Archive for January 30th, 2007|Daily archive page

Even More Iran Chatter

Even after George W. Bush’s ‘reassuring’ interview yesterday, the stakes get higher.

Now the Washington Post is reporting that the traditional Middle East allies are seeking distance to the US.

    Kuwait rarely rebuffs its ally, the United States, partly out of gratitude for the 1991 Persian Gulf War. But in October it reneged on a pledge to send three military observers to an American-led naval exercise in the Gulf, according to U.S. officials and Kuwaiti analysts.

“We understood,” a State Department official said. “The Kuwaitis were being careful not to antagonize the Iranians.”

Four years after the United States invaded Iraq, in part to transform the Middle East, Iran is ascendant, many in the region view the Americans in retreat, and Arab countries, their own feelings of weakness accentuated, are awash in sharpening sectarian currents that many blame the United States for exacerbating.

It is becoming increasingly clear that not only was Iraq a complete failure but that the ramifications of that failure have yet to play out. President Bush continually repeats that losing isn’t an option in Iraq. I would say America has lost Iraq. The regional increase in Iranian power is becoming more and more public. If one adds an American military stretch to if not past the breaking point, one has to wonder, what now?

That’s the question the politicians and strategists in Iran are asking. And increasingly the answer is coming up in favor of expansion and muscle flexing. The Iraqi civil war is quickly becoming irrelevant because the conflict has already spread. It has spread to the streets of Palestine and to the Kuwaiti military. The largely rhetoric filled bluster coming from Washington is as ineffective in the Middle East as it was in New Orleans.

Thanks to the Freedom Fry/Surrender Monkey foreign policy used to get America into Iraq,  the Europeans and the UN aren’t going to be very willing to jump in to the rescue. Russia and China can sit back and watch (or conduct ASAT tests) while watching the former Superpower called America spiral into irrelevance.

What’s next? Will someone start proclaiming the that Kermit the Frog is gay? *Sigh*

Line Item Veto

The banging you may have just heard was my head on my desk.

If I ever needed any evidence that I was masochistic, I just found it. I listened to Bush’s interview with Juan Williams on NPR. What an incredibly stupid thing to do! My blood pressure doubled and I will probably be grumpy for days. But what got me so mad?

One of those little talking points Bush snuck into the interview was the comment on a line item veto. I just thought I’d react in kind. So, Mr. President, my line item veto for some of the more outrageous comments you made. It probably won’t lower my blood pressure or de-flatten my forehead, but I might feel better.

PRESIDENT BUSH: In other words, they’ve got to make it clear to the 12 million people that made a conscious decision to vote and say, we want a unity government, to reach out to disparate elements. They’ve got to make sure that oil revenue, for example, is available to all of the people and not just a faction that may happen to be in power. […]

Let me just get this right. This is George W. Bush arguing for a public distribution of profits made selling oil in Iraq. Um. Sir. Is that really an idea you want the American public to think about? Do you really want to go there?

[…] They’ve got to make sure that those who were involved with the Saddam government in the past, so long as they weren’t killers or terrorists, have a chance, for example, to be reinstated as school teachers.

Oh. So having J. Paul Bremer fire all the school teachers as one of his first actions wasn’t such a good idea? But Rumsfeld said the idea came from the White House and Cheney usually doesn’t talk, he grunts or shoots. Wouldn’t the reverse situation have been marginally more appropriate? You could have kept them as teachers, then you would have known how to find them, you would have known where they worked, remember? But that was a bad idea, an example needed to be made early; a marker needed to be set, like a lion marking it’s territory. Like America urinating on Iraq.

But through the cacophony of voices, ideas and plans President Bush manages to keep his laser sharp decision making skills.

In other words, there’s a lot of things politically that can happen, Juan, and – you know, I made a decision that – and, listen, I listen to a lot of folks here in Washington. I listen to the military people, I listen to people who are critical of the policy, I listen to Republicans, I listen to Democrats, and I listen carefully for which strategy would yield – would most likely yield success, and the one I picked is the one I believe will.

