Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Too Clever by Half

In politics, a clear loss is sometimes better than a murky win--and it's certainly better than a murky loss. At the start of the recent tiff between George W. Bush and the congressional Democrats over Iraq war funding, I wondered if the Democrats would trip over their own fancy footwork, as they tried to design a bill that did not defund the war but that attempted to push Bush to end the war. Well, stumble they did.

After passing a measure with conditions, benchmarks, and a suggested timetable for withdrawal--a bill that was vetoed--the Democrats are now sending to Bush legislation with no withdrawal deadlines. The legislation does contain some benchmarks, but the only punishment for Iraq, if it fails to meet these conditions, would be the loss of reconstruction aid. (Money that's barely being spent effectively as is.) In spirit and origin, this is more a Republican measure than a Democratic one. Last week, 171 House members, mainly Democrats, voted to require a withdrawal from Iraq within nine months. And yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she may not vote for the new fund-the-war measure.

So at the end of the day--if we are at the end of the day--the Democratic majority has apparently failed to pass a bill placing any restrictions on Bush's management of a war most Democrats oppose.

This all could have been handled more simply and elegantly. The Democrats at the start could have insisted on an up-or-down vote on the war. Most of them would have voted against the war. But because a few dozen in the House would not, the bill would not have passed. Then the Republicans could have put through a funding bill mostly on their own. The money for the war would have flowed, but the Democrats could have said, "We tried to stop the war, but we did not have enough votes, even though we are in the majority. Now the war truly and only belongs to Bush and the Republicans."

If the current bill stays as it is and passes, Pelosi can try to make such an argument. But there have been so many twists and turns to this funding legislation, it will be hard for her to present such a case. Instead, what is likely to be emphasized in the media coverage is that she was rolled by the White House and the Republicans. One lesson: the Democrats should have kept it simple. Another: don't try to compromise with a president hell-bent on a war.

A STRATEGIC LEAK?Just as the United States and Iran are about to initiate talks, current and former intelligence officials divulged to ABC News that President Bush has approved a covert operation to destabilize the Iranian government and that this program includes efforts to manipulate Iran's currency. Sounds as if some folks in and near the administration do not want to see these talks get off to a decent start.

Who might be leaking such info? I don't know. But there are hawks who believe negotiations with Iran are not only doomed to failure but are also counterproductive. Here's what former UN ambassador John Bolton said a few days ago in an interview with The Daily Telegraph:

It's been conclusively proven Iran is not going to be talked out of its nuclear programme. So to stop them from doing it, we have to massively increase the pressure.

If we can't get enough other countries to come along with us to do that, then we've got to go with regime change by bolstering opposition groups and the like, because that's the circumstance most likely for an Iranian government to decide that it's safer not to pursue nuclear weapons than to continue to do so. And if all else fails, if the choice is between a nuclear-capable Iran and the use of force, then I think we need to look at the use of force.

Bolton still has allies within the administration. Are they all above sabotaging talks with Iran? Some might think it's their patriotic duty to do so. And when is Dick Cheney going to decry this leak and call for an investigation?

Posted by David Corn at May 23, 2007 10:30 AM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

Very good post! (most excellent)

Worse than a stumble - this u-turn will wake some of those lulled into inaction by the simple label "Democratic Majority" - maybe.

Who will be the first to expose the old quote from Bush "OBL - I don't even think of him" to "911 was just a down payment". And furthermore, how about a little discussion about how and why OBL is still walking around?

Thanks for all of your hard work!


Gerald said...

Nazi America concedes that 300,000+ cannon fodder will be necessary in Iraq by the end of the year. Plus, the extra troops are needed to fight Iran. Nazi America will, first, soften up Iran with nuclear weapons before the cannon fodder invades Iran.
Sometime in 2008 Hitler Bush will declare martial law and cancel the 2008 presidential election. THERE WILL BE NO 2008 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.
Hitler Bush’s recent directive giving him absolute power eases his takeover of Nazi America.

Gerald said...

The Project for a New American Century's wishes of eradicating six billion people on our planet has taken hold

David B. Benson said...

Dems about to throw the American worker under the bus.

On Alternet...

capt said...

Starving the Americans Out

Someone in the Green Zone leaked the following memo(pdf), which shows that US personnel are now actually facing difficulties in getting food by convoy up from Kuwait. They avoid local food in the Baghdad region because of the danger guerrillas will poison it.

'Due to a theater-wide delay in food delivery, menu selections will be limited for the near future. While every effort will be made to provide balanced meals, it may not be possible to offer the dishes you are used to seeing at each meal. Fresh fruits and salad bar items will also be severely limited or unavailable.

