Thursday, August 30, 2007

$50 Billion for What?

Would you pump $50 billion into an enterprise that is only meeting three of its 18 performance goals?

That's the question facing Congress, which will soon receive from George W. Bush a request for $50 billion in extra funding for the Iraq war. And this request comes just as the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan, investigative arm of Congress, is releasing a report concluding that the Iraq government has failed to meet 15 of the 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks on military and political fronts.

The GAO--no surprise here--reached a far more pessimistic finding than an earlier White House assessment that found the Iraqi government to be scoring well on most of the benchmarks. Which report is to be believed? To ask the question is to answer it. Also, the draft GAO report not-too-subtly accuses the White House--again, no surprise--of rigging its report, noting it "would be more useful" if the administration produces future assessments backed up with "data on broader measures of violence from all relevant U.S. agencies." The GAO assessment, unlike the White House report, points out that Bush's so-called "surge" has not led to a decrease in the number of attacks against Iraqi civilians and that while the "surge" has been ongoing "the capabilities of Iraqi security forces have not improved." The White House report claimed the Iraqi military is now able to provide trained and ready Iraqi brigades to support military operations in Baghdad. The GAO says it cannot.

So Congress faces the dilemma of whether to pour money into an endeavor that is showing not much progress and whether to hand that $50 billion to a management team (Bush and Co.) that is not able to assess and report accurately (or perhaps honestly) the situation it faces.

Republicans are chortling these days that the $50 billion will be a breeze, especially when a few voices (including a handful of Democrats) are claiming the "surge" might be producing some positive results. But the GAO report ought to strengthen the spine of the Democratic leaders of Congress and help them shape the debate.

Meanwhile, Republicans should be careful what they wish for. General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker are expected to report to Congress soon that progress is under way in Iraq. The GAO report, of course, undermines their position. But if congressional Republicans tie themselves to the Petraeus and Crocker good-news reports and continue to stick unquestioningly with Bush on the war, they will be placing themselves in a precarious political position should the GAO be closer to the mark.

Congressional Republicans--who nowadays appear to come from the party of call-girls and stall-sex--do not have much time before next year's elections to distance themselves from Bush's war. And if there is not significant progress in Iraq, voters could once again seek retribution from the party that backs the war. Each cycle of debate in Washington in which the Republicans do not separate themselves from Bush places them closer to a possible Judgment Day. Breaking with the president on the war next spring could be too late for many GOPers. By standing with Bush this time around--and choosing the White House's happy-face evaluation over the GAO's somber assessment--the Republicans are possibly digging a deeper hole for themselves. By buying Bush's view, they could win the current battle, but lose the war.

Posted by David Corn at August 30, 2007 11:28 AM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

$50 billion is just an after thought to the $124 billion. He got that and made the Democratic leadership seem more feckless than he. A winning formula so he will repeat it.

How much of the $174 billion is really for the build up to attack Iran?

I bet the "boots on the ground" aren't seeing much more than a few hundred million (if that).


capt said...

Point, Click ... Eavesdrop: How the FBI Wiretap Net Operates

The FBI has quietly built a sophisticated, point-and-click surveillance system that performs instant wiretaps on almost any communications device, according to nearly a thousand pages of restricted documents newly released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The surveillance system, called DCSNet, for Digital Collection System Network, connects FBI wiretapping rooms to switches controlled by traditional land-line operators, internet-telephony providers and cellular companies. It is far more intricately woven into the nation's telecom infrastructure than observers suspected.

It's a "comprehensive wiretap system that intercepts wire-line phones, cellular phones, SMS and push-to-talk systems," says Steven Bellovin, a Columbia University computer science professor and longtime surveillance expert.


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

This must be addressed. Every candidate from all parties should be asked if they intend to reverse this wiretapping insanity. The candidates should be asked if they feel they can communicate with any degree of privacy. The answers would tell us a lot about the candidates concerns for our privacy.

I am floored this issues just floats along. Taking it to the streets is so passe but we have to do something more than just go along to get along. The neocons see any that do not agree with them as their enemy. Does anybody really think they would not abuse the privacy of their political opposition? REALLY? The election is nearly on us and we are to pretend the neocons and right-wingnuttia aren’t listening in on everything?


capt said...

