Sunday, February 06, 2005

Headlines - War and Foreign Policy



Letter to The Ledger (Lakeland, FL):
"Every argument against this war has proved to be a fact. That is why Bush spent the majority of his inauguration speech blathering on about spreading liberty and freedom throughout the world. It is his only excuse left for war with Iraq..The war cost is hundreds of billions more than Bush was willing to admit. Saddam Hussein wasn't even a threat to his neighbors. There was no link between Hussein and al-Qaida..The Arab world hates us more than ever before. Bush has made bin Laden a prophet in the Arab world.. The Republican Party was conservative once, but, now, under the leadership of George W. Bush, it has become neoconservative.
I am out. Just don't call me a liberal or a Democrat. If you did, you owe me an apology."

American Conservative - Hunger for Dictatorship: War to export democracy may wreck our own
"The invasion of Iraq has put the possibility of the end to American democracy on the table and has empowered groups on the Right that would acquiesce to and in some cases welcome the suppression of core American freedoms. That would be the titanic irony of course, the mother of them all—that a war initiated under the pretense of spreading democracy would lead to its destruction in one of its very birthplaces. But as historians know, history is full of ironies."



UK: "The Ministry of Defence will accept liability for the death of the first British soldier to die in action in Iraq, his widow’s lawyer confirmed today.
Sgt Roberts was shot when trying to quell a riot in Az Zubayr, near Basra, within days of the start of the conflict in March 2003.
An internal MoD report later established that he would have survived if he had been wearing ceramic plates inside his flak jacket. He had been issued with the plates, but gave them to another soldier because his regiment did not have enough for everyone.
Mrs Roberts has already received a personal apology from Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon after she released tapes of her husband voicing his concerns over equipment shortages.
Election Complaints Emerge in Iraq

Seattle Times: Army officer refuses second deployment to Iraq
"He saw a young Iraqi girl with her arm horribly burned and blackened, standing helplessly on a roadside as Benderman's convoy rushed past. He saw dogs feasting on civilian corpses dumped into pits. He saw young American soldiers he believed were treating war like a video game, with few apparent qualms about killing or the effects of the invasion on ordinary Iraqis.
Benderman said he begged an officer to stop and help the girl, but was told the unit couldn't spare its limited medical supplies.
"I had to look at that little girl, look into her eyes, and in her eyes I saw the TRUTH. I cannot kill.."
22 Iraqi Police Officers, Soldiers Killed Near Baghdad; Gunmen Kidnap 4 Egyptians Technicians

Informed Comment: Guest Editorial: Andrew Arato on Constitutional Participation in Iraq ("The election of January 30, 2005 was Sistani’s victory.")

Virtually no punishment or adonishment for this? REALLY?!? This Lt. General makes us look like our troops are guided by a homicidal ethos (in other words: murder-loving assholes)! "Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. ... It's fun to shoot some people."

Iraq/Women's Rights- Election rhetoric is not reality

Deja Vu all over again - Purple-fingered frenzy and Forgotten Journalistic Principles- Hailing the bravery of Iraqi voters last week, and at times gushing over the turnout, the American media seems (as it did two years ago in the hyping of Saddam's WMDs) to have forgotten core journalistic principles in regard to fact-checking and weighing partisan assertions.

A long way to go. A step backward for women? 1400 American lives for this?
"Shiite clerics, who, confident they have a popular mandate from the elections, are advocating for Islam to be recognized as the underpinning of the government.....more conservative leaders are insisting that Shariah, or Islamic law, be the foundation for all legislation. Such a constitution would be a sharp departure from the transitional law that the Americans enacted before appointing the interim Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. One focus of the U.S. effort then was to secure equal rights for women and minorities. Under Shariah, for instance, daughters would receive half the inheritances of sons.[..]
[..]..The alliance of Shiite politicians in the national assembly could splinter as its members vie against one another for power and trade favors with rival politicians like the secular Allawi and the Kurds, who are Sunnis. Too strong a push for a Shiite religious state could also prompt violent opposition from Sunni Arabs, the formerly dominant minority that already feels disenfranchised, or from the Kurds, who can exercise veto power over the new constitution.[..]"

