Friday, June 23, 2006

Keeping track of permanent bases

So--both the House and Senate included a "no permanent bases in Iraq" provision in their military appropriations bills, as I reported earlier, only to have those provisions deleted by the Republican-dominated Conference Committee. Well, now the House has re-instated the no-bases language in its version of the bill upon passage after the converence committee action, so let's see what happens next.

You think it will actually become law? You think Bush, if he signs such a law--as he must in order to keep the appropriations money flowing to Iraq--will append to it a "signing statement" essentially nullifying its effect? You think, in the lifetimes of any readers of this post, we'll see a withdrawal of all US forces from Iraq? In your dreams.

I might watch the Sunday "talk shows" this Sunday

To see the reaction of various interviewees to the announcement on Sunday--Iraq time, which is ten hours earlier than our morning TV shows--of this broadscale reconciliation plan by the Iraqi government. It includes both a withdrawal timetable for "all foreign troops" and an amnesty for Iraqis insurgents who've killed occupation forces.

Yeah, it'll be fun to watch the neocons twist in the wind over this.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Letter to the editor

I happened to buy a copy of the Santa Barbara News-Press yesterday--I rarely buy one, other than Sunday's issue for its TV Guide, and I only read the paper occasionally, when I'm browsing in a coffee house or something--and there was my letter to the editor that I sent a couple of weeks ago. I don't know why the delay in publishing it (it's brilliant!) but what the hell. It may be found here.

Meanwhile, back in Afghanistan

US troops are dying (four yesterday), and even our puppet president, Karzai, is complaining about the conduct of the foreign troops in his land. Sound like any place else you've heard of lately?

Here's a more detailed dispatch to the same effect. I do admire Karzai for urging nonmilitary means for dealing with the insurgents in Afghanistan--and for protesting the killing of Taliban members, because "they too are sons of this land."

Let's face it (as no lawmakers have done): The solution to the planet's strife--from the Middle East to the Far East, from Africa to South and Central America, "terrorism" to state-sanctioned war--isn't now and has never been military. It's been political, economic, social. It's been that there's a fundamental unfairness in the distribution of means and wealth and freedom and opportunity on Earth. How can any nation--the US, the UK, even Denmark, France, Sweden--justify the vast differences between its citizens' material wealth, and that of citizens of the third world? How can such nations--especially the US--justify the ongoing and growing inequality of material wealth and opportunity among its own citizens? Any answers?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What next?

Now it turns out that our troops in Iraq are being killed--intentionally shot--by members Iraq's civil defense forces. I wonder, really I do, how it is that Bush/Cheney are still in office, as are Rummie and Condi . They're wrecking this nation, every facet of it, with such haste and abandon that it will take decades to repair.

I apologize to you younger folks. These monsters matured and took power on my watch.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Well, whaddya think?

Finally, a political football that even Karl Rove can't handle. The Iraq-amnesty plan has found its way to the US Senate, where a nonbinding resolution passed by a wide margin, condemning Iraq's plan to grant amnesty to insurgents who killed "only" US occupation troops. Nineteen senators voted against the resolution, all Republicans. So--Republicans don't support our troops after all. Indeed, they won't grant amnesty to Mexicans who entered our nation without papers, but support amnesty for Iraqis who kill our troops.

I love it.

Bush's final excuse fails

The sequence of rationales for invading Iraq--WMD; Saddam's ties to al-Qaeda and 9/11; deposing a despot--has come and gone, leaving Bush with this last excuse: bringing democracy to the nation and through its example spreading it throughout the Middle East and, I supppose, the world.

Can you imagine any nation viewing Iraq's experience and wishing to follow it?

Back to the drawing board?

Here's a recent CNN poll asking respondents whom they would "definitely not vote for for president in 2008." Democrats H. Clinton, Kerry and Gore all rate about the same, with almost half of the respondents naming them. So--this means the Democrats had better come up with a new candidate or that their most obvious candidates had better come up with a new message. We (America--and the planet) simply cannot allow the US executive to be a Republican any longer.

Truthout's hangout

Here's the latest from Truthout--my source for my previous posts about the indictment of Karl Rove--in which they detail the latest developments in the convoluted tale of Rove's and Cheney's involvement vel non in the Valerie Plame matter.

Convoluted, yes. Finished? No.

Come to think of it

Where are our kids' protest songs?

Monday, June 19, 2006

I recall in my first year in law school

we were taught that ownership of a parcel of ground included the airspace above it. In modern times, that maxim has been modified to allow the sovereign to control access to the upper reaches of airspace. So--if Iraq is a sovereign nation, why is the US keeping it from controlling its airspace?

Am I missing something?

Isn't Iraq's plan to grant amnesty to those who killed only American troops (as opposed to Iraqi soldiers and civilians) a hell of a story? I've blogged about it, but haven't found a single mention of it on other blogs--not a whisper, pro, con or undecided--and upon Goggle-Newsing it I've found only the original LA Times stories, repeated in two other newspapers, and -- nothing. Not a mention on the Sunday talk shows, either.

Maybe it's too hot to handle--certainly for the administration supporters. But for the opponents of the war in Iraq? Isn't it at least comment-worthy?

Chickens coming home to roost

Or is it roast? Whatever. Given our maltreatment and indefinite detention of those whom we contend are our "enemies" in the "war on terror," what are the chances that those two missing U.S. soldiers have had a pleasant weekend--and will soon be released by al-Qaeda?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hoooray for Andy Rooney

I just watched the end of 60 Minutes, the Andy Rooney segment that I find amusing almost every time. Well, tonight--two minutes ago--he outdid himself. He chastised us for allowing the war in Iraq to go on, then detailed its cost and the costs of the ongoing splurge in spending by the Defense Department. He ended with a clip from Ike's "military-industrial complex" speech, the telling quotes about the rise of military power in the United States, the danger of the rise of military power, "whether sought or unsought," by the merger of corporate and military power.

Andy's final line: "Well, it's happened."

Bounce? What bounce?

All this talk on the MSM about Bush's great week (al-Zaqwiri killed, Bush visits Green Zone in Baghdad, Rove escapes indictment), check out these poll numbers. Barely a bump or a blip. I find the most telling means of reading the numbers is to compare the latest poll of each service with that service's previous poll numbers. A one-point movement in one recent poll, a two-point movement in another, with the negative poll numbers in each remaining constant. Could Bush have arrived at the point where he, personally, is "disapproved" and nothing he can do, or that happens in the world can change that?

I'm inclined to think that that's what happened to Truman and Jimmy Carter. They just got on the wrong side of the electorate's collective psyche and couldn't recover. Let's hope Bush is similarly placed--and that in desperation he doesn't do something ugly to try to gain support. Like attack Iran.

Amnesty again

This Baltimore Sun article tells of al-Malika's amnesty plan, at the same time US troops are looking for two missing soldiers. What an incredible irony, what a mess. What the hell is going on? Can you imagine how it must feel to be a target of insurgent gunfire, knowing that if you're killed, your killer will be granted amnesty? Got to give our troops a real moral boost, a wonderful sense of dedication to mission to assist the Iraqi government establish security. Isn't it going to be delicious to watch how the war-supporters juggle this development?