I'm a little concerned about the shrinking number of trained Iraqi troops. If we continue at this rate, we might as well just delare the country a commonwealth and get it over with.
So it is not 100,000 , not 155,00, not 175,000 Iraqi troops that are ready. It is more like one thousand.
And please remember: today the A.P. ran a report on how U.S soldiers themselves were still having to pay for appropriate body armor. The article dealt with the difficulty the troops have in getting reimbursed from the Pentagon.
How well equipped do you think the 1,000 Iraqi troops are?
The Republicans have been flat footed in their response to the DeLay indictment. At first we heard that Drier of California was to take his place. Now it is Blunt. Scotty McClellan seemed more wooden than usual. Pete Sessions admitted that he was "caught off guard."
You can't blame them. I mean who could have predicted that Tom Delay would be indicted?
The Anchoress reported this past week that she, Jonah Goldberg and LaShawn Barber have all complained that following politics is not as much fun as it was. They think that it's because the Democrats are too partisan.
You can't help but love a group with so much insight and acumen as our friends on the right.
During the Johnson Presidency, Luci Baines Johnson published her recipe for brownies. They were outrageously good. Happily, I have not had to try any recipes from Laura, Jenna or Barbara.
As both Brian Williams and David Remnick have pointed out, Johnson's handling of hurricane damage in New Orleans was a heck of a lot better than than the Bush family recipe. I hate to contradict our President, but Brownie did not do "a heck of a job."
He did a "heck" of a good job at representing the Bush administration in hearings today. As far as representing the people of the United States, he was a blend of embarassment and insult.
Like a well trained horse, he trotted out the adminsitration's line. He was responsible for nothing. It was all someone else's fault. He feels that he deserved best in show, and is outraged that he has no ribbon. (Yet, give W. some time.)
Remember France, that country Bush loves to loathe? They continue to investigate the top echelons of French political power; examining who should be held responsible for failures that led to the crash of the Concorde a few years ago. Our administration rehires the man in charge of much larger failures, and uses taxpayer's dollars to pay this man so that he can lie to Congress.
The world was shocked by what Katrina revealed about our country. The "investigation" into what happened is still more revelatory; still more shocking.
The right once again creates a straw man when discussing our options in Iraq.
They pretend that there’s a simple choice involved: either you support the Bush/Cheney line, or you are choosing to ‘cut and run’. Aside from childishly insulting the left’s position by naming it ‘cut and run’, which immediately calls to mind the schoolyard bully who hit you and then ran away, the right is lying to us about our choices and about the position of many of us on the left.
Of course there is no definition of the Bush/Cheney position. It is staying the course. Not dishonoring the American dead. Establishing Democracy. You can pick your cliché, but you can’t pick out a coherent plan.
It is certainly true that there are a lot of us on the left who feel there is nothing to be gained by our continued presence in Iraq. And, if one agrees with Kissinger’s ‘realpolitik’ analysis of international relations, this is accurate.
But there is another view – one which takes morality, and the Geneva Conventions, into account. The Conventions are clear that an occupying power has obligations to the country it occupies. For example, it is obligated to establish the rule of law. Rumsfeld’s comments that a free people are free to loot, if that is what they want, at a time when the national treasure of Iraq’s museums was being stolen, is not the legitimate response for an occupier. Similarly, the U.S. cannot now say that ‘our leader made a big mistake when he decided to destabilize your country, so we’re going to take our guys and our arms and go home now.’
What the U.S can do is to admit our errors to the world, and ask the U.N. and our allies to help in establishing as fair and legitimate government in Iraq as possible. Our troops will continue to be in danger, and to die, but this was our choice; no one else’s. We must cancel plans for the 14 permanent military bases that we are building in Iraq. We should also scale down the $1.2 Billion* embassy we have started to build in Baghdad.
Contrary to the Bush administration, the U.S.does have to leave Iraq. But that does not mean that we have to abandon Iraq. In fact, it would be a continuation of the kind of immoral foreign policy that Bush has pursued, if we were to suddenly pull out all of our troops.
*The 1.2 Billion that Bush wants to spend on the embassy is about 22 times as big as the 50 million that Bush cut from the Army Corps of Engineers Levee maintenance plan in New Orleans. In other words, the cost of doing a proper job protecting the city of New Orleans was about 5% of the cost of building our new Embassy in Iraq.
One observation that's been made about the current Republican party that merits repeating is that there is no room for Conservatives in the Tentlet. They always go right to the edge, and then keep on going.
