Topic: Bush Administraiton
President Bush has finally found a crisis sufficiently grave to cut short his vacation, but only by just a few days. (Don’t worry W., Cindy Sheehan will be in DC on the 24th.) He’s rushing back to Washington to chair a crisis commission to deal with the disaster in New Orleans and Mississippi. It’s not that he couldn’t deal with this issue in Crawford, his handlers insist, but he just felt like it. (Tiberius ran the Roman Empire from Capri for years!) Bush asks Americans to pray for those effected in the aftermath of Katrina. That’ll help! Can’t you already see the new ribbons on the SUV in front of you in traffic?
Bush is very intent on not repeating the mistakes of his father in1992 after Andrew. Of course, last year he rushed to help Florida after it was hit by four hurricanes, but later it was reveled that FEMA had written millions of dollars of checks for bogus claims in Miami-Dade County, which wasn’t even hit. [My mom, by the way, who had two of the four go right over her trailer, was turned down for a FEMA loan and her roof still leaks.]
It looks like Bush will release some oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve but it won’t lower prices at the pump. "I wish I could just snap my fingers and lower the price of gasoline for you. The markets don't work that way. I'd be snapping if I could do it.” Oh, that W.! He cracks himself up! It is now estimated that this emerging oil crisis will cost $30 billion in lost economic growth.
The perfect apocalypse:
And there’s no telling how much having a major US city completely out of business for an indefinite period will cost. It’s pretty incredible to consider that an entire city has been basically wiped off the map. There are tens of thousands of people stuck in the Super Dome with no running water or bathrooms, thousands of people are looting trying to find the basic necessities, and now people are arming themselves to protect their property and the police and national guard are no where to be found. It’s the perfect apocalypse.
Its kind of ironic that at the same time that we’re paying more at the pump for gas because of all these hurricanes, the storms causing the price raises, are becoming more frequent and deadly because of global warming, which is caused by us burning fossil fuels in the first place. The Economist would disagree with my assessment: "Some might ascribe all this to global warming. In fact, this is far from being established...' oh yes, the jury is still out, but then they go on to write "the frequency of weather disasters has tripled since the 1960s and insured losses have risen ten-fold, according to Munich Re, the world's largest re insurer." I don't see any connection, do you?
Pentagon defense adviser Andrew Marshall, wrote a report last year that was completely ignored by W. and Co. that basically said Climate Change was a bigger threat to the US than terrorism. If you look at the condition of New Orleans right now, you've got to figure unless Osama had a nuke somewhere he couldn't, in his wildest dreams.
possibly cause anything as catastrophic.
Operation Iraqi Liberation: (O.I.L.)
This is rich! Jennifer Loven writes for the AP that Bush provided another answer to his anti-war critics yesterday, while speaking in front of the USS Ronald Reagan; he said we had to prevail for the “protection of the country’s vast oil fields, which he said would otherwise fall under the control of extremists.” This isn’t really so much an answer to his critics as it is a confirmation of what the anti-war people have been saying all along about what his intentions were in invading Iraq in the first place. Incredible!
Deep down we all knew it was about the oil. Even ‘Joe Hummer’, with the magnetic yellow ribbons on the side of his SUV, knew it was about the oil. Now, that he’s got to mortgage his house to fill up his tank, Rove and Company have reprise the protecting-the-oil excuse.
Before it was about WMD and 9/11, it was about the oil. When WMD didn’t pan out, then it was about Saddam being a bad guy, then it was about staying and dying to honor those who have already died and now its back to the oil again. I mean, we’ve got to stay there now. All those refineries in the Gulf were blown away, the price of a barrel of oil is going to go through the stratosphere!
Of course, what he actually means is, he doesn’t want another country being run by extremists who would use their oil money to fund the war against America: like Saudi Arabia does, for instance. Free and fair elections in Iraq will lead to peace and stability in the Middle East, but on the other hand, nothing short of the Taliban style theocratic dictatorship currently in power in the Saudi kingdom will do. It’s really hard to imagine anything coming along that could be worse; but then again, you’ve got figure they wouldn’t have those deep Bush family connections.
In any case, the beat goes on in Iraq. Funny, just when you thought the constitution had been rubber stamped and the final draft was ready for a “vote, ” ambassador Khalilzad has come along and said, “a final, final draft has not yet been, or the edits have not been, presented yet.” That’s news! Not that the US has any say in what the Iraqis do about their future, “this is something that the Iraqis will have to talk to each other and decide for themselves,” but the US is kind of insisting that the Kurds and Shiites give the Sunnis something they can get behind.
Khalilzad, in an odd move, warmly introduced to the press Adnan Muhammad Salman al-Dulaimi, the spokesman of the General Conference of Ahal al-Sunna, who has been very vocal about Sunnis voting against the draft as it now stands. Al-Dulmaimi proceeded to rant and rave about the Shiite security forces executing Sunnis and called for the resignation of the Interior Minister. The whole time Khalilzad stood behind him smiling.
Looks like the bloom might be fading from the rose when it comes to deferring to the Shiites in all matters transitional. Think the brains trust at State might be seeing an oil rich Iranian satellite in the south of Iraq in their crystal ball? Even though, the Sunnis are probably a little bit too hot under the collar about the Ba’ath party ban, the fact that the Shiites have rejected language that would recognize Iraq as part of the Arab world, though probably not important in the larger scheme of things, is incredibly symbolic when you consider the Iranian influence.
As I theorized a little while ago at this blog, the Air Force indeed has plans to stay in Iraq for years to come. Eric Schmitt writes in the NYT that general John P. Jumper, soon to be former Air Force chief of staff, says, “We will continue with a rotational presence of some type in that area more or less indefinitely. We have interests in that part of the world and an interest in staying in touch with the militaries over there.” (Gosh, I wonder which militaries those could be?)
Well, isn’t that convenient? Now, we can keep all those fancy new bases we’ve been building all along anyway and, naturally, we’ll have to keep a certain number of US troops in the region to protect the bases…pretty much forever. If things get out of hand, we’ve got the facilities to move a bunch more troops in when ever we want. And best of all, if Iran gets uppity, we’re right there.
So, it is the British Imperial Model, after all: set up a client government with a big enough security force to keep things relatively orderly and if things get out of hand with the various tribes or factions, bomb the crap out of them. Jumper says, “As I see the transition into the hands of the Iraqi military, I will continue to see the need for them to require support from the air until their own ability to support themselves. And that’s going to take a while, even after some future withdrawal of ground forces.”
This begs the obvious question: why do we have to keep our Air Force there? Why don’t we sell them planes and train them to fly them instead? The obvious answer to that is, we couldn’t necessarily keep them in check if we did that. Some day, they might even learn how to fly and “accidentally” send an Exocet missile into one our ships in the Persian Gulf or something crazy like that.