Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Silly me . . .

Here I was thinking that Pakistan was our ally, and now I read this.

Basically, the article states that the Pakistani Foreign Minister, Mr. Kasuri, told several Western ministers that NATO is losing in Afghanistan, and the only way to make peace is to bring the Taliban into a coalition government.

Talk about karmic backlash.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Great Power vs. No Power

Read a very interesting article in the Sunday Times today, concerning Iraq and how the US forces were reduced to impotent bystanders this past Thanksgiving Day as sectarian violence hit a new high in low. What struck me about the article was not the facts related in the article (the violence, the apparent impotence of the US to stop it and the glaring inability of the al-Maliki Government to resolve the situation) but this little quote:

“I think Iran senses an opportunity to deliver a knock-out punch to the United States,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a regional specialist at the Brookings Institution. “They may see a chance that the US is driven out of the region altogether. Iran could become the great power of the Persian Gulf.”

With all due respect to Mr. O'Hanlon (who I'm certain is a well-read and erudite analyst) but I want to know what drugs he's on. Ever since we castrated Iraq in 1991, Iran has been the major power broker in the region. In terms of overall military might, the only two nations in the area that can match Iran are Turkey and Israel. Israel's military has been revealed as something a bit less than adequate, and Turkey is concentrating on keeping tabs on the Kurds in their country and in northern Iraq. Which leaves Tehran with a wider range of options.

I know that this admission might cause George Bush's head to explode, but the US needs Iran's assistance. That the assistance will come at a price is understood, but we should be prepared to meet them halfway. This nonsense about unilateralism is what landed us in Iraq in the first place; only by making friends of our enemies and by practicing the Art of the Possible will we be able to leave with our heads held high.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Nice Article, But ....

Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE)'s article in today's Washington Post makes some valid points. It's true that our policies in Southwest Asia have alienated a lot of the Muslim world, who now consider the United States to be a greater threat than Osama bin Laden.

It's true that the debacle in Iraq is costing us billions, and may drag our economy down to ruin.

It's true that our military is going to reach a breaking point soon, with consequences that will again have Administration apologists and pundits lamenting, "No one could have foreseen ..."

It's true that we need to get out of Iraq.

But ...

Senator Hagel must know that there is no way, no way on God's green Earth and no way in Hell that George Bush will ever voluntarily withdraw our military from Iraq.

To do so would repudiate everything he stands for, and brand him as an abject failure.

It would forever mark him and all of those who cling to him as a baby wolf spider clings to its mother's hairy back as stupid, greedy failures capable of turning everything they touch into pure shit.

So Iraqis will continue to die.

Americans will continue to die.

America will continue to lose money.

And Senator Hagel knows this.

Uplifting Passage for the Week

I thought of this just a short while ago, and said "Why not?" We can all use some uplifting thoughts to inspire us and give us goals to aspire to. With that in mind, I give you the words of Charlie Chaplin from his 1940 masterpiece, The Great Dictator:

"I'm sorry, but I don't want to be an Emperor - that's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone, if possible -- Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another; human beings are like that. We want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there's room for everyone and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone.

The way of life can be free and beautiful.

But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me I say, "Do not despair." The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass and dictators die; and the power they took from the people will return to the people and so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers: Don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel; who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don't hate; only the unloved hate, the unloved and the unnatural.

Soldiers: Don't fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written, "the kingdom of God is within man" -- not one man, nor a group of men, but in all men, in you, you the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then, in the name of democracy, let us use that power! Let us all unite!! Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie! They do not fulfill their promise; they never will. Dictators free themselves, but they enslave the people!!
Now, let us fight to fulfill that promise!! Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness.

Soldiers: In the name of democracy, let us all unite!!!

Hannah, can you hear me? Wherever you are, look up, Hannah. The clouds are lifting. The sun is breaking through. We are coming out of the darkness into the light. We are coming into a new world, a kindlier world, where men will rise above their hate, their greed and brutality.

