Tuesday, July 12, 2005
July 11 Comes and Goes: No Iraq Indicators.
Two weeks ago, David Broder pointed out that the Bush
administration was soon going to face a make-or-break moment regarding
its Iraq policy: Under a little-noticed provision of the defense
spending bill passed by Congress in May, Secretary of Defense Don
Rumsfeld has until July 11 to send Capitol Hill a ...
The 2+Scalia Scenario.
Novak is reporting that Rehnquist will step down tomorrow morning,
creating a two seat vacuum on the Court. That, as it happens, is the
subject of a provocative article penned by Loyola Law professor Richard
Hasen in today's TNR....
Sandy Frank: The Stateless Enemy
wars are between two states (or groups of states), and hostilities end
only when one surrenders to the other. But in the war on terror our
opponent is not a state, and this has raised a huge problem for those
of us who want to end the war – and the killing – as quickly as
possible: we don’t have anyone to surrender to.
Immediately after 9/11, we could conceivably have surrendered to
either Saudi Arabia – source of most of the suicide hijackers – or
Afghanistan – harborer of mastermind Osama bin Laden. But the Saudis
disclaimed any connection and, in the case of Afghanistan, the
administration predictably squandered the opportunity and attacked.
Afghanistan surrendered - no doubt recalling Germany, Japan, and The Mouse That Roared – leaving us stuck. Even bin Laden was in hiding.
We then compounded our problem by attacking Iraq. Perhaps we were
hoping to surrender to them, but any hope of that vanished when they
cleverly surrendered to us first.
This has left us with few good options. We could try to accede to our
enemies’ demands: pull out of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, release the
prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, side with the Palestinians – no doubt we
can come up with others. But even if we do all that, absent formal
surrender we face the possibility of further conflict.
Two suggestions: first, maybe leaving bin Laden alive was not a
failure but rather a clever tactic to preserve him as someone to
surrender to. We’ll have to find him, of course, but that could be a
workable strategy. Otherwise, perhaps the United Nations could
establish an Office of Surrender Acceptance to handle situations like
this, functioning as a last resort third party to accept surrenders.
After all, this is bound to come up again. - Sandy Frank
[The Huffington Post | Full Blog Feed]
Yank Rove's security clearance.
There have been a number of excellent responses from Dems on the Hill to the Rove scandal, but one stands out for me.
Reid said, "The White House promised if anyone was involved in the
Valerie Plame affair, they would no longer be in this administration. I
trust they will follow through on this pledge." [...]
[The Carpetbagger Report]
"Turd Blossom" Must Go.
Pressure is building on the White House to fire Karl Rove (whom his
boss calls "Turd Blossom"). Could Rove's arrogance and ruthless
political tactics actually be catching up with him?
Monday, July 11, 2005
Keep licking my boots, peon, there's still a little liquid rubber stuck to the heel.
I was just trying to craft a post on the underexposed issue that napalm is being used in Iraq
(article sent by reader labyrus) that had more meat to it than just,
"Read this! Napalm in Iraq! Is there anything these criminally minded
fuckheads in power won't do?" and I cruised a couple blogs looking for
inspiration and the very first one I clicked on was Hullabaloo and at the very top of the page Digby quotes the most asshattery, boot-licking bullshit imaginable from Powerline.
"The media feeding frenzy will, indeed, be massive.
But absent a serious claim of a statutory violation or perjury, it's
questionable whether anyone apart from liberal bloggers and other
pre-existing Bush haters will partake in the media's dog food. This
isn't a top presidential aide accepting an expensive gift, or engaging
in lewd sexual conduct. It's a top aide providing truthful information
to journalists in response to lies told to embarrass the administration
and our government."
Who Said This?.
Physicists everywhere will breathe a sigh of relief to learn that
quantum mechanics is no longer part of their domain:When we say, "a
physical basis for consciousness" we are forgetting that everything
physical is at the most fundamental...
Bush Now Exporting Fear To Other Countries
It's bad enough that SOB
King George has his own citizens walking around in fear, now he decides
to export it to Canada and Australia. From the World Conference on
Disaster Management in Toronto on Monday.Conference speaker Ty Fairman,
who has worked with the FBI investigating bombings and chemical attacks
around the world, said Canadians need to wake up to the possibility
that they could be... - canuk
And they wonder why we’re suspicious: WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Robert
Earl, who destroyed national security documents during the 1980s
Iran-Contra scandal, is working as chief of staff to acting Deputy
Defense Secretary Gordon England, the Pentagon said on Monday. Earl
destroyed and stole national security documents while working for Lt.
Col. Oliver North during a secret arms [...]
Problems at the National Guard.
Here's the serious news:The Army is running perilously low on its
Reserve and National Guard soldiers who largely fill certain critical
support jobs, like military police and civil affairs officers and truck
drivers. Marine Corps reservists...
[ Political Animal]
Have You Forgotten?.
An excerpt from today's gaggle :
You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And
now we find out that he spoke about Joseph Wilson's wife. So don't you
owe the American public a fuller explanation. Was he involved or was he
not? Because contrary to what you told the American people, he did
indeed talk about his wife, didn't he?This is starting to give me a
stomach ache. The way we liberal bloggers have been following this,
it's easy to see this as an enormous game of partisan "Gotcha!" that
we're all wrapped up in.
MCCLELLAN: There will be a time to talk about this, but now is not the time to talk about it.
QUESTION: Do you think people will accept that, what you're saying today?
MCCLELLAN: Again, I've responded to the question.
QUESTION: You're in a bad spot here, Scott...
... because after the investigation began -- after the criminal
investigation was under way -- you said, October 10th, 2003, "I spoke
with those individuals, Rove, Abrams and Libby. As I pointed out, those
individuals assured me they were not involved in this," from that
podium. That's after the criminal investigation began.
Now that Rove has essentially been caught red-handed peddling this
information, all of a sudden you have respect for the sanctity of the
Well, it's not.
I know that evoking 9/11 is a game that both sides of the aisle like
to play to smear the other side, but I honestly can't shake the mental
imagery of the last four years of bloody chaos. Usually my mind focuses
on two or three images at a time. This morning, for example, it was the
people diving out of the burning WTC towers to escape the smoke, the
grainy video of Danny Pearl saying "I am a Jew" just prior to being
beheaded, and the shredded double decker bus in London. Other times I
think about the gaping hole in the Pentagon or the photos that leaked
of row after row of American flag draped coffins. Whatever it it, the
message that's drilled into my subconscious is the same :
Thousands of people have been killed already, but there are still others out there who want to murder you right now.September
11th obviously effected everyone in profound ways, so I would never
imply that my grief and fear is something unique to one political
persuasion or another. But it still puzzles me when something this big only seems to generate outrage on one side of the aisle.
Right now there are people who want to murder as many Americans as
possible. It doesn't matter to them who their victims voted for, what
religion they are, if they're rich or poor, black, white, whatever. As
long as the bodycount is high, it doesn't matter who gets hit. The fact
that the WTC towers were financial centers was secondary to the fact
that hitting the largest buildings in the country at mid-morning would
maximize the terrorists' bloodshed. With these people wanting to kill
so indiscriminately, it seems that the best means to this end is to
make sure that we stop the spread of the appropriately-named weapons of
Yet here we are, almost four years later, and we've got a situation
in which we're 99% certain that the right hand man to the guy who's in
charge of keeping our nightmares for becoming a reality has been
undercutting efforts to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction. I honestly cannot understand why everyone who was effected by 9/11 isn't outraged about this. I really can't.
I don't know what's more frightening. Being kept up at night with
neurotic fears about mushroom-clouds and evil terrorists, or the
suspicion that the people who are supposed to be taking this fight
seriously aren't having the same nightmares. [The Talent Show]
Sunday, July 10, 2005
The B-52s saved me from dorkitude.
was an overall a shitty year. I moved from what any reasonable person
would deem as red state hell into a red state hell that put the
previous red state hell to shame. Indeed, the small town we moved to
was so small and backwards, it made El Paso look like a fucking
metropolis. We moved to 1957, a joke that still gets me laughs to this
To make things even worse, it was my first year of junior high
school. I failed a bunch of classes, girls and boys both wanted to beat
me up, I was so scared of the vile bitches that cornered me on the
playground and demanded to know why I wore "boys'" shoes (at the time,
athletic sneakers were popular in big towns but not in 1957 West Texas
where they were considered unfeminine), I threw up but not to control
my weight and I menstruated but not in a cool Judy Blume novel way.
