Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Joe Wilson was right

Bush's State of the Union Address, January 28, 2003: The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

That was Bush's famous 'sixteen words' in case anyone's forgotten. Y'know as part of the causus belli for the Iran War. And the reason Karl Rove got so pissed off enough at Joseph Wilson's dissenting opinion that they had to put his CIA wife at risk. Cause Saddam's got him sum nukular bombs, see?
"We pointed out at that time that Zawahie was one of Iraq's foremost proponents of nuclear weaponry, and that Niger--a poor country with essentially no manufacturing output--exports virtually nothing except uranium and animal hides. We therefore asked the question: So What Was Iraq Buying From Niger? We now know the answer [i.e. uranium]." -Powerline, conservative water carrier for the Bush administration

To which I have to ask.... are you POSITIVE, Mr. Assrocket?
NY TIMES: WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 - A high-level intelligence assessment by the Bush administration concluded in early 2002 that the sale of uranium from Niger to Iraq was "unlikely" because of a host of economic, diplomatic and logistical obstacles, according to a secret memo that was recently declassified by the State Department.

Among other problems that made such a sale improbable, the assessment by the State Department's intelligence analysts concluded, was that it would have required Niger to send "25 hard-to-conceal 10-ton tractor-trailers" filled with uranium across 1,000 miles and at least one international border.

In early 2002, the Central Intelligence Agency sent the former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV to Niger to investigate possible attempts to sell uranium to Iraq. The next year, after Mr. Wilson became a vocal critic of the Bush administration's Iraqi intelligence, the identity of his wife, Valerie Wilson, a C.I.A. officer who suggested him for the Niger trip, was made public. The investigation into the leak led to criminal charges in October against Mr. Libby, who is accused of misleading investigators and a grand jury.

The review by the State Department's intelligence bureau was one of a number of reviews undertaken in early 2002 at the State Department in response to secret intelligence pointing to the possibility that Iraq was seeking to buy yellowcake, a processed uranium ore, from Niger to reconstitute its nuclear program.

A four-star general, Carlton W. Fulford Jr., was also sent to Niger to investigate the claims of a uranium purchase. He, too, came away with doubts about the reliability of the report and believed Niger's yellowcake supply to be secure. But the State Department's review, which looked at the political, economic and logistical factors in such a purchase, seems to have produced wider-ranging doubts than other reviews about the likelihood that Niger would try to sell uranium to Baghdad.

The review concluded that Niger was "probably not planning to sell uranium to Iraq," in part because France controlled the uranium industry in the country and could block such a sale. It also cast doubt on an intelligence report indicating that Niger's president, Mamadou Tandja, might have negotiated a sales agreement with Iraq in 2000. Mr. Tandja and his government were reluctant to do anything to endanger their foreign aid from the United States and other allies, the review concluded. The State Department review also cast doubt on the logistics of Niger being able to deliver 500 tons of uranium even if the sale were attempted. "Moving such a quantity secretly over such a distance would be very difficult, particularly because the French would be indisposed to approve or cloak this arrangement," the review said.

Chris Farrell, the director of investigations at Judicial Watch and a former military intelligence officer, said he found the State Department's analysis to be "a very strong, well-thought-out argument that looks at the whole playing field in Niger, and it makes a compelling case for why the uranium sale was so unlikely."

One more sour note in the neo-con wet dreams of WMD. I love it when desire for something becomes synonymous with having it when it comes to these myopic, harebrained lunatics. I want a new Mustang too but you don't see it parked in my garage, ya fucking morons. But if I tell you I have one, are ya gonna bomb the shit out of my house to prove otherwise?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Conservative tantrums

Why is it that conservative pundits have an uncanny knack of throwing sociopathic hissy fits when things don't go their way? I can understand anger. I can understand vehement disagreement. But the need to wish not just misfortune but death and misery on the people who disagree with you? Some people weren't taken to the woodshed enough as a child.

First Bill O'Reilly has a vengeful conniption over San Francisco's ballot measures:
"And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."

Yep. That's compassionate conservatism all right.

