Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Baker Report Slaps Bush...And Takes the Middle Ground





From my "Capital Games" column at www.thenation.com....

James Baker did not enter the Senate committee room bearing two tablets. But the Bush clan adviser and former secretary of state had high expectations to meet Wednesday morning when he and his fellow commissioners of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group publicly disclosed at a Capitol Hill press conference their collective wisdom on how to fix George W. Bush's war in Iraq--if, as they more than once noted, that's possible. Baker and his colleagues presented no surprises--given a week's worth of leaks about the report's findings. But they made it official: the Washington establishment has judged Bush's management of the war a failure.

No such bold statement exists in the 142-page report. And before the scores of reporters and dozens of camera crews, Baker, former Representative Lee Hamilton, and the eight other ISG poohbahs offered no harsh words for the fellow Baker got into the White House. Yet the report is unequivocal. "The situation in Iraq," it says, "is grave and deteriorating," and the Bush administration must "pursue different policies."

Citing such statements, I asked Democratic power-lawyer Vernon Jordan, one of the commisioners, if the report is an outright repudiation of Bush's handling of the war. Flashing a wide smile, he replied, "That's implicit." Baker has politely sent a message to Bush the Younger: you screwed up.

The report is both a political and policy document. By declaring that Bush's current approach is misguided, the Baker-Hamilton commission creates greater space for a debate over alternatives. Its report undermines Bush's recent claims that "we're winning" in Iraq and that he has "a strategy for victory." You're not and you don't, the report retorts (between the lines). This slap from Baker and the other Republican members (former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, former Senator Alan Simpson, and former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger) is significant. When has such a group of Washington influentials offered a stinging indictment--even if gently--of the defining mission of a president from their own party? This report comes close to being a vote of no confidence from the Republican elite.

Having dismissed Bush's prosecution of the war, Baker and his comrades try to fill the vacuum with 79 mostly middle-of-the-road policy recommendations. They do not side with the withdrawalists who urge initiating disengagement immediately or within months. ("Precipitous withdrawal," Baker maintained, "could lead to a blood bath and wider regional war.") They do not endorse the proposal from neoconservatives and Senator John McCain for dispatching more troops to Iraq. ("Sustained increases in U.S. troop levels would not solve the fundamental cause of violence in Iraq," the report says, adding, "we do not have the troops.") They do not support dividing Iraq into parts. ("It could not be managed on an orderly basis," Baker said, and partition could cause "a humanitarian disaster or broad-based civil war.")

The commission calls for a pullback of combat troops by the first quarter of 2008--"subject to unexpected developments in the security situation on the ground"--as part of shifting the U.S. military mission from combat to training and support operations. (Bush, the commission notes, should state that the United States does not seek permanent military bases in Iraq.) This mission switch, according to the commission, must occur in tandem with a "diplomatic offensive to build consensus for stability in Iraq and the region"--an effort that would include approaching Iran and Syria and seeking "a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts." The Baker gang proposes creating an Iraq International Support Group that would involve all countries bordering Iraq and other nations in the region and world. The commission also recommends that the United States pressure the Iraqi government concerning "milestones on national reconciliation, security, and governance." The report lists various benchmarks Washington should demand of the Iraqis, including passing a law governing oil revenue sharing (by early 2007), completing "reconciliation efforts" (by May 2007), gaining control of the army (by April 2007), and appreciating the value of the Iraqi dinar by 10 percent to combat inflation (by the end of this year). And the pressure must be explicit. If the Iraqi government does not make "substantial progress," the report notes, the Bush administration "should reduce its political, military, or economic support for the government."

Is all this truly "a better way forward," as the report puts it? It certainly is better than the muddle-through approach of the Bush administration. The report lays out specific ways the US military should attempt to improve the training of Iraqi security forces--mainly by increasing the number of U.S. military personnel embedded with Iraqi units. And withdrawing combat troops is a key part of the plan. But one can easily pick apart the fundamental recommendations. The US military has already trained 300,000 Iraqi troops and police officers--or so Vice President Dick Cheney claims--and the program has been a failure. The report cites "significant questions" about the abilities and loyalties of Iraqi units. "The state of the Iraqi police is substantially worse than that of the Iraqi army," the ISG concludes. Is there reason to believe that a new round of training of security forces in this highly fractured state can be done in a manner that works?