Look up, Hannah. The soul of man has been given wings, and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow -- into the light of hope, into the future, the glorious future that belongs to you, to me, and to all of us. Look up, Hannah. Look up."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

This Should Hurt ...

Poll: More Americans prefer Bush's father

Imagine that - more Americans think better of George HW (who wasn't much, be honest, but he acquitted himself well in his foreign policy forays in my opinion) than his stupid son Dubya.

Taking into account Dubya's reputed animus toward his Daddy, this poll should bite deeply despite his efforts to laugh it away or brush it off.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Lifeline? Or Anvil?

Life is already stinky as a run-over skunk for George W Bush. First, his popularity figures are in the toilet, then he loses control over the Congress, and then he's forced to face the fact that we're losing in Iraq (and possibly Afghanistan as well). To put the sour cherry atop the teetering pile of rancid whipped cream for this shit sundae, he has to sit still and listen to the recommendations of his family consigliere, James Baker, and the rest of the Iraq Study Group.

Now comes the interesting bit.

Syria and Iranian spokesmen have weighed in, saying that a regional security conference (in which the United States would actually have to be in the same room with what Bush calls "the Axis of Evil") could solve the trouble currently afflicting Iraq. Admittedly, the spokesmen didn't say that they wanted all the regional players to sit down - just them, the US and the al-Maliki government in Baghdad.

One can almost hear the heads exploding on the Right if this scheme is agreed to by the US government.

But we've sat down with our avowed enemies before, even though it may irritate us to do so; so what's the fucking difference? Sure, Syria and Iran both back Hezbollah in Lebanon, but have we forgotten US backing of the contras in Nicaragua, the death squads in El Salvador, and Jonas Savimbi in Angola?

Oh, and let's not forget the mujahedin in Afghanistan.

We'll train, bankroll and back our own terrorists if it suits us; we're no different from any other nation in that regard. And a conference on Iraq might just enable us to extricate ourselves with some semblance of honor.

Monday, November 13, 2006

That Fool in the White House

Has stuck his foot into his gaping piehole again (italics mine):

"One freedom that defines our way of life is the freedom to choose our leaders at the ballot box. We saw that freedom earlier this week, when millions of Americans went to the polls to cast their votes for a new Congress. Whatever your opinion of the outcome, all Americans can take pride in the example our democracy sets for the world by holding elections even in a time of war."
- President Bush on November 11, 2006

Excuse me?

We have held elections in wartime before, you stupid excuse for a Yale graduate. I shall cite only general election years, as I'm pressed for time:

1864, when we were in a Civil War;

1944, when we were engaged in a world war;

1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988 - when we were engaged in a Cold War against a diametrically opposed ideology dedicated to stamping out capitalism (ah, the good old days of duck-n-cover; the neocons miss that so much); and

2004, when we were dealing with a small group of troublemakers that, for some reason, had a large percentage of Americans gripped in the throes of pants-wetting, heart-stopping fear.

So we're USED to holding elections in wartime, although Georgie Boy doesn't seem to think so. And he also has the unmitigated gall to suggest that our vote is a privilege.

News flash!

Voting is a right, not a privilege.

I'll say that louder.


Now that his father's stepping in to bail his sorry ass out again, maybe we might start seeing some sense coming out of the White House for a change.

All I can tell you is this - if George W Bush is an example of what comes out of Yale and Harvard, both schools need to be demolished and their faculties exiled from the country. Plow the campuses under and sow salt on the ground.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Armistice Day, 2006

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- Dr. John McCrae, 1918

Operation Iraqi Freedom: 2,842 dead.

How long, O Lord? How long?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"Bunker Mentality" at the GOP HQ? More Like ...

... Rome after the Goths had dropped by to party.