Shit sucked bad. And the music was worse. The "cool" kids all like
Milli Vanilli, which I didn't give two shits about. I gave a helluva
effort to seem like I like the boy bands of the time, but mostly I was
1989 was the year that the B-52s released their extremely stupid
song "Love Shack". Being a dumb shit kid, I loved it. My aunt, who was
a few years older than me, loved the B-52s and latched onto my love of
the song to bestow upon me a copied tape that had their first album on
side one and and Wild Planet on side two. I loved it. I am
surprised I did not fry it I played it so much. The first album
especially grabbed my attention--it was weird, decadent, beautiful and
the song "Dance This Mess Around" in particular was fucking perfect.
They sang about sexual decadence, dancing 'til dawn, but more than
anything they sang about how gorgeous music is and could be.
I didn't know their entire story then--I didn't know about how they
were just jamming and having fun and how Ricky Wilson played on a Sears
Silvertone and how they got swept into the New York scene and how they
inspired John Lennon to get back into writing music and how Ricky,
whose underrated guitar work was the backbone of the band, died of AIDS
and how their popularity on the mainstream charts came after they lost
his brillance or anything like that. If I had known those things, maybe
I wouldn't have learned the prejudice that was hard to unwind that
bands peak early and decline. Who knows what they would have been,
after all, if Ricky had lived? But I did learn something that would
fuck me up from then on--I related to the B-52s, which made me a weirdo
and I would never, ever fit in.
I came out with my secret love my junior year of high school and put
the tape of their first album on for my friends and tried to get them
to understand the punk rock awesomeness of "52 Girls" and the downright
Dusty Springfriend-esque surreal beauty of "Dance This Mess Around". I
played them "Rock Lobster", thinking that its strange pop appeal would
break through, but it was sort of long and they got bored and thought
it was stupid. [Pandagon]
UK And US Secretly Planning Iraq Pullout
Britain And America are
secretly preparing to withdraw most of their troops from Iraq - despite
warnings of the grave consequences for the region. The British
newspaper The Mail reports:A secret paper written by Defence Secretary
John Reid for Tony Blair reveals that many of the 8,500 British troops
in Iraq are set to be brought home within three months, with most of
the rest returning six... - canuk
When Did The White House Plame Outing Really Start?.
Hmm. Via a Paul Lukasiak posting at TPMCafe comes this July 6th 2005
Walter Pincus piece that I'd seen previously, but I admit I didn't
really "get" the potential importance of the nut grafs the first time I
On July 12, 2003, an administration
official, who was talking to me confidentially about a matter involving
alleged Iraqi nuclear activities, veered off the precise matter we were
discussing and told me that the White House had not paid attention
to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's CIA-sponsored February 2002 trip
to Niger because it was set up as a boondoggle by his wife, an analyst
with the agency working on weapons of mass destruction.
didn't write about that information at that time because I did not
believe it true that she had arranged his Niger trip. But I did
disclose it in an October 12, 2003 story [here]
in The Washington Post. By that time there was a Justice Department
criminal investigation into a leak to columnist Robert Novak who
published it on July 14, 2003 and identified Wilson's wife, Valerie
Plame, as a CIA operative. Under certain circumstances a government
official's disclosure of her name could be a violation of federal law.
The call with me had taken place two days before Novak's column
Now, here's the thing about that bolded sentence. Even presuming Novak's column was seen at the White House before publication: Novak's column didn't say that.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Stephen Elliott: And Then There Was A Knock
The Strange Detention of a 71 year old Afghan Hindu Man and His 69 Year Old Wife
comes the knock. There are two, maybe three, uniformed officers from
the Department of Homeland Security. They tell the boy they want to
take his parents in for questioning. Have them back in two to three
hours. The father, Gokal Kapoor, is 71, his wife, Sheila Kapoor, 69.
Old people. Hindus from Afghanistan. Two hours, they'll be back, see ya.
It takes several days and several lawyers to find out where they are. They're being held in Pamunkey Regional Jail,
in Hanover, Virginia, a red and white brick structure at the end of a
circular drive. The web page boasts "a state-of-the-art facility" with
a housing capacity for 400 inmates. The jail serves the needs of all
"user agencies, law enforcement, courts, attorneys, and community
organizations." Mostly it's used to house criminals awaiting trial or
convicted of misdemeanors serving less than twelve months. In Pamunkey
there is a commissar, run by AraMark.
If the prisoner has money in his or her account they can get Snickers
bars and Pepsi, soap, feminine hygiene products, underwear. They can
even get cups of noodles but not the kind in styrofoam; has to be in a
see-through container. Also, no non-dairy creamer. Non-dairy creamer is
flammable. There is separate housing for males and females. Male and
female prisoners have no access to one another. So Sheila and Gokal
don't see one-another anymore. The prisoners spend their time in their
unit's day room. They can make phone calls, collect. Very expensive.
Sheila's sister comes to visit, drives an hour, but she is turned away.
She didn't fill out the paperwork correctly.
No one is sure why Gokal and Sheila have been arrested. They are not
accused of anything, they are not interrogated. It seems it was part of
a sweep of immigrants working in airports. Gokal is a baggage handler
at Dulles. Sheila is an assistant for disabled passengers. But the
authorities are not answering questions. Yesterday the Kapoor's were
fingerprinted. Looks like they are being readied for deportation. Hard
to say. Welcome to The Department Of Homeland Security.
They arrived in America in 1997 fleeing the vicious persecution of
Hindus in Afghanistan (imagine statues exploding on mountain sides, a
small minority forced to wear identifying insignias, beaten and forced
to convert to Islam or pay fines). Sometimes an asylum case can take a
while to work its way through the system. Following the American
invasion of Afghanistan an immigration judge decided that the Kapoors
no longer needed asylum in America, though they'd lived here for years
and were very old. Though they had social security numbers and held
jobs. They obeyed the law, their son went to school, and they appealed
the judge's decision. Two months ago their work permits expired.
Eighteen days ago, June 22, on the day they were arrested, their son
graduated from high school.
There are thousands of aliens with final deportation orders against them in the Washington-Virginia area. Few are arrested.
Gokal has a successful brother, Dr. Wishwa Kapoor, head of internal
medicine at The University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Kapoor has been in
America thirty years. He is an American citizen. He retains a lawyer
for his brother, Michael Maggio.
The Washingtonian called Mr. Maggio "Washington's best immigration
lawyer". Mr. Maggio thinks the whole thing is very unusual. He's quoted
in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette
- "Why, given the limited resources at the Department of Homeland
Security, do they go after a 70-year-old Afghan man who's no threat to
anyone and who faces being sent to one of the most dangerous countries
in the world?
"And how are they going to deport him, anyway? The government there
is barely functioning -- who's going to do the paperwork? There's no
direct flight to Kabul, so they have to send him through a transit
country, which means they'd have to send a U.S. agent to escort him ...
does anyone think this is the best use of taxpayer dollars?"
He hopes it's just a mistake. But then yesterday the fingerprinting.
One has to ask, is it possible? OK, septuagenarians thrown in jail for
a few weeks, a mistake, ha ha, part of living in America. They're just
tired and poor, yearning to breathe free. It happens. I mean, it's not
like they were kept in a super-max. Sure, they haven't done anything
wrong and they haven't been allowed to see each other, but it's just
jail, a short term facility, it's not prison. Pamunkey, it even sounds
funny. And there's a commissar, you can buy Snickers bars. Fine, we
locked up some very old people for a few weeks, what's done is done.
But are we really going to deport them? I mean, can't we, as a society,
just apologize, send the old people home, scarred but still alive. Are
we really going to deport Hindus to Afghanistan? After eight years?
Their whole family in America and no reason to suspect them of
anything. Is this what America has become? Are there no checks and
balances for this broken system?
more information: Stopdetention.org
- Stephen Elliott - Stephen Elliott (email@example.com)
[The Huffington Post | Full Blog Feed]
David Corn: Time for Rove Withdrawal?
What's a I-wanna-see-Rove-go-to-jail fanatic to do now?
For the past few weeks, the Plame/CIA leak was in the news far more
so than it had been ever since the CIA first asked the Justice
Department in September 2003 to investigate the leak from Bush
administration officials that outed an undercover CIA official working
on WMD issues (Valerie Wilson, a.k.a. Valerie Plame), who was married
to a critic of Bush's war in Iraq (former Ambassador Joseph Wilson).
