Monthly Archives: June 2007

Ethiopians regretting joining Bush/Cheney’s “war on terror” in Somalia

When is the world and the US gonna figure it out?

Washington Post:

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Thursday that his government “made a wrong political calculation” when it intervened in Somalia, where Ethiopian troops are bogged down in a fight against a growing insurgency.

Addressing Ethiopia’s Parliament, Meles said his government incorrectly assumed that breaking up the Islamic movement that took control of most of Somalia in June 2006 would subdue the country. He also said he wrongly believed that Somali clan leaders would live up to unspecified “promises.”

“We made these wrong assumptions,” Meles said on a day when a roadside bomb killed two Ethiopian soldiers in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, and two aid workers were shot dead in northern Somalia.

Opposition members of Parliament have accused Meles of making the same mistake in Somalia that critics say the United States made in Iraq: launching a military intervention without having a political plan.

Many Ethiopian intellectuals and political leaders opposed the intervention because they said it would inevitably create the conditions for the sort of Somalia-based terrorist attacks that Meles intended to contain by invading the country.

In December, Ethiopian forces backing Somalia’s transitional government dislodged the Islamic movement, which was popular for the relative security it had brought after years of brutal warlord rule.

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Bush says Iraq should be like Israel

I guess there’s no point in trying to figure out the Middle East at this point, is there, Bush? Just say whatever stupid thing pops into your mind, no matter how offensive it might be to Iraqis or Arabs.

┬áIn Israel, Bush said, “terrorists have taken innocent human life for years in suicide attacks. The difference is that Israel is a functioning democracy and it’s not prevented from carrying out its responsibilities. And that’s a good indicator of success that we’re looking for in Iraq.” ‘

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Bush is the biggest earmarker (and hypocrite) of them all:

Democratic and Republican appropriators are accusing President Bush of urging Congress to pack spending bills with pet projects despite his high-profile crackdown on earmarks this year.

A House Appropriations Committee report accompanying legislation funding the Department of the Interior shows that Bush requested 93 of the 321 earmarks in the bill. A panel report for the financial services and general government spending bill showed that Bush requested 17 special projects worth $947 million, more than any single member of Congress.
Senate appropriators have identified more than 350 earmarks in the military construction spending bill requested by the president.

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Expose makes Cheney’s attack on Iran most unlikely

Though George W. Bush professes to not reading the papers, Condi Rice and Bob Gates certainly do, and I would therefore suggest that the Cheney expose’ in the Washington Post will have an important effect: the somwhat-sane will carry the day, and prevent Cheney’s last insane act, bombing Iran.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Condoleezza Rice: tell me again, what is her job?, Countdown to attack on Iran, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iran, Middle East, Politics

John Roberts disappoints even the American Enterprise Institute

John Roberts is proving to be a poor choice as Supreme Court Chief Justice, and even the American Enterprise Institute sees it. Norman J. Ornstein:

The Wisconsin Right to Life case was couched by Roberts in careful, narrow terms, but was not simply a tiny adjustment in campaign finance law. It was a direct, in-your-face rejection of a key part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. The decision reopened a huge loophole that had been closed by Congress through a careful, narrow, deliberative approach. Congress, contrary to the overheated rhetoric of reform opponents, did not ban any ads. It took phony issue ads that were designed to elect or defeat candidates and made sure they used only the same funds that other campaign communications used. It did so by setting a clear, bright-line standard so it was evident to all what the rules were for funding broadcast ads close to an election.

Roberts erased the bright line and basically dissed Congress. He turned the process for defining such ads on its head, making it almost impossible to define what constitutes a campaign ad. The practical reality of Roberts’ new standard is that if anyone simply asserts that an ad is about an issue, no matter how slender the pretext or blatant the campaign message, the entity or shell organization funding the ad can use corporate funds or union dues and get away with it. The floodgates have been opened up again, to the detriment of our campaign discourse, and huge, corrupting money will be back in the game as a result. Just as important, it shows not a careful, conservative deference to Congress, which made BCRA a model of careful, reasoned deliberation relying on research, data and on the court’s reasoning in Buckley v. Valeo, but a willingness by Roberts to toss aside Congress’ conclusions to fit his own ideological predispositions.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others are right that it could have been much worse; the critical core of BCRA remains and only three justices–Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy–indicated their willingness to throw the whole law out. But it is not a good sign either for campaigns or for the future integrity of the court.

The Supreme Court’s concern about the First Amendment took a totally different turn the same day with the decision involving freedom of speech by students. Although the banner “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” unfurled by Joseph Frederick across the street from his Juneau, Alaska, school could mean anything–and probably simply meant “Look at me! Look at me!”–Roberts used exactly the opposite standard for freedom that he applied to WRTL, assuming that the meaning of the banner was encouragement of illegal drug use. That was his pretext for denying Frederick’s speech rights. In his WRTL decision Roberts wrote, “Where the First Amendment is implicated, the tie goes to the speaker, not the censor.” Apparently, that principle applies only where it fits the ideological predisposition of the chief. And once again, we saw a willingness to go with a deeply divisive 5-4 pattern that ultimately will be bad for the court and bad for the country.

….Roberts is the chief justice. I thought from his confirmation hearings that this would be a different court, moving to the right but in a less divisive way. It appears I was wrong.

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Winning and losing in Iraq

Anonymous Liberal:

McCarthy says that “we will rue the day we leave Iraq without routing radical Islam.” But what does that even mean? How exactly are we supposed to “rout” an ideology? If we “surge” a few thousand more troops, will “radical Islam” surrender? And is there any reason at all to believe that we can kill all the radical Islamists in Iraq, much less do so without creating legions of new ones? Our very presence in Iraq has served as the rallying cry for a whole new generation of jihadists, who are popping up all over the globe and continue to flock to Iraq for valuable on the job training.

In McCarthy’s view, the only acceptable policy is to keep fighting in Iraq until we’ve defeated the terrorists. But that’s a Sisyphean task, a never-ending game of whack-a-mole. And, of course, the only reason foreign terrorists are even in Iraq is because we are. There’s no reason to believe that these foreign jihadists would stick around (or that Iraqis would let them stick around) if we were to leave.

The bottom line is that we can’t allow ourselves to be drawn into a perpetual, self-sustaining battle just because some guys in a cave in Pakistan will taunt us if we change course. The only way we really “lose” here is if we resolve to continue pursuing unattainable goals.

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Africa rejects US “security” plan

Hmmm…Africa would rather not get in bed with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney….wonder why?

link

The Pentagon’s plan to create a US military command based in Africa have hit a wall of hostility from governments in the region reluctant to associate themselves with the Bush administration’s “war on terror” and fearful of American intervention.

A US delegation led by Ryan Henry, principal deputy under-secretary of defence for policy, returned to Washington last week with little to show for consultations with defence and foreign ministry officials in Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Djibouti and with the African Union (AU). An earlier round of consultations with sub-Saharan countries on providing secure facilities and local back-up for the new command, to be known as Africom and due to be operational by September next year, was similarly inconclusive.

The Libyan and Algerian governments reportedly told Mr Henry that they would play no part in hosting Africom. Despite recently improved relations with the US, both said they would urge their neighbours not to do so, either. Even Morocco, considered Washington’s closest north African ally, indicated it did not welcome a permanent military presence on its soil.

“We’ve got a big image problem down there,” a state department official admitted. “Public opinion is really against getting into bed with the US. They just don’t trust the US.”

Another African worry was that any US facilities could become targets for terrorists, the official said. Economic incentives, including the prospect of hundreds of local jobs, had not proved persuasive.

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