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Thursday, 21 July 2005
More bombings in London.
Topic: General News.

More bombings in London today. Thankfully no one was hurt. It appears these might have been some sort of copycat attack because the explosions were caused by detonators not bombs and several people were seens running from the scene after throwing rucksacks. This doesn't appear to be quite as sophisticated as the bombings two weeks ago. Time will tell.

First things first:

A reader of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes to the editor that the paper is showing its liberal bias by where it places “positive reports” about president Bush. He notes that a piece reporting that no torture had been found at Gitmo was on page 6 and another story about the lower deficit projection was on page 8! Well, I’m not going to wait a minute longer or bury these stories on my blog. No siree…

The story about Gitmo was from July 14th and began like this:

“Military investigators examining alleged abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, say they found treatment such as forcing a terror suspect to behave like a dog. But they say they found no evidence that there was torture or that senior leaders imposed faulty interrogation policies.”

Good news! The military investigated itself, once again, and found nothing! Just because they made one prisoner “dance with a male interrogator,” and “subjected him to strip searches with no security value, threatened him with dogs, forced him to stand naked in front of women, and forced him on a leash, to act like a dog,” I don’t see the issue. Donald Rumsfeld walks around with a dog leash on 8 hours a day, why can’t a suspected terrorist?

On the deficit [Steep drop in deficit projected] the story goes like this:

The annual White House midyear budget report projects this year’s deficit will drop to $333 billion. That’s $79 billion below last year’s record red link and $100 billion less than earlier estimates…Despite the improvement, the deficit picture remains far worse than when Bush took office in 2001, when the White House and congressional forecasters projected cumulative surpluses of $5.6 trillion over the subsequent decade.”

Did this guy actually read these articles? These are positive reports?

It’s settled:

Thousands of settler activists camped out in Kfar Maimon have given up and are going home in the face stiff resistance from the 20,000 police and soldiers preventing them from reaching their goal of Gush Katif. What I find interesting about this whole deal is, the entire time the settlers, and a couple former chief rabbis, have been calling for members of the IDF to disobey their orders. In fact, about 9 soldiers did quit and a couple even made their way into Gaza to resist with the settlers there. A common sign being carried by the settlers said,” Disobey orders. What will you tell your grandchildren?”

Now, imagine peace protesters here, or a preacher or priest, calling for U.S. troops to desert. I can’t imagine it. Of course, Pat Robertson can say a nuclear device should be dropped on Foggy Bottom, but that’s okay, he’s a friend of the president’s. Erik Rudolf and go around bombing abortion clinics, but he’s not a terrorist, he’s got God on his side. Things are different for them that got religion.

The stupidest congress ever!

Rep. Curt Weldon (R. PA) met last week in Paris with an Iranian exile; Feridoun Mahdavi (A.k.a. “Ali.”), who the CIA says is a fabricator and a liar. Don’t confuse the representative with the facts though; he’s got religion too. Also along for the trip, at tax payers expense, was Peter Hoeskstra (R. Michigan) Weldon’s colleague and chairman of the house intelligence committee (Now there’s a real oxymoron.). According to the Inquirer "Mahdavi is a longtime associate of Iranian arms merchant Manucher Ghorbanifar." You remember good old Gorba, the gun dealer in the Iran/Contra affair? He "has had two CIA "burn notices" issued on him, meaning agency officers are not to deal with him." Seems rep. Welden is trying to get a war started in Persia and he's found his own Ahmad Chalabi. (How stupid are these guys?)

At first the CIA said the evidence Chalabi was pushing on Iraq's WMD was dubious, so they were wrong about that. Then when no WMD was found, they got it wrong by not knowing there wasn't any. So now when they say of Ali, "It is... likely that, as a former official during the Shah's era, [Mahdavi] seeks to influence the U.S. government to overthrow the current Iranian government," in a ltter to Weldon last year, they are most assuredly wrong. Iran is about to attack us, why won't anyone listen?

Bomb Mecca?

Curt Weldon is either really stupid or just amazingly gullible, but there’s no question what rep.Tom Tancredo (R. Col.) is…

Last Friday when asked by a talk show host how the U.S should respond if extremists struck several of its cities with nuclear weapons.

“Well, what if you said something like---this happens in the United States, we are determined that it is the result of extremists, fundamentalists Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sights,”

“You’re talking about bombing Mecca,” Pat Cooper, WFLA radio, asks.

“Yeah.” Tancredo

Asked to explain his statements:

"I hope we can think of things that actually will prevent an event of that nature…From my point of view there’s a lot that can be done…I don’t want to inflame this issue.” Too late, jerk.

Condi says, "stop touching our press."

WaPo:

DARFUR, Sudan, July 21 -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanded and received an apology Thursday after Sudanese security guards manhandled staff members and press accompanying her on her journey to the country.

The incidents occurred while Rice was meeting with Sudanese President Omar Hassan Bashir. Sudanese officials shoved U.S. journalists away from the Bashir meeting, grabbed a tape from a reporter and slammed the wooden doors to his palace in their faces.

At one point, NBC's Andrea Mitchell attempted to ask a question about the killing of innocent civilians in Sudan and was physically pulled away and told there were no questions allowed.

Angered U.S. reporters responded that the press corps with Rice as a "free press," but were told by a Bashir aide that "it's not a free press here."

What we will do for a little oil. Nice people we're dealing with over there. Perhaps, Condi should have brought some of Bashir's good friends at the CIA along, maybe she would have been treated better.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:07 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 21 July 2005 3:37 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 20 July 2005
Rick Santorum and animal sex.
Topic: General News.

President Bush has apparently picked a nominee for the Supreme Court no one on the left has ever heard of.It will probably take a few days to digest this pick but I know one thing about him already. John Roberts ruled on the DC court of appeals that a little girl who was arrested by the DC police for eating a french fry on the Metro didn't have her fourth or fifth amendment rights violated. Oh, and he also wrote in 1991 that Roe v. Wade "was wrongly decided and should be overruled." But he says he was only advocating for his client, who happened to be the government. If that wasn't enough, Rick Santorum thinks he's great, which should tell you something.

