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Lets's talk about democracy
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Monday, 9 May 2005
If the Saudis are doing it, let's blame Syria.

Today, the NY Times reports:

"BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 9 - A Marine task force swept through a wide area of western Iraq near the Syrian border today, killing at least 100 insurgents and raiding desert outposts and city safehouses belonging to insurgents who have used the area to import cars, money, weapons and foreigners to fight American and Iraqi forces, American military officials said...senior American commanders have increasingly blamed the porous border with Syria for allowing a never-ending stream of armed jihadists to enter Iraq and replenish the insurgency as quickly as United States and Iraqi troops can kill and capture them."

Gosh, I hope we don't accidentally go over the border and create an "incident" with the Syrians.

While we're focused on the Syrian border, more than half of the foreign insurgents in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia. I'm sure we'll be conducting a slash and burn raid on the Saudi border next, right?

In an interview on NPR, Bruce Hoffman of the Rand corporation said the vast majority of the foreign insurgents were Saudis.

MSNBCalso did an investigation into foreign insurgents and found almost half were Saudis

An official from the pentagon also said in a press briefing that "Foreign insurgents operating in Iraq seem to be coming from about 25 countries...The majority, he observed, are from Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran."

The Daily Texan reported:

"Iraq as a battleground offers the solution to a quandary facing the Saudi clerics who have to both placate the kingdom's rulers and keep their radical base happy.

"If they preach that there ought to be absolutely no jihad, they would lose credibility and support among their followers. So what they do is preach jihad - not in Saudi Arabia, but in Iraq," said Abdul-Aziz Khamis, a Saudi human rights activist in London.

"To them, Iraq is the answer to their dilemma."

In Iraq, the Ansar al-Sunnah Army - a group that follows Wahhabism, claimed responsibility for a Dec. 21 suicide bombing at a U.S. base in Mosul, Iraq, that purportedly involved a young Saudi. The bombing killed 22 people, mostly American troops, and was one of the worst attacks since the war started in March 2003.

While Ansar al-Sunnah indicated the bomber was Iraqi, the London-based Saudi Asharq Al-Awsat daily identified him as Ahmed Saeid Ahmed al-Ghamdi, a 20-year-old Saudi medical student from Riyadh."

So why aren't we putting any pressure at all on the Saudis? Bush just had Crown Prince Abdullah to his ranch in Waco, do you think they talked about any of this? Pump more oil! Will Bashir Assad be next?

Allawi's end of insurgency countdown:
(U.S. Troops killed hits 1,600)

The same article from the NY Times also reports:

"In Baghdad today, a suicide bomber attacked a police convoy in the Saidiya neighborhood, killing two officers and two civilians, an Interior Ministry official said. Six police officers and two civilians were wounded.

The military also reported that a Task Force Liberty soldier was killed by small-arms fire near Samarra on Sunday afternoon.

Today's violence follows the killing of eight American servicemen over the weekend. In one ambush, insurgents took over a hospital in Haditha, a haven west of Baghdad for the militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and killed three marines and a sailor."

And the beat goes on.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 4:43 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 9 May 2005 4:44 PM EDT
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Sunday, 8 May 2005
Day is night, black is white. War is peace.

In Latvia yesterday W said, regarding our role in the Yalta agreement in 1945:

"We will not repeat the mistakes of other generations -- appeasing or excusing tyranny, and sacrificing freedom in the vain pursuit of stability. We have learned our lesson. No one's liberty is expendable. In the long run, our security, and true stability, depend on the freedom of others."

Except the Sudanese and a bunch of other people whose governments serve our interests. In that case our security lies with doing business with the likes of the Sudanese Mukabarat, who are behind the killing and dislocation of tens of thousands of civilians in Darfur.

Condi Rice had said earlier that "In the Middle East President Bush has broken with six decades of excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the hope of purchasing stability at the price of liberty. The stakes could not be higher. As long as the broader Middle East remains a region of tyranny and despair and anger, it will produce extremists and movements that threaten the safety of America and our friends."

So, let me get this straight; we don't care if bringing "freedom" to the Middle East involves more carnage like what's going on in Iraq right now, because the lesson of Yalta is stability is a bad thing. (What was Roosevelt supposed to do anyway? Move on to Moscow from Berlin?)

