Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Nice, Cozy Place in Baghdad/The Next A.G.: Waiting for Chertoff?

Sometimes I like it whenever other journalists beat me to the punch. I was considering putting together a list of all the supposed "turning points" in the Iraq War that, of course, turned out not to be points of turning. But, it turns out, Foreign Policy , a feisty magazine that's not just for wonks, has already done so. Here's how FP starts its web-exclusive piece:

As the Bush administration readies a "pivotal" progress report on Iraq, it's worth asking if this time will be any different than the past. We've seen countless politicians and pundits on both sides herald the arrival of a "turning point" in Iraq, only to watch the war roll on. Herewith, a quick rundown of the "turning points" that turned out to be anything but.

Read the full list here.

The current issue of Foreign Policy has a sharp article by Jane Loeffler, a historian of embassies, on the new U.S. embassy in Iraq. The subscription-only piece begins:

A citadel is rising on the banks of the Tigris. There, on the river's western side, the United States is building the world's largest embassy. The land beneath it was once a riverside park. What sits atop today is a massive, fortified compound. Encircled by blast walls and cut off from the rest of Baghdad, it stands out like the crusader castles that once dotted the landscape of the Middle East. Its size and scope bring into question whether it is even correct to call this facility an "embassy." Why is the United States building something so large, so expensive, and so disconnected from the realities of Iraq? In a country shattered by war, what is the meaning of this place?

For security reasons, many details about the embassy's design and construction must remain classified. But the broad outline of its layout says a lot about one of America's most important architectural projects. Located in Baghdad's 4-square-mile Green Zone, the embassy will occupy 104 acres. It will be six times larger than the U.N. complex in New York and more than 10 times the size of the new U.S. Embassy being built in Beijing, which at 10 acres is America's second-largest mission. The Baghdad compound will be entirely self-sufficient, with no need to rely on the Iraqis for services of any kind. The embassy has its own electricity plant, fresh water and sewage treatment facilities, storage warehouses, and maintenance shops. The embassy is composed of more than 20 buildings, including six apartment complexes with 619 one-bedroom units. Two office blocks will accommodate about 1,000 employees.

Loeffler notes, "The United States has designed an embassy that conveys no confidence in Iraqis and little hope for their future," With this embassy, she points out, there will be no need for the Americans to interact with Iraqis for anything. And she argues, "Diplomacy is not the sort of work that can be done by remote control. It takes direct contact to build goodwill for the United States and promote democratic values."

So as another "turning point" is reached in Iraq, the Bush administration is to open on September 1 one helluva symbol. But if this turning point isn't the one that does the trick, at least Americans official in Baghdad will live and work in comfort and security as they plan the next one.

THE NEXT A.G. The leading speculation continues to center on Michael Chertoff, the head of the Homeland Security Department. Though Chertoff is no Bush crony or Cheney-bot, the confirmation hearings sure could be explosive. Democrats could pound him for his miserable performance during Hurricane Katrina--a performance which should disqualify him for any promotion. And there's more: the Department of Homeland Security is widely regarded as an agency plagued with ineptitude and institutional corruption. Put that on the agenda, too.

Posted by David Corn at August 28, 2007 11:17 AM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

If Bush doesn't recess appoint - choosing Chertoff would make for two confirmations. I hope the opposition stands strong - enough with the useless cronies.



David B. Benson said...

From The Nation, v. 285 #6, 2007 Aug 27/Sep 03, Five Books on Imprisonment by Daniel Lazare:

"Senator Joe Biden ... sponored the bill that set it [the disparity of 100-to-1 in drug sentencing between crack and cocaine] in stone in the first place."

The article states that there is no known difference between crack and cocaine in addiction or criminal activity or ...

Thus this sentencing, together with enforcement policies, puts very many blacks into prisons for a very long time.

capt said...

Greg Palast: American Nightmare: Gonzales 'wrong and illegal and unethical'


So what is most frightening is not the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, the Pinocchio of prosecutorial misconduct, but the resignation of Karl Rove. Because New Mexico 2004 was just the testing ground for the roll-out of the "ID" attack planned for 2008.

And Rove who three decades ago cut his political fangs as chief of the Nixon Youth, is ready to roll. To say Rove left his White House job under a cloud is nonsense. He just went into free-agent status, an electoral hitman ready to jump on the next GOP nominee's black-ops squad. The fact that Rove's venomous assistant, Tim Griffin, was set up to work for the campaign of Fred Thompson is a sign that the Lord Voldemort of vote suppression is preparing to practice his Dark Arts in '08.

It was Rove who convinced Bush to fire upright prosecutors and replace them with Rove-bots ready to strike out at fraudulent (i.e., Democratic) voters.

Iglesias, however, remains the optimist. "I'm hopeful that I'll get back to the American dream. And get out of the American nightmare."

Dreams. Nightmares. I have a better idea for America: Wake up.


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

We better be ready for the worst. These slugs didn’t steal all that power to just give it away in a fair fight.


capt said...

