Subject to Change, version 2.0
I'm a goddamed liberal. Deal with it.

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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Satire Is Dead! Long Live Irony!.

 I tend to agree with Publius that Bush hasn't killed irony; he's made it a daily necessity, like air or water. I mean (just for a start), how do you square George Bush's rush to invade Iraq, his torture apologia, his attacks on the poor with his status as self-avowed follower of the Prince of Peace? Remember the Gospels? Whatever you do to the least of these? It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle? Moneychangers in the temple?

[Paperwight's Fair Shot]
1:32:15 PM    

The Daily Pulse: Byrd to Rumsfeld- "I've heard enough".

 I'm guessing only Bush's canned speech kept these exchanges from being big news. I mean, DAMN! When a United States Senator tells the Secretary of Defense "I've heard enough of your smart answers" that should be front page news! Maybe the press really is Bush's...

8:13:23 AM    

Pushing Back.

Raw Story: After reviewing federal laws that prohibit obstruction of Congress and false statements, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to determine the legality of actions taken by a former top Bush administration official who altered government scientific reports on global warming, RAW STORY [...]

[Suburban Guerrilla]
8:12:38 AM    


A bunch of Scottish high-school girls won a national investment competition, far outstripping professional fund managers. [Via Trish Wilsonís Blog.]

[Suburban Guerrilla]
8:10:43 AM    

You Can't Make This Stuff Up.

F.B.I Death Squad Unit to be headed by famed human rights pioneer John Negroponte.

Ok, now I'm REALLY gone for the holiday.

- Riggsveda
6:42:15 AM    

Don't Expect the Truth, We are the Enemy.

George W. Bush does not think that the Taliban are his enemy. He doesn't think...

 [Booman Tribune]
6:41:30 AM    

Robert A George: Bin There, Not Done That

From a rhetorical standpoint, President Bush's address Tuesday was well-written and presented and may provide a momentary boost in support for his position of completing -- to use a word he uttered nine times -- "the mission."

However, the essential problem in this attempt to prevent the rise of more Rep. Walter Joneses (R-N.C) may be a basic public sense that in the talk of "completing the mission," a crucial step was skipped.

Perhaps the problem isn't "mission creep" -- it's the "missing creep."

For all the speech's references to September 11, 2001 (a half-dozen or so), the architect of that day of horror, Osama bin Laden, was mentioned just twice. In a sense, this was a deviation from the recent past because Bush faced significant criticism during the presidential election that months had elapsed without mentioning bin Laden as attention turned to Iraq.

However, the two references on Tuesday, upon deeper reflection, are more puzzling than anything else. First, to reinforce the idea that "Iraq is a central front in the war on terror," the president stated, "Here are the words of Osama bin Laden: This Third World War is raging in Iraq. The whole world is watching this war."

The second reference was: "The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September the 11th, if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like bin Laden."

In both passages, bin Laden is almost incidental to a war on terror that we were just reminded, "reached our shores on September 11, 2001." Bush uses bin Laden almost like a rhetorical passing footnote in the argument he is building. If Americans are asked to learn "the lessons of 9/11," how can they do so when the man who orchestrated the most destructive attack on American land in history is reduced to a rhetorical footnote?

Putting aside the Downing Street Memos and the implications they suggest for the run-up to Iraq -- even granting Tony Blair's assertion that the DSMs have been taken out of context -- this odd use of bin Laden raises a real credibility issue.

The viewer/reader/listener is repeatedly reminded that America was attacked on September 11th but, contrary to what we were repeatedly told after September 11th, one man wasn't responsible. This man -- once "wanted dead or alive" -- who helped create an international gang, is now just a reference and an allusion. Reading the president's words literally, one could begin to believe that the Middle East isn't really in danger from the head of al Qaeda, only "men like bin Laden." (Emphasis added.) Indeed, al Qaeda itself is mentioned but once.

With little reference to the participation of bin Laden or his group,"ideology" (alternately described as murderous, totalitarian, hateful, etc.) becomes the villain that attacked us. Thus, it is the "ideology" that we battle in Iraq, now represented by a different "mission creep," Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Combating an ideology may be a worthy endeavor, but human nature tends to more easily understand -- and gain satisfaction from -- clear victories over visible men rather than amorphous ideologies. After being told over the months that the on the one hand, the top 10, 20, 30, 40 or whatever percent of al Qaeda has been captured or killed, but now being told of the "hundreds of foreign fighters" pouring into Iraq suggests that the "ideology" has something more than a finite number of adherents.

Thus, the so-called "central front" in this war is comprised of an ever-changing collection of nameless entities -- some are "insurgents," some are "terrorists," (a previously-unexplored distinction); some are "men like Zarqawi"; or "men like bin Laden" -- even as the man himself is reduced to a footnote.

Americans are indeed willing to stick out difficulties in order to confront the post-9/11 world. They will not, to use the president's words, "forget the lessons of September 11, 2001."

But, sooner or later, the president must realize that success means more than just a laundry list of democracy-enhancing "accomplishments." It may mean that defeating an ideology means actually capturing or killing the leading adherent of that ideology -- and there has been much of that in Iraq. However, while the president talks about September 11 "lessons," the public might think that actually getting the villain who plotted the events of that day -- who is sadly, miles away from the Iraq battlefield -- would do wonders for the president's credibility.

Otherwise, he will find himself back mere months from now, again trying to explain what is going on in Iraq, while doing his best to hope that no one notices the missing creep who started it all.

- Robert A George (

[The Huffington Post | Full Blog Feed]
6:39:45 AM    

Karl Rove Is Right! The U.S. Army Has Been Stabbed in the Back.

The U.S. army has been stabbed in the back. It has been stabbed in the back by those who assigned the finest high-tech mechanized force in the world a mission--that of being military police in an Arabic-speaking country--that it is not designed to fulfill, by sending only one-third of the troops necessary for the mission if they did speak Arabic, and by dragging their feet at getting the troops on the ground the tools and protection they need. The U.S. Army has been stabbed in the back by those--George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condi Rice, and company--who pretend that the forces in Iraq are ample, and that their equipment and capabilities are adequate:

Safer Vehicles for Soldiers: A Tale of Delays and Glitches -

 New York Times : By MICHAEL MOSS:

When Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld visited Iraq last year to tour the Abu Ghraib prison camp, military officials did not rely on a government-issued Humvee to transport him safely on the ground. Instead, they turned to Halliburton, the oil services contractor, which lent the Pentagon a rolling fortress of steel called the Rhino Runner. State Department officials traveling in Iraq use armored...

[Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal]
6:37:52 AM    

An open letter to Senator Durbin.

Dear Senator, I'm not a constituent, but I should have written to you sooner. You've been doing holy work for quite awhile, trying to make sure that "American values" don't include torture, and excuses for torture. That made you a...

[Body and Soul]
6:36:22 AM    

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