Then Pat Robertson seems to all but delight at the possibility of divine retribution, wishing disaster on fellow Americans who voted out the absurdity of Intelligent Design and turning God into an agent of Brother Pat's political ideology:
"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city".

"And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there"

You do not speak for God, Pat. Don't embarass yourself any further by thinking that you do.

Pat goes on to say in response to criticisms about the above statement:
"I was simply stating that our spiritual actions have consequences and it's high time we started recognizing it. God is tolerant and loving, but we can't keep sticking our finger in His eye forever. If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin…maybe he can help them."

I wonder how 'tolerant and loving' a God is that would abandon men, women and children in a disaster just to dish out a little divine payback. Over a school board policy? Are you fucking kidding me?

And here I was told Intelligent Design wasn't a Christian evangelical apparatus. Seems Pat Robertson and God himself would disagree. Hmmmm.

Grow up, gentlemen. The world is FULL of disappointment.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Just the beginning...

So with all the votes finally tallied today, it looks like Democrats have something to celebrate. Not just for the victories scored in these elections, but for what it portends for Democrats in 2006. Let's face it, this is the first break of light in a much bigger morning. And if Republicans aren't shitting themselves right now, they damn well should be. The times they are-a changin'.

I won't beat the dead horse that the GOP have made for themselves. At least not today. But I will say this... the GOP has fundamentally mismanaged and overinterpreted prior elections, turning them into the flimsy "mandate" and "capital" they've squandered so frivolously. Here's to hoping it'll separate the core conservatives from the theocratic chaff. As I would much rather have a rational government of intelligent opposition than the polar idiots that have run things thus far. Kick the fundies to the curb, gentlemen. And get back to the business of government, not electioneering.

One thing that I found humorous about last night's elections though, other than the first thumps against the GOP in Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maine and California, is the kind of goofy fringe extremism on both sides of the political aisle.

I want to clarify anyone who isn't already aware... I am not a hardcore leftist. At least not in all issues. And in the case of last night, there's one referendum I don't support. I strongly disagree with the San Francisco Handgun Ban. For no greater reason (and I've had long devil advocacy arguments with gun-owning family members and friends about gun control issues such as this one) than the fact its constitutionality simply does not hold up. No liberal worth his salt can argue and defend the constitutional protections allowed to us and then attempt to argue as strict a gun control law as San Francisco's. It cannot be done with any intellectual integrity. The 2nd Amendment either exists in validity or it does not.

"the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." And so, just as Texas has overstepped its constitutional bounds (I'll address that in just a minute) so too has San Fran.

Now, as for Texas... that state's ban on gay marriage is again indicative of a knee-jerk kind of demagoguery, one that will not stand in the years to come and certainly not in the face of federal authority. The 14th Amendment is perfectly clear about this:

"No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Two extremist positions. Neither of them constitutionally compatible.

But all in all, it's been a great resurrection of balance and rational government. Well worth celebrating from Democrats and much moping and second-guessing on the part of Republicans. And it's just the beginning.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Tax exempt status only for conservative churches

First comes the anger:
Ten teachers of Christian ethics at leading seminaries and universities have written a letter to President Bush criticizing his campaign's outreach to churches, particularly its effort to gather church membership directories.

The Aug. 12 letter asked Bush to "repudiate the actions of your re-election campaign, which violated a fundamental principle of our democracy." It also urged both presidential candidates to "respect the integrity of all houses of worship."

The Bush-Cheney campaign has defended its outreach as a "peer-to-peer" effort rather than an attempt to enlist churches in partisan electioneering, which would violate Internal Revenue Service rules. Bush supporters also charge that some African American churches routinely support Democratic candidates.

Then comes the rage:
The Internal Revenue Service has warned one of Southern California's largest and most liberal churches that it is at risk of losing its tax-exempt status because of an antiwar sermon two days before the 2004 presidential election.

On June 9, the church received a letter from the IRS stating that "a reasonable belief exists that you may not be tax-exempt as a church … " The federal tax code prohibits tax-exempt organizations, including churches, from intervening in political campaigns and elections.

The letter went on to say that "our concerns are based on a Nov. 1, 2004, newspaper article in the Los Angeles Times and a sermon presented at the All Saints Church discussed in the article."

