What do you expect the answer to be?

July 30, 2007 at 4:14 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, corruption, Foreign Policy, Great Britain | 1 Comment

From today’s press conference with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown:

Rutenberg asked Brown: “Do you have the same philosophy as the President, in terms of terrorism?”

Brown: “Absolutely.”

Bush: “What do you expect the answer to be, Rutenberg? Come on, man.”

Brown: “Absolutely.”

Well, it looks like Britain will continue to be America’s poodle. And here we thought Brown could have had some balls and stood up to the dictator. Heh. Indeed, who still doesn’t dream of a British prime minister saying something like this to an arrogant American president:

Press Conference Reporter: Mr. President, has it been a good visit?
The President: Very satisfactory indeed. We got what we came for and our special relationship is still very special.
Press Conference Reporter: Prime Minister?
Prime Minister: I love that word “relationship”. Covers all manner of sins, doesn’t it? I fear that this has become a bad relationship. A relationship based on the President taking exactly what he wants and casually ignoring all those things that really matter to, erm… Britain. We may be a small country but we’re a great one, too. The country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham’s right foot. David Beckham’s left foot, come to that. And a friend who bullies us is no longer a friend. And since bullies only respond to strength, from now onward, I will be prepared to be much stronger. And the President should be prepared for that.

Luck Saved the Day in London

June 29, 2007 at 8:44 am | Posted in Great Britain, London, violence, War on Terror | 2 Comments

It seems London was saved from a horrible terrorist attack by sheer luck. An ambulance driver sent to the square to help someone out noticed the Mercedes and smoke coming out if the passenger window. The driver called the police who came and found a massive bomb in the vehicle, certainly meant to kill in the hundreds in a very busy part of London.

Police were alerted to the Mercedes sedan by a London ambulance crew, which had been summoned to the nearby “Tiger, Tiger” nightclub about 1 a.m. for a report of a person who was ill. They noticed the car, saw smoke inside its passenger compartment and called police, who summoned the bomb squad, Clarke said.

About 200 liters, or 50 U.S. gallons, of fuel were discovered in canisters inside the sedan, along with large numbers of nails, which increasingly have been used in bombs to heighten their lethality.

News reports indicated that up to a thousand patrons were packed into the nightclub, and the streets nearby were busy as well. In addition to drawing crowds almost around the clock, Haymarket is extremely close to many of London’s most famous attractions, including Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.

“It is obvious that if the device had detonated, there could have been significant injury or loss of life,” Clarke said. ” . . . it certainly could have been into the hundreds.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if we see many more such incidents, but where the bomb doesn’t fail, and rather goes off. Londoners were lucky today, and should thank God in their prayers tonight.

Yet Another Example of Why Torture is Ineffective

April 9, 2007 at 4:24 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Gitmo, Great Britain, Iran, Military | 4 Comments

The incident with the captured British soldiers has an illuminating story to tell in regards to “enhanced techniques.” Let’s review what is out there so far. The soldiers were taken by Iranians (whether in Iranian or Iraqi waters is not my concern in this post). They were held for about two weeks, flown to Tehran, and according to their press conference, were subject to some psychological pressures, including threats of execution. The soldiers quickly signed statements saying they were in Iranian waters and apologized to Iran for intruding on Iranian waters. They were paraded on Iranian television stating the same, that they were in the wrong. Through diplomatic means, Britain received the soldiers back. Now back in England, the fifteen soldiers say they were “coerced” to confess they were in the wrong. So, which account from the British soldiers is correct? Were they right when they said on Iranian television that they illegally entered into Iranian space, or are the British soldiers right back in England where they declare their confessions were “coerced?” Continue Reading Yet Another Example of Why Torture is Ineffective…

Blair to Bush: Stay Out and Shut Up

April 7, 2007 at 6:19 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Foreign Policy, Great Britain, Iran, Middle East, Military, War | 3 Comments

Ouch, maybe Blair isn’t so bad after all. Perhaps Blair has learned to stay away from Bush. But in any case during the British soldiers’ captivity, America offered Britain aid, in the form of military confrontations with Iran. Wisely, Britain told them to stuff it.

In the first few days after the captives were seized and British diplomats were getting no news from Tehran on their whereabouts, Pentagon officials asked their British counterparts: what do you want us to do? They offered a series of military options, a list which remains top secret given the mounting risk of war between the US and Iran. But one of the options was for US combat aircraft to mount aggressive patrols over Iranian Revolutionary Guard bases in Iran, to underline the seriousness of the situation.

The British declined the offer and said the US could calm the situation by staying out of it. London also asked the US to tone down military exercises that were already under way in the Gulf. Three days before the capture of the 15 Britons , a second carrier group arrived having been ordered there by president George Bush in January. The aim was to add to pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme and alleged operations inside Iraq against coalition forces.

At the request of the British, the two US carrier groups, totalling 40 ships plus aircraft, modified their exercises to make them less confrontational.

The British government also asked the US administration from Mr Bush down to be cautious in its use of rhetoric, which was relatively restrained throughout.