That leak first appeared in a Bob Novak column published on July 14,
2003; Novak cited two unnamed "senior administration officials" as his
What drew all the recent attention to the investigation was the
face-off between special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and two
reporters--Time's Matt Cooper and The New York Times'
Judith Miller. Fitzgerald, in pursuit of the leakers (who may have
violated a federal law making it a crime for a government official to
identify a clandestine CIA official), wanted Cooper, who cowrote a Time
article that also reported that unnamed government officials had said
Valerie Wilson was a CIA official, and Miller, who had written nothing
on this subject, to testify before his grand jury and talk about what
their sources had told them. Initially they both resisted. And the
ensuing clash--as troubling as it was for those of us who care about
protecting reporter-source confidentiality--was a goldmine for anyone
trying to figure out what has been happening with Fitzgerald's
investigation. His inquiry has been surprisingly low on leaks, and it
had been hard to suss out what he was doing and whether he was
achieving any progress. But his fight with Miller and Cooper pushed
facts and hints into the public record.
As regular readers of this blog know, Fitzgerald's tussle with these
reporters moved Karl Rove to the top of the suspects list. Though much
remains unknown, it does seem probable--as Lawrence O'Donnell has
blogged about here and as Newsweek's Michael Isikoff
reported--that the source Fitzgerald has so much wanted Cooper to talk
about is Rove. Why is Fitzgerald intensely interested in Rove? We can
only guess at this moment. But it's not unreasonable to presume this is
because Fitzgerald considers him a chief suspect--even though Rove's
lawyer, Robert Luskin, has told reporters that Rove did not name
Valerie Plame as a CIA official to any reporter and that Fitzgerald has
informed Rove he is not a target. (For a thorough analysis--by me--of
what the recent court proceedings do and do not tell us about
Fitzgerald's investigation and Rove's place in it, click here.
But now Fitzgerald's fight with Miller and Cooper is done. Miller is
sitting in a jail in Virginia, dispatched there by federal District
Court Judge Thomas Hogan until she cooperates with Fitzgerald or his
grand jury expires in four months. Cooper is a free man. Time
magazine, over his objections, surrendered his emails and notes to
Fitzgerald. Still, Fitzgerald wanted Cooper to testify before the grand
jury. Cooper was prepared to say no and be imprisoned. Then at the
last-minute, Cooper declared that his confidential source--Rove?--had
granted him a personal waiver to speak to the grand jury about his
conversations with this source. But this waiver did not allow Cooper to
speak in public about this source.
With the Miller and Cooper cases resolved, we will be left with no
new tea leaves to read. Fitzgerald's investigation will proceed under
the cloak of secrecy that covers (or is supposed to cover) all federal
criminal probes. Some, of course, leak. (Remember Ken Starr?) But
Fitzgerald's inquiry has been rather tight. I've had Justice Department
officials tell me that they tend to hear nothing about Fitzgerald's
actions. Cooper's upcoming testimony to Fitzgerald's grand jury will be
confidential. So what he says--or does not say--about Rove will>here
to see that. The article is headlined, "Novak Squealed." - David Corn
[The Huffington Post | Full Blog Feed]
Tony Blair In Purgatory:
Forget for a moment that ...
Tony Blair In Purgatory:
- Rude One [The Rude Pundit]
Forget for a moment that Sarasota, Florida is about 860 miles from
Washington, DC, roughly twice the distance that Gleneagles, Scotland is
from London. Forget for a moment that after the attacks on the United
States on September 11, 2001, President Bush continued to read to
schoolchildren until he was taken on a multi-state flight around the
United States, while Tony Blair yesterday rushed back to London to
assure his nation before rushing back to Scotland to assure that the
work of the G-8 Summit would be accomplished. Forget that Bush's first words
to America on 9/11 were to thank the school children, declare it a
tragedy, and offer a moment of prayer, while Tony Blair, before leaving
for London, spoke
to the UK about terrorism, resolve and the world. Forget that
to the nation that fucked-up day was given by a man looking like a deer
in headlights, including a reassurance that capitalism was fine and a
Bible quote, while last night in England, Blair gave a speech
that's been described as Churchill-like in its rallying call and was also compassionate towards Muslims.
Forget all that. And think about Tony Blair for just one moment: dicked
over time and again by George Bush and the United States on every world issue
except for the war in Iraq. Think about the Prime Minister, coming back
to London from that fine resort in Scotland, ready to hear about and
talk about carnage. And let us think that, for a moment, he may have
wondered if he's been played for a sucker by the neocon right and the
White House. As the death toll rises,
perhaps a thoughtful man, which we here in the U.S. with our
thoughtless leaders often hope Blair is (in the same way we thought
Colin Powell was an honest man), couldn't be blamed for second-guessing
himself. Oh, no, he can't show it. But perhaps, in his sickened heart
of hearts, as the police try to dig out the shattered corpses from the
tunnels, Blair knows, fucking knows he's walked down the garden path
with the very man who would put a bullet in the back of his skull if
such an act would benefit the powerful in the United States, that he's
tossed his chips onto a table filled with cheaters. Sure, he tried to
bluff with sexed up documents and lies of his own, but he had no idea
who he was dealing with.
In the end, Blair knows that once you've tossed in your ante, there's no gettin' out until the pot is played.
The 'Oscars of Idiocy'.
How about a little Friday diversion from the usual political news? My
friends at the World Stupidity Awards emailed this week to let me know
about their third annual ceremony to be held in Montreal on July 22nd.
The show will be hosted, appropriately enough, by Lewis Black (of Jon
There are some nominations, [...] [The Carpetbagger Report]
No One's Advantage.
No One's Advantage [The terror attack near the G8 summit location]
"works to...the Western world's advantage, for people to experience
something like this together." —Brian Kilmeade, Fox News host, in an
on-air exchange July 7, 2005....
We investigated ourselves and we're innocent.
Really. The Pentagon, responding to charges that its medical personnel
mistreated military detainees, conducted its own examination and found
no widespread abuses, a spokesman said Thursday. The most laughable
part is the last line. Last month, the Pentagon issued new...
[Body and Soul]
Throwing Down The Gauntlet To The Right
BBC World Service said early
this a.m. that more credence was being given to the Islamic jihadist
website claiming responsibility for yesterday's London blasts, but
nothing conclusive has yet been learned. For all the discussion over
how coordinated the attacks were, I can't help note that the
destruction was actually miniscule compared to what it could have been,
and because of that, I'm tempted...
London calling .
The Tube is mostly back on, except for the Circle Line, the
Hammersmith & City, the Piccadilly between Hyde Park Corner and
Arnos Grove, and the western sections of the District Line. It seems
fairly miraculous to me that the rest of the District Line and the
Northern and Central Lines appear to be running normally.
So, let me tap into my terrometer and see how terrorized I feel this morning.
Hm, I don't feel any more terrorized than I felt two days ago. I just don't seem to have that wild urge to make a big show of how macho I am in the face of fear. I wonder why.
yes, it was because it seemed like only a matter of time before the
effects of this insane invasion and occupation reached these shores,
and while one could hope against hope that somehow we would be safe,
one would have had to be dumber than dirt to think there was some magic
barrier preventing it.
And neither will more stupid ideas
that make life more complicated for ordinary people but will merely be
an interesting - but surmountable - challenge to terrorists.
I see by my trackbacks that people who still believe in "The War on Terror" absolutely do not get it:
We are at war with them, people. What is bad for us is good for them, what is bad for them is good for us.This
idea that the attacks refocus our attention on "what is really
important" is nuts. Perhaps the war-supporters need acts of violence
against the west in order to give them a shot of adrenalin so they can
keep cheerleading this disaster, but we're not doing anything to stop
terrorism. On the contrary, we have given terrorism a vital shot in the
Re-focusing our attention on what is really important was a mistake on their part. It works to our advantage.
On January 20th of 2001, Al Qaeda's moment was passing. Many
Muslims had once found the radical movement intriguing, yes, but their
terrorist tactics had come to turn people off. Far from growing, they
were fading, shrinking.
9/11 would have been their last,
desperate gasp. The Muslim world, by and large, was as horrified and
outraged by the attack on America as anyone else.
president who truly wanted to protect us from terrorism might have done
any number of things, but attacking Iraq was surely not one of them.
Neither was invading Afghanistan and then leaving a mess behind.
And neither was this:
should go down in history as a case study on how truth is subverted,
co-opted, buried, and ignored. The first US-led siege of Falluja, a
city of 300,000 people, resulted in a defeat for Coalition forces.
Prior to the second siege in November, its citizens were given two
choices: leave the city or risk dying as enemy insurgents. The people
of Falluja remembered the siege of April all too well. They remembered
being trapped when Coalition forces surrounded and blockaded the city
and seized the main hospital, leaving the population cut off from food,
water, and medical supplies. Families remembered the fighting in the
streets and the snipers on the rooftops, which prevented movement by
civilians. They remembered burying more than 600 neighbors - women,
children, and men - in makeshift graves in schoolyards and soccer
fields.Gee, is that enough revenge for an act that was committed by 19 men, none of whom were Iraqi?