So watch out Egypt, you're next. As Ricahrd Perle said, "Mubarak is no great shakes." He could go, too. Since we're all about the untidiness of democracy these days...

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:10 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 8 May 2005 8:08 PM EDT
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Friday, 6 May 2005
"We don't really have an exit strategy," says Rummy, "We have a victory strategy."

[Allawi insurgency count-down continues. 3 months 3 days.]

That's working about as well as the "cake walk" strategy.


"Guerrilla bombings and other attacks have killed more than 250 people since the cabinet was announced eight days ago.

New tensions also erupted on Friday between Iraqi security forces and supporters of radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Followers of Sadr clashed with Iraqi soldiers after Friday prayers in Kufa, near the holy city of Najaf, and hours later gunmen killed two Sadr supporters in Baghdad, police said.

Sadr, who has led two major uprisings against U.S. troops in Iraq, has been keeping a low profile since an American military offensive against his Medhi Army fighters in Najaf last August."

If Sadr starts his attacks aginst U.S. troops again this could mean big trouble for the "victory strategy." I don't see how we fight the insurgency and Sadr at the same time. This resurgence of car bombings and the general every day mayhem going on there is taking up all the attention of the Iraqi "security forces," and they're not faring well. Over 480 of them have been killed in the past two months. That's not including the recruits who don't even get through the door before they're blown up.

AIPAC spy case.

"WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI arrested a Pentagon analyst Wednesday on a charge alleging he passed classified information about potential attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq to employees of a pro-Israel group. Larry Franklin, 58, of Kearneysville, W.Va., turned himself in Wednesday morning.

Franklin, who specialized on Iran and Middle Eastern affairs and had clearance to review top secret information, gave the information to two people without such clearance at a luncheon meeting at a restaurant in Arlington, Va., in June 2003, FBI agent Catherine Hanna said in an affidavit accompanying the criminal complaint.

The people at the lunch were employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a law enforcement official said on condition of anonymity because they are not identified in court papers.

Franklin acknowledged at the lunch that the information was highly classified and asked the two people not to use it, Hanna said. It concerned possible attacks against U.S. troops by Iranian-backed groups in Iraq, the law enforcement official said.

Franklin's top secret security clearance was suspended in June 2004, the Justice Department said. He formerly worked in the office of policy undersecretary Douglas Feith."

Have no fear though, the WaPo says:

"Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said his country was not involved.

"Israel does not carry on any activity in the United States which could harm, God forbid, its closest ally," Shalom told Israel's Channel One TV."

God forbid! Except for that U.S.S. Liberty "accident" and the Jonathan Pollard "incident" Israel has been our best buddy.

See this blog July 9th, 2004 for more on Israel spying on us.
And August 31, 2004 on Israel's new nuclear tipped submarines that we can't track because of Jonathan Pollard's treason.

That other axis of evil problem.

KYOTO, Japan - Japan threatened on Friday to put the issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons program before the U.N. Security Council next month unless six-nation talks on the dispute show progress.

The North also fiercely opposes taking the issue to the Security Council, which would be a first step toward possible sanctions against the reclusive communist regime. North Korea's leaders hvave said they would consider sanctions a "declaration of war."

But the Japanese foreign minister, Nobutaka Machimura, said Friday during an Asia-Europe meeting Kyoto that Japan was thinking of pursuing the matter with Security Council.

"If there is no progress, we have to think of other options, such as taking this matter to the United Nations Security Council," Machimura told reporters after meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Ban Ki-moon."

This is kind of odd. Since when does Japan go off like this without us telling them too? They don't. This puts pressure on China and give Japan a little pay-back for the "text book" riots two weeks ago in China. A very dangerous strategy. First a missile test and then a Nuke test? Maybe. Lucky for us we aren't bogged down anywhere.

The president seems pretty confident. (He can afford to be, he's not a details kind of guy.)

"We've got good capacity in Korea. We traded troops for new equipment [Is that the new equipment they're waitng for in Iraq?],as you know; we brought some troop -- our troop levels down in South Korea, but replaced those troops with more capacity."

