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Friday, June 29, 2007

Mission Accomplished

When we were protesting the impending war in Iraq back in the winter of '03, many of us pointed out that the war might engulf the entire Middle East in war. Unfortunately, it appears we were just encouraging the warmongers, because that was exactly what they wanted.

Chris Floyd quotes the London Review of Books:
The activities of the US are fundamental to the present crisis. Iraq continues to radiate instability and is exacerbating tensions between the Shia and Sunni everywhere. US and EU policy in Palestine and Lebanon is driving internal tension and polarisation, and the risk of conflict involving Iran and possibly Syria overshadows everything else in the region. In all, the Americans and Europeans are engaged in six internal conflicts in Muslim societies--in Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine--in each case providing finance and weapons for one faction to use against another. As I write, Hizbullah is preparing for the possibility of renewed conflict with Israel, and Syria and Iran have also reached the conclusion that conflict is a real and imminent prospect, and are actively preparing for it.

When all parties begin to see conflict as inevitable, then the 'inevitable' becomes self-fulfilling. Americans are fond of comparing the situation in the region to the 1930s and the rise of totalitarianism; but perhaps Europe in 1914 is a better metaphor: the situation is such that some small, unexpected autonomous event might trigger a sequence of events that even the great powers of the region could find it beyond their ability to control. In the past, after all, a car accident (in the case of the first intifada) and a cinema fire (triggering the Iranian revolution) have unleashed consequences that no one could have foreseen.
I suspect that it's even worse than the LRB says--my guess is that in many of these conflicts the US is funding and/or arming BOTH (or all) factions, as we did in the Iran-Iraq war: selling weapons directly to Iraq while selling them clandestinely to Iran through Israel (yes, we did that). And there is plenty of reason to suspect that Iran's Ahmedinajad owes his election to the US, as I discussed a year and a half ago. Pretty much all of American "enemies" in recent decades have been US creations: Osama, Saddam, Noriega.

Floyd comments on the LRB quote:
The 1914 analogy is most apt. We are standing on a knife's edge, led by witless elites on every side who are blundering headlong into a wider conflagration that could consume us all. The "War on Terror" -- the vast militarization of a political, social and economic conflict -- is a strategic mistake for which our great-grandchildren will still be paying for in blood and treasure.

Or to look at it another way: Wouldn't the world be a better place today if the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand had been dealt with as a "law enforcement matter," instead of the cause of a world-shattering war? But here we are again, almost a century later, making the same mistakes again. The First World War bred Nazi Germany, the Soviet tyranny, the Holocaust, the Gulag, and 50 years of Cold War (and proxy war) that killed millions of people. What monstrous progeny will the Terror War spawn?
Floyd left out a few things: The First World War bred the Second World War, nuclear weapons, US hegemony, and hundreds of billions of dollars for the Skull & Bones alumni and associated ilk who run the world. The end of the cold war threatened to derail their money train; the "war on terror" has it back on shiny new tracks for decades to come.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

As they stand up, we'll shoot them down

Chris Floyd links to a BBC story about one of those military "successes" so common these days, where US forces kill a whole bunch of people and say they were all "al Qaeda." According to people in the village, the armed men shredded by rockets and machinegun fire from American helicopters were village guards, protecting the city.

The BBC summarizes what should be the obvious:
If the villagers' account is true, the incident would raise many questions, including: On what basis did the US helicopters launch their attack that night? How many other coalition reports of successes against "al-Qaeda fighters" are based on similar mistakes, especially when powerful remote weaponry is used?

The incident also highlights the problems the news media face in verifying such combat incidents in remote areas where communications are disrupted, where direct independent access is impossible because of the many lethal dangers they would face, and where only the official military version of events is available.
I guess the murder of eleven Iraqi security guards will set the Levin benchmarks back a few days.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Quote du jour

Elites in every country are generally very stupid—not because there's something wrong with them genetically, but because power makes people stupid. And the more power people have, the stupider they become. America's elites have been very powerful for a very long time.
-- Jonathan Schwarz

Al Qaeda caused Katrina

Of course al Qaeda didn't cause Katrina, but that wouldn't prevent government spokesmodels* from saying it. And if they did, almost all of the press would report it. A few would add "government sources say," and one or two seldom-read newspapers might even question the accuracy of the government pronouncement. But, for the most part, the government would say it, and the media would repeat it.

Don't believe it? Just look at what they're doing with the news out of Iraq. All of a sudden, everyone the US military is killing (by the hundreds) in Iraq is now "al Qaeda." The military says so, and the media mindlessly repeats it. Iraq is not the central front in the "war on terror," but our worthless media is doing its evil best to make it seem so.

