There He Goes Again

May 5, 2008 at 3:22 am | Posted in Bush Administration, Iran, Iraq, Michael Gordon, Military, War | Leave a comment

Michael Gordon carries the water for the Bush administration yet again, unquestioningly passing along any information “American officials” wish to pass along to their best enabler, Mr. Gordon. This time is it the salacious news that Hezbollah (our mortal enemy) has been training Iraqis in Iran (duh duh duh!)!

There has been debate among experts about the extent to which Iran is responsible for instability in Iraq. But President Bush and other American officials, in public castigations of Iran, have said that Iran has been consistently meddlesome in Iraq and that the Iranians have long sought to arm and train Iraqi militias, which the American military has called “special groups.”

In a possible effort to be less obtrusive, it appears that Iran is now bringing small groups of Iraqi Shiite militants to camps in Iran, where they are taught how to do their own training, American officials say.

Because of course, “American officials” are, er…uh, never wrong. But just read those two paragraphs closely. Iran, responsible for instability in Iraq? Who is the biggest provider of weapons and training in Iraq of various militias and non-state actors? Why it is the United States! In a competition between the United States and Iran, which of the two nations has directly killed more civilians than the other? Uh, this should be a no brainer, but for those kool-aid drinking war supporters, the answer is the United States. It is the United States that is sowing instability in Iraq at a far greater rate than Iran could ever do.

Those dratted meddlesome Iranians. If it weren’t for those blasted kids and their dog!

Advertisements

Will Bush Attempt to Influence the November Elections With Terror?

February 9, 2008 at 5:49 am | Posted in Bush Administration | 1 Comment

Because it sure looks like it based on the timing of these cases against terrorists held at Gitmo. Be ready everybody. You’re about to be bamboozled again.

George Bush and His Supporters Lied About Iraq

January 23, 2008 at 10:27 am | Posted in Bush Administration, Iraq | 1 Comment

and here is all the evidence. George Bush himself was the worst offender, lying 260 times. No surprise there. What is surprising is that the second worst offender was Colin Powell. Shame on you, Mr. Powell.

UPDATE: Mother Jones also has a good timeline detailing the lies.

Keep an Eye on This

January 16, 2008 at 8:15 pm | Posted in Bush Administration | Leave a comment

White House erased tapes it is required by law to keep preserved. Maybe this administration has broken so many laws and acted so much like an imperial presidency that we’ve become “past feeling” to all that comes out, but this is still reprehensible. And you can bet that this wasn’t some accident, but rather quite deliberate. I’m quite sure that the Bush administration never wants anyone to know what exactly they pondered in those early days of their administration, the disturbing avenues they considered.

Evil.

Who Remains An Ally of Bush?

December 29, 2007 at 9:02 am | Posted in American politics, Australia, Bush Administration, corruption, Foreign Policy, George W Bush, King George, Musharraf, Tony Blair | Leave a comment

Let’s count them, shall we?

1. Aznar, Spain’s prime minister. Ousted in 2004 by an electorate who he crossed by entering into Iraq without their approval. 90% of Spaniards did NOT want to go into Iraq.

2. Tony Blair, Britain’s prime minister. He had such a good legacy going for him before he joined with Bush. Now with his legacy in tatters does anyone care what Mr. Blair has to say?

3. John Howard, Australia’s prime minister. Embarrassingly lost his own seat in the most recent elections. David Hicks will soon come knocking on his legacy door, once that gag order is removed.

4. General Musharraf, Pakistan’s…well, dictator. He doesn’t have much longer left in him, and the Bush administration knows this. This is why they pressed for Benazir Bhutto to come out of exile and return to her violent home to be assassinated. I don’t know if I am surprised or not that the Bush administration under Condoleezza Rice’s reign at State, failed to consider that many Pakistanis didn’t want to see Ms. Bhutto back in Pakistan, ruling the country. It is surprising because it is assumed people in such positions of power have the foresight and wisdom to see such paths before making a decision. Then again, it is not surprising because these are Bush loyalists in power. They really are horrendous.

5. Benazir Bhutto, dead. Poor Ms. Bhutto. A mere pawn of bigger players is assassinated in her home country after being convinced to return by Ms. Condoleezza Rice.

At Rice’s urging, Bhutto earlier this year agreed to take part in the parliamentary elections, with the understanding that the Pakistani president would keep his part of the bargain by permitting her, a twice-elected prime minister, to serve for a third term (which was banned by a technical rule). Instead, Musharraf did nothing to change the law and instead declared emergency rule—a decision that President Bush did not immediately denounce. Nor did the Americans push Musharraf on the other aspects of the deal that would have allowed her to be a three-time prime minister. “The Americans left her high and dry,” says a close Bhutto ally who requested anonymity when discussing diplomatic issues. “They did not keep their word.” America wants an ally in Pakistan—but with U.S. credibility in the country so low, Washington would be better off not trying to name any successors.

It is not good to be an ally of George W. Bush. When push comes to shove, you will be left out high and dry while he gets away scot free.

Shooting Themselves in the Foot

December 17, 2007 at 6:41 am | Posted in Afghanistan, American politics, Bush Administration, Iraq | 7 Comments

Remember, we didn’t actually NEED to go into Iraq. There really wasn’t any urgency. We knew there was no actual urgency in 2002, but the Bush administration pushed for the war anyways, diverting attention from Afghanistan into an unneeded war. Well, guess what? The administration now sees Afghanistan as the bigger threat. Heh. The irony.

