The Nattering Nabob <$BlogRSDUrl$>
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Friday, April 30, 2004


 
Here's an editorial from kos on the abuse of prisoners by the American military.

We've lost the battle for hearts and minds.

This is upsetting on so many levels. One, it smears every American in Iraq, where the vast majority of our men and women in uniform are noble, brave, kind-hearted people. They are not there because they choose to be there, they are there because Bush ordered them there. Yet their reputation is being besmirched by these lunatic asshole at the Abu Ghraib prison.
Two, it fuels Iraqi and worldwide perception that the US is no better than Saddam. That is NOT true. In theory. In practice, the Iraqi people have seen none of the "freedoms" promised by Bush's rhetoric. There is no Democracy. Their press gets shut down for criticizing the CPA. Their electricity is even less reliable now than under Saddam. Crime is up. Safety is down. The US is killing thousands of Shiites and Sunnis.

And now, we find out that work in Saddam's torture chambers continue unabated. It's revolting. There's one clear way we can show the world we are not like Saddam -- the perpetrators of these injustices need to be brought to trial quickly, and meted the sort of punishment that Saddam's torturers would never have gotten.

And finally, it's just yet another example that merceneraries are the scum of the planet. Indications are that mercs ran the prison and had a role in the abuses at the prison. Yet they cannot be punished under military law. Again, lawless mercenaries are complicating our occupation and attempts to rebuild Iraq.

Anyone who defends mercenaries hates our troops. Plain and simple. The actions of those mercenaries have been getting our soldiers killed. And now, they have guaranteed the loss of our battle for the hearts and minds of Iraq's people.

-kos



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What's 200 dead soldiers, give or take a few?
 
Paul Wolfowitz, showing a disgraceful lack of knowledge about the war that he is supposed to be in charge of, estimated that 500 soldiers had been killed in Iraq.

The correct number is 722.

Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader, issued this statement:

"It is appalling that the Deputy Secretary of Defense does not know how many American soldiers have been killed in Iraq. His casually inaccurate estimate was disrespectful of those who have died, those who loved them, and those who continue to serve.

"Our country grieves for each brave man and woman we have lost, and prays for the thousands more who have been wounded. Officials in charge of Iraq policy have an obligation to know its personal costs.

"The fact that Secretary Wolfowitz, one of the chief advocates for the war, does not bother to keep track of how many of our men and women have given their lives in Iraq shows just how out of touch this Administration is.

"One year ago, the President declared 'Mission Accomplished' when the mission was nowhere near accomplished. The Bush Administration did not know what it was getting into in Iraq, and one year later, it is clear that it has no realistic plan to truly accomplish the mission."



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Mercenaries
 
Liberal Oasis drew my attention to the following

From the cover of the today's Guardian (flagged by Aaron Brown on CNN's Newsnight):

Graphic photographs showing the torture and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners in a US-run prison outside Baghdad emerged yesterday from a military inquiry which has left six soldiers facing a possible court martial and a general under investigation.

The scandal has also brought to light the growing and largely unregulated role of private contractors in the interrogation of detainees.

According to lawyers for some of the soldiers, they claimed to be acting in part under the instruction of mercenary interrogators hired by the Pentagon.



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Thursday, April 29, 2004

Cheney weak on defense
 
Actually, he's just a garden variety hypocrite.

From the Center for American Progress

Vice President Cheney's record on military spending undercuts his current attempts to tar political opponents on the issue. Cheney routinely chastised President Reagan for failing to cut defense spending and later played up his own efforts to trim spending on weapons, troop support, and military bases.

As former Secretary of Defense, Vice President Cheney bragged about cutting defense spending. In February 1990, Cheney told Congress" since I became Secretary, we've been through a fairly major process of reducing the defense budget." Cheney stated that during his the first year of his tenure, he "cut almost $65 billion out of the five-year defense program" and that subsequent proposals would "take another $167 billion out."

Vice President Cheney tried to cut troop strength in the 1990's and cut pay for troops currently in Iraq. An August 4, 1991 New York Times article shows that Cheney tried "to reduce active-duty troop strength" from 2.2 million to 1.6 million while making "deep cuts in the Reserves and National Guard." And after criticizing opponents on military pay increases, the Bush administration last year tried to cut pay for 148,000 troops in Iraq by rolling back increases in monthly imminent danger pay and family separation allowances, according to the Army Times.

Vice President Cheney seems more interested in rewarding defense contractors than in doing what's right for the military. At a time when military commanders are severely pressed for equipment and supplies, and our National Guard and Reserve forces are overstretched in Iraq, the Bush administration is wasting billions on an unproven missile defense program and has cancelled plans to discontinue the outdated Crusader weapons system under pressure from contractors.

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''I answered every question,'' Bush told reporters after the session lasting over three hours.

Like you did at the press conference, George?

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The polls are out and they look lousy for Bush.

In the first place, they show Kerry slightly ahead - 48 to 46 - despite an ENORMOUS amount of smearing from the Bushies in the last week.

But worse than that for the Bushies is this:

Do you think the United States made a mistake getting involved in the current war with Iraq, or not?
Mistake -- 48%
Not a mistake -- 46%
-- CBS/NY Times poll, 4/23-27

Even REPUBLICANS overwhelmingly think we should involve the "irrelevant" UN now:

Should the United States manage things in Iraq on its own for the time being or should the United Nations be brought in now to help the U.S. manage things in Iraq?
Bring in UN
All -- 76%
GOP -- 72%
Dem -- 85%
Indy -- 72%

People disapprove of the way Bush is handing everything BUT the war on terrorism. That means Kerry should attack his handling of the war on terrorism, which has actually been rotten.

And when you separate out the swing vote - the independents - the numbers are plain BRUTAL. Here's the independents ALONE:

Bush fav-unfav
34%-42%

Bush approve-disapprove
40%-47%

Country on right direction or wrong track
Right: 30%
Wrong: 59%

Bush approval on foreign policy
36%

Bush approval on economy
36%

Bush approval on Iraq
37%

Bush policies on terrorism
Made us safer: 44%
Less safe or no effect: 51%

Does Bush have the same priorities as you?
Has -- 33%
Does not have -- 62%


The country is waking up.

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"Only a third of the Iraqi people now believe that the American-led occupation of their country is doing more good than harm, and a solid majority support an immediate military pullout even though they fear that as a result they could be in greater danger, according to a new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll," USA Today reports.

One Shiite businessman says he's "not ungrateful" that Saddam is gone but "the job is done. Thank you very much. See you later. Bye-bye."

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John Stewart on the new Iraqi flag:

"The new flag features blue parallel stripes representing the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, a yellow stripe representing the Kurdish minority, a crescent representing Islam, and a cartoon face representing how surprised Iraqis without water and electricity are to have a new flag."


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Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Bush's Neglect
 
Bush neglect of the troops has KILLED some of them, according to a UPI article on the military's own website (www.military.com).

Lack Of Armor Claims Troops
April 27, 2004

WASHINGTON - Twenty percent of the U.S. troops killed in Iraq might have lived had there been more armored, heavier vehicles available to them, Newsweek reports Monday.

A top Army general is recommending the Army send more Stryker medium-weight fighting vehicles to Iraq, which are lighter than tanks but heavier than Humvees, according to the magazine.

Newsweek reports that an unofficial study by a defense consultant now circulating through the Army says 142 Americans were killed by land mines or improvised roadside bombs and 48 others by rocket-propelled grenades.

"Almost all those soldiers were killed while in unprotected vehicles, which means that perhaps one in four of those killed in combat in Iraq might be alive if they had had stronger armor around them," according to Newsweek's account.

The Army is racing to send "up-armored" Humvees to Iraq, but remains almost 1,800 vehicles short for its needs.




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Bring it on
 
The Kerry campaign has decided to fight the total trash emanating from the White House directly. Today, they released "Key Unanswered Questions on Bush's Record in the National Guard."

