Thursday, June 30, 2005

The United States Sobers Up

By Timothy Garton Ash
To return to the United States after an absence of six months is to find a nation sobered by reality. The reality of debt and lost jobs. The reality of a rising China. Above all, the reality of Iraq.

This new sobriety was exemplified by President Bush's speech at Ft. Bragg on Tuesday. Beforehand, as the TV camera panned across row upon row of soldiers in red berets, a commentator warned that the speech might last a long time because it was likely to be interrupted by numerous rounds of applause from this loyal military audience.

In fact, the audience interrupted him with applause just once. Once! Lines that would have drummed up a storm during the campaign ("We will not allow our future to be determined by car bombers and assassins") were now met with a deafening silence. Stolidly they sat, looking slightly bored and, in at least one case that I spotted, rhythmically chewing gum.

Bush plowed on with his rather wooden speech, wearing that curious, rigid half-smile of his, with the mouth turning down rather than up at each end. Afterward, the same commentator who had warned to expect rounds of applause speculated, with an equally authoritative air, that the White House had suggested restraint to this audience so it would not appear that the president was both requesting coverage from the TV networks and exploiting the nation's military for a political rally. But then, perhaps soldiers who actually risk their lives for Bush's policies in Iraq, and have lost comrades there, would not have been in a mood to applaud anyway.

Bush's speech once again presented Iraq as part of the Global War on Terror — the GWOT. He mentioned the Sept. 11 attacks six times; weapons of mass destruction, not once. We have to defeat the terrorists abroad, he said, before they attack us at home. As freedom spreads, the terrorists will lose support. Then he made this extraordinary statement: "We will prevent Al Qaeda and other foreign terrorists from turning Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban — a safe haven from which they could launch attacks on America and our friends."

Consider. Three years ago, when Bush started ramping up for war in Iraq, Afghanistan had recently been liberated from both the Taliban and the Al Qaeda terrorists who had attacked the U.S. Iraq, meanwhile, was a hideous dictatorship under Saddam Hussein.

But, as the 9/11 commission concluded, Hussein's regime had no connection with the 2001 attacks. Iraq was not then a recruiting sergeant or training ground for jihadist terrorists. Now it is. The U.S.-led invasion and occupation has made it so. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark put it plainly: "We are creating enemies."

And the president says: Our great achievement will be to prevent Iraq becoming another Taliban-style, Al Qaeda-harboring Afghanistan! This is like a man who shoots himself in the foot and then says, "We must prevent it turning gangrenous, then you'll understand why I was right to shoot myself in the foot."

Whether or not the invasion was a crime, it's now clear that — at least in the form in which it was executed — it was a massive blunder. And the American people are beginning to see this. Before Bush spoke at Ft. Bragg, 53% of those asked in a CNN/Gallup poll said it was a mistake to go into Iraq.

That's the new sobriety, and here are a few more indicators. First off, neocons are no longer calling the shots. As a well-informed Washingtonian tells me, tapping Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank and John Bolton to be ambassador to the U.N. actually shows they have been "kicked upstairs."

What's more, there is little talk now of proud unilateralism and the U.S. winning the GWOT on its own. The State Department is setting out to repair old alliances and to forge new ones. It wants a strong European partner. On Iran, which even six months ago had threatened to become a new Iraq crisis, the U.S. is letting the E3 — Britain, France and Germany — take the diplomatic lead. And if the European diplomacy does not work, what is Washington's Plan B? To take the issue to the U.N.! What a difference three years make.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is right. It would be suicidally dumb for any European to think, in relation to Iraq, "the worse the better." Jihadists now cutting their teeth in Iraq will make no fine distinctions between Washington and London, Berlin or Madrid. Any European tempted to luxuriate schadenfreudishly in the prospect of a Vietnam-style U.S. evacuation from Baghdad may be awoken from that reverie by the blast from a bomb, planted in Charing Cross tube station by an Iraq-hardened terrorist.

But it is a fair and justified historical observation that U.S. policy has gotten better — more sober, more realistic — at least partly because things in Iraq have gone so badly. This is the cunning of history.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bush rallies Americans

" My fellow Americans...