As Kevin Drum of the Washington Monthly stated:

Option A: this shows that the British are spineless wimps and their once-great civilization is on the verge of collapse. Option B: Tony Blair asked the children to please be quiet while the adults were working. Choose whichever one best fits your worldview.

I still think the Strutting Cock analogy best fits America today under the Bush administration:

Chi Hsing Tzu was a trainer of fighting cocks
for King Hsuan.
He was training a fine bird.
The King kept asking if the bird were
Ready for combat.
“Not yet,” said the trainer.
“He is full of fire.
He is ready to pick a fight
With every other bird. He is vain and confident
Of his own strength.”
After ten days, he answered again:
“Not yet. He flares up
When he hears another bird crow.”
After ten more days:
“Not yet. He still gets
That angry look
and ruffles his feathers.”
Again ten days:
The trainer said, “Now he is nearly ready.
When another bird crows, his eye
does not even flicker.
He stands immobile
Like a cock of wood.
He is a mature fighter.
Other birds
will take one look at him
And run.”

Seriously, what kind of nation wishes to press another to a possible war over such an incident? Not a mature nation, that’s for sure.

Where in the World is Condoleezza Rice?

April 5, 2007 at 8:05 pm | Posted in American politics, condoleezza rice, Great Britain, Iran, Military | Leave a comment

Iran and Britain had a tense face-off over disputed waters. Where was Condoleezza Rice trying to find a peaceful resolution to the problem? She was oddly silent, wasn’t she, over these past two weeks. Not a peep (that I can recall seeing or hearing) from her on the crisis. I wonder, does she really know what her position as Secretary of State does? Was she this inept and out of touch as the Provost of Stanford?

Can anyone find something substantive that she has done vis a vis this standoff? I’ve looked, but I cannot seem to find anything.

Diplomacy Actually Works

April 5, 2007 at 6:06 am | Posted in American politics, Great Britain, Iran | 1 Comment

No one died, everybody is safe, and the British soldiers are safely returned home without being tortured, without being harmed, and no Iranian killed. How about that, diplomacy actually works.

Could The British Have Made A Mistake?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not quite says Barry Lando:

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

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

A Slow Monday

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

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

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

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

Quote of the Day – Jay Leno

February 22, 2007 at 3:36 pm | Posted in American politics, Great Britain, Iraq, Military | 2 Comments

“The British announced they were pulling their troops out of the Iraq. Dick Cheney immediately called it good news. He said, ‘It’s a sign that we’re winning.’ How come when our allies pick up and leave, that’s a victory for us? But when we leave, it’s a victory for al Qaeda? How does that work?”

–Jay Leno

On Cheney and the British Withdrawal

February 21, 2007 at 1:35 pm | Posted in American politics, Cheney, Great Britain, Iraq, Military, Tony Blair | Leave a comment

Dick Cheney, the Bush administration’s worst liar, is claiming that the British are leaving because of the success they have had down in the south. Fine, okay, but as one reader on Talking Points Memo mentions, shouldn’t the British, instead of leaving Iraq, be used instead in areas where things are not going so swimmingly?

Josh, one of the arguments made by Cheney in the interview (and others such as John Howard) is that the British withdrawal is good news because it reflects improvement in the situation in the South. Well, if this is the case, then why aren’t the British troops being moved to where they are needed instead of being withdrawn? Why is nobody asking this question?

Truly, while America is escalating its forces in Baghdad, the British are leaving. Why is the Bush administration not asking the British to assist in Baghdad as well? Why are they not calling the British for what they are, “cut and runners.”

You keep hearing from right wing fools like Max Boot, Jonah Goldberg, Fred Kagan, that this is the “decisive conflict of our generation.” If that really is the case, why not harp on the British for leaving at such a critical juncture? Plus was it not Tony Blair himself who just recently said that to leave Iraq would send the wrong message to the enemy?

“If we desert the Iraqi government now, at the very time when they are building up their forces … it would be a gross dereliction of our duty,” he said.

“If we got out now, when the job wasn’t done, and simply deserted the situation, what good would that do other than to make sure that those people that support these extremists right around the world would take heart from it?” he added.

And just last month:

“For us to set an arbitrary timetable . . . would send the most disastrous signal to the people whom we are fighting in Iraq,” he said. “It is a policy that, whatever its superficial attractions may be, is deeply irresponsible.”

So what changed Mr. Blair? Just today you say the following:

“The next chapter in Basra’s history will be written by Iraqis,” Blair said.

The British Are Leaving Iraq

February 20, 2007 at 6:34 pm | Posted in American politics, Great Britain, Iraq, Military, Tony Blair | Leave a comment

Amidst Bush’s “surge,” Tony Blair is ordering his troops to come home. I wonder what conservative Americans will say. Will they paint Tony Blair as a “cut and run liberal?”

British Top Commander Calls For Pulling Out of Iraq

October 13, 2006 at 3:05 am | Posted in Great Britain, Iraq, King George, Military, Muslim, War on Terror | Leave a comment

Britain’s top military commander is calling for a withdrawal from Iraq, causing much uproar over in Britain. His reasoning is very astute and based on the reality of the situation. Continue Reading British Top Commander Calls For Pulling Out of Iraq…

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