Saturday, June 24, 2006

Swiftboating Murtha

They're at it again. This time it's Murtha. Taylor Marsh is on it:

It began yesterday and kept on rolling when I was directed to yet another vile spewing Republican anti-veteran blog.


The Repukes are gearing up to disparage Murtha and his service. We have to do all we can to fight back against it. Especially the vet-bloggers.

Trapping morons

Spot on from Steve Soto:

I want to follow up on the "Dumb Terrorists" story from yesterday, and an exchange I had with Bagley of all people in the comments thread from yesterday. Bagley's point, as I understand it, was that these types of investigations and prosecutions are just as valuable if they stop dummies like these guys because it may prevent killings. Fair enough, but five years after 9/11, billions of dollars wasted and my privacy thrashed, all in the name of protecting me from terrorists here at home, I was hoping for a little more from our government tha[n] entrapping morons whose only link to Al Qaeda was through federal informants and agents who lied to them. We admitted as much yesterday when the Justice Department stated they stopped this case as soon as they had enough to prosecute these guys not for actually being tied to Al Qaeda, (which they weren't except for our phony informant) but for being stupid and sounding like they were wannabes. [my em]


Like "The Daily Show", only without the humor...

Pensito Review:

TVNewser is reporting scuttlebutt that the Fox News Channel is prepping a satiric news show to compete with Comedy Central's "The Daily Show, with Jon Stewart." According to the TV news blog on the Media Bistro website, the host of the show is radio talk show host and professional Clinton-hater, Laura Ingraham:

But seriously, to be a conservative means being born missing a funny bone, a handicap that renders them unable to perceive irony. Besides, as defenders of the status quo, it is the role of the rightwing to be the targets of satire. When they try to turn it around and take aim at the liberal establishment, they inevitably start taking potshots at minority groups or women, opening them up to charges of racism, homophobia and paternalism. As comedy goes, they might get away with it - if only it were funny.

Time will only tell whether Laura Ingraham is our next Jon Stewart - or just another Tucker Carlson flaming out in slo-mo on cable news.

I know which way the smart money is going on that one! In all fairness, as opposed to Ingraham, at least Tucker the Twit is cute!

There's nothing funny about wingnuttery and "right-wing comedian" is an oxymoron. I mean, look at Dennis Miller since he drank the Kool-aid - a really insightful funnyman gone down the shitter. The truly funny part is that they've lost what's left of their minds enough to even consider something like this. You can't make a funny silk purse out of a humorless dried-up old sow's ass.

Bushstapo versus the Laughable Bozos

Geez, that title sounds like a coupla Mexican tag-team wrestlers, or maybe some comic-book characters, huh? OpEd News:

Most of the mainstream media ignored the important news and fell for the bait the Bushstapo threw them. It was a brilliant day for media manipulation and spin for Karl Rove.

Yesterday two major news developments emerged. The important one was that the CIA has spied upon millions of financial transactions, which is outrageous evidence of further abuses of power by the Bush administration. They are throwing the constitution down the toilet.

But Bush's team masterfully played the media, almost totally wiping the real story off the front pages, dropping it to minor news on TV, by electing to arrest, using major entrapments, a group of silly, incompetent misfits, who might have had fantasies of being terrorists.

The reason this ragtag band of bozos was arrested was because the Bush administration needed a cover for the real news that was leaked, to the great consternation of Dick Cheney, that Bush and his people were doing even more spying in another area of our lives.

If we look at the terrorists who the Bush administration has arrested and prosecuted so far, they have two characteristics in common; most are eventually released for lack of an iota of evidence, and the ones who are held are idiots or nut jobs-- not a hardened, tough, serious terrorist among them-- NOT ONE!!

Tragically, these "terrorists" are being used by the Bushstapo to act as a foil for their further assaults on the constitution and American rights to privacy. This "terrorist arrest" was massively orchestrated with the mainstream media, with talking head experts on Terrorism jumping through hoops to describe how safe the targets are, how brilliant the arrest was.

