Monday, February 26, 2007

We Interrupt the Libby Trial To Bring You the Good News from Iraq

I'm at the Scooter Libby trail, still waiting for a verdict. Today a juror was knocked off the jury for having come into contact with media related to the case. What she saw or heard remains a secret of the court. But the jury is continuing its deliberations with 11 jurors, per Judge Reggie Walton's order. (Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald wanted to add one of the two alternates to the jury and have the jurors start anew. Ted Wells argued in favoring of proceeding with eleven jurors.) But let's take a break from the trial to review all the good news out of Iraq. On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported this encouraging development:

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- In his latest remarkable political reincarnation, onetime U.S. favorite Ahmed Chalabi has secured a position inside the Iraqi government that could help determine whether the Bush administration's new push to secure Baghdad succeeds.

In a new post created earlier this year, Mr. Chalabi will serve as an intermediary between Baghdad residents and the Iraqi and U.S. security forces mounting an aggressive counterinsurgency campaign across the city. The position is meant to help Iraqis arrange reimbursement for damage to their cars and homes caused by the security sweeps in the hope of maintaining public support for the strategy.

Mr. Chalabi's writ is supposed to be limited mainly to security, according to aides to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, but he is already speaking ambitiously about playing a larger role in economic, health and reconstruction efforts as well. In his new capacity, Mr. Chalabi answers directly to Mr. Maliki and is already taking part in weekly planning meetings with senior American officials such as Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq.

Chalabi back in the game? The fellow who fed misleading intelligence on Iraq's WMDs to Judy Miller of The New York Times and many other reporters--as well as to the Pentagon and Dick Cheney's office. Neocons everywhere must be smiling.

Then today, The Washington Post reported on its front-page:

BAGHDAD -- The engineer stood aside as Iraqi and American soldiers rifled through his daughter's wardrobe and peered under her bed. He did not mind when they confiscated the second clip for his AK-47, because he knew it could be easily replaced. He demurred when asked about insurgent activity in the neighborhood, afraid to be stamped an informant and driven from his home of 14 years. Face to face with the Baghdad security plan, it seemed to him a bit absurd.

"Obviously, the soldiers lack the necessary information about where to look and who to look for," said the government engineer, who declined to give his name in an interview during a sweep through his western Baghdad neighborhood last Monday. "There are too many houses and too many hide-outs."

American military commanders in Iraq describe the security plan they began implementing in mid-February as a rising tide: a gradual influx of thousands of U.S. and Iraqi troops whose extended presence in the city's violent neighborhoods will drown the militants' ability to stage bombings and sectarian killings.

But U.S. troops, Iraqi soldiers and officials, and Baghdad residents say the plan is hampered because security forces cannot identify, let alone apprehend, the elusive perpetrators of the violence. Shiite militiamen in the capital say they are keeping a low profile to wait out the security plan. U.S. commanders have noted increased insurgent violence in the Sunni-dominated belt around Baghdad and are concerned that fighters are shifting their focus outside the city....

Many people in Baghdad express deep reservations about the Iraqi security forces' ability and desire to battle their fellow citizens. U.S. soldiers say their Iraqi counterparts are swayed more by the anti-American speeches of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr than by the public appeals of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for even-handed enforcement.

On the streets of the capital, it is impossible to miss the increased military presence. Iraqi police pickups speed down the avenues, sirens wailing, as masked officers fire machine guns to clear their path. Iraqi army soldiers and policemen stand sentry at checkpoint after checkpoint, but more often than not allow cars to pass through without inspection.

"They're just standing and waving at the cars," said Sgt. Haider Hasim, 20, a member of the Iraqi National Guard's 1st Brigade, 2nd Regiment of the 6th Division, who patrols the western Baghdad neighborhood of Amiriyah. "They won't take weapons from their friends."

Commandos and policemen from the predominantly Shiite Interior Ministry have little desire to raid or arrest members of their own sect or residents from their home neighborhoods, said Hasim, whose father is Sunni and mother is Shiite. From what he has seen, the Iraqi soldiers brought in for the security plan are accomplishing little.

"They're doing nothing, they're just sleeping at the camps," he said. "We do not go out if the Americans are not with us."

So let's recap: Chalabi, who helped con the United States into the war, is edging back into a position of influence within the Iraq government (a government for which American troops are sacrificing their lives) and George W. Bush's surge may be little more than a farce. No wonder Cheney says the policy is going well.

Posted by David Corn at February 26, 2007 03:18 PM


David B. Benson said...

David Corn --- A farce. Not "a little more than a farce." You've been inside the Beltway too long and the atmosphere emesisating from the White House is affecting you.

Take a break...

capt said...

Supreme Court Strips Al Gore of Oscar; Declares George W. Bush Winner


Fresh off his Oscar victory last night for Best Documentary, Al Gore has been stripped of his title by the U.S. Supreme Court. George W. Bush was declared the new winner despite the fact that he had not received a single vote or even watched a movie in the last decade except for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.

In the Court's opinion, new Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that he was proud to follow in the steps of his old boss and predecessor, the late William Rehnquist, who helped decide Bush v. Gore in 2000. "You've gotta love lifetime appointments," Roberts said. "We aren't even trying anymore!"

Insiders say a disappointed Gore has already begun regrowing his beard, although a spokesperson claims it is only so he can save energy on heat now that climate change has made the winter months colder and more unpredictable.