Here's part of it, but go read the whole thing.

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If George Bush wants to ask me questions about that through his surrogates, he owes America an explanation about whether or not he showed up for duty in the National Guard. Prove it. That's what we ought to have. I'm not going to stand around and let them play games." -- John Kerry, NBC News, 4/26/04

-- Bush Has Said He Used No Special Treatment To Get Into The Guard. How Does He Explain The Fact That He Jumped Ahead Of 150 Applicants Despite Low Pilot Aptitude Scores?

-- Col. Albert Lloyd Said A Report From Alabama To Ellington Should Have Been Filed. Where Is That Report?

-- Why Did Bush Miss His Medical Exam In 1972?

-- Where Are The Complete Results Of The Required Investigation Into Bush's Absence From The Exam?

-- Why Did Bush Specifically Request To NOT Be Sent Overseas For Duty?

-- Why Does The White House Say Bush Was On Base When Bush's Superiors Had Filed A Report Saying He Was Gone For A Whole Year?

-- Why Is The Pentagon Under Orders To Not Discuss Bush's Record With Reporters?

-- Where Are Bush's Flight Logs?

-- Why Hasn't Bush Himself Demonstrated That He Showed Up For Service in Alabama?


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Does Bush REALLY want to make this election a referendum on which man had more impressive service during Vietnam?

Enemy fire in the Mekong Delta versus keg parties by the apartment complex pool?

A Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts versus "Take my word for it, I really did show up for the Alabama National Guard"?

If so, bring it on.


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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

No Sense Of Decency
 
E. J. Dionne in the Washington Post finally says what SHOULD have be said about Republican smear tactics. Go read it.

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Crazy Like a Fox?
 
John Kerry, on Good Morning America, unaware that his mic was on, let slip this little observation:

“Geez... They're working for the Republican National Committee.”

Yes, John, they are.

1) Kerry is aware that the reporters are, indeed, very right-wing and utterly hostile to anyone who challenges their tax cuts. Good. He should know it. Gore never seemed to get a handle on that fact, and while he was trying to figure it out, the press spent months and months mindlessly parroting Republican spin: “Gore said he invented the Internet! Gore claimed that he discovered Love Canal! Gore thinks he inspired Love Story!” The fact that these statements were plain lies made no difference to the media: they conformed to the script that the press wished to recite, and so they were recited. (For extensive coverage of this phenomenon, see Bob Sommerby’s “Daily Howler,” and search the archives for “Gore.”)

Kerry is clearly now very much aware of it, and one thing the man seems to know how to do: he knows how to fight back. He is NOT Dukakis, and if you sling mud at him he does not ignore: he responds, but responds immediately, and he responds well. The Bushies have a classic bully mentality, and we all know what happens to bullies when you fight back: they fold.

2) This is the second time that Kerry has made a telling remark while “not knowing” that his mic was on. Frankly, I strongly suspect that Kerry is crazy like a fox and knows perfectly well that the mic is on. But he also knows that “unintentional” remarks that weren’t intended for the public” are more likely to get disseminated by that hostile media – precisely because of the perception that he didn’t intend it for dissemination.

If that’s the case, John Kerry is far more slick than he’s given credit for. And it may actually be that Rove and company are overmatched at Machiavelli’s game.

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Saturday, April 24, 2004

Did Bremer Predict 9/11?
 
Maybe, according to the following. Maybe Bremer should testify.

9/11: He Saw It Coming.

A career diplomat, Bremer was President Reagan's ambassador-at-large for counterterrorism. A decade later he sat on the Gilmore commission. In 1999 another congressionally mandated panel, the National Commission on Terrorism, began a six-month study of America's capacity to prevent and punish acts of terrorism. "Seriously deficient," it would conclude. Bremer chaired this commission.

On February 26, 2001, the Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation opened a three-day conference on the theme "Terrorism: Informing the Public" at Cantigny, the colonel's estate in Wheaton. Bremer, who gave the keynote speech, recalled his work on the National Commission on Terrorism.

"We concluded that the general terrorist threat is increasing," Bremer said, "particularly because of a change in the motives of terrorist groups. . . . We have seen a move from narrow political motivation to a broader ideological, religious, or apocalyptic motive for many terrorist groups -- groups that are not attacking because they are trying to find a broader audience, but are acting out of revenge or hatred, or simply out of an apocalyptic belief that the end of the world is near." The new terrorists, he said, weren't interested in killing just enough innocent people to get noticed. For them it was the more dead the better.

The Bush administration had been in power just about a month at this point, but Bremer had already seen enough to draw some conclusions about it. He told the many journalists invited to the Cantigny conference to hold the White House's feet to the fire: "It is the media's responsibility, and an important one, though very uncomfortable for people in government, to put a very strong spotlight on the government's policies and practices on terrorism, especially given the current disorganization of the federal government's fight against terrorism. In this area, the federal government is in complete disarray. There's been remarkably little attention to the major recommendation the Gilmore Commission made for a substantial reorganization of the government's approach to terrorism. Journalists shouldn't let politicians get away with that.

"The new administration seems to be paying no attention to the problem of terrorism. What they will do is stagger along until there's a major incident and then suddenly say, 'Oh, my God, shouldn't we be organized to deal with this?' That's too bad. They've been given a window of opportunity with very little terrorism now, and they're not taking advantage of it. Maybe the folks in the press ought to be pushing a little bit."

Bremer's remarks, somewhat abridged, survive in Terrorism: Informing the Public, the McCormick Tribune Foundation's book-length report on the conference. By the time it was published, in 2002, that window of opportunity had slammed shut.


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Ted Koppel nailed Bush hard on the coffin photos.

He said:

"There is nothing inherently wrong with showing the American public pictures of our war dead coming home. It's the context. - HOW those pictures are used - that's important.

"Sometimes, even the people who make the rules miss the point.

"There's certainly nothing wrong, for example, about showing the picture of a dead, New York fireman being carried up from Ground Zero on a flag-draped stretcher. Unless, of course, you put that picture in a political campaign ad."

(Silence, as that scene from the ad is played, followed by "I'm George W Bush, and I approve this message.")


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Friday, April 23, 2004

People. Not Numbers.
 


As I'm sure you know, the Bush administration has banned pictures of returning coffins, and has fired someone for taking such pictures. You know about this because they shot themselves in the foot again: their ham-handed action of firing the photographer has drawn tons of attention to the ban, and suddenly people who were not aware that such a ban existed have become aware of it. And I hope that most of them have the good sense to find it shameful.

The Bush administration claims that the ban was enacted out of respect for "privacy" - but that's makes so little sense that it can't poosibly fool anyone but their cult followers, who refuse to admit to any imperfection in their Tin God Simpleton Maximus.

The claim that it has something to do with "privacy" is obviously bogus. They aren't pictures of dead bodies: they're pictures of flag draped coffins, and you don't even know who's inside. How on EARTH is a picture of an anonymous flag-draped coffin a violation of someone's privacy? What will they tell us next? That pictures of Arlington Cemetary are a violation of the privacy of the interred?

The REAL problem they have with the pictures, of course, is that they are POWERFUL. They want us to think of the dead as only NUMBERS. Not PEOPLE.

But when you see those pictures, you remember that those 700 dead were mothers, fathers, sons and daughter: human beings who might have had great futures, but will never come back, and who leave behind devastated families.

And those realizations are what Bush ACTUALLY wants to ban.

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House of Bush, House of Cards
 


White House Says Iraq Sovereignty Could Be Limited
By STEVEN R. WEISMAN

Published: April 23, 2004

WASHINGTON, April 22 — The Bush administration's plans for a new caretaker government in Iraq would place severe limits on its sovereignty, including only partial command over its armed forces and no authority to enact new laws, administration officials said Thursday. White House Says Iraq Sovereignty Could Be Limited

"Aw, Come on! We were only KIDDING about Sovereignty and Democracy! Whatsamatter? Cantcha take a JOKE?"

