Saturday, June 30, 2007

Australia next to leave “coalition of the willing”?

Australian Prime Minister John Howard, a long-time Bush backer on invading Iraq, is not denying he’s ready to pull his country’s troops out sometime next year.

Meanwhile, ham-handed BushCo diplomacy, over the Australian political opposition’s stronger commitment to that idea before next year’s elections there, rears its head again:

U.S. Ambassador to Australia Robert McCallum told Channel 10's Meet the Press program on Sunday that a plan by Opposition leader Kevin Rudd to withdraw Australian troops from Iraq, if he won power in elections to be held later this year, could create tensions between Australia and the United States.

“Ugly American” diplomacy moves forward.

Cross posted at SocraticGadfly.

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Who Pays The Price For The Idiocy?

Iraq Ambush Caps Bloodiest Months for US
By Robert H. Reid, The Associated Press, Friday 29 June 2007

Baghdad - A huge bomb explosion followed by a hail of gunfire and grenades killed five U.S. soldiers, the military said Friday. The attack climaxed the deadliest three-month period for the Americans since the war began.

Seven soldiers were wounded in the attack Thursday in the Rasheed district, a mixed Sunni-Shiite area of southern Baghdad where U.S.- led forces recently stepped up pressure on extremists. The commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad suggested the ambush could be part of an escalating backlash by Sunni insurgents.

Those deaths brought to 99 the number of U.S. troops killed this month, according to an Associated Press count. The toll for the past three months - 329 - made it the deadliest quarter for U.S. troops in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion. That surpasses the 316 soldiers killed during November 2004 to January 2005.

Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., who heads U.S. forces in the Iraqi capital, said U.S. casualties had mounted because Sunni extremists are "starting to fight very hard" as U.S. forces press into areas of the capital where militants once had free rein.
Part of an escalating backlash by Sunni insurgents?

As I noted on Thursday, these would be the same Sunni insurgents that Bush, out of his "respect" for the US military, has decided to supply with weapons:
The "insurgency" IS Iraq. It is Iraqis.

By arming Sunnis to ostensibly help fight al-Qaeda (who was NOT in Iraq before the invasion and is such a small minority the Iraqis will slit all their throats the moment they are not distracted by throwing the US out) but who will use the help to fight Shias Bush is now taking sides in a civil war with people who composed Saddam's Ba'ath Party, against the very Shia backed puppet government Bush set up in the first place.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bush: Iraq needs to be like Israel

Just when you think the man CANNOT get any dumber, he does:

President Bush held up Israel as a model for defining success in Iraq, saying Thursday the U.S. goal there is not to eliminate attacks but to enable a democracy that can function despite violence.

Why would you use that as an example for ANY Arab country???

Cross posted at SocraticGadfly.

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IRAQ: Paying The Price For Idiocy

The main reason Iraq is such a mess now is that Bush has put the US military into an impossibly conflicted situation.

They are now fighting to defeat the very people Bush claimed to have invaded to liberate.

The "insurgency" IS Iraq. It is Iraqis.

By arming Sunnis to ostensibly help fight al-Qaeda (who was NOT in Iraq before the invasion and is such a small minority the Iraqis will slit all their throats the moment they are not distracted by throwing the US out) but who will use the help to fight Shias Bush is now taking sides in a civil war with people who composed Saddam's Ba'ath Party, against the very Shia backed puppet government Bush set up in the first place.

As Bill Arnett showed two days ago, the lies get more idiotic as Bush and the GOP (with complicity from the Democratic Leadership now) flail blindly trying to save their own political asses:

With the four-month-old increase in American troops showing only modest success in curbing insurgent attacks, American commanders are turning to another strategy that they acknowledge is fraught with risk: arming Sunni Arab groups that have promised to fight militants linked with Al Qaeda who have been their allies in the past.
11 days later:
The number two US military commander in Iraq on Friday denied that US forces were arming insurgents willing to fight forces of the Al-Qaeda network, but said the military was "reaching out."