Meanwhile, jubilation abounded in Crawford, Texas, where George W. Bush was leisurely enjoying a few weeks off from his normal vacation spot in Camp David. "I didn't even know you could win an Oscar for pretending to be something in real life," Bush said. He also issued an executive order demanding that Martin Scorsese's long-awaited award for Best Director be given to Dick Cheney for his handling over the White House.

Plans to melt the statue down into gold coins bearing Bush's likeness were scrapped after Bush decided it had been involved in terrorist activities. The statue is expected to arrive in Guantanamo by tomorrow morning, where it will no longer be under the jurisdiction of Roberts and the Supreme Court.


Gerald said...

It never goes away

capt said...

Jesus' Tomb Found in Israel, Filmmakers Claim

A tomb that once held the remains of Jesus of Nazareth—and those of his wife and son—has been found in a suburb of Jerusalem, said the makers of a controversial film in a press conference today.

The filmmakers base their claims on the study of ten ossuaries—stone boxes used to hold the bones of the dead—that were unearthed at an Israeli construction site in 1980.

Inscriptions on the boxes, in addition to DNA tests of tiny bits of tissue found inside, suggest that the cave was the final resting place of Jesus, his disciple Mary Magdalene, and their son, the filmmakers said.

The claims, if verified, could threaten key tenets of the Christian faith, most notably that Jesus never married or had children and that he was resurrected three days after his death.

"The evidence is compelling," said Jane Root, president of Discovery Channel, which will air the film on Sunday. "The consequences are enormous."

The 90-minute film, called The Lost Tomb of Jesus, was directed by journalist Simcha Jacobovici and produced by James Cameron, director of such Hollywood hits as Titanic.


Robert S said...

Saladin, from previous thread.

I should be clear. By the end of the Clinton administration, I was so fed up with the DLC and corporate infiltration of the Democratic Party that I voted for Ralph Nader. However, had Mr. Gore taken office after recieving the majority of the vote, we'ed be in a far different place. IMHO.

capt said...

"A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one!": Alexander Hamilton

"The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded.": Charles-Louis De Secondat - (1689-1755) Baron de Montesquieu - Source: The Spirit of the Laws, 1748

"A man's liberties are none the less aggressed upon because those who coerce him do so in the belief that he will be benefited.": Herbert Spencer - (1820-1903) British author, economist, philosopher - Source: The Principles of Ethics Bd. II, ed. T. Machan, Indianapolis 1978, S. 242-43

"The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes." : Thomas Paine

"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.": Mark Twain


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Rudy Giuliani in Drag Smooching Donald Trump

What comment could I possibly make?

I am speechless.


Saladin said...

Robert, there's no way to know that. After his performance in the clinton administration and the murderous policies against Iraq and Kosovo, I am not convinced things would be much different today. I am so sick and tired of empty bullshit rhetoric, do as I say, not as I do politicking that I wouldn't miss this current crop of idiots if a UFO came and took them all away! As long as people continue to support this "lesser of the evils" mentality, evil, to one extent or another, is all we will ever get. We didn't arrive at this point in just the past 6 years, it has been steadily building for decades. If the people don't demand change we will continue over the cliff, but then, maybe the whole world would be better off in the long run. We sure as hell aren't doing anyone any favors.

Robert S said...


When you say, "there is no way to know that," if you are speaking about an epistomological certitude, perhaps, but we can certainly extrapolate with a degree of knowledge. For example, I can be reasonably sure that the WHIG and the Feith study group over at the Pentagon wouldn't have existed. I'm not under any allusions...V.P. Lieberman doesn't attract me in the least. But...

Leaving Kyoto aside for the moment, this administration has gone backwards on air, water, forestry, industrial, mining, etc., legislation and regulation.

Getting back to the Kyoto issue, knowing the difficulty that the treaty had in the Senate, it would have been a prudent move for the administration to announce that regardless of passage of the treaty that the U.S. would be moving to implement its targets at the same time as it tried to influence developing nations to move in greener directions. This administration immediately went back on its campaign promise on CO2 emmissions, if you'll recall.

capt said...

The second Great Depression


There’s no doubt now, that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s plan to pump zillions of dollars into the system via "low interest rates" has created the biggest monster-bubble of all time and set the stage for a deep economic retrenchment.

Greenspan’s inflationary policies were designed to expand the "wealth gap" and create greater economic polarization between the classes. By the time the housing bubble deflates, millions of working class Americans will be left to pay off loans that are considerably higher than the current value of their homes. This will inevitably create deeper societal divisions and, very likely, a permanent underclass of mortgage-slaves.

A shrewd economist and student of history like Greenspan knew exactly what the consequences of his low interest rates would be. The trap was set to lure in unsuspecting borrowers who felt they could augment their stagnant wages by joining the housing gold rush. It was a great way to mask a deteriorating economy by expanding personal debt.

The meltdown in housing will soon be felt in the stock market, which appears to be lagging the real estate market by about 6 months. Soon, reality will set in on Wall Street just as it has in the housing sector, and the "loose money" that Greenspan generated with his mighty printing press will flee to foreign shores.

It looks as though this may already be happening even though the stock market is still flying high. On Friday, the government reported that net capital inflows reversed from the requisite $70 billion to AN OUTFLOW OF $11 BILLION!


capt said...

New thread!