The Moral Phonies of the Republican Right


So while some public officials cop pleas about their weird acts on the toilet, our children could be killed by Chinese toys directed as weapons against our kids by corrupt trade policies and corrupt government that scorns regulation as a matter of their religion.

We have mines that kill our miners while our regulators are controlled by mining companies.

We have toys that endanger our kids.

We have average Americans who get ripped off by unethical loan practices from sharks in silk suits with multimillion dollar banks accounts while they are treated like heroes by the media, treated like kings by the politicians they give money to, treated like wards of the state by the same sneering conservatives who say to hell with the foreclosed and smirk while they say average Americans don’t have a right to a home.

How ironic, the phrase from the right, on Wall Street, and in the salons of the Gilded Age is “moral hazard.” It is a moral hazard to stand up for those who were foreclosed, in this world of ideologues who believe that the homeless deserve to be homeless, but it is conservative economics to bail out the multimillionaires who manage their business with dishonesty and incompetence.

They call it moral hazard to help average Americans, and to help the poor Jesus spoke for in the Sermon on the Mount, but it is clever fundraising to have gilded dinners with mining operators who oppose regulation so miners suffer preventable deaths, and it is what they call free enterprise and free trade that endangers our children, while celebrated stars of the idiot cable news worry that saving American kids from death-inducing toys from China might raise prices at Wal-Mart.

Wounded troops, foreclosed homeowners, endangered children, the mourning widows of miners — these are the Americans asked to endure injustice and hardships that are the real moral hazard in the Gilded Age brought by the philosophy of George W. Bush and those who support him, which are far more deadly than what Republican senators do in bathroom stalls on toilet seats.

It is time for change.


Carey said...

I knew there was stuff Biden had done I didn't like.

In the middle of reading one of your posts from yesterday on Biden, Capt, Randi Rhodes was describing just what the police report says Craig did that night.


I can't stop laughing but also feeling apalled at the same time.

A foot code, staring into the undercover cop's cubicle for two minutes????

Oh weird, okay, okay. Weird.

capt said...


It is weird, no doubt. I never heard of the foot code thing and I thought I had heard everything.



capt said...

Re: Biden

The one clear truth (at this point) is that any of the Democratic candidates would be far better than what we have had under Bush.

I hate the pro-war, blue-dog and DLC democrats but the worst from our side is better than anything the other side has to offer. I expect the GOphers to pull a fast one in California (electoral split) for starters.



Carey said...

The resignation of Rove, yes, should be seen as a move to free agency. That is clear and Palast is right as usual.

It's also connected to Gonzales' resgination. Alfredo finally saw that there was too much evidence to overcome. Rove, though, sought a career boost, and as a side benefit, avoided more intense scrutiny.

They are both making career moves, first and foremost.

It is so true that the Democratic field is top-notch. Look at the Repugs. What a crap shoot.

This should be posted somewhere as a constant daily reminder and warning.

We better be ready for the worst. These slugs didn’t steal all that power to just give it away in a fair fight.

Carey said...

Was it John Dean?? who said, no, oh, I can't remember. But upon hearing that Chertoff might be named, someone said, "Oh no. A smart Gonzales."

Not only is Chertoff a "go-to", kiss-ass kind of guy like Alfredo, he's intelligent.

Gerald said...

Want Ads

Dear Posters:

I am writing to let you know that I have spent this past Tuesday reading many want ads in the newspapers. Reading the want ads offer some interesting information. Several want ads were requesting more Nazis to be added to their party.

Here is an example of what these want ads had in mind for future Nazis.

“The Nazis are looking for a few, the proud, the perverts! Yes, we believe that additional perverts into the Nazi Party will give us more credibility with Americans. Normal Americans do not care what kind of behavior we exhibit. There is no outrage from them. Being a member will give our Nazis total freedom to exhibit our abnormal behaviors, such as mass murders, torture, and war crimes against humanity. What is so beautiful about being a Nazi, you will have total backing from Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Finally, Americans will still believe that you are a good, holy, and saintly person because a Nazi is recognized as a good, holy, and saintly person. Yes, you will totally enjoy being a member of the Nazi Party. Please take the time to contact the Nazi Party at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C!”


Gerald said...

A dangerous combination!

Hitler Bush is putting together for his ongoing presidency beyond January, 2009 a dangerous combination.

Chertoff is dangerous because he is a lapdog and intelligent.

Betrayus (Micki's term and a clever one)is also a lapdog and intelligent.

Make no mistake being a lapdog and intelligent for a total wacko is very dangerous for the American people.

Why should America attack Iran? Let that other wacko in Nazi Israel attack Iran. Ohlmert is also a wacko.

Is Nazi Israel a land of gutless wonders? They want everyone else to fight their battles!!!!!

Gerald said...

True American religion is violence

Gerald said...