The informant adds his own comment:

The bottom line is that our troops depend on a ground supply line that runs from Kuwait to the various bases in Iraq. When I was in Iraq last year at the U.S. base in Balad I had the chance to eat four meals a day--breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight rations (midrats). If you like late nights the midrats were great--steak, eggs, pancakes. Pretty good food. Well, based on this memo, it looks like those were the good old days. We don't have enough convoys to give our troops three hot meals a day. '

posted by Juan @ 5/23/2007 11:24:00 AM


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

There are no words . . .


Gerald said...

Is Bush Leading us to Nuclear Wars?

This is a long piece. Please add to your Favorites Column and read at your leisure. It is a very good read.

Gerald said...

Juan Cole does good work in informing Americans.

Our national news channels just gives us crap. And, the Nazi American psyche laps up the endless flow of shit. No wonder why we have so many Nazi Americans with those shit-eating grins on their faces. Look closely and you will see what I mean.

Gerald said...

I never go to sleep without having more love for my Nazi American country. I can't wait to awake in the morning and wonder how much more shit Hitler Bush and his Nazi regime will dump on our heads.

David B. Benson said...

Somewhere I found a headline to the effect that congress is currently conducting 16 invertigations into executive branch wrong-doings.

But somehow the link didn't work for me...

capt said...

Men love their ideas more than their lives. And the more preposterous the idea, the more eager they are to die for it. And to kill for it.: Edward Abbey -

"COWARDICE, n. A charge often levelled by all-American types against those who stand up for their beliefs by refusing to fight in wars they find unconscionable, and who willingly go to prison or into exile in order to avoid violating their own consciences. These 'cowards' are to be contrasted with red-blooded, 'patriotic' youths who literally bend over, grab their ankles, submit to the government, fight in wars they do not understand (or disapprove of), and blindly obey orders to maim and to kill simply because they are ordered to do so-all to the howling approval of the all-American mob. This type of behavior is commonly termed 'courageous.'" : Chaz Bufe


"Americans are forever proclaiming our boastful aspersions to the world . . . that our government was based on the consent of the people," though in fact "it rests upon force, as much as any government that ever existed.": Letter from Robert E. Lee to E.G.W. Butler, Oct. 11, 1867


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Bush Says He Defends "That Stupid Fascist Crook" Gonzales

WASHINGTON (AP) - Lame duck President Bush says he still defends "that stupid Republican fascist crook" Alberto Gonzales as he admitted that Democrats in Congress who are seeking a no-confidence vote are simply "doing the right thing."

Bush ignored concerns from his own Republicans as well as Democrats that the chief US law enforcement officer was an incompetent nazi bozo, saying "well, I am one also. Quack!"

He said, "Gonzo has my confidence. I trust all the dumb twats in my Administration like him, including myself. He has done everything wrong even though he was only following Rove's orders. Oink!"

Senate Democrats had announced plans to vote on a resolution of no confidence in Gonzales shortly.

Gonzales is the target of widening congressional investigations into the firing last year of nine of the 93 US attorneys for sleezy political reasons on the orders of Bush's brain, Karl Rove.

Bush accepted those charges, saying: "I frankly view what's taking place in Washington today as pure political theater, and I am the main puppet with the oil industry, the Pentagon and AIPAC pulling my strings."

"And it is the kind of political theater that causes the American people to lose confidence in how Washington operates," Bush added at a joint news conference at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, with NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

Bush and Jaap were conferring on the best ways to kill more innocent civilians in Afghanistan in that corrupt oil war based on lies and deceit, just like the war in Iraq.

Like Paul Wolfowitz, the attorney general has said he intends to remain as long as he believes he can "be effective in serving the political needs of those idiots Bush and Rove."

"America needs an attorney general who acts in an impartial, judicious, non-partisan and Constitutional fashion, and who isn't a hoodlum and a fascist like that POS Gonzales," Democratic Adam Schiff said. "OMG, all these Republican jerk-offs have simply got to go. WTF!"


capt said...

Keith Olbermann plans Special Comment

on the Iraq war compromise. A preview:

The Democratic leadership has, in sum, claimed a compromise with the Administration, in which the only things truly compromised are the trust of the voters, the ethics of the Democrats, and the lives of our brave, and doomed, friends, and family, in Iraq.

You, the men and women elected with the simplest of directions - Stop The War - have traded your strength, your bargaining position, and the uniform support of those who elected you… for a handful of magic beans.


capt said...

Here is a little thought experiment (from Sean Penn via Lionel on AAR)

Imagine you have to write a letter to the surviving family of one of our troops. Can you explain why?

If you fall into the same platitudes that we hear from Bush - you have to ask yourself - are you just parroting?

What is the reason for the death of their loved one? Was there a gain? Are we safer, more secure for their loss?

Are there any reasons or just words?

It made me think long and hard about the funding issue.

I wonder if any politician that votes in favor of more funding - even one dollar - could write such a personal letter and explain what that funding represents? What it will buy and how it is worth it?

