30 November 2006

Ending Shrub's War

I thought I'd shared this from Democracy in California:

How To End The War? Cut off the funds, that's how. Trouble is, Congressman Dennis Kucinich is the only Democrat saying it.

There's one solution here, and it's not to engage in a debate with the President, who has taken us down a path of disaster in Iraq, but it's for Congress to assume the full power that it has under the Constitution to cut off funds. We don't need to keep indulging in this debate about what to do, because as long as we keep temporizing, the situation gets worse in Iraq.We have to determine that the time has come to cut off funds. There’s enough money in the pipeline to achieve the orderly withdrawal that Senator McGovern is talking about. But cut off funds, we must. That's the ultimate power of the Congress, the power of the purse. That's how we'll end this war, and that’s the only way we’re going to end this war. This is a new world. It's time that we started acting like it. It’s time that we reflected new thinking --

28 November 2006

More on the civil war

News reporters are increasingly feeling pressed to state the obvious--Iraq's in a civil war. Shrub's effete attempts to pretend he's still calling the shots there are looking more and more ridiculous.

WASHINGTON -- NBC's "Today Show" host Matt Lauer yesterday told millions of American television viewers, many sitting at their breakfast tables, that the network would buck the White House and from now on describe the Iraq war as a "civil war."

The new policy, which NBC News said would cover all its news shows, could become a benchmark in public opinion about the war, according to media specialists.
Some media analysts compared it to CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite's declaration in 1968 that the United States was losing the Vietnam War -- a pronouncement now considered a turning point in public opinion -- and Ted Koppel's ABC updates on the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979 and 1980 that infuriated Jimmy Carter's White House.


Mixter's Mix rightfully ridicules Shrub's latest attempts to paint the war as a crusage against Al Qaeda.

This is not, nor has it ever been, a fight against al-Qaeda. This was an invasion and occupation of a country that was no threat to the U.S. or its allies. There were never enough troops sent to secure the country and get the job done. How was the U.S. supposed to turn things over to Iraq security forces when they were never in control in the first place?

Of course, there are still a few true blue crusaders out there, determined to oust the infidels from the holy oil lands:

I wonder where the days went when the media was behind the troops. The only way we won WW 2 is with the unbridled love and support of the people. The films and the news stories produced then weren't propaganda, they were supportive.

Yes. Supportive propaganda...

When is it wrong to support something you believe in?

Never. As 95% of the Iraqi people would tell you. Almost to a person, they believe that the U.S. occupiers should leave their country.

If you don't believe in something that is one thing, but to tell out and out lies just to break the President down is darn near treason and sedition.

Uh, oh. Another wannabe nazi is once more threatening to line all us pinkos up against the wall and shoot us. All I can say is if that bullets tend to fly both ways on the day when civil society crumbles.

The media has to be held accountable for what they report. There are too many leaks . . .

Leaks, you say? So that's the problem! Facts "leaking" out to the public...who might not be ready for them.

25 November 2006

Shrub's War: Going through a name-change

I guess it takes the media a couple of years to catch up to what many have been saying all allong. Newspapers are now openly referring to Shrub's War as "Iraq's Civil War", as in this little snippet from the LA Times:

Iraq's civil war worsened Friday as Shiite and Sunni Arabs engaged in retaliatory attacks after coordinated car bombings that killed more than 200 people in a Shiite neighborhood the day before. A main Shiite political faction threatened to quit the government, a move that probably would cause its collapse and plunge the nation deeper into disarray.

23 November 2006

$$$

According to the CSM, the price tag for Shrub's War is rising. Iraq has now surpassed $300 billion, according to government estimates, and if we had in the cost of Shrub's miniwar in Afghanistan, the total price rises to around $500 billion, making it one of the most monetarily costly conflicts in U.S. history. When we add the cost of taking care of the war-injured and so on, I'm sure we'll be paying out far more than a trillion in the decades to come. So there's no reason to feel too upset about this. Our grandkids will help share the cost with us.

22 November 2006

More on the options

Sometimes I like to sneak across the railway tracks just to get a glimpse of how the other side lives. On a recent excursion, I was happy to spot this little oasis of rationality within the conservative camp.

NW Republican is discussing the "Go Big", "Go Home", and "Go Long" options:

If these are the three choices, it seems the only practical option is: Go Home. Here’s why: “Go Big” is simply not an option. It is not doable. That leaves “Go Home” or “Go Long.” “Go Long,” reportedly favored by the Bush administration, is really no more an option than “Go Big.” It also is not doable, not because of physical military limitations, but because of moral, emotional, and political limitations — which are even more limiting than the lack of actual military forces.

This analysis is right on.

The truth is, the American people simply will not tolerate a long, slow war of attrition against a cruel, elusive foe who will not stand and fight.

