Thursday, May 20, 2004

A quote to remember 

Atrios provides us with pure gold, from down Memory Lane:

"The predictions of those who opposed this war can be discarded like spent cartridges. You remember them? 'We will kill hundreds of thousands. We will create thousands of new terrorists. The Arab world will rise up and set the region aflame.'

"Tony Blair and George Bush knew better."

—Writing in the News of the World, April 13, 2003

Beautiful imagery there, Richard; "discarded like spent cartridges." You must have experienced wood when you spoke it. I'll bet you almost misspoke and said those who opposed this war would be discarded BY spent cartridges. Maybe?

I would expect as much from a mass murder-inflamer as yourself. If anyone roasts in Hell for eternity, it will be you, Perle, the liar, the warmonger, the peace-destroyer who was put in place by the moronic Smirk.


Letter to the Editor 

Via bartcop:

English lesson for our leaders

May 12, 2004

THE BUSH administration seems to have a serious problem with reality. The most recent reality challenge is the policy of torture in both Iraq and Afghanistan, which the administration is frantically redefining as "abuse," "excesses," and "humiliation." We even have Secretary Rumsfeld describing footage of several American soldiers "having sex" with a female Iraqi prisoner.

Let's have a little plain English here. "Having sex" with a prisoner is known as "rape." Systematic beatings are called "torture." Excesses that lead to death are called "murder." The hundreds of women and children in mass graves in Fallujah are the product of a "massacre." Taken together, all of these add up to "atrocities."

The dissemination of "incomplete information" from "imperfect intelligence" is called "lies." The billions of dollars that Halliburton and Bechtel have reaped in profits are called "war profiteering." The invasion of Iraq is called "illegal." The destruction of America's international standing is called "permanent." And Texaco/Phillips's high bid for Iraqi oil is called "why we are in Iraq."


Listening to the 9-11 Commission this week... 

...was hard. Hard to pay attention, that is.

After listening to the Chief of Police or some such official take about five minutes of flack from a Commission member about the lack of radios and who was in charge, etc...I had to ask myself:

Are they going into this much detail with the Air National Guard about why the fighter pilots stood down that day?

Then I turned it off.


I think I already saw this coming 

Well...the Abu Ghraib story really IS making inroads into Bush's numbers, and just might topple his "Presidency".

But I honestly believe this is a realistic enough scenario.


Wednesday, May 19, 2004

If I Were in the Bush Administration... 

...I'd be making an awfully big deal out of the sarin gas that may have been present in a roadside bomb which exploded over the weekend. While this clearly does not prove the presence of "stockpiles," it's the first shred of credible evidence that there may have been something resembling WMD in Iraq in 2003. I suppose it could have been planted there by those with an interest in finding such weapons, or imported by the Iraqi resistance since the beginning of the war. The most likely scenario, though, seems to be that this sarin bomb is left over from Saddam Hussein's regime.

Then again, perhaps the Bush team and intelligence community have been so burned by their own earlier overstatements (to use a generous term) that now the administration is a little gun shy. Can't blame them for that. In fact, one can appreciate the caution with which they've approached this incident thus far. It shows a bit of wisdom gleaned from experience.

I'll be interested to follow this story as it plays out. And, for the sake of our nation's credibility, I still genuinely hope that US troops and inspectors uncover a huge stockpile of weapons that could have somehow posed a threat to the US or its allies.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

More lies from the lying liars 

Kos nails it:

Doubletalk on the Geneva Convention

by kos
Mon May 17th, 2004 at 18:37:37 EDT

From the fine folks at the Center for American Progress:

GONZALES SAYS ADMINISTRATION IS A 'STRONG SUPPORTER OF GENEVA CONVENTIONS: "At the same time, President Bush recognized that our nation will continue to be a strong supporter of the Geneva treaties. The president also reaffirmed our policy in the United States armed forces to treat Al Qaeda and Taliban detainees at Guantánamo Bay humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in keeping with the principles of the Third Geneva Convention."

