Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

More Fake Outrage, More Wimpy Democrats

A few days ago, the Democratic Party posted an ad on their website. For once, it was a powerful, effective ad, full of emotional imagery that succinctly presented an unmistakable message: The past six years have been awful, and it’s time for a change. Naturally, the Republicans in Congress and Republican bloggers were outraged! Outraged that the ad was effective, but the official line was they were outraged that the ad showed images of flag-draped coffins coming home.

The Democrats who created that ad stood up and faced the latest bout of fake rage. Naturally, they then tucked their tail between their legs and ran as fast as they could in the other direction, but not before they removed the ad from their website.

Instead of giving in (yet again), why didn’t the Democratic Party respond by saying the real outrage is that these young men and women are dying in the first place in a war that didn’t have to happen, and that it’s their duty as patriotic Americans to point that out?

Why didn’t they point out that, to some people, it’s only ok to feature soldiers in campaign ads when they’re alive or when their widows are staring at George W. Bush in adulation?:

The President and the Pig

Will Ferrell‘s got nothing on this Bush impersonator. It is an impersonator, right? Please tell me this is a joke:

Calling all spinners — explain how Bush has “made us safer.”

There are times when being right makes you the happiest person in the world, and then there are the times it makes you crap your pants. Guess which one of those times this is. I want every angry, slogan-spouting flag-waiver who’s ever written in ordering me to “leave the President alone, he’s making us safer” to take a second, put down your copy of the National Review (the one with the Sean Hannity centerfold), and write to me again. Write to me and explain why our intelligence agencies now say the Iraq occupation has increased the threat of terror.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology. The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.More than a dozen United States government officials and outside experts were interviewed for this article, and all spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a classified intelligence document. The officials included employees of several government agencies, and both supporters and critics of the Bush administration. All of those interviewed had either seen the final version of the document or participated in the creation of earlier drafts. These officials discussed some of the document’s general conclusions but not details, which remain highly classified.Officials with knowledge of the intelligence estimate said it avoided specific judgments about the likelihood that terrorists would once again strike on United States soil. The relationship between the Iraq war and terrorism, and the question of whether the United States is safer, have been subjects of persistent debate since the war began in 2003.National Intelligence Estimates are the most authoritative documents that the intelligence community produces on a specific national security issue, and are approved by John D. Negroponte, director of national intelligence. Their conclusions are based on analysis of raw intelligence collected by all of the spy agencies.More…

October Surprise: the Saddam Death Sentence

October Surprises happen in November these days. After being delayed for nebulous reasons, the Iraqi court trying Saddam Hussein (a court whose logistics are largely controlled by agents of the United States) has decided to announce its verdict this Sunday, two days before the U.S. Congressional elections.

As President Bush faces mounting criticism over the war, a guilty verdict announced two days ahead of tight U.S. congressional elections on November 7 could reflect positively on him as a vindication of his policy to overthrow Saddam. U.S. officials deny Washington had any say over the timing of the verdict or the court’s decisions, saying the American role was limited to logistics and security.More…

Of course Washington had nothing to do with this timing. They’d never politicize something as important as this. Not this White House.•••

Winning Hearts and Minds, example 29,987

Disclaimer: Spotted this on; I have no idea what the source of this video may be, but verified stories coming out of Iraq make this look tame by comparison, so odds are it’s legit. It seems more like a sure-fire method for creating an insurgent, rather than a way to instill a sense of justice. When the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, you’re just asking for rebellion. And when you stick a bunch of kids with guns in the middle of someone else’s civil war and don’t give them the planning, training and tools they need to do their job (whatever the hell that is), you’re just asking for punishments that don’t fit crimes.

It’s all in the timing.