Boy, that's a relief. For a minute there I thought we were fucked. We've got "capacity." Take that Kim Jong il.

But wait!

"there is concern about his capacity to deliver a nuclear weapon. [Oh crap, he's got capacity too.] We don't know if he can or not, but I think it's best when you're dealing with a tyrant like Kim Jong-il to assume he can."

Like now for instance?


"WASHINGTON, May 5 - White House and Pentagon officials are closely monitoring a recent stream of satellite photographs of North Korea that appear to show rapid, extensive preparations for a nuclear weapons test, including the construction of a reviewing stand, presumably for dignitaries, according to American and foreign officials who have been briefed on the imagery.

"The North Koreans have learned how to use irrationality as a bargaining tool," a senior American official said Thursday evening. "We can't tell what they are doing."

Nonetheless, American officials have been sufficiently alarmed that they have extensively briefed their Japanese and South Korean allies and warned them to be prepared for the political implications of a test. [Or a war.]

Several officials said they had never before seen Korean preparations as advanced as those detected in recent days, including the digging of a tunnel. That tunnel resembles the one used in Pakistan for nuclear tests in 1998.

One of the creators of Pakistan's program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, traveled to North Korea repeatedly and has admitted to Pakistani interrogators that he supplied nuclear technology to the North, American intelligence officials said.

A senior European diplomat deeply involved in the issue said this week that he suspected that North Korea was "now pursuing the Pakistani model."

Pakistan and India were both condemned and subjected to economic sanctions after their 1998 tests. But all of those were lifted after the United States determined it needed Pakistan's help immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"The North Koreans may be thinking that in two or three years, it too may be regarded as just another nuclear power, outside of the Nonproliferation Treaty, the way we now view Pakistan and India and Israel," the official said." [Israel has nukes? Who knew?]

Several black eyes on the "the war on drugs" front.

ABC news:

BOGOTA, Colombia May 4, 2005 — Colombian police have detained two U.S. Army soldiers near a huge military base southwest of the capital in an alleged arms smuggling plot, Colombian and U.S. officials said Wednesday.

The arrests mark the latest U.S. embarrassment in this South American nation. On March 29, five American soldiers were arrested after 35 pounds of cocaine were found aboard a U.S. military plane that flew to El Paso, Texas, from the Apiay air base east of Bogota.

Colombian lawmakers called for their extradition to face trial in Colombia, but U.S. Ambassador William Wood ruled out such a move, citing diplomatic immunity." [That's rich! How many times have we threatened cutting them off if they didn't didn't turn over their drug lords?]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:58 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 6 May 2005 4:27 PM EDT
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Monday, 2 May 2005
A bridge Darfur.

In his Inaugural speech president Bush said:

"When we see that wounded traveler on the road to Jericho, we will not pass to the other side..."

Unless that traveler is in Darfur. According to human rights organizations dealing with the disaster in Darfur,

Political Affairs:

"Arbitrary arrest, torture and killings continue in the Darfur region of the Sudan... (An estimated) 400,000 [Figures vary wildly.] people have been killed and as many as 2 million have been displaced by violence led by a Sudanese government-backed militia known as the Janjaweed."

Colin Powell called the situation a "genocide."


"We concluded that genocide has been committed in Darfur and that the government of Sudan and the Janjaweed bear responsibility and genocide may still be occurring."

And yet the L.A. Times reports our good friends in the Sudanese intelligence services get first class service on their flights to the U.S.:

"Late last year, a senior Mukhabarat official met in Washington with the CIA's counter-terrorism center to discuss Iraq, according to sources familiar with the talks."

Mukabarat? Wasn't that the name of Saddam's secret service? Oh, never mind, these guys aren't cold blooded killers with rape rooms etc. What? They are? But they're our cold blooded killers, right?

"Last month, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sent a letter to the Bashir government calling for steps to end the conflict in Darfur. [Well, that's good, really letting them have it right Condi?]

But the letter, reviewed by The Times, also congratulated Sudan for increased cooperation with an African Union mission to Darfur. [When?] It also said the administration hoped to establish a "fruitful relationship" with Sudan and looked forward to continued "close cooperation" on terrorism."