The same goes for other recommendations. The report urges both supporting and applying pressure on "the Iraqi government." Is Bush nimble enough to do this? More important, is the Iraqi government truly a working and viable entity that can be effectively assisted and nudged simultaneously? "Key players within the government too often act in their sectarian interest," the report says. "Iraq's Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish leaders frequently fail to demonstrate the political will to act in Iraq's national interest, and too many Iraqi ministries lack the capacity to govern effectively." It adds that sectarian militias "are currently seen as legitimate vehicles of political action." The report sums up a primary obstacle:

Sunni politicians told us that the U.S. military has to take on the militias; Shia politicians told us that the U.S. military has to help them take out the Sunni insurgents and al Qaeda. Each side watches the other. Sunni insurgents will not lay down arms unless the Shia militias are disarmed. Shia militias will not disarm until the Sunni insurgency is destroyed. To put it simply: there are many armed groups within Iraq, and very little will to lay down arms.

How to break this deadlock? The report does not say. And Baker conceded that Iran might have no interest in participating in a diplomatic endeavor designed to stabilize Iraq. He was more optimistic about Syria: "With respect to Syria, there's some strong indications that they would be in a position if we were able to enter into a constructive dialogue, that they could--would be in a position to help us and might want to help us."

At the press conference, Baker, Hamilton and Company discussed political divisions in the United States more than they did those in Iraq. They repeatedly echoed the report's call for the forging of a bipartisan political consensus on Iraq. Baker, the commissions and their report point to the divisive debate within the United States as a critical problem. Whether that's so or not, they left untouched a bigger matter: will Bush listen (to them or anyone else) and chart a different course?

The commissioner met with Bush prior to the press conference, and Hamilton said he was "immensely pleased today when President Bush indicated to us that this report presents to the American people a common opportunity to deal with the problems in Iraq." But the report is more than an "opportunity." It's a specific plan resting on ideas Bush and his aides have already shoved aside. The Bush White House has indicated it has no interest in discussing the Iraq mess with Iran and Syria. Bush has repeatedly stuck with an open-ended commitment: US troops will stay in Iraq until the mission is completed. The Baker commission--as limited as its recommendations may be--is asking Bush to change policy in a dramatic fashion. Does Bush, one reporter asked, "have the capacity to pull a 180?" Baker replied, "I never put presidents I work for on the couch."

But--couch or no couch--that is the question. Bush's intentions are more important than the middle-of-the-road/give-it-one-more-shot particulars of the ISG recommendations. The commission is going out of business. Its members will be testifying before various congressional panels in the weeks and months ahead. But they will not be pressing Bush in any organized way to adopt their proposals--or to alter his own approach. What matters more than the merits of Recommendation No. 37 ("Iraqi amnesty proposals must not be undercut in Washington by either the executive or the legislative branch") is whether Bush accepts the report's fundamentals--Iraq is getting worse and his policies have failed--and whether he is willing to reconsider what to do in Iraq.

At the press conference, Baker talked about improving the "chances for success," not about victory. "We stayed away" from using the word "victory," he said. Hamilton observed, "I don't know if [Iraq] can be turned around." No one connected to the commission positioned him- or herself as a policy savior. "There is no guarantee for success in Iraq," the Baker report says, noting that "the ability of the United States to shape outcomes is diminishing. Time is running out." Baker readily acknowledges his panel's recommendations might not do the trick. There's little hubris within the report.

On the first page, the panel notes, "Our leaders must be candid and forthright with the American people in order to win their support." That suggests "our leaders"--meaning the president--has not been so. To their credit, the ISG commissioners frankly concede--all too willingly--that their proposals might not work. But now that the Baker report is finally done and the Bush family's Mr. Fixit has declared no magical solution exists, the Iraq debate reverts to the basics: can Bush candidly admit Iraq is a debacle and can he ponder meaningful alternatives to the present course? For that question, there's no answer from the wise men (and one wise woman) of Baker's study group.

Posted by David Corn at December 6, 2006 03:14 PM

36 comments:

O'Reilly said...

"The situation in Iraq," it says, "is grave and deteriorating," and the Bush administration must "pursue different policies."

That's a clear message and the voting public is vindicated to hear the message delivered to Mr George Bush but will he hear it?