Administration officials say the White House has become more concerned in recent months about the situation in Afghanistan, where grinding poverty, rampant corruption, poor infrastructure and the growing challenge from the Taliban are hindering U.S. stabilization efforts. Senior administration officials now believe Afghanistan may pose a greater longer-term challenge than Iraq.

Duh. We could have told you that (and we did) back in 2002 when you were shifting attention to Iraq. Our REAL enemy has always been in Afghanistan, you dope.

Various Items

December 15, 2007 at 6:52 am | Posted in America, American politics, Barry Bonds, baseball, Bush Administration, CIA, Civil War, Congress, conservatives, corruption, Democrats, Ethiopia, Foreign Policy, George W Bush, Iran, Iraq, Israel, King George, Middle East, mukasey, Musharraf, Pakistan, Peace, Republicans, secret combinations, Somalia, Terrorism, Thoughts, War, World Events | Leave a comment

There are a few items in the news today that I feel are important.

Justice Department Seeks Delay in CIA Tapes

Surprise, surprise. The Bush Administration Justice Department does not wish for Congress to really know what was going on at the CIA when they destroyed evidence. What do you think, Mr. Chuck Shumer? Ms. Diane Feinstein? Was Mukasey worth this? Did you really think he would allow you into the deepest darkest corners of the Bush administration? Serious, high crimes have been committed by the Bush administration, ordered from Bush himself. Do you really think he would let you in?

Do Congressional Democrats realize just how frustrating they have been at allowing the Bush administration and the minority Republicans to thrash them so many times? Do Congressional Democrats realize just how frustrating it is for citizens to see them capitulate at the mere THREAT of filibuster. LET THEM FILIBUSTER ALREADY! Let them do it guys! Let’s see Republicans talk themselves to death! Let them truly be obstructionist. Why do you give them such political victories, by both giving in to their demands without making them sweat for it, and letting them take the public relations coup?

I think we need new Democratic leadership. Y’all are cowards. Yes, you Mr. Harry Reid. Yes you, Ms. Nancy Pelosi. What do Bush and the Republicans have on you? Why do you bend over for them? STOP IT!

Musharraf Lifts Pakistan’s State of Emergency.

Heh, one wonders why. Let’s see, the reason given for the state of emergency two months ago was a threat to the state of Pakistan by Al-Qaeda. Now that the state of emergency was removed, can anyone point to any reduced threat from Al-Qaeda? Any evidence? Are they still a threat to Pakistan? Hmmm.

Maybe the real reason had to do with Pakistan’s Supreme Court, which was about to rule against Musharraf. Let’s see. Musharraf declares emergency, martial law, basically. He removes justices from the Supreme Court he didn’t like, and places ones on there that would rule in his favor. He arrests some thousands of lawyers—a true threat to the viability of the state, no doubt—-but, well…nothing really drastic done against the stated threat, Al-Qaeda. Huh.

So, who, besides Musharraf, can even consider the upcoming elections as anything but fair?

Ethiopians said to push civilians into rebel war.

This piece of news is important because Ethiopia entered into Somalia at our request. We again farmed out what we should have done to someone else. Now that someone else, in this case, Ethiopia, is stretched too thin. Because many of its troops are in Somalia, Ethiopia does not have enough to deal with the rebels in a really dry region between Somalia and Eritrea. This is bad because it is undermining the strength of a fairly stable country on Africa’s horn. Meanwhile, over in Somalia, the Islamic militants increase their power.

Huh, I wonder if Bush will pull a Bush senior move and send soldiers into Somalia just before he gets out of office forcing his Democratic successor to handle his mess.

Sealed off by Israel, Gaza a beggar state

I don’t get Israel. I don’t think they realize the enormity of the problem in Gaza, and that by continuing to starve them out, it will only be worse for them. 1.5 million people is a hell of a lot of people. I’m sure Israel would love it for them not to be there anymore, but there is no way for that to happen.

It is really sad. A peace conference photo-op was done at Annapolis just a few weeks ago, but notably absent are the conflicting parties. Where was Hamas? Where was Hesbollah? Where was Iran? Interestingly, where was Iraq? How can you make peace with your enemy if you do not invite them to a peace conference?

Voters offer mixed responses on Clemens’ HOF chances

On baseball here. The Mitchell Report has certainly increased baseball talk, here in mid-winter. I’ll be fascinated to see what happens in the Spring. But I wanted to quote from Ray Ratto, who is quoted in this piece. I think he makes some very interesting points in regards to baseball, the Hall of Fame, numbers, and more importantly, the business itself.

“I would vote for Bonds on the first ballot, as I would vote for Clemens, because the Hall of Fame isn’t church,” Ratto said. “It’s the history of baseball, and this is part of the history of baseball. I can assure you that Bud Selig will be voted into the Hall of Fame, and he is the commissioner whose name will be linked with the steroid era by first ignoring it, then profiting from it, and finally blaming others for it.

“I know that Cap Anson is in the Hall of Fame, and he was instrumental in the creation of the color line, which is way worse than PEDs. So this discussion ends up being an excuse for people with no institutional memory or understanding to claim a moral superiority they’re not really equipped to display.”