But, the president says we stand for our ideals that have passed down through history:

(The)..."grandest of these ideals is an unfolding American promise that everyone belongs, that everyone deserves a chance, that no insignificant person was ever born. [Unless they are born in Darfur.]

The enemies of liberty [The Sudanese government?] and our country should make no mistake: America remains engaged in the world by history and by choice, shaping a balance of power that favors freedom. We will defend our allies and our interests." [Well, we're sure defending our interest, anyway. Close enough for government work.]

Nice company we keep.
And then there's China, but we expect them to be bad guys:

Access News:

"More than 70 percent of Sudan's total export earnings come from oil sales abroad. China has a 40 percent stake in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, the main international consortium extracting oil from Sudan.

Other large stakeholders include Malaysia's Petronas and India's national oil company, ONGC Videsh.

In Washington, Chinese embassy spokesman Sun Weide defended China's oil involvement in Sudan.
"I think the relationship between China and Sudan is a normal one. And oil, I think, cooperation, is only one area," said Sun Weide. "Nothing special about that."

Certainly not! Anyone think Burma knows where OBL is?

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:27 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 2 May 2005 11:39 PM EDT
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War is our last option. This is the moment of truth.

The Times-online has published two articles on evidence,leaked memos, from nine months before the war that shows Tony Blair had already made up his mind to go along with the Americans in their invasion of Iraq. Despite Bush saying "war is not my first choice, it's my last choice," he had already made up his mind to go to war and was looking for a political justification.

Even before 9-11 according to former treasury secretary Paul O'Neil, who with Ron Suskind, wrote that Bush was determined to go to war with Iraq in Feb. 2001 but was just trying find an excuse. [Sound familiar?]


"There are memos," Ron Suskind told CBS. "One of them marked 'secret' says 'Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq."'

Another Pentagon document entitled "Foreign suitors for Iraqi Oil Field Contracts" talks about contractors from 40 countries and which ones have interest in Iraq, Suskind said."

So, these memos coming out in England should inform the debate here on the reasons we're stuck forever in Iraq. But they won't, we don't care.

The Times:

"THE HEAD of MI6 told Tony Blair that the case for war against Iraq was being “fixed” by the Americans to suit the policy, according to a BBC documentary [Shown in March] that will reignite its battle with the government.

Sir Richard Dearlove, head of MI6, briefed Blair and a select group of ministers on America’s determination to press ahead with the war nine months before hostilities began.

After attending a briefing in Washington, he told the meeting that war was “inevitable”. Dearlove said “the facts and intelligence” were being “fixed round the policy” by George W Bush’s administration.

... {in the memo it records} a meeting in July 2002, attended by military and intelligence chiefs, at which Blair discussed military options having already committed himself to supporting President George Bush’s plans for ousting Saddam.

“If the political context were right, people would support regime change,” said Blair...at the July meeting Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, said the case for war was “thin” as “Saddam was not threatening his neighbors and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran”.

Straw suggested they should “work up” an ultimatum about weapons inspectors that would “help with the legal justification”. Blair is recorded as saying that “it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors”.

The memo says: “There is more work to ensure that the figures are accurate and consistent with the US. But even the best survey of Iraq’s WMD programmes will not show much advance in recent years.”

A separate secret briefing for the meeting said Britain and America had to create” conditions to justify a war.

The minutes show Goldsmith [Britsh AG] warned Blair eight months before war started on March 19, 2003 that finding legal justification would be “difficult”.

Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, chief of the defense staff, demanded unequivocal written confirmation.

Boyce was never shown Goldsmith’s more equivocal advice to Blair of March 7, 2003 and says today ministers failed to give him protection from prosecution at the International Criminal Court.

“I have always been troubled by the ICC,” he says, adding that if British servicemen are put on trial, ministers should be “brought into the frame as well”. Asked if that should include Blair and Goldsmith, he tells The Observer: “Too bloody right.”

Speaking of legal matters and trials for war crimes:

The Scotsman

"Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, warned Mr Blair he could not bypass the United Nations simply because France threatened to veto a move to war. A court "might well conclude" that war was illegal.

Yet there was no hint of this in the summary of the advice shown to the Cabinet and published - exposing Mr Blair to the charge that he misled both parliament and the public.

