I’m sure this means we’re in for another bout of saber-rattling from Dick Cheney’s lunatics, to whom peace means war and war means peace.
Are the media dumb or just out to lunch? Sorry to be intemperate, but how else can one explain the meager attention paid to the truly historic visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Iraq? Not only is he the first Mideast head of state to visit the country since its alleged liberation, but the very warm official welcome offered by the Iraqi government to the most vociferous critic of the United States speaks volumes to the abject failure of the Bush doctrine.
How interesting that Ahmadinejad, unlike a U.S. president who has to be airlifted unannounced into ultra-secure bases, was able to convoy in from the airport in broad daylight on a road that U.S. dignitaries fear to travel. His love fest with Iraq President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd who fought on Iran’s side against Iraq and who speaks Farsi, even took place outside of the safety of the Green Zone, adding emphasis to Ahmadinejad’s claim that while he is welcome in Iraq, the Americans are not.
Nor did the Iraqi leaders take exception to Ahmadinejad’s insistence that the U.S. has brought only terror to the region and that the continued American presence is the main obstacle to peace. On the contrary, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pronounced his talks with fellow Shiite Ahmadinejad “friendly, positive and full of trust.” Video of Talabani, who asked that Ahmadinejad call him “Uncle Jalal” after holding hands and exchanging kisses with the Iranian president, was broadcast throughout the region.
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According to Dahlan, it was Bush who had pushed legislative elections in the Palestinian territories in January 2006, despite warnings that Fatah was not ready. After Hamas—whose 1988 charter committed it to the goal of driving Israel into the sea—won control of the parliament, Bush made another, deadlier miscalculation.
Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war. The plan was for forces led by Dahlan, and armed with new weapons supplied at America’s behest, to give Fatah the muscle it needed to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power. (The State Department declined to comment.)
But the secret plan backfired, resulting in a further setback for American foreign policy under Bush. Instead of driving its enemies out of power, the U.S.-backed Fatah fighters inadvertently provoked Hamas to seize total control of Gaza.
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“There is a widespread view that the justification for the decision on military action in Iraq is either not fully understood or that the public were not given the full or genuine reasons for that decision,” Information Commissioner Richard Thomas said in his ruling on a request made under the British version of the Freedom of Information Act.
The Cabinet Office had argued to him that public disclosure of minutes would inhibit free and candid debate about sensitive issues in future cabinet sessions.
Thomas, who was allowed to inspect the minutes as part of his deliberations, said that while he respected the government’s position, “arguments for the withholding of the information are outweighed by the public interest in its disclosure.”
Wow, So that’s how they do it in a democracy. Simply amazing. Just think, there actually was a day when we had the democracy on this side of the pond and Britain had the king. (or, was that a dream?)
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If you want to know what kind of “democracy” George Bush has been trying to spread, read smintheus at dkos.
…bizarrely, Bush described the Emirates – an oligarchy where government officials are appointed rather than elected – as a model society for others to emulate ….
Well, Bush’s flattering portrait does apply at least to a small minority of the Emirates’ population. However some 80% of residents, immigrants who make up nearly the entire workforce in the U.A.E., have few rights, no chance to become citizens, and virtually no opportunity for improving their lot.
Quite the opposite, immigrant construction workers (who built the opulent hotel Bush spoke in) are routinely cheated out of wages, restricted in their movement, and forced to toil in dangerous conditions. Death and injury are common. Domestic workers are treated worse, if anything. The abuse is so pronounced that it sparked rioting in 2006. Meanwhile those who try to defend human rights in the country are harassed by the government.
On top of that, many immigrants to the U.A.E. are essentially slaves, as the U.S. State Dept. reported last June….
Nonstop Theft and Bribery Are Staggering Iraq
Jobless men pay $500 bribes to join the police. Families build houses illegally on government land, carwashes steal water from public pipes, and nearly everything the government buys or sells can now be found on the black market.
“Everyone is stealing from the state,” said Adel Adel al-Subihawi, a prominent Shiite tribal leader in Sadr City, throwing up his hands in disgust. “It’s a very large meal, and everyone wants to eat.”
Corruption and theft are not new to Iraq, and government officials have promised to address the problem. But as Iraqis and American officials assess the effects of this year’s American troop increase, there is a growing sense that, even as security has improved, Iraq has slipped to new depths of lawlessness.
One recent independent analysis ranked Iraq the third most corrupt country in the world. Of 180 countries surveyed, only Somalia and Myanmar were worse, according to Transparency International, a Berlin-based group that publishes the index annually.
And the extent of the theft is staggering. Some American officials estimate that as much as a third of what they spend on Iraqi contracts and grants ends up unaccounted for or stolen, with a portion going to Shiite or Sunni militias. In addition, Iraq’s top anticorruption official estimated this fall — before resigning and fleeing the country after 31 of his agency’s employees were killed over a three-year period — that $18 billion in Iraqi government money had been lost to various stealing schemes since 2004.
The collective filching undermines Iraq’s ability to provide essential services, a key to sustaining recent security gains, according to American military commanders.
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Stanford extends the title Distinguished Visiting Fellow to Don Rumsfeld. The Washington Post pays him to write an article on
The Smart Way to Beat Tyrants Like Chávez
Now, if you’ll stop laughing, this is pretty much a dead heat, as to which institution is dumber. I guess I choose Stanford, because the Post will put out another edition tomorrow. Besides, we already know what the Post is: a swiftboating Republican hacksheet.
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