"If the government insists on having a war, then we will fight. This city has seen lots of battles, lots of bombings, and we don't want more. There are conditions, however, that we cannot meet."
- A young cleric known only as Sheik Mohamed, the imam of the popular al Badawi mosque in Fallujah
Most Fallujah militants are Iraqis who are wary of the foreign extremist elements but bound by custom to accept offers of battlefield help from men they consider brothers in Islam. - Knight Ridder news
Soon: The Razing of Fallujah
U.S. Central Command reissued an invitation to media to embed with U.S. forces, saying it is the "safest place for reporters in Iraq". A psy-op campaign is already under way, with an AM radio station broadcasting messages about the intent of U.S. forces and instructions to residents of Fallujah, telling them "they have friends out there who care about them, who may have to attack." (As if they're going to believe that). Soldiers and Marines will first isolate Fallujah to prevent insurgents from entering or leaving, while perhaps directing fleeing civilians to refugee camps. (They've been fleeing for weeks - many displaced citizens being directed from the shelter of their homes to desert camps).
The Iraqi government is setting up a shadow administration to run Fallujah if a combined force of U.S. Marines and Army soldiers is ordered to assault the insurgent stronghold, the military said Thursday. Should the attack succeed, Iraqi troops will be the primary force keeping order inside the city and Iraqi administrators will be put in control "as soon as it's safe".
Juan Cole says that one of the reasons given for the Fallujah campaign is to allow elections to proceed. But the campaign itself may reinforce Sunni clerics' calls for a boycott. If the Sadr movement gives up the idea of a boycott and participates, as some signs indicate it will, then the Shiite turnout should be high. A Sunni Arab boycott would then be disastrous for the legitimacy of the outcome.
Knight Ridder reviews the pros and cons of the coming US attack on Fallujah for caretaker Prime Minister Allawi. If the attack is swift and successful, Allawi will be strengthened. If it is prolonged, the protests within Iraq and in the Arab world could mount and cause a diplomatic disaster. Juamn Cole believes the razing of Fallujah is precisely the sort of action that may provoke an al-Qaeda response and will in any case aid in al-Qaeda's ability to recruit angry young Muslims.
"James Madison warned that the majority must be rendered, by their number and local situation, unable to concert and carry into effect schemes of oppression. His warning rings true today. He made no provision to stem the tide of undue special interest-influence because it did not exist in the scope or magnitude that it does today. Yet, the spirit of his commentary and advice lives on. We need to render these special interests far less able to carry on this oppression through the channel of the government owned by the American People...."
"...If you do not listen to these words with an eye upon sheer reason, you may as well get on board with George W. Bush's re-election team at this juncture.."
"...the Iraq disaster gave rise to a new face in national Democratic party circles: Howard Dean...Dean ultimately faltered in the Iowa cornfields, but not before the good doctor had fused a new backbone into the Democratic party. Opposing the president - once viewed as political suicide - was suddenly en vogue. The strategy of "Republican lite", wielded by Democrats to disastrous consequences in the 2002 midterm election, was finally dead."
"I know you don't want to hear it. You can't face one more hung chad. But I don't have a choice. As a journalist examining that messy sausage called American democracy, it's my job to tell you who got the most votes in the deciding states. Tuesday, in Ohio and New Mexico, it was John Kerry."
And why does the Chicago Tribune's Vice President ( whose paper had endorsed Bush ) blame bloggers for releasing the information that was actually available in exit polls? Bloggers are not held to his newspaper's rules, sorry. I think he's afraid people are taking the opinions of bloggers too seriously. Who ever said we were treated with the same credibility as newspapers? If we are, is it our problem or the reader's problem? Is there a particular reason the Tribune needs or wants to discredit bloggers? Methinks we're kicking his ass on some scoops.
"The Bushes are always gracious until they don't get their way. If W. didn't reach out after the last election, which he barely grabbed, why would he reach out now that he has what Dick Cheney calls a "broad, nationwide victory"?"
Josh Marshall made an astute comment yesterday and I feel compelled to repeat it here.
"Yesterday, in an overnight post, Andrew Sullivan wrote, President Bush "deserves a fresh start, a chance to prove himself again, and the constructive criticism of those of us who decided to back his opponent. He needs our prayers and our support for the enormous tasks still ahead of him."
I thought about this when I read it. And, to put it simply, I didn't agree. What I considered writing was that given the track record he's compiled and the way he ran this campaign, he's really owed no fresh start. That would be graciousness at war with reality.
I thought about the words of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas at the Francis Boyer Lecture for the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research at Washington, D.C. on February13, 2001:
"..by yielding to a false form of "civility," we sometimes allow our critics to intimidate us. As I have said, active citizens are often subjected to truly vile attacks.... To this we often respond (if not succumb), so as not to be constantly fighting, by trying to be tolerant and nonjudgmental, i.e., we censor ourselves. This is not civility. It is cowardice, or well-intentioned self-deception at best."
This is the time to fight.
Graciousness loses when bitter reality shows us that our nation is at peril.
