Friday, June 22, 2007

I'm too pissed off to write

about this latest political ploy by Congress--re-convening the Iraq Study Group. I'm dumbfounded, too. So, I'll write about it anyway.

The ISG is supposed to "study" Iraq's conditions and report to Congress a month after Patraeus' report is due in September. Then, it's said, the reports will be melded and something--probably nothing meaningful--will arise from that process.

First, it's politicaly idiocy on the Democrats' part. This process will only delay and eventually legitimatize the Bush madness in Iraq. It will give Bush an "out" in the fall, by allowing him to escape the consequences of his years of misdeeds by following some of the ISG's recommendations, albeit belatedly, and hence to appear reasonable and "bipartisan" as the war enters the final year of his terms. By allowing this, the Democrats are defusing a critical facet of the anti-Republican sentiment that has grown up over the war, and in particular will be handing Republican Congressional candidates a vehicle for arguing that their continued (up to now) support for the war was well-founded.

Second, re-visiting the ISG will gain nothing in terms of saving lives and treasure in Iraq. The eventual report will, again, be a hodgepodge of observations and "approaches," none of them novel, none of them dramatic. It will be a same-old, same-old document that wastes time and effort, and merely allows the pols to delay decision-making and to be able to point to paperwork as justification.

Third, now that the "surge" is well underway, and is going nowhere, to ask the ISG to report again is absurdly naive. The surge has closed options that might have been available ten months ago when its first report was rendered. Now, what can the ISG say except to reiterate what it said originally, except, perhaps, with more urgency.

I am furious at the dumb, cowardly Congress that has chosen this path. It's an insult to me as an American. I deserve better from my representatives.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

If you like Ray Charles...

check this out.

Al Qaeda Unleashed

This article in The Guardian should be required reading for anybody who supports our continuing presence in Iraq. The writer's assertions about the benefits to bin Laden--his dreams fulfilled--by reason of the US occupation of Iraq are succinctly and incisively set forth, as is his description of their recent radical manifestations in Palestine, which the writer identifies in the rise of Hamas and its battles with Fatah.

"When Osama bin Laden and his lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahiri issued their "Jihad against Jews and Crusaders" statement on February 28 1998, responses to their declaration varied from apathy to amusement. They were an obscure group lost in the faraway emirate of the Taliban, a pathetic remnant of the fight against the USSR during the cold war. Their role looked historically defunct and their discourse archaic.
Things could not be more different now. Al-Qaida has become an intensely complex global network, with a decentralised, flexible structure that enables it to spread in all directions, across the Arab world, Africa, Asia and Europe. Whether pursuing active cells or searching for sleeping ones, the security world is haunted by al-Qaida's ghost. Like bubbles, these cells are autonomous, bound together neither by hierarchy nor by a chain of command. It only takes a few individuals who subscribe to its ideology and terrorist methods for al-Qaida to extend its reach to a new part of the globe.
With the Middle East moving from one crisis to another, this small organisation saw itself miraculously transferred from periphery to centre. In its founding statement, al-Qaida defined its mission as a jihad aimed at cleansing the Arabian peninsula of the American "locusts, eating its riches and wiping out its plantations", and liberating Palestinian land from Zionist occupation. With the invasion of Iraq in 2003, al-Qaida was offered a firm foothold in the Middle East and the unique chance to implement its "resistance against Jews and crusaders" project.
The organisation's penetration of Palestinian politics is the climax of a long, still unfolding process. Rapidly expanding from one location to another, al-Qaida currently boasts branches throughout the Arab region."

Heckuva job, Bush/Cheney.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

No more Mister Nice Guy

I don't get it. Bush's poll numbers are in the tank, his second term is waning (although he still has 17 months as president!) and his power is gone. So why is Henry Waxman's subcommittee not acting with courage, not to mention outrage, at Condi Rice's failure to abide by its subpeona compelling her to testify about the prewar intelligence on Iraq, in particular the inclusion of the infamous "16 words" about "uranium from Africa" in Bush's SOU speech? Why not proceed now to hold her in contempt to at least commence the predicted battle over the White House claim of "executive privilege" or whatever? I mean, why is Waxman, why is entire Congress--except for a few hearty souls--acting so meekly, acting as if Bush has any support anywhere? If the Democrats don't act now, when will they? Never? And if so, tell me, what shall we call our new political party?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Kicking the can

Here's a letter I wrote today to the editor of the SB News-Press.

Come September General Patraeus will report on the progress of Bush’s escalation of force in Iraq, and many mainstream pundits tell us the report will be definitive and will dictate America’s future course in that besieged nation. Don’t be fooled. Patraeus’ report will be similar to the scores official reports from Iraq that have preceded it: ambiguous, equivocal, essentially meaningless. It will contain enough “positives,” “negatives” and “needs improvements,” to give colorable support to the entire spectrum of decisions, from complete withdrawal, to redeployment to fixed bases, to continuing the surge.

As a result, any decision purportedly based on the report will be, as have been all previous decisions on Iraq, political, purely political. Indeed, many Americans recognize the report for what it really is: a cynical tactic that allows Bush to delay facing the reality that his invasion was wrong from inception and that the occupation is being monstrously maintained, and to buy time so he can hand off his disaster to the next president.

Meanwhile, our soldiers are being killed and maimed daily. John Kerry once asked, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” Now we should be asking, “How do you ask a man or woman to be the last soldier to die while a delusional president kicks the can down the road?”