It is true that violence is inbred in Americans. It is part of our tradition and culture. We revel in the stories of the Wild West and the horrendous Civil War. We play World War Two movies over and over. Actors who were never in the service glamorize over emphasized violence in "the Longest Day" a movie about the Normandy invasion. It is played along with many other War movies very often on movie channels.

Gerald said...

US has prepared to attack Iran

Gerald said...

The study concludes that the US has made military preparations to destroy Iran’s WMD, nuclear energy, regime, armed forces, state apparatus and economic infrastructure within days if not hours of President George W. Bush giving the order. The US is not publicising the scale of these preparations to deter Iran, tending to make confrontation more likely. The US retains the option of avoiding war, but using its forces as part of an overall strategy of shaping Iran’s actions.

Any attack is likely to be on a massive multi-front scale but avoiding a ground invasion. Attacks focused on WMD facilities would leave Iran too many retaliatory options, leave President Bush open to the charge of using too little force and leave the regime intact.

• US bombers and long range missiles are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours.
• US ground, air and marine forces already in the Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan can devastate Iranian forces, the regime and the state at short notice.
• Some form of low level US and possibly UK military action as well as armed popular resistance appear underway inside the Iranian provinces or ethnic areas of the Azeri, Balujistan, Kurdistan and Khuzestan. Iran was unable to prevent sabotage of its offshore-to-shore crude oil pipelines in 2005.
• Nuclear weapons are ready, but most unlikely, to be used by the US, the UK and Israel. The human, political and environmental effects would be devastating, while their military value is limited.
• Israel is determined to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons yet has the conventional military capability only to wound Iran’s WMD programmes.

Gerald said...

Why do we have poverty in America?

Gerald said...

Hitler Bush and Nazi America must start a war against Iran because war is very, very good for our economy. Hitler Bush has received alarming information that a deep and widespread recession if not depression lums for Nazi Americans. Economists on Fox News have said even before we attacked Iraq that war bolsters the economy. The Dow reached 14000. Now the downslide of the Dow alarms Hitler Bush and the war hawks. THERE WILL BE AN ATTACK ON IRAN SOON!!!!!

Gerald said...




Gerald said...


Gerald said...

Be very afraid

Gerald said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gerald said...

I hope that I do not make the same mistake!

War with Iran will be very popular with Americans

Gerald said...


Gerald said...

The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men: Plato

Gerald said...

Our national apathy has allowed the government to be ruled by evil men ( Dick Cheney and George W Bush ) who have leaped into the vacuum produced by our indifference, dismantled the constitution and stolen the Republic ~ replacing it with their own war, occupation and neocon global agenda .

And now they have the audacity to blame their pseudo Malaiki led Iraqi government, which was set up for the purpose of stealing Iraq's oil, for the quagmire and killing fields that Iraq has become ~ while the spineless Democrats join the pathetic chorus oblivious of their increasingly shared responsibility for this growing American testament of shame and ineptitude.

Gerald said...

It's quite late in one of Nazi America's states - Michigan. I am signing off to spend sometime in Centering Prayer.

I hope to read some more articles to share with you on August 29, 2007.

Gerald said...

And now the rest of the story

Gerald said...


Yes, Nazi Americans can feel so alive because there is death everywhere.

Please listen to the song in the article "And now the rest of the story!"

Gerald said...

On Retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh

Gerald said...

"When we have peace, then we have a chance to save the planet," Nhat Hanh told us last week. "But if we are not united in peace, if we do not practice mindful consumption, we cannot save our planet. We need enlightenment, not just individually but collectively, to save the planet. We need to awaken ourselves. We need to practice mindfulness if we want to have a future, if we want to save ourselves and the planet."

Gerald said...

"Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity," Thay writes. "We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment." He teaches the practice of mindfulness, being aware of your breathing and being centered in the present moment, throughout our day -- when getting up, sitting down, walking, eating, driving, talking, doing the laundry and washing the dishes. His teaching makes the connection between the world's wars, poverty and destruction, and the way we live our day to day lives, moment to moment.

"Practicing nonviolence," he once said, "is first of all to become nonviolence … The essence of nonviolence is love. Out of love and the willingness to act selflessly, strategies, tactics and techniques for a nonviolent struggle arise naturally. Nonviolence is not a dogma; it is a process. Other struggles may be fueled by greed, fear or ignorance, but a nonviolent one cannot use such blind sources of energy, for they will destroy those involved and also the struggle itself. Nonviolent action, born of the awareness of suffering and nurtured by love, is the most effective way to confront adversity."

Gerald said...

"Let us pray 24/7! Let us remember our breathing as a prayer! For every breath we inhale is God's gift to us. For every breath we exhale is our thank you to God." - Gerald

Gerald said...

Reading Thay's comments from Fr. John Dear's article leaves me the impression that Hitler Bush is filled with hatred because in growing up he has been and still is deprived of love. Hitler Bush can only give what he has and he only has hatred for humanity.

Gerald said...

Thank God for Mary Pipher

Gerald said...

It truly saddens me to realize that the true American religion is violence.

capt said...

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