"I want to make one thing very clear: we are not arming these groups," Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno told reporters via teleconference from Baghdad.
It was "lost" more than fours years ago.

It was a lost cause the day the invasion began.

It is a lost cause now.

It will be a lost cause until the last US Soldier leaves Iraq.

The only question remaining is how many (besides their own, of course) American and Iraqi lives are the people arguing for continuance of this debacle willing to sacrifice to be able to remain in their denial?

It is US Soldiers and Iraqi civilians who are paying the price with their lives for this idiocy.

Remember that when they come begging for your votes next year, from either side.

[Cross-posted at Edgeing]

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IRAQ - The Ground Truth: After The Killing Ends

"An upsetting but mesmerizing series of interviews with veterans of the Iraq war." "'The Ground Truth' is an emotionally potent work."
- David Denby, THE NEW YORKER

"This thoughtful, sensitive film, perhaps the most emotionally wrenching of all the Iraq documentaries."

"...The resulting candor leads to stories and situations that will surely cause tears."

- Kenneth Turan, LOS ANGELES TIMES

"Anyone who claims to support the troops owes it to them to see the film and hear their stories."

THE GROUND TRUTH stunned filmgoers at the 2006 Sundance and Nantucket Film Festivals.

Hailed as "powerful" and "quietly unflinching," Patricia Foulkrod's searing documentary feature includes exclusive footage that will stir audiences. The filmmaker's subjects are patriotic young Americans - ordinary men and women who heeded the call for military service in Iraq - as they experience recruitment and training, combat, homecoming, and the struggle to reintegrate with families and communities.

The terrible conflict in Iraq, depicted with ferocious honesty in the film, is a prelude for the even more challenging battles fought by the soldiers returning home – with personal demons, an uncomprehending public, and an indifferent government.

As these battles take shape, each soldier becomes a new kind of hero, bearing witness and giving support to other veterans, and learning to fearlessly wield the most powerful weapon of all - the truth.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tick, Tick, Tick

Thursday is the 2,117th day since 9/11 and the man who ordered the massacre is still at large.

"It's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person."
— Mitt Romney, in an interview with the Associated Press, saying that the country's safety would not benefit significantly from catching Osama Bin Laden.

"I want justice...There's an old poster out West, as I recall, that said, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive,'"
— George W. Bush, 9/17/01, UPI

"But bin Laden has been a top priority for us from the very beginning, he continues to be a top priority today. That hasn’t changed."
— Dick Cheney, 9/10/06, Meet the Press

— George W. Bush, responding to Cox News reporter Ken Herman's asking what Iraq had to do with 9/11, August 21, 2006

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

For Dick Lugar, Party Trumps Principal

This is why I put a 24-hour-hold on reporting anything that comes close to looking encouraging if it comes from a party apparatchik Republican. They always backpedal and retract and spin and explain what they really meant to say – probably after a visit from Karl’s boyz, but that’s just speculation…

Yesterday evening, Think Progress posted the following:

In a major speech on the Senate floor, Lugar said that “victory” in Iraq as defined by President Bush is now “almost impossible.” The current course of the war “has lost contact with our vital national security interests in the Middle East and beyond,” he said.

Lugar warned that “persisting indefinitely” with Bush’s escalation strategy “will delay policy adjustments that have a better chance of protecting our vital interests over the long term.” He specifically rejected claims that withdrawing U.S. forces will increase instability. Downsizing the U.S. military presence in Iraq would “strengthen our position in the Middle East, and reduce the prospect of terrorism, regional war, and other calamities,” Lugar said.

And today, MSNBC tells us that I was smart to hold off on praising him, he intends to take the sniveling cowards way out, and has no intention of backing up his bold rhetoric.

Lugar won't switch vote
However, [Lugar spokesman Andy] Fisher said the speech does not mean Lugar would switch his vote on the war or embrace Democratic measures setting a deadline for troop withdrawals.

