« October 2006 | Main | December 2006 »

November 30, 2006

It's Pronounced "Nuke-you-ler"

Forget about that clusterfuck in Eye-Rack, it's nuclear Eye-Ran we should be worried about, and it's those damn ruskies and chinamen to blame. So sayeth Darren Bernard in his latest column/coping mechanism.

God there is so many things wrong with this article. He admits that the U.S. (read President Bush and his cronies) hasn't even TRIED engaging with the Iranians directly, but he spends most of the column aqssailing the U.N. - particularly Russia and China - for trying and failing? And why would Russia and China care too much if Iran had nuclear weapons? The mideast has been nuclearized for quite some time (Israel) and they already made peace with the fact that a potentially unstable Islamic state has nuclear weapons (Pakistan). And if Iran starts any trouble, all Russia and China have to do is flex their nuclear muscle and Iran will respect the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction.

Bernard admits that the U.S. is lacking in the possession of bargaining chips, but he expects the U.N., an entity that officially does not have an army, to pick up the slack in the intimidation factor? And since when does the U.N. act independently of the U.S. in security matters? That would present an affront to U.S. hegemony that even Darren Bernard couldn't handle.

The greatest omission, however, is how much Bush has undermined any future gains in diplomatic relations with Iran with his nonsensical and peurile "Axis of Evil" speech. Because of that, the reformist president Mohammed Khatami was booted in favor of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadnenijad, who proceeded to close most doors to peaceful negotiations. Face it, it's the U.S., not the U.N., that is supposed to be the leader in resolving these crises, and with that idiot monkeyboy still in office, the world will continue to suffer a black hole in leadership.

The Marketplace of News

TV Newser reveals that while NBC has finally started calling the Eye-Rack civil war a goddamn civil war, Fox is still stuck somewhere between May 2003 and April 2004:


Even When Republicans Lose, They Still Win

Yes, Democrats made a net gain of thirty seats in the House of Representatives and six in the Senate this year, but they did it by winning nearly fifty-eight percent of the popular vote, according to Wikipedia (take it as you may). The Republican Revolution of 1994 netted them 54 seats in Congress and eight seats in the Senate, and they did it by gaining less than fifty percent of the popular vote.

So if the system wasn't rigged, there would have been a veritable landslide this year, so what happened? One word - redistricting, especially the newest computerized version that most famously produced the psychedellic-looking Texas district map (look especially at the 12th and 18th district and tell me that wasn't generated in a politically cynical way). During their reign Republicans have been busy making sure that the political facts on the ground were created to their favor, and in some ways they have succeeded. Yes I'm glad Democrats have won, but the celebration is cut short with all the problems that need to be solved.

More Lizardbrain Activity

That Christ-hating muslim elected congressman from Minneapolis Keith Ellison is reportedly going to be swearing on the Koran instead of the Bible, and natually the reich-wingers are becoming apopolectic over it:

Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.

He should not be allowed to do so -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.

First, it is an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism -- my culture trumps America's culture. What Ellison and his Muslim and leftist supporters are saying is that it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book; all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holiest book.

Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison's favorite book is. Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress. In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath.

And it goes on like that, with Dennis Prager comparing Ellison's action to that of a neo-nazi swearing on a copy of Mein Kampf, that even Jews use the Holy Bible when being sworn into Congress, and that Ellison's actions will embolden the Muslim terra-ists.

Well, one problem with that. It seems that freshmen Congresspeople don't even use a holy book at all when being officially sworn into Congress:

But Prager’s column is based on one other glaring error: the swearing-in ceremony for the House of Representatives never includes a religious book. The Office of the House Clerk confirmed to ThinkProgress that the swearing-in ceremony consists only of the Members raising their right hands and swearing to uphold the Constitution. The Clerk spokesperson said neither the Christian Bible, nor any other religious text, had ever been used in an official capacity during the ceremony. (Occassionally, Members pose for symbolic photo-ops with their hand on a Bible.)

This electioin brought out the worst in Republicans. Their defeat has brought us Trent Lott back into the Senate minority leadership and it's only going to get worse from here.

November 29, 2006


Roger Charles at the website Soldiers For Truth just posted an email he recieved that details how expendable soldier's lives are in todays corporatized and privatized army, which sees only costs-benefits analyses instead of doing everything they can for the troops, enabled by the coddled desk-jockeys in the rear Forward Operating Bases. Of course I'm pretty sure the military will not confirm the account since they have a habit of making shit up when faced with unflattering stories, so take it as is. I believe it because it contains the language soldiers on the ground used, the unit names and specific locations so if there was an investigation there would be a lot to work with. The piece is filled with all sorts of military jargon so I'll help you out: REMF=Rear Echelon Mother Fuckers, SPPT = support, FOB = Forward Operating Base, MEDIVAC = Medical Evacuation, QRF = Quick Reaction Force, POGs = Persons Other than Grunts, EOD = Explosives, Ordinance and Disarmament (the bomb squad), LZ = Landing Zone, TOC = rear Tactical Operations Center:

The 4/1 SPPT Team was traveling back from Salman Pak to Camp Rustamiyah along EFP alley (RTE Pluto South) on Sunday May 14th about 5:15pm in a 3 vehicle convoy. About 3 miles from Camp Rustamiyah, the first Humvee was hit by a massive roadside bomb called an EFP. The bomb blew the HUMVEE into the air and created a giant cloud of debris, dirt and pavement. We stopped as fast as we could and when the smoke cleared enough, we could see the first HUMVEE had been completely blown off the road and was lying upside down in a ditch. To make matters worse it was also on fire. The rest of the team tried to free the driver and vehicle commander from the wreckage but the frame of the HUMVEE was bent and the door would not open. The two soldiers in the front were trapped inside the burning vehicle and died. We could only pray that they were already dead from the EFP blast and did not burn to death. We tried to pull the front doors off with a winch and a tow strap, but the burning ammunition inside the wreck started to explode and the entire vehicle caught fire and blew up. The gunner was pulled from the wreckage and was severely wounded with shrapnel wounds from the spalling. The Medic with the SPTT Team was able to start working on the gunner to save his life and we gave the interpreter aid as best as we could. A MEDIVAC was immediately called for the litter urgent and critical soldier and the QRF rolled from the FOB. About 10 minutes later the tanks and HUMVEES of the QRF got there and secured the area. What happened at this point is what we need your help with.

The MEDIVAC was denied because we could not guarantee the LZ was not hot. Even with the QRF securing the area, the MEDIVAC was not launched. We were told we had to transport the severely wounded soldier and interpreter back to the FOB, have the aid station stabilize them and the MEDIVAC would then fly to the FOB to pick them up. To complicate matters the QRF did not have an ambulance with them, because the medical until will not roll any of the 20 odd HUMVEE and M113 combat ambulances with the QRF because it is too dangerous outside the FOB. We had to put the soldier in a HUMVEE and drive him to the FOB, where the chicken shit medics were waiting inside the FOB gate to transport him, via ambulance to the TMC. Thank God this soldier is still alive and on his way to Landstuhl. The two soldiers were eventually pulled from the wreckage after a HEMMIT with a tank pump unit put out the fire that engulfed the wrecked HUMVEE. It took the HEMMIT almost an hour to get to the site, 3 miles away from the FOB, because the KBR contracted Fire Department and EMT unit refused to leave the FOB, because their contract states they will ONLY work within the protection of the FOB.

Their brand new fire engines and rescue vehicles were waiting inside the gate when we finally towed the wrecked HUMVEE back. By the time the HEMMIT arrived, both soldiers were burned beyond recognition. to the point where their own wives could not recognize them. Last night at 1:00am in the morning, we loaded the body bags on a helicopter to BIOP and to start their trip home

When we asked why the MEDIVAC would not land on a secured LZ to MEDIVAC the critically wounded soldier, we were told “the policy is that we cannot afford to lose a Blackhawk and crew flying into potentially hostile LZ.? We work in Salman Pak, which is almost an hour southeast of Baghdad. If a soldier is wounded, we are expected to self evac him back to Rustamiyah because “it is too dangerous to send a MEDIVAC, Ambulance or M113 combat medic vehicle (even if it is with the QRF). From he time we landed in Kuwait and after we arrived in Iraq, we were given MEDIVAC procedure cards and even given a MEDIVAC Freq . We were told that all we had to do is call and follow the procedures on the card and a MEDIVAC would be launched. This is BOGUS! ALL Soldiers need to know that unless they are at a FOB, the MEDIVAC will not be launched. Fire departments, EMT, combat medic vehicles, field ambulances all have orders not to leave the FOB because it is to :?dangerous.? The reality is if you are wounded, you are SOL until your own unit puts you into a HUMVEE and you get back to the FOB.
Please help us contact [deleted] about this policy. 4th ID is telling us that “this is just the way things are.? That, “these things happen.? We need your help before this is swept under the rug.

If you think that's bad, another soldier puiblishes the minutes of a meeting that shows what kind of pampered elitist whiners the FOBbits really are. I'll post the choicest requests:

QUESTION: SGT R.: Why does the DFAC not provide bottled water in the coolers?

QUESTION: SGT R.: Why does the DFAC not provide bottled water in the coolers?

QUESTION: SPC R.: Asked if the dining facility could provide Belgium waffles, waffle cones, and more variety of ice-cream flavors.

QUESTIONS: LTC M. expressed that the serving portions are too large.

STATEMENT: PFC P.: The music in the dining facility is too loud. The soldiers cannot hear the televisions. I also would like to request more variety of fruit, with an emphasis on strawberries.

QUESTION: SPC R.: If someone comes to the dining facility with a sweaty PT uniform, will they be turned away?

RESPONSE: (UPDATE since meeting) Mayor Cell: No one will be allowed to enter the dining facility in a sweaty PT uniform.

QUESTION: LTC M.: Why not use the Air Force to fly fresh fruit and vegetables to the base.

QUESTION: SGM A.: Can the lobster tails be cut in half?

Friedman's Reinvasion Revisted

We already know that Thomas Friedman was off his rocker when he asserted on the Today Show that his solution for the fucked up Eye-Rack invasion was to re-invade that country. But that was just the Today Show, only stay-at-home-mothers and people who just happened to catch it before going off to work would see.

But no, today Friedman decides to put that insanity into writing and inject it with steroids:

Given this, we need to face our real choices in Iraq, which are: 10 months or 10 years. Either we just get out of Iraq in a phased withdrawal over 10 months, and try to stabilize it some other way, or we accept the fact that the only way it will not be a failed state is if we start over and rebuild it from the ground up, which would take 10 years. This would require reinvading Iraq, with at least 150,000 more troops, crushing the Sunni and Shiite militias, controlling borders, and building Iraq's institutions and political culture from scratch.

Greg Sargent is right, how the hell does Friedman know that doubling our troop strength in Eye-Rack is going to work the miracle instead of just giving the insurgents and militias more targets? And where the hell is he going to get that many troops anyways?

So once again, will the men in the white labcoats please take him away?

From White Man's Burden To White Man's Blame

Thomas Ricks and Robin Wright of the Washington Post notices how several commentators are not only passing the buck that is the Eye-Rack disaster over to the hajjis - I mean Iraqis - but firmly burying it in the square of their backs:

From troops on the ground to members of Congress, Americans increasingly blame the continuing violence and destruction in Iraq on the people most affected by it: the Iraqis.

Even Democrats who have criticized the Bush administration's conduct of the occupation say the people and government of Iraq are not doing enough to rebuild their society. The White House is putting pressure on the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and members of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group have debated how much to blame Iraqis for not performing civic duties.

This marks a shift in tone from earlier debate about the responsibility of the United States to restore order after the 2003 invasion, and it seemed to gain currency in October, when sectarian violence surged. Some see the talk of blame as the beginning of the end of U.S. involvement.

. . .For example, a Nov. 15 meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee turned into a festival of bipartisan Iraqi-bashing.