Speaking of Rick Santorum:

In case you didn't catch this one, Robert L. Traynham, a senior spokesman for Santorum, is gay! This apparently was brought to light by Santorum's soon to be opponent in the up coming senate elections in Pennsylvania. Santorum is outraged that, "my staffs' personal lives are considered fair game by partisans looking for arguments to bolster my opponent's campaign." One might ask if there is any bestiality going on behind the scenes in the senator's office. Because, after all, you let one of them in and, "you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything."

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:03 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 21 July 2005 11:22 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 19 July 2005
Docotrs on strike in Baghdad.
Topic: Iraq

In a further sign of progress in Iraq the AP reported yesterday that “Iraqis have begun barricading themselves in their homes and forming neighborhood militias in an effort to fend off relentless suicide attacks.” The plans of the interior and defense ministries to impose security in Iraq have failed, " Khudair al-Khuzai told his colleagues in the Iraqi parliament yesterday. "We need to bring back popular militias." A member of the main Shiite bloc, Sheikh Jalal-el-din al-Sagheer, was quoted in the story by Luke Baker as saying, "The multinational forces have to take responsibility for the bloodshed.” What planet is this guy living on?

In another sign that things are going in the right direction Reuters reports "More than two dozen doctors walked out of one of Baghdad's busiest hospitals on Tuesday to protest what they said was abuse by Iraqi soldiers, leaving about 100 patients to fend for themselves in chaotic wards." The trouble apparently started when Iraqi security forces barged into Yarmouk hospital's woman's wing and started looking around. The news piece says that, "some say the country's new security forces are too aggressive, randomly rounding up suspects and abusing them during detentions." Imagine that! However, "the government says security forces are under strict orders to respect human rights." Whew! For a minute there I thought we might have a problem.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:07 PM EDT
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Monday, 18 July 2005
Invasion interuptus?
Topic: Iraq

Today British defense minister John Reid announced the U.K. would be pulling some of their troops out of Iraq. After denying all last week that any plan was afoot to bug out, now the story is they are actually going to leave. Not that this was any secret, on July 13 the FT quoted a senior western diplomat as saying the British would lead the pull out of foreign forces from Iraq beginning next year, in close coordination with the U.S., of course. The diplomat said the “Reid memo's projection that both U.S. and British troop strength could be cut by half might be optimistic but not unrealistic. The FT says, “The proposed timeline assumed that ‘everything went right’ with Iraq’s constitutional referendum and next parliamentary elections…’” This all hinges on “the strength of Iraqi security forces and their ability to take over” the diplomat said.

Somehow, I doubt it. Judging by what’ s going on with the rampant abductions of Sunnis--- whose bodies are soon found with bullets in the back of their heads---by Iraq’s “security forces” I’d say no matter what’s going on Rummy and Co. will find some excuse to pull out. The commanders on the ground are inclined to take this slowly whereas the political leadership at the pentagon is slightly more eager for an early exit. I’m sure there’s a lot of urgency in getting our military the hell out of there while we still have one. But are they really going to pull out? Perish the thought that the occupiers have any imperial ambitions, but…

I just happened to run across a WaPo from October 27 2003 the other day and the there was the usual front page story about, this time, three police stations in Baghdad and the offices of the International Red Cross having been bombed killing 35, on the first day of that year’s Ramadan, no less. President Bush meeting that day with L. Paul Bremer at the White House was quoted as saying of the attackers, they weren’t calling them the insurgents back then, “The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react...because they can’t stand the thought of a free society.” (I’ve never heard that before!)

The Post article writes that Rummy, General Myers and Bremer (Timelines and benchmarks!) were urgently brainstorming their strategy of turning over “security missions to Iraqis soldiers and police forces as quickly as possible.” (Any time now…) It seems the military believed “insurgencies like the one in Iraq coalesce into larger rebellions if allowed to fester. Adding to the need for rapid action, a senior U.S. military official involved in Iraq strategy said yesterday that the pentagon expects to significantly pare its presence in Iraq when major troop rotations come in February. “The feeling is, get it done while we have the assets available, the official said.”

Well, it’s two years later and we’re hearing the same thing but the situation is much worse, so is this just a smoke screen or what? If we “pare down” our forces to 66,000, the number stated in the Reid memo, then what does that mean tactically? The forces we have there now are just barely able to protect themselves, never mind the Iraqi government. Maybe, that is what all that permanent base building is all about. We can’t hold ground we’ve taken with 138,000 troops, as Kenneth Pollack pointed out at a Senate Armed Services committee hearing today, so are we going to garrison our troops on the British imperial model and rely on air power to support the likes of the Badr Brigade and other the Iraqi “security forces” instead?

Flash back:

to the good old days when car bombs came only every other day, not in multiples of ten every day.

Here’s a breakdown of various attacks from Aug 7 to Oct. 26 2003 provided by the October 27th edition of the WaPo:

Aug. 7: Baghdad/ Car bomb outside Jordanian Embassy/ 17 killed
Aug 19: Baghdad/ Truck bomb at U.N. headquarters/ 23 killed
Aug 29: Najaf/ Car bomb outside Imam Ali Mosque/ 90 killed
Sep. 2: Baghdad/ Car bomb at police headquarters/ 1 killed
Sep. 9: Irbil/ Car bomb at office used by U.S. officials/ 1 killed
Sep. 22: Baghdad/ Car bomb outside at checkpoint outside U.N. headquarters/ 2 Killed
Oct. 9: Baghdad/ Car bomb at police station in Sadr City district/ 10 killed
Oct. 12: Baghdad/ Car bomb outside Baghdad hotel/ 8 killed
Oct. 26: Baghdad/ Rocket attack on al- Rashid hotel/ Paul Wolfowitz was staying at the hotel that morning/ 1 Killed

Besides the hundreds of billions of dollars wasted, the 1,765 U.S. troops dead, the over 35,000 wounded, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed and maimed, and let’s not forget the millions lost in graft and Halliburton’s “profits,” what is to be accomplished between now and the beginning of next year that we haven’t already accomplished? We’ve already seen the results of the forming of the Iraqi government, what’s going to happen when they write a constitution?