Under threat of a new siege, an estimated 50,000
families or 250,000 people fled Falluja. They fled with the knowledge
that they would live as refugees with few or no resources. They left
behind fathers, husbands, brothers and sons, as males between the ages
of 15 and 45 were denied safe passage out of the city by US-led forces.
If the displaced families of Falluja were fortunate, they fled to the
homes of relatives in the surrounding towns and villages or to the city
of Baghdad - homes that were already overcrowded and overburdened after
20 months of war and occupation. Many families are forced to survive in
fields, vacant lots, and abandoned buildings without access to shelter,
water, electricity, food or medical care and alongside tens of
thousands of displaced and homeless people already living in the rubble
What of the estimated 50,000 residents who did
not leave Falluja? The US military suggested there were a couple of
thousand insurgents in the city before the siege, but in the end chose
to treat all the remaining inhabitants as enemy combatants.
Oh, but Falluja wasn't revenge for the three thousand people killed on 9/11. It was revenge for the killing of only four contractors in Iraq. And because those four men were murdered, the United States of America decided in its wisdom and righteous anger to terrorize an entire city.
Yes, I said "terrorize". That's what we're doing to those people. We have focused their minds on what is important.
What Iraqis Want: Part II.
As President Bush continued to spin developments in Iraq over the
holiday weekend, few people noticed an important development in
Baghdad, reported by Al-Hayat newspaper 83 members of Iraq's
transitional parliament supported a demand for a timetable for troop
withdrawal from Iraq. This represents nearly one-third of Iraq's
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Tom Hayden: strategy for ending iraq war
A Strategy for Ending the Iraq War
“When you’re in the middle of a conflict, you’re trying to find pillars
of strength to lean on”. – US military officer, Iraq, May 19, 2005)
INTRODUCTION. In January 2005, a group of fifty peace activists from
the Vietnam and Iraq eras issued a global appeal to end the war. The
appeal proposed undermining the pillars of war (public opinion,
funding, troop recruitment, international allies) and building the
pillars of peace and justice (an independent anti-war movement linked
to justice issues, a progressive Democratic opposition, soldiers and
families against the war, a global network to stop the US empire). This
is an update on implementation of the strategy - see one-page guide for
organizers at end.
OVERVIEW. The tide is turning. Public support for the war is down, as
are the President’s ratings. Anti-war Democrats are back. Military
recruiting is hitting a wall. The US strategy of Iraqization is
failing. National anti-war actions are scheduled for late September.
The bad news is that the good news is so recent. For six long months,
the media and the Democrats have given the President a free pass, and
the anti-war movement has floundered.
The war is not over – we should remember that the Vietnam War continued
for seven years after President Johnson was forced to resign.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION. Among friends and local activists, practice
discussion of these multiple scenarios with plans for responding to
1. Status Quo/Quagmire. How do we expand local anti-war coalitions, and
double membership of local groups, going into the 2006 elections?
2. Bush escalates (e.g. sends more troops, invades Syrian border, bombs
Iran, resumes draft). In any of these cases, is more radical action
called for? How will it impose a cost on Bush, how will it expand the
3. Bush mimics Nixon, promises peace, withdraws 10,000 troops as Iraq
adopts constitution and elects new government. Would this defuse the
anti-war movement going into 2006? Or will we be in a mode to keep on
the offense? How will we argue that the strategy will not bring peace?
4. What do you need to respond? In each scenario, what resources or adaptations does your local group need to respond?
Analysis of the current situation
On the battlefield: a sinking quagmire
It is risky to base an analysis on battlefield reports, especially
given the Pentagon’s propaganda, the media’s limitations, and the
general lack of information about the Iraqi insurgency. Anything is
possible, but clearly a sense of panic has set in among Washington
decision-makers since the installation of the new Iraqi client regime a
few months ago. For example, Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel says the war
is being lost (NYT, June 21). Baghdad is “effectively enemy territory,
with an ability to strike at will, and to shake off the losses
inflicted by American troops.” (NYT, January 20, 2005) US casualties
from guerrilla bomb attacks have reached "new heights", with 700
attacks with improvised weapons killing 71 Americans during the past
six weeks (NYT, June 22). Military analysts recognize that the US
cannot hold the territory it occupies. The airport road remains a
nightmare. These are the classic contradictions of an occupying power
trying to prop up an unpopular regime against a nationalist-based
resistance. The training and deployment of Iraqi counter-insurgency
troops (Iraqization) has failed so far, with US commanders saying it
will take several years. “American troops have been conducting
nighttime patrols to make sure the Iraqis stay awake”, according to an
unusually candid front-page NY Times article (June 19). Sen. Biden was
informed privately that of 107 Iraqi battalions, only three were
fully-operational (June 6).
Against all evidence, however, senior correspondents like the Times’
John Burns continue to see the war through the filters of previous
conflicts. Burns calls the Syrian-Iraqi border a new “Ho Chi Minh
Trail”, ignoring the fact that there is no North Vietnam, no China, no
Soviet Union serving as a “rear base” for the insurgents, but
inadvertently lending support to the argument that the US should send
more troops to seal the border. More unfortunately, Burns has penned an
opinion piece called “The Mystery of the Insurgency” (May 15) which
says “counter-insurgency experts are baffled”. Sounding like Mr. Kurtz
in Conrad’s Heart of Darknesss, Burns cannot simply conclude that the
US invasion itself is the cause of a fiery Iraqi nationalism, because
that would imply that US withdrawal might lessen the violence.
Perhaps the most significant factor on the ground is the rise of an
Iraqi movement calling for US withdrawal and ending the occupation. The
peace movement should consider calling for US peace talks with the
Iraqi peace movement.
In January of this year, a Brookings Institute report showed 82 percent
of Sunnis and 69 percent of Shiites favored a “near-term US withdrawal”
(NYT, Feb. 21, 2005). Just before the Iraqi elections, US intelligence
warned that the winning faction would press for a withdrawal date.
(NYT, Jan. 19, 2005). This was considered “grim” news and efforts were
taken to squelch the peace sentiment. Next Harith al-Dari, a prominent
Sunni cleric, along with the Muslim Scholars Association, called for a
US withdrawal timetable, saying “We do not insist that the Americans
withdraw at once, as long as they stay in their bases and cease to
marginalize our political life.” (NYT, March 29, 2005)Then 100,000
Iraqi Shiites, the winners in the election, demonstrated on the streets
of Baghdad calling for US withdrawal. (NYT, April 10). A few days
later, the leader of a “hard-line” Sunni group “who says he has links
with insurgent fighters” was rebuffed when he tried for weeks to open
talks with American officials on behalf of the insurgents. (NYT, April
15, 2005). Last week 82 Iraqi members of the 285-member US-dominated
parliament sent a letter calling for US withdrawal to Speaker Hajem
Al-Hassani.(Journal of Turkish Weekly, June 19). “It is dangerous that
the Iraqi government has asked the UN Security Council to prolong the
stay of occupation forces without consulting representatives of the
people who have a mandate for such a decision”, the letter said.
And as the HuffingtonPost reported yesterday, the London Sunday
Times is describing secret and "deniable" talks between American
intelligence operatives and insurgent groups responsible for suicide
The only conclusion one can draw from these scattered reports is that
the Bush Administration is threatened by any peace sentiment among
Iraqis before the US somehow defeats the insurgents. This leaves an
opportunity for anti-war critics to call for cease-fire talks (publicly
and back-channel) in support of the Iraqi majority. Many guerrilla
conflicts have been suspended when the guerrillas’ legitimate demands
were recognized as part of a political process. Secretary of State Rice
seeks “inclusiveness” by inviting fifteen token Sunnis to the table
while the US military occupies their neighborhoods. Instead she must
understand “inclusiveness” to mean the inclusion of the majority of
Iraqis who will at least tolerate the insurgency until the US agrees to
end the occupation.
The US may be missing an opportunity for back-channel talks about
guarantees that the withdrawal will be peaceful, that oil supplies will
be protected, and that Israel will not be attacked from Baghdad. No one
can know – but Secretary Rumsfeld is proud of saying “we have no exit
strategy, only a victory strategy.”(NYT, April 13, 2005) That’s what
Americans in Saigon kept saying until they were jumping on helicopters
from rooftops in 1975. The possibility cannot be discounted that the
Green Zone will be attacked and overrun in an offensive like that in
Saigon in January 1968. What then?
The US Military Recruitment Crisis Deepens
The single greatest achievement of the anti-war movement is the
pressure on military recruitment as well as support for dissenting GIs.