I realize that some of you have been thinking, what in the tarnation are we doin in Iraq. Some of you still think Iraq had something to do with 9/11. Thank you for that. Uncle Dick said I can't say it anymore, now that he has said there was no connection, but *winks* you and I know whats goin on right?

Anyway, I am concentration on the future and the war on terror. I've been strategemitizing with some army generals, and navy generals, and even some guys from the air force, and we've decided that Iraq just isn't a vitaminable target anymore...that means, its not a good idea. So, we've used a lot of top secret intelligence, stuff we got from the Russians, and the Chinese, and a guy on the ground named Sneaky Pete, and we've decided to invade Madagascar. Apparently there are a whole bunch of terrorists runnin around there, and they are escaped convicts to boot.

This is a war we can win, y'know, I lost the popular vote in my first election, and some say that if it wasn't for the judges my daddy and his boss put on the big court in the United States, that maybe I wouldn't have been president at all...but Uncle Dick fixed that, and I won the second election easy. Uncle Dick even knew how many votes I'd win by before the darn thing started! Well, I think this war will be the same way, now that I've got my feet wet, I'll be much more better effective in the next conflict, plus Uncle Donald said the place in Madagascar has a pool.
So be ready America, we're winning the war on terror, irregardless of what my detraceables say. Stay the course, and don't forget about Poland!"


Sunday, June 26, 2005

Iraqi Lawmakers Call for Foreign Troops to Withdraw

Iraqi lawmakers from across the political spectrum called for the withdrawal of foreign forces from their country in a letter released to the media June 19.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Support Our Troups

Our servicemen and women deserve your support. Write your Congressman and demand our troups be brought home by Christmas.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Don't panic but, ...

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful. And so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people. And neither do we."

george w. bush, 5 aug 2004

Saturday, June 11, 2005


Even though Condoleezza Rice and Clarence Thomas have distanced themselves completely from the 400,000 ignorant darkies who've been slaughtered by Arabs in the Sudan, I wouldn't let either one marry my sister.


Some reading material for you:

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001by Steve Coll (Penguin Press, 2004) The prelude to 9/11; how we armed then abandoned Afghanistan.

Dude Where's My Country, by Michael Moore (Warner Books, 2003). Did Osma bin Laden really organize 9/11 while on dialysis from a cave in Afghanistan?

The Record of the Paper Howard Friel and Richard Falk ask in this 2004 Verso text how the US justifies attacking Afghanistan after the Taliban agreed to hand over Osama bin Laden.

Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler. (Random House, 1940, Bantam, 1984.) Moussaoui confesses after a year in jail incommunicado.

Bushwacked, Molly Ivins (Random House, New York, 2004, 348 pages, with index). Investigative journalism at its best. You’ll never eat lunchmeat again—now that the US no longer inspects its meat packing plants. Here is the truth behind each of Bush’s best lies.

Fraud. Paul Waldman (Source Books, Naperville, 2004, 308 pages with index). A very painful book to read as it details (almost) every one of the lies Bush and Cheney has told and how the “liberal” media, e.g, the LA Times, NY Times, the Washington Post have repeatedly failed to challenge and document their false assertions.

Worse Than Watergate, John W. Dean (Little Brown and Company, Boston, 2004, 253 pages, index, footnotes). How Bush and Cheney make Nixon look good by comparison. How close Bush/Cheney have brought us to the model provided by the Russian Soviet Government. How our “liberal” media has failed to protest the intrusions on our liberties.

Bushworld Mureen Dowd (G.P. Putnam, New York, 2004, 523 pages, no index) Hardly worth reading this easily-forgotten collection of op-ed columns, many about Poppy Bush.

The Sound of Silence

Say, did your local newspaper happen to mention that the UN Charter to which the US has affixed its signature forbids its members to attack a country which has not attacked it! So how did the US get in Iraq? And after the Taliban, whom no one blamed for 9/11, agreed to hand over Osama bin Laden, did your newspaper report that the invasion of Afghanistan was in violation of International Law?

Entrepreneurial Opportunities

The Bush administration has created tremendous opportunities for the entrepreneur. But you’ll need to move fast before Cheney and his cronies take those opportunities away.