First, he would have to want to, and second he would have to agree.

So straps yourselves in because this ship is going down with it's captain, the ideological freedom fighter who picked the wrong fight and dragged a country into it based on a pack of lies. Fuck you cowboy.

David B. Benson said...

David Corn --- This report is only going to make matters worse or at leat prolonged. Three main Iraqi groups are armed and want to fight each other. What's to stop them? A strong majority of both Americans and Iraqis want the 'coalition', i.e., the Americans and Brits OUT NOW. So out now, cut-n-run, it ought to be.

The Saudis and the Iranians are upset. Fine, let them duke it out over the corpse of an Iraq (which never, ever, was really a nation, only a state imposed by the British in 1922 or thenabouts).

This posturing by the old guard in Washington, D.C., is just going to mean more American and British casualties, and no fewer Iraqi casualties. Its the end-game of Vietnam all over again. Some never learn from history...

capt said...

Robert Gates confirmed as secretary of defense



Full Senate votes 95-2 in favor of proposed Rumsfeld replacement


WASHINGTON - The Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to confirm Robert Gates, 63, as defense secretary, with Democrats and Republicans portraying him as the man who will help overhaul President Bush's Iraq policies.

The 95-2 vote was a victory for Bush, who named Gates to replace Donald H. Rumsfeld at the Pentagon on Nov. 8, a day after voters gave Democrats control of Congress for next year.

Even so, much of Gates' support stemmed from his pledges to consider new options in Iraq. The vote coincided with the release of an independent study lambasting Bush's approach to the war, increasing pressure on the White House to change course.


More HERE

*****end of clip*****

Seems a bit like all the hopes for the 110th congress weigh heavily on a handful of newbies. Too bad the newbies lack any seniority as the senior statesmen are still supporting Iran-contra GHWB lackeys.





capt

David B. Benson said...

Major Bill Edmonds on "The Nation"...

David B. Benson said...

John Nichols, 'Making Matters Worse?' in "The Nation". I'd leave off the question mark. Yes, 'embedding' Americans in the Iraqi non-Army will make matters worse...

Carey said...

This says it's only in New York. However, Buyer Beware! I know I occasionally eat at Taco Bell when on the run.

New York Says 15 E.Coli Cases From Taco Bell

On the Baker Report, blogosphere not happy!

I need snailmail (mailing) addresses cornbloggers. You can send them through Saladin or Capt. They don't know about this yet, but they're passing them on to me. Thanks, by the way. IT'S HOLIDAY CARD SEASON. That means you O'Reilly, Robert S. & Kathleen. I have Sal's and Capt's.

Saladin said...

This baker BS is boring me to death, I'm so tired of this smoke and mirrors. Here is something good!


David Lynch Goes Public With 9/11 Questions
Film director is disturbed by unanswered questions

Steve Watson
Infowars.net
Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Film Director and cult icon David Lynch has gone public with concerns he has over the official government story of the September 11 2001 terror attacks. Lynch has stated that he is disturbed by unanswered questions concerning the Pentagon attack, the collapse of the buildings in New York and the strange ending of flight 93 in Pennsylvania.

Appearing on Dutch Television on VPRO's Wereldgasten, on December 3rd, Lynch discussed and played clips from Dylan Avery's groundbreaking 9/11 documentary Loose Change.

After playing a four minute segment from the documentary Lynch stated:

Its not so much what thy say, it's the things that make you look at what you thought you saw in a different light. And Those things for me, that bother me, is the hole in the Pentagon being too small for a plane, the lawn isn't messed up, and the government's not showing the plane hitting when many cameras photographed it.

At the World Trade Center, three buildings came down, like demolitions, and two of them were hit by a plane, but the third one they said "do you want us to pull it?" and they pulled it and it looked just like the other two. Those things bother me.

In Pennsylvania, the plane that went down, there was just a hole in the ground, there wasn't any wreckage,there wasn't any skid marks, there wasn't any tear in the earth, and no one has ever really found out about that.

So every place there's questions, coming from this documentary. You don't have to believe everything in the documentary to still have questions come up... and you look back and you remember what you saw, and what you were told, and now, you have questions.

It's just an event that has many questions and no answers.