"We should put the responsibility for Iraq's future squarely where it belongs -- on the Iraqis," began Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), the committee's next chairman. "We cannot save the Iraqis from themselves." He has advocated announcing that U.S. troops are going to withdraw as a way of pressuring Iraqi politicians to find compromises.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) followed by noting: "People in South Carolina come up to me in increasing numbers and suggest that no matter what we do in Iraq, the Iraqis are incapable of solving their own problems through the political process and will resort to violence, and we need to get the hell out of there."

"We all want them to succeed," agreed Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.). "We all want them to be able to stabilize their country with the assistance that we've provided them." But, he added, "too often they seem unable or unwilling to do that."

Later the same day, members of the House Armed Services Committee took their turn. "If the Iraqis are determined and decide to destroy themselves and their country, I don't know how in the world we're going to stop them," said Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.).

Notice how all but one of the critics have voted for the Iraq War Resolution, therefore officially making what they think a dead letter? While it's now fashionable to shift from "cut and run" to "blame the towelheads," the most clarifying thing from the whole article comes from an unnamed intelligence officer:

"People never understood the culture and the challenges that we faced in trying to build a new Iraq," a senior U.S. intelligence official said. "There's incredible frustration . . . but it also shows a great deal of ignorance."

Yeppers. And nothing personifies that lack of understanding of the extant cultures and politics of Saddam's Eye-Rack than the person of Sayyid Moqtada al-Sadr:

The story of the U.S. confrontation with Moqtada al-Sadr is, in many ways, the story of American folly in Iraq. It's a story of ignorance and poor planning, missteps and confusion. Key policymakers often disagreed about the importance of Sadr and about how to deal with him. The result was half-measures and hesitation. But the story isn't just about past failures. It also contains lessons—and warnings—about the future.

Little More Than 'Mullah Atari'
Moqtada al-Sadr did not appearon anyone's radar screen ahead of the 2003 invasion. Even among Iraqis, although he came from an important clerical family he was seen as a weak figure. Moqtada's father, Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, had been a leading ayatollah, a rival to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and other top clerics. But gunmen—assumed to be working for Saddam—murdered the elder Sadr along with two of his sons in 1999. Moqtada was 25 at the time.

. . .Saddam kept a close eye on Sadr because the young man inherited a wide network of mosques, schools and social centers built up by his father. The network was focused on the impoverished masses of Iraqi Shiites—the sort of people other religious and secular leaders didn't have much time for. Even some educated Shiites dismissed Moqtada as a zatut, or ignorant child. Some called him "Mullah Atari," because he apparently enjoyed videogames as a kid. He certainly lacked his father's stature: in his theological studies, Moqtada never reached beyond the level of bahth al-kharij (pregraduation research), according to a study by the International Crisis Group. But it's clear now that most everybody underestimated him.

The Time Bomb Starts to Tick
Top American officials may have been misled, as in so many other things, by depending heavily on well-heeled Iraqi exiles for advice. The outsiders, who had lived for many years in London or Washington or Tehran, disagreed vehemently with each other on what an invasion would mean. But some told Americans what they wanted to hear: you will be greeted as liberators, especially by the Shiites and Kurds long oppressed by Saddam.

American officials listened to Ahmad Chalabi, the well-known scion of a secular Shiite banking family. Another prominent exile was Abdul Majid al-Khoei, who was supposed to be a key guide to the Shia religious community. Both had been away from Iraq for many years, and were strangers to the place they had left behind.

Al-Khoei paid with his life. The London-based exile returned to the holy city of Najaf, where he was born and raised, under U.S. military protection. He quickly organized a local council to get electricity and water flowing again, apparently with CIA money. (The CIA declined to comment.) But al-Khoei's father had been Iraq's top ayatollah—and a bitter rival of Sadr's father—during Saddam's rule. Now the sons were competing for power and influence. Sadr castigated al-Khoei as a U.S. agent, and demanded that he turn over the keys to the tomb of Imam Ali, the Prophet Muhammad's son-in-law. A gilded cage surrounding the tomb contains a box for pilgrims' donations, a huge and vital source of income for religious leaders.

As al-Khoei and a colleague visited the shrine on the morning of April 10, 2003, an angry mob attacked them with grenades, guns and swords. "Long live Moqtada al-Sadr!" the mob cried out. Al-Khoei was stabbed repeatedly, then tied up and dragged to the doorstep of Sadr's headquarters in Najaf, where he was still alive. A subsequent investigation by an Iraqi judge found that Sadr himself gave the order to finish him off: "Take him away and kill him in your own special way."

Yet it wasn't clear at the time of the killing what Sadr's personal role was, and "we didn't want one of our first acts in country to be taking out one of the most popular leaders," says a U.S. military officer familiar with Army intelligence on Sadr. The officer, who did not want to be named discussing intelligence matters, says the Army was worried about provoking riots. When Sadr's father was killed in 1999, Saddam violently crushed protests by angry Shia mobs. "We thought that tens of thousands would take to the streets in Nasiriya, Karbala and Baghdad. It always comes back to that—not enough guys on the ground."

One courageous Iraqi judge, Raid Juhi, doggedly investigated the case. He exhumed the bodies of al-Khoei and his colleague, and wrote up a confidential arrest warrant for Sadr in August 2003. "From that moment through April 2004, the issue was whether we were going to enforce the arrest warrant," says Dan Senor, a senior official in the Coalition Provisional Authority at the time.

The CPA, the Pentagon and the military on the ground were in disagreement. The Marines in southern Iraq were particularly wary of stirring up trouble. As it was, the United States was preparing to hand off the area around Najaf to a multinational force with troops from Spain and Central America. Still, the Coalition had a secret arrest plan, and momentum toward nabbing Sadr was building. "The pivotal moment was Aug. 19, 2003," says Senor. "We were down to figuring out the mechanisms of ensuring that the operation was seen as Iraqi, executed on an Iraqi arrest warrant. I remember it was late afternoon and we had just received a snowflake from [U.S. Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld ... with nine different questions, rehashing how we were going to do this, to make sure it was not seen as an American operation." (A "snowflake" was a Rumsfeld memo.)

Suddenly word came that insurgents had detonated a massive truck bomb at the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. Senor recalls rushing to the scene with Hume Horan, a top U.S. diplomat and Arabist. Horan leaned over to Senor and said, "We should take down Sadr now, when no one's looking." But there was enough chaos to deal with already. The U.N. bombing was "a huge distraction," says Senor, "and the Sadr operation was forgotten."

And the rest, as they say, is history. Al-Sadr used the slow-footedness of the Coalition forces to consolidate his influence and reputation among the poor Iraqi Shiites. Bremer shut down the Mahdi Army newpaper, prompting al-Sadr to rally his followers to an uprising. That uprising and the later one in August of 2004 convinced the Coalition to concentrate on the Sunni rebels and not open up another front. Now the Sadrists control three Iraqi ministries while running death squads on the side. Helluva job, Bush.

None Dare Call It Civil War

How the hell could things get any worse in the shitmire? Oh yeah. . .

Shi'ites, Sunnis amass arms

By Sharon Behn
Published November 29, 2006

Rival Shi'ite and Sunni groups are massing their militias in expectation of major confrontations, Iraqis say, even as President Bush prepares to meet today with the nation's embattled prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

Mr. Bush's meeting in Jordan is part of a wider attempt to involve Iraq's neighbors in efforts to end Iraq's vicious sectarian violence before it spills over into a larger regional conflict.

But Iraqis on both sides of their nation's sectarian divide report worrisome signs that the conflict will soon evolve into pitched battles between large armed groups.

One secular Shi'ite speaking on the telephone from Baghdad said Shi'ite militias were massing in preparation for a large offensive against Sunnis in the capital.

"They had a big militarylike ceremony today for the Mahdi militia, to show their force. They are making themselves ready for something big -- protests, fighting, killing," said the Shi'ite.

A secular Sunni in close contact with one insurgent faction, said rebel Sunnis were also trying to form alliances among militias for a big push in the city against the Shi'ites, including more raids on government buildings.

"I am waiting for the Sunnis to launch a 'Tet Offensive.' That is the one plug they have not pulled yet, and I could see that happening," said senior Rand defense analyst Ed O'Connell.

The Tet Offensive was a series of attacks by the North Vietnamese and their Viet Cong allies that many consider a turning point in the war, leading eventually to the U.S. withdrawal.

Any emergence of pitched battles between massed groups of Sunnis and Shi'ites would largely settle a long-running argument in Washington over whether the conflict in Iraq should be described as a civil war -- a description the Bush administration has so far rejected.

And admist of all this, the Pentagon has the brass balls to ask for $150 billion more for their ongoing and future disasters:

The Pentagon is preparing an emergency spending proposal that could be larger and broader than any since the Sept. 11 attacks, covering not only the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan but extending to other military operations connected to the Bush administration's war on terrorism.

The spending plans by military commanders may push the Defense Department into a conflict with Democrats as they take control of Capitol Hill next year. Democrats had been planning to limit the emergency "supplemental" spending measures that have funded the wars in favor of the regular federal budget process, which affords greater oversight and congressional control.

Congressional and military officials have said the Pentagon is considering a request of $127 billion to $150 billion in new emergency war spending, the largest such request since the special spending measures were begun in 2001. So far, Congress has allocated $495 billion for Afghanistan, Iraq and terrorism-related efforts.

Even within the Pentagon, the spending request is generating controversy. The Pentagon was due to forward its request to the White House by about Nov. 15. But a senior Defense official said the decision had been held up and Pentagon officials had asked Army and Air Force officials to provide more justification for the spending demands.

Pentagon officials would not comment on the budget figures, due to be made public in February.

Go Ahead, Slug Him A Good One

A punch in the face is only too good for jackhole pricks like WorstPresidentEver.

President Bush has pledged to work with the new Democratic majorities in Congress, but he has already gotten off on the wrong foot with Jim Webb, whose surprise victory over Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) tipped the Senate to the Democrats.

Webb, a decorated former Marine officer, hammered Allen and Bush over the unpopular war in Iraq while wearing his son’s old combat boots on the campaign trail. It seems the president may have some lingering resentment.

At a private reception held at the White House with newly elected lawmakers shortly after the election, Bush asked Webb how his son, a Marine lance corporal serving in Iraq, was doing.

Webb responded that he really wanted to see his son brought back home, said a person who heard about the exchange from Webb.

“I didn’t ask you that, I asked how he’s doing,? Bush retorted, according to the source.

Webb confessed that he was so angered by this that he was tempted to slug the commander-in-chief, reported the source, but of course didn’t. It’s safe to say, however, that Bush and Webb won’t be taking any overseas trips together anytime soon.

Via Steve Gilliard.

Update: The Washington Post has a decidely different version of the conversation:

At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.

"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

A few cuss words thrown in there, and it would be a classic.

November 28, 2006

They're Coming To Take Him Away (Ho-Ho!)

Thomas Friedman. Former New York Times mideast correspondent and bureau chief who covered the civil war in Lebanon and the first Palestinian intifada. Currently the most well known commentator on foreign affairs whose columns in the same newspaper are widely read. Author of seminal books and best-selling books on global issues such as From Beirut to Jeruselem, The Lexus and The Olive Tree and The World Is Flat. Candidate for Most Batshit Insane Person on the face of this planet:

Friedman: …To have a proper civil war you need to have two sides —-you have about thirty sides—It's beyond a civil war there.

Vieira: So what does that mean in terms of our role there then, Tom?

Friedman: Um, Obviously when you're dealing now with something broken up into so many little pieces–it's hard to believe that anything other than re-occupying the country–um, and establishing the very coherent order we failed to do from the beginning is really the only serious option left.

Vieira: But, is that really a serious option—to reoccupy the country?

Friedman: Well, I'm simply saying if you actually want to actually bring order there—the idea that you're going to train the Iraqi army and police to this kind of fragmented society is ludicrous. Who's training the insurgents? Nobody is training them and they seem to be doing just fine. This is not about the way–it's about the will. Do you have a will to be a country? If you don't have that then there's not much training is going to do..

Oh yeah, this song was written for guys like Thomas Friedman in mind (mp3).