We aren't actually giving them Sovereignty. Any "sovereign" of theirs will be answerable to us, and only a fool could think otherwise.

In addition, we have decided to place back into power some of Hussein's high-ranking Ba'athists (no doubt, only the brutal dictators who are our kind of brutal dictators.)

AND we are trying to foist Chalabi on the Iraqis as their ruler: This guy has been wanted for bank fraud in Jordan for 20 years, and hasn't even lived in Iraq since 1958.

Coming Up Next: "Ladies and Gentleman of Iraq! Introducing: the NEW SADDAM! Film at 11."

Gee - I wonder why they hate us?

God, what a frigging disaster these morons have caused with their arrogance and stupidity.


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Krugman:

What Went Wrong?

"0n April 11 of last year, just after U.S. forces took Baghdad, I warned that the Bush administration had a 'pattern of conquest followed by malign neglect,' and that the same was likely to happen in Iraq. I'm sorry to say those worries proved justified."

Read the whole thing.

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Thursday, April 22, 2004


 

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From the Onion
 

Cheney Wows Sept. 11 Commission
By Drinking Glass Of Water
While Bush Speaks


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Courtesy of kos

The shorter Bush/Kerry comparison

Kerry:
Intelligent, mature and rich in educational background and experience, Ens Kerry is one of the finest young officers I have ever met and without question one of the most promising.

Bush:
Lt. Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of report.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Republicans smear vets.
 


Have they right-wingers gone too far? I certainly hope so.

The Republicans, in a feverish attempt to extract “revenge” for the fact that Bush has been publicly exposed as having skipped out on the National Guard when it was his turn to serve, have been trying a pathetic “tit for tat” by demanding Kerry’s records.

That’s right: Because Bush has no military record, the right-wingers are trying to diminish Kerry’s. Some patriots, eh?

They are so blinded with rage that the obvious doesn’t occur to them: Bush had something to be ashamed of, and Kerry doesn’t.

So they are pretending that there is something fishy about Kerry’s service when there isn’t.

They are spreading lies.

They are hoping to accomplish by gossip, smear and innuendo what they can’t accomplish with facts.

And maybe, they’ve gone too far.

Kerry released his records. And the results really make the Republicans look like trash.

From the AP story:

The documents also included declassified reports that briefly explain the injuries that led to Kerry's Purple Heart awards. They show Kerry had shrapnel wounds in his left thigh after his boat came under intense fire on Feb. 20, 1969, and he suffered shrapnel wounds in his left buttock and contusions on his right forearm when a mine detonated close to his boat on March 13, 1969.

"Kerry received the Bronze Star for his actions after being wounded by the mine, which led to the third Purple Heart. According to his citation, one of Kerry's boatmates was thrown overboard and Kerry pulled him to safety with 'his arm bleeding and in pain and with disregard for his personal safety.'


How do you think the American public will feel about trashing that record?

The Republicans have succeeded in doing exactly what they don't want to do: draw lots of attention to Kerry’s exemplary service record. Which is a sterling record. The Republicans are trying to trash a war hero’s service, and are simply reminding everyone that he IS a war hero, and not someone who just played dress-up in a flight suit.

Understand how reprehensible the Republicans have behaved: the Democrats never tried to trash Bush Sr’s service. Or Dole’s. Those men were criticized on issues and politics. No Democrat ever tried to attack their service in the armed forces. That's has always been considered off-limits, and doing so has always been considered utterly contemptible.

But the Republicans are actually so unprincipled that they will do such a contempible thing.

The Democrats should make a major public issue of this:

Republicans smear vets.

They claim to “support the troops” – but any troop who comes home wounded and has the nerve to run for office as a Democrat will get smeared, trashed, and his service record attacked.

Some patriots.


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Tuesday, April 20, 2004


 
"The notion that the invasion of Iraq has been on my agenda since 1991 (after the 1991 Gulf War) is simply wrong." - Paul Wolfowitz, in Tuesday's hearing

Really Paul? How about September 2000?

"While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein." - Rebuilding America's Defenses, Project for the New American Century, September 2000, signed by Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and others.

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Monday, April 19, 2004


 
Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni wondered aloud yesterday how Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld could be caught off guard by the chaos in Iraq that has killed nearly 100 Americans in recent weeks and led to his announcement that 20,000 U.S. troops would be staying there instead of returning home as planned.

"I'm surprised that he is surprised because there was a lot of us who were telling him that it was going to be thus," said Zinni, a Marine for 39 years and the former commander of the U.S. Central Command. "Anyone could know the problems they were going to see. How could they not?"


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Bush and Prince Bandar
 
Sort of tells you everything to know about which one of them is in charge.


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Sunday, April 18, 2004

Devastating
 


Wow.

I thought the big story of Sunday was going to be Kerry's appearance on Meet the Press, where he made Bush look bad just by being intelligent.

But it's a distant second. Bob Woodward's appearance on 60 Minutes was absolutely devastating.

He has shredded George W. Bush of any semblance of honor, decency, and even competence.

There are things like this, which make me question whether or not the President is mentally imbalanced:

Q. "Did Mr. Bush ask his father for any advice?"

WOODWARD: “I asked the president about this. And President Bush said, ‘Well no,’ and then he got defensive about it. And then he said something that really struck me. He said of his father, ‘He is the wrong father to appeal to for advice. The wrong father to go to, to appeal to in terms of strength.’ And then he said, ‘There's a higher father that I appeal to.’"


But - embarrassing as such things are - it isn't the main point. The main ponts are quite a bit more serious.

Here is a recap of what I thought were the two main points. (I'll post a link to the transcript when one becomes available).

1) Cheney was totally obsessed with Iraq. Powell said : "Cheney has a fever. It is an absolute fever. It’s almost as if nothing else exists,” Apparently, Cheney spent an enormous amount of time convincing Bush to share his obsession.

Donald Rumsfeld told General Tommy Franks to develop a war plan for Iraq at the end of November, 2001, and gave him a blank check. Franks immediately began preparing for war, building pipelines and runways and doing preparation in Kuwait, while publicly denying that he was planning anything.

Franks was asked about invading Iraq in May 2002. He had been working on war plans for five months. But he said: “That’s a great question and one for which I don’t have an answer, because my boss has not yet asked me to put together a plan to do that.” So they lied to the American People about what they were planning.

In July, Franks needed 700 million dollars for all this stuff. A lot of money. Bush approved the money. But Congress didn't know he approved the money. The Bushies got the money from a supplemental appropriation for the Afghan War, which Congress has approved. NOT from money slated for Iraq, but money Congress approved for Afghanistan.

700 million dollars that we were told went to Afghanistan actually went to prepare for war in Iraq, before we were even told that they were planning a war in Iraq.

Woodward says, "Some people are gonna look at a document called the Constitution which says that no money will be drawn from the treasury unless appropriated by Congress. Congress was totally in the dark on this."

2) According to Woodward, Powell was opposed to the idea, but agreed to support it in the name of being a good soldier. B

But before Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld even told Powell that they had decided to go to war with Iraq - they told Saudi Arabia's Ambassador. Prince Bandar. Bandar was told about the plan even though the plan was marked "Top Secret. No Foreign." - which meant that no foreigners were allowed to see it. And Bandar - who very much favored us overthrowing Hussein - agreed to fix oil prices for George W. Bush, artificially lowering them in the October before Election Day to give the economy a upshot and make Bush look good for the election.

They revealed TOP SECRET WAR PLANS to a Saudi Arabian ambassador.

The country that gave us 15 out of the 19 hijackers.

The country that wouldn't let us interview suspects in the Khobar Towers attack.

The country that asked us to wisk members of Bin Laden's family out of the United States right after the September 11th attacks.

They told THEM about the Top Secret War Plans.