In January, Lugar voted against a resolution opposing the troop buildup, contending that the nonbinding measure would have no practical effect. In spring, he voted against a Democratic bill that would have triggered troop withdrawals by Oct. 1 with the goal of completing the pull out in six months.

Next month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans to force votes on several anti-war proposals as amendments to a 2008 defense policy bill. Members will decide whether to cut off money for combat, demand troop withdrawals start in four months, restrict the length of combat tours and rescind Congress' 2002 authorization of Iraqi invasion.

Expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed in the Senate to pass controversial legislation, the proposals are intended to increase pressure on Bush and play up to voters frustrated with the war.

the proposals are intended to increase pressure on Bush and play up to voters frustrated with the war. Fisher says that like it’s a bad thing! In reality it is the only thing. Change ain’t gonna happen until this president is forced to deal with the reality that is “dealing with” ~30 Americans a week – and the only way he is going to be forced into facing facts is if members of his own party insist that he do so.

Dick Lugar should hang his head in shame. And he should also attend the funeral of every Indianan who falls and explain to the grieving family members why he puts party and politics above the lives of their loved ones.

[Crossposted from Blue Girl, Red State and WTWC]

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

American Exceptionalism In Iraq

This film by John Pilger was made before George W. Bush invaded Iraq in 2003, but after George H.W. Bush attacked Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War in response to the Iraqi invasion Of Kuwait.

"After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the United Nations (backed strongly by the US and UK) imposed harsh sanctions on Iraq that lasted for 10 years (1991-2001); the harsh restrictions on imports of everything, including access to key medicines, resulted in over a million deaths, more than half a million of which were women and children. That's more deaths than the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan and 9/11 combined."

The film is an hour and fifteen minutes long. Watch it.

While you're watching it, keep in mind that George W. Bush's Iraq and Mid-East Debacle has happened to Iraq since this film was made.

I saw someone earlier today make the claim that the Democratic control of Congress is too narrow for a fast, effective action to get us out of Iraq.

That, in the sense that matters most, is utter, unadulterated, self-deceiving bullshit.

The only sense in which it is true is that too many Democrats in Congress are placing their own interests ahead of the the lives of the soldiers and the Iraqis that are dying everyday, while those Democrats cynically try to use supporting/funding/continuing the debacle to win elections next year.

If the Democrats don't want to do the right thing... it becomes obvious that they want to continue the occupation.

For what? Cheap gasoline? Or the neocon vision of world domination?

What has been needed all along and is needed now is for the Democrats to show that they have some balls and display A Measure of Morality in Congress:
If you could secretly tell a magic genie "Yes" and suffer horribly and die but save the lives of a million people you've never met, would you say No? This one they don't even ask in philosophy school, much less Congress. But let's think about it for a minute. What's the worst fate a Congress Member could face as a result of voting against funding the war? For most it must be the loss of their seat. How horrible is that? Some of these congress members are freshmen, first elected last November campaigning on promises to end the war. Now they're prepared to vote $100 billion for the war in hopes of getting elected again in 2008. What in the hell did they want to get elected for in the first place? What district is going to receive less money if we end the war and redirect our spending to useful projects than if we continue the war but fund special pieces of pork here and there?
So what if they chance losing their seats. How horrible is that?

Personally, I think it is the best way for them to retain their seats.

The continuous whine that "we don't have the votes" is also part of the big lie.

If the Democrats stand up NOW and announce that they will no longer fund the occupation and that there will be no more emergency supplementals introduced when the current one runs out, the situation will become one of NO votes needed to NOT pass a bill. The ball will be in Bush's court.

The Democrats have absolute power in this debate. What good is it and why should voters let them retain it next year if they are too weak kneed to use it to end the Debacle? If they will not, then by default they proclaim their complicity with Bush.

The argument that 'defunding endangers the troops' is utter bullshit and is completely and irrefutably debunked. Let the rethugs try to accuse Democrats of it. Democrats will win that political argument, but ONLY if they have the cohones to do what they know is the right thing.


