Monthly Archives: July 2007

US accuses Iran of attack on US soil.

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The NY Times carries a piece today on the war in Iraq, in which a very important accusation is hidden. The story, written by Stephen Farrell, begins with a doubtful claim by Gen. Odierno:

A car bomb killed 25 people in a Shiite area of the city during the evening rush hour on Thursday, wounding dozens of shoppers, destroying stores and leaving a pall of smoke hanging over the center of the city.

The attack occurred hours after Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the second-ranking American commander in Iraq, claimed “significant success” for recent security operations in Baghdad and Diyala Province.

This piece is one of a continuing series of flimsy US charges which does not merely charge Iran with interfering in Iraq. Rather, the military and the Bush/Cheney administration are compiling a record in the NY Times (mostly written by Michael Gordon) which documents the supposed (but unproven) participation of Iran in attacks on Americans, and now, on US soil (since the US Embassy has been attacked, and that is considered US soil).

General Odierno, who runs day-to-day military operations in Iraq, also accused Iran of being involved in recent deadly attacks on Baghdad’s high-security Green Zone, which is regularly hit by rocket and mortar fire from across the Tigris River.

“We have seen in the last three months a significant improvement in the capability of mortarmen and rocketeers to provide accurate fire into the Green Zone and other places,” he said in Baghdad.

“We think this is directly related to training that was conducted in Iran,” he said. “So we continue to go after these networks with the Iraqi security forces. This is not done independently by U.S. or coalition forces. This is done in conjunction with Iraqi security forces. And we continue to attack those networks, and we will continue to do so” until the weapons are stopped.

Although the likelihood still seems slight, Bush/Cheney may yet unleash an attack on Iran. The excuse will not be the development of nuclear weapons or even the threat of it; rather, an attack on Iran will be billed as self-defense, after what amounts to Iranian attacks on US troops and soil, as laid out in the United Nations Charter. And rather than have someone akin to Colin Powell make a questionable speech to the UN about Iranian acts, the US is using the NY Times to make the record.

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The true cult of George W. Bush

Chris Floyd has an essay on the cult of Bush believers, and it will curl your hair.

.. the dogma of the Bush Cult is identical with the “reality-creating” declaration of Mao’s Little Red Book: “It is possible to accomplish any task whatsoever.” For Bush, as for Mao in the all-devouring Great Leap Forward, “discernible reality” has no meaning: political, cultural, economic, scientific truth – even the fundamental processes of nature, even human nature itself – must give way to the faith-statements of ideology, ruthlessly applied by unbending zealots.

Thus the reality-twisting assertions of Bush’s ideologues: The conquered will welcome their killers. The poor will be happy to slave for the rich. The earth can sustain any amount of damage without lasting harm. The loss of rights is essential to liberty. War without end is the only way to peace. Corruption and cronyism lead to universal prosperity. Dissent is evil; dissenters are “with the terrorists.” But God is with the Leader; whatever he does is righteous, even if in the eyes of unbelievers – the “reality-based community” – his acts are criminal: aggressive war that kills thousands of innocent people, widespread torture, secret assassinations, imprisonment without charges or trial, electoral subversion.

Indeed, the doctrine “Gott mit Uns” is the linchpin of the Bush Cult. Tens of millions of Americans have now embraced the Cult’s fusion of Bush’s leadership with Divine Will. As a Bush volunteer in Missouri told Suskind: “I just believe God controls everything, and God uses the president to keep evil down…God gave us this president to be the man to protect the nation at this time.” God appointed Bush; thus Bush’s acts are Godly. It’s a circular, self-confirming mindset that can’t be penetrated by reason or facts, can’t be shaken by crimes and scandals. That’s why Bush’s core support – comprising almost half of the electorate – stays rock-solid, despite the manifest failures of his administration. It’s based on blind faith, on poisonous fantasy: simple, flattering (“We’re uniquely good, we’re God’s special nation!”), comforting, complete – so unlike the harsh, bewildering, splintered shards of real life.

Read the whole thing if you get a chance. Myself, I just can’t quite believe that this bunch will just give up the reins of power after the 2008 elections. And I am definitely not a conspiracy theorist.

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Realities of war

Digby comments on the current flap at The New Republic and in the rightwing blogs about a soldier in Iraq who has provided some reality about life and conduct in our troops.

It isn’t shocking in the least that otherwise decent people could lose that decency during wartime and it certainly doesn’t surprise you that those who already have a light grip on conscience (or sanity) would behave in ways that would make us recoil in horror in our everyday lives. That is not a judgment about soldiers in general. Each one is his own agent and is responsible for his own actions. War doesn’t render morality inoperative. But it does challenge it and in the case of wars that are themselves immoral it challenges it severely.

