Saturday, December 09, 2006

Crunching the numbers

The headline of the latest Zogby poll shows Bush's positives at an all-time low (30%), with the public's sentiment about Congress' performance terrible too. But to me the telling number is found in the last line of the article, where Democratic respondents were asked to rate the Democrats' performance in Congress. Only 24% approved. Doesn't that say something to the newly empowered Democrats in Congress, that business as usual isn't going to cut it?

I guess not.

Believe it or not

Two conflicting stories about an air attack by US forces in Iraq. Question: How would the Americans know what the death toll was, and the identity of those killed, when they flew over the site in helicopters?

What is there about French?

For those of you, who (like me) don't read their language, here's a translation that demonstrates what a fine language it is. (Courtesy,

Come Clean By Laurent Joffrin Libération
Thursday 07 December 2006
The strategy of lying is collapsing. Even though he balks at publicly admitting it, even if he wants to maintain a martial front, George W. Bush has backed off. What the commander in chief still suppresses, the men he has charged, designated, promoted have just come clean about: the war in Iraq is a historic failure. A predicted failure, certainly, and a universally condemned war. But the confession of these officials gives this condemnation all its weight, all its power of truth. The American president has vicariously confessed America's mistake.
So the "weapons of mass destruction" really were a decoy; so the military operation really was a strategic folly that led to a quagmire. So the "war against terrorism" has brought about nothing but another war and more terrorism. So the plan for a remodeled Middle East really was just a dangerous pipe-dream born from the over-excited brains of ideologues drunk on military certitudes. So what some of Washington's best friends, admirers of the New World's democracy, had said - well beyond any anti-American circles - is now confirmed by the very mouth of the leaders involved. The proof is in that cynicism - even in international politics - can cost very dearly.
Not that every war is unjust, or every intervention forbidden, or every act of force immoral. Within the framework of international institutions, founded on solid law and realistic political calculations, when requested by an oppressed people that would see the soldiers on that mission as liberators rather than targets, the principle of external intervention remains - or remained - legitimate. By charging head-first into a bloody trap, the American administration also damaged that idea. In their historic dreams, Americans wanted to be the knights errant of freedom. George Bush has defaced that mythology too.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I'm getting pissed off, really pissed off

Look, so far I've treated this Bush-asshole's maladministration as evil, dangerous, demented, but only in a distant and theoretical sense. Bad for the world, bad for the nation, bad for the troops and the budget. But now, with US troops continually creating new enemies of America, Bush's criminal behavior is growing close to home for me. I've got an infant granddaughter, you see, and this asshole is turning her future--the world she'll be living in--into a dangerous, wretched place. And that, boys and girls, makes my blood boil.

What do I do about this? Stay tuned.

Baghdad's burning

So maybe I'm late understanding the meaning of the title of Riverbend's weblog, but now I get it: Like Nero, Bush is fiddling--with study groups and press conferences and congressional machinations and political equivocations--while our soldiers are fighting and dying for some undefined purpose (no decent purpose at all, really) in ghastly numbers.

Lennon, redux, redux

If you're not a John Lennon fan, or if you are a fan--of his music, of his prescience, of his soul--check out this short essay about these inseperable components of the man.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Worse than idiotic

It's cynical, monstrous. The Iraq Study Group recommends that the US reduce its combat role in Iraq, and that it use the leverage of withdrawing its forces and money if the Iraq government doesn't improve security quickly enough to suit us. So, having broken the pottery, we spread the shards around the floor and if the proprietor isn't quick to sweep it up we leave the shop. (The ISG also recommends enlisting the aid of nearby Sunni-majority nations as well as Shiite Iran to help with the process, notwithstanding that Iran doubtless seeks greater influence in Iraq through its dominant Shiite majority, and Sunni nations, including well-armed Saudi Arabia, have threatened to intervene in Iraq if Sunnis are continually murdered by Shiite death squads.)

If I'm Iran, I'm LOL. This report plays directly into Iran's hand. All Iran must do is "play nice" while waiting for the ongoing violence to drive Americans out; and meanwhile, by a thousand cuts, moving into control of Iraq through its empowered Shiite government, all the while watching more of our soldiers die trying to perform "mission impossible." Even al Qaida, not a mirthful bunch, must be giggling.

My plan--immediate and complete withdrawal of all US forces from Iraq, coupled with the bequest of several billions of dollars (say, 20, which is about what we spend there in three months) to Iraq's government to pay for the remaining damage and chaos we've caused--has this saving feature. We demonstrate our bona fides about not wanting empire in the Middle East and we save money and American lives. The Iraqis, and, for that matter, the others in the region can slug it out as they deem appropriate. My bet is that after a while they'll find a way to establish equilibrium--the state that the region was in, right or wrong, before we fucked it up.


Here's what happened to the "shoe bomber."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More about McCain

As support for my observations about the frightening prospect of a John McCain presidency, I submit this essay. Like me, the writer uses the word "dangerous."

Monday, December 04, 2006

Shrinking the international trade deficit.

Finally, some good news from the Pentagon.

Who are these people?

Okay, I can understand the 18% of Americans who, according to the latest Rasmussen Poll, "strongly approve" Bush's handling of the presidency. Namely, I understand that they're lunatics. But the figure I don't get is the 23% percent of those polled who "somewhat approve." How can one have such an opinion--or, rather, lack of opinion--after all that has gone on in our nation in his six years in office? I mean, is there anybody home in there?

The latest parlor game

Now that the "civil war" vel non debate is over (the "civil war"--affirmative side won, as you know), here's the latest--here's another one--and it's really, really fun.