The Progressive Daily Beacon weighs in as well:

What then, is the "more" aspect of America's latest terror-scare? The more aspect is to convince Americans that their government really, really, really needs to spy on them. Never mind the country is overflowing with these bungling buffoon-type -- if not outright mentally ill -- anti-government groups. Never mind that this particular group of people couldn't blow their noses if their brains were nuclear warheads -- be AFRAID America! Domestic terrorists lurk behind EVERY corner. Or, in this case, and for all the world to see, stand guard wearing ninja outfits.

All this, of course, fits in with the Rove election-year 2006 game plan: America and all Americans need to be AFRAID -- VERY AFRAID! The new big threat to their security isn't the guy Bush can't catch -- Usama bin-Laden and his al-Qaeda terror network -- because he is bogged down in Iraq, while the Taliban moves to retake Afghanistan. No, the REAL threat to EVERY American is a group of seven seemingly mentally ill and highly delusional "homegrown" terrorists and others just like them. People so simpleminded, unlike bin-Laden, that Bush and Rove can manufacture the ways and means to capture them.

The timing of this story, too, just happens to come as the administration has, again, been caught illegally infringing on civil liberties. This time -- spying on the peoples financial dealings.

In its entirety America, that is what this latest terror-scare is all about. Election year politics to be sure, but more than that: An excuse to justify you surrendering more of your civil liberties. Surrender them now, so Bush and Rove can keep you safe from seven, by all indications, mentally ill people in Miami. Seven people who -- yes, all seven of them -- were going to invade America through a ground invasion.

"Election-year politics". That says it all.

Sorry, Turdblossom - I ain't wettin' my pants on command. Your 'base' might still do it, but even that's doubtful this time. You better come up with something a lot spookier than that come October.

Weltmeisterschaft '06

It's only the 14th minute and Germany is already winning 2 - 0 over the Swedes. I'm timing this close because I have to be at LaGuardia by 2:00 to get the Mrs. She was supposed to be home last night at Long Island MacArthur but got socked in by the weather in Columbus, OH. It wouldn't do to be late ...


36th minute and Sweden has lost a man to penalties.


53rd minute, Sweden misses a penalty kick. Just talked to Mrs. F. She's on the plane and it's leaving on time.


85th minute. The German crowd is starting to sing. When my people sing en masse you can bet lots of alcohol is involved. I know the litte town of Hauenstein will be rocking tonight.



Germany - 2

Sweden - 0

I gotta run!!!!


Got to LaGuardia just as the Mrs. was coming out of the terminal with her luggage. Whew ... Tossed her in the car and took off. Have I ever told you how much I hate driving in Queens?


Argentina - Mexico was a great game as well. Argentina - Germany on Friday should be a classic.

Pic thanks to these guys. An article about how the Germans are running this World Cup with some eye candy thrown in. [Not work or kid safe]

Well ...

One producer of crap TV shows gone ... Can any more of you take the hint, especially those who make those 'reality shows'?


Just a note since some have asked. I combined the Hadji Girl piece into one post to make it easier to link to.

I wonder ...

When this will become popular among the Christo-fascist Jesus freaks in this country? I mean, they're all about protecting their daughters' honor until marriage, right?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Must be German* ...

This post hits home because the Mrs. and I have made a hobby of dining in good restaurants. Thankfully, it seems we know the rules.

*One of my mother's favorite sayings was "they should be put up against the wall and shot". Great thanks to Athenae for the link.

Net Neutrality

It's crunch time, everybody. Go see Froggy to learn what you can do to protect our rights.

Psst....yeah you......follow me below the fold....

Living Democracy.

Kinky's on the ballot! Yay!

Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram

AUSTIN -- Independent gubernatorial candidates Kinky Friedman and Carole Keeton Strayhorn submitted enough voter signatures to get their names on the Nov. 7 ballot, the Texas secretary of state announced Thursday.