Maybe America needs an Exceptional new National Anthem.
When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse,
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child is grown, the dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.

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Bin Laden's 'Nice Favor' for Bush Helped al-Qaeda

Cross-posted from The Paragraph

“Bin Laden certainly did a nice favor today for the President,” said deputy CIA director John McLaughlin, in opening a meeting four days before the United States’ 2004 presidential election21x22. Osama bin Laden, head of the al-Qaeda terrorist group widely blamed for the September 11th, 2001, airliner attacks against the U.S., had just issued a video message to Americans23. In the message, bin Laden subtly but surely warned that American states that voted for President Bush would be targets for attack. The CIA anlaysts realized that bin Laden was using reverse psychology, where, upon seeing bin Laden speak, an American’s churning stomach would lead one to do the opposite of what that murderous enemy seemed to want. After all, Bush’s war in Iraq had helped al-Qaeda, first by pulling forces from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border where they were hunting for its leadership, then by wounding America’s name and bringing many recruits for the terrorist group24. Among the acts that wounded America’s name were its abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Graib that flowed from Bush’s policy of using torture in questioning prisoners25x26, and its sacking of Fallujah that came by Bush’s order for retaliation, overruling the commander on the ground27. Deputy associate director for intelligence Jami Miscik wrapped up the discussion at the CIA meeting: “Certainly [bin Laden] would want Bush to keep doing what he’s doing for a few more years.” After bin Laden’s message, polls showed the presidential race swing from a dead heat to a five percentage point lead for Bush, who hung on to win by an official count of less than three points28. And for the two-and-a-half years since, Bush has indeed kept doing what he had been doing: keeping up the occupation – with most Iraqis wanting the Americans out29, with a rising insurgency and civil war30, with militia men infiltrating the Iraqi police and army31, with rising world-wide terrorism32, and as a constant “cause celebre for jihadists … cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement33.”


21 One Percent Doctrine – Ron Suskind

22 ‘Bush Agrees Bin-Laden Helped in ‘04’ By Robert Parry,, July 14, 2006

23 ‘Excerpts: Bin Laden video’ – BBC transcript of al-Jazeera broadcast, Friday, 29 October, 2004

... it seemed to [Bush] that being preoccupied with the little child’s talk about her goat and its butting was more important than being preoccupied with the planes and their ramming into the skyscrapers.

This gave with three times the period required for carrying out the operations, praise be to God.

Your security does not lie in the hands of Kerry, Bush, or al-Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands. Each and every state that does not tamper with our security will have automatically assured its own security.

24 ‘Bush’s Killer Iraq Talking Points’ By Robert Parry,, May 30, 2007

As U.S. intelligence has been reporting internally for years, the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003 was a boon to al-Qaeda, diverting U.S. forces away from its leaders hiding along the Pakistan-Afghan borders while helping al-Qaeda attract thousands of new recruits, build a battle-tested force in Iraq, and reestablish its financial infrastructure.

25 ‘The Constitution in Crisis’ – House Judiciary Committee report, August 2006, P.90 – pdf file P.83

The Department of Justice also bears significant responsibility for the acts of torture and other legal violations by virtue of the extreme and narrow legal views it has adopted. These are set forth in an August 1, 2002 memo setting forth an inappropriately narrow definition of torture and in Mr. Gonzales=s January 2005 confirmation hearing testimony on the jurisdictional reach of bans on CID. An August 1, 2002 Department of Justice memo addressed to then-White House Counsel Gonzales creates a definition of torture that is contrary to international law, domestic law, and legislative intent.628 The memo claims that torture consists of extreme acts under U.S. law, inflicting severe pain that must be of an intensity akin to that which accompanies serious physical injury such as death or organ failure. According to the memo, severe mental pain requires suffering not just at the moment of infliction but it also requires lasting psychological harm, such as seen in mental disorders like posttraumantic [sic] stress disorder.