We’ve heard this business about us leaving before, so is it for real this time or is there perhaps an escalation in the offing? History has shown with this war that the most insane ideas usually get the most serious hearing and go ahead from this administration. Former General Barry McCaffrey advocates increased troops levels to end this insurgency once and for all. I would go further and suggest a thorough carpet-bombing of the VC bases in Cambodia and a continued air campaign against the Ho Chi Min trail. In fact, to really show those damn terrorists, basing a large contingent of Marines in a valley and drawing the VC to them might just do the trick. Why don’t they ever listen to General McCaffrey?

Karl Rove, friend to the press.

Matt Cooper told Tim Russert on Sunday that he talked not only to Karl Rove about Valerie Plame but also talked to Cheney’s chief of staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby. There has been a lot of smoke and fog coming from sources “that did not wish to be named” about what Rove actually told Cooper and Novak that make Rove sound like he was Mr. Good Guy trying to point the press in the right direction on the Wilson trip to Niger. According to one anonymous source Rove didn’t actually say Plame was in the CIA or anything at all, he just confirmed it when asked. He learned about her from the reporters! Sure! So, then who actually told the reporters if not him? Libby? Gosh, I’m so confused. Rove’s lawyer insists Rove is not the target of Fitzgerald’s investigation, but he doesn’t say whether Boy Genius is being investigated for perjury. Let’s ask Scott McClellan!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 6:06 PM EDT
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Thursday, 14 July 2005
Time to go.
Topic: Iraq

Iraqi government spokesman Laith Kubba has said the pullout of American forces would “lead to disaster. There would be a bloodbath.” (As if there isn’t one going on already.) PM Ibrahim al Jaafari has said “when we reach the ability to depend on ourselves for security, then the Americans can leave.” The U.S. and British officials have pooh-poohed the revelation of a memo outlining a timeline for withdrawal before the end of the year. We won’t stand down until the Iraqis can stand up.

Now, comes news deputy secretary of State Robert Zoellick paid a “surprise” visit to the Green Zone and out of this visit apparently has come a plan for U.S. forces to withdraw from “selected” cities very soon. "We can begin with the process of withdrawing multinational forces from these cities to outside the city as a first step that encourages setting a timetable for the withdrawal process," he said. Hmmm…sounds like the part of the secret memo that says, "Emerging U.S. plans assume that 14 out of 18 provinces could be handed over to Iraqi control by early 2006." Looks like Zoellick read the Iraqis the riot act. We’re going to declare victory and pull out the majority of the troops, but leave a garrison contingent to watch over the oil, while turning a blind eye to the Iraqis dealing with their Sunni problem. (With our money and equipment.)

That little systematic torture problem is being worked on. The New York Times quotes one senior American officer as saying they have urged the Iraqis to clean up their act, “But in the end, this is an Iraqi war, and the Iraqis will fight it in their own way." I would say they’re ready to defend themselves. They’ve got the random round up, electro shock, outrageously pointless torture thing down cold. One of the various security forces that roam around the country killing Sunnis yanked 10 of them out of a hospital last week and locked them in a van for four hours in temperatures of over 100 degrees where they eventually suffocated. Rest assured, they were terrorists.

Note: Iran has now denied they are going to provide training for Iraqi troops but will donate $1 million to the Iraqi Defense Ministry. No strings attached, I’m sure. They’re ready; let’s get out!

AP reports:

"Between Jan. 1 and June 30, 1,594 civilians were killed, according to the Ministry of Health. Civilians often bear the brunt of car bombings and suicide attacks.

By contrast, 895 security forces — 275 Iraqi soldiers and 620 police — were killed in bombings, assassinations or armed clashes with insurgents, according to figures from the interior and defense ministries.

The number of insurgents killed during that six-month period was 781, the government said.

According to an AP count, more than 1,600 people have been killed in violence since April 28, when Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari announced his Shiite-led government in a country trying to crush an insurgency whose foundation is made up of Sunnis."

Also, the WaPo writes that "11 Sunni Muslim men were found dead hours after being arrested by Iraqi police, according to the head of the government agency that administers Sunni religious affairs." And very tragically yesterday more than a dozen children were killed in a suicide attack on U.S. troops handing out candy. This is just a horrble mess we're in and one can only hope those responsible for getting us into this will be held accountable at some point or another. But, as president Bush once famously said, things aren't "black and white" in accounting.

Rove’s stonewall.
(The problem with never being able to tell the truth.)

The White House is still stonewalling on the Plame investigation and Scott McClellan continues to take a beating from the press who are now all worked up about being lied to. Not that they ever were before. I heard Dana Milbank saying that this time Scott had really told a “whopper” and this is why the press corps. is so exercised. Lying about the reasons to start a war apparently doesn’t get the blood flowing like a good old fashioned inside the beltway scandal.

Rove’s lawyer says poor Karl is “in a no-win position. If he doesn't talk he subjects himself to criticisms like we're hearing from the Democrats on why he won't come forward and talk about his role. But if he does . . . he runs the risk of being accused of not cooperating with the investigation." That sounds just like the line of defense Jack Abramoff’s lawyer is using, doesn’t it? I’m sure Karl would love to come out and explain to the American people how he told Matt Cooper that Joseph Wilson’s wife was at the CIA, but didn’t tell him her name. He would probably even want to talk about what he meant by saying Wilson’s wife “was fair game.” But, gosh, he just can’t. You’d think the president at least would like to say something other than “stay the course.”

London update.

I theorized that the London bombers must have had something to do with the Iraqi contingent of al-Qaeda, but now it appears they were home grown and at least two of them might have been in Pakistan training camps at one point. Their motives remain unknown. There's so much propaganda swirling around this story right now, I think I'll just leave it alone until things shake about a little more.

