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!
There are a few items in the news today that I feel are important.
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!
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
I just have to add these great comics on this meeting:
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.
Which of these actually fought in a war and which has never fought in a war?
We’ve ‘disappeared’ many people since Bush took power. This is the kind of thing we used to use as an excuse to attack other nations. Now we do it ourselves.
In the typical Rovian neo-conservative fashion and strategy, the Bush administration and its allies are saying today that the best way to prevent war with Iran is to support war with Iran! Or as they said in 2002, the best way to avoid war with Iraq is to support war with Iraq!
In 2002 they said:
Moreover, unlike 1991, passage of the resolution does not mean that a war is imminent. Indeed, as the vote neared, Bush and members of his administration in recent days have deliberately toned down their tough rhetoric. The notion that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein must be toppled has been shoved in the background, while instead officials argue that the best way to prevent a war is strong support from Congress and the U.N. Security Council for a possible war, because it will demonstrate to Hussein that he has no choice but to give up his weapons of mass destruction.
In 2007 they said:
In approving far-reaching, new unilateral sanctions against Iran, President Bush signaled yesterday that he intends to pursue a strategy of gradually escalating financial, diplomatic and political pressure on Tehran, aimed not at starting a new war in the Middle East, his advisers said, but at preventing one.
Bush believes Tehran will not seriously discuss limiting its nuclear ambitions or pulling back from its involvement in Iraq unless it experiences significantly more pressure than the United States and the international community have been able to exert so far, according to administration officials and others familiar with the president’s thinking.
You ready for another war, America. You ready to sacrifice more of your sons and daughters for, well…not sure what exactly.
What does it take to raise the level of discourse of these Republican candidates for president? Here we have Mitt Romney responding on the new sanctions placed on Iran that he is in favor of “a military blockade or “bombardment of some kind” to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon.”
A bombardment of some kind? A military blockade? Just what in the hell will those do? Are Republicans really this far unhinged? This shows a real poor understanding of foreign policy on Mitt Romney. It shows that he would rather pander to an out of touch political Right than state things as they are. Com’on Mr. Romney, you were a stake president for Pete’s sake!
Keep an eye on this administration, everybody. They are slowly setting the stage for what will be called a “no-brainer” in Cheney’s words: war with Iran. We talk about it so much it will soon become an inexorable inevitability.
The Bush administration will announce a long-debated policy of new sanctions against Iran on Thursday, accusing the elite Quds division of the Revolutionary Guard Corps of supporting terrorism, administration officials said Wednesday night.
The administration also plans to accuse the entire Revolutionary Guard Corps of proliferating weapons of mass destruction, the officials said. While the United States has long labeled Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism, the decision to single out the Guard reflects increased frustration in the administration with the slow pace of diplomatic negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Both designations will put into play unilateral sanctions intended to impede the Revolutionary Guard and those who do business with it. This is the first time that the United States has taken such steps against the armed forces of any sovereign government.
The action against the Revolutionary Guard, first reported by The Washington Post, would set in motion a series of automatic sanctions that would make it easier for the United States to block financial accounts and other assets controlled by the Guard. In particular, the action would freeze any assets the Guard has in the United States, although it is unlikely that the Guard maintains much in the way of assets in American banks or other institutions.
The decision will be announced jointly on Thursday by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the administration officials said. “This is going to be a broad and wide-ranging effort,” a senior administration official said. “We will be freezing assets, and there will be ripple effects of where we can go from there.”
And that is EXACTLY the point of this move. Where do you think they can go from here? The more the Bush administration takes these steps, the easier it will be for them to argue with Americans that that secret attack on Iranians they will be taking in a few months was absolutely necessary for your safety, America, even though it had nothing to do with your safety.
You are being bamboozled again.
So Turkey wants to invade Iraq to kill or capture those who killed its soldiers. Sounds like a fairly reasonable demand, seeing that Kurdish terrorists are killing Turks. I mean, don’t we find any excuse possible to want to attack Iran?