While watching the news last night and this morning as the Democrats gave the Bush Administration and the Republican Party a taste of the whip neither of them will forget for a while, I took occasion to think on what things must be like deep in the bowels of the GOP headquarters:

Karl Rove, dressed in a child's Darth Vader costume, facedown in a half-empty bowl of clam dip and muttering darkly and frighteningly to himself;

Ken Mehlman, slouched in a corner with a half-empty tube of KY drooping from a shirt pocket while he tries to shore up his glassy stare and fixed grin by huffing butane whippets at a rate of three every fifteen minutes;

Liddy Dole in a faded and too-tight cheerleader's uniform, desperately trying to encourage people to smile pretty for the cameras and retreat into the fantasy that this was actually a Democratic defeat;

And curled up in a fetal position on his throne, George Bush comes to the awful realization that he has yet another woman to deal with - and this one won't be a shielding nurturer like his mother, wife, Condi Rice and the others. This woman will tell him things he doesn't want to hear.

Get used to it, Boy King.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Aid and Comfort

One of the recurrent themes I've heard this election cycle is the phrase "aid and comfort." It goes together rhetorically with "Stay the course" (now being evaded like the plague-sodden lamprey it turned out to be) and "cut and run" (which the right wing won't admit they're thinking about).

Usuall one finds the phrase "aid and comfort" this way: "Blah blah blah Democrats blah blah blah liberals blah blah blah giving aid and comfort to our enemies blah blah blah..."

See how neatly it fits in there?

What brought this to my mind was the revelation that the Bush Administration, with the assistance of Rep. Pat Roberts, the House Select Committee on Intelligence, and right-wing bloggers and pundits, had put a shitload of captured Iraqi documents up on the Internet without bothering to read their contents. They posted them basically to point out that Saddam Hussein's regime was indeed trying to build WMDs (and never mind the dates on the documents, and disregard the fact that the nuclear weapons program stopped in 1991).

Well, the site was taken down last night or so, after a couple of gaffes:

1. Several months ago, paperwork that would have enabled anyone to make Sarin and Tabun nerve gases (quite potent and lethal stuff) was on the site. It was removed after someone asked about it.

2. Blueprints for the production of an atomic bomb were on the website. The entire site was taken down after the New York Times revealed the fact they were there last week.

Blueprints, ladies and gentlemen.

For an atomic bomb.


Apart from the hamster-splitting consternation this should cause, the reaction from the Bush White House was swift - Chief of Staff Card blamed the New York Times.

No, Mr. Card.

I blame you and your entire slipshod administration. Were this Japan, I'd expect you to commit ritual suicide. Any asshole with a computer and a knowledge of Arabic would have access to that site and those blueprints - or did you fools plan that, so you would have a casus belli against Iran or North Korea?

This government offered more aid and comfort to our enemies than all the Democrats and liberals in this country, combined.

Think about that when you go to the polls Tuesday.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Wagging the Dog

Wagging the Dog is the name of a low-budget movie from the late 80s or so, in which the American President foments a war with Canada in an effort to distract the American people from the horrible job he is doing.

Back in the Clinton Administration, Republican lawmakers and pundits all screamed that Clinton was "wagging the dog" by sending troops to Bosnia and Somalia. Their rationale was that Clinton was trying to distract Americans away from the Monica Lewinski scandal.

So now we have this.

The Bush Administration is starting to make noises that there is a plot against the Lebanese government, and says that the sources of its information are secret (of course, they say the likely suspects are Syria and Iran).

Wagging the dog? You decide. I, personally, think that the Administration's trying to distract us again, this time from the hideous failure of Bush's Four Wars.

Four wars, you ask?

Sure thing!

1. The War on Terror

2. The War in Iraq

3. The War in Afghanistan

4. The War to Improve Our Image

You must remember that Bush has been a failure at everything he's done since leaving college (Arbusto Oil, anyone?), so while this current set of debacles should not come as a surprise, I just wish he could have stayed a drunk coke-addled failure in Texas rather than blow billions of tax dollars down the toilet and kill 2800 of our best people.

So is he trying to distract us again? I don't know about you, but I read the article and my Bullshit Detector started screaming.