Monday, July 31, 2006

Stalling to Push a Wider War

President Bush is stalling.

President Bush insisted anew Monday that any Mideast cease-fire be conditioned on a wider agreement and said he would look to the United Nations to act to establish “a long-lasting peace, one that is sustainable.”
There is an old saying: "the enemy of better is best." The President's immediate goal should be an immediate cease-fire, not the perfect cease-fire. As the bombing of the housing project in Qana and the subsequent civilian deaths show, modern wars are more deadly to civilians than to the militaries and governments that provoke and fight them. Every day that a war continues means more and more civilian casualties. The fighting must stop immediately, and then long-term deals hammered out.

But I don't think the President is totally blind to all of this. Rather, I think he's using this situation to leverage (or try to) support for a broader offensive against Syria and Iran:
As Israel cut short a halt in bombing and launched new strikes in southern Lebanon, Bush spelled out a series of what he called “clear objectives” to accompany a halt in the fighting.

“Iran must end its financial support and supply of weapons to terrorist groups like Hezbollah. Syria must end its support for terror and respect the sovereignty of Lebanon,” Bush said in a speech at the Port of Miami.
Either he's laying groundwork for an Israel-led attack on Iran and Syria, or he's trying to pull the United States into a war to "defend an ally."

Friday, July 28, 2006

Bush and Hadley: The War in Iraq is No Longer the War on Terror

The President and his NatSec Advisor admit that the War in Iraq is about suppressing religious / sectarian violence, not fighting al-Qaeda or other terror groups. In other words, as I've said all along, the War in Iraq has nothing to do with the War on Terror.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Quote for Today's Debate on the House Floor

From the West Wing:
President Bartlet: "I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?

While thinking about that, can I ask another? My chief of staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or is it okay to call the police?

Here's one that's really important because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point?

Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side-by-side?

Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?

Think about those questions, would you?

Oh, one last thing.

While you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building, when the President stands, nobody sits."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bush Forced to Be President for a Day Rather Than Emperor

From the Financial Times:
The White House confirmed on Tuesday that the Pentagon had decided, in a major policy shift, that all detainees held in US military custody around the world are entitled to protection under the Geneva Conventions.

...Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions – which prohibits inhumane treatment of prisoners and requires certain basic legal rights at trial – (will) apply to all detainees held in US military custody.

This reverses the policy outlined by President George W. Bush in 2002 when he decided members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban did not qualify for Geneva protections because the war on terrorism had ushered in a “new paradigm…[that] requires new thinking in the law of war”.
The past several years have seen a steady repudiation of almost every facet of George Bush's foreign policy, and I for one and very, very happy to see this move by the Pentagon. But let's all remember that they only made this move because the Supreme Court forced them to.

It is disgusting, however, that we should ever have had to make this reversal, because we never should have gone down the road President Bush took us with regard to the flagrant flaunting of international commitments like the Geneva Convention and nuclear proliferation agreements.

I love that those evil liberal courts forced the Republic back into balance, if only on this issue.

This is a democracy, Mr. President. Welcome to it.

Monday, July 10, 2006

A Precipice

From the Associated Press:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Two car bombs struck a Shiite district in Baghdad on Monday, killing at least eight people and wounding dozens, officials said, as sectarian tensions rose following a rampage by Shiite gunmen killed 41 people, most of them Sunnis....

Sunni leaders expressed outrage over the killings, and President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, appealed for calm, warning that the nation stood "in front of a dangerous precipice."
President Bush went into Iraq over the objections of a lot of Americans. During the lead-up to war, I was adamantly against it, and I was crushed once it became clear the decision was made. But once our people were in harm's way, I said to a roommate that I hoped Bush was right, and that he could actually improve things for the Iraqi people, even though I didn't think it was possible to do it with war.

The ends are inherent in the means. I don't know how many ways a person can say this to this administration before it sinks in. More than 2500 of our soldiers have died fighting this war, but that number is far, far below the number of civilians that have died in the fighting.

The hallmark of modern warfare in a shift in the proportion of military deaths to civilian deaths. Unfortunately, the fact that we don't feel the full effects of our military action to the extent that we used to, because of that proportion's shift, has led to a much more cavalier attitude about how and when we use our military as an early option.

It's like having a gun: you don't have such a fear of using violence because the consequences for you aren't as certain as they were in the era of clubs and swords.

All of this is to say: dammit. Civil war is already happening in Iraq as predicted by many of us who were against this invasion in the first place for precisely this reason, among others. It's time for Congress to force the President to either come up with a significantly different strategy, or else stop funding any military operation in Iraq that isn't ferrying our men and women home. If we're not going to intervene and stop the civil war, as Mr. Rumsfeld has said we won't do, then we are putting our soldiers in the crossfire for nothing.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Either the President is Being Manipulated by Evil People, Or...

The President, in an interview w/ People Magazine:

PEOPLE: Do you think Gore is right on global warming?

BUSH: I think we have a problem on global warming. I think there is a debate about whether it's caused by mankind or whether it's caused naturally, but it's a worthy debate. It's a debate, actually, that I'm in the process of solving by advancing new technologies, burning coal cleanly in electric plants, or promoting hydrogen-powered automobiles, or advancing ethanol as an alternative to gasoline.
Either the President is a total idiot and is buying right-wing garbage peddled by evil, evil people who care more about profit than leaving something (anything!) behind for our children, or the President himself is peddling right-wing garbage because he cares more about his friends in the oil industry than leaving something behind for our children, in which case, he's an evil, evil man.

The idea that there's a debate on global warming is total crap. Saying there's a debate about global warming is analagous to saying there's a debate about whether the Holocaust happened. You have random nutcases all over the world denying the Holocaust because it's in their interest to do so, but that does not mean there's a real debate about the Holocaust. And one day, our descendants will look back and put Holocaust deniers and climate crisis deniers in the same category.

Spreading Democracy, Hitler Style

Calm down, calm down, I'm not calling Bush a Hitler clone.

This particularly troubling tidbit is behind the rage you felt at this post's title: in order to meet recruitment requirements, the U.S. armed forces have gotten lax in their efforts to ban hate group members from joining and being trained as killers at taxpayer expense.

No joke people...there's Aryan Brotherhood grafitti showing up in Baghdad right now, and I don't think the Skinheads accept Shi'a or Sunnis. You dig?

The most frightening things about this are a)that these people are now in the chain of command somewhere and eligible for promotion to positions to command troops, and b) they are holding onto the most effective military weapons money can buy, and are trained to kill with various weapons systems from high-technology rifles right on down to their bare hands, and they're getting that expertise with your tax dollars.

That's right folks, the mismanagement of the war in Iraq, and its effects on recruitment, have led directly to your money and my money subsidizing the next generation of white supremacists.

How do you feel about that?