The previous generation of anti-war activists forced an end to the
draft, which may be an obstacle too great for the President to
surmount. That earlier generation has become the parents of this
generation’s draft-age youth, a fact which deeply disturbs a Pentagon
hoping to eradicate “the Vietnam Syndrome.”
“The Pentagon is especially vexed by a generation of more activist
parents who have no qualms about projecting their own views onto their
children.” (NYT, “Parents Emerging as Military Recruiters’ Big
See also: on recruitment “death spiral”, NYT, May 13, 2005; “Army
Recruiters Say They Feel Pressure To Bend the Rules”, NYT, May 3, 2005;
“Army Recruiting More High School Dropouts to Meet Goals”, NYT, June
11, 2005. And then there’s this: at least 37 Army recruiters have gone
AWOL since October 2002, NYT, Mar. 27, 2005)
The recruitment crisis is connected to a morale crisis on the
battlefield itself. The first fragging (and killing) of American
officers by an American soldier since the 2003 invasion was reported
last week. (NYT, June 18)
“Coalition of the Willing” Weakens
You might not know it from the media, but the “coalition” having troops
on the ground in Iraq has declined from 34 to 20 nations. The US’ two
staunchest allies, Britain’s Blair and Italy’s Berlusconi, suffered
politically in recent elections due to their pro-war stances. And the
last paragraph of a New York Times article datelined Baghdad on March
13 reported that Ukraine was pulling out its 150 troops by October.
It’s not just the “old Europe” that is opposed to sending troops, but
America’s very own new allies inside the former Soviet Union.
Second to the US in troop commitments is not a government or country at
all, but over 20,000 stateless mercenaries from former repressive
armies in South Africa, El Salvador, Colombia, the US and the UK, all
paid for by American taxpayers.(LAT, June 11, 2005).
“Coalition of the Willing” allies like Pakistan and Uzbekistan are
increasingly in the news for torture and other human rights violations,
drawing fire from concerned Congressmen who question whether the US
trained those responsible for the recent massacre of hundreds in
Uzbekistan, where terror suspects have been “rendered” by the US. (NYT,
May 29, 2005)
Little noticed is that the US alliances in the war on terrorism are
provoking violence elsewhere. For example, one thousand US troops are
training African countries to combat terrorism to “get ahead of the
power curve”, which has led to an Algerian attack killing 15
Mauritanians who were denounced as “agents of America in the region.”
(June 10, 2005). The secret low-intensity warfare continues, provoking
more anti-American hatred across the Islamic world.
Finally, Congress Wakes Up
The leadership of the Democratic Party – Reid, Pelosi, even Howard Dean
– have been absolutely AWOL during the past six months, driving local
Democrats and activists to despair and confusion. Thanks to local
activists and Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), Democratic
conventions in California, Wisconsin and Massachusetts, passed anti-war
resolutions at their conventions. But the party line was to dissociate
from the Iraq issue altogether, stranding a courageous handful like
representatives Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee who offered a withdrawal
resolution in late January.
All that changed last week. The doves have found their wings. Rep. John
Conyers led important hearings on the Downing Street Memoranda which
showed top Bush officials were “fixing the evidence to fit the policy.”
Over one hundred Democrats, including Pelosi, signed Conyers’ letter
demanding answers from the Administration. Five hundred thousand
petitions were carried by Conyers and others to the White House. Maxine
Waters led a rebellion against Pelosi behind closed doors which
resulted in the formation of a fifty-member “Out of Iraq” caucus. Five
House Republicans broke ranks from the Administration for the first
time, including the South Carolina Congressman who once proposed
renaming French fries “freedom fries”. The Congress voted to protect
public libraries from the Patriot Act.
An emboldened anti-war movement plans national actions for September 26.
Move.on, which was AWOL for months, tending to follow opinion rather
than lead, joined the Conyers effort to solicit petitions from its
members. Win Without War, similarly dormant for months, scheduled
meetings and press conferences enthusiastically. The United for Peace
and Justice official working group on pressuring Congress will hold its
first meeting next week.
The grass-roots anger directed at the party leadership was having an
effect, as reported by many members after visiting their
constituencies. Public opinion was running sixty percent in favor of
partial or total withdrawal. Hundreds of Iraqis and Americans had been
killed since the installation of the new Iraqi government. The Downing
Street documents proved once again that the reasons for war were
fabricated. The Abu Graeb scandals were destroying the reputation of
the Pentagon. Bush was declining in the polls. And so the politicians
decided to show up.
All cynicism aside, that is great news. The climate has changed, at
least for now. The rank-and-file of the anti-movement have an
opportunity to move Congress from fence-sitting to forward motion.
A major moral force all along has been the military families, who
unswervingly insist on accountability from the Administration and will
not quite whatever the ups and downs of the war’s course.
It has to be recognized strategically that ending the war will require
a left-right alliance. Those in the centrist establishment tend to be
blinded to reality by their power, which results in muddled analysis
and rhetoric (an explanation for Senator Biden, Senator Kerry, or the
New York Times editorial writers). For example, when the library
amendment to the Patriot Act passed with 38 Republican votes, one House
strategist complained of “the crazies on the left and the crazies on
the right, meeting in the middle.”(Washington Post, June 16, 2005).
The anti-war groups now will confer on how to deepen grass-root
organizing in selected congressional districts around withdrawal,
ending taxes for torture, military recruiting, etc. A key issue will be
the costs of the war, easily available on costsofwar.com on city,
state, and federal levels. For example, the up-to-the-second total cost
of the war now is $178, 136, 219, 056 (that actually was thirty minutes
ago). That’s one billion dollars per week. These same funds could have
- nationally, health insurance for 46.4 million people, or Head Start
enrollments for 27 million kids, or 8.6 million four-year college
scholarships, or 3.5 million new elementary teachers, or seven years of
fully-funded global anti-hunger efforts;
- the portion paid by Los Angeles taxpayers would fund 91, 851 four-year public university scholarships.
Carry those facts to the congressional district offices, PTA meetings
and recruitment centers, and there will be effects. Some activists are
discussing the construction of Iraq-style prison cages outside of
congressional and/or recruitment offices – and leafleting passers-by
from the inside. The tactical possibilities are endless.
Not only can the war’s end be hastened, but beyond the left-right
alliance, the peace movement can contribute to the reconstruction of a
locally-grounded new progressive movement conscious of the links
between empire and domestic priorities. This would be a historical
development of lasting importance. For example, out of the Vietnam
experience came an American public suspicion of plans to police the
world and executive secrecy that lasted beyond Watergate until human
rights became an accepted principle of American policy. The same
progressive momentum can be achieved through the ending of the Iraq
war; in fact, it already has begun.
A Note of Caution
Unfortunately, the anti-war movement depends on the costly quagmire
continuing in Iraq. Americans become frustrated at the sight of failure
on television, failure coming home in coffins, failure of politicians
to tell the truth. They are not against forcing a Saddam Hussein from
power, even by questionable methods. They are not against using force
and violence if they feel threatened or if the cause seems just. And by
definition, they cannot oppose secret wars that go unreported on
Thus, Iraq is a moment of illumination that may not come again soon. It
is on television as long as Americans are dying. It can also illuminate
how power works in this country for this post-Vietnam generation.
So what will Karl Rove do?
He can escalate, de-escalate, or wait and see if the insurgency wears
down and the Iraqis adopt a constitution and elect a government. It is
no accident that the Administration’s current (public) blueprint ends
in December, the beginning of the 2006 American election year. While
Rove mulls the options, the peace movement should be undertaking an
exercise in grass-roots scenario planning so that activists are
prepared for any eventuality. (see proposal above).
For perspective, here are some facts from the Vietnam era, all drawn
from historians George Herring and Chester Poch in 1968, The World
After the Tet Offensive in January 1968, President Johnson dismissed
the impact to reporters by joking that “there may have been a sargeant
asleep with a beer in his hand and his zipper open, or a man in a jeep
with a woman in his lap.” Privately, however, the Administration was
going nuts. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs disclosed that an American
defeat “was a very near thing”, that rural pacification efforts were
destroyed, and that part of the countryside had fallen into enemy
hands. The White House organized a “progress campaign” to target the
media and public opinion with good news. For example, they deliberately
under-estimated enemy combat strength by 120,000. By November 1967
fifty-one percent of the American people still believed the US was
making progress. By January 1968, LBJ’s critics outnumbered supporters
by 47 to 39 percent. But the combination of the presidential campaigns
of Eugene McCarthy, Robert Kennedy, and the Tet Offensive resulted in
the President sending Robert McNamara, the Wolfowitz of his era, off to
the World Bank, and a few weeks later Johnson offered his resignation.
But the war continued for seven more years, during which time a
majority of its casualties were inflicted.