Okay. I said the post (when viewed in toto) was rational. This little Fox News-induced meme is utterly ridiculous. I'm sure that there are countless Iraqi insurgents who would LOVE to fight man to man if the U.S. Marines would step out of their tanks and call off the air power. This sort of bravado regarding warfare is ridiculous in the extreme. Our view of war needs to develop some sophistication--going beyond images of high school fist fights behind the gym after school.

It is not from weakness or cowardice, it is simply that no people, Americans included, are willing to spill the blood of their sons without clear evidence that it is either to defend the homeland directly or that there is regular, meaningful progress toward victory.

We need to record conservatives saying this and then replay the tape for them every time the next great crusade comes around.

Those are the facts. I don’t blame them (us). Heck, I was once a supporter of the invasion of Iraq (based on what I was told), I am a conservative (to the extent that I am political at all any more), and I once was a strong supporter of Bush. All that and even I cannot support “Go Long.”

The character of the people of the United States, liberal, moderate, or conservative, is not such as to support with blood and treasure a war that is not clearly defensive in nature. More than many nations, it is necessary for the self-image and self-esteem of Americans to be seen as the good guys, as the rescuers on white horses. Iraq has turned that on its head. Admittedly, the MSM and the liberals have not been helpful in this regard, “blaming America first” at every opportunity, but the truth is that the macro realities of Iraq — 1) invading a country that was not directly threatening us or its neighbors, 2) becoming an unwelcome occupying force, 3) no found WMDs, etc.. — have given them room to make that case.

This section gets to the heart of the matter. U.S. forces are committed in a country that didn't invade the U.S. That is the reality, something that even Fox News-induced mass-hypnosis has a difficult time covering up.

Want more? Democrats and liberals have never supported the war and they want an early, or even immediate, US exit. Now, Republicans are also beginning to move to a similar position. Politicians who voted for the war and pundits who supported it are busy, busy issuing statements rationalizing their previous positions, covering their rear-ends, and calling for a "change of policy" (meaning early withdrawal). The Republican grassroots is demoralized because of the war (no WMDs, lives lost, no progress) and they blame their party's loss in the mid-term elections on the war. In short, politically there is nobody left to support a long-term strategy in Iraq.

There is one other thing also. Given the hostility of many Iraqis themselves, and given the hostility of Iran and Syria, I sometimes have a concern that our 130,000+ troops in Iraq may be in more danger than we think. They are a long way from home and it would be tough to get them out if there were a serious escalation with Iran and Syria (and/or others), say, with a nuclear strike. We are not as invulnerable as we think we are (pride cometh before a fall). And, Iraq is not Dunkirk. The sooner we get our troops out of there, the better I will feel. It is time to face the fact that the US is, barring some miracle, probably going to have to get out of Iraq and soon, regardless of the consequences. It is time to swallow that ugly truth and start dealing with the reality on the other side of it — how do we cope with the geopolitical realities after an American withdrawal from Iraq?

I'm sure the current administration would love to use the troops as cannon fodder to justify further involvement. Hopefully, some other more rational voices "from the other side of the tracks" will also step forward and help put an early stop to the nonsense.

21 November 2006

We have all been here before...

When even the original architects of the current catastrophe no longer believe there's any hope, it's truly time to pack the dufflebags and head back home:

Military victory is no longer possible in Iraq, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said in a television interview broadcast Sunday. Kissinger presented a bleak vision of Iraq, saying the U.S. government must enter into dialogue with Iraq's regional neighbors — including Iran — if progress is to be made in the region.

Hearing these words from this source should make anyone around in the '60s experience major deja vu flashbacks.

"If you mean by 'military victory' an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible," he told the British Broadcasting Corp.

I don't believe it's possible either. Of course, I didn't believe it was possible several years back, either.

"I think we have to redefine the course, but I don't think that the alternative is between military victory, as defined previously, or total withdrawal," he said.

I agree. Military victory is no longer an alternative.

20 November 2006

And now what you've been waiting for: The options

The Shrub mis-administration is going to put comedians out of business with their constant stream of malaproprisms and misplaced priapisms. It is within this general spirit of jollity and mirth that we read the latest report from the Pentagon panel:

Reuters: A Pentagon panel has outlined three basic options for improving the situation in Iraq -- pull out, send more U.S. troops or reduce the size of the force but stay longer.

Wait a minute! Wait just a doggone second! I think they left out option number four! We could increase the number of troops but stay shorter. Or we could increase the number then decrease the number, then increase them again. Or vise versa.

Who pays these guys to come up with this stuff? When taxpayers fork over millions of dollars and ask you to figure out what "the options" are, you aren't supposed to come back and say: "We can do X; not do X; or sort of do X." WE KNOW THAT ALREADY! If only my boss were so lenient.

My Boss: "Can you spend the next two months analyzing the Wilson account and then get back to us with some options?"

Me: "Sure. No problem. Give me a couple million of bucks, some plane tickets, some extra cash for backrubs in Bangkok on the way back, and I can take care of it for you."