This I almost buy. I do believe that Bush listens. He has an amazing ability to hear but not process information. That is sooo cool. I wish I could spend as little time reflecting on what I hear as Mr Bush; deciding what’s right and not choosing an appropriate course The problem is I suspect the voice Bush really listens to wasn’t mentioned in the above passage. It’s the little red guy with horns white-robed guy with a halo sitting on his shoulder.

I won’t even go into the whole joined-at-the-hip Cheney/Bush lovefest thing. Cheney sees the world through the sights – um – eyes of a soon-to-be-grandfather of a child born of love in a lesbian relationship. A child, like many children, loved by Dick, hated by the religious right.

In response to Juan Williams’ plea that President Bush give some reason the public might find to support his policies in Iraq, Bush dumped a bag of dominos in his lap.

See, the difference, Juan, between other conflicts in the past and this one is that failure would endanger the homeland. In other words, the enemy isn’t going to be just contained in the Middle East if they succeed in driving us out or succeed in wrecking the Iraqi democracy. The enemy would be likely to follow us here. And that’s why I tried in my State of the Union speech, why I reminded people that September the – the lessons of September the 11th need to be remembered. It is a – and look, September the 11th changed my attitude about a lot of things. It really did. And I recognize that the world we live in is one where America cannot be isolated from the ills in other parts of the world. As a matter of fact, those ills can come home to haunt us.

As a response here, I’ll just present another presidential interview, a few years ago, back on April 7, 1954 with Eisenhower.

Q. Robert Richards, Copley Press:

Mr. President, would you mind commenting on the strategic importance of Indochina to the free world? I think there has been, across the country, some lack of understanding on just what it means to us.

The President.

You have, of course, both the specific and the general when you talk about such things.

First of all, you have the specific value of a locality in its production of materials that the world needs.

Then you have the possibility that many human beings pass under a dictatorship that is inimical to the free world.

Finally, you have broader considerations that might follow what you would call the “falling domino” principle. You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences.
So, the possible consequences of the loss are just incalculable to the free world.

Oh, well, that strategy worked out just fine. I’m glad we haven’t learned anything about foreign policy since 1954. Thumbs up Mr. President. But remember he’s understands (sharp, focused),

[…] It is a – I’m optimistic, I’m realistic, I understand how tough the fight is, but I also understand the stakes, and it’s very important for our citizens to understand that a Middle East could evolve in which rival forms of extremists compete with each other, you know, nuclear weapons become developed, safe havens are in place, oil would be used as an economic weapon against the West. […]

Let’s see. Where to start. How about stakes, sacrifice; like the answer during the Tom Lehrer Interview on PBS? “Well, you know, I think a lot of people are in this fight. I mean, they sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night.” While it is unclear whether the nuclear ambitions being followed in Iran could have or can be controlled using diplomatic measures, the nuclear weapon produced in North Korea was built on your watch Mr. President, your diplomatic fallout – um – failure. And the fact that just about every Islamic religious faction is pissed off at the US just happens to be the maraschino for Sunday.

In response to one solder’s question, Bush felt the need to do the obligatory obsequious grovel to those actually doing the work, people like National Guard Specialist Ryan Schmidt (sp) from Forest Lake, Minnesota.

And let me also say to Ryan, thanks for serving. I mean, one of the amazing things about our country is that we have people who volunteer to go. And one of the things I look for is whether or not we’re able to recruit and retain, and we are. And it’s a remarkable country, Juan, where people are saying I want to serve. And I appreciate that soldier, and I hope this message gets to him that not only do I appreciate him, but a lot of Americans appreciate him.

Now I have a feeling he is probably with 1/34th BCT. Perhaps Mr Bush would like to spend some time reading about how they feel about spending more time in Iraq? Or about becoming the longest serving military unit in Iraq? Bla, back-up plans are like badges and we don’ need no stinkin’ badges!

Then the sabre rattling got under way. Yesterday the Iranian Ambassador gave an interview with the NYT. Bush retaliates in kind.