I always liked Ray Ratto. I grew up in the Bay Area and read his opinions frequently. I think he says it best here. Firstly that the Hall of Fame already includes cheaters, as well as racists and womanizers. It isn’t church. We don’t need to deify these players.

More important is his point about how the business of baseball profited from these past 12 years of steroid and human growth hormone abuse. I remember seeing a comment from a reader on CNN.com who said that Barry Bonds was being used. This commentator wrote when Barry was indicted by the grand jury on perjury. Barry Bonds may be done playing baseball for good. But that is a point rarely made.

Barry Bonds was indeed used. Bud Selig was silent because Barry Bonds brought in money. Look at just this last year’s revenue, over $6 billion dollars, according to sources. $6 billion dollars. That’s almost as good as America’s most popular sport—where enhancement drugs are also abused—football. On what did those baseball owners profit? On juiced up players of course. How much revenue did the San Francisco Giants get from the year 2000-2007? Shall we look at what profit Peter Magowan made during that time? How about Steinbrenner and the Yankees?

Baseball millionaire owners profited from their players getting juiced. And who gets blamed now? The players of course. Rape them for all they’ve got and then throw them to the trash compactor when you’re through with them. Who is the public face of the San Francisco Giants? Barry Bonds of course. Who is the money behind the San Francisco Giants? Peter Magowan. Who will pay for the juiced player? Barry Bonds of course. Who will profit from the juiced player? Peter Magowan.

Remember that.

Mitchell Report can’t be good for baseball’s short term business

Read for yourself:

George Mitchell’s steroids report hasn’t just rocked the game of baseball. It figures to shake the business of baseball, too.

As an industry, MLB has been even hotter than Josh Beckett in October. It posted record revenues of $6 billion this year. Baseball has more than doubled its take of a decade ago and is closing fast on the NFL as the top-grossing league in sports.

The Mitchell Report, though, could jeopardize that run. Maybe Commissioner Bud Selig just couldn’t stand too much prosperity. He ordered up the Mitchell Report and re-focused attention on a problem that, in many fans’ eyes, had faded as a concern.

Just remember who profited on baseball’s steroids. Not the players who get the fans’ wrath. Oh no. People like Bud Selig. I wish we had our priorities straight, here in America.

American War Hawks, Wrong on Iraq, Wrong on Iran

December 11, 2007 at 9:01 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Bush Administration, conservatives, corruption, Iran, Iraq, War | 12 Comments

They were wrong about Iraq. So they shifted their target to Iran. Now that the NIE has proven them wrong, I wonder who the next target will be. Will they turn on Saudi Arabia, where most of our “real” enemies come from? Will they pick lowly Yemen? We’ve got (or had) a bunch of Yemenis in Guantanamo Bay prison. Maybe Algeria if Islamic insurgents overthrow the military government. We know they won’t shift away from the Middle East. They’re too addicted to the oil. In any case, TalkingPointsMemo created a nice little tribute to America’s warmongers.

The CIA Destroyed Evidence of Torture!

December 6, 2007 at 6:25 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Cheney, CIA, conservatives, corruption, George W Bush, secret combinations, Torture | Leave a comment

Well, there you go, ladies and gentlemen. When facing scrutiny over its torture program, the CIA protected itself by destroying evidence.

The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Al Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about the C.I.A’s secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.

The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terror suspects — including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody — to severe interrogation techniques. They were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that tapes documenting controversial interrogation methods could expose agency officials to greater risk of legal jeopardy, several officials said.

They broke the law. They knew it. They destroyed the evidence that would prosecute them.

The C.I.A. said today that the decision to destroy the tapes had been made “within the C.I.A. itself,” and they were destroyed to protect the safety of undercover officers and because they no longer had intelligence value. The agency was headed at the time by Porter J. Goss. Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Goss declined this afternoon to comment on the destruction of the tapes.

And we can trust the CIA to tell us the truth. Porter Goss, that’s Bush’s man.

It was not clear who within the C.I.A. authorized the destruction of the tapes, but current and former government officials said it had been approved at the highest levels of the agency.

That would be Porter Goss, Bush’s man.

The recordings were not provided to a federal court hearing the case of the terror suspect Zacarias Moussaoui or to the Sept. 11 commission, which had made formal requests to the C.I.A. for transcripts and any other documentary evidence taken from interrogations of agency prisoners.

C.I.A. lawyers told federal prosecutors in 2003 and 2005, who relayed the information to a federal court in the Moussaoui case, that the C.I.A. did not possess recordings of interrogations sought by the judge in the case. It was unclear whether the judge had explicitly sought the videotape depicting the interrogation of Mr. Zubaydah.

Mr. Moussaoui’s lawyers had hoped that records of the interrogations might provide exculpatory evidence for Mr. Moussaoui — showing that the Al Qaeda detainees did not know Mr. Moussaoui and clearing him of involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001, plot.

They obstructed justice. Is anyone surprised?

General Hayden’s statement said that the tapes posed a “serious security risk,” and that if they were to become public they would have exposed C.I.A. officials “and their families to retaliation from Al Qaeda and its sympathizers.”