Another disturbing thing is that if you watch the accompanying video, Friedman several times blamed the current chaos on the Sunnis who harbor the Baathist and Al-Qaeda elements (not on, you know, the actual invasion itself thought up by WorstPrez). It seems that the final solution he proposed for the Sunni problem a little over a year ago still stands to this day:

Maybe the cynical Europeans were right. Maybe this neighborhood is just beyond transformation. That will become clear in the next few months as we see just what kind of minority the Sunnis in Iraq intend to be. If they come around, a decent outcome in Iraq is still possible, and we should stay to help build it. If they won't, then we are wasting our time. We should arm the Shiites and Kurds and leave the Sunnis of Iraq to reap the wind. We must not throw more good American lives after good American lives for people who hate others more than they love their own children.

Indeed it's time to prepare a bed in the nearest happy home.


We give up.

Remember how I said the situation in Eye-Rack is unwinnable and unsalveagable? Well ABC News just got a scoop that the Pentagon is considering abandoning the Al-Anbar province, the center of the Sunni insurgency, and placing assigning the Marines stationed there to their new task of preventing Bagdhad from embarrassing the Bushies even further:

ABC News has learned that Pentagon officials are considering a major strategic shift in Iraq, to move U.S. forces out of the dangerous Sunni-dominated al-Anbar province and join the fight to secure Baghdad.

. . .In a recent intelligence assessment, top Marine in al-Anbar, Col. Peter Devlin, concluded that without a massive infusement of more troops, the battle in al-Anbar is unwinnable.

In the memo, first reported by the Washington Post, Devlin writes, "Despite the success of the December elections, nearly all government institutions from the village to provincial levels have disintegrated or have been thoroughly corrupted and infiltrated by al Qaeda in Iraq."

Faced with that situation in al-Anbar, and the desperate need to control Iraq's capital, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace is considering turning al-Anbar over to Iraqi security forces and moving U.S. troops from there into Baghdad.

"If we are not going to do a better job doing what we are doing out [in al-Anbar], what's the point of having them out there?" said a senior military official.

Another option under consideration is to increase the overall U.S. troop level in Iraq by two to five brigades (that's about 7,000 to 18,000 troops).

Generals Casey and Abizaid, however, have both weighed in against this idea. And such an increase would only be sustainable for six to eight months. Far more likely, the official says, will be a repositioning of forces currently in Iraq. "There is a push for a change of footprint, not more combat power."

"A New Phase"

That idiot son of a chimp today refused to describe the situation in Eye-Rack as a civil war, instead calling it a "pattern" that has lasted for the past nine months. Indeed, even his minions are all out in force today, utilizing the word "phase" to try to dispell the new media meme that Eye-Rack is now in a civil war.

Look, the terrible twos is a phase, puberty is a phase, post-partum depression is a phase, mid-life crisis is a phase. The thing we have in Eye-Rack is an unmitigated disaster that is just going to keep getting worse. Today in the front page of the local Strib, we have a former Iraqi stringer for the newspaper telling us how she is forced to quit her lifelong home:

I left my home Monday.

As my family fled the fighting that's engulfed our neighborhood in Baghdad, I gazed out the car window, thinking that I might never again see the fruit stand off our street, the shops where my sisters and I bought soft drinks, the turquoise-domed mosque where we prayed in the holy month of Ramadan.

And to think I'd spent Sunday in my garden, using the forced free time of a curfew to plant geraniums for spring. Later that night, Shiite militiamen encroached on our Sunni enclave; the reverse had happened in so many other neighborhoods, and now it was our turn. Any thoughts of the future were overshadowed by the need to survive the night.

A year ago, I was a newlywed excited about finally having a place of my own. I filled it with what we call baghdadiyat, the artifacts of a bygone time in Iraq's history: an Ottoman trunk, Persian carpets, copper spoons and silver vases finely etched with designs of birds and flowers. Abstract paintings by young Iraqi artists hung on the wall. My garden outside was ringed with stones and filled with climbing vines and seasonal flowers.

When it became too dangerous to dine at restaurants, my husband and I would sometimes set a table in the garden and eat together under a floodlight -- if there was electricity. This was my sanctuary from war.

With the birth of our daughter last September, I became even more grateful for a safe place where I could play with her and momentarily forget the sad stories I hear all day in my job as a journalist.

But the violence in Baghdad worsened over the summer. Strangers crept into the Jihad district, our middle-class neighborhood of Sunnis and Shiites. Were they there to protect us? Nobody knew for sure.

. . .On Sunday night, I was home watching the evening news when my sister rushed over from next door and said, "There's a lot of shooting outside. Can't you hear it?"

The loud whir of my generator, our only source of electricity that night, had drowned out the gunfire a few blocks away. Within minutes we feared we'd be under attack.

Even though we'd planned for this moment, I panicked. I switched off the generator, but I couldn't find my flashlight. As I fumbled in the darkness, my daughter started crying and grabbing my leg. I scooped her up, wrapped her in a blanket and rushed to my parents through the back passageway.

My family gathered in the living room, terror in their eyes. The women and children moved to a corridor away from the windows. The men made frantic phone calls and readied their weapons.

Men stood watch on the roofs, and some neighbors fired warning shots out their windows.

After a while, it seemed as if everyone was shooting. Then a loud boom sounded, a rocket or a mortar shell, very close.

My daughter woke up crying. When the shooting grew louder, I covered her ears with my hands.

"What am I still doing here?" I asked myself. "What more needs to happen for me to leave?"

I felt angry with myself for being so stubborn, for staying in the neighborhood long after most of my friends had fled. I made a promise to myself: If we made it through the night, I'd leave.

The shooting died down after midnight. We tried to sleep, but we woke up nearly every hour and checked to see if the sun had risen. Somehow, morning seemed safe.

After dawn, the curfew ended, but we didn't want to be the first family on the road. Who knew if there were illegal checkpoints? Car bombs? Gunmen?

Not things, but memories

I stood in my home, remembering how my husband and I had told everyone that we'd never leave. I looked at my paintings, the century-old chest, all the antiques that we'd spent days picking out so carefully in Baghdad's ancient markets. They weren't just things, they were memories.

I had two suitcases. What to take? I stuffed one with my daughter's clothes and diapers, along with all our personal documents. Into the other went my smallest painting, a cherished Indian bedspread and warm sweaters for winter.

As we began loading the car, I realized that there was no space for the second bag. With a broken heart, I left it behind.

I told myself they were just material things. There's nothing we can't buy except our lives. Nothing was as important as my daughter, and I was just grateful that we'd made it to morning.

I took one last look at my living room, locked the door and walked away.

Try telling her it's all just a "phase."

Four Friedmans Of Chaos

Eye-Rack has been in a state of emergency for two whole years, and the parliament has understandably extended that condition for another 30 days. Boy, it was a great thing the Iraq parliament declared that state of emergency conveniently after the 2004 presidential election, wasn't it. John Forbes Kerry might have failed miserably in his mission to defeat the insurgents in the Anbar province, unlike our golden warrior president:

The U.S. military is no longer able to defeat a bloody insurgency in western Iraq or counter al-Qaeda's rising popularity there, according to newly disclosed details from a classified Marine Corps intelligence report that set off debate in recent months about the military's mission in Anbar province.

The Marines recently filed an updated version of that assessment that stood by its conclusions and stated that, as of mid-November, the problems in troubled Anbar province have not improved, a senior U.S. intelligence official said yesterday. "The fundamental questions of lack of control, growth of the insurgency and criminality" remain the same, the official said.

The Marines' August memo, a copy of which was shared with The Washington Post, is far bleaker than some officials suggested when they described it in late summer. The report describes Iraq's Sunni minority as "embroiled in a daily fight for survival," fearful of "pogroms" by the Shiite majority and increasingly dependent on al-Qaeda in Iraq as its only hope against growing Iranian dominance across the capital.

True or not, the memo says, "from the Sunni perspective, their greatest fears have been realized: Iran controls Baghdad and Anbaris have been marginalized." Moreover, most Sunnis now believe it would be unwise to count on or help U.S. forces because they are seen as likely to leave the country before imposing stability.

Between al-Qaeda's violence, Iran's influence and an expected U.S. drawdown, "the social and political situation has deteriorated to a point" that U.S. and Iraqi troops "are no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency in al-Anbar," the assessment found. In Anbar province alone, at least 90 U.S. troops have died since Sept. 1.

Get Em From Eye-Rack, Moron

WorstPresidentEver grovels before NATO asking for more troops before Afghanistan becomes as much of an obvious fuckup as Eye-Rack:

RIGA (Reuters) - President Bush appealed to NATO allies on Tuesday to provide more troops with fewer national restrictions for the alliance's most dangerous mission in Afghanistan, hours before a summit of allied leaders.

"To succeed in Afghanistan, NATO allies must provide the forces NATO military commanders require," Bush told a joint news conference with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in Tallinn on his way to the NATO meeting in neighboring Latvia.

"Like Estonia, member nations must accept difficult assignments if we expect to be successful," he said in a veiled reference to numerous so-called national caveats that restrict where, when and how allies' troops can be used.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told a security conference in Riga it was unacceptable that allied forces in southern Afghanistan, the main battleground with resurgent Taliban fighters, were 20 percent below the required strength.

No Bush, this is a failure other people AREN'T going to bail you out of.

November 27, 2006

Eye-Rackee Boat People

Eye-Rackee occupation collaborators to get their private choppers

Kevin Drum of the Washington Monthly points us to an article by George Packer printed in the latest edition of the New Republic. Packer basically says that Bush's war is lost and the only conversation we should be having now is what is the best way to leave. He also brings up this puzzler:

Withdrawal means that the United States will have to watch Iraqis die in ever greater numbers without doing much of anything to prevent it, because the welfare of Iraqis will no longer be among our central concerns. Those Iraqis who have had anything to do with the occupation and its promises of democracy will be among the first to be killed: the translators, the government officials, the embassy employees, the journalists, the organizers of women's and human rights groups. As it is, they are being killed one by one. (I personally know at least half a dozen of them who have been murdered.) Without the protection of the Green Zone, U.S. bases, or the inhibiting effect on the Sunni and Shia militias of 150,000 U.S. troops, they will be killed in much greater numbers. To me, the relevant historical analogy is not the helicopters taking off from the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, leaving thousands of Vietnamese to the reeducation camps. It is the systematic slaughter by the Khmer Rouge of every Cambodian who appeared to have had anything to do with the West.

If the United States leaves Iraq, our last shred of honor and decency will require us to save as many of these Iraqis as possible. . .The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad does not issue visas. Iraqis who want to come to the United States must make their way across dangerous territory to a neighboring country that has a U.S. Embassy with a consular section. Iran and Syria do not; Jordan has recently begun to bar entry to Iraqi men under the age of 35. For a military translator to have a chance at coming to the United States, he must be able to prove that he worked for at least a year with U.S. forces and have the recommendation of a general officer--nearly impossible in most cases. Our current approach essentially traps Iraqis inside their country, where they will have to choose, like Osman, between jihadists and death squads.

We should start issuing visas in Baghdad, as well as in the regional embassies in Mosul, Kirkuk, Hilla, and Basra. We should issue them liberally, which means that we should vastly increase our quota for Iraqi refugees. (Last year, it was fewer than 200.) We should prepare contingency plans for massive airlifts and ground escorts. We should be ready for desperate and angry crowds at the gates of the Green Zone and U.S. bases. We should not allow wishful thinking to put off these decisions until it's too late. We should not compound our betrayals of Iraqis who put their hopes in our hands.

I got one thing to say about that: mazel tov. George Packer supported this turkey when it counted; in his own words he "found it impossible to say no to a war that would get rid of Saddam Hussein." And that is despite the fact that the TOP reason why the Eye-Rack war was a bad idea in the first place is that removing Saddam Hussein will create a thing called a "power vacuum" with the various factions warring over control. And the resulting civil war will, per usual, create a refugee problem that WE will have to deal with because it is OUR war.