If Iran escalates its military action in Iraq to the detriment of our troops and/or innocent Iraqi people, we will respond firmly. We – it makes common sense for the commander-in-chief to say to our troops and the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government that we will help you defend yourself from people that want to sow discord and harm. And so we will do what it takes to protect our troops.

One of the things that is very important in discussing Iran is not to mix issues. Our relationship with Iran is based upon a lot of different issues. One is what is happening in Iraq. Another is their ambitions to have a nuclear weapon. And we’re dealing with this issue diplomatically, and I think this can be solved diplomatically. And the message that we are working to send to the Iranian regime and the Iranian people is that you will become increasingly isolated if you continue to pursue a nuclear weapon.

Go back and read that again. The part about helping Iraq but we will do what it take to protect our troops. But President Bush goes on, one sentence later to tell us that we can’t mix issues. Has he been hitting the bottle again? I mean let’s at least remain on talking point for at least two paragraphs! I’m still trying to figure out where he is going to get the troops to fight Iran.

Asked about the minor oversight in the SOTU address, President Bush moved on into his alternate reality.

If there’s bureaucratic slowdowns in Washington, we’ve got a man named Don Powell who is working to address them. But no, our response to the Katrina recovery has been very robust. And I appreciate the taxpayers of the United States helping the folks down there in Mississippi and Louisiana.

This robust response is why Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco has been blasting Washington in her campaign. Why the democrats are promising to ‘fix disaster recovery’ and why one can find quotes like this in yesterday’s Times-Picayune.

Fed up with waiting for federal help, a coalition of neighborhood groups is pushing to establish a new taxing district that could generate millions of dollars to improve drainage in flood-prone sections of Old Metairie and Old Jefferson.

Remaining in alternate realities, why don’t we just move over to parallel dimensions. After fighting the fact that global warming was an issue or even a reality, President Bush has finally caved in to the science monkeys only to drift off into what can only be a science fiction space opera.

And what kind of technologies? Well, if you’re really interested in global warming and climate change, then it seems like to me that we ought to promote technologies to advance the development of safe nuclear power. It’s a renewable source of energy, and at the same time has no emissions to it. But also, we’re advancing clean-coal technologies. The goal is to have a zero-emission coal-fired plant. And then, in the State of the Union, I talked about another aspect of economic security and environmental quality, and that is changing the habits – or changing how we power our cars. [my emphasis]

Just a couple of questions sir. What exactly is renewable on nuclear energy? Uranium and plutonium just grows on trees? Oh – stars. Just have to figure out how to harvest it with out getting our buns burned? Got it. And emission free? What do you call that pesky radioactive waste. Grapefruit? We could declare it to be the Iraqi national currency, make coins out of it and ship it overseas. Solve two problems at one fell swoop! Give a whole new meaning to the abbriveation COIN.

But at least we got a Bushism!

I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I’m sorry it’s the case, and I’ll work hard to try to elevate it

But it’s not his legacy Bush is worried about, it’s his mirror image .

And so, the other thing is, is that, I think it’s very important for people – for a president to make decisions based upon principles. You know, you can be popular, but you may be wrong. And I would rather, when it’s all said and done, get back home and look in the mirror and say, I didn’t compromise the principles that are etched into my soul in order to be a popular guy. What I want to do is solve problems for the American people and yield the peace that we all want.

I’m reminded of the Star Trek episode Mirror/Mirror. The only problem I have is figuring out which Bush we are talking to. Of course with faux klingons vulcans in the White House, what should I expect?

In a way, Bush has done something for the American people. Remember all the problems facing America in the year 2000. Yeah Neither do I. Nice job George.

This is your unprincipled flat-foreheaded surrender monkey signing off.

Rules of Engagement

Rule 1: Stay alive

Rule 2: Keep the enemy from doing whatever he was planning

Rule 3: Capture or kill the enemy in order  to avoid a continuous repeat of Rule 2.

Rule 4: Capture or destroy enemies weapons and supply depots in order to avoid a continuous repeat of Rule 3.

Rule 5: Sometimes, to accomplish Rules 2, 3 and 4, Rule 1 must be ignored.

Rule 6: Sometimes you’re just shit out of luck anyway.

Rule 7: War sucks.