Jalal Talabani
"As Iraq's president, [Kurdish leader and candidate] Jalal Talabani said he could play a mediating role between Sunni Arabs and Shiite Muslims, who apparently scored a landslide victory in the Jan. 30 national elections."



While we "spread freedom" in Iraq, Osama Bin Laden runs free to plan his next major attack on the U.S. Taking our focused eye off of Bin Laden may be the costliest mistake a sitting American President could ever have made.

Steve Coll/WP - "September 11 taught us that Chicken Little sometimes gets it right. But the failures to correctly assess Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction showed that he sometimes gets it wrong.[..]President Bush's pledge after 9/11 to make "no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them" does not seem likely to intimidate a future jihadi nuclear cell.."



NY Review of Books- Bush, Iran & the Bomb By Christopher de Bellaigue
"...the November 2004 [NPT Safeguards] agreement will amount to little unless the Americans join the negotiations, offering advantages such as security guarantees, a deal on Iranian assets in the US, and the prospect of normal economic relations. The Americans are wary of committing themselves to such policies unless the Europeans and others, especially Russia and China, consent to taking punitive action if Iran progresses further toward a fuel cycle that could produce nuclear weapons. What is needed to deal with Iran and its nuclear ambitions is the formation of an international coalition including the US, and that is not George Bush's strong point."

`Pre-emptive' study of Iran data started
"The Senate Intelligence Committee has launched what its chairman called a "pre-emptive" examination of U.S. intelligence on Iran as part of an effort to avoid the problems that plagued America's prewar assessments on Iraq."

Directions for Making a Snow Angel

Directions for Making a Snow Angel

I saw this at GirlOnAGlide blog and wanted to share it with my readers.

During inauguration week, I displayed my own snow-angel-making talents for the staff at the hotel where I was staying (near Washington, D.C.). I couldn't help myself! It was on the day of their first big snowfall of the year and the virgin snow was screaming for an angel's impression. I recall instant smiles from strangers when they saw the results of my efforts. Snow angels almost always have that kind of effect on people. That's why I do it!

Directions for Making a Snow Angel:

1. You need snow, the stickier, the better.
2. Flop over backwards.
3. Pretend that you're doing jumping jacks, only while laying down.
4. Never, ever, ever..step into the head of your snow angel when you get up. Ever.

*photo credit:

What Is Your Purpose in Life?

" is never too late to re-make yourself, and a step off the cliff might save you.
I challenge you to find your safety zone and leave it behind in the pursuit of your life in the sun."

What Is Your Purpose in Life?

Sapere Aude, my Zardozz colleague who blogs at Mystical Wanderer, has written about a subject that is universal to all of us. She bares a part of her inner world, drawing upon painful experience to help us see that we are not alone in our search for meaning in this life.

"I've asked myself the same question and I think I've found the answer that satisfies me. And it is that I am here to pursue what I am meant to do, which brings contentment in my life, and if I ignore my truth, I will live a life filled with uncertainty and negativity. And so, I know that my purpose in life is to write, and to help people.
But how do we know what to pursue? Ask yourself, at this very point in your life, are you happy? Is there a long-forgotten dream that you cherish? And if such a dream exists, what's stopping you from pursuing it? Bills? Family? Fear of failure?

..[..].. I believe that when one has reached a certain level of discontent, something has to happen, whether good or bad. But if one ignores the signs, then wrong choices or bad decisions are made, leaving one in a quagmire of boggy malcontent."
I hope you'll read the post in its entirety. It's great food for thought.

*photo credit:

EasonGate Arrives on the Scene

EasonGate Arrives on the Scene

Activists are looking to take down Eason Jordan of CNN. Dan Rather's head is still warm on the stake, and righties are feeling their "Wheaties".

Readers at Little Green Footballs are taking issue with my saying that they are "stalking" CNN and Eason himself.