I am sorry to hear about Elizabeth's cancer and I hope she will get through the chemotherapy or radiation treatment comfortably, if it is required. I have recently supported my mother as she has undergone chemotherapy and I understand everything the process entails. It's not an easy road, but modern medicine has made it incredibly tolerable and effective. I believe that God works through science. I've seen it in the graceful gift which science has given my mother and my own family. A gift of life. A gift of hope.
God bless you during this difficult time. My prayers are with you.
Message From Today's Press Conference:
Don't Expect Bush to be a Uniter
" Now that I've got the will of the people, I'll be enforcing a one question rule."
"Obviously, you didn't listen to the will of the people. I said ONE question."
--President Bush, to journalists in a press conference today
At a press conference today, President Bush made it clear he would not tolerate too many mind-boggling questions at one time since he now has a mandate. Is he using a mandate to silence the press and legitimize his disdain for them?
Thus began the new Bush presidency. The one where, this time, gawl dang it, he has the will of the people ( a fraction of a majority more than the record-setting millions who voted against him). Almost half the nation can go screw themselves. That's what I heard today.
For Democrats looking for an outstretched hand, President Bush gave horrifying answers today. When asked how he planned to unite America, he said he would expect Democrats to participate in promoting his agenda. When pressed on the question of how he'd unify America through his relationship with Congress, he referred to the "No Child Left Behind Act", the one in which he hoodwinked Ted Kennedy. Choosing to hoodwink a dead man's memory this time, he's invoking the name of Daniel Patrick Moynihan in order to look like a bipartisan leader. I wish Moynihan were here to defend himself. I'd imagine he'd be spinning in his grave like chicken rotisserie if he knew Bush was using him in this particular way. Bush said he thinks Democrats agree that they have a responsibility to govern and expects they will have "good will" from here on in. I hope he doesn't forget who has the majority to 'stick it' to the nation with the ease of rightwing disdain.
President Bush wonders why Washington D.C .is bitter. He still wonders that, after four years? Is he daft? Is he that much of an overly sensitive boob? Does he not understand that he has had a direct effect on the DC mood and environment?
When asked about future judicial nominations, he recommended that we should look at his past. Oye, we're in trouble.
I guess I don't have to jab that stick in your eye again, and maybe you need a few days to gather your thoughts.
But we lost, and we shouldn't have lost, by all that is rational and realistic.
The Democratic party is in serious trouble. We can clearly see it.
Republicans have found a way to net the idiot vote (pardon the expression, I realize I make no friends in bluntly saying it). We can't seem to do that.
Today I heard Bill Bennett, of all people, invoke the names of Joe Lieberman, Zell Miller, and Evan Bayh as the faces of "decency" in the Democratic party. While I do not begrudge what I see as decency (which, in freedom's light. I see as too incredibly personal to legislate), I do bitterly regret that major assholes like 'Bettin' Bill Bennett' are dictating who the faces of the Democratic party are going to be.
We are the ones who should be doing the dictating. If we're passive, the insane Zell Millers, and dead-skunk-in-in-the-middle-of-the-road Evan Bayhs will move in to take over the Democratic party. And the Democratic party will continue to bitterly fail as lame Republican-wannabes.
Who we are and what we care about needs to have a messenger who can directly strike and capture the hearts and souls of the American people.
At Scrutiny Hooligans, Asheville's 'Uptown Ruler' asks you to think about that...and asks you who you are and what you are doing to help make that change.
Sometimes we have to challenge ourselves - and ask some hard questions of ourselves.
Now could be no better time to do it, in the face of this embarassing and horrific loss for ourselves, and for the world.
I keep thinking about how easily Kerry conceded, turning in OUR right to wait for all votes to be counted, and forwarding the hope and opportunity for Bush to be a unifier of the nation at a civilly volatile time. At today's press conference, Bush STOMPED on that opportunity. I can't help feeling raped by Kerry's willingness to abandon the race and his surrenduring of trust to Bush, assigning responibility to Bush to unite America. It opened an old wound. It reminded me of Kerry and many other Dems trusting Bush to act rationally by giving him the authorization to deal with Iraq in October, 2002. That should have taught Kerry never to trust Bush again.
(See Raw Story article today-election questions are already being asked.)
If Democrats do not stand up to Bush with extreme force, the Democratic party will lose supporters. People will naturally bail when they work their asses off and they see it's detrimentally futile because their representatives cave like ragdolls. Even in light of Bush's "mandate", we have every right to expect our Democratic representatives NOT to kiss Bush's ass. (Mandate is in quotes considering the record election turnout, with a record number of people voting AGAINST him as well as FOR him.)
Bush is using this win to play dictator. I seriously question his understanding, ability, and stability as leader of this nation.
"W. doesn't see division as a danger. He sees it as a wingman.
The president got re-elected by dividing the country along fault lines of fear, intolerance, ignorance and religious rule. He doesn't want to heal rifts; he wants to bring any riffraff who disagree to heel.."