When asked "What about suggestions the American government was behind it?", Lynch answered:

"That's too big for people to think about. it's too big. It's like something no one wants to think about."

Watch the video:

Video

Saladin said...

And there's this:

Actor James Brolin Latest Celebrity To Publicly Doubt 9/11

Actor James Brolin, the husband of Barbara Streisand, has today become the latest celebrity figure to publicly question the official story behind 9/11, after he encouraged viewers of a top rated ABC talk show to check out a 9/11 truth website.

capt said...

"The possession of unlimited power will make a despot of almost any man. There is a possible Nero in the gentlest human creature that walks." -- Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836-1907) Source: Ponkapog Papers, 1903

=
"Now those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth, and let me remind you they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyranny." - Barry Goldwater (1909-1998) US Senator (R-Arizona) Source: Senator Goldwater's Acceptance Speech at the Republican National Convention, 1964

=
"It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.": - Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) British Lord General of the Army, Lord Protector of the Realm Source: Address, First Protectorate Parliament, 1654

=
"There is as far as I know, no example in history, of any state voluntarily ceding power from the centre to its constituent parts.": -- Charles Handy Source: 'The Age of Unreason'



===
Read this newsletter online http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/

Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Conflicting Conservative opinions expected to open the way for gays



Full Senate votes 95-2 in favor of proposed Rumsfeld replacement


NEW YORK, Dec. 6 (JTA) — Even before the ink was dry on the Conservative movement’s decision to accept gay rabbis and allow same-sex commitment ceremonies, its impact was already being felt.

Rabbi Jerome Epstein, executive vice president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the movement’s congregational arm, immediately announced that he was recommending a change in the organization’s hiring practices, which had required employees to be observant of Jewish law — effectively barring gay men and lesbians.

"I see no reason why we should not revise our hiring policies so we may consider applicants for United Synagogue jobs no matter what their sexual orientation may be," Epstein said in a statement. "United Synagogue’s leadership will discuss the issue at our next scheduled meeting."

With advocates on both sides of the issue warning that Wednesday’s decisions by the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards could irreparably fracture the movement, the two-day meeting was closely monitored around the Jewish world.

In the end, the committee endorsed three separate teshuvot, or responsa, on the issue. One, by Rabbi Joel Roth, affirmed the movement’s traditional ban on gay rabbis and commitment ceremonies. Another, by Rabbis Elliot Dorff, Daniel Nevins and Avram Reisner, reversed those positions while upholding the biblical prohibition on male intercourse. Both papers earned 13 votes, a majority of the 25-member committee.

A third opinion, by Rabbi Leonard Levy, also affirmed the movement’s traditional position on homosexuality while rejecting the now-common view that homosexuality is an orientation one cannot control. Levy’s position earned the minimum six votes required for acceptance.

More HERE

*****end of clip*****

Amazing that America is less progressive.


capt

capt said...

Why the Baker Report Leaves Iraqis Cold



Analysis: The Iraq Study Group's proposals contain much to like — for Shi'ite sectarians and al-Qaeda in Iraq


It's a shame there's no Arabic word for Duh! because that word would perfectly sum up the Iraqi reaction to the conclusions in the Iraq Study Group report. Nobody living in this country needs a high-powered bipartisan Washington committee to tell them that (a) the situation is "grave and dangerous"; (b) there's no "magic bullet" solution; (c) talking to Iran and Syria is the smart thing to do; and (d) the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki isn't up to scratch.

But many Iraqis will be alarmed by the ISG's proposal to change the mission of U.S. troops in Iraq, essentially turning them into detached observers. Few people outside Baghdad's highly fortified Green Zone believe that Iraqi security forces are anywhere near ready to take over the primary security responsibility from the U.S. troops. They point to the utter failure of a massive security operation to stanch the sectarian bloodletting in the Iraqi capital — despite the presence of over 40,000 Iraqi soldiers (and 7,200 U.S. troops), the violence has grown substantially worse.

Far from being part of the solution, the Iraqi military and police forces are often part of the problem. The police, in particular, are thoroughly infiltrated by Shi'ite militias and are frequently complicit in the kidnapping and murder of Sunnis and the ethnic cleansing of mixed neighborhoods. If the U.S. mission in Iraq is, indeed, redefined along the lines suggested by the ISG, things are more likely to get worse than better.