Before they told America's Secretary of State.

Folks - this is plain treason.

This is the sort of thing people go in front of a firing squad for.

Even the Congressional Republicans - if they have a shred of decency - should disown Bush and everything he stands for after this.

The American People CERTAINLY will.

The stench is deafening.

Bush is finished.

Thanks to Bob Woodward.


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Cheney Got His Gun
 
Kerry talks about Iraq - while Cheney talks about GUNS.

"Playing to conservative voters, Cheney appeared in the election battlefield state of Pennsylvania to pledge the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign's support for gun ownership.

" 'John Kerry's approach to the Second Amendment has been to regulate, regulate and regulate some more,' Cheney said in a salvo aimed at the Democratic senator running against President Bush in the November election."


HORRORS! Kerry wants to regulate. Ashcroft has already regulated the FIRST Amendment out of existence, but that's not a problem - some guys "right" to military weaponry is a problem.

Says a lot about their respective priorities, doesn't it?

But don't you just LOVE the picture?



Cheney and two really stupid-looking guys - all staring with clear, undisguised LUST - at a frigging rifle.

For God's sake people, get yourselves a sex life.


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Friday, April 16, 2004

Caught Lying Again
 
They can't even keep their stories straight.

Rove Rues 'Mission Accomplished' Banner

WASHINGTON (April 16) - President Bush's top political adviser said this week he regretted the use of a "Mission Accomplished" banner as a backdrop for the president's landing on an aircraft carrier last May to mark the end of major combat operations in Iraq.

"I wish the banner was not up there," said White House political strategist Karl Rove. "I'll acknowledge the fact that it has become one of those convenient symbols."…

Last October, Bush said the White House had nothing to do with the banner.


____

Actually, he not only claimed that the White House had nothing to do with it - the little weasel tried to blame the sailors.

"The "Mission Accomplished" sign, of course, was put up by the members of the USS Abraham Lincoln saying that their mission was accomplished. I know it was attributed somehow to some ingenious advance man from my staff. They weren't that ingenious, by the way. " - George W. Bush

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Coward of babble
 
BUSH: We will take three questions a side, and so why don't you ask one question to each of us. You can start, Mr. Hunt.

Q. Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, did you ask Secretary Rumsfeld to draw up war plans against Iraq in November, 2001, just as the military action was getting underway in Afghanistan? Why couldn't Iraq wait?
And Mr. Prime Minister --

BUSH: No, I thought -- one question apiece. Not one question or one question apiece.
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Can you count the number of contradictions in this short exchange? And is the last sentence supposed to mean something? Is this man falling apart?



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Yo, ho, ho, and a bottle of Rummy
 
Donald Rumsfeld is shocked - SHOCKED - to discover that war causes lots of casualties.

"I certainly would not have estimated that we would have had the number of individuals lost that we have had lost in the last week," Rumsfeld said in answer to questions at the Pentagon on Thursday.

But, Donny, you always refused to make any estimates AT ALL. What number WOULD you havew estimated?

"What I said, I thought reasonably clearly, was that if, a year ago, you had asked me to describe where you would be on April 15, 2004, in Iraq ... I would not have described it precisely the way we are now," he said.

Well, well, well, isn't that interesting? And how would you have described it?

The American Flag all over the place, almost no resistance and everybody sitting around drinking beer in the Bagdhad Tiki Bar?

And they are extended the soldiers' tour of duty, which they said was going to be for twelve months by THREE MORE MONTHS.

And some of those poor soldiers had already left:

A few soldiers from the 1st Armored had already left. They will have to go back to Iraq, Army generals said.

How devastating must it be to morale to have thought you were going home - to have been on you way - and be called back?

Nice way to "support our troops," guys.

Rumsfeld sidestepped a question about whether a planned reduction of U.S. forces in Iraq would begin after the troops' 90-day extension ends, or whether others would have to be found from the severely stretched Army and Marine Corps to take their place.

"It depends on the facts on the ground," he said. "You can't predict the future, so why try?"

Donny? Your JOB is to try and your job was to try BEFORE YOU STARTED.

Senator Biden said it well:

"I fear this administration is far more worried about conceding mistakes than it is concerned about sticking to a failed policy," Biden said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "The hour for hubris and arrogance is long past. It's time for leadership."

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Bush is quoted as telling Bob Woodward: "I knew what would happen if people thought we were developing a potential war plan for Iraq,'' . "It was such a high-stakes moment and ... it would look like that I was anxious to go to war. And I'm not anxious to go to war.''

You aren't?

Holy crap, George, what the hell would it look like if you were?

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Thursday, April 15, 2004


 
And here, my friends, is the exact moment when people all across America turned to each other and said, "My, God, he's a nincompoop! This clueless buffoon is the leader of the free world?"

"I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn't yet."

Isn't that pathetic? The Meander-In-Chief stood there in public and admitted that the pressure of a press conference makes his brain freeze up.

I think those who continue to support him are just like he is: they can't admit to making a mistake.

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"I think we run a serious risk of disaster in Iraq if what we find on June 30 is a turnover of sovereignty to some kind of governing body that lacks legitimacy, I don't yet know what the plan is for avoiding that kind of disaster. ... We need a Plan B, and I'm not sure we yet have a Plan B." -said Bathsheba Crocker, co-director of the post-conflict reconstruction project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Broken Bush
 
Some press conference, wasn’t it? We all got to watch the most powerful man in the world demonstrate that he was unable to answer a straight question with a straight answer. On most questions, he stuttered, talked all around it, and then returned to his original talking points, even when they had precious little to do with the actual question. He did have a couple of good moments, when he managed to latch onto a point he felt comfortable with (e.g., I liked him saying that freedom wasn't a gift from us to the Iraqis, but a gift from the Almighty to humanity. I just wish he behaved as though he believed that.), but unfortunately for him (and the United States), his good moments were broken up by several consecutive minutes of amateurishness and confusion.

But what struck me - more than the obfuscation, the sidestepping and the shenanigans – was that George W. Bush stood there revealed as a man incapable of admitting that he makes mistakes, like the Sean Penn character in Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown. A sad, broken personality who has a desperate need to appear perfect, when, in reality, he doesn’t even appear impressive.

He was asked three times to admit to error, and all three times, he avoided answering, and looked completely confused and foolish on the second one.

Here are the exchanges:

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Q. One the biggest criticisms of you is that whether it's WMD in Iraq, postwar planning in Iraq, or even the question of whether this administration did enough to ward off 9-11, you never admit a mistake. Is that a fair criticism, and do you believe that there were any errors in judgment that you made related to any of those topics I brought up?

BUSH: Well, I think, as I mentioned, you know, the country wasn't on war footing, and yet we're at war.

And that's just a reality, Dave. I mean, that was the situation that existed prior to 9-11, because the truth of the matter is most in the country never felt that we'd be vulnerable to an attack such as the one that Osama bin Laden unleashed on us.

We knew he had designs on us. We knew he hated us. But there was nobody in our government, at least, and I don't think the prior government that could envision flying airplanes into buildings on such a massive scale.

The people know where I stand, I mean, in terms of Iraq. I was very clear about what I believed. And, of course, I want to know why we haven't found a weapon yet. But I still know Saddam Hussein was a threat. And the world is better off without Saddam Hussein.

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George? The man asked you if you ever admit a mistake. What question were you answering? Or was the "no" implied? He didn’t ask you if Osama Bin Laden hated us, or if the world is better off with Saddam Hussein. And your statement that no one could “envision flying airplanes into building on such a massive scale” is just false. Let's try it again:

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Q.You've looked back before 9-11 for what mistakes might have been made. After 9-11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have you learned from it?

BUSH: I wish you'd have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it.

John, I'm sure historians will look back and say, gosh, he could've done it better this way or that way. You know, I just -- I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with answer, but it hadn't yet.