But no, the Bush administration is urging Turkey to restrain its activities:
The United States continued efforts today to steer Turkey away from a military incursion into northern Iraq, after a cross-border raid by Kurdish rebels on Sunday killed 17 Turkish soldiers and raised the prospect of an escalating conflict.
The State Department is great at highlighting our own hypocrisy and I’ll let Mr. McCormack do the talking:
As tension increased in Turkey and scattered groups of protesters gathered to demand retaliation, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the U.S. had opened what he called a “full-court press” to keep the situation from deteriorating.
“We want to see an outcome where you have the Turks and the Iraqis working together, and we will do what we can to resolve the issue without a Turkish cross-border incursion,” McCormack said.
Huh, let’s change those words just slightly and see if it makes any sense:
“We want to see an outcome where you have the
TurksAmericans and the IraqisIranians working together, and we will do what we can to resolve the issue without a TurkishAmerican cross-border incursion [into Iran],” McCormack said.
Makes good sense to me. Doesn’t it to you?
What in the heck did George W. Bush mean when he warned that if Iran progresses further in their nuclear technology that there would be World War III? Let’s read the account first:
Q [Putin] said — well, at least the quote said that — and he also said, “He sees no evidence to suggest Iran wants to build a nuclear bomb.” Were you disappointed with that message? And does that indicate possibly that international pressure is not as great as you once thought against Iran abandoning its nuclear program?
THE PRESIDENT: I — as I said, I look forward to — if those are, in fact, his comments, I look forward to having him clarify those, because when I visited with him, he understands that it’s in the world’s interest to make sure that Iran does not have the capacity to make a nuclear weapon. And that’s why, on — in the first round at the U.N., he joined us, and second round, we joined together to send a message. I mean, if he wasn’t concerned about it, Bret, then why did we have such good progress at the United Nations in round one and round two?
And so I will visit with him about it. I have not yet been briefed yet by Condi or Bob Gates about, you know, their visit with Vladimir Putin.
Q But you definitively believe Iran wants to build a nuclear weapon?
THE PRESIDENT: I think so long — until they suspend and/or make it clear that they — that their statements aren’t real, yeah, I believe they want to have the capacity, the knowledge, in order to make a nuclear weapon. And I know it’s in the world’s interest to prevent them from doing so. I believe that the Iranian — if Iran had a nuclear weapon, it would be a dangerous threat to world peace.
But this — we got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel. So I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously. And we’ll continue to work with all nations about the seriousness of this threat.
Note the threat there. If we supposedly want to avoid World War III, we need to prevent Iran from having “the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.” It’s no longer even a matter of them having nuclear weapons, but they can’t even go on track to have them.
So let’s get into Bush’s insane and childish logic here. First of all, Iran is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which specifically allows countries to proceed with nuclear technology. (note importantly that India is NOT, yet Bush signed a massive deal with them to share our nuclear technology—but hey we were never fair in terms of following international law, so why start now, right?). The NPT specifically, and most importantly, legally allows a country like Iran to have a nuclear energy program. George W. Bush would have the United States of America violate the Non-Proliferation Treaty by taking away from Iran what is rightfully and legally theirs: access to nuclear energy. Now, if George W. Bush feels the NPT is not a good treaty, he can order the United States to relinquish its terms to the treaty (as he did with the ABM treaty so long ago). After all, we’re already violating the spirit of the NPT by signing the deal with India, who does NOT belong to the NPT and probably never will.
Secondly, why would George W. Bush think that if Iran would gain nuclear technology and knowledge it would lead to a WORLD war? When you talk about World Wars, you’re talking about something along the lines of what we saw in the 1910s and 1940s. Is George W. Bush saying that multiple countries will be involved in a prolonged conflict that will lead to the deaths of millions of people?