“What matters here is that it was done in line with the law,” he said. He said in his statement that he was informing agency employees because “the press has learned” about the destruction of the tapes.

General Hayden, protecting his own. Not a follower of the law. And Mr. General, they would not have been exposed to retaliation from Al-Qaeda and its sympathizers, unless you are calling the long arm of the law Al-Qaeda.

Staff members of the Sept. 11 commission, which completed its work in 2004, expressed surprise when they were told that interrogation videotapes existed until 2005.

“The commission did formally request material of this kind from all relevant agencies, and the commission was assured that we had received all the material responsive to our request,” said Philip D. Zelikow, who served as executive director of the Sept. 11 commission and later as a senior counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Makes one wonder what else is hiding in that cavernous CIA headquarters that they might not want the public to know…

Daniel Marcus, a law professor at American University who served as general counsel for the Sept. 11 commission and was involved in the discussions about interviews with Al Qaeda leaders, said he had heard nothing about any tapes being destroyed.

If tapes were destroyed, he said, “it’s a big deal, it’s a very big deal,” because it could amount to obstruction of justice to withhold evidence being sought in criminal or fact-finding investigations.

Indeed, and a worthy nominee for understatement of the year.

General Hayden said the tapes were originally made to ensure that agency employees acted in accordance with “established legal and policy guidelines.” General Hayden said the agency stopped videotaping interrogations in 2002.

Guess they realized that the more they videotaped themselves torturing suspects, the more evidence there would be later on for prosecution. Can’t have that now, can we.

A former intelligence official who was briefed on the issue said the videotaping was ordered as a way of assuring “quality control” at remote sites following reports of unauthorized interrogation techniques. He said the tapes, along with still photographs of interrogations, were destroyed after photographs of abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib became public in May 2004 and C.I.A. officers became concerned about a possible leak of the videos and photos.

Huh, like Abu Ghraib…that was bad and all. Imagine how nasty it would be to see the videos of the torture the CIA did. I’m sure the backlash around the world would be…intense.

It has been widely reported that Mr. Zubaydah was subjected to several tough physical tactics, including waterboarding, which involves near-suffocation. But C.I.A. officers judged that the release of photos or videos would nonetheless provoke a strong reaction.

“People know what happened, but to see it in living color would have far greater power,” the official said.

Um, that’s generally WHY you don’t torture. But some people, see, lost their sense of morals and reason when terrorists hit us on 9/11.

Mr. Holt said he had been told many times that the C.I.A. does not record the interrogation of detainees. “When I would ask them whether they had reviewed the tapes to better understand the intelligence, they said ‘What tapes?’,” he said.

Lawbreakers. Torturers. This is what America has become.

Why Mike Huckabee Cannot Be The Next President

December 5, 2007 at 12:13 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, George W Bush, Mike Huckabee, Republicans | 9 Comments

Man, all these Republican candidates really have some reprehensible beliefs/pasts/actions that just make them, well, reprehensible. Mike Huckabee is apparently no exception.

The basic gist of the story is this. Mike Huckabee was governor of Arkansas in 1996. A distant relative of Bill Clinton and the daughter of a major Democratic campaign contributor was raped by Wayne Dumond. He was tried and convicted. Conservatives went ballistic to have this man released. Mike Huckabee pardoned the rapist.

Within a year of being freed, Dumond traveled to Missouri, where he raped and killed another young woman, and was the lead suspect in another rape and murder case.

This is reprehensible. Yet another strike against compassionate conservatism. Yet another strike against conservative Christianism. Do these guys realize how much they shoot Christianity in the foot? Do they realize how much they make Christianity look barbaric and, well, UN-Christlike?

Republicans today have it really tough. The only candidate that even has any morals or principles he has consistently kept is Ron Paul. But he will ruin the country with his policies. It really is very sad what George Bush has done to this party.

Bush Lied About Iran

December 4, 2007 at 10:32 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Cheney, corruption, Foreign Policy, George W Bush, Iran | 15 Comments

George W. Bush has, for the last several years, lied to America about Iran’s WMD program. What is worse is that he knew he was lying. He had the NIE assessment in his hand for the past year telling him that Iran’s nuclear weapons program has been dormant since 2003. But over the past year, his, and Cheney’s and their supporters’ rhetoric, has been increasingly more virulent and violent toward Iran (who can forget John McCain’s “bomb bomb bomb Iran” moment a few months back).

This is an impeachable offense (among all the rest). President Bush knew that Iran’s nuclear program was dormant. But he pressed on as if preparing his nation to war with Iran. How is this not an impeachable offense? He played politics with national security, everybody. Has it come to such a point that we merely yawn “more of the same” every time we get this kind of news? Are we past feeling so that we’re no longer shocked when we hear such bad things? Have expectations been so lowered that we’re fine with letting Bush and Cheney still be in office even after this evidence?

Iran welcomes this news, of course, and says that America must “pay a price” for all the virulent and baseless rhetoric against its people. It is very understandable. We’ve been threatening Iranians with death over something that did not exist. We would feel the same way were say, the Chinese, to do the same to us.

It is time to prepare impeachment hearings and remove Bush and Cheney from power.