- Alberto Gonzales, 5/15/04 (NYT Op-Ed)


GONZALES SAYS GENEVA RESTRICTIONS ARE OBSOLETE: "The nature of the new war places a high premium on other factors, such as the ability to quickly obtain information from captured terrorists and their sponsors in order to avoid further atrocities against American civilians...In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."

- Alberto Gonzales, 1/25/02 (Memorandum to the President, as reported in Newsweek 5/16/04)

Liars. The whole lot of them.

And remember, as a ratified treaty, the Geneva Convention isn't optional. It has the force of law, and breaking the convention is literally breaking US law.


Religious insanity at the White House 

This is not a joke. I am serious. Anyone who establishes policy for the United States of America based on "Biblical prophecy" is insane.


As if I needed to tell you. Still, this is unbelievable, and as far as I'm concerned, Reason Number One to kick Bush out TODAY. NOW. Forget the election. Impeach his stupid, insane, coke-addled ass.

The Jesus Landing Pad

Bush White House checked with rapture Christians before latest Israel move

by Rick Perlstein
May 18th, 2004 10:00 AM

It was an e-mail we weren't meant to see. Not for our eyes were the notes that showed White House staffers taking two-hour meetings with Christian fundamentalists, where they passed off bogus social science on gay marriage as if it were holy writ and issued fiery warnings that "the Presidents [sic] Administration and current Government is engaged in cultural, economical, and social struggle on every level"—this to a group whose representative in Israel believed herself to have been attacked by witchcraft unleashed by proximity to a volume of Harry Potter. Most of all, apparently, we're not supposed to know the National Security Council's top Middle East aide consults with apocalyptic Christians eager to ensure American policy on Israel conforms with their sectarian doomsday scenarios.

But now we know.

"Everything that you're discussing is information you're not supposed to have," barked Pentecostal minister Robert G. Upton when asked about the off-the-record briefing his delegation received on March 25. Details of that meeting appear in a confidential memo signed by Upton and obtained by the Voice.

The e-mailed meeting summary reveals NSC Near East and North African Affairs director Elliott Abrams sitting down with the Apostolic Congress and massaging their theological concerns. Claiming to be "the Christian Voice in the Nation's Capital," the members vociferously oppose the idea of a Palestinian state. They fear an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza might enable just that, and they object on the grounds that all of Old Testament Israel belongs to the Jews. Until Israel is intact and David's temple rebuilt, they believe, Christ won't come back to earth.

Abrams attempted to assuage their concerns by stating that "the Gaza Strip had no significant Biblical influence such as Joseph's tomb or Rachel's tomb and therefore is a piece of land that can be sacrificed for the cause of peace."

Three weeks after the confab, President George W. Bush reversed long-standing U.S. policy, endorsing Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank in exchange for Israel'sdisengagement from the Gaza Strip.

In an interview with the Voice, Upton denied having written the document, though it was sent out from an e-mail account of one of his staffers and bears the organization's seal, which is nearly identical to the Great Seal of the United States. Its idiosyncratic grammar and punctuation tics also closely match those of texts on the Apostolic Congress's website, and Upton verified key details it recounted, including the number of participants in the meeting ("45 ministers including wives") and its conclusion "with a heart-moving send-off of the President in his Presidential helicopter."

As atrios advises us: Go read the rest.


Monday, May 17, 2004

Those killer tax cuts 

Irony can be so sweet, except when people lose their jobs. And when they get killed, too.

From Hesiod at Counterspin Central:

BUSH LEAGUE: An Ohio manufacturing plant that George W. Bush used last year as a backdrop to show how his economic policies were working...has shut down.

Here's more on the plant closure.

"Timken is slashing a quarter of its employees in Canton, and as workers facing layoffs consider their future, the ripple effect is already beginning.

"How can I afford to get married, afford a house payment, maybe kids, if I don't have a job?" said Timken employee Shawn Higgins.