Think about this, if Iran merely has the knowledge of nuclear technology, they can’t USE that knowledge to start wars. Knowledge in and of itself is practically useless. It must be put into PRACTICE in order for it to become forceful. So how could the KNOWLEDGE of nuclear technology lead Iran to START a world war? It couldn’t. So who would be STARTING that next World War?
Just follow George W. Bush’s own logic, guys. He is basically telling you that HE AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA will be STARTING THE NEXT WORLD WAR. We will be the instigators of WORLD WAR THREE.
I was one of those who was highly disappointed with the 2000 election. There were so many factors that took away the presidency from the rightful person and put it in the hands of a childish, boy emperor, a petulant, self-serving, babbling idiot, who has left the blackest mark on our country…since, well, I can’t honestly think of a worst president.
I can’t say how angry I have been these past seven years at Ralph Nader, siphoning votes away from Al Gore (Ralph Nader got like 70,000 votes in Florida in 2000, plenty to defeat Bush). Republicans have seen the power of a third party candidate taking votes away from the likely winner (they faced a similar situation in 1992 with Ross Perot giving the victory to Bill Clinton), and some Republican candidates have tried to mimic that for a Senate seat.
George Bush was given the presidency and the world (with the exception of a few) mourned his administration. 9/11 occurred on his watch. He began expanding warrantless wiretapping right from the beginning of his administration in February 2001 (according to QWest CEO). He ordered the CIA and the military to torture suspects a practice previously we abhorred and usually denounced when we heard other countries practice. He used politics of division rather than union and immediately angered half of his own country. He rightfully went after Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan after we were attacked, but instead of focusing on our real enemy, he chose to go after Saddam, with no really good reason to do so. He contracted out security to lawless men who murder innocent Iraqis. He continues to bamboozle America into further war, increasingly raising the specter of war with Iran.
Al Gore went away from the spotlight during this time, but in 2002, as the country was seeing red and Iraq was its target, he spoke out prophetically against the war, and made us who felt he was our real president, long for his leadership instead of the idiot we got.
For Al Gore, winning the Nobel Peace Prize today is the latest twist in a remarkable decade of soaring highs and painful lows. In the span of the last decade he went from being the vice president to being the presumptive Democratic nominee for president to winning the popular vote for president only to lose in the Electoral College — after an intervention by the Supreme Court made his 537-vote loss in Florida official.
Mr. Gore’s decision to give up the fight after the Supreme Court decision left some of his more die-hard supporters bitter, and he by and large retreated from public view for several years. He rarely inserted himself in the public debate, though he did venture out to speak against the invasion of Iraq before it happened. But, associates have said, it was during that quasi-exile that Mr. Gore broke free of the political consultancy that had come to surround him to find his true voice, returning to the environmental issues to which he had devoted his early political career.
Even before Mr. Gore’s so-called “user generated” cable television network, Current, won an Emmy, or the film on climate change in which he starred, “An Inconvenient Truth,” won an Oscar, he was growing in stature for another reason: his early opposition to the Iraq war.
He had initially voiced it in 2002 in an address that his newly galvanized supporters now describe as uncannily prescient and unfairly dismissed, though it was seen as a politically off-kilter at a time of great popularity for President George W. Bush.
The Prize certainly comes as vindication to Mr. Gore, whose early dedication to environmental issues had earned him the derisive nickname “Ozone Man” — “Ozone,” for short — from President George H.W. Bush during the 1992 presidential campaign.
Al Gore went private and became a true leader of the world. He created a TV network, he created a documentary that won him the Oscar for Best Documentary, and he went around the world and raised awareness, enough so that blogs like this write a post with well over 300 comments on global warming. This is raising awareness. And because of this Al Gore won the Nobel Prize for Peace.
Conservatives hate this, because they think they see a hypocrite (they of course never look in the mirror—if they did they might have a Dorian Gray moment). They try to downplay the importance of the Nobel Prize, claiming it is political, blah blah blah.
But in the world of power and influence, Al Gore has shown that striving for peace is more powerful and more influential than creating war.