How this could have happened is another story, having to do with
divisions in the anti-war opposition and the machinations of Richard
Nixon and Henry Kissinger. History, in other words, could repeat itself
Hopefully this scenario is wrong, but it is important always to hope for the best and plan for the worst. #
ENDING THE IRAQ WAR, AN ORGANIZER’S GUIDE.
The strategy is to undermine the pillars that make the war possible, while building new pillars of peace and justice.
The Pillars of War
1. public opinion. Goal: to achieve a solid majority who believe the
costs have outrun any benefits. Primary method: targeted education and
outreach. Issues: casualties, budgetary cost, prison torture,
contractor corruption, unilateralism, country becoming less safe.
2. Military recruitment. Goal: to limit the troops available to fight.
Primary methods: increase pressure against military recruiters by
parents and young people, support dissenting soldiers, oppose diversion
of reserves and guard.
3. Congressional opposition. Goal: to increase bipartisan questioning
of war and amendments to limit or end taxpayer funding. Primary
methods: build anti-war coalitions in targeted congressional districts,
demand hearings and accountability, pressure for withdrawal timetable
and funding cuts. Issues: go to costsofwar.com for information on the
4. Left-Right Alliance. Goal: encourage Republican and “red state”
opposition to while building up progressive anti-war forces among
Democrats, independents and Greens. Primary methods: stress costs in
blood, taxes and reputation, expose fabrications that led to American
deaths, work closely with military families. For Democrats build
grass-roots opposition through groups like Progressive Democats of
5. Coalition of Willing. Goal: reduce allied troops in Iraq, increase
military isolation of US. Primary methods: publicly defend countries
that pull troops, support global peace and justice movement pressure on
UK, Italy, etc., condemn coalition with known human rights abusers like
The Pillars of Peace and Justice
• build a long-term anti-empire, pro-democracy movement as permanent force
• link peace with domestic budget cuts
• link with working class through counter-recruitment
• link with environment/consumer through energy conservation/renewables
• link with civil liberties through anti-torture, anti-Patriot Act
• link with spiritual community through anti-Christian extremism
• link with conservatives through economic and security costs
Iraq Research and Education Project, 10536 Culver Blvd #H2, Culver City 90232
- Tom Hayden
[The Huffington Post | Full Blog Feed]
Craig Crawford: Media Lockdown
The New York Times' Judith Miller going to jail now. Time's Matt Cooper tells
Federal Court today that his confidental source released him of
obligation to protect identity. It sure helps the cause of protecting
confidential sources that Cooper's source relieved him of the
obligation. That leaves Miller's source(s) to do the same and end the cowardly hiding.
These are lousy facts to advocate freedom of the press, I know,
because the source(s) might have committed a crime of treason. But this
result goes way beyond the crummy facts of the case at hand. Thanks to
the precedent being set in Miller's case, federal prosecutors in future
cases will have the power to force reporters to reveal sources who are
serving the public good. In other words, the power to threaten
journalists with jail arising from this case will NOT be limited to the
facts of this case. Good luck holding future prosecutors only to cases
where sources allegedly committed treason. We will see this precedent
cited in all sorts of attacks on the protection of sources.
posted by crawfordslist.com - Craig Crawford (firstname.lastname@example.org)
[The Huffington Post | Full Blog Feed]
And Then There Was One
reference to an Agatha Christie detective novel where the characters
are killed off one by one. Here it applies to the fact that only Judith
Miller is left to go to prison to protect her sources. Matthew Cooper
has agreed to testify:
an about-face, Cooper told Hogan that he would now cooperate with a
federal prosecutor's investigation into the leak of the identity of CIA
operative Valerie Plame because his source gave him specific authority
to discuss their conversation. "I am prepared to testify. I will
comply" with the court's order, Cooper said.
Cooper took the
podium in the court and told the judge, "Last night I hugged my son
goodbye and told him it might be a long time before I see him again."
went to bed ready to accept the sanctions" for not testifying, Cooper
said. But he told the judge that not long before his early afternoon
appearance, he had received "in somewhat dramatic fashion" a direct
personal communication from his source freeing him from his commitment
to keep the source's identity secret.
Except that there are many other children who will never see their
fathers and mothers again because they died in Iraq, and that, too, has
something to do with the games this adminstration plays.
[ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES]
Judy Miller Goes To Jail.
Judith Miller was just taken into custody, and will immediately
serve a 120-day sentence in a federal District of Columbia facility,
not exactly a nice place to be. Miller told the judge that she is still
refusing to reveal her...
[The Left Coaster]
So I'm listening to CBC
Radio just now, where they were carrying listener reaction to an
earlier interview with Canada's New York Times correspondent, some guy
named Krause. He had opined that the level of public discussion was
higher in the United States. This is too stupid to merit refutation
(though a number of Canadian listeners did just that). Aside from the
fact that, for this to be true, - Tresy
The special prosecutor says that if Judith Miller can handle the desert in wartime she can cope with jail, and the Washington Post reports that "Sources close to the investigation say there is evidence in some instances that some reporters may have told government officials -- not the other way around -- that Wilson was married to Plame, a CIA employee."
Grim day. This case was useful precisely because so many people don't
find Miller a sympathetic reporter. This is just grim. This week
Miller, next month, who knows, it could be the Seymour Hershes of this
world who expose Abu...
[War and Piece]
Cooper is Testifying.
COOPER IS TESTIFYING....Weird, weird, weird. As I mentioned yesterday,
Karl Rove's lawyer says that Rove has signed a waiver allowing
reporters to testify about their conversations with him in the Valerie
Plame case. However, the nature of the waiver was...
Treasongate and Karl Rove (Part III).
UPDATE: Make sure you read the excellent commentary/roundup by Swopa -
here and here. Continuing from my previous post, the curious case of
Time magazine's Matt Cooper and the New York Times' Judith Miller had
me thinking quite a bit...
[The Left Coaster]
Where’s that Pulitzer?.
The New York Times has a very good story about how the White House and
Senate leadership are telling right-wing pressure groups to cool their
jets and lay off Alberto Gonzales. But the piece is marred by this
astonishing blind quote: A senior White House official who spoke on
For the Bushes, Loyalty Runs One Way Only.
Susan Madrak: You really have to wonder what's going on in this SM relationship:
LONDON, July 4: President Bush told British Prime Minister Tony Blair
to expect no favors at this week's Group of Eight summit of major
industrialized countries in return for backing the war in Iraq. Blair,
who has made tackling global warming and relieving African poverty the
goals of his year-long presidency of the G-8, will host fellow leaders
at the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland from Wednesday to Friday. "I really
don't view our relationship as one of quid pro quo," Bush told
Britain's ITV1 television in an interview. "Tony Blair made decisions
on what he thought was best for keeping the peace and winning the war
on terror, as I did."
Silly Tony Blair. Didn't anybody tell him that where the Bush family is concerned, loyalty runs one way and one way only?...
[Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal]
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
They are more like our enemy, Part II.
Last night I wrote "How the Islamic crazies are like the Right"
to hammer home how fundamentalist Islam has more in common with the
radical religious right, the American Taliban, than it does with the
This is a key point-- it was easier for the
Right to tie the American Left with our previous boogeyman, the
communists, since we technically were nearer to the extreme left than
But today, things look quite different. I
started the ball rolling on similarities on that previous post. Here
are more similarities, as submitted by readers:
Al Qaida/Taliban: World domination - do it our way or we attack
American Taliban: World domination - do it our way or we attack
Liberals: Peace and international cooperation
Al Qaida/Taliban: Executing Minors OK
American Taliban: Executing Minors OK
Liberals: Find this to be a barbaric and embarrassing practice
Al Qaida/Taliban: Hate it... kill it
American Taliban: Hate it... ban it
Liberals: Laugh at it... boycott it
Al Qaida/Taliban: Belief in their own infallibility
American Taliban: Belief in their own infallibility
Liberals: Willingness to consider other viewpoints
Al Qaida/Taliban: God is on our side and will help us kill our enemies
American Taliban: God is on our side and will help us kill our enemies
Liberals: God may or may not exist and will not help us kill anyone
Stem Cell Research
Al Qaida/Taliban: No Stem cell research
American Taliban: No Stem cell research
Liberals: Stem cell research
Al Qaida/Taliban: God choose Osama Bin Laden to defeat the Great Satan
American Taliban: God choose George W. Bush to lead us
Liberals: God didn't choose anyone
Use of Force
Al Qaida/Taliban: As a means of propagating a world view
American Taliban: As a means of propagating a world view
Liberals: As a last resort
Bush's War in Iraq
Al Qaida/Taliban: Love it!
American Taliban: Love it!