The IRS cited The Times story's description of the sermon as a "searing indictment of the Bush administration's policies in Iraq" and noted that the sermon described "tax cuts as inimical to the values of Jesus."

And if anyone thinks the issue with All Saint Church is a fluke, I'd recommend reading this article as well, in which a Democratic leaning church was threatened by the IRS, but the local conservative Christian church was left alone.

This kind of partisan bullying by an arm of the government is disgustingly transparent. See here, here and here for just a few more examples of conservative Christian electioneering that have resulted in not one examination of tax exempt status by the IRS. Not one.

End sum: Conservative Christian churches and their political endorsement of certain candidates or issues are deemed a-okay by the IRS. But liberal or Bush-critical churches run the risk of having their tax exemption status scrutinized and possibly revoked.

I call shenanigans.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Shithouse rats

Pull up your chairs, folks. It's time, once again, for another exciting episode of Conservative BatShit Theater.

From the nonsensical Crazy:
LIMBAUGH ON THE MADE-UP DEAD: "I mean, Cindy Sheehan is just Bill Burkett. Her story is nothing more than forged documents. There's nothing about it that's real, including the mainstream media's glomming onto it. It's not real. It's nothing more than an attempt. It's the latest effort made by the coordinated left."

To the Piss-On-Your-Political-Mealticket variety:
ANNE COULTER ON THOSE SURRENDER MONKEYS IN NEW YORK: "the savages have declared war, and it's far preferable to fight them in the streets of Baghdad than in the streets of New York (where the residents would immediately surrender)."

To the arms-flailing, mouth-foaming, babbling batshit Craaaaaaziest:
PAT ROBERTSON ON ASSASSINATING THE DEMOCRATICALLY-ELECTED VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT, HUGO CHAVEZ: "You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war...We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

Saturday, August 20, 2005

A comedy of errors

It's the complete and utter disconnect from reality that makes me wonder why exactly the Bush administration and its quasi-religious loyal supporters are qualifiied to be dogcatchers, much less in any real positions of power. It's this kind of maladaptive, and quite frankly pathological, illusion they're defending that made me spray coffee across the room in a fit of laughter tonight.

From the cult of personality that is Blogs For Bush:
Now, the concept that Iraq only became a terrorist haven after our liberation of the country is a rather idiotic leftwing talking point - but the fact that our lefties say this and say we should pull out can only mean that they believe we shouldn't be fighting terrorists. Regardless of why the terrorists are there, if they are in Iraq, then that is the place we need to be, right? If we pull out of Iraq, do our leftwing friends think the terrorists there will pack up and go home? Hardly - we leave Iraq, and the terrorists will just be freed to strike strike not well-armed American military personnel, but unarmed American civilians here in the United States.
It is a strange world our Democrats live in - a world in which the best way to beat terrorists is to stop fighting them.

The bit about Iraq, the new terrorist haven, being an 'idiotic leftwing talking point' is probably my favorite part of the whole thing. God knows those guys in the National Intelligence Council and their report on Iraq are just a buncha Birkenstock-wearin', dreadlock sportin' hippies. Wouldn't surprise me in the least if we found out they were financially supported by MoveOn.Org.

Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of "professionalized" terrorists, according to a report released yesterday by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director's think tank.

Iraq provides terrorists with "a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills," said David B. Low, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats. "There is even, under the best scenario, over time, the likelihood that some of the jihadists who are not killed there will, in a sense, go home, wherever home is, and will therefore disperse to various other countries."

And the proof that this conclusion isn't real, dont-pay-attention-to-the-partisan-hackery-just-take-it-all-on-faith? Why a screwy pundit site showing proof that Saddam Hussein gave money to the families of Palestinian bombers (Correlation is not causality) and other flimsy opinion pieces from the National Review, a magazine that's unapologetic about being a biased and factually skewed publication. As the NR reporter enthusiastically boasts, "No claims of fairness or objectivity here!"

But wait. If terrorism has always existed in Iraq and Saddam was a major contributor to it, shouldn't that mean that since we captured Saddam and overthrew his reign, terrorism should be on the run there?