The extracts released last night were from the 13-page legal memo shown to Mr Blair but never seen by the Cabinet - in an apparent breach of official code. At the time of its preparation, the UN had passed Resolution 1441 warning Saddam Hussein to disarm - but had not authorized the use of force.

The Prime Minister wanted to know whether it was legal to invade Iraq without a second UN resolution...The leaked document shows Lord Goldsmith warning the legal effect of Resolution 1441 was "unclear". Indeed, he said the "safest legal course" was to seek the second UN resolution which never emerged."

Hence the Admiral's worries about the ICC.

The Brits were so worried about this and a second resolution that Rummy felt it necessary to step in to put some steel in their backbones!

Common' limeys, put up or shut up!

March 13 2003
The Age:

"US defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld created a furore when he suggested that Britain might pull out of any attack on Iraq, indicating the diplomatic disarray in Washington over a second Security Council resolution.

Mr Rumsfeld's gaffe yesterday came as President George Bush stumbled in his bid for United Nations Security Council support for a war on Iraq.

After a meeting with British defense Minister Geoffrey Hoon, Mr Rumsfeld initially indicated that British forces might not participate in the war if the Security Council failed to pass a second resolution opening the way for military action.

"To the extent they are able to participate in the event that the President decides to use force, that would obviously be welcomed," Mr Rumsfeld said. "To the extent they're not, there are work-around and they would not be involved, at least in that phase."

The moment of truth.

Thus Tony Blair at the Azores conference. Still desperately trying to get some legal cover for the war, even though, by the 17th of March 2003 he had got his AG to "change his mind" of whether the war was legal or not. Jack Straw said "Any action we are involved in or in the future will be involved in will be fully consistent with our obligations under international law." Okay, you keep telling your self that.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:12 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 2 May 2005 12:56 PM EDT
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Friday, 29 April 2005
Progess versus desperation.

President Bush last night on the war in Iraq:

"We're making good progress."

Fact check: (The president isn't a fact checker, remember?)

An estimated 12 well coordinated car bombings occurred today in Iraq. Luckily, the insurgency has spent itself, or it could have been much worse. (The "Allawi end of the insurgency countdown" is at almost three months and counting.)

The NY Times:

"At least 23 Iraqi policemen and troops were killed. Some reports put the total death toll at as many as 50 people. Later in the day, other car bomb attacks struck Diyarah, 20 miles south of Baghdad, killing two American soldiers, and near Taji, just north of Baghdad, where a bomber killed one American soldier and wounded two others. One American soldier was also killed and four were wounded by a homemade bomb Thursday night near Hawija, 150 miles north of Baghdad.

With Friday's attacks, at least 480 Iraqi policemen and troops have been killed by insurgents in the last two months, according to tallies by Western security contractors, Iraqi officials and local news accounts."

USA Today:

"President Bush...blamed rising violence in Iraq on U.S. progress being made there, saying coalition successes are making insurgents more desperate.

The more progress we make on the ground, the more free the Iraqis become, the more electricity that's available, the more jobs are available, the more kids that are going to school, the more desperate these killers become," Bush told reporters."

Sorry, that was from an article on 10/27/2003. (See Thursday, 21 April 2005 for link to a whole bunch more of the same talking points going back to the beginning of the war.)

Posted by bushmeister0 at 10:46 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 2 May 2005 11:37 PM EDT
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Ahmad Chalabi in the hen house.
Topic: Iraq

"Thwarted in his bid to be Iraq's leader, one-time Pentagon favorite Ahmad Chalabi has nevertheless captured a key position in the new government ? a deputy prime minister's spot and temporary control of the lucrative oil ministry."

"Chalabi, a Shi'ite, replaces veteran oil technocrat Thamir al-Ghadbhan at the oil ministry's helm. Unlike his predecessors Ghadhban and Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum, Chalabi -- scion of a Baghdad merchant family -- has no experience in the state-owned oil sector that employs 80,000."

Ahmad Chalabi has been appointed "temporary" oil minister in the new Iraqi "government?" What? That must be very reassuring to international oil interests. Keep your eyes on the silverware.