I would've gone into Afghanistan the way we went into Afghanistan. Even knowing what I know today about the stockpiles of weapons, I still would've called upon the world to deal with Saddam Hussein.

See, I'm of the belief that we'll find out the truth on the weapons. That's why we sent up the independent commission. I look forward to hearing the truth as to exactly where they are. They could still be there. They could be hidden, like the 50 tons of mustard gas in a turkey farm.

One of the things that Charlie Duelfer talked about was that he was surprised of the level of intimidation he found amongst people who should know about weapons and their fear of talking about them because they don't want to be killed.

You know, there's this kind of -- there's a terror still in the soul of some of the people in Iraq. They're worried about getting killed, and therefore they're not going to talk. But it'll all settle out, John. We'll find out the truth about the weapons at some point in time.

However, the fact that he had the capacity to make them bothers me today just like it would have bothered me then. He's a dangerous man. He's a man who actually not only had weapons of mass destruction -- the reason I can say that with certainty is because he used them.

And I have no doubt in my mind that he would like to have inflicted harm, or paid people to inflict harm, or trained people to inflict harm, on America, because he hated us.

I hope -- I don't want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't -- you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.

Yes, Ann?

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“I hope -- I don't want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't”

George? Are you serious? You were actually thrown by this question? Somebody asked you if you could think of any mistakes you’ve made in the last TWO AND A HALF YEARS – and you’ve never thought of asking YOURSELF that?

I don’t want to get personal George, but you claim to be a Christian. You haven’t done any self-examination in two-and-a-half years?

And - again - nobody asked you if Saddam Hussein was dangerous man. We asked you if you’d made any mistakes.

So let's try it again:

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QUESTION: Following on both Judy and John's questions, and it comes out of what you just said in some ways, with public support for your policies in Iraq falling off the way they have, quite significantly over the past couple of months, I guess I'd like to know if you feel, in any way, that you have failed as a communicator on this topic.

BUSH: Gosh, I don't know. I mean ...

QUESTION: Well, you deliver a lot of speeches, and a lot of them contain similar phrases and may vary very little from one to the next. And they often include a pretty upbeat assessment of how things are going, with the exception of tonight. It's pretty somber.

BUSH: A pretty somber assessment today, Don, yes.

QUESTION: But I guess I just wonder if you feel that you have failed in any way. You don't have many of these press conferences where you engage in this kind of exchange. Have you failed in any way to really make the case to the American public?

BUSH: You know, that's, I guess, if you put it into a political context, that's the kind of thing the voters will decide next November. That's what elections are about. They'll take a look at me and my opponent and say, let's see, which one of them can better win the war on terror? Who best can see to it that Iraq emerges a free society?

And, Don, you know, if I tried to fine-tune my messages based upon polls, I think I'd be pretty ineffective. I know I would be disappointed in myself.


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I’ll give you credit this time, George: at least you didn’t tell us again what a bad man Saddam Hussein is. But you still didn’t answer the question. What is it about admitting mistakes and self-criticism that totally frightens you, George? Why do you psychologically avoid doing that, at all costs?

The man asked you if you thought you had failed to properly communicate your message.

Considering the communication skills displayed in this press conference, it’s amazing that anybody even bothers to ask anymore.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Photo you don't see in the major media
 

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Investigate Iraq
 
There is currently a commission investigating the intelligence that was presented to the White House before 9/11, and trying to determine whether or not the White House responded appropriately. Obviously, such and investigation is long overdue. It’s about time.

But there is another series of intelligence failures, disengagements, wishful thinking, and plain foolishness that has ALSO led to disaster, and nobody seems inclined to launch an official investigation. But they should.

I’m referring, of course, to Iraq.

I’m referring to this administration’s plan to rebuild the country after overthrowing the previous government.. Or, more accurately, the lack of a plan to rebuild.

There should be a major investigation into why this administration was totally unprepared for what actually happened. Because they are the only ones who were.

We aren’t talking about hindsight here. We are talking about a gross lack of foresight.

Few people doubted that we could win the war. But almost everyone who WASN’T part of the administration pointed out how difficult it would be to deal with the aftermath: occupying a country divided by tribal conflicts, ready to erupt into civil war and hating us as much as they hated Saddam Hussein.

EVERYBODY said this.

But the Bushies DIDN’T CARE. In their arrogance, they ignored all advice, pretended that they needed no help from anyone, and treated the UN and our allies with such disdain that those who were once willing to help us are now saying, “You made your bed, so lie in it.” Due to Bush's arrogance, we have lost almost all of our allies at the very time that we most need them.

The Bushies assumed that the best-case scenario would be what actually happened, and that’s all that they planned for.

But we now face the worse-case scenario: tribal factions that have hated each other for a thousand years have put aside thier differences, and are uniting against US.

And almost every one of our actions in this occupation only serves to further radicalize the Muslim world. Every day, more moderate Muslims become RADICAL Muslims in direct response to our occupation..

They rushed into Iraq heedlessly.

And hundred of Americans and thousands of Iraqis are paying the price - in blood - for George W. Bush’s damned foolishness,

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Disengaged
 
Josh Marshall writes:

The Post today quotes the president as saying: "I am satisfied that I never saw any intelligence that indicated there was going to be an attack on America -- at a time and a place, an attack ... [if the FBI or CIA] found something, they would have reported it to me."...

One thing we have here is this ridiculous notion that there was nothing that could be done unless the warning includes a means of attack, a place and a date. Presumably if the CIA or the FBI had cracked the thing wide open and knew exactly what was coming they would have rolled the operation up on their own and just let the president know what they were doing. The implication behind the president's remark is that so long as there was no specific plot detected and there was no concrete, specific response put together by the CIA that he could sign off on, there was really nothing he could or should do. From the In Box to the Out Box, Next ...

The CIA didn't need to deliver him a turnkey solution to rolling up the terrorist plot wrapped in a bow. The question is whether, when faced with a dire warning and given a few clear hints as to where and when, the president exerted some leadership and got everyone focused on the problem.

The idea that he or his chief deputies would somehow actually get involved in the process, engaged in the interplay between the various law enforcement, intelligence and national security agencies seems to have been alien to him.

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A Strategy for Iraq
 
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Monday, April 12, 2004


 
On Meet the Press, John McCain took this oblique little swipe at Bush:

"I didn't think we needed to have a "Mission Accomplished" banner, which- by the way - the crew doesn't decide what banners go up on aircraft carriers."

Somebody should tell that to George. When the "Mission Accomplished" thing turned into a public relations fiasco, Bush - showing what a fine, accountable human being he is - tried to blame the crew of the aircraft carrier (what a guy):

"It [The "Mission Accomplished" sign], "of course, was put up by the members of the USS Abraham Lincoln, saying that their mission was accomplished. I know it was attributed some how to some ingenious advance man from my staff -- they weren't that ingenious, by the way." - Bush

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Liar
 
Washington Post:

"President Bush said yesterday that a memo he received a month before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks did not contain enough specific threat information to prevent the hijackings and 'said nothing about an attack on America.'

It 'said nothing about an attack on America'?

Ummm...George? I KNOW that you are used to getting a free pass no matter WHAT you say, but everybody knows that it said something about an attack on America.

Remember? Or is your attention span too short? The memo is titled "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US."

It also says:

"FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York."

But Bush actually stands there and lies right to our faces.

And the right-wingers aren't even patriotic enough to call him on it.

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Sovereignty
 
The following exchange took place between Tim Russert and Viscount Paul Bremer on Meet the Press yesterday:

MR. RUSSERT: June 30: You're going to turn the keys over to the Iraqis. Who do you turn them over to?