Don't ask about the missing WMD. Just belieeeeeeve.

(Nevermind that a Congressional commission of Republicans and Democrats found "no credible evidence" that Iraq was linked to 9/11. They plan to hold onto that one and the Vince Foster conspiracy till they die)

But I think I'm in love with the beautifully constructed strawman that is "the fact that our lefties say this and say we should pull out can only mean that they believe we shouldn't be fighting terrorists." A logical fallacy given that no one except the tiny fringe left is advocating a capitulation to terrorism. Certainly not anyone in the Democratic Party. So Mark Noonan's assertion that the political Left "believes we shouldn't be fighting terrorists" is completely false, one that I guarantee you he can't prove via direct quotation from any standing Democrat. Not even Howard Dean. So let's just put that little lie straight to bed.

More importantly (or rather conveniently), Mark ignores the fact that it isn't just lefties that are looking at Iraq as a tarbaby we should have never been involved in. It's slowly becoming the consensus of Republican after Republican after Republlcan. The GOP is hemorrhaging politically over the issue and the gang at B4B want to claim it's only the Left that's concerned about it. Comedy gold.

But the gem of this whole thing? The one that had me gasping for air, snorting and cackling like a donkey on nitrous?

This bit of strategy from Mark Noonan's comments:
Be that as it may - yes, if you turned off the cameras, terrorism would whither away.

You just can't make this schtick up. With logic like that, with the belief that an aberrant war would take care of Bin Laden and with a steadfast refusal to commit the necessary troops, armor and equipment to win this thing, I'd say these guys are, without a doubt, the men for the job. So long as the job meant building and strengthening terrorism instead of, y'know, actually taking it down.


Saturday, August 13, 2005

A mother's right

For anyone who isn't up to speed on the Cindy Sheehan discourse that's currently running its laps within the blogosphere, here's the summary.

Cindy Sheehan lost her son in Iraq. And while the big brouhaha is over her efforts to meet with President Bush, face-to-face, in the hopes of asking him just what exactly her son's death was for, there's something more about this mother's protest that's gathering attention. Her disallusion, dissent and its lens-like focus of the antiwar movement is proving to be a major sticking point with the GOP neo-McCartheyites, to the point that they've begun attacking her from every angle they can find. Up to and including summoning the opinions of her dead son to oppose her.

I only wish I was exaggerating.

So while it's good to see at least one conservative's honest smackdown of the vitriol machine in action and Sheehan's right to change her mind...
The essence of the right-wing smear machine's "outing" of Cindy Sheehan is her supposed flip-flop from supporting President Bush in 2004 to disapproving of him in 2005. As details of this have become clearer, it's obvious the flip-flop is nothing more than a canard. But setting aside the Sheehan story for a moment, have any of the shameless smearsters seen the public opinion polls recently? Here's some breaking news for them: a whole lot of Americans who supported Bush a year ago---including an increasingly large part of his "base"---have turned against him. And that includes many millions of people who haven't lost a parent, child, or sibling in Iraq.'s a bit disappointing to see another conservative, John Cole, whose blog I make a habit of reading, being a bit disingenuous when he says:
So what do I think of the whole situation? I think she should be left alone and ignored. She is a grieving mother, and she can do or say what she wants, and hopefully, some day, she will find her peace.

But she doesn’t have the right to set policy, she doesn’t have the right to make demands of the President, and she most certainly doesn’t have the right to be used as a weapon by people, who, like herself, want only to savagely attack this administration and expect that every0ne will just sit back and take it and not respond.. And that is what is going on right now. She has been adopted by the anti-war left, their surrogates in some sectors of the media, and in whole flanks of the blogosphere as a club to attack the President.

She can't possibly be coming to these conclusions on her own, conclusions most Americans have come to already. No, it has to be because the big bad Left is using her. Like a club. Honed by some phantom Left-wing media enterprise into a perfect weapon by which to attack the White House. Yeah, that's got to be it exactly.