The Lobby


Mearsheimer and Walt are not anti-Semites or racists. They are serious scholars, and there is no reason to doubt their sincerity. They are right to describe the moral violation in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands. (In this, most Israelis and most American Jews agree with them.) They were also right about Iraq. The strategic questions they raise now, particularly about Israel’s privileged relationship with the United States, are worth debating––just as it is worth debating whether it is a good idea to be selling arms to Saudi Arabia. But their announced objectives have been badly undermined by the contours of their argument—a prosecutor’s brief that depicts Israel as a singularly pernicious force in world affairs. Mearsheimer and Walt have not entirely forgotten their professional duties, and they periodically signal their awareness of certain complexities. But their conclusions are unmistakable: Israel and its lobbyists bear a great deal of blame for the loss of American direction, treasure, and even blood.

In Mearsheimer and Walt’s cartography, the Israel lobby is not limited to AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. It is a loose yet well-oiled coalition of Jewish-American organizations, “watchdog” groups, think tanks, Christian evangelicals, sympathetic journalists, and neocon academics. This is not a cabal but a world in which Abraham Foxman gives the signal, Pat Robertson describes his apocalyptic rapture, Charles Krauthammer pumps out a column, Bernard Lewis delivers a lecture—and the President of the United States invades another country. Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Exxon-Mobil barely exist.


Gerald said...

Can we win the ideological war

Gerald said...

Should U.S. soldiers die for democracy in the Islamic world, when democracy may produce victory for the political progeny of the Muslim Brotherhood? Is that worth the lives of America’s young?

Gerald said...

US refuses all inquest requests

Gerald said...

Bush threatens nuclear war

Gerald said...

Should George Bush make good his threat to nuke Iran, I'm afraid that the civilized countries of the world would be entirely justified in taking action against the US as a rogue nation that is making another unprovoked, unjustified, aggressive war on another country that is in no way a threat.

If Bush keeps pushing his desire for war with Iran, nuclear or otherwise, other countries just might adopt Bush's own strategy of "preemptive war" to prevent them from being next in line for Bush's madness. Bush doesn't realize that he isn't the only one who can use preemptive war. And, since Bush has proven that he is the threat to other nations that he falsely claimed to be a threat to the US, the other nations could take his threat seriously and act on it.

Gerald said...

More Shame, More Sorrow

Gerald said...

US puppet rulers in Jordan and Pakistan, and even the Saudis and oil emirates, report the ground shaking under their feet. America’s puppet in Pakistan is in trouble, and his difficulties are compounded by US military incursions into Pakistan. The Bush administration is considering contingency plans to seize Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in the event the American puppet is overthrown, delusional contingency plans considering the over-stretched US military.

In the postwar years, the US managed with its money and influence to secularize an elite class in Middle Eastern countries, an elite that identifies with the West and not with their own cultures. This artificial elite has produced a wide political gap between the masses of the people and the rulers. Increasingly, Muslim masses perceive their rulers as allied with foreign powers against them.

Gerald said...

Defusing Nuclear Hysteria

Gerald said...

First and foremost, there is no history of hostile regimes supplying terrorist groups with chemical or biological weapons they have access to, let alone a nuclear weapon.

Saddam was known to support anti-Israeli Palestinian terrorist groups (including Hamas) for years, but he never gave chemical or biological weapons to those groups to use against Israel, a country he hated as much as he hated the United States. The same is true for the mullahs in Tehran.

Gerald said...


Gerald said...

Nazi America will not win the ideological wars in the Middle East or even throughout the Islamic world!!!!!

It is my understanding that al-Qaeda started the fires in Greece. Muslim terrorists have long memories. They will terrorize Nazi America and her allies well into the Twenty-First Century. Hitler Bush has opened up a can of worms. Hitler Bush is really a pathetic low-life beast.

Muslim terrorists will set fires to our forests, poison our water, create unrest in various parts of the country, and do various things to irritate Nazi Americans on a daily basis.

Nazi America WILL NEVER DEFEAT Muslim terrorists!!!!!

The unending challenges to Nazi America is only beginning. The headaches and the heartaches will be ongoing for the rest of this century.

Nazi Americans, please remember that there are various tactics to use against one's enemy. Be also certain that the Muslim terrorists have a laundry list that will shake Nazi America's chain.

Please believe me when I say that the fun time for Muslim terrorists is only beginning. Muslim terrorists will have Nazi Americans shitting in their pants and panties before too long.

Happy days are here again for the Muslim terrorists!!!!!

Gerald said...

How can a empire of 300 million defeat the Islamic world of 2 billion people? That is right. 2 billion Muslims will side with their brothers and sisters against the evil Nazi American empire.

capt said...

New thread