With the certification of 137,154 signatures for Friedman and 108,512 for Strayhorn, the race for governor begins in earnest. The independent candidates needed 45,540 signatures apiece to appear on the ballot with incumbent Republican Rick Perry, Democrat Chris Bell and Libertarian James Werner.

Friedman said that Texans are fed up with Republicans and Democrats.

"Not one but two viable independent candidates have made the ballot for the first time in nearly 150 years," said Friedman, an author and country western singer. "This tells us what we've long suspected: the two-party system has failed our state."

Hey, Kinkster - they've failed everybody. Texas was easy for them to fail in.

"We have a guy [Friedman] who is a trained comic, and who actually gives liberties to everybody else," said Kronberg, editor of the online Quorum Report. "Because Kinky is so quick to quip, suddenly everybody else has to be more graphic and more titillating. ... But Kinky is always going to be more scandalous and more outrageous."

That's OK. Politics is no stranger to scandal and outrage. At least Kinky's funny about it.

I'm glad he got more signatures than Snotty McClellan's mom...

Holy Joe is toast!

Think Progress (Video & transcript)

Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter appeared on Fox News this afternoon to discuss the war in Iraq. Coulter derided the lawmakers who have called for a redeployment strategy from Iraq, questioning whether "FDR [had] to deal with this during World War II." She argued that the only type of politician she "admires" is someone like Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) because he "does want to defend America and fight the war on terrorism." Lieberman has argued "our troops must stay" in Iraq.

Yo, Joey, ya lay down with dogs, ya get up with fleas! God only knows what you'd get up with if ya lay down with Coulter! Looks like an endorsement from the He-Bitch, so far.

I hope Joey's got his head in his hands wondering what he did wrong to deserve that!

Sometimes I have an awful hard time doing this with a straight face!

Seattle librarians push for Bush ouster

The Seattle Times

These are not the stereotypical librarians of the olden days, the ones who were a bit reserved but ready with a glare for anyone talking too loudly.

Instead, the employees of the Seattle Public Library have passed a resolution through their local union calling for President Bush to resign or be impeached because of the USA Patriot Act, the Iraq war and a host of other issues.

It's a resolution that doesn't mince words, and it will be introduced at the annual conference of the American Library Association that begins today in New Orleans.

At this moment, I think Bush must be seeking reassurance from Kim Jong-Il that his missile can reach Seattle!

It's Bush's war, not ours

A BuzzFlash Guest Editorial:

The position to take is that it's not America's war at all. The issue is that it's George Bush's war. His own, personal, private obsession.

So much so that he was scheming and plotting for years, even before 9/11, to have that war. Then, after 9/11, he lied and misled us, he used members of his administration to lie and mislead, in order to convince both the congress and the American people to have that war.

Once he had the war, he and his people planned it ineptly and executed it disastrously.

It's his ineptitude and his disaster.

The Republicans will try, as they have in the past, to claim that it's everyone's war. That the Senate and House voted for it.

Fact #1 is that's not literally true. The war powers bill voted to allow the president to go to war without coming back to them if he determined that Saddam was an actual threat and there was no way short of invasion to deter that threat. There were ways. He didn't employ them. He avoided them. And went to war instead.

Fact #2 is they did so under false pretenses.

It's George Bush's war. It's not America's.

If he can win it, great. So far, George Bush has been losing it. That's right, so far George Bush has been losing George Bush's war. Not the army, not the liberals, not the media. Like Frank Sinatra, he got to do it his way.

After we accept that it was his war -- and that he lost it -- then America, led by someone better, can step forward and apologize on his behalf.

That's not cutting and running. That's America, taking the high road, to make up for someone else's mistake.

It's not really even a war anymore, is it? Bush won that. The boy doesn't know to quit when he's ahead, I guess.

The failed occupation will be all his, too.