There you are, America. You got your war you wanted because of your hatred of Arabs. Now you all might as well get the fuck over your islamophobia quick because you are going to have to deal with a whole lot more of them in the coming years.

November 26, 2006

"WWIII" Now Longer Than WWII

I meant to post this last Friday, but for some reason the servers were down. So here you go, the grand result of an assiduously incompetent leadership:

War in Iraq has outlasted U.S. role in WWII

Only Revolution, Vietnam, Civil War were longer

November 26, 2006, BY TOM RAUM

WASHINGTON -- The war in Iraq has lasted longer than U.S. involvement in the war that President Bush's father fought in, World War II.

As of today, the conflict in Iraq has raged for three years and just over eight months.

Only the Vietnam War, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War engaged America longer.

LA Times Finally Calls A Spade A Spade

This daily catalogue of the violence in Eye-Rack, courtesy of the LA Times, is unremarkable except for the first line:

BAGHDAD — Iraq's civil war worsened Friday as Shiite and Sunni Arabs engaged in retaliatory attacks after coordinated car bombings that killed more than 200 people in a Shiite neighborhood the day before.

It's simply unfair to the Iraqi people to avoid the obvious just to cover some political ass. I hope the rest of the media will finally start calling it as it is and go from there. John Roberts of CNN has the right idea although the "media watchdog" Howard Kurtz is being as much of a giant putz as he ever was.

via Daily Kos.

Update: NBC News is also following suit (via Atrios)

Update II: The Washington Post sadly decides that using the words "civil war" to describe the violence in Eye-Rack is inappropriate because the quisling Eye-Rack government refuses to use it.

Think about that. A major publication is willing to play stenographer for an ostensibly foreign government, taking obviously self-serving cues and descriptions from a political entity. Imagine if a similar situation was happening in this country. It would seem that the Post is perfectly willing to repeat government lies instead of informing the public of life-or-death truths. It's a shame, since the Post is the publication of which I rely most on the Eye-Rack coverage.

Update III: Thankfully, the New York Times have finally come to their senses:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Over White House objections, The New York Times and other U.S. news outlets have adopted the term "civil war" for the fighting in Iraq, reflecting a growing consensus that sectarian violence has engulfed the country.

. . ."It's hard to argue that this war does not fit the generally accepted definition of civil war," New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller said in a statement.

Update IV: Ah, I see the official policy of the Washington Post is to do the bidding of foreign governments and only call a civil wars when the opinions are in concert. . .except when that foreign government is not Bush Occupied Eye-Rack (via Crooks and Liars).

Al-Sadr Broadcasting Company

This is how political coups usually start:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Followers of the militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr took over state-run television Saturday to denounce the Iraqi government, label Sunnis "terrorists" and issue what appeared to many viewers as a call to arms.

The two-hour broadcast from a community gathering in the heart of the Shiite militia stronghold of Sadr City included three members of al-Sadr's parliamentary bloc, who took questions from outraged residents demanding revenge for a series of car bombings that killed some 200 people Thursday.

. . ."This is live and, God willing, everyone will hear me: We are not interested in sidewalks, water services or anything else. We want safety," an unidentified Sadr City resident said as the televised crowd cheered. "We want the officials. They say there is no sectarian war. No, it is sectarian war, and that's the truth."

Fundyclown Mahdi Freaks

The faceless guy on the far left will return to rid the world of the enemies of Shias.

Everyone is always talking about how much of a radical, Anti-American shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr is, but they never really detail the type of messianism and apocalyptic rhetoric that he expouses. Luckily we have Nir Rosen a Brooklyn-born freelance journalist who has mastered the Arabic street slang (as well as looking like an Arab) that has allowed him to have such a unique access to the insurgent and militia underground that is now infesting Iraq. His latest book-length article for the Boston Review provides that sort of unique window to the radical shia movement:

The crowds marched into the mosque, and I marched with them, past more security. Many men carried umsalayas, prayer rugs, on their shoulders, setting them down in the concrete courtyard. Next to each marble column stood grim-faced men in dark suit jackets, their arms pressed down to hide their guns and keep them within reach. They had once openly carried Kalashnikovs, but this was now considered undignified.

Over 10,000 people filled the mosque. Unlike Sunnis, who go to whatever mosque is nearest to their home, Shias take buses to attend Friday prayers in one of several key mosques. Many women were there, sitting in a separate section. And I had never seen so many children at a mosque: Muqtada was the “cool? cleric, a fighter who defied authority, and he reached out to children, offering them stickers for their notebooks. As the call to prayer ended, the crowd chanted and sang songs they all knew by heart.

A murmur and a frisson spread through the crowd to the back as Muqtada waddled in with his head down, surrounded by assistants and bodyguards. People had been expecting one of his deputies to speak for him that day. “Ali wiyak Ali!? they thundered, waving their fists. “Ali is with you!? Muqtada was flanked by his two closest friends and advisers. On his left stood the young and very thin Ayatollah Ali al Baghdadi, originally from Sadr City. On his right stood his more rotund brother-in-law, Riyadh al Nuri, the usual imam of the Kufa mosque. Nuri lived with Muqtada and had cared for Muqtada’s mentally handicapped brother, who died in 2004. As a leader of Muqtada’s Islamic courts, Nuri also had a militia at his disposal, which he would dispatch to arrest and torture people for suspected infractions ranging from homosexuality and the sale of pornography to theft and slander against Muqtada.

Nuri raised his hand to quiet the crowd as Muqtada began to speak.

. . .Muqtada read a verse from the Quran and then switched into Iraqi dialect. Like his father, Muqtada spoke in a quiet monotone, without the emotion many clerics invest in their speeches. He was not a talented speaker. He kept his eyes down most of the time, reading from his notes and only glancing up occasionally.

“This is the time when right becomes wrong and wrong becomes right,? he said. “When women become corrupt. Occupation has become liberation, and resistance has become terrorism. The occupation has joined the nawasib—those who do not accept the Shia imams and hate the family of the prophet.? To Muqtada’s followers this meant the Sunnis. “Look at them,? he said, “the occupation and the nawasib. And look at their values.? He called for Muslims to be united. “Which Muslims?? he asked. “The ones who say we are good Muslims. The ones who follow the family of the prophet. In the past God punished people by sending frogs, locusts, lice. Now he punishes them by sending earthquakes, mad-cow disease, hurricanes, floods, bird flu, the diseases in Africa, and globalization, armies, politics, solar and lunar eclipses.?

Muqtada sat down for a minute, and somebody in the crowd shouted a hossa, a responsive slogan. “For the love of the oppressed, the two martyrs, the Sadrs, pray for Muhammad and the family of Muhammad!? he shouted. Thousands of people bellowed, “Our God prays for Muhammad and the family of Muhammad.? They waved their fists. “And speed the Mahdi’s return! And damn his enemies!?‚

Although Al-Sadr repeatedly warned against waging a civil war, apparently his followers are hell bent on wreaking chaos throughout the country. Just like the christian funadamentalists who await the rapture and actually wish for discord in this world in order to hasten the rapture, the shias also await the return of their messiah--the twelfth imam recognized by the shias who supposedly disappeared in the ninth century. And, of course, the Mahdi's return will involve all sorts of death and violence for those who oppose the "true" religion.

When Bush started his little vanity war, he couldn't be bothered with knowing the sectarian divisions that was extant in that country. I hope Bush appreciates the Pandora's box he has opened. The rest of us sure have.

Baghdad Bush

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki is proving to be, at most, just as polular as WorstPresidentEver is in this country:

Calls for calm as crowd stones Iraqi PM By Mussab Al-Khairalla

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Angry fellow Shi'ites stoned Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's motorcade in a Shi'ite stronghold of Baghdad on Sunday in a display of fury over a devastating car bomb that tore through their area.

Maliki was visiting the Sadr City slum to pay respects to some of the 202 victims of last week's devastating bombing.

"It's all your fault!" one man shouted as, in unprecedented scenes, a hostile crowd began to surge around the premier and then jeered as his armored convoy edged through the throng away from a mourning ceremony.

The area is a base for the Mehdi Army militia led by Maliki's fellow Shi'ite leader Moqtada al-Sadr.

Though the violence was limited, it was a dramatic demonstration of the popular passions Maliki and his national unity government are trying to calm following Thursday's multiple car bombs in Sadr City -- the worst since the U.S. invasion -- and later revenge attacks

November 25, 2006

A Shiite Curfew

the curfew imposed on Baghdad after the multiple bombings in Sadr City isn't really working too well:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) Shiite militiamen grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive near Iraqi soldiers who did not intervene, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

The savage revenge attack for Thursday's slaying of 215 people in the Shiite Sadr City slum occurred as members of the Mahdi Army militia burned four mosques, and several homes while killing an unknown number of Sunni residents in the once-mixed Hurriyah neighborhood of Baghdad.

Models For Failure.

In their scramble to contain the chaos that is Eye-Rack, the Bushies are looking to the "successes" of their military interventions in the cities of Tal Afar and Fallujah. Well, if those two occasions are successful, I'd hate to see what a failure looks like:

The attack in Tal Afar, 260 miles northwest of Baghdad, involved explosives hidden in a parked car and in a suicide belt worn by a pedestrian that detonated simultaneously outside a car dealership at 11 a.m., said police Brig. Khalaf al-Jubouri. He said the casualties - 22 dead, 26 wounded - were expected to rise.

And in Fallujah, the Marines are slowly pulling out. Not that they've succeeded achieving stability but that there's not a goddamn thing more they can do:

The marines still patrol key roads. The US military, which still travels boldly through town despite a surge in deadly sniper attacks and roadside bombs, is spending $200 million on 60-plus projects to rebuild the city, heavily damaged in fighting two years ago.

But with just 300 marines, the US military footprint is smaller in this Sunni stronghold of more than 300,000 than it has been in two years. As the marine presence shrinks and Iraqis take more control, Fallujah - once a template for counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq, where US forces have controlled all the variables - is likely again to set a standard for the rest of the country.

"A lot of us feel like we have our hands tied behind our back," says Cpl. Peter Mattice, of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment. "In Fallujah, [insurgents] know our [rules of engagement] - they know when to stop, just before we engage."

During this transition, frustration runs deep in this fortified bunker, and at a handful of posts that now dot Fallujah. They are designed to watch the main roads where marines travel, to prevent the laying of roadside bombs.

Here echo the conclusions of a report written by the chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in August, and first described by The Washington Post, which determined that there is little the military now can do to improve prospects in insurgent-riddled Anbar Province, which includes Fallujah.

"They say we are here to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, but I just don't see that happening," says Corporal Mattice, of Gladwin, Mich. OP Blazer is perched on the northern edge of the city, looking due south down a main street known to the marines as Ethan, site of numerous roadside bombs.

"As soon as we leave, I'm afraid that the insurgents will take over.... They watch us, as we watch them," says Mattice, echoing the fears of Fallujans who, while unhappy with the marine presence, are far more worried that a hurried US departure will leave them vulnerable to Sunni militants, and exposed to sectarian killings.

That fear has been fueled by a spike in insurgent attacks since summer, against both Iraqis and US troops. The 1/24 Marines, a reserve unit headquartered in Detroit and recently arrived, suffered nine dead and more than 40 seriously wounded in their first month in Iraq. Another marine died Sunday from a roadside bomb.

Since August, an assassination and intimidation campaign here has also killed the head of the city council and another prominent member; numerous policemen - including the deputy police chief - and contractors and workers on US-funded projects have also been murdered.

The numbers underscore the dilemma for marines in Fallujah, and for US troops across Iraq, as they begin to pull back and hand more responsibility to Iraqi forces.

The 300 marines here are attacked five to eight times each day. That presence is a significant drop from the 3,000 marines posted here in March 2005, and the 10,000 that took part in the late 2004 invasion.

Another metric: Officers say the number of direct fire incidents against US forces has shot up 650 percent in the past year. Three marines had been hit by snipers in one 48-hour span earlier this week.

"It is no secret," Col. Lawrence Nicholson told the Fallujah City Council during their regular Tuesday meeting. "My mission is to do less, every single day, as Iraqi forces do more."