Timken is Canton's biggest employer, and it is reported that 1,300 jobs are to be cut. Former Mayor Richard Watkins, who led the city for 12 years, knows how enormous the impact of such a downsizing can be.

"It isn't just about Timken," said Watkins. "Other jobs are affected. If (people) can't spend money, the smaller entrepreneur won't be able to stay in business."

Ironically, it was a little more than a year ago when President George W. Bush visited Timken's world headquarters heralding his tax cut and job creation plan. Now this very company's job cuts will be a major blow to the economy in Canton."

You just can't make stuff up this pathetic.



I've never been one to go in for conspiracy theories; consequently, I'm not very good at determining their levels of validity and/or absurdity (if such things can coexist). This one has sparked my curiosity (WARNING: graphic images at this link): THE BEHEADING OF NICK BERG.

What's your take on this? How valid do you think it is? How absurd? Etc.

Sunday, May 16, 2004


Tom Englehardt nails it:

There's a simple calculus here -- and it applies whether you're talking about abusing prisoners or sending tanks into holy neighborhoods in Shiite Iraq: In a political context, when nationalist feelings have been aroused, brute force widely and brutally applied, whether to get information from prisoners or to suppress visible enemies, is simply adds oil to the flames. The results are bound to be a wider rebellion. To take but an example, thousands of Iraqis, many Sunnis, have been kept in the coalition's prisons under exceedingly oppressive conditions without charges or explanation. Between 60-90% of them were arrested "by mistake" (according to U.S. military authorities). Now, the new commandant of Iraq's prisons (and former commandant of our Guantanamo prison complex) Gen. Geoffrey Miller has decided, given the uproar over Abu Ghraib, that significant numbers of them are to be dumped out onto the street, hardened, embittered, angry, oppositional. Well done, coalition forces!

This is, in fact, the most essential principle of any asymmetric rebellion against a force of overwhelming power. It's exactly the principle of all Asian self-defense techniques from Tai Chi to Judo. Use your opponent's power against him. Instead of blocking it with whatever you have, simply toss him further in the direction he lunged. Thus, al-Sadr cleverly holed up with his forces in Iraq's two holiest cities, and his "army" (really an ill-organized militia, a pottage of armed, angry, unemployed young men) in turn set up camp in or near holy sites, mixing in with the local populace.

This, of course, has driven the American occupiers completely nuts (and since they're already reasonably crazed, that says a good deal). Our President spoke of this just the other day when he took his national security "team" to the Pentagon to give Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld a "vote of confidence." He began that endorsement oddly indeed: "Mr. Secretary," he said, "thank you for your hospitality, and thank you for your leadership. You are courageously leading our nation in the war against terror…" I'm sorry… but courageously? From the Pentagon? I could think of a lot of adjectives that a President might use in support of his secretary of defense, but it tells us something indeed that George imagines Don's acts as "courageous." Or perhaps he was just impressed by his appearance before a congressional committee not completely cowed for the first time in years.

In any case, with the courage of his Pentagon chief under his belt, it wasn't long before the President was complaining that "the enemy in Fallujah is hiding behind an innocent civilian population, and calculating that our coalition's use of force will alienate ordinary Iraqis." It's a fascinating statement actually, because it suggests a certain understanding of how the dynamic in Iraq is unfolding. As was true of American officials in Vietnam, he and his advisors clearly consider the enemy cowardly for acting in this way. Far more logical and "courageous" -- from an American point of view -- would be for the Iraqi rebels to step out into the open and fight "like men"; and, as in the brief war last year, be slaughtered like so many dogs from the air and at long range by our overwhelming firepower. Instead -- as our leaders see it -- the rebels hide behind women and shrines. And so they do. Most effectively. The President then concludes -- and here's where we move from at least a whining grasp of the situation into the world of fantasy: "Yet every day our troops are responding with precision and discipline and restraint."

Well, no, actually, we've killed a lot of civilians, destroyed numerous buildings, including in the last few days hotels in Karbala, and alienated tons of Iraqis.


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