More HERE

Saladin said...

An Open Letter to the New Congress - Investing in Hate: America’s Support of Israel

Atlantic Free Press
by William A. Cook

“[It] is wrong to suggest that the Jewish people would support a government in Israel or anywhere else that institutionalizes ethnically based suppression, and Democrats reject that allegation vigorously.”

Nancy Pelosi


One might hope that the newly elected Democrats that constitute the majority in both houses would be able to think for themselves on the issue of Israeli apartheid and not be led by the prejudicial opinion of their presumed House leader. Pelosi’s statement denies the reality that exists in Israel now on two counts: first, she denies the reality of the present government in Israel because with Olmert’s acceptance of Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu party into his government, he, and therefore his government, has acknowledged what this man and his party endorse, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land and the denial of citizenship of Palestinians living in Israel; secondly, she denies the reality of the Jewish state’s “Declaration of Independence,” as noted by Dr. Uri Davis in his work, Apartheid Israel, “The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel – known as Israel’s Declaration of Independence – does not declare Israel an independent State, nor does it declare Israel a sovereign State, it rather declares Israel a Jewish State … the Jewish State in the political Zionist sense of the term was to be an apartheid state.” Dr. Davis’ work records the acts of “ethnic cleansing of the majority of the native indigenous Palestinian Arab people from the territories that came under the control of the Israeli army and razing some 400 Palestinian rural and urban localities to the ground …” and the plantation of Jewish settlements and subsequent annexation by the State in “violation of both the UN Charter and of international law.”

Pelosi speaks as though she were the voice of AIPAC chastising its minions to abide by their presumed commitment to the Zionist cause, a commitment it could count on in the six years of Republican rule. She also speaks for all Democrats, apparently excommunicating the most senior Democrat of all, former President Jimmy Carter whose new book occasioned her outburst because he spoke the truth about Israel’s illegal confiscation of Palestinian land as the actions of an apartheid state. And finally, and perhaps most tellingly, she speaks for all Jews not understanding that hundreds of thousands of Jews have condemned the actions of the Olmert government and of the prior Sharon government for the savagery of their treatment of the Palestinian people.

One need read only Gideon Levy’s recent article (“The Cease Fire Will Go Up in Flames,” 12/3/06 Harretz) to realize that it is Israel’s Olmert government and the IDF that prevents peace in Palestine, not the Palestinians. But Pelosi gets her news from AIPAC wrapped in its most recent resolution it wants our congress to pass supporting the apartheid government that she denies exists.

On November 7th, the American people made it abundantly clear that they repudiated the policies of the Republican Congress and the Bush administration. The new Congress must address the failure of the Bush/Neo-con war in Iraq and defuse the world-wide anger and outright hatred of the United States for its support of the state of Israel for its inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people, what President Carter called on Good Morning America the “’prime cause’ of continuing violence in the Middle East.” (Ron Bryneart, 11/27/06)...
========
I wonder if the neocon leaders in Israel realize the blowback these policies will cause for all the peace loving Jewish people? Do they care? Not likely.

capt said...

Sens. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Jim Bunning (R-KY) cast the only “no” votes.(re: Gates)


capt

Saladin said...

I told you, don't pin any hopes on the dems, they really suck. Capt, was it you that called them the second head of the two headed serpent?

O'Reilly said...

Norman Solomon writes on HuffingtonPost.com, however, that the traditional media's conviction that a quick pullout of U.S. troops would be disastrous reminds him of the media's conviction in 2002 and early 2003 that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction: In both cases, dissenting voices -- that may, in fact, be correct -- are marginalized in a most unjournalistic fashion.

"The current media travesty is a drumbeat for the idea that the U.S. war effort must keep going," Solomon writes.

O'Reilly said...

The Dems are our best chance so stop disparaging them en masse.

gerald said...

FYI

I have been busy but I have some time to share with you some information.

Our son is an adjunct instructor at a local 4-year college. He teaches undergraduate students. His field is envrionmental science.

He gave his students a one week project on how much can one person generate waste, such as an empty bean can or chicken bones from a meal, etc. They were given a chart with an approximate weight scale. They were to add up the total, even a person's crap.

