Monthly Archives: August 2007

US military trying to swiftboat visiting congressmen.

This is over the line:

Washington Post:

when Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) asked a soldier last weekend just what he was holding, the congressman was taken aback to find out.

In the soldier’s hand was a thumbnail biography, distributed before each of the congressmen’s meetings in Baghdad, which let meeting participants such as that soldier know where each of the lawmakers stands on the war. “Moran on Iraq policy,” read one section, going on to cite some the congressman’s most incendiary statements, such as, “This has been the worst foreign policy fiasco in American history.”

For one, the quotations appeared to be selected to divide the visitors into those who are with the war effort and those who are against. For another, they were not exactly accurate. Under “latest Iraq vote,” Tauscher’s bio noted that she had voted in favor of legislation requiring the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq within 120 days of the bill’s enactment.

She did vote that way — in May. On Aug. 2, Tauscher voted in favor of her own bill, which mandates that troops be granted a leave from combat at least as long as their last combat deployment before being shipped back to Iraq. That vote might have been a little too popular with the soldiers she was meeting, Tauscher said.

The inherent contempt for the Congress shown by this behavior is unacceptable. The military has it really very backwards. Politicization of the military is as unacceptable as politicization of the Department of Justice. In any world based on American democratic and constitutional principles, heads would roll.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Fred Kagan:an idiot running a war, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Karl Rove:Bush's brain or Bush's as'hole?

Report: Warmongering against Iran begins in earnest

 The Cheney/Bush initiative for war against Iran may be starting up in earnest. Trita Parsi sees parallels with the war propaganda effort against Iraq in 2002, and an initiative in January of this year:

Bush’s speech to the veterans in Nevada has several similarities to his address to the nation on January 10. That was also slated as a major speech on Iraq, though it spelled out little new about Washington’s strategy except to call for staying the course. Instead, it revealed key elements of the US’s new aggressive posture on Iran.

For the first time, the president accused Iran of “providing material support for attacks on American troops” while promising to “disrupt the attacks on our forces” and “seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq”.

Moments after the president’s speech in January, US Special Forces stormed an Iranian consulate in Irbil in northern Iraq, arresting five Iranians who Tehran said were diplomats. Washington described the detained Iranians as agents and members of the IRGC. Later that day, US forces almost clashed with Kurdish Peshmerga militia forces when seeking to arrest more Iranians at Irbil’s airport.

The US move drew stark criticism from the Iraqi government. “What happened … was very annoying because there has been an Iranian liaison office there for years and it provides services to the citizens,” Iraq’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Hoshiyar Zebari told Al-Arabiya television.

Similarly, Bush’s harsh words for Iran in Nevada were promptly followed by a raid at the Sheraton Ishtar Hotel in Baghdad where eight Iranian nationals were arrested. The group included two diplomats and six members of a delegation from Iran’s Electricity Ministry. A US-funded radio station reported that the Iranian delegation was in Baghdad to negotiate contracts on electric power stations.

While the eight Iranians were later released – unlike the five taken in Irbil who still remain in US custody – actions of this kind combined with the intensified war of words can, intentionally or by accident, trigger a larger crisis. (A US official later called the Sheraton incident “regrettable” and denied that it was related to Bush’s remarks in Nevada).

Today I received a message from a friend who has excellent connections in Washington and whose information has often been prescient. According to this report, as in 2002, the rollout will start after Labor Day, with a big kickoff on September 11. My friend had spoken to someone in one of the leading neo-conservative institutions. He summarized what he was told this way: They [the source’s institution] have “instructions” (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don’t think they’ll ever get majority support for this–they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is “plenty.”

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Filed under Countdown to attack on Iran, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?

Water borne disease in Iraq

Surprising that we haven’t seen cholera before this.
Link

More than 2,000 Iraqis in the northern part of the country have contracted cholera, U.N. officials said Wednesday, citing local authorities.
The outbreak is thought to be the result of poor water quality, the U.N. officials said.

“Local authorities report that over 2,000 people have been affected so far by the outbreak, with five deaths reported and 500 patients admitted to hospital with severe diarrhea within the last two days alone,” said the U.N. Children’s Fund, or UNICEF.

Forty-seven cases have been confirmed as epidemic cholera, but the number is expected to grow, said UNICEF, which has rushed emergency aid to the affected area.

The outbreak has hit the Sulaimaniya province and the nearby Kirkuk region in northern Iraq.

“Although the outbreak is largely affecting adults, children are at extremely high risk,” UNICEF said.

Cholera is a bacterial ailment that affects the intestinal tract. The disease is contracted by consuming contaminated water.

Only 30 percent of the population in Sulaimaniya has an adequate water supply, according to local reports, and “many people have been reduced to digging shallow wells outside their own homes,” UNICEF said.