A classic example of chutzpah is of the child who, after shooting his own parents, asks for pity from the court because he's now an orphan. The current administration would add to the story by asking how in the world could anyone have expected the kid to know he would become an orphan if he killed his parents.
Republicans constantly talk about how inefficient and incompetent government is. They claim that government is the problem, not the solution. In today's NY Times, their right wing columnist Tierney gloats that after Katrina, polls show people trusting the government even less than before.
In a way it makes sense. A government that cannot get enough gas to Texas to facilitate an anticipated evacuation should not be trusted. Anyone who thinks that experience running a horse show is a good qualification for running FEMA cannot be trusted. Any government that would ask who would have expected the levee to break in a category 4 hurricane, after that government has been repeated advised that this is exactly what would happen, should not only not be trusted; they should be locked up
Of course, he forgets to mention. Who is it that can't be trusted? Last time I looked there was a Republican White House, a Republican Congress and a Republican Supreme Court.
They destroy the federal government's ability to perform, and then condemn its performance. Chutzpah they got. Compassion they don't.
For reasons utterly incomprehensible to me, Typepad would not allow posting yesterday. This made for a week of light posting in a period of very heavy news, for which apologies are in order.
Still, some thoughts are worth repeating.
Let's hope that Rita does not underscore the failings of an incapacitated, incompetent federal government.
This morning the N.Y. Times stock fell a little more than 7%: a response to lower than anticipated earnings and the announcement of fairly large scale lay-offs.
I don't think that bloggers can seriously be held responsible, but it does make the post here on the 19th, "Free Frank Rich" appear prescient.
Eschaton, as well as many other blogs, are right to mock demands for dicussions of "blogging ethics." The many complaints that bloggers don't follow 'journalistic ethics' are generally bogus and hypocritical.
Possibly this has been fully covered elsewhere, but I think that there are some moral issues that merit examination.
A lot of the best blogs are articles or comments based on a piece of breaking news. The blogger either links to the source, or quotes extensively from it. Thus the reader of the blog is constantly getting news from all kinds of sources, the wire services, news papers, TV shows etc. without paying a thing. While the blog generally gets some advertising revenue, the source gets no income. The company that pays the reporter find out the news and pays for its dissemination gets nada. Zilch.
When Eschacon, the meet-up of Atriots, was being organized, a blogger complained at the last minute that the hotel selected did not pay it's employees fairly. This person admitted that she did not contribute to the blog, but that she liked to read it. My impression was that this person felt that she should certainly get news and opinion for free. Further, she felt no responsibility to even contribute her ideas to the community which is the Blog. A tad hypocritical, IMHO.
President Bush visited the damage caused by Katrina again today. I believe that this is the third time in a week he's been there. The right is working 'hard' to build an image of W that is based on his rolling up his shirt sleeves and helping victims. They want us to forget Bush's eating cake with McCain and his guitar playing, just like we were to forget "My Pet Goat." Does anyone believe that 5% of this country remembers what Bush did on 9/11? (Aside from his subsequent selling pictures of himself in Air Force One looking concerned.)
The person with the greatest ability to stop this rewriting of history is Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. She could ask W. to please refrain from visiting her state at this time. It's plate is full right now, and she does not want it to choke on Bush's poltical needs. If she could just point out that she needed the administration's attention the weekend before Katrina struck. Lousiana could have used some help while the storm raged and the Superdome filled with evacuees. Now, the state has work to do, and needs no Presidential visits getting in its way. It does not have the luxury of being a photo-op. It needs all available firemen helping people; not parading with the President. If there is light and electricity available, it should be used for the people of New Orleans. Not to flood-light a political speech. Lousiana needed help then; it has no time for him now. The governor need not be nasty. She doesn't have to sound like Jesse Helms who warned then-President Clinton not to visit North Carolina, because his safety could not be guaranteed. She just has to say "Thanks, but no Thanks."
What could the Bushies do? Turn their slime machine in her direction. They're already doing that. Punish Louisiana? Not more thant they would do anyway. Frankly, I think there is way too much press attention and political pressure on him to do this.
Please, Gov Blanco, please speak the truth. That's all we're asking. Please Gov Dean - call her up and get her to do it.
We've spent a lot of time adding to and updating the links list at cdbustard. You can't help but feel dirty after hours spent in the bowels of the right.
Two reactions were strongest today:
So please visit some of the sites and try to change some minds.