Why This Dismal Annapolis Meeting Will Fail (UPDATED)

November 27, 2007 at 11:50 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, condoleezza rice, conservatives, corruption, Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, George W Bush, Iran, Israel, Middle East, Peace, War | 2 Comments

I noted in a previous post that Condoleezza Rice is a bumbling ignorant fool when it comes to the Middle East. She is attempting to somehow wrap up a peace deal between Israel and Palestinians before the end of her boss’s term. This is solely a selfish move, as she is more concerned about her legacy (war war war) than about peace. She has had ample opportunities to force her ideologically driven boss to make the right decisions, but every time, she failed. Well she finally convinced him to throw her a bone, and, as you’ll see, that’s what he did, throw her a bone.

President Bush, who’s largely ignored the risky business of Middle East peacemaking throughout his nearly seven years in office, will take center stage Tuesday at the international peace conference he’s hosting in Annapolis, Md.

He won’t remain there for long, however. Bush plans to head back to the White House after delivering his opening speech to the diplomats and dignitaries at the U.S. Naval Academy, and while surprises are always possible, White House aides said he wasn’t planning to offer new American proposals to resolve the conflict.

Nor is Bush expected to jump into extended post-Annapolis negotiations or head off to the Middle East to pursue peace in the waning days of his tenure.

He’s not going to really participate, get into the nitty gritty details. This may be a good thing, seeing how terrible a leader and diplomat he is.

It’s not only that he won’t really participate, but that he has completely ignored the REAL parties at conflict in the Middle East. Like, for example, orthodox Jews, who are none too happy about making peace with Palestinians. In fact, they, along with their counterparts in Palestine, Hamas, are counter-rallying against this meeting.

In a show of defiance against the U.S.-sponsored peace conference in Annapolis, thousands of Hamas supporters rallied in the streets of the Gaza Strip Tuesday and a second armed Palestinian movement vowed to intensify its attacks on Israel, saying “the only dialogue with the enemy with be with rifles and rockets.”

The demonstration that filled Gaza City’s wide central avenue came a day after thousands of Israelis, also opposed to fresh negotiations to create a Palestinian state, marched from the Western Wall, the holiest place Jews can pray, to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s residence near this city’s center.

Among them were leaders of at least one party that is part of Olmert’s governing coalition, a sign of the political tremors likely to follow the inauguration of the first Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in nearly seven years.

Israeli and Palestinian rejectionists — the term used to describe those who deny the other’s right to a state nearly six-decades after Israel’s founding — have hampered past negotiations and worked to undermine efforts to implement the few agreements that have been reached.

But the hawks on both sides hold particular power at the moment given the political weakness of Olmert, who is under criminal investigation, ill with prostate cancer, and still criticized for waging a poorly conceived war in Lebanon last year, and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president whose electorate is violently divided.

The biggest problem, of course, is that no one bothered to invite Iran to this meeting. Why not? Because the Bush administration is ideologically driven, rather than peace-driven. If the Bush administration truly cared about peace in the Middle East, they would be visiting Tehran, not rattling their sabers at Tehran.

More than four dozen governments, international organizations and financial institutions will be represented when Middle East talks open in Annapolis today. But it is the uninvited guests — Iran and its allies Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and other militant factions — that may have the biggest impact on the peace talks.

Containing Iran and its regional influence is the ambitious challenge for all the attendees except Syria, a goal officials from many participating nations contend is as important as producing peace in the Middle East.

“Iran will be the 5,000-pound elephant in the room, even though it’s not present,” said former U.S. peace negotiator Aaron David Miller. “It’s in everyone’s calculation and motivation . . . [plus] the impact of Hamas and the role it can play in wreaking havoc with whatever happens in Annapolis. . . . The balance of power is not in favor of peacemakers but in favor of the troublemakers.”

And that there is the key to why this meeting will not accomplish anything. Think back to when Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton got Israel and two of her neighbors to sign peace treaties. Jimmy Carter focused on Egypt and Israel, and Bill Clinton focused on Jordan and Israel. In order for there to be peace between two nations, BOTH nations must be there for conferences that might spell out actions. Iran is nowhere to be found because no one invited Iran. That spells major trouble.

That also sends a signal to Iran that the United States considers Iran’s regime’s days numbered, not worthy enough to consider inviting to a meeting about peace. Think about that for a while.

(UPDATE)

I just have to add these great comics on this meeting:


(Courtesy of Ann Telnaes)


(Courtesy of Mike Luckovich)

The Bumbling Condoleezza Rice in Non-Action

November 25, 2007 at 9:29 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Bush Administration, condoleezza rice, Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Middle East, Peace, War | 2 Comments

Elizabeth Bumiller is writing a biography about Condoleezza Rice and released an excerpt to the New York Times highlighting an aspect of Ms. Rice’s…well, non-action over the last seven years on peace between Israel and Palestinians. Ms. Bumiller perfectly highlights that Ms. Rice was at the forefront of all the bad decisions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She also points out that Ms. Rice pushed Israel to not be so harsh on the Palestinians just before the war in Iraq. After all, we can’t have our coalition be severely hampered by a sideshow.

Then we get to the best part. This is where Ms. Rice shows how inept, how ignorant, and how much of a bumbling fool she really is in regards to the Middle East.