Cross dressing doesn't cross the line?

From another WaPo article, on the other war we're in...

"Interrogators at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, forced a stubborn detainee to wear women's underwear on his head, confronted him with snarling military working dogs and attached a leash to his chains, according to a newly released military investigation that shows the tactics were employed there months before military police used them on detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The techniques, approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld for use in interrogating Mohamed Qahtani -- the alleged "20th hijacker" in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- were used at Guantanamo Bay in late 2002 as part of a special interrogation plan aimed at breaking down the silent detainee."

Investigators said the technics were "creative" and "aggressive" but "did not cross the line into torture."

What's really creative is all the spin coming out of the pentagon on this issue. I mean, they're in a tropical paradise. They get food! They're getting hot action from female interagators...What eles do you want?

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:44 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 12 July 2005
Karl Rove getting ready for frogmarch?
Topic: Bush Administraiton

Oh, this is sweet! Scott McClellan is not saying a word about the Plame case but is leaving it to Karl Rove’s lawyer. (He usually has such an endless line of bullshit!) So, the White House doesn’t have a thing to say about the revelation in Newsweek that Rove spoke to Matt Cooper three days before Novak’s article. "I think the way to be most helpful is to not get into commenting on it while it is an ongoing investigation." Right! McClellan didn’t seem to have any problem denying Rove was the source of the leak for the past two years and smearing Joseph Wilson at ever opportunity, but now…what’s happened? Do I sense of whiff of political scandal the likes of which we haven’t seen since Whitewater? Even with a solid majority in the house and senate, I smell fear. This drags on too long and it might become an issue in the ’06 midterms. (Don’t even mention Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay!)

But, wait! Rove told Cooper it was Joseph Wilson’s wife, but didn’t name her; so, it’s all- good. Sound a bit like “slick Willy” all over again? Gosh, I wonder how long it would take Cooper, or anyone else, to find out, who was married to Joseph Wilson? Notice the equivocal language in Josh White’s, of the Washington Post, article:

“Rove apparently told Cooper that it was ‘Wilson’s wife at the agency on wmd issues who authorized the trip.’” (To Niger.) Is the mighty Post shaking in their boots? ‘Don’t mess with Rove, he’ll kill you!’ According to Rove’s lawyer, this little bit of info was not in regard to the Wilson question but was “ at the end of a conversation about a different issue.” Sure. It’s not at all possible that Rove knew Valerie Plame was an agent at the CIA, is it? How would he have found out? For sure it wasn’t a deliberate outing, because he was just shucking-the-shit with a bunch of Washington correspondents, he couldn’t have known they’d publish this very combustible information, which might lead to her covert career coming to an end, could he? No! P. J. O’ Rourke pretty much summed it up when he opined that sitting at a desk job wasn’t very covert. Well said! After all, the people she had dealt with over the years, in the not very important job of spying on weapon proliferating states, wouldn’t be immediately held under suspicion of being American spies, right? She’s just sitting there typing.

McClellan said in 2003:

"The president has set high standards, the highest of standards, for people in his administration. He's made it very clear to people in his administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration." So, if it's true, which it is, Bush will fire Rove, right? Nope!

Crime scene? I think not!

Yesterday Sir Ian Blair, London police commissioner, said of the 7/7 bombings that they were the “biggest crime scene in English history.” Last Friday he said it was a “huge police operation.” Is this guy a wimp, or what? While the republicans would be preparing for war, the Brits want to “prepare indictments.” While the Brits are saying, “we must understand our enemies” Karl Rove is saying, “We will defeat our enemies.” So chuck the investigation, you don’t need who did it or how they did it or why, Sir Ian, just pull out the world map, find a suitable target with minimal defenses and maybe some oil, and bombs away!

Did I hear president Bush saying the perpetrators should be brought to justice? That was back in England, though. He must have been playing to the domestic crowd, that won’t get much play back in the good ol’ U S of A. Now, he’s talking renewal of all the 16 Patriot Act provisions that just last week even the house was thinking of flushing. They even want a few more new things, including an “administrative supeona” which the FBI can issue to itself, without a judge, and go right into medical files, business records, you name it. Why, all of a sudden? Because of the London attacks of course! The 9/11 thing kind of fell flat on its face last time he used it as an excuse to “stay the course” at Ft. Bragg, so now it’s 7/7.

And, naturally, since the bombings, it has become painfully clear we have to stay in Iraq ad infinitum. We have to fight them there so we won’t have to here. Wait, they did hit here, well over there, but you know what I mean, so why are we there? The FT reported this past Saturday that, “ The MoD is to stick to plans based around a gradual withdrawal (from Iraq) over the next 18 months and a big deployment to Afghanistan.” This was before the release of the leaked MoD memo written by John Reid saying there is a “strong U.S. military desire for significant force reductions to bring relief to overall U.S. commitment levels.” (I bet there is.) They’re thinking of going from 138,000 to 66,000 by next year. Right now, they can’t even think about saying that because that would be playing into the hands of the terrorists.

What do they want anyway? Robert A. Pape had a very interesting Op-Ed in the Times on Saturday. He writes, “The overwhelming number of attackers (terrorists) are citizens of Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries in which the United States has stationed troops since 1990…rather than from those the State Department considers “state sponsors of terrorism” like Iran, Libya, Sudan and Iraq.” Apparently, the main impetus for al-Qaeda and their ilk is to get us out of the Muslim world, period. He cites an al-Qaeda planning document from a radical web site found by Norwegian police in December 2003 saying that 9/11 style attacks on the U.S. were not the way to go anymore, but rather, writes Pape, “ it would be more effective to attack America’s European allies, thus coercing them to withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and increasing economic and military burdens that the United States would have to bear.” Silvio Berlesconi, by the way, says the London attacks won’t make him speed up the withdrawal of Italians troops from Iraq planned for September. Very macho! The Italian people, however, must be feeling pretty nervous right now.