To make this story short let me say that the average crap from a person is 5 to 25 pounds. Yes, you read the average correctly. If you take 5 craps in a week, you will produce 25 to 125 pounds of crap. Let me state that a 25 pound crap is really a mother load of all mother loads.

gerald said...

More sadnness, part one

gerald said...

More sadness, part two! Does anyone care

gerald said...

Catastrophe Awaits

Saladin said...

If the dems are our best chance we are in big trouble. I will stop disparaging them en masse when they stop putting their own asses ahead of the country! They got a mandate with this vote. They better listen or they will get the boot too!

Saladin said...

Iran-Contra Criminal Gates Gets Warm and Fuzzy Treatment in Senate and Corporate Media

Kurt Nimmo
Another Day In The Empire
Wednesday, December 6, 2006

“Brushing aside questions about Robert Gates’ past involvement in the Iran-Contra debacle, and ignoring his role in the funneling of intelligence to Saddam during the Iraq/Iran war, and overcoming their own hesitance 15 years ago to advance him to the position of CIA director, the Senate Armed Forces Committee voted unanimously for the former analyst to replace the primary architect of every aspect of Bush’s military muckraking abroad and assume responsibility for Rumsfeld’s war against Iraq, effective with the anticipated vote of the full Senate later this week,” writes Ron Fullwood.

There it is, in one paragraph, all the reasons Gates should be doing the perp walk, not promenading before our Congress critters, many if not most who should also be rigged out in orange jumpsuits, mostly for supporting the neocon “war” against Iraq, death toll currently around 650,000.

Asked about the contrived “war on terror,” Gates said, in response to a question posed by the “Democrat,” soon to be “Independent,” forever a Zionist shill, Joe Lieberman: “I think that it is imperative in this long war on terrorism that we face, that could go on for a generation, that there be a bipartisan agreement.” Of course, Gates, after he tacks up his various diplomas and family photos in his Pentagon office, will take for granted this disgusting “bipartisan agreement” to invade small countries and torture dirt farmers and goat herders in far-flung backwater states. Democrats are onboard, never mind that average American, according to recent polls, is sick and tired of the neocon clash of civilizations, want the troops to come home, and rate the threat of terrorism low on the list of concerns.

For Democrats, Gates is refreshing, never mind he is responsible, along with the scurrilous Ollie North and the dead Ronald Reagan, for unleashing the Contras, who killed around 30,000 Nicaraguans. “During my four years as a ‘contra director, it was premeditated policy to terrorize civilian noncombatants to prevent them from cooperating with the Government,” admits Edgar Chamorro. “Hundreds of civilian murders, tortures and rapes were committed in pursuit of this policy, of which the ‘contra’ leaders and their CIA superiors were well aware.”

“For now, Gates’ chief strength—and it’s significant—is that he’s not the man he’ll replace. Given Rumsfeld’s radioactivity in Washington and around the world, that should give Gates a useful honeymoon,” opines USA Today. In the meantime, more Iraqis will die horrible deaths, more babies will be born with horrible deformities, thanks to depleted uranium, and the morgues will continue to overflow with the dead, killed by U.S.-trained death squads.

Obviously, with bear-hugging and back-slapping Republicans and Democrats such as this, the “war” against the Iraqi people will continue, at least for the next two years, and probably much longer, well into the presidency of Hillary or whatever Democrat is selected by the ruling elite come 2008.
==========
Our best hope? Disgusting.

Saladin said...

Gatefold - Doormats
Of The World, Unite!
By Chris Floyd
12-7-6

This is your new-style, reinvigorated, hard-charging, tough-talking, speaking-truth-to-power, practicing-vigorous-oversight gaggle of Senate Democrats in action one month after their historic triumph at the polls:

Senate approves Gates as defense secretary (CNN)

By a vote of 95-2, the Senate approved President Bush's defense secretary nominee Wednesday, a day after the nomination sailed through the Armed Services Committee. Robert Gates was confirmed by the Senate Armed Services Committee 24-0 on Tuesday. No significant opposition to Gates' nomination surfaced during the confirmation process.

I know, I know: the Democrats haven't yet taken the reins of power in Congress. Obviously, the vote would have been much different if they had waited until January. It would have been 96-1, because Rick Santorum (one of the two Republican Rummy-worshippers who opposed Gates) wouldn't be there.