Glenn Greenwald has the gruesome details. Greenwald quotes Ted Galen Carpenter of the CATO Institute from January:
The notion of al Qaeda using Iraq as a sanctuary is a specter -- a canard that the perpetrators of the current catastrophe use to frighten people into supporting a fatally flawed, and seemingly endless, nation-building debacle.
But for Bush, Cheney, Lieberman, Levin, 411 members of the House and our worthless media, canards are all they've got. They worked for ten years in Vietnam.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Quote du jour

It becomes clearer with every day that passes that metastasizing mayhem in the Middle East is not an unfortunate byproduct of a plan gone awry: it was the goal from the start. It provides the perfect excuse for a significant American military presence for decades to come -- which was also the plan from the beginning.
-- Arthur Silber, who has more on the latest war crimes of the Democratic congress.

Let's get Levin OUT

Now that our wussy senior senator is in a position of considerable power, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he is taking a strong stand--to give our idiot pResident every damn thing he wants in Iraq. Levin even wrote an op-ed in the WaPo comparing his willingness to endlessly fund the Iraq disaster with Abraham Lincoln's one-time funding of the American invasion troops in 1847--after that war was effectively won. Robert Parry points out the inaccuracies and stupidity in Levin's approach.

Levin wants to be re-elected in 2008. After this and Levin's calling for attacks on Iran and Syria, he is no longer representing the people of Michigan. We need someone MUCH better representing us in the Senate. And don't buy the seniority argument: Levin has it, and he's using it: to support Bush. Screw him. Oh, and call his office: (202) 224-6221. Tell them to tell him to defund the war.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

More Dave Barry

I believe that, with every passing day, and every new candidate announcement, my campaign appears, relatively speaking, to be less and less of a joke.

Soccer Weirdness

You don't see this every day in sports: The sellout crowd, most of whom didn't come to see the game, boos the referee, who happens to be their countryman, for making a bad call in favor of the home team.

That's what happened in Chicago this evening. The US was playing Canada in the first semi-final of the Gold Cup international competition. In the last minute of the game, Canada apparently scored a goal to tie the game at 2-2, but the referee called offsides and disallowed the goal. The referee was from Mexico, as was most of the crowd--the second game of the evening being Mexico against Guadalupe. As frequently happens in the US when either the Mexican national team or a Mexican club team plays here, most of the audience is Mexican. Although officially a sellout, Soldiers' Field was practically empty in the first half, but was pretty full by the end of the first game, when the disputed call was made. While probably few of the Mexicans care much one way or the other about the Canadian team, they would have loved to see the US lose. But the Mexican referee screwed it up for them.

Yeah, I know. Least important thing that happened all day.

Quote du jour

From the Dave Barry for President web site's Q & A session:
Question: What's the chance that, as president, you would give Texas back to Mexico? Just a suggestion. -- PV, Sarasota, FL
Dave Barry's answer: We are in negotiations now.
I don't know. While I think we screwed up big time admitting Texas to the union, TWICE, it is so quintessentially American now. Even in the People's Republic of Austin, when somebody does something wrong they kill the guy who wasn't responsible.

And speaking of coincidences*, I had never heard of the Juneteenth festival until I read about it on Michelle's blog the day before this story hit the news.

* Okay, maybe I wasn't speaking of coincidences. But maybe YOU were.

Don't forget the masters of destruction

From Scott Stantis.

But, more likely, it was an American-made bomb dropped from an American-made plane by the Americans or the Israelis.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Quote du jour

The pResident of Oblivia: "Destroying human life in the hopes of saving human life is not ethical." -- aWol, whose ethical judgments are applied to embryonic stem cells, but not to the so-called "war on terror."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Quote du jour

"He was elected; he's the President." -- aWol, referring to Al Gore Mahmoud Abbas.

What Every American Should Know...

... is sometimes as reliable as "Curveball." Reading further in the Smirking Chimp article mentioned in the previous post, I read this whopper:
To this day Bush claims that Saddam kicked out the inspectors. That had been true five years previously, but not before the war.
The UN inspectors were pulled out of Iraq in 1998 by chief weapons inspector Richard Butler, conveniently just in time for Bill Clinton to bomb the crap out of it. Fortunately, "Cyberluddite" caught the gaff in comments, immediately following a discussion of Smirking Chimp's failure to link sources in his summary--highlighting for me the most important reason for using links in blog posts: It keeps you from posting falsehoods. Maybe you don't follow many links on this blog or others, but when they're there, it means that the blogger at least cares enough about accuracy to check occasionally.

And commenter "coffee" provided a great link--to FAIR's What a Difference Four Years Makes, a comparison of how the mainstream media's coverage of the UN inspectors' 1998 departure was covered in 1998 and in 2002.

More like a screwball, but the description fits...

From the Smirking Chimp's summary of What Every American Should Know About Iraq:
The case regarding Saddam's chemical weapons capability was similarly trumped up. It was based on the rantings of a single source, code-named "Curveball", whose handlers in the German intelligence service had repeatedly warned the administration that he was a drunk and a liar.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Since Bush might commit one huge crime, Dingell lets him continue another

Read Mitch's story about his discussion with an aide to Rep. John Dingell (D-my district). According to the aide, Dingell supported the latest $100 billion flush down the Iraq toilet because he feared that Bush would steal the money from Social Security if he didn't.