Liberals: It's a disaster
Al Qaida/Taliban: Control of the Press
American Taliban: Manipulation of the Press
Liberals: Freedom of the Press
Al Qaida/Taliban: Anyone who disagrees with us is an infidel and must be silenced
American Taliban: Anyone who disagrees with us is a traitor and must be silenced
Liberals: Anyone who disagrees with us is in for a spirited discussion
Al Qaida/Taliban: Conform or else
American Taliban: Conform or else
Liberals: Embrace diversity
Al Qaida/Taliban: You're either with us or against us
American Taliban: You're either with us or against us
Liberals: We're all in this together
Al Qaida/Taliban: Death to the infidels
American Taliban: Kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity
Liberals: Live and let live
Al Qaida/Taliban: Obedience to authority
American Taliban: Obedience to authority
Liberals: Critical reflection
Al Qaida/Taliban: Universe and man created 6,000 years ago by God
American Taliban: Universe and man created 6,000 years ago by God
Liberals: The Universe began as we know it at least 14 billion years ago, maybe more
Al Qaida/Taliban: Subservient to will of its leaders
American Taliban: Subservient to will of its leaders
Liberals: Will served by Representative government
Al Qaida/Taliban: Life is scary and uncertain, seek refuge in moral absolutes and scorn those that threaten those absolutes
American Taliban: Life is scary and uncertain, seek refuge in moral absolutes and scorn those that threaten those absolutes
Life is scary and uncertain, seek refuge in accepting that respect for
our fellow man and the individual choices he/she makes is eminently
Al Qaida/Taliban: A woman's place is in the home
American Taliban: A woman's place is in the home
Liberals: A woman's place is wherever she wants it to be
Al Qaida/Taliban: Marriage is only between a man and a woman
American Taliban: Marriage is only between a man and a woman
Liberals: Marriage is between any two people who love each other
We could keep this up all day, I suspect. Remember, the point isn't
that the American Taliban is just like Al Qaida (though given the
chance...), the point is that there's no reason that liberals would
ever "root" for Al Qaida or the Taliban or any of the crazies in the
Islamic fundamentalist world.
The reasons we hate the American
Taliban are the same reasons we hate fundamentalists of all stripes --
they seek to impose their own moral code on the rest of society, and do
so with the zeal and moral absolutism possible only from those who
believe they are doing "God's work". [Daily Kos]
Dressing Up The 4th.
A number of you wrote urging me to post this image. I thought I would,
along with this very incisive description from Eric, a BAGreader and
professor: [This photo] appeared on the NY Times website front page on
Calling All Squad Cars.
I was quite taken aback by Bush's appearance and demeanor in the pre-G8
summit ITV interview with Trevor Macdonald, or at least by the portion
I saw of it. For one thing, a transcript doesn't do justice with the
Our Latest Enemy
Yes, NewsMax picked the 4th of July to let it slip that there's a Simmering Feud Between the U.S. and Canada.
I assume that in a couple of weeks, the President will announce that
“The people of the United States will not live at the mercy of an
outlaw regime that threatens the peace with socialized medicine, gay
marriages, and maple syrup.” Condi will say that we'd better invade
them now, because we don't want the smoking gun to be a hockey stick.
Dick Cheney will remark, "I think it's not surprising that people make
a connection between
Mariah Carey Celine Dion and
9/11." And Rachel Marsden will promise us that our troops will be met
with sweets and flowers -- because she's already decided which side she
Anyway, here's part of
the NewsMax story, which is mostly about the feud between Bill O'Reilly
and Canada, but I guess any feud that involves Bill is America's feud:
before Canada's ambassador to the United States announced he was
declaring war on the "Fox factor" and what he says is Fox News'
anti-Canadian bias, a cold war between the news network and our
neighbor to the north had been under way.
Fox, perceived as strongly in support of the Bush administration policies in Iraq, had become anathema to Canada's ruling elite.
Fox, perceived as strongly supportive of most Bush administration
policies (and also tabloid reporting), has become anathema to lots of
people. So, I don't think it's worth going to war with our neighbors to
the North just because they only let Fox News be broadcast to digital
cable subscribers. Why should innocents suffer? (And by innocents, I
mean people who don't want to watch "Hannity & Whosit" and "Fox 'n Friends 'n Bimbos.")
Anyway, here's the Rachel Marsden portion of the article:
Writing in NewsMax.com earlier this year (Fox News Enters the Canadian Media Henhouse), Rachel Marsden, a public affairs and communications strategist, columnist and talk show host [and serial stalker] who
has worked in politics and media in the United States and Canada, gave
these examples of the way Canada's leftist Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
(CBC) portrays the U.S.:
aired a rabidly anti-Bush documentary entitled "The World According to
Bush" – not once but three times – during the 2004 presidential
And that's presumably why very few Canadian citizens voted for Bush in the 2004 presidential election.
program also broadcast by the CBC right before the election was "The
Unauthorized Biography of Dick Cheney." The CBC Web site stated:
"Cheney's remarkable life story involves the relentless accumulation of
power in every form. ... [The CBC] will show how he accomplished this,
what it involved in terms of costs for others and what history's
judgement [sic] could be."
Not only did CBC
broadcast a program claiming that Cheney's life story involves the
accumulation of power in every form (oil, nuclear energy, coal, etc.),
but they had the nerve to use the secondary spelling of "judgment"!
the CBC commissioned and aired a documentary titled "Stupidity," in
which the message is that George W. Bush is officially a moron because,
according to the press release issued by the producer, "a group of
Canadian stupidity experts" says so.
Well, I think that
Rachel has proven that the CBC is anti-America, all right. Yup, they
aired three programs that seem critical of our Prez and VP, and
therefore, they (and their whole liberal country) must hate us. But
Rachel for one welcomes her new American overlords, and reminds them
that she could be useful in rounding up others to toil in their
underground stupidity mines.
For apparently she
isn't any too fond of her native land Per her columns, never will you
find a more wretched hive of scum and liberalism than Canada (at least,
the parts of it that she writes about). Her lastest column
deals with the stupid city of Toronto, and how it says it's going to
get tough on people who don't recycle, but instead of jailing them or
shooting them or something, the damned liberals in the city council
will just send them warning letters.
Hey, the Mayor should
at least talk tough about how the recycling scofflaws are evil doers,
how they can run but they can't hide, and how the city should invade
their homes, kill their leaders, and convert them to recycling. But
noooo, the city is just a bunch of wimpy liberals, and nobody at all is
going to get the death penalty for their pro-garbage crimes.
City of Toronto has descended into a quagmire in the War on Garbage and
now city council is calling in the troops. At least that’s what you
would believe if you’ve been following all the hyperventilation this
week suggesting the city will soon be imposing fines on people who
don’t properly sort their recyclables.
as all the jihadists would have done if liberal John Kerry had been
elected U.S. president last November, trash terrorists can chill out
knowing that the lefty-dominated council is in charge of fighting this
And, as President Bush implied, there are links between the trash terrorists and al Qaeda -- so, it's a time for tough action.
Or it it?
reality is that there will always be situations in which recycling is
more of a hassle than it’s worth: You’re doing some quick de-cluttering
and just want to open a big trash bag and dump everything in.
when you're cleaning up a murder scene, you don't want to be bothered
sorting the blood-soaked rags, rubber gloves, and murder weapon from
the body. It's much more convenient to just open a big trash bag and
dump everything in it.
You live in a small space and have nowhere to store your rotting compost.
They make you recycle your rotting compost in Canada? Man, their recycling laws are stringent!
walk by those big silver trash/recycling bins on the street and would
rather just drop your newspaper through whichever slot looks the
cleanest, rather than risk getting a dose of hepatitis from one you’re
actually supposed to be using.
year, thousands of men, women, and children die of hepatitis they
caught from dropping their newspapers into dirty recycling bins. Don't
let anyone YOU care about be part of that number -- join Rachel in her
crusade to, um, whine about liberals. Thank you.
Oh, and when
we actually invade Canada, we will fight them there so we don't have to
fight them here. Because if we had to fight them here, they'd probably
try to keep us from watching our beloved Bill O'Reilly, and might force
us to recycle our rotting compost. [World O'Crap]
Bush Advises Blair Not to Expect Special Treatment at G-8 Summit.
Bush Tries to Remake Image as Team Player
Warren Veith | London | July 5
LAT - President Bush, whose foreign policy is viewed in some countries
as ill-conceived and arrogant, heads to an international summit this
week intent on convincing the world that he knows the meaning of
consensus. Yeah, right!