Even the Marines are starting to see the writings on the wall.

November 23, 2006

Those Underpriviledged Whites

Those geniuses at the Boston University's College Republicans have come up with a, ahem, novel way to combat all the oppression they've been facing from all the minorities in their school, all 11 percent of them: set up a scholarship fund for whites only!

Looking to draw attention to what they call the "worst form of bigotry confronting America today," Boston University's College Republicans are circulating an application for a "Caucasian Achievement and Recognition Scholarship" that requires applicants be at least 25 percent Caucasian.

"Did we do this to give a scholarship to white kids? Of course not," the scholarship reads. "Did we do it to trigger a discussion on what we believe to be the morally wrong practice of basing decisions in our schools and our jobs on racial preferences rather than merit? Absolutely."

The scholarship, which is privately funded by the BUCR without the support of the university, is meant to raise awareness, group members say. BUCR member argue that racial preferences are a form of "bigotry." The group has a similar view on affirmative action.

The application for the $250 scholarship, due Nov. 30, requires applicants be full-time BU undergraduate students and one-fourth Caucasian and maintain at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA. Applicants must submit two essays, one describing the applicant's ancestry and one describing "what it means to you to be a Caucasian-American today."

*Sigh* I've stopped being surprised by these antics years ago, with all the halloween parties, affirmative action bake sales, and simple out-and-out racism from these young Republican punks. But just for your edification, gentle readers, here are the facts: minority enrollment in top colleges have declined over the years and less than one percent of all undergraduate scholarships go exclusively to minorities anyways. But of course that doesn't matter to these morons. They know perfectly well what they want and don't want. The effort to include minorities in the campus life that used to be reserved for the white and the rich is simply too much for them.

Still Trying To Influence The Elections

Because you know how the insurgents want Hillary Clinton to be president:

At least 132 people have been killed in a series of blasts in the Shia Sadr City area of the Iraqi capital, police and medical sources say.

Details are still sketchy, but a further 200 people were reportedly wounded in three car bombs and at least one mortar blast.

In one attack a car exploded at a food market which is a regular target of mainly Sunni Muslim insurgents. (...)

In Sadr City, a car exploded in the Jamila food market, where eyewitnesses told reporters burned bodies and human flesh littered the ground.

Eye-Rack War As Therapy.

There's a veritable blogstorm over the recent column by the liberal formerly Iraq-war-loving columnist at the Washington Post. No, I don't care that he's finally seen the light, or that he doesn't try to contrive his own magical pony plan for Eye-Rack, or that he blames dirty hippie leftists for his past support for the war. This passage in the column says it all:

If anything, I was encouraged in my belief by the offensive opposition to the war -- silly arguments about oil or empire or, at bottom, the ineradicable and perpetual rottenness of America.

On the contrary, I thought. We are a good country, attempting to do a good thing. In a post-Sept. 11 world, I thought the prudent use of violence could be therapeutic.

Face it. These mushheads just hate Arabs. Period, end of sentence. If they didn't hate Arabs, the Palestinian conflict would be over tomorrow, the Lebanese war in the summer wouldn't have happened, and thousands of Iraqis wouldn't be slaughtered every month. Who the hell would advocate violence against a country that didn't attack us as a way to make us feel good UNLESS they hated Arabs? The sad thing is that these same snakes will find themselves at the levers of power again and we will probably make the same goddamn mistake in another generation. We are just that full of our own bullshit.

November 22, 2006

What A Difference A Bush Makes

Six in ten Americans prefer the elder Bush over the current village idiot in the White House. And that's after Bush senior left the presidency with below-freezing approval ratings.


Support Yer Troops

Yeah, I know, I shouldn't judge unless I've been there. If I had to serve multiple tours in a shithole country that hates me and wants me dead, I'd probably do the exact same thing too. But the Bushies haven't stripped me of my common decency yet, and scenes like these break my heart:

Why we need to get out. NOW.

Worst Congress Ever: The Postscript,

Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly bags on the moral children that are our Republican congressmen who decided to leave a huge fiscal mess they were supposed to finish two months ago to the new incoming Democratic majority:

WASHINGTON - Republicans vacating the Capitol are dumping a big spring cleaning job on Democrats moving in. GOP leaders have opted to leave behind almost a half-trillion-dollar clutter of unfinished spending bills.

There also is no guarantee that Republicans will pass a multibillion-dollar measure to prevent a cut in fees to doctors treating Medicare patients.

The bulging workload that a Republican-led Congress was supposed to complete this year but is instead punting to 2007 promises to consume time and energy that Democrats had hoped to devote to their own agenda upon taking control of Congress in January for the first time in a dozen years.

Actually, I'm glad the Republicans are leaving the grown-up work to the grown-ups. They've already done a heckuva job fucking up this country for the past decade or so.

No More Excuses. Never Again.

The illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank has always been an obstable to peace in Palestine. Now we learn that much of the settlements sits on privately owned Palestinian land:

JERUSALEM, Nov. 20 — An Israeli advocacy group, using maps and figures leaked from inside the government, says that 39 percent of the land held by Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank is privately owned by Palestinians.

Israel has long asserted that it fully respects Palestinian private property in the West Bank and only takes land there legally or, for security reasons, temporarily.

If big sections of those settlements are indeed privately held Palestinian land, that is bound to create embarrassment for Israel and further complicate the already distant prospect of a negotiated peace. The data indicate that 40 percent of the land that Israel plans to keep in any future deal with the Palestinians is private.

The new claims regarding Palestinian property are said to come from the 2004 database of the Civil Administration, which controls the civilian aspects of Israel’s presence in the West Bank. Peace Now, an Israeli group that advocates Palestinian self-determination in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, plans to publish the information on Tuesday. An advance copy was made available to The New York Times.

The data — maps that show the government’s registry of the land by category — was given to Peace Now by someone who obtained it from an official inside the Civil Administration. The Times spoke to the person who received it from the Civil Administration official and agreed not to identify him because of the delicate nature of the material.

That person, who has frequent contact with the Civil Administration, said he and the official wanted to expose what they consider to be wide-scale violations of private Palestinian property rights by the government and settlers. The government has refused to give the material directly to Peace Now, which requested it under Israel’s freedom of information law.

Shlomo Dror, a spokesman for the Civil Administration, said he could not comment on the data without studying it.

That day when we finally realize who we as a country have been supporting all these years will come sooner than you think.

Oil For Blood

The petrochemicals that we've spent hundreds of billions of dollars liberating from Saddam's soon-to-be cold, dead grasp is now being illegally funneled to the insurgency that is shutting down our effectiveness in Eye-Rack:

BAGHDAD - The Iraqi oil ministry has uncovered illegal operations whereby oil products were sold and profits were pooled into financing local militancy, Al Sabah newspaper reported on Wednesday.

According to the Minister for Oil, Hussein Al Shahristany, ‘the ministry discovered operations where oil extracts from the Bayji refinery were sold, and the money was directed to terror elements who commit acts of sabotage.’

Some of those held responsible for the criminal operations were dismissed while others were referred to investigative courts and committees, said the minister.

Another Heckuva Job.

WorstPresidentEver still can't appoint someone who isn't lying about his qualifications.

Don't Pull Our Troops! It'll Only Get Worse!

Oy vey iz mir:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Insurgent attacks in Iraq killed 3,709 civilians last month, making October the deadliest month since the war began in 2003, according to U.N. figures.

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq, which issues bimonthly human rights reports on the war-torn country, came out with its findings for September and October on Wednesday.

September had 3,345 civilian deaths -- which, along with October, would bring to 7,054 the number of violent deaths during the two-month period, according to the U.N. tally.

Baghdad alone had no less than 4,985 deaths, "most of them as a result of gunshot wounds," said the U.N. Assistance Mission, using figures provided by the Iraqi Health Ministry.

The figures were slightly higher than in July and August, when 6,599 civilians were killed.

Also 1.6 million people have left the country since WorstPresidentEver started the war, with 100,000 people leaving per month. more than 400,000 people have been displaced since February. Listening to the NPR report the death toll might be even higher, according to the Iraq Health Ministry. Combined with the recent assassination of a Lebanese minister Pierre Gemayel, the continued violence in Palestine and the lack of democratic reforms in other areas of the mideast, this is indeed an Arab Winter.

A Conservative Daily Show.

Oh, God, no:

Now Fox News Channel, a primary source of material for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, is teaming with the exec producer of "24" to try its hand at a news satire show for conservatives to love. Joel Surnow, co-creator of "24," is shooting two half-hour pilots of a skein he described as " 'The Daily Show' for conservatives," due to air in primetime on Saturdays in January

Sorry, conservatives can't be funny. Libertarians, maybe, but not conservatives. Conservatives are too hateful to be funny. Larry the Cable Guy is only "funny" because he lampoons the lifestyle of low-income whites with the understanding of commonality, thereby winning a sizeable audience. But this venture by conservative elites is going to fail miserably. Count on it.

via Crooks and Liars.

Speaking Of Eye-Rack. . .

Things are going swimmingly over there. No, seriously, the speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani escaped an attempted bomb attack unscathed. The disturbing part is this little detail:

Garver said he was not sure how the explosives made it so far into the Green Zone, which houses the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British embassies and thousands of foreign troops and private contractors. Anyone trying to enter the zone must pass through several checkpoints -- first to get into the complex, then to enter individual buildings.

If we can't protect the Green Zone, then that's pretty much it for us, isn't it. This is an inside job if there ever was one.

Can We Do ANYTHING Right?

You heard WorstPresidentEver over and over again: our success in Eye-Rack is contingent upon the success of our training of the security forces. Well, according to today's report in the Washington Post, that plan is coming along like, well, a dripping shit house:

The U.S. military's effort to train Iraqi forces has been rife with problems, from officers being sent in with poor preparation to a lack of basic necessities such as interpreters and office materials, according to internal Army documents.

The shortcomings have plagued a program that is central to the U.S. strategy in Iraq and is growing in importance. A Pentagon effort to rethink policies in Iraq is likely to suggest placing less emphasis on combat and more on training and advising, sources say.

In dozens of official interviews compiled by the Army for its oral history archives, officers who had been involved in training and advising Iraqis bluntly criticized almost every aspect of the effort. Some officers thought that team members were often selected poorly. Others fretted that the soldiers who prepared them had never served in Iraq and lacked understanding of the tasks of training and advising. Many said they felt insufficiently supported by the Army while in Iraq, with intermittent shipments of supplies and interpreters who often did not seem to understand English.

The Iraqi officers interviewed by an Army team also had complaints; the top one was that they were being advised by officers far junior to them who had never seen combat.

Some of the American officers even faulted their own lack of understanding of the task. "If I had to do it again, I know I'd do it completely different," reported Maj. Mike Sullivan, who advised an Iraqi army battalion in 2004. "I went there with the wrong attitude and I thought I understood Iraq and the history because I had seen PowerPoint slides, but I really didn't."

. . .A separate internal review this year by the military's Center for Army Lessons Learned, based on 152 interviews with soldiers involved in the training and advisory program, found that there was "no standardized guideline" for preparing advisers and that such instruction was needed because "a majority of advisors have little to no previous experience or training."

. . .After arriving in Iraq, advisers said, they often were shocked to find that the interpreters assigned to them were of little use. Ciesinski reported that at his base in western Nineveh province, "They couldn't speak English and we would have to fire them."

Nor were there enough interpreters to go around, said Sullivan. "It was a real juggling act" with interpreters, he said, noting that he would run from the headquarters to a company "to borrow an interpreter, run him over to say something, and then send him back."

But he was better off than Maj. Robert Dixon, who reported that during his tour in 2004, "We had no interpreters at the time."

The Center for Army Lessons Learned study, whose contents were first reported by the Wall Street Journal, found one unit that learned after 10 frustrating months that its interpreters were "substandard" and had been translating the advisers' instructions so poorly that their Iraqi pupils had difficulty understanding the concepts being taught.