AMB. BREMER: Well, that's a good question, and it's an important part of the ongoing crisis we have here now. We've always said that there are two dimensions to dealing with the problems of Iraq. One, of course, is the military dimension, which we're working on right now, but the other is to give a political perspective for the Iraqis to have more and more responsibility. We've been working on that for months. We are now working with the secretary-general of the U.N.'s special representative here, Mr. Brahimi, to figure out the best way to get a representative government in place before the end of June so it has a little practice and then turn over sovereignty to it on June 30. And I'm confident that working with him and with the Iraqi people, we, in fact, will get that. We'll get a representative government in place before June 30.


Ok, Tim, here’s your first lesson in interviewing: the next thing you say should be, “Well, that’s very interesting, but it isn’t what I asked. Who are you going to turn power in Iraq over to?”

Am I hearing this right? We are scheduled to turn over sovereignty in Iraq in a month and a half, and we don’t know who we are going to hand it to?

It absolutely boggles the mind that these guys can sit there and say that with a straight face and not realize that it sounds completely and totally insane.

What are they going to do, hold a raffle, and hand power over to whichever name they pull out of the hat?

When, exactly, are they going to decide? And how? What are they waiting for? To see who hasn't started shooting at us on June 29th?

And what, exactly, do they mean by “sovereignty” and “democracy”?

We say we are going to turn over sovereignty to the Iraqis. But we have no intention of leaving or ceasing occupation.

Well, in that case, how “sovereign” is this supposed Iraqi “sovereignty”? I mean, isn’t it just a sham? What if the new Iraqi Government says, “Now that we have our country back, we want the Americans to leave”? Will we?

The fundamental question is: Will we obey they’re orders, or will they obey ours? Because only the former is actual Iraqi sovereignty. If they are still obeying our orders, the sovereign government is just a figurehead, and not sovereign at all.

And what do they mean by "democracy"?

If we want democracy in Iraq, why don’t we hold an election? That's what I thought was the defining characteristic of a democracy.

"Well, we will have an election once we make sure that somebody we like will be
elected."

How can you say that what you want is democracy, but the leaders will be chosen unilaterally by you? That isn't democracy; it's a transparent masquerade.

It is rather obvious that the Bush administration regards both sovereignty and democracy as mere words – political talking points – and not genuine principles or ideals.

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Sunday, April 11, 2004

What, Me Worry?
 
Is this a psychological problem?

"President Bush was in an expansive mood on Aug. 7, 2001, when he ran into reporters while playing golf at the Ridgewood Country Club in Waco, Tex.

"The day before, the president had received an intelligence briefing -- the contents of which were declassified by the White House Saturday night -- warning "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US." But Bush seemed carefree as he spoke about the books he was reading, the work he was doing on his nearby ranch, his love of hot-weather jogging, his golf game and his 55th birthday.

"No mulligans, except on the first tee," he said to laughter. "That's just to loosen up. You see, most people get to hit practice balls, but as you know, I'm walking out here, I'm fixing to go hit. Tight back, older guy -- I hit the speed limit on July 6th."


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Friday, April 09, 2004

Swatting Flies
 
"You said the president was tired of swatting flies. Can you tell me one example where the president swatted a fly when it came to al-Qaida prior to 9-11?...We only swatted a fly once on the 20th of August 1998. We didn't swat any flies afterwards. How the hell could he be tired?  Why didn't [Bush] respond to the Cole?  Why didn't we swat that fly?" - Bob Kerrey talking to Rice

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Incompetence
 
The level of sheer incompetence displayed by the administration is now on display for all to see. And the Bushies are actually so clueless that they don't seem to understand that having power means that you are expected to do something.

Condi Rice treated us to THIS winner:

"The PDB does not say the United States is going to be attacked. It says Bin Laden would like to attack the United States."

And the sky isn't turquoise, it's azure.

Rice admitted that Clarke had told her that al-Qaida had "sleeper cells" inside the Untied States.

But, she added, "There was no recommendation that we do anything" about them.

Got that? She knew there were al Qaeda sleeper cells in the U.S., but she needed a recommendation to do anything.

Why did she need a recommendation to do something? She's the National Security Adviser. That means she's supposed to give advice about National Security.

So why couldn't she make recommendations herself? Isn't that her job?

The Bush administration refuses to admit any mistake.

And Condi refuses to take any responsibility.

It's the FBI's job. It was Clarke's job. It was Clinton's job. It was Ralph Kramden's job. Not HERS. Why would you expect HER to do anything? Just because she's in charge?

"[If] I needed to do anything," she said, "I would have been asked to do it. I was not asked to do it."

In other words, she knew we were in danger, and she was useless.

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Thursday, April 08, 2004

August 6, 2001
 
August 6, 2001: Bush gets briefing titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside US."

August 7, 2001: Bush goes on vacation for a month.

I think the biggest thing to come from Rice's testimony may be the mention of this document.

The existence of it has always been known, of course. Heck it was mentioned in the first post I ever made on this blog ("Terrorism: A Timeline" - check the archives).

But the major media are notoriously lazy, and don't do any investigative work anymore.

But the August 6th briefing is now a centerpiece of what is already a big story: Rice's testimony.

And that is exactly the sort of thing that makes the media start TALKING about it, and makes it (suddenly, after 2 1/2 years) "news."

Political junkies have LONG known about this document.

But now the REST of America does.

And Americans have suddenly been made aware that George W. Bush, amid mounting concerns about terrorist attack, took August 2001 off.

And isn't it nice? After two-and-a-half years of trying to blame Clinton for the attacks, suddenly everybody is aware that Clinton did more than Bush, and the Bushies are changing their tune from "It's Clinton's fault" to "ummmm...we don't think ANYBODY could have stopped it."


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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Lies
 
The war on terror, you can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror. And so it's a comparison that is -- I can't make because I can't distinguish between the two, because they're both equally as bad, and equally as evil, and equally as destructive. George W. Bush
Remarks By President Bush, The Oval Office
9/25/2002

So, yes, there are contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. We know that Saddam Hussein has a long history with terrorism in general. And there are some al Qaeda personnel who found refuge in Baghdad...There clearly are contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq that can be documented. Condoleeza Rice, US National Security Advisor
NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
9/26/2002

Iraq and al Qaeda have discussed safe haven opportunities in Iraq, reciprocal nonaggression discussions. We have what we consider to be credible evidence that al Qaeda leaders have sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire weapons of mass destruction capabilities
Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Comments To Reporters
9/27/2002

Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda. George W. Bush, President
State of the Union Speech
1/28/2003

We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States. And, of course, sophisticated delivery systems aren't required for a chemical or biological attack; all that might be required are a small container and one terrorist or Iraqi intelligence operative to deliver it.
George W. Bush, President
President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat

We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. George W. Bush, President
Cincinnati, Ohio Speech
10/7/2002



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Bush Sr. gets stupid
 
Believe it or not, I'm not making this up:

"DALLAS (April 6) - Former President Bush said Tuesday that John Kerry's Democratic presidential campaign is using the same rhetoric about the state of the economy against his son that Bill Clinton used against him in 1992."

ha ha

And God willing, the same thing will happen again: Bush, the economic failure, will leave, and the new Democratic President will fix his economic mess.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2004

You can't make this up.
 
It is unbelievable how thoourougly arrogant and rude George W. Bush is.

It was a mouthwatering menu. Not that you'd expect less for $2,000 a plate.

Seered beef tenderloins with golden tomatoes on an herb-encrusted baguette. Grilled garlic chicken with smoked gouda on a honey wheat wrap. Fruits and gourmet olives and crudite. A gourmet luncheon with only one thing missing: something to eat it with.

The explanation was at the bottom of the menus distributed at President Bush's $1.5 million Charlotte fund-raiser Monday.

"At the request of the White House, silverware will not accompany the table settings," it said in discreetly fine print.

No silver. No plastic.

The lack of utensils might have been why many plates went virtually untouched.

The reason: So the tinkle of silver wouldn't disrupt the president's speech.