This appointment more than anything else shows the entire world what a crock this whole "sovereign Iraq" crap is. The Iraq people voted for the occupation to end. No such luck. Now, the biggest Ali Baba in Iraq has taken over the main source of the country's revenue. Imagine what the average Iraqi on the street must think about this as he waits for two days to get a few gallons of gas. (I wonder if this appointment was discussed with Crown Prince Abdullah in crawford?)

And why hasn't congress have anything to say about the man behind "curveball" getting his hands on the Iraqi oil spigot?

[Ahmad Chalabi, the onetime White House favorite who has been implicated in an alleged Iranian spy operation, sent Iraqi defectors to at least eight Western spy services before the war in an apparent effort to dupe them about Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's illicit weapons programs, current and former U.S. intelligence officials said...Because even friendly spy services rarely share the identities of their informants or let outsiders meet or debrief their sources, has only in recent months become clear that Chalabi's group sent defectors with inaccurate or misleading information to Denmark, England, Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden, as well as to the United States, the officials said. Only later did the CIA learn that he ("Curveball.") was actually the brother of one of Ahmed Chalabi's top aides and had probably been coached to provide false information. The Washington Monthly.]

Oh wait, the president will explain...

I don't want cut into some of the TV shows that are getting ready to air ... for the sake of the economy." (Bush last night's press conference.)

Good night!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 10:51 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 29 April 2005 1:48 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 27 April 2005
Bunker busting bombs to a country that doesn't need them?
Topic: Israel


Here's a very interesting story, which will no doubt go un-noticed by the media, but not the rest of the world.

"The Bush administration has authorized the sale of as many as 100 large bunker-buster bombs to Israel. One expert said the move should serve as a warning to Iranians with nuclear ambitions...

"This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been, and continues to be, an important force for economic progress in the Middle East," the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a press release."

An "important force for economic progress?"

How does selling Israel something they don't need help "economic progress?"

Oh, now I see:

"The proposed deal (would be) worth as much as $30 million." And then they can resell it to the highest bidder, like they do with all the stuff we sell them. India? China? Pakistan?

On the win, win side:

The deal "would provide Israel with the capability to drop 5,000-pound bombs that can penetrate bunkers and other buried structures. The GBU-28 bombs can be dropped from Israel's American-made F-15 fighters."

How convenient! But here's the real deal.

"The Israelis want to be able to attack Iran's underground nuclear weapons facilities," said John Pike, a military expert at Globalsecurity.org in Alexandria, Va.

The propose sale should give notice to Tehran that the United States will not allow Iran to become a nuclear power if diplomatic efforts fail, he said."

So, we can't do it so we'll leave it to the Israelis.

Remember the Don Imus interview It's all starting to make sense.

Imus: "Why don't we make Israel do it?" [Take out Iran's nukes program.]

Cheney: "Well, one of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked...If, in fact, the Israelis became convinced the Iranians had a significant nuclear capability, given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwords."

Well, that leaves it up to us. We might be cleaning more up more than a diplotmatic mess though. Another 9-11 after this type of attack might buck up Bush's approval ratings. Right around the mid-term elections would do wonders!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 9:06 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 26 April 2005
We never make mistakes. Only the little countries do.
Topic: U.S. Military issues.

The BBC:

"An Italian journalist who was held hostage in Iraq has criticised a US military report into the killing of the agent who helped secure her release.
Italian Nicola Calipari was shot by US forces at a checkpoint as he escorted Giuliana Sgrena to Baghdad's airport.

US investigators are said to have found that the troops were "not culpable", in a report which Italy has not endorsed. [The Italians beg to differ.]

"The greatest disappointment would be if our authorities were to accept this insult without reacting," Ms Sgrena wrote in a front page editorial in her newspaper, Il Manifesto.

"All the words said about Calipari would turn into hypocrisy... and Nicola would have been our government's hero, just for one day."

Imagine if this was an American and he had just saved an American woman hostage! Strange, though, the timing of the story on the report. A few days earlier and Silvio Berlusconi would have been right in the middle of forming a new government. I'm sure it's just coincidental.

Everybody get's off scott-free in the U.S. military it seems. Especially fighter pilots. That must be the preception around the world.