Me: (Two months later with a dark tan and cirrhosis of the liver) "Well, after many long hard nights pondering the problem in darkly lit nightclubs, I've concluded that basically we've got three options. We can take the account, not take the account, or kind of ambiguously decide to not make up our minds."

Boss: "Gee willikers! We'll have to put you up for a raise, Karlo! We've never seen anyone elucidate the options so well. Other employees have always returned with a narrow range of options that demonstrate closed-mindedness and tunnel-vision, but you, with your outstanding perspicacity and vision, have provided us with a short summary of the entire gamut of possibility! Have you ever considered going into politics?"

19 November 2006

As the Iraqi Civil War (what we used to call "Shrub's War" back in the day) grinds on, we learn that over 50 more have died. How many more "commas" will we have to watch before Iraq reaches the "end of history" and becomes a nice democracy.


Hot air or the fuel of the future?

BMW and Honda are both coming out with "concept cars" (whatever the hell that means) that run (or kind of run) on hydrogen. Since there still isn't an effecient way to extract hydrogen except from fossil fuels, these vehicles aren't truly green. Even so, they advance the technology a little further, opening some remote possibilities for the fuel in the future. Of course we could simply walk to wherever we needed to go (or better yet, stay home) and eliminate both the obesity epidemic and oil depletion at one fell swoop but that would be too simple. We'd end up with long lines of unemployed scientists and chemists. And believe me, you don't want to make those guys upset . . .

16 November 2006

Dude, Where's my dictatorship?

Evil Spock at The Needs of the Few has an insightful reflection on the trampling of Shrub's party during the election.

[Excerpt] Could it be that the direct line to God was a bad connection? That he didn’t hear that invading a sovereign nation with manufactured evidence is actually not a Christian thing to do? How about cutting social programs for the needy and poor while giving tax cuts to the richest among us? You’ve got to be kidding us!That must have been a shock to the system. Imagine the utter confusion and bewilderment as he tries to process what went wrong and what this would mean for his now uber-lame duck status. It is sad, isn’t it?

Evil Spock considers the Poor-manipulated-puppet Hypothesis:

See our pity is derived from the fact that we have long seen our leader as a simple pawn of the truly evil neocons in the administration (Rove, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Perle, etc.) We imagine that when the line to God was clear and some sort of policy benefiting the average American was proposed, the Dubya independent thought alarm in Rove’s office would go off and he would dismiss said policy with a simply “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” wave of the hand.

And then dismisses it...

But then our heart hardens and we come back to something that Bush himself said. The Shakespearean “I’m the decider and I decide what’s best.” Indeed you are, Mr. President. We think Harry S. Truman, another “war” president, also had it right with his motto, “The buck stops here”. Ultimately, no matter how bad the advice and/or manipulation from his puppet masters were, he has been responsible for the past six years.

Unfortunately, what we really need is an impeachment along with a meticulous investigation into everything that went wrong. Without such a reckoning, the "quiet American" types in the shadows are wont to reappear every decade, taking advantage of the tendency of the American "collective" to suffer from anterograde amnesia.

14 November 2006

Reflecting on the loss: Shortage of money, time, and magic?

Elizabeth Dole has the latest Republican analysis of the Republican demise:

The GOP lost for a variety of reasons: not enough money, not enough time, not enough political magic . . .

So the problem was money!? The Republicans have been swimming in corporate kick backs for years. When voters express profound dissatisfaction, the response of either party within the current duopoly should never be--"We need more money." I think someone's in a sad state of denial.

And time! The Republicans have had 12 years! In that time, they've managed to tear up every environmental accord, cook up mountains of false intelligence reports, role back every Constitutional right they could get their hands on, cause the greatest rise in anti-American sentiment the world has ever seen, and pass on the deficit problem to our chidren's children's children. How much more time did they need to complete their "agenda"?

As for magic, I completely agree. The Republicans need more magicians to create boogeymen from thin air, to conjure up money that doesn't exist, and to basically entertain us with the expert employment of smoke and mirrors. Otherwise they don't stand a chance.

13 November 2006

I don't care too much for money...

We've finally gotten rid of the Republican majority. I guess corporate money (or at least the more crass and conspicuous version) can't buy our love after all.

6 November 2006

Some thoughts on bizarre coincidences


So they've finally decided to hang the "Butcher of Baghdad," putting the sorry SOB out of his misery. Through some tremendous coincidence, this has happened right on the eve of the midterm elections but coincidences happen, I s'pose. Who am I to question such odd alignments of the stars? Of course, we saw a similar inexplicable convergence of fate when Saddam stepped into power shortly after a CIA-sponsored coup. Those mysterious astrological forces also lined up behind the dictator as he launched a war on Iran, leading to a civilian death toll even greater than that of Shrub's War. In the end, I s'pose there's something very reassuring about all of this: Even the most evil tyrants ultimately meet their end a few decades later after the "quiet Americans" in the shadows have lost their use for them. If only we could get some of Saddam's henchmen. Like that shifty character in the picture . . .