Trainers and advisers also reported major problems with the Army supply chain. "As an adviser, I got the impression that there was an 'us' and 'them' " divide between the advisers and regular U.S. forces, said Maj. Pete Fedak, an adviser near Fallujah in 2004. "In other words, there was an American camp and then, outside, there was a bermed area for the Iraqis, of which we were part."

Well, when Bush first campaigned, he said we should not be nation builders, and damned if he isn't keeping THAT promise. The problem with the whole mission could be summed up in this nutshell:

"The thing the Army institutionally is still struggling to learn is that the most important thing we do in counterinsurgency is building host-nation institutions," he told the interviewers, "yet all our organizations are designed around the least important line of operations: combat operations."

November 21, 2006

Leaving By Ship Or By Casket

A new poll of Iraqis says that 71 percent of Iraqis, including 74 percent of Shiites and 91 percent of Sunnis, wants the troops to leave within a year. Also, overall, 61 percent of Iraqis support attacks on our troops. So is WorstPresidentEver going to listen to the Iraqis on the ground or what?

Another Victory Against Oceania

Remember the time when we experience such a rash of radical Muslims hijacking American aircrafts? Those diaperheads simply gave us no choice BUT to profile every single one of their asses and take them off flights;

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) -- US Airways said Tuesday it is investigating the removal of six Muslim imams who were passengers on a Monday flight heading to Phoenix, Arizona.

The clerics, who had been in Minnesota for a national imams conference, were guilty of nothing more than "flying while Muslim," according to a national Muslim advocacy group.

The alert was raised after the men performed their normal evening prayers in the airport terminal before boarding Flight 300. (Watch how one of the men was treated at a US Airways desk Video)

A passenger who had seen them pray passed a note expressing concern to a flight attendant, US Airways spokeswoman Andrea Rader told The Associated Press.

The passenger thought the imams -- who were speaking in Arabic and English -- had made anti-U.S. statements before boarding and "made similar statements while boarding," said Russ Knocke, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security.

Once on board, Knocke said, the six split up into groups of two and did not sit in their assigned seats.

US Airways had the imams removed from the plane, and according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group, the airline denied the clerics access to another flight and did not assist them in obtaining tickets on another carrier.

"This discrimination should not stand," said Nihad Awad, the council's executive director. "We call on religious communities, civil rights movements and other people to stand up and speak up."

He said the group was getting more reports of 'flying while Muslim' and racial profiling incidents across the country.

"We are concerned that crew members, passengers and security personnel may have succumbed to fear and prejudice based on stereotyping of Muslims and Islam," Awad said in an earlier press release calling for an investigation.

US Airways pledged a thorough probe.

Yeah, how many of the 9-11 terrorists drew attention to themselves by praying before a flight? Anyways, they always say that profiling is necessary, unless it applies to whites. That is why even though whites, by far, have higher rates of drunk driving than any other racial group, they will never be profiled for that reason. But for powerless minorities, it's perfectly okay.

Magical Pony Plans

Atrios, picking up on what A.J. posted on Americablog clearly articulated better than I ever could my growing impatience with the various Iraq solutionists, from Kenneth Pollack, to Thomas Friedman, to Fareed Zakaria, to Dennis Ross and all the rest of those maundering jokers whose nostrums are now plainly becoming inseparable among each other. Iraqi SHOULD do this, Maliki SHOULD do that, the militias HAVE TO do this, Iran MUST do that. If those things don't magically happen within the next six months (one friedman) THEN Eye-Rack is a failure.

There's a reason why we call what these people do "searching for ponies." And sadly Iraq is so full of manure that it puts the Aegean Stables look like a mudbucket. What, the Iraqis are SUPPOSED to do something? Heh, you and what army? The U.S. Army? And if the government doesn't do what we say we pull the plug and declare it a failure and start from scratch? How are the Eye-Rackees going to like that?

The only way the situation is going to be resolved is if a security force emerges that has the numbers and the will to enforce its agenda. And frankly we Americans have little control on what shape the force(s) is going to take, and with the task at hand controlling the militias, insurgents, terrorists and criminals, it will have a better stomach for the job than we ever will. And that's not usually a good thing. So if any armchair general poser commentator gives his opinions on Eye-Rack that includes 1.) policy directives that the Maliki government is clearly not capable of doing 2.) exhortations to uncontrollable elements of the Iraqi chaos, such as militias or insurgents or 3.) talk about stong-arming Syria or Iran into saving our asses without considering what incentives they have to do that beyond saving our asses, then those clowns need to remember four little words: Shut. The. F*ck. Up.

November 20, 2006

Kissinger Calls It Quits

Ironic Nobel recipient Henry Kissinger gave an interview to BBC where he says a military victory in Eye-Rack is not possible:

ANDREW MARR: Do you think there is any hope left of a clear military victory in Iraq?

HENRY KISSINGER: If you mean by clear military victory an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible.

Of course he says we can't withdraw from Eye-Rack because, well, it could get worse. We've been through that already, but we now have a major enabler pretty much dumping on the war he helped to create.

The Death Of Satire

When you live in a country governed by chaos and violence brought to you by war-hungry occupiers looking for quick victories and the glories that comes with them, nothing, I mean nothing enjoyable can ever survive in that environment for long:

Iraqi TV satirist killed in Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Nov 20 (Reuters) - One of Iraq's best known satirists and broadcasters was gunned down on his way to work on Monday, his colleagues and the police said.

Waleed Hassan's "Caricature" sketch show was an unmissable part of weekend Fridays for Iraqis seeking a release in laughter from the blood and chaos around them. Hassan poked fun at sectarian violence, bickering politicians, power blackouts and all aspects of the turmoil that is daily life in Iraq.

He was found in west Baghdad with three bullet wounds to the head, said the Sharkiya channel. Hassan was a director of the station and also produced a political interview show for it.

As with other media, several journalists and employees of Sharkiya have been killed. Owned by a London-based Iraqi businessman it takes an independent editorial line, though many viewers see it as leaning toward minority Sunni Arab viewpoints.

November 16, 2006

Bush at 32 Percent


November 15, 2006

National Strategy for Victory In Iraq: The 2006 Edition

In case you've haven't noticed, the continuous disaster that is Eye-Rack has proven Bush's last plan for victory in that theater to be a collection of false promises, false hopes and classic fearmongering masquerading as policy. There is now a separate Baker-Hamilton Commission that will create new strategies for the military campaign in Eye-Rack and it includes figures from Poppy Bush's administration such as Jim Baker and Lawrence Eagleburger and, formerly, Robert Gates. This gives the obvious signal that nobody at the White House has any goddamn clue what they are doing and sonny-boy needs Daddy's help out of a jam. That is why Bush is going to undercut that criticism by implementing a parallel Iraq policy review. All by himself!

President Bush formally launched a sweeping internal review of Iraq policy yesterday, pulling together studies underway by various government agencies, according to U.S. officials.

The initiative, begun after Bush met at the White House with his foreign policy team, parallels the effort by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group to salvage U.S. policy in Iraq, develop an exit strategy and protect long-term U.S. interests in the region. The two reviews are not competitive, administration officials said, although the White House wants to complete the process before mid-December, about the time the Iraq Study Group's final report is expected.

The White House's decision changes the dynamics of what happens next to U.S. policy deliberations. The administration will have its own working document as well as recommendations from an independent bipartisan commission to consider as it struggles to prevent further deterioration in Iraq.

"The president has asked all his national security agencies to assess the situation in Iraq, review the options and recommend the best way forward. The ISG report will be duly considered, and we look forward to their recommendations, as the president has always said," a White House official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the new initiative has not been announced. "The president indicated Monday that he is interested in hearing interesting ideas both within his administration and from the Baker-Hamilton commission."

The White House review could give the administration alternatives so that it feels less pressure to fully implement the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group report, foreign policy experts said.

Who wants to place bets on which report is going to be more positive than the other?

November 14, 2006

FAUX's War On Terra-ism

While the new Al-Jazeera International is being blocked by major cable distributors from airing in this part of the hemisphere because they believe the propoganda that the network is a propoganda network (instead of a valuable media counterweight in the part of the world saturated with extremist, state-run media), it's been revealed that Fox News has funneled at least $1 million dollars to Palestinian terrorist groups in order to secure the August release of their two reporters. If they have any decency at all, they would remove all references to the American flag from their transistions, title designs and that litttle bug in the corner:

Palestinian terror groups and security organizations in the Gaza Strip received $2 million from a United States source in exchange for the release of Fox News employees Steve Centanni and Olag Wiig, who were kidnapped here last summer, a senior leader of one of the groups suspected of the abductions told WND.

The terror leader, from the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees, said his organization's share of the money was used to purchase weapons, which he said would be utilized "to hit the Zionists."

. . ."We used 100 percent of the money for one precise goal – our war against the Zionists," the Committees leader said.

He said weapons purchased included rockets.

via John Aravosis of AmericaBlog

November 13, 2006

Forsyth County Values

Crooks and Liars has put up a video showing contemporary evening news footage of Newt Gingrich's Republican takeover of the House and Senate in 1994. Notice how they relished the coming partisan witchhunts that will be conducted by Gingrich's henchmen and how the Democrats should be put on notice. Nothing about how such a campaign will "hurt" the Republicans or cause a backlash. Also notice, unlike how Nancy Pelosi is constantly characterized as representing "San Fransisco values", how Gingrich seems to be representative of "normal Americans" instead of representing a county in Georgia that is known for its violent Klan rallies.

"Will You Stop Wanting To Destroy Our Economy?"

This post from blogger Max Sawicky demonstrates why college economics courses, at least at the introductory level, are nothing more than indocrination organs for neoclassical conservatism.

Yes, yes, in Econ 101 they taught you that creating price floors (minimum wage) produce surpluses since apparently the workers have become too expensive for employers to hire. But one does not have to take an upper division course in economics to know that raising the minimum wage does not create labor surpluses. How many times have we raised the minimum wage in the past without creating unemployment? Hell, in terms of inflation, minimum wage is LOWER than it was in the early seventies, so don't pay attention to the conservatives' pet theories about minimum wages being bad for the economy.

Bipartisanship: 11/08/2006-11/13/2006

I know, I know, Bush from the start never intended to play ball with the new Democratic majority, but I sure hope this will make it crystal clear to the voters why they voted against Bush and the Republicans:

Administration Opposes Democrats’ Plan for Negotiating Medicare Drug Prices

Published: November 13, 2006

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 — The Bush administration said on Sunday that it would strenuously oppose one of the Democrats’ top priorities for the new Congress: legislation authorizing the government to negotiate with drug companies to secure lower drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries.

In an interview, Michael O. Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, said he saw no prospect of compromise on the issue.

“In politics,? Mr. Leavitt said, “most specific issues like this are a disguise for a larger difference. Government negotiation of drug prices does not work unless you have a program completely run by the government. Democrats say they want the government to negotiate prices. What they really want is government-run health care.?

Federal price negotiations would unravel the whole structure of the Medicare drug benefit, which relies on competing private plans, Mr. Leavitt said.

Dozens of plans are available in every state. They charge different premiums and co-payments and cover different drugs. The 2003 Medicare law explicitly prohibits the federal government from negotiating drug prices or establishing a list of preferred drugs.

Yeppers, your credit card conservatives will fight tooth and nail to make sure their corporate cronies will get the extra hundreds of billions, while the rest of us get screwed.

A Hundred Billion Here, A Hundred Billion There. . .

and soon you get to be talking about real money:

The civil reconstruction of Iraq will cost at least $100 billion, U.S. officials in Baghdad told Iraqi contractors who are vying for some of the work.

"United Nations and World Bank estimates approximated Iraq's infrastructure needs to be about $60 billion (before the 2003 invasion). But this was before we had an opportunity to fully assess the condition of Iraq's infrastructure. After careful analysis, the infrastructure needs have been estimated well over $100 billion," said Terry F. Bautista, director of business management of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region Division.