Boy, the Dumbocrats sure solved our problems, didn't they? They aren't even trying. We need a second party, now.

In these cases, the terrorists were the government and the media

Bruce Schneier summarizes the absurd so-called terrorist plots, such as JFK, Fort Dix, and the Miami Seven, in which the alleged perps were so far from committing the crimes of which they are accused that they had no chance of causing any terror whatsoever. But they didn't need to--the government and the media were more than willing to make mountains out of molehills, or less.
There is a real threat of terrorism. And while I'm all in favor of the terrorists' continuing incompetence, I know that some will prove more capable. We need real security that doesn't require us to guess the tactic or the target: intelligence and investigation -- the very things that caught all these terrorist wannabes -- and emergency response. But the "war on terror" rhetoric is more politics than rationality. We shouldn't let the politics of fear make us less safe.

From Steve Breen.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

When failure is rewarded

Just watched John Stewart interview long-time Dumbocratic campaign advisor Bob Shrum, who like so many in politics has made a long career of failure. I remembered reading something about ScumShrum before, and I've found it: Back in July 2004 Bob Harris wrote about Shrum's unblemished record of failure in presidential campaigns (0 for 6 before he worked his magic on the Kerry campaign). People like Shrum, Begala and Carville have turned Democrats into two things--losers, and Republicans. Why any Dumbos still listen to these clowns--well, a lot of things seem to be beyond me tonight.

My kind of town, Ann Arbor is!

Ann Arbor city officials are making a case for local residents to drink their tap water and stay away from bottled water, claiming it's better for the environment.

The Ann Arbor City Council has banned the city from buying or serving commercial bottled water at any functions. The resolution says that bottle water is not environmentally friendly because manufacturing new plastic bottles uses crude oil and energy, while disposing of those bottles creates more waste. It further argues that transporting that water creates air pollution, such as greenhouse gases.

It also states that withdrawing water from streams and wells is ecologically dangerous because it depletes wetlands, streams, lakes and other finite water resources. It also undermines confidence in city tap water, the resolution claims, adding "continuing to bottle water from non-renewable sources is dangerous to Michigan's ecology and counter to the principles of a Green Society."
Of all the crazy things Americans go crazy for, bottled water is one of the most insane. I'm glad to see our city council spell out the many problems.

There are many things I love about Mexico, but not being able to drink the tap water is not one of them. Why Americans are wasting so much money to purchase something that is almost free, just to become more like Mexico in this respect, is far beyond my comprehension.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Albania, you can have him

Friday, June 08, 2007

Bandar Brothers

Jonathan Schwarz analyzes the BAE-Saudi-Brit-US-Bandar Bush scandal. (And here.) Just a slightly clearer view into how the world is run--the powerful and wealthy use their power to take everyone else's wealth to make themselves wealthier. And more powerful. It's not democracy, socialism, or capitalism. It's kleptocracy. And the so-called "war on terror" has replaced the cold war (or maybe just joined it) as the kleptocrats' best friend.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Quote du Jour

The Guantánamo camp was created on a myth--that the American judicial system could not handle prisoners of "the war against terror." It was built on a lie--that the hundreds of detainees at Gitmo are all dangerous terrorists. And it was organized around a fiction--that Mr. Bush had the power to create this rogue system in the first place.

It is time to get rid of it.
-- NY Times editorial

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Pot to Kettle Department

PRAGUE, Czech Republic--President Bush risked further stoking a testy dispute with Russia over a new U.S. missile defense system on Tuesday, saying Moscow has "derailed" once-promising democratic reforms.
-- aWol, speaking in Prague.

This from a man who has sent once-promising democratic reforms such as habeus corpus, due process, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights flying off the tracks into the abyss. Oh, and that part about no man being above the law, too. And the UN Charter. Etc.

Monday, June 04, 2007

RCTV: Not exactly a clear-cut case of stifling the media

According to Gregory Wilpert, the taking of Venezuelan right-wing TV station RCTV off the air can be as a step towards greater freedom of speech, despite what Nancy Pelosi says.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Don't worry, Dick, we won't like you any less

A newly disclosed effort to keep Vice President Dick Cheney's visitor records secret is the latest White House push to make sure the public doesn't learn who has been meeting with top officials in the Bush administration.

Over the past year, lawyers for President Bush and Cheney have directed the Secret Service to maintain the confidentiality of visitor entry and exit logs, declaring them to be presidential records, exempt from a law requiring their disclosure to whoever asks to see them.
So the Veep from the Deep has undisclosed encounters in his undisclosed locations. Oil company execs every afternoon, plus seances with Ken Lay? Overnighters with Paris Hilton, and long weekends with Jeff Gannon? Dinner with Hannibal Lecter, and strategy sessions with O.J. Simpson? Even those daily briefings from Osama bin Laden?

Don't worry, Dick--we won't like you any less.

That just isn't possible.