When the did asking the White House "what's our purpose there" become synonymous with some evil machinations from the Radical Left? With disrespecting the troops? Or supporting 'the enemy'? Hell, given the imbedded softball journalism of guys like Jeff Gannon and FOX News, isn't it a bit dishonest to think she's crazy when she argues that "Since Congress is not holding George Bush accountable and the media is not doing their jobs and holding George Bush accountable, we the American people need to hold him accountable for lying to us to get us into a disastrous war"? Sounds like a fair fucking statement to me.

John forgets that Cindy Sheehan's right as an American citizen allows her to change her mind about an incompetent war and voice her opinion accordingly. John forgets that Cindy Sheehan's right as a mother of a fallen soldier affords her reasonable demands of accountability from this President, especially as it involves the lives of other mothers and their children. And I'd say asking the POTUS the following sits well within the realm of reasonable:
"He said my son died in a noble cause, and I want to ask him what that noble cause is."

God forbid the president be asked a sincere and piercing question from a mother who lost her son in his war. A president who has not attended a single funeral of any of the men he's sent to die but who has the gall to say, very cheaply, "I understand the anguish that some feel about the death that takes place". Was that before or after "Bring it on"?

Yeah, I'd say Cindy Sheehan has certainly paid up with the right people. Certainly enough to ask the simple question of, "why Mr. President, did we go?".

John also conveniently forgets, as was the case with Michael Schiavo, that opposing the neo-conservative rhetoric is met with immediate character assassination from the Right Wing smear machine. Given that she's actually questioning the reasoning behind this war and doing so publically (making it doubly egregious in the minds of these chickenhawks) in the words of old Turd Blossom, "she's fair game".

And, baby, it's in high gear right now. So it's no surprise to me the anti-war Left have adopted her and taken up a common cause (despite the crazy Leftist-must-have-brainwashed-her nonsense coming from conservative pundits). God knows Powerline and Little Green Footballs aren't about to defend her. Certainly not now, anyway, since she left the Bush-love reservation.

'Anger pimps' indeed.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Drunk on the ashes

It started with all the bellicose jingoism they could wring out of the 9/11 dead. And like a junkie in need of his fix or a bad vampire movie, this administration's habit of mining tragedy and pain for political sustenance knows no boundary. Nor sliver of dignity.

From the Pentagon's press release:
WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2005 – The Defense Department today announced the first "America Supports You Freedom Walk" to honor the victims of 9/11 and America's military personnel, as well as to celebrate freedom.

The Freedom Walk will begin at 10 a.m. Sept. 11 in the Pentagon South parking lot, near the site where the airliner crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. The walk route will consist of a two-mile trek through Arlington National Cemetery, over the Potomac River, and will end by the reflecting pool on the National Mall, where a free concert featuring country music star Clint Black will take place.

"I am proud and honored to be part of the America Supports You Freedom Walk to honor the victims of 9/11 and to support our men and women in uniform," Black said.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld made the announcement today at the Pentagon.

"Every year since the Sept. 11 attacks, Americans have commemorated that anniversary. This year the Department of Defense will initiate an American Supports You Freedom Walk. The walk will begin at the Pentagon and end at the National Mall. It will include many of the major monuments in Washington, D.C., reminding participants of the sacrifices of this generation and of each previous generation that have so successfully defended our freedoms," Rumsfeld said.

Because nothing eases the pain of losing a loved one like a free concert and a flag-waving hootenanny. Christ. Any chance we could commemorate September 11th with just a bit of solemnity and respect by... I don't know... it's a shot in the dark here.. but by maybe, just maybe letting the dead rest in peace? Instead of trotting out the ashes year after year for a pro-Bush Nuremberg rally, all in the hopes it'll rescue a party asphyxiating on its own bullshit?

This from an administration that never wanted an investigation into 9/11 to begin with, then wanted the final report kept out of the hands of the public until after the November elections. This from an administration that was more obsessed with Iraq than actually fighting terrorism (and ironically, still are). Oh yeah. These guys LOVE the 9/11 families. Without them, this White House loses its political mealticket.

Steve Gilliard is exactly right. They have no idea the kind of gale force blowback they're going to dust up with this one. The people are increasingly growing sick of it.

