president,” Armey told me, “Bill Clinton and I had a little thing we’d do where every time I went to the White House, I would take the little name tag they give you and pass it to the president, who, without saying a word, would sign and date it. Bill Clinton and I didn’t like each other. He said I was his least-favorite member of Congress. But he knew that when I left his office, the first schoolkid I came across would be given that card, and some kid who had come to Washington with his mama would go home with the president’s autograph. I think Clinton thought it was a nice thing to do for some kid, and he was happy to do it.” Armey said that when he went to his first meeting in the White House with President Bush, he explained the tradition with Clinton and asked the president if he would care to continue it. “Bush refused to sign the card. Rove, who was sitting across the table, said, ‘It would probably wind up on eBay,'” Armey continued.

And courtesy of Dick Pohlman, your president, ladies and gentlemen:

The place was Tampa, Florida. The date, Feb. 4, 2005. A woman has asked about the hefty transition costs of moving Social Security into the private realm. Bush replied:

“Because the – all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There’s a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be – or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It’s kind of muddled. Look, there’s a series of things that cause the – like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate – the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those – if that growth is affected, it will help on the red. Okay, better? I’ll keep working on it.”

The Islamists Are Coming! The Islamists Are Coming!

August 13, 2007 at 1:15 pm | Posted in American politics, Republicans, secret combinations | 1 Comment

Quick run for your lives!

Karl Rove Resigns

August 13, 2007 at 12:14 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Bush Administration, conservatives, corruption, George W Bush, karl rove, King George, Republicans, secret combinations | Leave a comment

So Karl Rove will leave the White House at the end of August. Many are wondering why, what’s with the quick departure. Me, well, I believe that he is leaving in order to shield the White House from some very strong storms about to come from the numerous investigations into law-breaking that came out of Rove’s strategies, from politicizing US attorneys, to the Abramoff scandal, to the Hatch Act violations.

These of course, are still minor things. They are not the meat of the violations that the Bush administration has committed under the direction of Karl Rove. Let us not ever forget that the war in Iraq, while architected and dreamed up by Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, was used by Karl Rove as a political lever. He told Republicans in January of 2002 to use the impending war against Democrats. The 2004 election, strategized by Karl Rove, was all about the war. The May Mission Accomplished landing on the aircraft carrier in 2003 was all about the 2004 election. Starting the war in March of 2003 (and not waiting around until the summer, or late fall) was all about the 2004 election. The war in Iraq was all about getting Bush reelected and about creating a permanent Republican majority, Karl Rove’s wettest dream. Building on the false perception that Democrats were militarily weak, Rove and the Republicans pressed for the worst things of the war, just for political points. This is the legacy of Karl Rove. This is the legacy of George W. Bush. This is the legacy of these Republicans today.

The unfortunate part is that our media today is most complicit in this bamboozle. So Americans won’t get a clear picture of what is really going on. You have to look at sources outside of America to see things clearly. It is very unfortunate that it really has come to this, but this is the consequence of divisive politics.

Alexander Hamilton on Guantanamo Bay

August 11, 2007 at 7:47 pm | Posted in American politics, conservatives, corruption, Jose Padilla, secret combinations, Torture | Leave a comment

In Federalist #84

The observations of the judicious Blackstone, in reference to the latter, are well worthy of recital: “To bereave a man of life, [says he] or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole nation; but confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to jail, where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten, is a less public, a less striking, and therefore a more dangerous engine of arbitrary government.” And as a remedy for this fatal evil he is everywhere peculiarly emphatical in his encomiums on the habeas corpus act, which in one place he calls “the BULWARK of the British Constitution.”

Remember Jose Padilla

John McCain on Withdrawal

August 11, 2007 at 12:57 pm | Posted in American politics | Leave a comment

Let’s see what John McCain thinks about withdrawals.

One of the reasons why people are convinced, why many of these experts are convinced, that this situation is one which is increasingly difficult to solve, is because of the fact that we were there once before. The right course of action is to make preparations as quickly as possible to bring our people home. It does not mean as soon as order is restored to Haiti Iraq, it doesn’t mean as soon as Democracy is flourishing in Haiti Iraq, it doesn’t mean as soon as we’ve established a viable nation in Haiti Iraq, as soon as possible means as soon as we can get out of Haiti Iraq without losing any American lives. Now there may be different interpretations of this Resolution on the other side but it is my view and I want to make it clear and I think the majority of the American people’s view that as soon as possible means as soon as possible. Exactly what those words state. The Haitians Iraqis were to police themselves but the cooperation that was to prevent mission creep has not materialized and U.S. troops have assumed a greater and greater responsibility for policing Haiti Iraq. We all see on CNN what they are doing. Day by day their mission expands. American military personnel have been tasked with preventing looting, stopping Haitian Iraqi on Haitian Iraqi violence, protecting private property and arresting attaches.