Some new terms I saw today are "Iraqmire" and "Staying and Failing". I like 'em!

Lamont Tapped To "Take It Back"

An article about a David Sirota/Ned Lamont get-together in the New Haven Independent:

The last time New Haven saw Ned Lamont, he was rousing a ballroom of blogheads at the Omni Hotel. In the much quieter setting of a Chapel Street bookstore Wednesday, the candidate for U.S. Senate joined author David Sirota in an effort to take back the word "mainstream" from incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman.

Afterward, Ned fled (to later return), Sirota sold books, and campaign staffers sold the connection between the book's call and Ned's answer. "David's book helped define the driving issue of this campaign: The importance of a change agent being elected," said campaign chief Tom Swan.

Go where ya gotta go to get heard, Ned, whether it's a book promo or a goat ropin'. Do they have those in Connecticut?

Bush Promotes Iraq Insurgency by Supporting Hungarian Revolt Against Soviets


In Hungary on Thursday, President Bush gave a speech comparing the 1956 Hungarian Revolution with his war in Iraq. Few people have accused Bush of knowing much about history, but one might have hoped his writers would have at least looked up the revolt on the internet before making such an absurd analogy. Followed through, Bush is actually advocating the insurgency against our troops.

Oh boy! This time, we get to be the Soviets! They stayed in Hungary for 33 years after putting down the revolt.

Bush is either as dumb as we think he is or he's trying to tell us something. Or both.


How can the National Rifle Association be considered a legitimate organization anymore? This sickens me. I'm going to work.

Friday Cattle Dog Blogging

Just because I didn't feel like chasing her around this morning I dug out this baby pic. The Princess was only about 3 months old here.

Maybe I'm wrong ...

But why does this sound like they busted a buncha idiots with more bravado than brains?

(Miami -WABC, June 22, 2006) - A federal law enforcement official said seven people were arrested Thursday night in connection with a plot to attack the Sears Tower in Chicago as well as other buildings in the United States, including an FBI office in Miami.


Somehow, I don't think we would have even heard about this were it not an election year.


Shakes raises the point:


Why can't our president learn how to respectfully refer to foreign dignitaries in public?! Honestly! If I were tasked with introducing, or even speaking about Bush, in a public appearance, in his presence, I would refer to him by his proper and appropriate title, no matter how much I wanted to call him a stupid fucking jackass!


Pauly hits it too:


At the risk of destroying my own spirit, I too would introduce that insufferable manchild as "The President of the United States" in public -- assuming there was no way I could escape performing the task...

I'll just give an example. I am on a first name basis with most of the small businesspeople on the Avenue where I work. Some I've known for close to 20 years. That said, there is a matter of courtesy and respect. When not speaking privately with them, especially in their own establishments, I address them by Mr., Mrs., Ms., etc. I'm on a first name basis with my dentist but I never address him as 'Steve' when I see him on the street or in his office.

It's a matter of respect for what my fellow small businesspeople have achieved and their place in the community. I guess the whole concept of respect is lost on Preznit Uncultured Dolt.

Thursday, June 22, 2006



The national science academies of 67 countries warned parents and teachers to ensure that they did not undermine the teaching of evolution or allow children to be taught that the world was created in six days.


And ya gotta see the cartoon too.

Surrender with honor ...

An interesting post on an honorable way out of our Occupation of Iraq.

There's no such thing ...

As global warming:

Yeah, just forget that global warming nonsense, now that the National Research Council has concluded that the Earth is the warmest it has been in at least 400 years. The council also slapped down industry-subsidized skeptics of global warming, and stated that much of the recent warming is the result of human activity, something that Cowboy George still disbelieves to this day, thinking instead that Mother Nature has been warming the globe. [my em]


Tell me, do any of you believe those commercials the oil companies put out showing just how concerned they really are? Yes, I believe Shell, BP, Exxon/Mobil, and the rest want to put themselves out of business so badly.