After predicting that the outcome of an attack before the Spanish elections in March of 2004 would lead to a Socialist victory and the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq, months before it happened, the document goes on to say, “we emphasize that the withdrawal of Spanish or Italian forces from Iraq would put huge pressure on the British presence, a pressure Tony Blair might not be able to withstand, and hence the dominos tiles would fall.”

The FT writes that the talk of withdrawal right now in Whitehall is off the table. “Blair cannot afford to change his foreign policy at the moment. The prime minister feels he has no choice but to stick to his position.” He’s kind of a hostage to his Iraq policy right now, in other words.

Charles Clark, the British Home secretary, said these attacks had nothing to do with British policy in Iraq and pointed out that the U.S. wasn’t in Iraq before 9/11. Remaining in denial is a recipe for more disaster. Please note, that we were in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and in other Muslim countries before 9/11.

The brains behind al-Qaeda don’t seem to be trying too hard to conceal what their strategy is and we know what their tactics are, so it would seem the best thing for us to do would be to get out of Iraq. Right now we’re going bankrupt, economically and diplomatically, losing thousands of good people and at the same time giving them fertile ground for recruitment and an excellent training base. They’ve shown they can rapidly adapt to our counter measures and are now exporting their expertise to Afghanistan, (And who knows where in the future) where we’re starting to lose troops in larger numbers than at any time since 2001, many to IEDs.

The pentagon is rethinking its tried and true “two-war model” and coming to the conclusion that being bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan is limiting our ability to deal with other more conventional threats. Loren Thompson, an analyst at the Lexington Institute, was quoted in an article by Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt as saying, “what we need for conventional victory is different from what we need for fighting insurgents, and fighting insurgents has relatively little connection to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, we can’t afford it all.” So, we have to make a decision about whether we’re more worried about North Korea, Iran and China, or Jalal Talibani and Ahmad Chalabi slicing up Iraq into their own personal fiefdoms, because once we leave Iraq, all those Saudi Jihadi types are going to go home.

Maybe that’s the thinking at the White House. Keep the pressure off the Saudi royal family by luring all their suicide bombers to Iraq.

Scott Speicher again!

I couldn't believe my eyes when I read that a "new Navy review of efforts to determine the fate of missing pilot Capt. Michael Scott Speicher is recommending that the U.S. government undertake an intensified search in Iraq and that his status be affirmed as 'missing-captured.'" [AP] As I have written at length, Bill Nelson, senator of Florida, has this crusade going on and it won't end. Just read what I wrote and you'll see how absurd this whole thing is.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:54 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 13 July 2005 7:30 PM EDT
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Friday, 8 July 2005
The bombings in London.
Topic: General News.

What to say about the events of yesterday in London? From the descriptions of eyewitnesses the effect of the four nearly simultaneous bombings on the Underground and a double-decker bus were truly horrific. Not that the Brits haven’t had their fair share of bombings in the past during World War Two or the IRA bombing campaigns of the 70’s and 80’s, but this really was a barbaric act as Tony Blair has said, probably the worst thing to happen to England since the Blitz. It was painful to see the anguish on Blair’s face as he spoke of the attacks after returning to London. I couldn’t help but feel the genuine sense of loss he felt at this awful turn of events. After all, he was hosting the G-8 summit and was, I’m sure, entirely committed to actually helping the people of Africa and securing a better and healthier future for the world and then this happened; a noble attempt to do real good, snuffed out by such a senseless act. What a tragedy. I saw the newspaper this morning and there was a picture on the front page of a woman sitting on a man’s shoulders holding up the Union Jack celebrating London being awarded the 2012 summer Olympics and I couldn’t quite wrap my around the idea I was still living in the same world.

This is just a terrible thing that has happened and it brought back all the memories from when I was living in DC on September 11th. A BBC reporter described the eerie atmosphere on the streets hours after the attacks, people walking down the streets seemingly disconnected from what was going on around them, just walking, much as I noticed as I made my way down K street from 7th st. NW on my way to Dupont Circle that morning. Just a weird numbness, like ‘what the hell is going on, this is crazy?’ Crowds standing in front of store windows looking at TVs showing the WTC burning, cars behind them in the middle of intersection running red lights, horns blowing, rush hour in reverse, trying to get the hell out of dodge, fighter jets blowing afterburners overhead, lines at pay phones, people in their business suits at ten in the morning buying bottles of wine and then, no doubt, going home and staring at the endlessly repeated video of the towers falling one by one, as I did, until late into the night until we just couldn’t take it anymore.

It occurred to me after initial shock of the news that this same type of pointless carnage goes on every day in Iraq, the only difference being the method, usually car bombs, and that there are a lot more of them, with hundreds of more casualties. Some days in Baghdad alone there are a dozen or more such attacks, why is this one so much more troubling to us? The “bleed-out” of terrorists, warned of in a recent CIA report, [Iraq now is No. 1 extremist training spot study says] to other parts of the world appears to have begun and the rationale put forward by president George Bush for remaining in Iraq, to fight them there rather than in our own streets, gets weaker every day. While we should be strengthening our defenses at home and training our first responders, instead we send them over to Iraq in National Guard units.

I’m sure there will be many questions asked about how the British intelligence agencies missed the boat on these attacks and why 1,500 police were sent from the capital to Gleneagles. The same questions that were asked here after 9/11 will come up. The taxpayers pay billions to these agencies and they have a lot of powers given to them that have curtailed many civil liberties, yet they blew it. Why? How did this happen?

Remember Iraq?

While the world’s attention is focused on London, in Iraq the group that took Ihab al-Sharif has killed the kidnapped Egyptian envoy. Al-Qaeda in Iraq said, “Iraq is not longer safe for infidels.” The Pakistani and the Bahraini envoys that were attacked earlier in the week have relocated to Jordan and the Egyptian government has closed its mission there and evacuated the staff. So much for getting Arab countries to support the Iraqi

In a strange development yesterday Iran and Iraq have signed an agreement for the Iranians to train Iraqi military forces. Leila Fadel and Hannah Allam of the Inquirer foreign staff report, “In Tehran, Iranian defense minister Ali Shamkhani said Iran and Iraq would form joint committees to work out cooperation on clearing minefields and “modernizing Iraq’s army.”