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Tucker Carlson: liar, gay, or gay basher? you decide….

Media Matters:

ABRAMS: Tucker, what did you do, by the way? What did you do when he did that? We got to know.

CARLSON: I went back with someone I knew and grabbed the guy by the — you know, and grabbed him, and — and –

ABRAMS: And did what?

CARLSON: Hit him against the stall with his head, actually!

[laughter]

CARLSON: And then the cops came and arrested him. But let me say that I’m the least anti-gay right-winger you’ll ever meet —

Either way, MSNBC should look into this. Carlson is either (most likely) lying, or he is telling a story about assaulting a supposedly gay man as if it were funny. Either way, he’s a disgrace.

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Boy Scouts: the new “altar boys?”

Boy Scout merit badge #!6 was, as I recall, entitled “Things to do in the dark.” I never got that merit badge, because they wouldn’t give credit for independent study. Many other scouts, however, were well instructed:

“The Boy Scouts is very unique because there is a very dangerous bond between Scout and Scoutmaster,” said Tom Stewart, now a 44-year-old Boeing engineer. “You are out in the middle of nowhere on an outing, and the Scoutmaster is God.”
The abuse involving the Stewart brothers, including oral and anal sex, persisted through high school, the brothers say — at Scout outings and camps, at a drive-in movie theater, at Phelps’ house and in the Stewarts’ basement while their parents were upstairs.
Their parents let them spend weekends at Phelps’ house on the pretext of working on merit badges, even after Phelps had moved to West Seattle, where he led another Scout troop.
“He would say, ‘OK, that knot looks fine; you got your merit badge — now let’s have sex,’ ” said Matt Stewart, now a 42-year-old pharmaceutical salesman in Palm Desert, Calif.

The abuses are apparently widespread:

The previously private records show that the Boy Scouts have ejected at least 5,100 adult leaders nationwide for sexual abuse allegations since 1946.
And the files reveal that, despite efforts to keep potential abusers from joining, the problems persist. In the last 15 years alone, the organization has kicked out leaders for such allegations at a rate of one every other day.

The Boy Scouts are infamously good at providing false data, but according to their claims there were a million adults involved in scouting during this time, making the problem not very significant. In my humble opinion, this is comparable to the Catholic priests.

The only reason it hasn’t hit the papers more is that nobody sues the Boy Scouts, because they don’t have the money that the Catholic Church has. From Wikipedia:

The John Jay Report,[3] commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, found accusations against 4,392 priests in the USA, equalling about 4% of all U.S. priests.

So basically, people, the term “Scouting” now takes on a whole new meaning.

And of course, the next step after one outgrows the Boy Scouts is, well, Explorer Scouts. Swear to god.

Let’s not go there.

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The new countdown to attack on Iran

Back to the countdown.

Bush continues to escalate his rhetoric into the realm of acts of war, as Glenn Greenwald documents today. Words like murderous and holocaust cannot be taken lightly in this context. The US took prisoner an Iranian delegation in Iraq, and Bush is now spouting off about Iranians detaining Americans.

On the other side of the ledger, I was somewhat heartened by Joe Lieberman’s recent remarks, reported in the Jerusalem Post, stating that economic sanctions were the way to go, at present.

But I think Lieberman is just buying time. If I am George Bush, looking to start a war with iran, maximize its political value, and dodge resposibility for its consequences, my timing is pretty clear: the late summer/early fall of 2008. Bush is in the process of arming the Middle East to the teeth, and probably calculates that the Congress will continue to fund the iraq War. The real crunch, he believes, will come next spring, when we really do begin to run out of soldiers. That is when Bush will declare that diplomacy has failed, and the naval buildup will commence in earnest, with an aerial attack to follow within a few months. Bush is building a stronger case against Iran than he had against Iraq, and the Congress will fall all over themselves to endorse the use of force. Though he has lost lapdog Tony Blair, Bush seems to have found a new running dog in the person of France’s new leader:

A day after French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner apologized to Iraq for his inappropriate call for a leadership change in that country, President Nicolas Sarkozy added his own blunder by tacitly endorsing the military option on Iran. Clearly, the new US-friendly leader in Paris has much to learn about international diplomacy and Middle East politics, or he risks taking France down a path where only the dogs of war and clashing civilizations prowl.

One of the several great ironies in this attack on Iran is that it may well result in the eventual destruction of the state of israel.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Countdown to attack on Iran, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, Fred Kagan:an idiot running a war, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Hillary Clinton:what does she stand for?, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Politics

Michael Vick: “I’ve met Jesus,…turned my life over to God.”

I assume that Vick’s business manager made the introductions.

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