When Ms. Rice became secretary of state in the second term, she told Mr. Bush in a long conversation at Camp David the weekend after the 2004 election that her priority would have to be progress in the Middle East. It was a turning point in more ways than one; Mr. Arafat died a few days later. Although Ms. Rice said in an interview that she had set no conditions when she took the job, her aides said that she had known that her relationship with the president would give her far greater influence to push an agenda, including peacemaking in the Middle East, than Mr. Powell’s.

You’d think that would be enough, but, well…

Accordingly, Ms. Rice spent much of 2005 working on the Gaza withdrawal that she thought would contribute to stability. Instead, it was seen as so emboldening the radicals that in early 2006 Hamas won a landslide victory in Palestinian elections over Mr. Abbas and his governing party, Fatah.

If one paid close attention to what was happening in Israel/Palestine from 2001-2006, one would have surmised that Israel was purposefully pushing Palestinians toward radicalism. For instance, a suicide bomber would blow himself and ten people up in Haifa. Hamas or Islamic Jihad would claim responsibility. What was Israel’s reaction? Why, they would bomb a Fatah police station! What? Huh? Now, why the hell would they do that, when Fatah was trying to rein in groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad? Why would Israel purposefully undermine the very organization that could lead Palestinians toward moderation and possibly peace? See, bombing a Fatah police station sends a particular message to Palestinians. The message is: Israelis don’t really want peace. Stick with the extremists. They are your only hope of survival against the Israelis.

Enter the bumbling Ms. Rice. She continued this foolish stupid policy, completely ignored Arafat and Fatah, and tried to get Abbas elected and in power. But then when Abbas did win, she offered him nothing. This sent another message to Palestinians. The same one: Israel and the West don’t want peace. Stick with the extremists. They are your only hope of survival against the Israelis and the West. See, by raising up Abbas, and then short-shrifting him, Ms. Rice set up the following event:

Ms. Rice, who had heralded the election as a symbol of the new stirrings of democracy in the Middle East, was so blindsided by the victory that she was startled when she saw a crawl of words on her television screen while exercising on her elliptical trainer the morning after the election: “In wake of Hamas victory, Palestinian cabinet resigns.”

“I thought, ‘Well, that’s not right,’” Ms. Rice recalled. When the crawl continued, she got off the elliptical trainer and called the State Department.

“I said, ‘What happened in the Palestinian elections?’” Ms. Rice recalled. “And they said, ‘Oh, Hamas won.’ And I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, Hamas won?’

She and the Israelis under Sharon set the stage for Hamas to win and then she is surprised that they won. Either she is acting or she is a complete bumbling ignorant fool. I’m going with the latter.

It then gets even worse. Hezbollah, in Lebanon, in a brazen attack, kills several Israeli soldiers and captures two. This set off a wild summer in 2006. What did Ms. Rice do that summer?

Ms. Rice’s credibility was further damaged when she delayed calling for a cease-fire as Israel plunged into a two-front war in Lebanon and Gaza that summer. By the end of 2006, with the peace efforts in shambles and the administration’s time running out, Ms. Rice began to pick up the pieces.

Ms. Bumiller, as a biographer, is being kind to Ms. Rice. She does not mention Ms. Rice’s most unfortunate words:

But I have no interest in diplomacy for the sake of returning Lebanon and Israel to the status quo ante. I think it would be a mistake.

What we’re seeing here, in a sense, is the growing — the birth pangs of a new Middle East.

RICE: And whatever we do, we have to be certain that we are pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old one.

The birth pangs of a new Middle East?

This is how ignorant and lame Ms. Rice is on the Middle East. Not only was she wrong about Hamas, not only was she wrong about Hezbollah, but both have increased their positions of strength and influence since she got “involved.” Israel lost its aura of invincibility by “losing” to a ragtag group of terrorists. Oh and Israel still has yet to get back its two soldiers.

Just keep all this in mind when Ms. Rice attempts any future “talks on peace” in the Middle East. She is more worried right now about her “legacy” than actually about making peace in the Middle East.

If she truly would want to make peace in the Middle East, her first visit as of right now, should be to Tehran.

US Accepted Musharraf’s Emergency Rule Decree

November 24, 2007 at 5:23 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Democracy, Diplomacy, Musharraf, Pakistan | Leave a comment

Not that anyone is really surprised, but our “we believe in democracy” president new in advance that Musharraf was going to declare martial law, and stayed silent, giving Musharraf the green light.

Looks like democracy is not the end all be all after all

Musharraf and Bush, Bush and Musharraf, two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl

November 13, 2007 at 8:45 pm | Posted in Bush Administration, corruption, George W Bush, Musharraf, Pakistan | Leave a comment


(courtesy of Pat Oliphant)

and

Musharraf: Protests are Producing Negative Vibes, Negative Optics

November 13, 2007 at 12:56 pm | Posted in Bush Administration, conservatives, corruption, Foreign Policy, Pakistan | Leave a comment

That’s why he must be a dictator, because the protesting will “disturb” the election process:

The president of Pakistan, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, vigorously defended his declaration of emergency rule in a 40-minute interview, insisting that it would not interfere with the holding of free and fair elections.

He defended the decree issued 10 days ago that scrapped the Constitution, dismissed the Supreme Court and resulted in the arrests of 2,500 opposition party workers, lawyers and human rights advocates, and rejected an appeal by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to lift emergency rule.