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Do Not Remove
 
Taken from another blog



I had to share this find. I recently purchased a high-quality computer sleeve from a small boutique manufacturer. I was checking if it could be washed. The photo is the attached tag with the washing instructions in both English and French. The English is exactly what you would expect and so is the French, for the first 6 lines. The last three lines of French are most interesting. "We are sorry that our President is an idiot. We didn't vote for him." Given recent strained relations between our two countries, it's good to see that not all Americans agree with the current administration.

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Hornet's nest
 
Some folks say that we shouldn't have attacked Iraq, but now that we did, we have no choice but to stay, since we can't just abandon the country and let it fall into chaos.

And they're right. We can't.

Bush went and hit a hornet's nest with a baseball bat.

Almost everyone --

the Pope,
the leaders of almost every major world religion,
the UN,
almost all of our allies,
NATO,
and millions upon millions of individuals all over the world --

told him it was a stupid thing to do.

But he decided that he knew better than everybody.

He doesn't even read the newspaper, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar seems to be the only book he's ever read, but he thought everybody else was ignorant and he knew it all.

And he went and hit the hornet's nest with the baseball bat.

And now we have no choice but to do something about this swarm of hornets.

But that because his stupidity has left us with no good options.

So why would you want keep listening to the ignorant fool that hit the hornet's nest with the baseball bat in the first place?

"My fellow Americans - I've turned things into such a filthy mess that you have no choice but to keep me in power."

Some logic.

And some folks actually seem to buy it.

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To Sir, With Contempt.
 
Bush, showing his pettiness and venality to all the world, decided to get testy with a reporter for having the NERVE to call him "Sir." No, I'm not making that up:

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THE PRESIDENT:Who is the AP person?

Q I am.

THE PRESIDENT: You are?

Q Sir, in regard to --

THE PRESIDENT: Who are you talking to?

Q Mr. President, in regard to the June 30th deadline, is there a chance that that would be moved back?

THE PRESIDENT: No, the intention is to make sure the deadline remains the same.

Official White House Transcript.

-------------------

Stop whining, George. It beats "moron" which is what many of your fellow citizens call you.

Is there any LIMIT to this guy's pathetic ways?

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Monday, April 05, 2004

Guest commentary on the uprising
 
This is breaking news, as of 22:50 PST, on the fourth, the BBC is reporting that Sadr's people have taken over government buildings in Basra. This is a Shia area, in the south. This is a very serious turn of events and for some reason I don't think many people in DC are fully connecting the dots, either in Government or in the Media. So let me connect them for you.

Basra is Shia territory. Sadr is a somewhat extremist cleric who has said that demonstrations no longer work and other means must be taken.

It seems that his call has been heeded.

Now on top of this we are having a heck of a time controlling the Sunni Triangle.

I will do what I fear DoD has not done, I will worst case this: The worst case is that both groups will bury the hatchet and just fight us, the occupation forces, forgetting the other possible nightmare, a Civil War.

If they should unify themselves against us, we can expect a very nasty uprising.

Given Iraqi history, against the British in 1920, I do not hold my breath that things will get better any time soon.

I pray the worst case will not come to be, but since this mess started I have known that PNAC has been wrong EVERY STEP OF THE WAY, as they seem to best case everything.

Let's pray that the situation in Basra can be at the very least calmed down. From BBC reports it does look ugly, indeed. Combine this with the Marines going into Fallujah, and I can only fear that the Great Arab Revolt of 2004 (just like 1920) may be starting.

For Americans a closer analogy will be Tet. For the Arab world, it will be 1920 and Afghanistan which became a Jihad against the Russians.

Sincerely, Nadin Abbott
M.A History, SDSU

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The killing goes on
 
It is so difficult to talk about this without seeming like one is unfeeling and unhorrified by brutality.

The killing and mutilation and four Americans in Falujjah was brutal, horrible and seems calculated to enrage the sensibilities of any decent human being.

It was so horrible, that, almost overnight, it has become common to hear Americans talk about destroying the place in retaliation.

Such a reaction is very human. It’s what makes us what we are. It’s what made us survive as a species.

But what is America becoming?

Yes, we should be shocked and horrified at the death of those four people.

But we should also be shocked and horrified that so many Americans want to kill a city of 250,000 people because of the death of those four people.

The unpleasant fact is that the people in Falujjah reacted like every single invaded people in the entire history of the world. They reacted the way we would react if we were invaded.

What they did is unthinkable. But if we were invaded, WE would do the unthinkable. Heck, we are contemplating the unthinkable NOW, and we’re the invaders, not the invaded.

But too many Americans now seem to think that we have some right to Iraq, and are insulted that people whose country we have taken over with bombs and guns aren’t properly grateful to us for the favor.

When the hell will we grow up?

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Saturday, April 03, 2004

Spinning into the ground
 
A new spin from the Bushies is to make the following idiotic claim:

"Unemployment rate end of Clinton's third year: 5.6%
Unemployment rate end of Bush's third year: 5.6%"

I LOVE this spin.

In Clinton's case, it went DOWN from 7.5% to 5.6%. And continued to drop until it reached 4.2%.

In Bush's case, it ROSE from 4.2% to 5.6%. And it's STILL CLIMBING.

Do the Bushies think we are STUPID that we won't realize this?

Or are THEY stupid that they don't realize this?

It went down when Clinton was President and rose when Bush was President, and the Bush's are trying to claim they they were same because they met somewhere in the middle?

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All the President's Suckers
 
All the President's Suckers
Flip-flopping is the last stage of trusting Bush.
By William Saletan
Posted Friday, April 2, 2004, at 12:41 PM PT


"The [Democratic] candidates are an interesting group, with diverse opinions: For tax cuts, and against them. For NAFTA, and against NAFTA. For the Patriot Act, and against the Patriot Act. In favor of liberating Iraq, and opposed to it. And that's just one senator from Massachusetts."

I laughed the first time I heard President Bush tell that joke. Then, as he told it again and again, I began to think I'd heard it before. Not from Bush, but from somebody else. Finally I remembered: It's the litany Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich kept repeating in the Democratic presidential primaries. Here's the version Dean delivered on Feb. 17:

A year ago, the Democrats were falling all over each other to vote for the war in Iraq. They sure don't talk like that now. A year ago, the Democrats were accepting reckless budget deficits and huge tax cuts that mortgage our children's futures. They don't talk like that any more. A year ago, they were adopting the president's education policies, which leave every child behind. They all voted for it, but they don't support it anymore. Some of them even adopted the phony Medicare bill, which gives more money to HMOs and insurance companies and drug companies than it does to seniors. But they don't talk like that anymore.

Kucinich made the same points, throwing in NAFTA and the Patriot Act. What's interesting about this critique, in retrospect, is that it didn't apply just to John Kerry. Dean was talking about John Edwards, Dick Gephardt, and lots of other congressional Democrats. They were all flip-floppers.


What's with all the weak backbones? Is it a Democratic establishment disease? No, that can't be it. John DiIulio has the same problem. He's the guy the White House recruited to run the "faith-based and community initiatives" Bush promised in 2000. DiIulio quit in August 2001. A year later, he faulted the administration for caring more about politics than policy. "In eight months, I heard many, many staff discussions, but not three meaningful, substantive policy discussions," he recalled. The result was "a virtual absence as yet of any policy accomplishments that might, to a fair-minded nonpartisan, count as the flesh on the bones of so-called compassionate conservatism." In short, DiIulio felt conned. How did the White House respond? According to Newsweek, "Officials cast aspersions on … DiIulio's truthfulness." DiIulio had a credibility problem: He had helped the administration but now criticized it. He was a flip-flopper.

Then came Paul O'Neill. He was fired as Bush's Treasury secretary in 2002 after opposing the administration's third package of budget-busting tax cuts. In Ron Suskind's The Price of Loyalty, O'Neill described his dismay as an administration he had expected to practice sound economics indulged instead in political protectionism and runaway deficits. He felt conned. How did the White House respond? Bush noted that O'Neill had "worked together" with him for two years on economic policy. Meanwhile, Bush's spokesman shrugged that the disgruntled ex-secretary was retroactively "trying to justify personal views." O'Neill had a credibility problem: He had helped the administration but now criticized it. He was a flip-flopper.