Power is available over 12 hours a day across most of the country, but in Baghdad, home to more than 6 million people, about a quarter of the Iraq population, it is only available for four hours a day. Countrywide, about 46 percent of Iraqi power needs go unmet by the fragile electrical infrastructure.

The U.S. government has put about $22 billion toward civilian reconstruction projects -- most security, power and water related -- with very mixed results so far.

So all we'll be getting from this war are debts inherited by our grandchildren. Waytogo shrub.

Update: Let's hope that if more money is spent on rebuilding Eye-Rack, it will be spent competently:

Despite Billions Spent, Rebuilding Incomplete Bad Security, Poor Planning Plague Effort

By Griff Witte
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 12, 2006; Page A01

For a little more than $38 billion, the United States and its contractors in Iraq have provided 4.6 million people with access to water. They have distributed seeds to Iraqi farmers, improving wheat harvests. With electricity-generating capacity now above prewar levels, they have given many Iraqis more daily hours of power. They have repaired more than 5,000 schools and vaccinated 4.6 million children against polio.

The list goes on. But as the U.S.-led, U.S.-funded portion of Iraq's reconstruction nears its end, American officials and contractors alike are grappling with a cold reality: Thousands of successes in Iraq may add up to a single failure.

November 10, 2006

What Lizard Brains Sound Like

Apparently some of you out there don't like my characterization of base conservatives as "lizard brains" who should be put down at every chance. Here's a little reminder of who we are up against:

The guest is David Brock, former movement conservative journalist who saw the light along the way and now runs MediaMatters.org, a watchdog site that catches right-wing media types in their various lies. Obviously he's also an admitted homosexual. Those who wish to pull punches on people like the guy who made that comment to David Brock are not part of the solution, they are part of the problem.

The Blame The Iraqis First Crowd

Still reeling from his declaration of failure in Eye-Rack one-half friedman ago, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman provides more post-mortem for the litter box on the Tigris (subscription normally required, but apparently you can access the articles for free this week, so get em while you can):

Our only two options left today in Iraq are “tolerable? and “awful.? “Good? is no longer on the menu. When you read stories from Iraq saying that all we need to do is get rid of all the police there, get one-third of the soldiers in the Iraqi Army to actually report to duty regularly, and replace all the ministers who are corrupt, you know why “good? is not on the menu anymore.

Apparently his nostrumfor the Iraqi mess (other than "don't pull our soldiers out, or else it will get worse. . .er") is a very loose federation of Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite autonomous regions that controls their own oil revenues. But even that plan has expectations that are as realistic as asking a wishing star for a pony. Sadly it doesn't stray much from the new conventional wisdom of the Wise Men.

But what really galls me is this passage passage from the column in which he assigns blame for the chaos on the Iraqis themselves, rather than on the forces that brought them the invasion in the first place:

A U.S. withdrawal under such conditions would be messy and shameful. But when people are that intent on killing each other there’s not much we can do. As bad as we’ve performed in Iraq, what Iraqis have done to each other, and the little that other Muslims have done to stop them, is an even bigger travesty.

What the HELL did he think was going to happen when you take the ruling party/sect out of power and create a power vacuum? That they would immediately get along and submit to a new political reality that would marginalize them and afterwards sing "Kumbaya"? That the Shiites will smile and remain patient while the Sunni insurgents blow them to pieces?

Oh, he did believe that? No wonder Eye-Rack is in such a gawd-awful mess.

November 8, 2006

Better Dead Than Red

This story from the newly coathanger-free state of South Dakota encapsulates the anti-Republican backlash this mid-term elections represent:

PIERRE, S.D. - A woman who died two months ago won a county commissioner's race in Jerauld County on Tuesday.

Democrat Marie Steichen, of Woonsocket, got 100 votes, defeating incumbent Republican Merlin Feistner, of Woonsocket, who had 64 votes.



Bush announced Rummy's resignation today, swearing up and down that the timing of this development right after the elections was in no way politically motivated. Yeah, cause not standing by your man would have had devastating consequences on Republican electoral aspirations.

Bush names unindicted Iran-Contra co-conspirator Robert Gates to replace Rum-dum. So even in victory we still get a booby prize.

UPDATE: Even in the face of defeat Bush still can't be straight with the American people. Bush admitted he discussed Rummy's resignation at the time he said publicly that he was going to keep Rumsfeld for the rest of his term. And he has the audacity to ask the Democrats for cooperation? In order to be forgiven, you must first atone for your sins.

November 7, 2006

The Conservative Base Breaks Out Their White Hoods

Welp, it looks like Keith Ellison is sailing through the vote to become the first Muslim in the House and the first black congressman from Minnesota, and the Freeptards are not going to stand for it. Their rhetoric regarding his faith is so disgusting that it has to be shown for posterity.

Here's the original link, but since the Head Freeper likes to delete threads that exposes the racism and extremism of the website's members, I'm creating mirror pages for posterity:

Page 1
Page 2
Page 3

If I were to put up the greatest hits, my picks would be:

Locked and Loaded!!

5 posted on 11/07/2006 8:00:03 PM PST by newconhere

As I said on a previous thread...I feels as if I am watching 9-11 again on my TV. Watching America be attacked from within and I am helpless watching.

America...what have you done?

6 posted on 11/07/2006 8:00:05 PM PST by My Favorite Headache

future suicide bomber?

35 posted on 11/07/2006 8:07:08 PM PST by teacherwoes

Getting ready to go out & buy my burka. I knew it, next we'll have Barrack Hussein O'bama as Prez. This is what the liberals want.

Screw the burkha. Buy ammo :)

47 posted on 11/07/2006 8:10:05 PM PST by Mordacious

Screw the burkha. Buy ammo :)

LOTS of it!!

70 posted on 11/07/2006 8:22:36 PM PST by MrCFdovnh

And the post that wins the Irony Award:

Over or even he introduce the first sharia law leglietatio

15 posted on 11/07/2006 8:01:25 PM PST by SevenofNine

Oh, so now the righties are "concerned" about faith-based legislation, now that it's coming from the religion of our "enemies"? Nice work there, you cross-burning clowns.

This just goes to show you that even if the we (by we I mean Democrats) win the House, the Senate or both, this is not over. The lizard brains still exist and they need to be put out.

Darren Bernard To Sign Up At The Campus Recruiting Office At Washington and Oak.

That's the only conclusion I can gather from this column:

The third choice means escalation, but it may very well be the only acceptable way out. A soldier stationed in Iraq suggested this to the Wall Street Journal last week: "Reassert direct administration, put 400,000 to 500,000 American troops on the ground, disband most of the current Iraqi police, and retrain and reindoctrinate the Iraqi army until it becomes a military that's fighting for a nation, not simply some sect or faction. Reassure the Iraqi people that we're going to provide them security and then follow through. Disarm the nation: Sunnis, Shias, militia groups, everyone. Issue national ID cards to everyone and control the movement of the population."

It sounds drastic - even severe. But drastic and severe may be exactly what we need right now. The borders to Iran and Syria must be closed off to the weapons and terrorists pouring into the country. Baghdad and other hotspots must be secured for reconstruction efforts to be at all fruitful. Iraqis are begging for security, and they know that as little as they like having U.S. troops around, Americans are loyal only to the cause.

He does know that type of escalation requires a draft, right? We just don't have those kinds of troop numbers. And all this would accomplish is to provide 250,000-350,000 more targets in the sandbox. But at least he's not a Bush loyalist on the war anymore.


The pleasure of seeing a FAUX Nooze correspondent being waterboarded brings me a type of pleasure that should be sinful:

And the punchline at the end is that the moron ends up endorsing the procedure, saying that it's "efficient" and that you can easily recover from it. Yeah, waterboarding is safe unless it causes lasting psychological damage, or death if the trauma excaberbates a previous condition. It's so safe that that is why this country prosecuted people for conducting waterboardings as far back as 1901.

From Wonkette.

November 6, 2006


Khalilzad boards his private chopper.

Current ambassador to Eye-Rack Zalmay Khalilzad decides he has had enough of the sandbox:

WASHINGTON - Zalmay Khalilzad, the plainspoken dealmaker and Republican insider who has won praise and criticism for attempts to broker Sunni political participation in Iraq's fragile government, is likely to quit his post as U.S. ambassador in Baghdad in the coming months, a senior Bush administration official said Monday.

As the midterm elections approached in the United States, Khalilzad has been a public face of Bush administration attempts to project both willingness to change strategy or tactics in an unpopular war and solidarity with the increasingly fractious Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Khalilzad's departure has been rumored for months, but he has not turned in his resignation, the State Department official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the White House nor Khalilzad has announced any personnel changes. Khalilzad could leave as soon as the end of this year, but is more likely to remain in his post through the spring, the official said.

Atrios with his long memory points out that Khalilzad had set up something of a two-month timetable for the Iraqi government to take care of its militias six weeks ago.

November 4, 2006

And He's Outta Here

Ted Haggard has been selling a bill of goods to the sheeple that follow him, and he continues to sell a bill of goods regard the surrounding scandal, saying he threw away the meth that he bought, that he only received a massage from gay prostitute Steve Jones (yeah, a prostate massage).

Well, the leaders of the New Life Church he created aren't convinced:

The Rev. Ted Haggard agreed to resign Saturday from his New Life Church after its independent investigative board recommended removal, saying he was guilty "of sexually immoral conduct."

"We, the Overseer Board of New Life Church, have concluded our deliberations concerning the moral failings of Pastor Ted Haggard," a statement from the church said. "Our investigation and Pastor Haggard's public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct."

Imagine. If he created a church dedicated to charity, agape, and acceptance of others, he wouldn't be in the mess he's in now.


Reflecting back on the last entry, everybody who hasn't had their head up somewhere it shouldn't be knows that the Saddam trial verdict coming this Sunday, November 5th, was cynically scheduled in order to provide the necessary political capital to the Republican apparatchik just before the election. But the problem is that the verdict, whichever it will be, will inevitably lead to a violent reaction from either side. If Saddam gets sentenced to death by his Shiite enemies, loyal Sunnis will likely revolt. If Saddam gets less than a hanging or a stoning, the Shiites will go on a rampage.

Sure, I may be wrong. Perhaps the checkpoints the U.S. set up will indeed quell any incipient violence. I sure hope I'm wrong.

But still, Operation Together Forward was supposed to pacify Baghdad months ago.

November 3, 2006

Neocon Pitty Party

Rats leaving a sinking ship

The situation in Eye-Rack is getting worse with no end in sight. Apparently eight soldiers and Marines died in a single day yesterday, and the looming verdict on Saddam, whichever way it goes, will only incite more violence and mayhem from the losing sectarian side. The neocons who brought us this disaster have suddenly found themselves on the wrong side of history and have come to their former journalistic enabler, David Rose, to set the record straight:

According to Perle, who left the Defense Policy Board in 2004, this unfolding catastrophe has a central cause: devastating dysfunction within the administration of President George W. Bush. Perle says, "The decisions did not get made that should have been. They didn't get made in a timely fashion, and the differences were argued out endlessly.… At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible.… I don't think he realized the extent of the opposition within his own administration, and the disloyalty."

. . .Kenneth Adelman, a lifelong neocon activist and Pentagon insider who served on the Defense Policy Board until 2005, wrote a famous op-ed article in The Washington Post in February 2002, arguing: "I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk." Now he says, "I just presumed that what I considered to be the most competent national-security team since Truman was indeed going to be competent. They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the post-war era. Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional."

. . .David Frum: "I always believed as a speechwriter that if you could persuade the president to commit himself to certain words, he would feel himself committed to the ideas that underlay those words. And the big shock to me has been that although the president said the words, he just did not absorb the ideas. And that is the root of, maybe, everything."

So in other words:


I know that a victory has many fathers, yadda-yadda-yadda, but this is ridiculous. These losers should just own up to the fact that they were too stupid to realize Bush was too stupid to pull off a war that was too fucking stupid on its own premises in the first place.

UPDATE: Oh, it just keeps getting better and better. Glenn Greenwald is busy documenting the further backpedalling and outright lying by the neocons, particularly Michael Ledeen who outrageously said he never supported the Eye-Rack war, even though back when it mattered he wouldn't bat an eye if Iraq was "cauldronized."