In another worrying development, al-Qaeda in Iraq has announced the formation of a special militia to fight the Badr Brigade, the military arm of SCIRI. They’re the ones being accused of hunting down Sunnis and killing them, not to be confused with the wolf brigade and the regular Iraqi forces who apparently are also rounding up Sunnis and killing them, as I noted in more detail previously.

Also in Iraq, our old friend, and the Iranian’s, Ahmad Chalabi is at it again; it appears he is involved in an effort with other powerful Shiite leaders to get full autonomy for the oil rich south, much as the Kurds now do in the north. The New York Times reports the main instigator is one Bakr al-Yaseen who “has ties to Jalal Talibani, the Iraqi president and a Kurd, and is demanding the same broad powers…including an independent parliament, ministries and regional military force.” The plot thickens. I wonder how much the Iranians are involved in this whole deal? The Kurds are all for this because this strengthens their call for a loose federation rather than a strong government ruled from Baghdad. “’I support a real region in the south,’ said Abdul Khalik Zengana, a senior official in the Kurdistan Democratic Party, one of the two main Kurdish parties. ‘That will help to enhance federalism in Iraq. We bless this step.’” I’m sure a weak Shiite dominated Iraq is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to what Saudi Arabia and Egypt want.

From the G-8 meeting I saw a report that Vladimir Putin was going to press the U.S. for a timetable for leaving Iraq, not just Central Asia. This to me is a pretty significant development. I don’t know how far this would have gotten, or if he even brought it up with “W” after the attacks yesterday, but with China and the Central Asian nations behind him, it seems Putin is feeling his oats. Once things settle down, I’m sure this will come up again. This all must have something to do with Iran. They’re the pivot in the region. Now that they’ve signed a big energy deal with China and have the Russians helping them with their nuclear power plants they are probably feeling a little freer to throw their weight around. The situation in Afghanistan is spinning out of control, so that flank is safe, and they’ve obviously made some inroads into the Iraq situation getting all chummy with the Shiite dominated government, Israel is busy with the Gaza pull out and the political fallout from that with the settlers, so, right now, they’re sitting pretty.

And our position is getting weaker by the day. At the G-8 Bush obstructed everything the rest of the members wanted to get accomplished on global warming and African aid, Italy is unhappy with us about the CIA kidnapping case from 2003, Russia is attempting to form some sort of counter to the U.S. in Central Asia, China is telling the congress to butt out of their business and looking to hook up with various investment entities like Carlyle to help their bid for Unical, Hugo Chavez is creating a alliance of Caribbean and South American countries to sell cheap oil to and getting cozier with China, so is Bolivia, and all we’re left with is a mess in Afghanistan and in Iraq. We have friends, though, like Saudi Arabia and Pervez Musharrif in Pakistan and good old Moramar in Libya. With friends like these…


Judith Miller gets what’s coming to her.

So Time magazine is buckling under pressure and giving Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the prosecutor in the Valerie Plame case, the notes of their correspondent Matt Cooper which name the source in the White House who outed Joseph Wilson’s wife, the CIA agent. I must say, I don’t agree that journalists should have to reveal their sources under any circumstances, but in this case it’s not like they’re protecting a whistle blower or deep throat or anything. Judith Miller has been a shill for the right wingers for a long time: citing unnamed sources in her articles to trash Clinton and spreading Ahmad Chalabi’s propaganda about WMD in Iraq, its about time she got her comeuppance. Good riddance to bad trash, I say.

Now, Matt Cooper has decided to testify in front of the Grand Jury and Miller has gone to a DC lockup. (Tee hee!.) The reports filed papers a few days ago asking for house arrest in case the judge decided to lock them up, but the special council rejected the request by noting that Miller’s experiences in the Iraqi desert would make her “far better equipped than the average person jailed in a Federal facility” to handle a little time in stir. After this is all over you can just see the book deals and the T.V. talk shows: ‘oh Oprah, poor me I was protecting democracy!’

And where are the right-wingers in all of this? Aren’t they outraged by this naked abuse of prosecutorial power, by this government over reach? Nope! Their man, the one who started this whole mess, Robert Novak, has apparently already testified and has cooperated fully with the prosecutor. So much for journalistic integrity on the right side of the spectrum! Oh, but he’s a columnist, not a journalist, right? He just crosses that line back and forth when it suits him, when judges start asking him questions.

Schiavo case closed:

Now that Jeb Bush has wasted God knows how much taxpayer money in his petty attempt to get Michael Schiavo for murdering his wife, he has announced the case is closed. State Attorney Bernie McCabe said Schiavo’s statements about when he called 911 were consistent and that “this consistency, coupled with the varying recollections of the precise time offered by other interested parties, lead me to the conclusion that such discrepancies are not indicative of criminal activity.” Bush said, “Based on your conclusions, I will follow your recommendations that the inquiry by the state be closed.” That’s it Jebster? Nothing left in the quiver? Common’, maybe Schiavo kicks little puppies are smokes crack or something. Never mind, you’ve got your rightwing nut bona fides in place. Maybe, there’s a vice-presidential spot out there for you somewhere.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:20 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 8 July 2005 3:21 PM EDT
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Thursday, 7 July 2005
Attack on the Underground.
Topic: General News.

So, I was all prepared for my usual snarkiness this morning and I see that the London Underground was attacked today. The first thing that came into my mind was 9-11 and that sick feeling in my stomach I had running around DC trying to get home and find out what was going on. The swirling chaos, people running red lights, traffic jams, long lines at the beer store...I really understand what they must be going through over there and I feel for them.

Presdient Bush wasn't reading any books about goats
as far as we know but his initial comment was:

"The war on terror goes on."

Thanks for that, very inspirational. Is Ruddy around anywhere?

