Friday, June 18, 2004

So much for full disclosure

Remember during the hearings on the Abu Ghraib torture when the witnesses in the Bush administration said that "the difference between us other governments is that we disclose our faults and will chase all leads to find out who's at fault?" Remember that?
Well, here's what it's come down to. Standard stonewalling and politics.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

I smell a rat

These two paragraphs appear at the end of an article in Middle East Online.

"Amid the unrest US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, one of the key architects of the US-led invasion, and Kevin Tebbit, the permanent secretary at Britain's ministry of defence met Iraq's new prime minister and others in Baghdad to discuss their countries' future ties.

"The visits come as both the United States and Britain work to negotiate a status of forces agreement with the government, which is due to take limited power once the coalition hands back sovereignty at the end of the month."

A "Status of Forces Agreement" is the formal name for the contract with various nations under which the US operates it bases worldwide, including Japan, Germany, Kuwait and so forth. They are binding documents that by their terms last for decades and survive changes in government.

So--Wolfie and Rummie and Bush are trying to bamboozle Iraq (and the US and the world) into signing off on such a significant, long-term agreement as negotiated with the interim government (the one that's "completely sovereign," according to them, but not sovereign enough to take custody of Saddam, for example) before an elected government takes over, knowing that the interim government is a US stooge.

I'll check around to see if anybody else has noted this development and report back.

Update: This WaPo article says that because the interim government has agreed not to subject US troops to its local laws, a status of forces agreement isn't needed. So what's Wolfie doing in Baghdad?

Tuesday, June 15, 2004


Bremer funds a poll of Iraqis last month to learn what the "man in the street" thinks of us, specifically, whether they want us to leave or stay, and how they regard our troops, and so forth. It's so negative that Bremer has tried to hide the results, to no avail, however.

Never mind

If I were a member of the US military--the Marines in Fallujah, the Army in Najaf--I'd be mightily pissed off. Scores of soldiers were killed (not to mention Iraqis) from the invasions of those town, in Fallujah to capture those who killed and mutilated the four "civilian contractors," in Najaf to "capture or kill" al-Sadr for his alleged participation in the killing of a cleric. In both cases, however, the armed forces didn't complete their mission, handing responsibility over to the Iraqi "security forces" who, we're learning, aren't doing their job.

I'd hate to be the parent or kid or loved one of a soldier who lost his life or limb in those exercises, in view of the obvious fact that the incursions were called off because of the political exigencies of Bush's campaign director.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Sick, sick, sick

Language buried in the final resolution of the recent G-8 summit meeting, as it relates forgiveness of Iraq's indebtedness, contains the insidiously obtuse language quoted below. This is what it really means: We well-heeled nations will reduce portions of the debt (the debt having been incurred by Saddam, and long touted by Bush as an unfair, crippling burden on Iraq's citizens) if Iraq follows the previously-imposed "privatization" of its commerce, as called for by the International Monetary Fund; that it keeps up its payments (sustainability); and that these measures are effected by Iraq before the elected government is in place, i.e., "in 2004."

"Debt reduction is critical if the Iraqi people are to have the opportunity to build a free and prosperous nation. The reduction should be provided in connection with an IMF program, and sufficient to ensure sustainability taking into account the recent IMF analysis. We will work with each other, within the Paris Club, and with non-Paris Club creditors, to achieve that objective in 2004."


Sunday, June 13, 2004

Tipping point

The Carl Rove machine has adopted a prophylactic defense of the president in the face of the wave of lies, errors and outrages his administration has perpetrated on the US public and the world. Their method is simple: With the arising of each new revelation an immediate staunching counterattack is launched, as with the attacks on Treasury Secretary O'Neill, intelligence chief Clark, Ambassador Wilson and so forth. Rove knows that unless immediately righted by counterattack, his ship of state will sink.

To counter Rove's plan, the attacks on Bush's lies and misdeeds must become so pervasive, so overwhelming, that finally there are too many of them to allow righting, so that the ship becomes inalterably swamped. With the new revelations of miscalculation of terrorism attacks, the condemnation of Bush by past diplomats, the ongoing prisoner-abuse scandal, the continuing deaths in Iraq and the deterioration of the status in Afghanistan--at some time, these have to weigh too heavily on Bush to allow him, even with the compliant, correcting media, to bail himself out of his self-created political debacle.

Soldier Who Robbed Bank Receives Help

I've been saying since the first hours of shock and awe that our people are going to come home traumatized.