The poster at the blog The Impolitic gives a proper name to this type of willful illiteracy of their own recent history by the neocons: Busheimer's Syndrome.

"I May Be A Dope Fiend, But I Aint No Queen"

While I was picking up my brother from his charter school, I heard on NPR that the sheeples at the New Life church are still standing by that disgraced crook of a fraud Ted Haggard. They base their support on the fact that Haggard admitted to "some of the allegations," meaning that his indiscretions are vague and could mean anything like he has met this prostitute in passing some time ago. And they also blame the media for making up the story.

Disgraced New Life pastor Ted Haggard is now forced to admit that he has bought crystal meth from Steve Jones, the prostitute in question. But don't worry, he claims he threw it away immediately, even though the voicemails suggests he bought the product from his supplier more than once.

He also claims he only got a massage from Jones, so believe him at your own peril you dumb flock.

The Other Shoe Drops

You know how we liberals whined about how our recent codification of torture, removing habeus corpus, indefinite detention and kangaroo courts will put Americans abroad at risk to those countries that might see a green light to abuse them as they please? Well, now we have a test case:

Vietnam charges 3 U.S. citizens with "terrorism"

02 Nov 2006 20:03:42 GMT
Source: Reuters

By Grant McCool

HANOI, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Seven people, including three Vietnamese-born
U.S. citizens, will be prosecuted on charges of plotting violence against
Vietnam's communist government, officials said on Thursday.

The prosecutor included charges against a U.S. citizen whose 13-month-long
detention has drawn attention in the United States before a Nov. 17-20 visit
to Vietnam by President George W. Bush.

. . .The statement linked the seven to a Vietnamese-born resident of the United
States, Nguyen Huu Chanh, who was suspected of plotting to bomb Vietnam
embassies in recent years.

May God have mercy on them.

Requiem For A Fundyclown

I first read about Ted Haggard, the absolute leader of the mammonization and bastardization of our Christian faith through the overflowing megachurches in last year's profile of him and his movement in Harper's. His religion of material conveniences, combined with your pro-forma hatemongering was abhorrent, but at least he has his integrity of character, right?

Welp, as with Swaggart, Bakker and the pedophile priest protection program run by the papists, it's is still do as I say, not as I do:

After a day of whirlwind controversy surrounding New Life Church and its leader Ted Haggard, who went on administrative leave earlier Thursday, the acting Senior Pastor, Ross Parsley tells KKTV 11 News that Pastor Haggard has admitted to some of the indiscretions claimed by a Denver man.

Thursday morning, Mike Jones went on a Denver radio talk show and said Pastor Haggard paid him for sex over the past 3 years. Jones also claims Haggard did drugs with him. Pastor Parsley says Haggard admitted that some of the allegations are true, but not all of them. The church is not saying what Haggard admitted to.

And that's after Ted Haggard issued a rigorous denial of the allegations against him. Good thing Jaysus always has room for crooks and liars.

You can listen to the taped smoking gun conversations here.


Bechtel employees boarding their private chopper

The mercenary, war-profiteering shitbags at Bechtel, after having stolen billions of taxpayer money on failed reconstruction contracts, have decided to cut and run from Eye-Rack:

Bechtel Corp. went to Iraq three years ago to help rebuild a nation torn by war. Since then, 52 of its people have been killed and much of its work sabotaged as Iraq dissolved into insurgency and sectarian violence.

Now Bechtel is leaving.

The San Francisco engineering company's last government contract to rebuild power, water and sewage plants across Iraq expired on Tuesday. Some employees remain to finish the paperwork, but essentially, the company's job is done.

Bechtel's contracts were part of an enormous U.S. effort to put Iraq back on its feet after decades of wars and sanctions. That rebuilding campaign, once touted as the Marshall Plan of modern times, was supposed to win the hearts of skeptical Iraqis by giving them clean water, dependable power, telephones that worked and modern sanitation. President Bush said he wanted the country's infrastructure to be the very best in the Middle East.

But Bechtel -- which charged into Iraq with American "can-do" fervor -- found it tough to keep its engineers and workers alive, much less make progress in piecing Iraq back together.

"Did Iraq come out the way you hoped it would?" asked Cliff Mumm, Bechtel's president for infrastructure work. "I would say, emphatically, no. And it's heartbreaking."

The violence that has gripped Iraq drove up costs and hamstrung the engineers who poured into the country after the U.S.-led invasion.

Bechtel's first reconstruction contract, awarded shortly after Saddam Hussein's overthrow in April, 2003, assured the company that it would have a safe environment for its workers. But, by the end, dozens of Bechtel's employees and subcontractors had been killed, some of them kidnapped, others marched out of their office and shot. Forty-nine others were wounded.

Bechtel responded by hiring more guards, driving armored cars and fortifying its camps. Those steps ate up money that otherwise would have brought electricity and clean water to Iraqis.

The size of Bechtel's contracts also shrank over time, as U.S. officials diverted money from reconstruction and toward security. Instead of the nearly $3 billion originally budgeted, Bechtel finally received about $2.3 billion, a figure that includes money the company spent on projects as well as its undisclosed profit.

Two New York Times Bombshells

Wow, the Friday news dump has some juicy tidbits today. Two story in the Times chronicle the Republican one party rule's criminal incompetence and it's criminal corruption/lack of accountability

First the criminal incompetence:

Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who had said they hoped to “leverage the Internet? to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.

But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.

Last night, the government shut down the Web site after The New York Times asked about complaints from weapons experts and arms-control officials. A spokesman for the director of national intelligence said access to the site had been suspended “pending a review to ensure its content is appropriate for public viewing.?

Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency, fearing that the information could help states like Iran develop nuclear arms, had privately protested last week to the American ambassador to the agency, according to European diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity. One diplomat said the agency’s technical experts “were shocked? at the public disclosures.

The documents, roughly a dozen in number, contain charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that nuclear experts who have viewed them say go beyond what is available elsewhere on the Internet and in other public forums. For instance, the papers give detailed information on how to build nuclear firing circuits and triggering explosives, as well as the radioactive cores of atom bombs.

“For the U.S. to toss a match into this flammable area is very irresponsible,? said A. Bryan Siebert, a former director of classification at the federal Department of Energy, which runs the nation’s nuclear arms program. “There’s a lot of things about nuclear weapons that are secret and should remain so.?

The government had received earlier warnings about the contents of the Web site. Last spring, after the site began posting old Iraqi documents about chemical weapons, United Nations arms-control officials in New York won the withdrawal of a report that gave information on how to make tabun and sarin, nerve agents that kill by causing respiratory failure.

The campaign for the online archive was mounted by conservative publications and politicians, who said that the nation’s spy agencies had failed adequately to analyze the 48,000 boxes of documents seized since the March 2003 invasion. With the public increasingly skeptical about the rationale and conduct of the war, the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees argued that wide analysis and translation of the documents — most of them in Arabic — would reinvigorate the search for clues that Mr. Hussein had resumed his unconventional arms programs in the years before the invasion. American search teams never found such evidence.

The director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte, had resisted setting up the Web site, which some intelligence officials felt implicitly raised questions about the competence and judgment of government analysts. But President Bush approved the site’s creation after Congressional Republicans proposed legislation to force the documents’ release.

Now the criminal corruption:

Investigations led by a Republican lawyer named Stuart W. Bowen Jr. in Iraq have sent American occupation officials to jail on bribery and conspiracy charges, exposed disastrously poor construction work by well-connected companies like Halliburton and Parsons, and discovered that the military did not properly track hundreds of thousands of weapons it shipped to Iraqi security forces.

And tucked away in a huge military authorization bill that President Bush signed two weeks ago is what some of Mr. Bowen’s supporters believe is his reward for repeatedly embarrassing the administration: a pink slip.

The order comes in the form of an obscure provision that terminates his federal oversight agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, on Oct. 1, 2007. The clause was inserted by the Republican side of the House Armed Services Committee over the objections of Democratic counterparts during a closed-door conference, and it has generated surprise and some outrage among lawmakers who say they had no idea it was in the final legislation.

One line in the article is all you need to know about how the Republican apparatchik in Washington operates to circumvent checks and balances, the deliberative process and the rule of law:

Neither the House nor the Senate version contained such a termination clause before the conference, all involved agree.

Ah, yes, the conference committee, that hole in the ground where the laws are REALLY made. Let's go back to Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stones article:

[Republican Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee Bill] Thomas is also notorious for excluding Democrats from the conference hearings needed to iron out the differences between House and Senate versions of a bill. According to the rules, conferences have to include at least one public, open meeting. But in the Bush years, Republicans have managed the conference issue with some of the most mind-blowingly juvenile behavior seen in any parliament west of the Russian Duma after happy hour. GOP chairmen routinely call a meeting, bring the press in for a photo op and then promptly shut the proceedings down. "Take a picture, wait five minutes, gavel it out -- all for show" is how one Democratic staffer described the process. Then, amazingly, the Republicans sneak off to hold the real conference, forcing the Democrats to turn amateur detective and go searching the Capitol grounds for the meeting. "More often than not, we're trying to figure out where the conference is," says one House aide.

In one legendary incident, Rep. Charles Rangel went searching for a secret conference being held by Thomas. When he found the room where Republicans closeted themselves, he knocked and knocked on the door, but no one answered. A House aide compares the scene to the famous "Land Shark" skit from Saturday Night Live, with everyone hiding behind the door afraid to make a sound. "Rangel was the land shark, I guess," the aide jokes. But the real punch line came when Thomas finally opened the door. "This meeting," he informed Rangel, "is only open to the coalition of the willing."

But remember kiddies: Kerry said something bad about the troops.


Jesus Christ On A Trailer Hitch II: Eye-Rackie Boogaloo


This war needs to end NOW! We have no military, otherwise we wouldn't be sending a convicted Abu Ghraib abuser back to Eye-Rack to train the Iraqi police force:

An Abu Ghraib Offender Heads Back to Iraq
Exclusive: A military dog handler convicted for his role in the prisoner abuse scandal has been ordered back to help train the country's police
Posted Thursday, Nov. 02, 2006

As if the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal weren't bad enough for America's image in the Middle East, now it may appear to much of the world that one of the men implicated in the scandal is returning to the scene of the crime.

The U.S. military tells TIME that one of the soldiers convicted for his role in Abu Ghraib, having served his sentence, has just been sent back to serve in Iraq.

Sgt. Santos Cardona, 32, a military policeman from Fullerton, Calif., served in 2003 and 2004 at Abu Ghraib as a military dog handler. After pictures of Cardona using the animal to threaten Iraqis were made public, he was convicted in May of dereliction of duty and aggravated assault, the equivalent of a felony in the U.S. civilian justice system. The prosecution demanded prison time, but a military judge instead imposed a fine and reduction in rank. Though Cardona was not put behind bars, he was also required to serve 90 days of hard labor at Ft. Bragg, N.C.

Before Cardona boarded a plane at Pope Air Force Base this week for the long flight to his unit's Kuwait staging area, he told close friends and family that he dreaded returning to Iraq. One family member described him as "depressed," though stoic about his fate. According to a close friend with whom Cardona spoke just before his departure, the soldier is fearful that he remains a marked man, forever linked to the horrors of Abu Ghraib — he appears in at least one al-Qaeda propaganda video depicting the abuse — and that he and comrades serving with him in Iraq could become targets for terrorists. To make matters worse, his 23rd MP Company has been selected to train Iraqi police, which have been the target of frequent assassination attempts and, according to US intelligence are heavily infiltrated by insurgents. Attempts to reach Cardona directly were unsuccessful.

But-but, Kerry sed sumting mean about duh soldiers. God this war can't end fast enough.

Via Steve Gilliard, who also doesn't have much to say about this latest development from the shitmire.

UPDATE: Apparently the morons at the military decided the story was too hot to handle, so they cancelled Cardona's redeployment to Eye-Rack and are sending him back home. Embarrassment averted.