Remember the "cablecar" incident in 1999? It's deja vu all over again

The Guardian:

"A tidal wave of anti-American fury was building up in Italy last night (Thursday) after it was learnt that a court martial in the USA had acquitted the pilot whose plane cut through a cable car line last year sending 20 passengers to their death.

A US military jury in North Carolina yesterday acquitted Richard Ashby, a marine captain who was piloting the Navy ?Prowler? jet that sliced through cables at a ski-resort in a valley near Cavalese in the Italian Alps on February 3 last year."

Or who could forget the straffing incident in Afghanistan that killed Canadian soldiers


"A military hearing officer Thursday recommended against court-martialing two U.S. pilots who killed four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan last year in a friendly-fire bombing one of the men blamed on the "fog of war."

Although Col. Patrick Rosenow said there was enough evidence to court-martial both pilots, he said "non-judicial or administrative punishment would maintain the interests of good order and discipline." Rosenow presided over the nine-day investigative hearing in January."

And then of course there's the big whitewash in the Abu Ghraib scannal.


"An Army inspector general's report has cleared senior Army officers of wrongdoing in the abuse of military prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere, government officials familiar with the findings said yesterday.

The only Army general officer recommended for punishment for the failures that led to abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison and other facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan is Brig. Gen. Janis L. Karpinski [Scapegoat/woman.], who was in charge of U.S. prison facilities in Iraq as commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade in late 2003 and early 2004. Several sources said Karpinski is expected to receive an administrative reprimand for dereliction of duty.

...the inspector general's was designed to be the Army's final word on the responsibility of senior leadership in relation to the abuses. It was the only investigation designed to assign blame, if any, within the Army's senior leadership."

So that's that. A few NCOs and PFCs get the hammer and the big shots get a pass.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:00 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 26 April 2005 1:03 PM EDT
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Monday, 25 April 2005
BBQ pork is off the menu, but there's oil for all!
Topic: The Saudis

The WaPo reports today the president seeks relief from the Saudis.

We're seeking releif from the mainspring of terroristim in the world. America standing tall!

What about terrorism anyway? "Bush's White House-based homeland security adviser, Fran Townsend, is meeting with her Saudi counterparts on the sidelines." Wouldn't want to offend his royal highness, his hands are on the spigot.

"The global cost of oil will be at the top of Bush's agenda..." Of course, what elese would you talk to the Saudis about?

But the "president...said he's looking for "a straight answer" on how close the Saudis are to reaching production capacity. "I don't think they're pumping flat out," Bush said." [Who would know better about pumping oil?]

There will be no press conference at the ranch. Seems "Abdullah rarely talks with reporters." When you're a total autocrat, you don't have to.

Never mind, though, we're all friends. The Post goes on, "despite the difficult matters, Robert Jordan, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said the stage is set for a much friendlier meeting Monday than three years ago when Abdullah first visited the ranch

What the Post forgot to mention is that Robert Jordan worked for Baker-Botts who are defending the Saudis against the 9-11 families who are suing the Saudis for 9-11. And, oh by the way, he was Bush's lawyer when he was under investigation by the SEC for that "mix up" over his Harkin Energy Stocks.

Michael Isikoff in Newsweek wrote in 2003:

"April 16 - After months of working below the radar, a huge U.S. legal team hired by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has sprung into action and begun a major counteroffensive against a landmark lawsuit seeking $1 trillion in damages on behalf of the victims of the September 11 terror attacks.

Baker Botts, a prestigious Houston-based law firm, filed a motion on behalf of Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the Saudi defense minister. Baker Botts, Sultan’s law firm, for example, still boasts former secretary of State James Baker as one of its senior partners. Its recent alumni include Robert Jordan, the former personal lawyer for President Bush who is now U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia."

Dana Milbank wrote of the Harkin investigation:

"During the SEC investigation, which occurred while his father was president, Bush was represented by Robert Jordan, who'd been a law partner of Doty at the Baker Botts firm. Bush named Jordan ambassador to Saudi Arabia last year."

Nice little circle there. James Baker, the Saudis, Robert Jordan, corruption at a Bush owned oil company, 9-11, the Saudis....

See the "religious policeman" for more on the warm and snuggly Saudi family and their enlightened rule from someone who lives there.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 10:51 AM EDT
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