“I totally disagree with her,” General Musharraf said in an interview with The New York Times at the presidential building here on Tuesday. “The emergency is to ensure elections go in an undisturbed manner.”

General Musharraf said the decree was justified because the Supreme Court had meddled in politics, specifically the validity of his re-election, and because of the serious threat from terrorists.

In the interview General Musharraf was critical of the opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto, saying she was confrontational and would be difficult to work with.

General Musharraf complained about her conduct since her return a month ago, saying: “You come here on supposedly on a reconciliatory mode, and right before you land, you’re on a confrontationist mode. I am afraid this is producing negative vibes, negative optics.”

In the interview, the general, dressed in a gray suit and blue tie, described Pakistan as suffering from a “disturbed terrorist environment.”

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” he said, when asked when the emergency rule would end. “We need to see the environment.”

Can you say, whacked! Can you say, unhinged from reality! The man is holding on to power he knows he is losing. He’s not going to last long, see. So he has to do whatever he can. Including coming up with the dumbest excuses for his emergency decrees.

This is George Bush’s man. This is the foreign policy of the Bush administration. Coddle dictators who give false promises on democracy. See, if we were to actually have real democracy in the lands of our enemies, it just might end up that our enemies will win power. In the end, democracy is not our overriding priority. We are hypocrites.

Here’s Your Chance, George W. Bush, Stand For Democracy!

November 13, 2007 at 5:34 am | Posted in Bush Administration, Foreign Policy, George W Bush, Pakistan | Leave a comment

You’ve got a chance to redeem yourself, Mr. Bush. You want to be known as one who stands for democracy? Then get Musharraf to stop his actions, now! The more Musharraf continues to undermine protests against him, the more the dream of democracy in Pakistan goes away. Do it now, Mr. Bush. Stand up to Musharraf. Just say no! I know you previously sacrificed the Lebanese democracy at the altar of the war on terror, but you can redeem some part of your utterly battered reputation. Say no to Musharraf. Don’t let him get away with this. If this was Ahmadinejad doing what Musharraf is doing, you’d be going bananas about wanting to bomb the hell out of Iran. Why not keep the same standard, eh? When you don’t, it completely undermines your principles in the eyes of everybody else around the world. It tells everybody around the world that you REALLY ARE NOT interested in democracy, only in democracy in your enemies, as a way to overthrow their regimes. What a sad and pathetic foreign policy.

General Musharraf, the Good Orwellian President

November 11, 2007 at 8:00 pm | Posted in Bush Administration, Pakistan | Leave a comment

Continuing to hone the skills he learned from George W. Bush, President Musharraf announced today:

The Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, refused Sunday to give a date for the end of the de facto martial law that he imposed on the country more than a week ago and suggested that it would continue indefinitely, including during parliamentary elections in early January.

Speaking at a news conference one day after President Bush called him the best president for Pakistan, General Musharraf said the emergency decree he issued on Nov. 3 was justified by the need to fight terrorism and would “ensure absolutely fair and transparent elections.”

Mr. Bush said Saturday that he supported General Musharraf because “we share a common goal” in the fight against Al Qaeda, an endorsement the general appeared to use to his advantage on Sunday as he justified his extrajudicial measures.

“I cannot give a date,” General Musharraf said when asked directly about the lifting of the emergency decree, under which several thousand civilians have been jailed, the nation’s Constitution suspended and the Supreme Court dissolved. “We are in a difficult situation, therefore I cannot give a date.”

“The emergency reinforces the war on terror,” he said.

He also declined to give a date for stepping down as military leader, a move that the United States and other Western countries have requested as a sign of his seriousness about a transition to democracy.

General Musharraf repeatedly stated he had not violated the Pakistan’s Constitution, which he suspended and replaced with a provisional constitutional order drawn up by his aides. At one point he said, “I had to take a drastic measure to save the democratic process.”

The general described his action as a selfless one. “I found myself between a rock and a hard surface,” he said. “I have no egos and no personal ambitions to guard.”

Ah such the nobel spirit. Because the democratic process was in such danger, the only course is to go totalitarian. Huh…This is Bush’s world, where bad is good, evil is right, etc.

General Musharraf Learned Much From George W. Bush

November 9, 2007 at 1:26 pm | Posted in Bush Administration, corruption, Foreign Policy, Pakistan | 3 Comments

In the interest of self-preservation, knowing that the Supreme Court was going to rule against him, General Musharraf ordered martial law last week in Pakistan, jailed the Supreme Court justices he knew would vote against him and installed his own loyal judges. Lawyers across the nation protested, were beaten and arrested by Musharraf’s men. Today was to be a day of protest led by Benazir Bhutto, in what just simply seems a weirdly scripted scenario. Maybe she’s just ineffectual as a true revolutionary leader, but she seems to be taking this all in strides. Maybe Pakistan is still in denial about what Musharraf is doing, consolidating his power like he is.

Take his actions today, putting Bhutto under de facto house arrest.

Benazir Bhutto, who had threatened to lead a major protest rally in the military garrison town of Rawalpindi to challenge President Pervez Musharraf’s emergency rule, never made it out of her quiet, tree-lined street in Islamabad. By dawn Friday scores of helmeted riot police, some armed with automatic weapons, had cordoned off the road at each end, blocking it with coils of barbed wired and armored cars. Police were also picketed just outside the gate and wall of her two-story house. Clearly, Musharraf had placed her under de facto house arrest.