Fucking ghouls.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Pitted against each other

For years Republicans have been trying to create a divide between blacks and homosexuals that simply isn't there. Certainly not on the level they'd like it to be.

The argument is that black evangelicals, being good Christians themselves, should come to the same conclusions white evangelicals have come to regarding homosexuality and Scripture. Nevermind that whites used Scripture to advocate slavery and racism for centuries. No, what neo-conservatives really desire is to see two groups within the Democratic party pitted against each other, in the hopes it will unravel the progressive consensus. Every time a conservative black deacon condemns the homosexual lifestyle on television, the glee of that possible division swells within neo-con circles (an object of delight seconded only by reports of tortured Muslims or the crash of a liberal actor's career). So they really would like to see this idea pan out. And to do so, that means pandering to a voter bloc they've previously ignored for nearly 40 years.

That's why there's been a couple half-ass apologies lately (or even non-apologies in some instances) by the Republican Party to black voters, all in a very laggard attempt to sweep away the dirty tricks they played on the black community for half a century, and all to try to shore up black support for a party that's historically done its damnedest to fight against the interests of minorities.

That apology, mind you, comes just one year after Bush snubbed the NAACP's national convention for the fourth straight year in a row. Talk about historical context. This is a party that, from one side its of mouth, wants to severely cripple if not strike down Affirmative Action completely and yet placates and pays lip service to black interests from the other side. Only a true racist would have the gall to believe that black voters would fall for that kind of duplicity. Pretty insulting.

So it's no surprise to me that a growing tide of black leaders are slowly catching wise to the GOP's strategy of 'divide and conquer'.

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Rev. James A. Forbes spoke with a joyous righteousness as a preached to a hall of black faces Sunday at a cathedral at the edge of Harlem, and the words he chose might have come straight from the civil rights struggles of the 1960s.

Discrimination, he said, has no place in this world, and he urged his audience to liberate themselves from the notion put forward by some that they are less favored by God.

"Your job is to get up every day and be grateful to God for your DNA," Forbes said. "It took an artist divine to make this design!"

What made his words stand out was that they were spoken to a roomful of gay and lesbian faithful, and the would-be oppressors he referred to during the spirited religious service weren't white segregationists, but the pastors of some black churches.

...Speaking in a hall at the Riverside Church, the Rev. Cari Jackson, of the Center of Spiritual Light, said some conservative black clergy had, perhaps unintentionally, incited hate against lesbians and gays by repeatedly condemning them as sinners.

"Like our slave ancestors, we are being spiritually, psychologically and physically abused." she said.

Driving a wedge between the black community and the gay community isn't catching on as well as Republicans would like. The jig, as they say, is up.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Constitution? Who the hell needs that?

As if you needed any more proof that the Republican Party has no interest in the Constitution or the rule of law.
Leaked emails from two former prosecutors claim that the military commissions set up to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay are rigged, fraudulent, and thin on evidence against the accused.

More here.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

No timetables for the enemy. But check again next month.

6/24/05, George W. Bush: “There are not going to be any timetables. I have told this to the prime minister. We are there to complete a mission, and it's an important mission....Why would you say to the enemy: Here's a timetable, just go ahead and wait us out? It doesn't make any sense to have a timetable. You know, if you give a timetable, you're conceding too much to the enemy.”

7/28/05: BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq's prime minister said Wednesday he wants U.S. troops "on their way out" as soon as his government can protect its new democracy. The top American general in the country said he hopes to begin significant withdrawal by next spring.


Sadistic logic

There are times when I honestly just grow so exhausted at all the psychopathic depravity of this adminstration and its policies that I honestly wonder if this is what Hell is like. BE WARNED. The following summary concerning torture from the American trained Iraqi police is not for the weak of stomach:

The Observer has seen photographic evidence of post-mortem and hospital examinations of alleged terror suspects from Baghdad and the Sunni Triangle which demonstrate serious abuse of suspects including burnings, strangulation, the breaking of limbs and - in one case - the apparent use of an electric drill to perform a knee-capping.