26 ‘Rumsfeld okayed abuses says former U.S. general’ – Reuters, Saturday, November 25, 2006

Karpinski, who ran the prison until early 2004, said she saw a memorandum signed by Rumsfeld detailing the use of harsh interrogation methods.

“The handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: “Make sure this is accomplished,”” she told Saturday’s El Pais.

27 ‘Bush’s Bloody Flip-Flop’ By Robert Parry,, September 14, 2004

A flip-flop by George W. Bush worsened the military-political debacle in Fallujah last April when the Bush administration overruled the Marine commanding general twice, first ordering him to undertake a retaliatory assault against the rebellious Iraqi city and then abruptly reversing direction three days later.


The Fallujah attack enflamed anti-Americanism throughout the Middle East and made the city’s name a rallying cry for Iraqi insurgents. Though Fallujah is located in the Sunni Triangle, rival Shiite communities to the south joined in collecting and delivering relief supplies.

The civilian deaths in Fallujah also brought a new round of international condemnation of the United States for allegedly engaging in a collective punishment of a population, a violation of international law. ...

28 ‘Bush/Cheney Still Lie with Abandon’ By Robert Parry,, April 6, 2007

29 ‘Baghdad Shias Believe Killings May Increase Once U.S. led Forces Depart but Large Majorities Still Support Withdrawal Within a Year’ – World Public Opinion, November 20, 2006

...Seven out of ten Iraqis overall—including both the Shia majority (74%) and the Sunni minority (91%)—say they want the United States to leave within a year.

By September, the proportion of Shias in Baghdad saying they approved of striking American-led forces had risen to 60 percent. In the rest of the country, Shia support for attacking foreign troops rose … to 63 percent.


... 100 percent of Sunnis in Baghdad said in September that they approved of attacks on U.S.-led forces, up 44 points since January (57%). In the rest of the country, nine out of ten Sunnis (91%) said they favored such attacks.

30 ‘Civil War – Lost in Transition’ – Mother Jones, March 1, 2007

As Iraq has descended into civil war, it hasn’t been easy to measure just how violent it has become. Estimates of civilian casualties vary by a factor of nearly 10, and both the Pentagon and the Iraqi government have been criticized for ignoring or downplaying reports of attacks and deaths. What is beyond doubt is that the bloodshed is mounting and more and more civilians are dying.

31 ‘Documentary filmmaker says Iraq troops training may be arming America’s enemies’ by Michael Roston, Raw Story, Tuesday February 6, 2007

“We’re not training the Mahdi Army by intent, but we’re providing training for people who may take our training program and then go join the militias,” Smith told Koppelman. He added, “As early as August ‘04, there are photographs of uniformed Iraqi police celebrating with the Mahdi Army after a battle in Najaf.”

[Television journalist Mark] Smith does not only single out the Mahdi Army. He also notes the heavy infiltration of the police by the Badr Corps, the militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

“There are numerous reports of whole units of Badr Corps coming intact into the ministry to work in the police forces,” Smith warns.

32 ‘Iraq Effect’ By Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank, Mother Jones, March 1, 2007

Our study shows that the Iraq War has generated a stunning sevenfold increase in the yearly rate of fatal jihadist attacks, amounting to literally hundreds of additional terrorist attacks and thousands of civilian lives lost; even when terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan is excluded, fatal attacks in the rest of the world have increased by more than one-third.

We are not making the argument that without the Iraq War, jihadist terrorism would not exist, but our study shows that the Iraq conflict has greatly increased the spread of the Al Qaeda ideological virus, as shown by a rising number of terrorist attacks in the past three years from London to Kabul, and from Madrid to the Red Sea.

33 ‘Report: Iraq ‘cause celebre’ for jihadists’ BY TIMOTHY M. PHELPS, Newsday Washington Bureau Chief, September 27, 2006

“We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives … the Iraq conflict has become the ‘cause celebre’ for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.” – from declassified part of CIA National Intelligence Estimate

* * *

By Quinn Hungeski – Posted at G.N.N. &

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