In 2001, according to former terrorism czar Richard Clark, he and others in the government demanded that President Bush pay attention to the threat from Al Qaeda. The White House ignored the demands (instead focusing on apparently more pressing matters, such as Internet pornography), and the entire world is familiar with the results of that negligence.In 2001 and 2002, millions of Americans demanded an investigation of 9/11. The President and his party refused for months before finally relenting. But by then it was too late, and those who were shown to possess questionable intelligence – in every sense of the word – had already taken us into Iraq. Had we known prior to invading that we were trusting the word of the incompetent, thousands of American troops, not to mention hundreds of thousands (most likely) of Iraqi civilians, would still be alive today, and we wouldn’t have spent half a trillion dollars in order to create an Islamic failed state in a formerly secular dictatorship.In 2004, Mr. Bush dismissed John Kerry’s plan to increase the number of troops in Iraq in order to try halting the slide toward civil war. Bush dismissed the notion that a slide toward civil war was even occurring. Two years, and untold deaths later (untold because we and our puppet government in Iraq now refuse to count them), George Bush has changed his mind. Yet again, coming around to what may be the right conclusion only when it’s far too late to matter.

Democrats have been calling for additional troops for years. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) proposed an increase of 40,000 troops during his 2004 campaign against Bush, only to be dismissed by the administration. As recently as June, the Bush administration opposed adding more troops because restructuring “is enabling our military to get more war-fighting capability from current end strength.”But Bush yesterday had changed his mind. “I’m inclined to believe that we do need to increase our troops — the Army, the Marines,” he said. “And I talked about this to Secretary Gates, and he is going to spend some time talking to the folks in the building, come back with a recommendation to me about how to proceed forward on this idea.”

Most outside the White House, including Colin Powell, seem to believe additional troops at this point wouldn’t help. It’s too little, too late. It’s all in the timing. Perhaps a surge of troops would have made a positive impact a couple years ago when everyone else first thought of the idea, but today it’s likely to do nothing but give insurgents more targets for their resentment and their IED’s. Furthermore, although the military seems to have largely met its recruiting goals this year, those goals were lowered a couple years ago. They’ve struggled to meet their goals, and there’s no telling exactly where Bush thinks he’s going to find an additional 70,000 troops, unless he were to propose reinstituting the draft (which ain’t gonna happen). Perhaps through more stop-loss programs, shifting more troops from elsewhere, conscripting the Coast Guard, calling up the Girl Scouts, and recalling the last living World War One veteran to duty. I’m sure they’ll try some combination of the above.If only I were on the White House staff, I’d solve the problem in no time. I’d empower the President to fulfill his wish in the quickest way possible — by walking into the Oval Office and uttering three simple words: Work release program.Not only would a work release program allow the President to proceed with his troop increase, it would also solve our chronic prison overcrowding problem. In fact, if we were to send nothing but death row inmates to Iraq and put them on the frontlines, it may even save us a buck or two on all those needles and electric bills.But, it’s all in the timing, and this President’s habitually late to the game. Odds are my phone’ll be ringing two years from now.

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When the story matches the ad…

Came across this moment of synchronicity on the Washington Post’s website this morning, and just had to capture it for posterity: 

 There comes a time when you have to cut your losses, admit your mistakes (or at the very least, declare victory) and leave, and we very well may be at that point right now. What is the alternative, sending more troops to become targets for the resentment and bombs of an entire nation? Hussein is gone, a democratic government was created and now they’re fighting a civil war to determine either who will control it or whether they want to keep it.Do we really believe that through force of arms we can help them make that decision? Can we? What is our mission in Iraq? How will we know when we’ve succeeded? What exactly is this “victory” to which Bush keeps referring? The answer to that seems to change month by month. With every turned corner, we find another corner that needs turning. Seems more like a maze with no exit than a path toward anything. And every year it seems as if there are more questions than answers.I blame Churchill.•••

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Merry Christmas, Iraq, three years late

Is it just me, or does anyone else think this is something we should have done THREE @#$% YEARS AGO?

THE White House is expected to announce a reconstruction package for Iraq as part of a plan for a “surge” of up to 30,000 troops into Baghdad when President George W Bush unveils America’s new strategy next month.Bush is being urged to give up to $10 billion (£5.1 billion) to Iraq as part of a “New Deal” that would create work for unemployed Iraqis, following the model of President Franklin D Roosevelt during the 1930s depression. 