As Noam Scheiber writes:
Watching Al Gore take a well-deserved victory lap this afternoon, I couldn’t help wondering what George W. Bush must be thinking. I mean, I know the guy still believes history will vindicate him and all, but, really, this has got to be pretty painful. Bush, according to various accounts of the 2000 campaign, absolutely despised Gore. He regarded him as a preening, self-righteous phony.
So Bush somehow manages to avenge his father’s defeat and vanquish the vice president of the United States. And yet, seven years later, it’s Gore who’s being hailed around the world as a prophet and a savior and Bush who, if he’s still being discussed at all, is mentioned only as the punchline to some joke, or when his poll numbers reach some new historic low. It must eat him up.
I don’t know if it eats up Mr. Bush, who never cared much of what others thought of him (at least publicly), but it sure brings satisfaction to those of us who wonder why Bush ever became our president.
After all, he is speaking out against the war calling it a “nightmare” and all. Must be phony.
Boy, with the army needing so much time to recover from all the work in Iraq, we just hope that we haven’t so weakened our national security to give other nations the advantage to position themselves in a stronger point vis a vis us.
The Bush Administration really felt that they would only need to be in Iraq for a few months, all in the summer of 2003. They were (and are) really THAT dumb, that they thought wholly removing one type of government would take mere months. They were not ready for an occupation that would take years. Therefore they never prepared the military and Americans for a prolonged occupation. Now, because they never prepared for a prolonged occupation, they never prepared for the Army running out of fresh soldiers. Now the Army will require a very long time to recover. This is very bad for us.
Read this piece from CNN about a “firefight” in Baquba. Note the shift at work. It is slowly changing from Al-Qaeda being our big enemy in Iraq to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard being our main enemy.
U.S.-led coalition forces launched an airstrike west of Baquba on Friday morning, killing about 25 insurgents after a “heavy firefight” with troops, a U.S. military statement said.
The firefight involved assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, the statement said.
The forces’ operation was targeting a commander with suspected links to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force. According to the U.S. military, he was “involved in the movement of various weapons from Iran to Baghdad.”
Do you see it? In a few months, they won’t be as cautious with their words against Iran, and Al-Qaeda will completely be removed from their lexicon in Iraq. This is the work of men who have a strategy in mind to deceive and convert Americans into fundamentalist supporters of war with Iran. Note that nothing really has changed in reality, just in how they REPORT reality.
Not looking very good at all for Blackwater. Not only does the United States military corroborate what Iraqi civilians at the scene say but apparently Blackwater, feeling that mere machine guns weren’t deadly enough, used a grenade launcher to kill civilians.
The U.S. military reports appear to corroborate the Iraqi government’s contention that Blackwater was at fault in the shooting incident in Nisoor Square, in which hospital records say at least 14 people were killed and 18 were wounded.
“It was obviously excessive, it was obviously wrong,” said the U.S. military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the incident remains the subject of several investigations. “The civilians that were fired upon, they didn’t have any weapons to fire back at them. And none of the IP or any of the local security forces fired back at them,” he added, using a military abbreviation for the Iraqi police. The Blackwater guards appeared to have fired grenade launchers in addition to machine guns, the official said.
This incident really is far worse than Abu Ghraib. I hope our governmental leaders understand this. Hey Romney, when are you going to fire that Blackwater VP from your policy board? When are you going to speak out against launching grenades at civilians?
Dang, I never thought I would have to make that kind of argument before…
That is the question the father of one of the victims in Blackwater’s murderous rampage two weeks ago asks.
The carnage has sparked outrage and demands to reform the private contractor industry. Almost three weeks later, the collective memory of Iraqis at the scene is raw.
“It was catastrophic. So many innocent people were killed,” recalled Zina Fadhil, 21, a pharmacist. That day, she huddled in fear inside her store about 100 yards from the square as Blackwater helicopters hovered above. Like other eyewitnesses, she said she saw Blackwater guards firing down from the helicopters, an allegation the security firm denies.