International Job Placement. A desperate need exists in India today for programmers as a result of outsourcing by US firms. Your opportunity lies in matching India’s demands with the many unemployed middle-class Americans in your community. But you’ll have to act fast: the coyotes who supply corporate farmers with Mexican field hands are already trucking unemployed mill hands and garment workers in the opposite direction to fill the demand by the American government for made-in-Mexico uniforms.
Just in: Saudi Arabian employers prefer US-born domestics as they are willing to work without any of the social benefits Asians, Europeans, and Canadians take for granted.

The Whorehouse Just Outside the Town Limits. The Bush administration has already permitted Trailways and Greyhound to discontinue service to many of America’s small-towns. No longer able to afford trips to the big city to get laid, America’s rural population is demanding service close at hand. And there is no shortage of potential employees as pregnant girls forced to go to term are already viewed as sluts. Prime real estate just outside the town limits for your house is available now, but it won’t be long.

Private Police Forces. With more and more displaced and hungry on the streets, Americans who can still afford it will be willing to pay for protection (unless payment is in the form of taxes). Many of your paintball buddies would die for the chance to fire real guns at real people. Give them the opportunity and make the big bucks in the process.

Meat Supplier. (Our thanks to James Tiptree Jr. for this suggestion.) With more and more unwanted babies, the opportunity arises to supply private clubs with delicious succulent antibiotic-free meat. Our advice: Take the extra step and establish your own delivery clinic (all you need are a table and stirrups). Offer free delivery and post-natal care in return for the kid.

Publisher. There is a growing need for Neo-Christian publications including a revised bible whose emphasis in on the positive aspects of religion—lying, torture, and killing rather than all that crap about loving your neighbor. You ain’t no goddam homo.

Filter Manufacture. Everyone wants clean air and water. Best of all, everyone now need clean air and water just to survive. There is a fortune to be made in desalinization, arsenic removal, and nose plugs. Profits are enormous as, in the absense of all government regulation and inspection, these devices don't actually have to work! (Thanks to John Brunner for the suggestion.)

Neocons and Osama bin Laden

While the Neoconservatives share with Osama bin Laden a desire for democracy in the Middle East, bin Laden wants democracy for all middle eastern countries, while the neocons of the Bush administration want democracy only for those totalitarian regimes that won't play ball with US oil interests.

Enquiring Minds Want to Know

Enquiring minds want to know:
1) What evidence supports Bush's theory that he served in the Texas National Guard?
2) President Bush said he would confiscate the bank accounts of those who financed the 9/11 terrorists. How much has he confiscated so far?
3) President Bush said he would provide hundreds of millions in aid to the Iranian town destroyed in an earthquake in 2002. How much has he contributed so far?
4) The enlisted men who abused Iraqui prisoners and shot Iraqui teenagers did so entirely without officer supervision. Just what is it that officers in the US armed services do?

I Wonder How the Other German's Felt II

I can understand now about the other Germans,
The ones who more or less went along,
Having nothing against the Jews, the Czechs, the Slavs.
The news of intial victories was encouraging,
And nobody likes the French.

The tales of rapes, beatings, torture were disturbing
High-spirited youth,
Better they sow their wild oats abroad.
Besides, wouldn’t the hated ones have done the same to us,
As they burned down the Twin Towers of the Reichstag.

Our training in torture will serve in good stead
When it comes to rooting out the disaffected here at home
Jews, Moslems, non-church going Christians.
Liberals, communists
Pounding our Christian blood into their matzos
Demanding “Car pool,” “Free Education,” “Free Medical Care,””Free Love.”

We know the signs now
Can spot them early
Drop the bombs
On Bagdad, Kabul, and the blue states.

I wonder how the German’s felt?

I wonder how the German’s felt? I’m thinking of those who lived in Germany in the 1930’s but who were opposed to war and to torture, who did not consider themselves to be obermensch. Call them Democrats if you like. Their elected leadership opted out of the Geneva Convention, justified torture, stated they would not be subject to a World Court, and continued to manufacture land mines, poison gas, and biological weapons. Did those Democrats wonder why the the rest of the world remained silent in the face of such flagrant disreguard for the rules of civilization? Did they wonder why the World permitted their leaders to invade country after country? And stunned by the World’s refusal to act, did they fear that they, too, had no choice but to behave like animals?