But while some of us were suggesting this very plan the moment our tanks began their dash across the desert, the Bush administration was busy laying the foundations for the insurgency by carrying out their plan to carve up Iraq and feed the white meat to Haliburton and its no-bid contract winning no-Iraqi-hiring, no-work-finishing, tax-payer-money-squandering subcontractors from Hell. Instead of putting Iraqis to work, the Bush administration was busy freezing them out of possibilities to rebuild their own country. Now with possibly 600,000 Iraqis dead and the country embroiled in a vicious, bloody civil war, the Bush team may have finally decided to allow Iraqis to go to work to rebuild their country. If only they’d come to this conclusion before the Iraqis came to feel they had nothing left to do but destroy it. In keeping with their pattern, the Bushes are a few years late to the party. Merry @#$% Christmas, Iraq.One other thing to note here: Apparently $10 billion U.S. is now worth only 5.1 billion British pounds. Historically, that 10-large should have been worth over £6.5 billion. Anyone else bothered by this?

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The SpOILs of War

Colin Powell, 2003:“It cost a great deal of money to prosecute this war. But the oil of the Iraqi people belongs to the Iraqi people; it is their wealth, it will be used for their benefit. So we did not do it for oil.”London’s Independent, 2007:

Iraq’s massive oil reserves, the third-largest in the world, are about to be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies under a controversial law which is expected to come before the Iraqi parliament within days. The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972.The huge potential prizes for Western firms will give ammunition to critics who say the Iraq war was fought for oil. They point to statements such as one from Vice-President Dick Cheney, who said in 1999, while he was still chief executive of the oil services company Halliburton, that the world would need an additional 50 million barrels of oil a day by 2010. “So where is the oil going to come from?… The Middle East, with two-thirds of the world’s oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies,” he said.Oil industry executives and analysts say the law, which would permit Western companies to pocket up to three-quarters of profits in the early years, is the only way to get Iraq’s oil industry back on its feet after years of sanctions, war and loss of expertise.

Clinton spins the war vote

Oh, please…

From The Hill:Former President Bill Clinton yesterday complained that “it’s just not fair” the way his wife, presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), is being depicted for her controversial Iraq war vote.Speaking to hundreds of supporters on conference call, the former president said, “I don’t have a problem with anything Barack Obama [has] said on this,” but “to characterize Hillary and Obama’s positions on the war as polar opposites is ludicrous.“This dichotomy that’s been set up to allow him to become the raging hero of the anti-war crowd on the Internet is just factually inaccurate.”The ex-president’s aggressive defense of his wife’s position revealed frustration in the Clinton camp over how the issue is playing into the already-overheated presidential campaign.On a conference call with Hillraisers, Sen. Clinton’s biggest donors, which The Hill listened to after being provided the call-in information, the former president said there was a stark difference between those who voted for the Iraq resolution and those who wanted to go to war.In response to a question from one of the supporters on the phone about explaining Hillary Clinton’s Iraq vote to undecided voters, the former president jumped in front of former Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe, saying, “Let me answer this.”He said he had re-read the Iraq resolution last week, and that his wife had voted only for “coercive inspections.” Clinton justified his wife’s refusal to apologize for her vote by explaining that she was acting out of concern that future presidents might need similar language authorizing “coercive inspections to avoid conflict.”“It’s just not fair to say that people who voted for the resolution wanted war,” Clinton said.

Does he think anyone’s going to buy that? Technically, he’s right. Congress voted to authorize “coercive inspections,” and for the President to return to the UN Security Council for approval before launching his invasion, and the President did neither. He pulled the inspectors out (and then claimed Hussein expelled them) and did not return to the UN until after he’d invaded to demand the UN retroactively give him authorization. Nobody would’ve expected the President to do that, right? Nobody except the millions of Americans who were sure he was going to war no matter the evidence or excuse. If the Democrats in Congress who voted for that resolution were among the segment of our population who didn’t accurately assess Bush’s intentions (which couldn’t have been more obvious), that casts serious doubt on their judgement.Either Bill Clinton is wrong and Senator Clinton did suspect this was a vote for war, or he’s right and she was too naive to realize it was a vote for war. There’s no way to put a good spin on this, so please, Mr. Clinton, stop trying.