Santorum signs own death warrant...

...Politically, that is! Whee! Desperation'll make ya say stupid shit, huh? AlterNet:

Sen Rick Santorum (R-Pa) and Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) held a press conference yesterday to announce that weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq, only to have their claims flatly disavowed by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Santorum and Hoekstra were talking about the degraded and inoperable remnants of Saddam's pre-1991 chemical weapons program that are turning up at various sites around Iraq. Their allegations are based on the U.S. government's own Iraq Survey Group. The very same report convinced President Bush that Iraq did not have WMD.

The DOD flatly disavowed the Congressmen's WMD claims. ThinkProgress: "Fox News' Jim Angle contacted the Defense Department who quickly disavowed Santorum and Hoekstra's claims. A Defense Department official told Angle flatly that the munitions hyped by Santorum and Hoekstra are "not the WMD's for which this country went to war."

I had Hardball on in the other room, so I don't know exactly which talking head said this, but he got a big laugh out of it: "Well, you wouldn't want to walk up and hit 'em with a hammer, but WMD they ain't!"

I woulda posted this earlier, but it took my keyboard a few minutes to dry out!


Jane Hamsher's mother passed away this afternoon.Fortunately,Jane has been with her since she fell ill several days ago,and was by her Mom's side when she passed.Go show her some love.

They're closin' in on ya, Fixer...

Houston Chronicle

The U.S. Army, aiming to make its recruiting goals amid the Iraq war, raised its maximum enlistment age by another two years Wednesday.

People can now volunteer to serve in the active-duty Army or the part-time Army Reserve and National Guard up to their 42nd birthday, officials said.

"Part-time" Reserve and Guard? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Older recruits must pass the same physical standards and medical examination as younger ones, the Army said. However, those between 40 and 42 will face additional cardiovascular screening, Bobick said.

When they get to recruitin' guys my age, the docs'll need earplugs to quiet down the wheezin'!

Operation Helmet

I am chagrined that I didn't hear about this until very recently, and didn't get the whole picture until yesterday evening while watching the gorgeous, sexy Anderson Cooper - er, that should have been Cher, on Andy's show!

What the deal is, is this outfit sends helmet upgrade kits to Marines and other servicemen in the combat zones. The padding kits "keep the head from becoming a clanger inside a kevlar bell", to use their words, and help prevent Traumatic Brain Injuries which are of high incidence during this occupation due to rockets going off next to your head and flying chunks of metal from IEDs clangin' inta yer gourd, etc. The Army has adopted the system, but the Air Force, Navy, and particularly the cheap-ass Marine Corps have not. The Corps says it "must study" the idea. Well, listen up, Jarheads, ya got the perfect laboratory in Iraq and Afghanistan!

I will donate* the cost of a Marine upgrade kit, which is $71. It's a lot for me, but doodly-squat if a saves a life.

Please go to and click around for all the details and info on contributing.

I hope some of you former military bloggers will pick up on this and post about it as well.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to e-mail your Senators about having these services adopt the upgrade without delay, either. And while you're at it, write to the Commandant of the Marine Corps and tell him that Corporal Gordon thinks he's a cheap shit if he doesn't start testing these things under actual combat conditions right away. He's at

General Michael W. Hagee
3000 Marine Corps
Pentagon 4B548
Washington DC 20350-3000

Lemme know what he says! I'll be under my bed...


The check's in the mail. No, really...

"Occupation, Not War" part deux

Rob Kall of OpEdNews follows up on my yesterday's post:

Every Democratic legislator should be, if necessary, electro-shock trained to never use the term "war" to describe the disaster in Iraq. It's an occupation, a horror story, a testimony to vast incompetence and failed leadership.

And let's dump the "war on terrorism" language too. This language, invented by right wing language gurus, is misleading and only causes us to pursue useless efforts.