In Praise of Bush

I am writing in praise of Bush both to avoid being rounded up with the others and because praise should be given when praise is due:

He has solved the problem of social security by by cutting Medicare benefits and by eliminating the inspection of meat packing plants--the elderly are particularly susceptible to Listeria.

He has solved the problem of illegal immigration both by cutting wages and by destroying the value of the US dollar so that it is hardly worth while sneaking across the border.

He has removed 11 million from the unemployment roles--1.5 million in the military.KIA, and military support roles, and 9.5 million by not counting them as unemployed once their eligibility for unemployment benefits ends.

Model Living Will

Concerned that my family, like the Schiavo's, would be left without clear instructions, I've had the following tattooed on my chest:
Do not resuscitate Bush or Cheney.

Robert Blake

Thankfully, Robert Blake is now free to join OJ and Bush in going from door to door looking for weapons of mass destruction.

Changing Times

No greater proof of our changed moral climate can be found than in the following quotations from C.S. Forester's tale of the 18th exploits of Admiral Hornblower:

"A senior officer perforce had to trust his juniors, while still carrying the ultimate responsibility. If [Leuitenant] Harcourt should blunder, if he should be guilty of some indiscretion leading to a diplomatic protest, it would certainly be true that he would wish he had never been born; Hornblower would see to that. But Hornblower would be wishing he himself had never been born, too.]

"[To prevent a war, Hornblower had been forced to lie. ] He had ceased to be a gentleman. He was disgraced. Everything was at an end. He would have to resign his command; he would have to resign his commission. How would he ever face Barbara [his wife]. When little Richard grew up and could understand what had happened, how would he ever be able to meet his eyes."

Today, of course, a dozen enlisted men may be found guilty of abusing and torturing prisoners, and not one officer will be reprimanded. A chief financial office might cook the books and his billionaire superior found blameless. As for lying, t'is the surest way to promotion in the Bush Administration.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Invade Canada Now

Now that the war is winding down in Iraq [ROFL], Bush will need another invasion to maintain his popularity (and to keep our troops overseas so they will not be wandering with the hundreds of thousands of other unemployed across our own countryside). May I suggest we invade Canada.
Here are nine reasons why:
i. Won't use much oil--can be done on bicycles.
ii. Give U.S. secure borders.
iii. Eliminate potential refuge for draft dodgers, runaway slaves, and other dissidents to-be-named later.
iv. Creates more jobs (at least, while war lasts).
v. Keep focus from our own decaying domestic economy and infrastructure.
vi. Provide natural launching pad for land invasion of Europe.
vii. Provide hundreds of thousands of acres of trees, minerals, and unspoiled wilderness Bush can share with his cronies.
viii. Stop Canadians bellyaching about acid rain, over fishing by USians, ozone-layer depletion, landmines, and arm sales that are really none of their business.
ix. Fewer Canadians killed by friendly fire.

Don't Privatize Vaccine Production

Vaccines are too essential to be farmed out to the private sector. They are produced by market demand, and manufacturers have often stopped production for economic reasons (adenovirus, anthrax). They should be regarded as a pulbic health expense like sewers and clean water, and should be produced under direction by the CDC, funded by tax dollars. If any goes unused each year, we could give it to Mexico or other countries with a lot of potential migrants.

Lincoln and the Income Tax

President Lincoln introduced the graduated income tax to pay for the costs of a war he did not want. He reasoned that those who made the most money from our country gained the most from keeping our country strong. President Bush wants to abolish this tax, reasoning that the money is best kept in the hands of his family and their oil company supporters.

Mr. Congressman do you pay any taxes? Are you on half pay because of the strike? Worried that you won't be able to pay for medical expenses and groceries? Worried that yor job will be sent off shore along with the factory? Worried there aren't enough policemen? Or that your children's class sizes have doubled? Mr. Congressman give me my money and my services back. Support a graduated income tax (and heavy penalties for those who deposit monies off-shore).

Tom Delay

1. The Executive hit man, Tom Delay, is the poster person for stupidity, meanness and arrogance, the button man for the Shrub administration. He alone is reason enough to not permit any Congressional representation from the state of Texas. The nation is doomed, penniless and morally bankrupt.