and

Mr. President, there is no reason for the United States of America to remain in Somalia Iraq. The American people want them home, I believe that the majority of Congress wants them home, and to set an artificial date of March 31 or even February 1st, in my view, is not acceptable. The criteria should be to bring them home as rapidly and safely as possible. An evolution, which I think could be completed in a matter of weeks. Mr. President, our continued military presence in Somalia Iraq allows another situation to arise which could then lead to the wounding, killing, or capture of the of American fighting men and women. We should do all in our power to avoid that. Date certain, Mr. President, are not the criteria here. What’s the criteria and what should be the criteria is our immediate, orderly withdrawal from Somalia Iraq. And if we don’t do that, and other Americans die, other Americans are wounded, other Americans are captured, because we stayed too long, longer than necessary, then I would say that the responsibilities for that lie with the Congress of the United States who did not excercise their authority under the Constitution of the United States and mandate that they be brought home as quickly and safely as possible. But the mission which the American people supported and this Congress supported, in an overwhelming resolution, has been accomplished. The American people did not support the goals of nation-building, peacemaking, law and order and certainly not warlord funding. For us to get into nation-building, law and order, etc, I think is a tragic and terrible mistake. But the argument that somehow the United States would suffer a loss to our prestige and our viability, as far as the No. 1 superpower in the world, I think, is baloney. The fact is, what can hurt our prestige, Mr. President, I’ll tell you what can hurt our viability, as the world’s superpower, and that is, if we inmesh ourselves in a drawn-out situation, which entails the loss of American lives, more debaucles like the one we saw with the failed mission to capture Aidid’s Al-Qaeda’s lieutenants, using American forces, and that then will be what hurts our prestige. Look at the tragedy in Beirut, Mr. President, 240 young Marines lost their lives, but we got out. Now is the time for us to get out of Somalia Iraq, as rapidly and as promptly and as safely as possible.

The first one is from McCain arguing for a withdrawal from Haiti in 1994, and the second one for Mr. McCain arguing for a withdrawal from Somalia in 1993. I’m actually surprised that McCain used Beirut as an excuse for withdrawal from Somalia……interesting, isn’t it.

A Good Analysis of How Bad Things Are In Iraq

August 10, 2007 at 1:27 pm | Posted in American politics, Iraq, Military | Leave a comment

They come few and far in between, but occasionally we do get an excellent analysis of how bad things really are in Iraq, this time from the Financial Times.

Two ostensibly benign by-products of the US invading Iraq were: the empowerment of the Shia majority there, giving the sect, a dispossessed minority within Islam, rights denied for centuries; and the welcome panic of an ossified Sunni Arab order based on a toxic mix of despotism and social inequity that incubated extremism. But Iraq’s Shia politicians seem unwilling to put state above sect. Such is the Sunni, jihadi-abetted backlash, and the intra-Shia fight over the spoils, that the Shia have not so much come into their inheritance as entered a new circle of hell.

The Shia-led government of prime minister Nouri al-Maliki has ceased to pursue even a communalist agenda, preferring the narrower sectarian interest of his faction of the Da’wa party. With the withdrawal of 17 of 38 members of Mr Maliki’s cabinet – including all the Sunnis and two big Shia factions – government has for most practical purposes ceased.

To believe any policy might work in these circumstances – let alone a slow-motion surge – requires heroic optimism. Some of that was placed in Gen David Petraeus, US commander in Iraq. At least until this week.

It turns out those Kalashnikovs went missing on his previous watch, as trainer-in-chief of the still barely existent Iraqi army. Gen Petraeus, a student of counterinsurgency with a PhD from Princeton and a gift for PR, had been lionised for his command of the 101st Airborne division in 2003-04, and especially his “hearts and minds” campaign in the north. After his withdrawal, however, two-thirds of Mosul’s security forces defected to the insurgency and the rest went down like fairground ducks. His forces appear not to have noticed, moreover, that Saudi-inspired jihadis had established a bridgehead in Mosul before the war had even started.

But US commanders seem to have no trouble detecting the hand of Tehran everywhere. This largely evidence-free blaming of serial setbacks on Iranian forces is a bad case of denial. First, the insurgency is overwhelmingly Iraqi and Sunni, built around a new generation of jihadis created by the US invasion. Second, to the extent foreign fighters are involved these have come mostly from US-allied and Sunni Saudi Arabia, not Shia Iran. Third, the lethal roadside bombs with shaped charges that US officials have coated with a spurious veneer of sophistication to prove Iranian provenance are mostly made by Iraqi army-trained engineers – from high explosive looted from those unsecured arms dumps.

Shia Iran has backed a lot of horses in Iraq. If it wished to bring what remains of the country down around US ears it could. It has not done so. The plain fact is that Tehran’s main clients in Iraq are the same as Washington’s: Mr Maliki’s Da’wa and the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq led by Abdelaziz al-Hakim. Iran has bet less on the unpredictable Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi army, which has, in any case, largely stood aside during the present troop surge.

So, in sum. Having upturned the Sunni order in Iraq and the Arab world, and hugely enlarged the Shia Islamist power emanating from Iran, the US finds itself dependent on Tehran-aligned forces in Baghdad, yet unable to dismantle the Sunni jihadistan it has created in central and western Iraq. Ignoring its Iraqi allies it is arming Sunni insurgents to fight al-Qaeda. And, by selling them arms rather than settling Palestine it is trying to put together an Arab Sunni alliance (Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia) with Israel against Iran. All clear? How can anyone keep a straight face and call this a strategy?

Where have the conservative realists gone? Under what rock are they hiding?

US Military Attacks Sadr City

August 10, 2007 at 9:23 am | Posted in American politics, Iraq, Military | 1 Comment

The United States military attacked Sadr City, and well, the results are not so good. See the images for yourself, courtesy of IraqSlogger.

Yeah, way to win those hearts and minds guys.

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