I only call it as I see it. If the shoe fits, we must learn to wear it without hiding our agendas and acting defensively when we're called on it.

The political downsizing of Trent Lott was a success story for lefties. Was it fair to Senator Lott? Perhaps not. That's life in the fast lane.

My point: Why be ashamed, LGF? If Democrats were nearly as tenacious as you 'mighty righties', FOX News (as we know it) would be history by now. They'd be exposed for the misinformation they spew 24/7. (I'm surprised Brit Hume's head has not yet spun 360 degrees).

I would recommend that blog activists such as those at LGF do not pretend that they're some kind of moral crusaders or that they are the only people who can claim to be on the "side" of America. That's pure, unadulterated horsecrap. We know it. I think most readers at LGF would be surprised once they sat down and listened to what I was saying. I believe they'd be shocked when they came to understand that we shared many of the meaningful values that make us traditionally American - Progressive values such as truth, honesty, respect, openness, empathy, compassion, strong protection, fair and equal treatment, and fulfillment in life.

I would ask such activists, while they go after the journalists, why they fail to call upon our government to be accountable for the many known lies that they have told us. Freedom to do so is a traditional and important American value. Read a bit of Thomas Jefferson's writings and you will not be able to disagree.

When I compare:

1. Eason Jordan's comments that journalists have been targeted by military
2. Myriad public comments by the Bush administration which caused the military to go to war on the wings of lies in the first place..

Well - I can think of far bigger "gates" to pry open. You don't see Bushgate because many of you protect the ones in the secretive, lying, and tremendously inept administration who have breached the Constitutionally-sacred trust of Americans. The breach of that trust has damaged the national interest. While a small majority of voters carried Bush in November's (forever-dubious) Ohio election, half of America and the entirety of the world community has lost trust in the integrity of his administration. Like falling dominos, this will have many unexpected consequential implications for the future of America's strength and respect in world diplomacy. It will remain this way as long as this administration haphazardly wields its messianic foreign policy.

Rightwing activists: In your own nation, open government and democracy are dying, and you are only a part of that destruction when you become fearful to question the ones who tell you that freedom is paramount as they systematically remove your freedoms.

Do any of you care where an unaccounted-for $9 billion of your tax dollars dedicated to Iraq funds have gone? Where is the "$9 Billion Dollargate"? I'll tell you where it is. Nowhere on your particular agenda.

I'll bet the egotistical media will spend more time navel-gazing than reporting the truth about matters material to the most meaningful national interests. When you hear people say that the mainstream media seems as if they are in league with the American right-wing on the issues they choose to report, this is how it happens.

A final message to LGF readers: You are the kind of people I'd love to have on my side of the issues. I don't appreciate your focus, however. If your intent is a healthy and strong America, you should focus, as a group, on why so many Americans are expecting a modicum of truth, honesty, openness, and integrity from our government. Without jumping to false conclusions. Perhaps, after a while, you'll start asking yourselves.


"..Jordan said something in a public on-the-record forum that he clearly regretted saying. There are really two questions here: First, what did he really say? That's going to get cleared up soon enough. The second more interesting question is: what does he really believe? Clearly he is frustrated and angry at the way in which the U.S. military deals with (or fails to protect) non-embedded journalists in Iraq. Why? Does his anger and frustration have any justification? Is the source of his problem the behavior of individual soldiers on the ground who happen to hate MSM because they think it's anti-military? Or is the source of his problem more systemic and part of a policy - spoken or unspoken - coming from the top?.."

-- Rebecca MacKinnon, from an interview with Hugh Hewitt

*Thanks to Powerpundit for posting this interview, which first appeared on Powerline.

UPDATE 2: Jay Rosen weighs in at Press Think.

Best New Blog: Chief Blogging Officer

Best New Blog: Chief Blogging Officer

I highly recommend it. Get there!

MIA in Iraq funds: $9 Billion US Taxpayer dollars!

"Wake up, America!
Your democracy is disappearing!"

--Congressman Dennis Kucinich
see link

MIA in Iraq:
$9 Billion U.S. Taxpayer Dollars