My conclusion is:


I'd gladly pay $5 a gallon to have the 3,500 (+/-) alive to return to their families.

This insane war/occupation has to stop.


David B. Benson said...

At least another billion dollars overnight and another since this morning...

capt said...

Will Republicans Destroy Themselves Before They Destroy America?

As everyone except for a dwindling band of Bush supporters now knows, the US is in a terrible situation in Iraq from which it cannot extract itself. For Bush and Cheney, their own pride and delusion are more compelling than US casualties, the destruction of Iraq and its people, and the inflaming of sectarian strife and anti-American violence throughout the Middle East.

Congress is complicit in the great strategic blunder. Republican flag-wavers led Americans like lemmings into the abyss. The Democrats have already abandoned the electorate that gave them Control of Congress six months ago in the false hope that the Democrats would corral the White House Moron and lead America out of the abyss.

Like the Republicans, the Democrats serve the few special-interest groups that benefit, or believe that they benefit, from the war. By now we all know who these groups are: the oil industry, the military-security complex, and the Israel Lobby, AIPAC. This contrived war, based on lies and deception, serves no other interest.

There is no longer any question whatsoever, not a single sliver of doubt, that Americans were deceived into this disastrous war. The President of the United States lied to the American people, as did the Vice President, the National Security Advisor, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Undersecretary of Defense, as did every neoconservative in the Bush administration, think tanks, and media.

The fact that the American people were lied to and deceived does not absolve them from blame. The lie was transparent, the logic nonexistent, the true facts available and easy to discover.

America failed, because the American people failed. The American people failed, because their self-righteousness and their hubris made them easy saps for deception.

Even now after five years of a disastrous policy, Republicans cannot accept the facts about the US invasion and failed occupation of Iraq. At the recent "debate" between Republican presidential candidates in South Carolina, US Representative Ron Paul dared to tell the truth. Rep. Paul said that our difficulties in the Middle East are "blowback" from our government’s determined attempts to exercise hegemony over the Middle East.

Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, a person who sunk so low as to frame innocents while serving as US Attorney in order to boost his name recognition, played the self-righteous card to extreme. How dare Ron Paul suggest that US policy toward Muslims has anything whatsoever to do with attacks on the US! With all the outrage he could muster, Giuliani asked Rep. Paul "to withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn’t really mean that."

The thunderous applause from the Republican audience to Giuliani’s put-down of the only honest person present underlines that the Republican Party is incapable of leadership to end a futile and lost war that under international standards is a war crime, an unprovoked naked aggression based entirely on lies, deception and a secret agenda.

At other times, the Republican audience applauded in support of torture and greeted John McCain’s protest against the practice with cold silence.

In the opening years of the 21st century the Republicans have made it clear that they are willing to sacrifice the US Constitution and Bill of Rights in order to wage "war against terrorism." This willingness makes the Republican Party a more dangerous threat to Americans than Muslim terrorists. Muslim terrorists cannot destroy our country’s reputation, trash our civil liberties and wreck our system of accountable government, but the Republican Party has done a thorough job of it.

The Democratic Party is complicit in the Republican Party’s crimes, but unlike the Republican electorate, the Democratic electorate does not support the occupation, the domestic police state measures, and the Bush administration’s decision to send more combat troops to Iraq. Although none of the current frontrunners for the Democratic presidential nomination are independent of the special interests that benefit from the war, it might still be possible for a Democrat to emerge who will represent the Democratic electorate instead of the special interests.

Republican support for Bush’s contrived war against Iraq has diminished the Republican Party. Intelligent and decent people have abandoned the party, which has morphed into a Brownshirt Party with which fewer people are willing to be associated. The diminished Republican ranks will make it difficult for the party to steal any more elections.

If we are fortunate, Republicans will complete their self-destruction before they extinguish the Constitution and destroy America.


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

I still think PCR speaks well to the subjects that concern me. The guy hits the nail on the head. (most of the time)


capt said...

A new face for the Taliban

Pakistan is experimenting with the Taliban yet again. The primary focus of the effort is to delink the Taliban from al-Qaeda and bring them back into the Pakistani sphere of influence.

Uzbek militants have been the first "casualty" of this realignment. Potentially, remaining Arab militants will be next. Tribal forces in South Waziristan under the leadership of Maulvi Nazir are at the forefront of this "movement". Extremist notions of religion remain their bread and butter, but new political objectives also guide their activities on the ground. This, in short, defines the neo-Taliban phenomenon.

It is critical to understand the background, motivations and alliances of Maulvi Nazir to comprehend fully what is transpiring in the region. Maulvi Nazir (also known as Mullah Nazir) is 32 years old, a dual citizen of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and married with a son and daughter.