Bush Advises Blair Not to Expect Special Treatment at G-8 Summit
London | July 5
WaPo - President Bush told British Prime Minister Tony Blair to expect
no favors at this week's Group of Eight summit of major industrialized
countries in return for backing the war in Iraq. Blair, who has made
tackling global warming and relieving African poverty the goals of his
year-long presidency of the G-8, will host fellow leaders at the
Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland from Wednesday to Friday.
Global savings glut, my ass...
What Global Savings Glut?.
What Global Savings Glut?Stephen Roach | New York | July 5Morgan
Stanley - Another new theory has been concocted to rationalize
unsustainable excesses. The notion of a “global saving glut” has been
proposed -- and quickly accepted -- as a new and important excuse for
mounting global imbalances. It is also thought to explain why interest
rates are so low -- resolving the great conundrum of our time by
stressing the mismatch between excess capital and limited investment
opportunities. Finally, this theory implies that global imbalances are
more benign than malign -- drawing into question the urgency for any
rebalancing. I don’t buy the global saving glut hypothesis, and here’s
Where Have All The Statesmen Gone?.
...it's probably perfectly understandable, given the sharp,
whiney, partisan tone that American politics has devolved to, that a
person just can't gain a high enough vantage point to be able to
discern anything resembling a true statesman in any of the blow-dried
blowhards that populate our political scene. The sorts of true giants
who endure in the history books only come along every occasional
generation or so, and things don't look too good for this one. It's a
little more surprising, perhaps due to lack of understanding, how
European leaders seem to fall into the same sort of trap, but it is
mildly amusing to watch how they diss and spin and fling the fecal
matter, both within their own borders and with their neighbors. '
Today's example is the relationship between France and Britain, never
alll that solid in the best of times but now even more rocky than
normal because of a spirited competition over...the Olympics. French
head honcho Jacques Chirac has fired the most recent shot, churning up
a little tempest across the Channel by riffing on British food and mad
cow disease... ...is this how adults behave now? Did I miss the memo? I
mean, the mad...
Rove has an easy out — which he'll no doubt ignore.
Over the holiday weekend, the investigation into the scandal
surrounding the White House and Valerie Plame took an entertaining turn
when reports surfaced that Karl Rove was, in fact, one of the leakers
who exposed the identity of an undercover CIA agent.
The e-mails surrendered by Time Inc., which are largely between Cooper and his editors, [...]
[The Carpetbagger Report]
Atrios writes about this Times article on Democrats putting question marks after statements and provoking hysteria, and says the following:
Democrats are not allowed to ask questions about...
well, as far as I can tell, anything. All questions of a nominee are
I think that's a bit off. Republicans are saying that Democrats are
more than free to ask certain questions. It's just that the sanctity of
the nomination process requires complete and total ignorance of any
reason why the President might have made the nomination, or what they
might do as a nominee. That, to me, seems perfectly acceptable. There's
no constutional requirement that Supreme Court justices actually be
qualified, and I'm perfectly fine with entrusting the highest court in
the land to whoever walks in off the street.
Oh, wait, you mean the President can know what nominees believe, even if Senators can't (cuz that's eeevil)? Well...well, that's fucked up. [Pandagon]
Out Of Touch.
The foreign policy establishment of both parties, but especially
Republicans, is completely out of touch with the public when it comes
to withdrawal. First, here is what the public thinks about withdrawal:
Gallup Poll. June 29-30, 2005. N=883 adults nationwide. MoE ±...
Stupid Questions to Judicial Nominees: Good for Ge...
Stupid Questions to Judicial Nominees: Good for Geese and Ganders
So on one of the chatalot Sunday shows, Democrat Senator Charles Schumer
that the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee would actually question a
nominee to the Supreme Court on his or her views on, well, shit, legal
issues. Said Schumer, "All questions are legitimate. What is your view
on Roe v. Wade? What is your view on gay marriage? They are going to
try to get away with the idea that we're not going to know their views.
But that's not going to work this time."
To this Republican Orrin "Behold My Mormon Scowl
of Repressed Libido" Hatch said, "Any member of the committee can ask
whatever they want, no matter how stupid," adding that nominees had
been pressed to give their views on potential judicial matters, "but
never to the degree" Schumer hinted at. Later, on some other
who-gives-a-shit talker, Republican baboon Jeff Sessions pronounced
such questions on specific matters "highly objectionable," saying, "You
cannot ask a judge to prejudge a specific matter."
Well, as usual, they'd've both done well to look
at the recent history of hearings on nominees to the Supreme Court.
Here's Orrin Hatch questioning Ruth Bader Ginsburg back in July 1993
about the death penalty: "But do you agree with all the current sitting
members of the Court that it is constitutional? Is it within the
Constitution?" Indeed, Hatch had berated Ginsberg endlessly trying to
get her to pop her Constitutional cherry on offing criminals.
Ask a stupid question and, well, fuck, guess you
get a stupid answer: Ginsburg responded that one must never ask a judge
how she may vote on a case that might come before her. Hatch barked
back, "But that's not what I asked you. I asked you is it in the
Constitution?" which is precisely what she'd have to judge if she
became a Supreme Court justice. Indeed, when Ginsburg continued to
refuse to be drawn into a discussion of whether or not capital
punishment is "cruel and unusual," Hatch was exasperated and demanded,
"I think you ought to tell us where you really come down." In other
words, a Republican Senator, in the minority, demanded to know how
Ginsburg would judge capital punishment cases.
When Republican Senator William Cohen asked
Ginsburg about discrimination based on sexual orientation, she again
declined to answer because it was a possible case that she may have to
decide. Ginsburg was more than willing to talk about decisions she had
written, as in her frank discussion of abortion rights and women's
rights in general. Cohen also pressed Stephen Breyer in 1994, when
Breyer was a nominee, asking him directly for the future justice's
personal opinion on the death penalty. (Oh, for the days when the
Republicans only had a hard-on for killing the guilty.)
So, like, as ever, Republicans are hiding behind
reportage and discussion devoid of any semblance of historical context.
Or, to put it simply, they're just gonna lie and say whatever the fuck
they want to get their way.
Out here in Left Blogsylvania, since Sandra Day
O'Connor announced her retirement last Friday, there's been sooo much
talk about whether the "Gang of 14" deal will hold, what the strategy
will be wherein Bush will fuck us over one more time, will the nominee
be batfuck-Ann-Coulter insane or just plain ol' nutzoid, and
filibuster, filibuster, filibuster. The Rude Pundit declines to get
involved until the inevitable motherfucker is nominated (because, you
know, Bush always nominates motherfuckers).
Except to say this: it's time for so-called
moderate Republicans to put the fuck up or shut the fuck up. When some
odious, torture-supportin', rights abandonin', abortion-overturnin'
piece of shit is the nominee, don't fuckin' hope and pray that
Democrats will take the bullet for your pusillanimity in standing up to
the White House. In other words, if you rely on the Democrat filibuster
to shield you from expressing your disgust with the Bush
administration, then you deserve your upcoming wacko-conservative
primary challenger that the lunatic right will put up against you.
By the way, the Rude Pundit won't be joining in
the encomiums to Sandra Day O'Connor's Supreme Court tenure. Sure,
sure, sure, she happened to be an available conservative woman who
happened to be a judge when Ronald Reagan was trying to shore up some
street cred with half of America. But that's circumstance. Sure, sure,
she was a swing vote in favor of abortion rights and affirmative
And she was also the swing vote on
Bush v. Gore
, which led us to this moment in history, with war in Iraq, the steady
dismantling of rights that O'Connor supported, and the final rightward
shift of the court itself. Fuck her. That one decision undoes all the
- Rude One
[The Rude Pundit]
Chelsea Peretti: SHARK SAFETY TIPS: CONTINUED! (With John Mulaney)
Due to the recent shark attacks in Florida (Fla.) and beyond, we are offering a refresher on Shark Safety.
NO WAY, DON'T DO THAT
"But surely this fella seems like he could be okay?" NO. DON'T.
"Not this guy either?" NOPE.
HM. NOT SURE WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THIS ONE. BETTER DON'T.
"Hey what's that over there, let's go get Deb and Mike and check it out."
SMACK!! DON'T. D.o. n.o.t. ( S-h-a-r-k-! )
CURTAINS, FELLAS! NICE TA KNOW YA. (DON'T.)
AH, THE DO TWINS!
YOU'RE PUSHING IT! BUT I LIKE IT! DO.
OH MY GOD!
YOU CAUGHT THAT?
OH. MY. GOD!
GREAT SUIT. DON'T GO IN THE WATER.
OOOOHHH MMYYYYY GGOOOOOOOODDDDDD!!!!
OTHER SEA CREATURES TO AVOID: - Chelsea Peretti (email@example.com)
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7/12/2005; 3:08:31 PM.