We not only condone this sort of thing, we fund it, train others to do it and lead by example. The facts are a matter of public record. Man's inhumanity to man is being endorsed and sponsored by this administration's policies. Pure and simple. These robotic Republican lunatics can hem and haw and joke about it all they like. But torture is torture. Cruelty is cruelty. Sadism is fucking sadism. I'd go so far as to say that anyone who delights in torture enough to sport something like this should be considered a possible danger to society. Same sociopaths that would giggle over an "I Heart Attica" or "I Heart Auschwitz" t-shirt.

And only someone so fucked up as to actually get off on hurting someone would dare defend what we've been doing as "good for America", especially at the spiritual level. To anyone who would find this amusing, I question their possession of a soul:
Mr. Dilawar asked for a drink of water, and one of the two interrogators, Specialist Joshua R. Claus, 21, picked up a large plastic bottle. But first he punched a hole in the bottom, the interpreter said, so as the prisoner fumbled weakly with the cap, the water poured out over his orange prison scrubs. The soldier then grabbed the bottle back and began squirting the water forcefully into Mr. Dilawar's face.

"Come on, drink!" the interpreter said Specialist Claus had shouted, as the prisoner gagged on the spray. "Drink!"

At the interrogators' behest, a guard tried to force the young man to his knees. But his legs, which had been pummeled by guards for several days, could no longer bend. An interrogator told Mr. Dilawar that he could see a doctor after they finished with him. When he was finally sent back to his cell, though, the guards were instructed only to chain the prisoner back to the ceiling.

"Leave him up," one of the guards quoted Specialist Claus as saying.

Several hours passed before an emergency room doctor finally saw Mr. Dilawar. By then he was dead, his body beginning to stiffen. It would be many months before Army investigators learned a final horrific detail: Most of the interrogators had believed Mr. Dilawar was an innocent man who simply drove his taxi past the American base at the wrong time.

This isn't taking the war to the enemy. This is beating the better angels of our nature to a bloody pulp and having a laugh about doing it. The more this country continues down a path of cruelty at all costs, the sooner the world will march to that beat, ultimately leading us to a human rights epidemic we will be too ill-equipped, morally and rhetorically, to stop. Another Rwanda. Another Yugoslavia. Is that what we want? America is supposed to be the shining light of civilization. If we're too busy inflicting suffering upon innocents, who else will take our place?

Bush-lovers have no idea the self-destructive whirlwind they're reaping here. And probably don't even care.

And while there are days (like today, having just finished reading Janet Gunter's thorough record of America's new love affair with third world sadism) that I think no one of any importance opposes these acts, I found a spark of hope in the lawyers of our nation's military.

God bless these courageous souls for taking a stand against our government's sickness. And God's curse on the twisted fucks who not only turn a blind eye, but fight passionately to continue torturing people.

From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON, July 27 - Senior military lawyers lodged vigorous and detailed dissents in early 2003 as an administration legal task force concluded that President Bush had authority as commander in chief to order harsh interrogations of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, newly disclosed documents show.

Despite the military lawyers' warnings, the task force concluded that military interrogators and their commanders would be immune from prosecution for torture under federal and international law because of the special character of the fight against terrorism.

In memorandums written by several senior uniformed lawyers in each of the military services as the legal review was under way, they had urged a sharply different view and also warned that the position eventually adopted by the task force could endanger American service members.

Batshit crazy

Want to know a pretty likely indicator that the sun is slowly setting on the Republican legacy? When they start returning to the conspiracy theories and insane narratives within their own heads.

Then again, I guess that's always been so. But it seems to be building in intensity again of late, now that the November champagne is getting a little stale.

FROM CRAZY (From frothing conservative pundit, Hugh Hewitt): For a nation that is the midst of a poker craze, you would think that by now most would have figured out that President Bush isn't the sort of character who calls "All In" twice a month. Rather, he plays his hands well, wins most of the time, and watches as his opponents throw down cards in disgust and walk away. True enough, Bush hasn't brought home Social Security reform, and Democratic obstruction on that and a host of other issues will be part of the campaign in '06. Bush knows that his place at the table goes on for three and half more years. But he keeps piling up win after win. When the "legacy" detectives come 'round in '09 and thereafter, they won't be struggling --as they have been with Clinton-- to find anything of note."