Here are some eyewitness accounts of what went on there today from the Guardian:

"And then the announcement came as we were stuck at King's Cross station that we should all come out. We all took our time. It happens all the time.

As I was going towards the exit there was this smell. Like burning hair. And then the people starting walking out, soot and blood on their faces. And then this woman's face. Half of it covered in blood. How can you just carry on with your day?"

And another:

"Really insane and surreal day. My office is literally round the corner from where some of the blasts took place and I have spent the morning trying to make sure my friends are OK. I think they are, but the mobile phone networks are down so I haven't been able to confirm. There is no major panic here, just an underlying sense of confusion and despondency. Nobody is communicating and certainly nobody is able to concentrate on work. I guess it's a delayed sense of shock."

That sounds just like I felt on 9-11.

Looks like the Metropolitian Police are a little short handed as they have so many cops up at the summit, the governemnt announced they're being rapidly redeployed.

Claim of responsibility:

The Guardian:

"A group called The Secret Organisation of al-Qaida in Europe today said it carried out the series of blasts in London in retaliation for Britain's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The group's statement appeared on a website popular with Islamic militants, according to Elaph, a secular Arabic-language news website, and Der Spiegel magazine in Berlin, which both published the text on their sites.

The statement, which also threatened attacks against Italy and Denmark, said: "Rejoice, Islamic nation. Rejoice, Arab world. The time has come for vengeance against the Zionist crusader government of Britain in response to the massacres Britain committed in Iraq and Afghanistan."

I'm out of time, hang in there London, we're with you!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:28 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 8 July 2005 3:00 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 6 July 2005
Update on missing recon team in Afghanistan:
Topic: General News.

I wrote previously about the missing Navy Seals, in Kunar province Afghanistan, but at the time I didn’t know that two had been found dead and another is still missing. That leaves one still unaccounted for. The mysterious Taliban spokesman Mullah Latif Hakimi had said at the weekend that one soldier had been captured and there would be video in a few days. [Yeah, right.] While this search is on-going in Kunar province the U.S. has admitted to killing 17 civilians in a town called Chechal after dropping two bombs on a house that the pentagon said was a “terrorist target.” Naturally, the weapons used were “precision guided munitions” from a B-52 so if they got killed its their own fault. It appears the civilians were killed when they went to look at the wreckage of the initial attack. The pentagon says “the targeted compound was a known operating base for terrorist attacks in Kunar province as well as a base for medium level terrorist leaders.” Strange how the bodycount is exactly the number of our dead, so far, isn’t it [Not exactly: there is another American missing after falling down a ravine in a humvee.] “U.S. forces “regret the loss of innocent lives…however, when enemy forces move their families into locations where they conduct terrorist operations, they put innocent civilians at risk.” See? It’s entirely their fault. Where exactly are the “terrorists” supposed to take their families anyway? I mean the whole country is a war zone. Why couldn’t they have waited to use their precision-guided weapons for a more opportune moment when the medium-level terrorists were actually engaging in combat?

What is surprising about his story is the reaction from our good allies in the Afghan government. The New York Times quotes a spokesman for Hamid Karzai, Jawed Ludin, as saying, “We know terrorists kill people, destroy mosques and schools…but we should be careful not to cause harm or kill people. That is unacceptable.” Wow, Karzai keeps this up and he’s going to have to hire his own bodyguards.

Central Asia for the Central Asians!

Now comes news, just as W is running over Scottish policemen on his mountain bike at the Gleneagles resort at the G-8 summit, that the “Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” a group of Central Asian nations plus China and Russia is saying ‘here’s your hat what’s your hurry’ to their buddy Dubya. Our allies in the war on terror in the region “regard it as essential that the relevant members of the antiterrorist coalition set final deadlines for the temporary use of said infrastructure facilities and for the presence of military contingents of members countries.” [Deadlines and bench-marks, isn’t that what L. Paul Bremer was always talking about?] All the countries in the area apparently prefer to deal with Vlad the Impaler rather than the cowboy from Waco. This is a bit puzzling considering we’ve been throwing powder puffs at Islam Karimov since the massacre in Andijan. Perhaps they are confused by the messages we’re sending them. While Foggy Bottom hurls diplomatic arrows at the regime, the pentagon sends trunks of money. Maybe, certain dictators are afraid Condi Rice’s rhetoric about ‘instability is good for democracy’ might actually be serious. They see us bogged down in Iraq, militarily and diplomatically, they see how much we owe China in debt and are thinking they might just go with the up and coming power, China. They smell blood in the water. Obviously, Russia is good for cheap weapons and they speak the language and they are a moderately valuable counter balance to the ravenous Chinese dragon, but they’re still pretty weak. Add Hugo Chavez trying to set up a regional oil cartel in the Caribbean; with ambitions of countering the U.S. in the hemisphere and you start to see a pattern forming here. Bush and Co. say we can invade where ever we want, when ever we want, and the rest of the world starts thinking maybe they have more in common with eachother than they thought they had. Get rid of those petrodollars, we’ve got the Euro now!

Israel creates facts on the ground.

The Israelis president Moshe Katsav told Israeli Army radio that extremists in the settler movement might try “and carry out extremist acts…like trying to kill the prime minister [Ariel Sharon],” in order to stop the pullout from the Gaza strip. Pretty strong stuff there; what has the world come to when Arik is the most hated political leader in the settler crowd? Even Effie Eitam, Mr. ethnic cleansing nut job, said the settlers had crossed the “red-line” by attacking Palestinians and blocking roads. Will wonders never cease? There is one thing that is going on that I sort of alluded to yesterday, that while the media is transfixed by the Supreme Court battle, Israel would try to pull something. I was only half joking. It seems the government has decided to start bulldozing Palestinian houses in East Jerusalem again. (8 houses on Monday) There are thousands of Palestinian houses built without permits (as if they could ever obtain them), that are on a list to be knocked down. Of course, this has nothing to do with creating more “facts on the ground” that will leave Israel is complete control of East Jerusalem even before anything is negotiated with the PA leading to the creation of a Palestinian state. Oh, pooh-pooh!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 7:42 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 26 July 2005 12:12 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 5 July 2005
Missing in Afganistan.
Topic: General News.