Later in the morning the police rather politely rolled back the barbed wire to allow several senior Bhutto aides and members of parliament from her Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to walk to her house and meet with her. But the same courtesy was not extended to perhaps three dozen party activists and supporters who came individually or in small groups. As they approached the barricade they were quickly arrested and thrown into police vans. Several women, both young and old, one carrying a bouquet of flowers for Bhutto, were among those arrested. Some of those arrested went quietly, others raised a V sign with their fingers, others wailed and shouted, and some unfurled red, black and green PPP flags and shouted, “Long live Benazir!” and “We will not obey the emergency!”

The New York Times puts it this way:

In a huge show of force, the Pakistani government stopped a protest rally by the opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto, before it started today, blanketing the rally site with thousands of police today, blocking roads to stop demonstrators, and barricading Ms. Bhutto inside her residence in Islamabad.

In Rawalpindi, the nearby garrison town where the rally had been due to take place, double lines of police and police vans prevented most of the thousands of demonstrators from entering the city to protest emergency rule, which the president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, declared six days ago. Thousands of party workers had already been arrested over the past few days, party officials said.

Now, the reason I said this was weirdly scripted is because of this:

On the surface, the crackdown on the rally and Ms. Bhutto’s detention appeared to be an obstacle to power sharing negotiations that had been taking place for several weeks between Ms. Bhutto and General Musharraf. But the events today do not exclude the possibility negotiations continue by back channels.

I wonder, just what does Ms. Bhutto think she will be negotiating with a general who is so blatantly disregarding the rule of law? That’s why I mean this is like following a script. Why does Ms. Bhutto trust the General? I mean, look at his justification for stomping on her protest:

In justifying Ms. Bhutto’s detention, the Pakistan government said that that there had been credible evidence she could have been the target of a terrorist attack during the rally.

Um, huh, how would he know something like that? She may indeed, but the terrorist might not have been an Islamic fundamentalist from the Pashtun region. He may have been in Islamabad, sitting in a pretty palace…

Seriously, what kind of threat is Ms. Bhutto to Islamic fundamentalists? After all, she is pushing for democracy in Pakistan. They WANT democracy in Pakistan, because it would mean more influence for them! The only person Ms. Bhutto is a real threat to is the General, Mr. Musharraf.

So why do I title my post “General Musharraf Learned Much from George W. Bush?” Because of that last quote there, where the reason Musharraf decided to squash Ms. Bhutto’s protest was because of some anonymous terror threat to her life. Does that sound familiar to anyone? Why does President Bush justify torture? Why does President Bush justify spying on Americans? Why does President Bush justify violating the Constitution? Because of some vague anonymous terror threat!

Pakistanis know that this clampdown by Musharraf has nothing to do with terrorism. From the elite to the lowest Pakistani:

In interviews on the streets of Islamabad, the capital, and in this nearby garrison city over the last three days — rich and poor, professionals and laborers, members of the security forces and civilians — they overwhelmingly opposed the president’s emergency decree, rejecting it as a naked attempt by General Musharraf to bolster his fading powers.

“People are not fools,” said Muhammad Saleem, 35, a phone shop clerk in a wealthy section of Islamabad, the capital. “They do understand it’s not to stop militancy.”

Uniformly, they said the decree had reduced General Musharraf’s already low popularity. “If I stood for election here,” said Jehangir Ahmed, a welder from Rawalpindi, “I would win more seats than Musharraf.”

And what the United States doesn’t seem to get a real good grasp of is that General Musharraf’s naked power grabs severely affect our “war on terror.”

It never had to be this way. Bush could actually have stuck to his principles and not backed a dictator, but instead tied funding of this dictator to verifiable promises that he would move away from totalitarianism. Problem is that Bush would never have done this, because he AGREED with Musharraf’s choice of governance over Pakistan.

So sad.

Smoking Gun on Torture

November 8, 2007 at 4:52 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Torture | 3 Comments

Steve Benen writes about ABC’s recent report on the rendition of al Libi. It seems there is documentary evidence the United States government not only knew he would be tortured but they USED his false confessions as evidence to invade Iraq!

Under torture after his rendition to Egypt, al Libi had provided a confession of how Saddam Hussein had been training al Qaeda in chemical weapons. This evidence was used by Colin Powell at the United Nations a year earlier (February 2003) to justify the war in Iraq. (”I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these [chemical and biological] weapons to al Qaeda,” Powell said. “Fortunately, this operative is now detained, and he has told his story.”)

Except, of course, his story was bogus, and the result of torture and rendition.

Here was a cable then that informed Washington that one of the key pieces of evidence for the Iraq war — the al Qaeda/Iraq link — was not only false but extracted by effectively burying a prisoner alive.

Although there have been claims about torture inflicted on those rendered by the CIA to countries like Egypt, Syria, Morocco and Uzbekistan, this is the first clear example of such torture detailed in an official government document.

It is refreshing, and ultimately sad, to see the documented evidence of real wrongdoing. In a just world, numerous members of the Bush administration (including Bush and Cheney) would be tried for war crimes and high treason for violating the Constitution.

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.