I'll be writing more about this soon. But for now, I think we should let this vote (and the
confirmation hearing love-in that preceded it, described as "a day of compliments and warm chuckles" by the NYT) on one of the most severely compromised candidates ever nominated for a major Cabinet post serve as a sign of what's to come when the Democrats are once more ensconced in the cozier Congressional offices: more rolling over and playing dead, more simpering gratitude for noises of merely rhetorical "moderation" from the Bush Gang, more relief that they won't actually have to do anything to respond to the tide of anti-war, anti-corruption, anti-tyranny, anti-Bush Faction sentiment that returned them to the majority.

It's just a scientific fact: invertebrae cannot grow spines by spontaneous generation. They were jellyfish before the elections, they are jellyfish now, and they will be wriggling, wimpering jellyfish in January -- and beyond, as they sit around with Gates and Bush "for the next year or two" (in Gates' repeated formulation) and "consider options" for "achieving success" in Iraq.

As with so much else with the rubberstamp Republicans and the rubberboned Democrats, the absurdity of the Gates hearing (and the Baker Group brouhaha) would be funny -- if only so many, many people were not going to die horrible, needless deaths because of it. The whole rotten, stupid farce is like some demented production of "Gomer Pyle Meets the Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
==========
Any democrat who does not feel VERY betrayed by this backstabbing should pull their head out of the sand before they suffocate. I am furious but not in the least bit surprised, pelosi did exactly what I expected her to do and I have every confidence the rest will not let me down either.

rbs62 said...

Before reading the comments, let me express my disdain for this Commission & its Report.

The Commission specifically agress with the mission as now stated by the Wush Maladministration. This mission stil includes the forcible opening of the Iraqi economy and oil infrastructure to the foreign corporate giants. And despite all the claims to the contrary this mission is about oil, not the outright theft of the physicallity of product, but the control of the flow of petro-dollars, lest they become petro-euros.

Today on Washingtoon Journal, the incoming Chair of the House Intel Committee, Congresscritter Reyes remarked as to how the new majoritarians would hold hearings to find out how we got into this mess, so we could avoid getting into future messes.

I called his office to tell him we know how we got into this mess, we have the documentary evidence of the Downing Street Minutes, the Cheney Energy Maps, the PNAC statement, etc., etc. and that the only way to avoid future disasters like this one is to hold the perpetrators of this misadventure accountable by the Constitutiuonal means given to Congress, ie Impeachment.

As many of you know, this is a hobby of mine, if you will. I speak to many Congressional offices. I am always polite, sometimes to an irritating level, especially when offering disapproval. His office was one of the rudest I have yet encountered.

Cheers!
Robert Schwartz

rbs62 said...

What is Complex 2030?

gerald said...

A Dastardly Crime

gerald said...

Nazi America is most evil

gerald said...

Nazi America's endless legacy

gerald said...

May I offer David Corn a suggestion? Please no more pictures of America's murderer and war criminal!!!

gerald said...

We've gone from human beings to reptiles

gerald said...

Anyone at all who does not find Padilla's treatment repugnant in every way, and perfect grounds for impeachment, imprisonment, and solitary confinement of everyone in charge of our government for the last five years and ten months, has devolved from a human being to a reptile. Those votes on AOL are the best argument for global-warming-as-the-fitting-end-to-the-failed-human-experiment that I've seen lately. Jose Padilla, whatever it turns out that he has done (and I bet it won't be much) is a martyr to our Constitution, and that picture of his face in black goggles should be on the wall in every classroom and in every government building and in every church in the nation.

gerald said...

One Down, Three To Go

gerald said...

Democrats are also warmongers

Nothing really ever changes in the cesspool of democracy, aka Washington, D.C.

gerald said...

How more produces less in Iraq

O'Reilly said...

Gates won everyone over. He said “We are not wining in Iraq.” Ironic that he’s popular because he’s not in denial. Still, why not ask him the tough questions. As a Senator, you can press on the tough questions and lay down a marker. Do we hope that Gates’ honesty will rub off on his new boss? No way, right? Bush is still defensive about his ideological freedom fight in Iraq. He wants to be a great man, like Winston Churchill but Bush was the aggressor and that compromises his the virtue. Moreover, Bush does not have the same weapons in his arsenal. Bush fears negotiations.

capt said...

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