As of the moment my writing, the search is on for what the pentagon is now saying is a recon team of four men in a mountainous region in the east of Afghanistan near the city of Asadabad in Konar Province near the Pakistani border where a MH-47 Chinook helicopter was shoot down by Taliban fighters last Tuesday, killing American 16 soldiers. An RPG brought down the Chinook during either an effort to reinforce the team or to extract them. (Reports now say one sailor has been found alive.) The story from the pentagon is still unclear. It is reported now that hundreds of U.S. forces are in the area looking for the lost soldiers. A self styled Taliban spokesman, Mullah Latif Hakimi, quoted by various news organizations claims the Taliban have captured one American. Apparently, the area in question is very rugged and perfectly suited to traditional Afghan insurgent tactics, which have been known to, in the past, lead to costly defeats for invaders. Time will tell.

What the hell is going on in Afghanistan anyway? I thought after three years over there it was all wrapped up. Instead, the Taliban are back with a vengeance, literally, the poppy crop is bountiful and we’re taking serious loses from car bombs, RPGs and IEDs. Last I heard the Talibs were history and the Afghan people were rallying behind their elected government. Perhaps the reports of victory were premature, a senior Afghan official is quoted in the NY Times as saying, “We were wrong. It seems they were spending the time preparing.” [Mood of anxiety engulfs Afghans as violence rises]

Everyone is talking about what a disaster it would be to pull the troops out in Iraq, but what about Afghanistan? What the hell are we doing there and when will those poor bastards be coming home? What major defeat to U.S. prestige will us leaving Hamid Karzai to his own devices do? (Hell, the Chinese will be taking over the Goddamn Centgas pipeline anyway when they buy Unical, so our job is done, as far as I can see. Let them worry about the freakin’ pipeline.)

It might be time for another one of those stay-the-course speeches by Bush with the creepy silence and green tarp in the back covering the basketball court. I dunno. What about the “Pakis,” as W likes to call them? What is Pervez doing to stem the flow of insurgents into Afghanistan? Regime change in Damascus might be the only answer!

Senate Supreme Court conformation hearings are quaint.

But wait! Here comes the best distraction from the mess in Iraq, and now in Afghanistan, too: A Supreme Court nomination fight. They could nuke Kabul and you wouldn’t find out about it until next month. Sounds like the perfect opportunity for “operation revenge cull” in Baghdad and maybe a little Israeli incursion into Lebanon to boot. And you’ll never hear that story about the V.A.’s 1.5 billion dollar budget shortfall because they forgot to ask for it, again. (Down the memory hole.)

Everybody is talking about Alberto Gonzalez (Mr. Water-boarding.) being Bush’s choice, but I don’t know. The left hates him because of all those torture memos and the right hates him because he’s not sufficiently rabid when it comes to the government getting into the gynecology biz. Then again, forgetting the fact that he’s a real lightweight when it comes to the law and apparently doesn’t have his own opinions on things, this might actually be the perfect candidate from Bush’s handlers view. Both sides equally despise him so he’d be considered a moderate, right? Where’s that baby king Solomon?

Lincoln was a gun nut and Diane Rehm is a commie!

My time is limited today (sorry for the lack of links), but I thought these two items are of interest:

One reason the government is a little slow on paying for things thee days might be because they are spending money on things like this. It appears reverend Louis Sheldon, of the Traditional Values Coalition, told the Park Service an eight-minute film they show at the Lincoln Memorial was full of liberal bias. [AP] “The video gave the impression that Lincoln would have supported abortion and homosexuality.” AP reports a FOIA request found the Park Service spent $20,000 scrambling to get video footage of “ President Bush, pro-gun advocates, and pro-Iraq war rallies, “ and even considered removing Clinton, to revamp the video. Some might say the Park Service was turning into another propaganda arm of the administration and caved to one religious nut, but no! Park Service deputy-director Don Murphy says the service has a “responsibility to present a balanced approach. We do not respond solely to any special interest group.” No not solely, they heard from the White House, too I’m sure. And whoever the political commissar at the service is.

Liberal Bias at NPR: (The lesson is: sucking up doesn't pay.)

Then there is the CPB. All these years NPR has been trying to get over to the “right” side of the nuts in congress, all those endless stories about anti-abortion activists, the worshipful wall-to-wall coverage of Ronald Reagan’s death, all those powerpuff questions to all the leading lights of the right wing, trying everything they could not to even utter the name Bill Moyers and this is what they get!

Kenneth Thomlinson launched secret investigation to monitor liberal bias on public radio. [AP] A “researcher” Fred Mann, whose work product of 50 pages was exposed by Sen. Byron Dorgan, who called it a “little nutty” and a sham, cost the tax-payers $14,700. [Note: in the president’s budget 1 million was cut from efforts to teach children about the dangers of obesity because it was considered redundant since Nickelodeon and the Disney channel has similar drives.] Those reds under investigation were, Bill Moyers, Tavis Smiley, David Broncaccio (A big time commie) and Diane Rehm and for a little balance Tucker Carlson. (What?) They call Diane Rehm the Red Queen; I don’t know what she thought she was getting away with. She says she feels betrayed because she actually interviewed Thomlinson and he didn’t mention he had siced a radio spy on her. Tough luck Madam Mao.

Come to Iraq: The rules are different here.

AP:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents mounted attacks against Arab and Muslim diplomats in Iraq on Tuesday, wounding Bahrain's top envoy in a kidnapping attempt. Pakistan's ambassador also escaped an assault on his convoy. The attacks came three days after gunmen seized Egypt's top envoy to Iraq as he was buying a newspaper in the capital..."

Pakistan's enoy "AFP Younis Khan will be shifted to the Jordanian capital Amman following Tuesday's assassination attempt, the third attack in four days on a foreign diplomat in Iraq's main city, Pakistan's foreign ministry said."

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:07 PM EDT
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