Now comes Richard Clarke. He decided to leave his post as U.S. counterterrorism coordinator three months before 9/11 because the White House, despite assurances to the contrary, wasn't treating al-Qaida as an urgent threat. In a book and in public testimony last week, he said so. He felt conned. How did the White House respond? It outed Clarke for having defended Bush's counterterrorism policies, as instructed, in a 2002 briefing that the White House had declared off the record at the time. Bush's national security adviser asked reporters "which of [Clarke's] stories is he going to stand by," since "he's got a record of having said something very different." Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., noting that Clarke had praised Bush in congressional testimony when he still worked for the administration, charged that Clarke had "told two entirely different stories under oath." In the words of Bush's spokesman, Clarke had a "credibility problem." He had helped the administration but now criticized it. He was a flip-flopper.

What do all these flip-floppers have in common? Not subject matter: DiIulio worked on social policy, O'Neill on economics, Clarke on national security. Not party: Kerry, Edwards, and Gephardt are Democrats; O'Neill is a Republican; Clarke worked for President Reagan and both Bushes as well as for President Clinton. The only thing they have in common is that they all cooperated with this administration before deciding they'd been conned. Flip-flopping, it turns out, is the final stage of trusting George W. Bush.

That's how Kerry, Edwards, and Gephardt got whiplash. They supported tax cuts in 2001 when Bush challenged them to give back some of the surplus. Then the surplus vanished, Bush demanded more tax cuts, and they decided they'd been conned. They supported Bush's "No Child Left Behind" education bill in 2001. Then the administration withheld money for it, and they decided they'd been conned. They supported the Patriot Act after 9/11 when Bush urged them to trust law enforcement. Then the Justice Department took liberties with its new powers, and they decided they'd been conned. They voted for a resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq after the administration promised to use the resolution as leverage toward U.N. action, reserving unilateral war as a last resort. Then Bush ditched the United Nations and went to war, and they decided they'd been conned.

When the administration offered them a supposedly $400 billion Medicare bill stuffed with goodies for health insurers and drug companies, they said no. But lots of fiscally conservative House Republicans said yes. Now, thanks to yet another flip-flopping Bush administration whistleblower, those Republicans have discovered that the real bill, concealed by the White House, will be $150 billion higher than advertised. You don't have to be a Democrat to feel conned.

Once you vote with Bush, serve in his cabinet, or spin for him in a classified briefing, you're trapped. If you change your mind, he'll dredge up your friendly vote or testimony and use it to discredit you. That's what he's doing now to all the politicians at home and abroad who fell for his exaggerations about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. "In Iraq, my administration looked at the intelligence information, and we saw a threat," he tells audiences. "Members of Congress looked at the intelligence information, and they saw a threat. The United Nations Security Council looked at the intelligence information, and it saw a threat." It's too late to admit that Bush is wrong and that you were fooled. You're on record agreeing with him. He doesn't even look dishonest when he rebukes you, because, unlike the people who run his administration's scams, he can't tell the difference between what he promised and what he delivered.

Maybe the White House will get away with this chicanery. Maybe people will believe its spin that flip-flopping is Kerry's idiosyncrasy, not the Bush administration's design. Or maybe some of the folks who voted for Bush last time around will decide they were conned and throw him out. Flip-floppers, every one of them.


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As the Economist turns
 
Looks like the folks at the Economist, which is slightly conservative, have had enough.

The Cover of the Economist

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"This is what happens when you elect a draft dodger as president."
-- Bob Dornan, subbing for Rush Limbaugh, recalling the 1993 Mogadishu massacre

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Friday, April 02, 2004

The fear of the neocon
 
I have often wondered why so few neocons have actually served in the armed forces. Neocons are so anxious for war - so utterly bellicose - that one would swear that many of them must have served themselves.

But that isn't the case. The neocons actually seem to have gone out of their way to AVOID serving in the armed forces.

And I think I've realized why:

Their entire defense philosophy is based on personal fear.

There is really nothing more to it than that: they're afraid. They don't want to be killed, and they are afraid that they might be. And fear doesn't respond to sense, but to emotion: killing lots of other people makes them FEEL safer. It may not actually MAKE them safer, but that doesn't matter. All that matters is quelling their fear.

Their whole philosophy of defense is not even slightly altruistic. It's entirely self-centered.

So of COURSE they haven't served in combat. That would require self-sacrifice.

Their entire philosophy is based on saving their own ass.

So, of COURSE they aren't going to risk that ass for God, country, the American way or the future of democracy. It requires actual ideals to do that. And neocons have no ideals. All they have is personal fear.

So they want to attack. But they don't want to be the ones to actually do it. They quell thier fear by sending OTHERS to do the fighting for them, while they sit home. Safe.

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Bush Credibility takes a hit
 
The only question is that they have any credibility at all.

Poll: Bush Credibility takes a hit

"Six in ten Americans are following the hearings closely; 56 percent say the administration is cooperating with the panel. But what the administration is saying does not receives high marks: 59 percent say it is hiding something it knew before Sept. 11, and 11 percent even say it is lying. Only one in four think the administration is telling the entire truth."

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Bush knew
 
If this is accurate (and why wouldn't it be?) they are dead. How long before the White House starts smearing THIS one, too?

'I saw papers that show US knew al-Qa'ida would attack cities with aeroplanes'

A former translator for the FBI with top-secret security clearance says she has provided information to the panel investigating the 11 September attacks which proves senior officials knew of al-Qa'ida's plans to attack the US with aircraft months before the strikes happened.

She said the claim by the National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, that there was no such information was "an outrageous lie".


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They found a another bomb on a rail line in Spain.

"Bomb-disposal experts alerted by a railway employee found 22-24 pounds of explosive that might be dynamite about 40 miles south of Madrid, Interior Minister Angel Acebes said. The explosives were connected to a detonator with a 450-foot cable, the minister told a news conference. "

Does anybody know why they didn't just disconnect the bomb and set up surveillance on that detonator? Instead of reporting it to the press?


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The Liberal Oasis has a whole series of statements from various people warning that terrorism was a far more serious threat than Star Wars before 9/11. A keeper for reference purposes, and absolutely damning

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The 9/11 commission has asked the CLinton administration to turn over documents related to Al Qaeda and terrorism. The Clinton administration has agreed to turn over about 11,000 pages.

The Bush administration has blocked 75% of them.

The 9/11 commission just found this out.

And Condi is currently all over the airwaves trying to blame Clinton.

It sounds to me like Clinton's record in this matter is pretty good - certainly better than THEIRS - and they don't want the American people to find out the Clinton was pro-active about terrorism, and the Bushies just wouldn't listen to him.

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James Pinkerton, a conservative (as opposed to a neocon) who writes for New York Newsday, has a solid article proposing breaking up Iraq into three states. I don't know if I buy that as an option, but here's a killer:

No doubt the neocons are frustrated that their "benevolence" is seen by others as "malevolence," but that's always a problem when the self-proclaimed do-gooders use bombs and tanks.

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Thursday, April 01, 2004


 
Feb. 7, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, to U.S. troops in Aviano, Italy: "It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."

March 4, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a breakfast with reporters: "What you'd like to do is have it be a short, short conflict. ... Iraq is much weaker than they were back in the '90s," when its forces were routed from Kuwait.

March 11, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars: "The Iraqi people understand what this crisis is about. Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator."

March 16, Vice President Cheney, on NBC's Meet the Press: "I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. ... I think it will go relatively quickly, ... (in) weeks rather than months." He predicted that regular Iraqi soldiers would not "put up such a struggle" and that even "significant elements of the Republican Guard ... are likely to step aside."

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