Although he currently resides in the South Waziristan tribal area on the border with Afghanistan, he is a frequent traveler to Afghanistan's Paktika province and Kandahar, where he owns some property. As is common in the area, his extended family lives on both sides of the Durand Line that separates the two countries.

He belongs to the Kakakhel tribe, which is a sub-clan of the Ahmedzai Waziris (who dominate parts of South Waziristan). [1] Intriguingly, his first association was with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-e-Islami, a favorite of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) during the days of the anti-Soviet jihad. His battle experience and guerrilla training are not that of an amateur. He later joined the Taliban movement in Afghanistan and remained politically aligned with Maulana Fazlur Rahman's Jamiat Ulama-e Islam.


capt said...

Former Australian army lawyer says Rumsfeld's handling of Iraq almost criminal

CANBERRA, Australia: Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's handling of the Iraq war verged on criminal negligence, a former Australian army lawyer turned political candidate said Tuesday.

Col. Mike Kelly, who ended a 20-year military career last week to run as an opposition candidate at federal elections later this year, gave his first television interview about his experiences in Iraq to Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Kelly, who was among the most senior Australian officers in Iraq during 2003 and 2004, was scathing of Rumsfeld's role.

"If I look at people like Donald Rumsfeld, all I can say is, that verges on criminal negligence," Kelly told the ABC of Rumsfeld's failure to acknowledge problems in Iraq.

Kelly — an expert on the law of occupation and peacemaking operations with experience in Somalia, Bosnia and East Timor — said he offered a plan to stop looting and protect infrastructure soon after former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was toppled.

"We knew exactly what needed to be done," Kelly told the ABC.

"Then Rumsfeld came in and overruled that concept and basically threw it out the window and that was where things really started to go wrong," he said.
Kelly described disbanding the Iraqi army as "a tragic mistake" which turned thousands of former soldiers against the coalition.

He also said the United States and Australia — which along with Britain contributed troops to the U.S.-led invasion — of ignoring warnings of human rights abuses in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison.

Kelly, 47, has become a candidate for the center-left Labor Party, which has vowed to bring home Australian combat troops from Iraq if it wins elections late this year.

There are almost 1,600 Australian troops in and around Iraq.

Prime Minister John Howard, a close ally of U.S. President George W. Bush, has pledged to keep Australian troops in Iraq as long as they are needed.


capt said...

Special Comment: "The only things truly "compromised" are the trust of the voters…friends, and family, in Iraq"


This is, in fact, a comment about… betrayal.

Few men or women elected in our history-whether executive or legislative, state or national-have been sent into office with a mandate more obvious, nor instructions more clear: Get us out of Iraq.

Yet after six months of preparation and execution-half a year gathering the strands of public support; translating into action, the collective will of the nearly 70 percent of Americans who reject this War of Lies, the Democrats have managed only this:

* The Democratic leadership has surrendered to a president-if not the worst president, then easily the most selfish, in our history-who happily blackmails his own people, and uses his own military personnel as hostages to his asinine demand, that the Democrats "give the troops their money";

* The Democratic leadership has agreed to finance the deaths of Americans in a war that has only reduced the security of Americans;

* The Democratic leadership has given Mr. Bush all that he wanted, with the only caveat being, not merely meaningless symbolism about benchmarks for the Iraqi government, but optional meaningless symbolism about benchmarks for the Iraqi government.

* The Democratic leadership has, in sum, claimed a compromise with the Administration, in which the only things truly compromised, are the trust of the voters, the ethics of the Democrats, and the lives of our brave, and doomed, friends, and family, in Iraq.

You, the men and women elected with the simplest of directions-Stop The War-have traded your strength, your bargaining position, and the uniform support of those who elected you… for a handful of magic beans.

You may trot out every political cliché from the soft-soap, inside-the-beltway dictionary of boilerplate sound bites, about how this is the "beginning of the end" of Mr. Bush's "carte blanche" in Iraq, about how this is a "first step."
Well, Senator Reid, the only end at its beginning… is our collective hope that you and your colleagues would do what is right, what is essential, what you were each elected and re-elected to do.

Because this "first step"… is a step right off a cliff.


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

But - but - but - Keith sounds so negative.

We should give the Dumbocrats some time, give them a chance, look what happened the last time they stuck their necks out?


capt said...

I have an idea:

Let's throw a D's in the majority party. Who cares if the D's actually DO anything.


Where is my party hat?


WTF said...

Well I thought that the outrage couldn't get any worse. I admit it I was wrong, the latest dem rollover has me looking at other countries for living space. Maybe Mexico they seem to have room. When the bullet stoppers in Iraq finally get fed up with the glory, honor, and patriotism soup they are fed, the terrorist will follow us home BS and other claptrap maybe just maybe they will start to eat their officers. Of course, the ones that decide are not on the ground in Iraq just bullet stoppers. Damn it can get worse even though we think it won't. Goodby to the US as we knew it.

capt said...

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