I hear so much from the right about how they love the troops. But they don’t seem to love the actual human beings who wear the uniform, they love those little GI Joe dolls they played with as children which they could dress up in little costumes and contort into pretzels for their fun and amusement. If they loved the actual troops they wouldn’t require them to be like two dimensional John Waynes, withholding their real experiences and feelings for fear that a virtual armchair lynch mob would come after them.

Thank God Joseph Heller and James Jones and Erich Maria Remarque and countless others aren’t trying to write their books today. They’d be burned as heretics by a bunch of nasty boys and girls who have fetishized “the troops” into a strange form of Boy Band eroticism — that empty, nonthreatening form of masculinity the tweens use to bridge the scary gap between puberty and adolescence. Private Peter Pan reporting for duty.

The real men for them are the civilians on 24 torturing suspected terrorists for an hour each week, keeping the lil’est tough guys safe from harm with hard sadism and easy answers. That’s where this wingnut war is really being fought. With popcorn.

WAR IS FUCKING HELL.

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Baseball: Will Dodgers get snookered out of Clayton Kershaw?

I can’t imagine why LA would make this deal, but it keeps popping up in the news.  Texiera is a nice first baseman, but he’s getting Hall of Fame money.  Kershaw is the best lefty prospect in the country, and Loney is doing a good job.   Signing Juan Pierre was bad enough; if the Dodgers’ GM pulls the trigger on this deal, he should be fired.

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Larry Lujack, WLS in Chicago

while moving, I ran across some old tapes of the kids and with them was a tape of the last day of radio broadcasting by Larry Lujack at WLS in Chicago, in August of 1987.  I had listened to Dick Biondi and those other idiots on WLS when I was a teenager in Michigan, and came back to WLS when we lived in Indiana years later.  Lujack was a pioneer in what he did and how he did it; he was funny, shocking, sarcastic, and very entertaining. He inspired a whole generation of entertainers from the midwest, including David Letterman.  If you remember Lar, read more about him here.

If you never heard of him, well, you missed something.  I guess he lives in Santa Fe.  Good luck, Lar, whatever in the hell you’re up to.

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The government of Iraq will fall; soon.

The surge has clearly accomplished next to nothing.  No political progress has been made, and the security situation has clearly deteriorated in some segments as it has improved somewhat in other areas.  Bush is under tremendous pressure, and even the Bush handpuppet Petraeus won’t be able to spin the failure of the political side.  There has been no doubt that Bush will pull as many delaying tactics as necessary in order to pass the Iraq mess to his successor, and has already begun the finger pointing at the Congress, the Democrats, Syria, Iran, and now the Saudis.  But the obvious step  for Bush at this point is to pull the rug out from under the al Maliki government, and demand that the US  “give the new government a chance.”  Remember, Bush said he would “fix Iraq” so withdrawal would not occur. The Christian Science Monitor has a related story:

Iraq is in the throes of its worst political crisis since the fall of Saddam Hussein with the new democratic system, based on national consensus among its ethnic and sectarian groups, appearing dangerously close to collapsing, say several politicians and analysts.

This has brought paralysis to governmental institutions and has left parliament unable to make headway on 18 benchmarks Washington is using to measure progress in Iraq, including legislation on oil revenue sharing and reforming security forces.

And the disconnect between Baghdad and Washington over the urgency for solutions is growing. The Iraqi parliament is set for an August vacation as the Bush administration faces pressure to show progress in time for a September report to Congress.

At the moment, Iraqi politicians are simply trying to keep the government from disintegrating. On Friday, top Iraqi officials were set to convene in the Kurdish north for a crisis summit, in the hopes that talks held outside of Baghdad’s politically poisonous atmosphere may bring some resolution to the current political standstill. President Jalal Talabani and his two deputies, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the president of the semiautonomous Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani, were set to meet at the Salaheddin summer resort at the end of a difficult week.

On Wednesday, the Iraqi Accordance Front said it pulled out of Mr. Maliki’s coalition government, but would return its six cabinet members if the prime minister met a list of demands. The Sunni bloc says it wants, among other things, pardons for detainees not facing specific criminal charges and for all militias to be disbanded.

“We are frankly in the midst of the worst crisis,” says Fakhri Karim, a close adviser to Messrs. Barzani and Talabani who also publishes the independent Al Mada newspaper. He says he doubts the Friday meeting will find any resolution because of the new political tussle with the Iraqi Accordance Front.

“Most of the political blocs have failed to operate within the framework of national consensus. They can’t even properly formulate their positions and proposals, let alone realize the very serious dangers that surround everyone.”