“I am a peaceful person, but I wished I could have shot those people in the helicopters,” Fadhil continued, her soft voice rising.
Not one of the victims or family members interviewed had been aware that Blackwater was immune to prosecution in Iraq under an order by U.S. administrators after the 2003 invasion.
“Why is the blood of Iraqis so free for everyone to spill?” asked Sahib Nasr, the father of one of the victims.
Shoot first, ask questions later? Is that really how we want the world to perceive us, America?
Kadhum, the doctor, and her son Haitham, who were in the flow of cars the officers were trying to stop, didn’t react quickly enough. A Blackwater guard fired, striking Haitham as he sat in the driver’s seat, three witnesses said.
“The bullet went through the windshield and split his head open,” recalled traffic police officer Sarhan Thiab. “His mother was holding him, screaming for help.”
The car, which had an automatic transmission, kept rolling. Another officer, Ali Khalaf, tried to stop the vehicle as another spray of bullets killed Kadhum.
Thiab fled first, then Khalaf, followed by bullets that struck a traffic light pole, a billboard and their police guard post. Then the Blackwater guards escalated their firepower, engulfing the sedan in flames.
In sworn statements to State Department investigators reported by ABC News, four Blackwater guards said they fired upon the sedan because it was traveling at high speed and would not stop. Khalaf and other eyewitnesses said it was moving slowly and posed no threat.
Imagine if that was your mother and brother. If you cannot handle that being done to your family, how can you tolerate that being done to other people’s families?
On Monday, inside his spacious cream-colored house in Baghdad’s Khadisiya neighborhood, Firoz Fadhil Abbas questioned whether anyone would be held accountable for the shootings.
He has met several times with U.S. military investigators, and every time they apologized for his brother’s death, he said. But such words have done little to ease the clan’s loss.
“It looks like everything is back to normal. The company is back in operation,” Abbas said. “And we’ve lost the head of our family. There’s no justice here.”
Mohammed Osama Fadhil, Osama’s 14-year-old son, quietly listened to the conversation. Seated near him was his brother, Ahmed, a solemn 7-year-old. Finally, Mohammed spoke, focusing on Blackwater.
“They killed many others before,” he said. “Have they done anything to help those people, so that we can expect something?”
This is a clear case of murder, whether accidental or purposeful, those civilian guards fired on civilians and killed at least fourteen. For no excuse good enough to warrant the actions they took. And they are really above the law. They are not bound to Iraqi law. They are not bound to the military code. They are not bound by American law either. The Bush administration ensured that these mercenary guards are above the law.
Is this what you really want, America? If not, then make it known to Congress, the only power left to subdue this out of control executive. This is evil stuff. This is not the characteristics of a Christian nation, or any nation professing a belief in some sort of higher being. These are not the standards we were founded upon. These are not the standards our forefathers died for. Why do we accept them now?
that Pakistan, a country that has several nukes, is losing the fight against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
Um, er, uh, what are we doing in Iraq again? The same thing that Bin Laden apparently sent some of his goons into Iraq for…
Heck’v’a job, Bushie!
Oh, and instead of preparing Americans to go into Pakistan WHERE WE SHOULD BE ALREADY, Bush and Cheney are preparing Americans to go into Iran! Huh?
well well well, the plot thickens. Blackwater, America’s terrorist organization (what else would you call a group of armed men who go around killing civilians for no reason at all: worse still, they are state sponsored—paid for by the American taxpayer— and they have the protection of that state to willfully use violence at their discretion with full immunity), has strong ties to Mitt Romney’s campaign. Blackwater’s vice chair Cofer Black sits on Romney’s senior advisors on counter-terrorism and national security. As such, Romney’s campaign has been painfully silent on the murder of Iraqis at the hands of Blackwater employees.
What principle do you stand on, Mr. Romney?