...TO CRAZIER (From the conservative blog Colossus): A lot of attention is being paid to the new ABC TV Show, Commander in Chief, featuring Geena Davis as an accidental president. But a lot of people (OK, me) are saying that this show is a nefarious plot to advance the notion of a Hillary Clinton presidency. The thought is that if we, the submoronic television viewers, get used to seeing a woman president on TV, we'll be more inclined to vote for one in 2008."

...TO CRAZIEST (Read at Tom Tomorrow): Apparently a guest on Fox News has suggested that the innocent man shot by London police may have been an al Qaeda decoy... There are times when I really don't know whether to laugh or cry. Maybe next someone will suggest that the taxi driver known only as Dilawar tortured himself to death, to make the U.S. look bad."

Hugh Hewitt makes me laugh. It's clear he either just finished watching The Cincinnati Kid or Celebrity Poker Showdown before he sat down to write that post. Unfortunately a mountain of poker metaphors can't save you from what is undeniably a pretty thin lie.

So you say Democrats are to blame for the minimal support from the public on Bush's Social Security reform (I honestly wonder when blaming the Democrats for every asinine Republican fuck-up will ever end)?

Here's the truth. The people didn't want it, Hugh. They weren't interested, no matter how many Bamboozlepalooza rallies Bush tried to throw in their towns. And legacies? Given that Bush's legacy thus far has been 400 billion in deficit spending, 1700+ American sons and daughters dead in a pointless, inflaming war and a terrorist threat that's more vigorous than ever, I wouldn't say the sonuvabitch's legacy is anything to crow about.

Or maybe it'd more digestible if I stick to the poker analogy: Bush won one good round in November and has been trying to bullshit his way through a stream of bad hands ever since. If it were his money, that'd be one thing. But a growing majority of Americans are getting sick of him gambling away our future.

If I were Bush or the Republican party, I'd be damn nervous right now about what cards get dealt in 2006.

Nervous enough, I'd wager, to start ranting like a batshit lunatic about conspiracies and evil Democrats.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Al Qaeda and new recruits

If you're not reading Juan Cole's blog, Informed Comment, you should be.

I think it would be a mistake to see al-Qaeda as a corporation where the CEO just gives orders to lower-level employees. It is mainly "a way of working," as a London policeman pointed out. It is intended as a model to inspire local groups, and as a global network to encourage them.

But occasionally the top leaders do intervene to order specific attacks, where they still have that organizational capacity. It is entirely possible that both London and Sharm El Sheikh were two instances where they could and did.

The worrisome thing is that al-Qaeda and its affiliates are obviously able to use the increasing anger in the Muslim world over Palestine and Iraq to recruit "newskins", who are not known to intelligence organizations in the countries where they operate.

Strategically, it is increasingly clear that if you wanted to wage a "war on terror," letting Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri alone while you invade and destabilize Iraq and let the Israeli-Palestinian conflict just fester was a very bad idea.

Many commentators are putting out the straw man argument that the Iraq War cannot be blamed for terrorism because September 11 and Bali, e.g., happened before the Iraq War.

This argument is so dishonest that it should make your blood boil when you hear it. No one is alleging that all the instances of radical Muslim terrorism can be traced to the Iraq War. What is being argued is that the Iraq War provided the already-existing terror networks with an enormous propaganda and recruiting windfall.

And the irony of this shouldn't be lost on Bush lovers who are fueling this war:

"Arab-American" wrestler Muhammad Hassan has taken a forced leave of absence from UPN's SmackDown after his appearance on the show two weeks ago -- on the day of the London bombings -- drew hundreds of complaints. Joanna Massey, a spokeswoman for UPN, which airs SmackDown!, said that the network had asked World Wrestling Entertainment to remove episodes featuring Hassan "because it was the right thing to do." Hassan's real name is Mark Copani; he is an Italian-American Buddhist.

Because naturally the London bombings were done by Arabs, not British Pakistanis and a Jamaican. 'Cause, y'know, them terr'rists is all Ay-rabs.