The gravity of the situation was underscored by several officials. “We have a governmental crisis. Our people expect better performance,” said Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

And since Saturday, US Ambassador Ryan Crocker has been shuttling between Iraq’s top leaders, but an embassy spokesperson said this was not necessarily indicative of a crisis.

“The surge has done well in making a difference in security conditions. But it isn’t a light switch for reconciliation; there are no quick fixes to years of bitterness and violence,” he said.

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US finally admits extensive role of Saudis in Iraq insurgency

The NY Times is reporting an apparent major concession by the Bush/Cheney propaganda machine: admitting that Saudi Arabia is the major source of foreign fighters in Iraq, and is supporting opposition to the Iraqi government. Finally, a dose of reality.  The US has no real allies in the Iraq occupation, other than the half-hearted British contingent that has more or less given up on the Basra situation.  The enormity of this admission should not be lost on the American media, but you can be sure that it will.  The Bush administration has effectively put America at war with the entire Muslim and Arab worlds.

Bush administration officials are voicing increasing anger at what they say has been Saudi Arabia’s counterproductive role in the Iraq war. They say that beyond regarding Mr. Maliki as an Iranian agent, the Saudis have offered financial support to Sunni groups in Iraq. Of an estimated 60 to 80 foreign fighters who enter Iraq each month, American military and intelligence officials say that nearly half are coming from Saudi Arabia and that the Saudis have not done enough to stem the flow.

One senior administration official says he has seen evidence that Saudi Arabia is providing financial support to opponents of Mr. Maliki. He declined to say whether that support was going to Sunni insurgents because, he said, “That would get into disagreements over who is an insurgent and who is not.”

Officials in Washington have long resisted blaming Saudi Arabia for the chaos and sectarian strife in Iraq, choosing instead to pin blame on Iran and Syria. Even now, military officials rarely talk publicly about the role of Saudi fighters among the insurgents in Iraq.

The accounts of American concerns came from interviews with several senior administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they believed that openly criticizing Saudi Arabia would further alienate the Saudi royal family at a time when the United States is still trying to enlist Saudi support for Mr. Maliki and the Iraqi government, and for other American foreign policy goals in the Middle East, including an Arab-Israeli peace plan.

The Bush administration’s frustration with the Saudi government has increased in recent months because it appears that Saudi Arabia has stepped up efforts to undermine the Maliki government and to pursue a different course in Iraq from what the administration has charted. Saudi Arabia has also stymied a number of other American foreign policy initiatives, including a hoped-for Saudi embrace of Israel.

Of course, the Saudi government has hardly masked its intention to prop up Sunni groups in Iraq and has for the past two years explicitly told senior Bush administration officials of the need to counterbalance the influence Iran has there. Last fall, King Abdullah warned Vice President Dick Cheney that Saudi Arabia might provide financial backing to Iraqi Sunnis in any war against Iraq’s Shiites if the United States pulled its troops out of Iraq, American and Arab diplomats said.

Several officials interviewed for this article said they believed that Saudi Arabia’s direct support to Sunni tribesmen increased this year as the Saudis lost faith in the Maliki government and felt they must bolster Sunni groups in the eventuality of a widespread civil war.

Saudi Arabia months ago made a pitch to enlist other Persian Gulf countries to take a direct role in supporting Sunni tribal groups in Iraq, said one former American ambassador with close ties to officials in the Middle East. The former ambassador, Edward W. Gnehm, who has served in Kuwait and Jordan, said that during a recent trip to the region he was told that Saudi Arabia had pressed other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council — which includes Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman — to give financial support to Sunnis in Iraq.

The American officials in Iraq also say that the majority of suicide bombers in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia and that about 40 percent of all foreign fighters are Saudi. Officials said that while most of the foreign fighters came to Iraq to become suicide bombers, others arrived as bomb makers, snipers, logisticians and financiers.

American military and intelligence officials have been critical of Saudi efforts to stanch the flow of fighters into Iraq, although they stress that the Saudi government does not endorse the idea of fighters from Saudi Arabia going to Iraq….

The Bush administration’s relationship with Saudi Arabia has deteriorated steadily since the United States invasion of Iraq, culminating in April when, bitingly, King Abdullah, during a speech before Arab heads of state in Riyadh, condemned the American invasion of Iraq as “an illegal foreign occupation.”

A month before that, King Abdullah effectively torpedoed a high-profile meeting between Israelis and Palestinians, planned by Ms. Rice, by brokering a power-sharing agreement between the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and the militant Islamist group Hamas that did not require Hamas to recognize Israel. While that agreement eventually fell apart, the Bush administration, on both occasions, was caught off guard and became infuriated.

But Saudi officials have not been too happy with President Bush, either, and the plummeting of America’s image in the Muslim world has led King Abdullah to strive to set a more independent course.

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