You can fight terrorism. You can fight drug abuse. You can put together resources to fight cancer. But when it comes to groups spread across the the planet, in many countries, you can't declare war. You might have skirmishes. But you need to think of different kinds of strategies, more like the ones used to take on organized crime-- the Mafia, Columbian drug smugglers.

The stupid, politically motivated mislabelling of the problem as a war has caused us to waste thousands of US lives tens of thousands of Iraqi lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. Bush and his rubber-stamp republican liars and fools (one, the other or both) have idiotically taken us down a path that has no hope of resolving the problem of terrorism.

Democrats who gullibly continue to use the languaging that the Republican spinmeisters crafted to frame things to meet their political needs are being duped and helping the Republicans. The Democrats must take control of the language "war." They must refuse to respond to journalist questions that use that framing.

Let the media attend. Let them learn and understand how the right wing language experts have been using them, so they can tell the difference between being real reporters and media dupes of the right wing. Some media people will continue to use the right wing "language" since they're part of the right wing echo chamber team. Some will see what's really going on and start functioning as real, independent journalists. It will be interesting to see which "journalists" actually "get it."

Journalists? Getting it? Don't hold your breath. The ones who are going to 'get it' at this point mostly already have, but there may be more when some of 'em figure out how badly they've been used, or worse, that they were played for fools and went along with it. Nobody likes being thought of as a fool, even fools. Revenge is a wonderful motive.

Please read the rest of the piece. It was hard to restrain myself from quoting it whole. I think to re-label the war for what it is - occupation - is the best idea to come down the pike in quite a while.

The Repubs are brilliant at exactly one thing: using our language to lie to us, aka piss on yer leg an' tell ya it's rainin'. They've figured out that "simple messages for simple minds" gets them re-elected, even if, no, especially if, they're untrue but sound moral, patriotic, etc. The Repubs play their constituency for fools, and why not? They're suckers, and it works.

What the Dems have to realize is that they have to shitcan the "complex messages on complex issues for rational, reality-based, thinking minds" and come up with a way to condense the truth into a "simple message" aka a "catch phrase" for everybody else.

Phony Charges Dropped

Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON - The Falun Gong follower who heckled Chinese President Hu Jintao at a White House ceremony has reached a deal with prosecutors under which all charges against her will be dropped, her attorney announced Wednesday.

Wang Wenyi faced a misdemeanor charge of intimidating, coercing, threatening and harassing a foreign official for interrupting the April 20 event in which President Bush welcomed Hu to the White House. She could have faced six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Heh. I don't think they have the actual statute Bush wanted her charged with - "Daring to Embarass the Monarch" - on the books yet, but I'm sure the White House is working to correct that.

Wang, 47, said she is prohibited from confronting any foreign officials over the next year. The case will be continued until then, and if she has not committed any felonies - including confronting foreign officials - the charges will be dropped, said Channing Phillips, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office.

While you may think the deal is an abrogation of her 1st Amendment rights, it's really not. The only cause she has is against the Chinese leadership for their horrid treatment of Falun Gong practitioners, and she won't get within a country mile of any of them in this country ever again. She made her point, and they let her slide on the phony charges. The real crime would have been to prosecute her and they knew it.

Hamas to Recognize Israel's Right to Exist

The Guardian (UK)

Hamas has made a major political climbdown by agreeing to sections of a document that recognise Israel's right to exist and a negotiated two-state solution, according to Palestinian leaders.

There's a lot more to it, of course, since a lot of Palestinians still don't agree, and I have no idea what actual impact it will have, but it's a step in the right direction.


Had to drop the Mrs. at the airport and I'm late for work. Speaking of work, why must you people watch me?

It's so comforting ...

That in 21st Century America, an American citizen can be locked up indefinitely, without charge, just because the Preznit says so. America in name only.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Well, pack my ass with gunpowder...

I find this over at Jo Fish's place:

NASA managers have rejected last-ditch pleas from their top safety officer and chief engineer to scrap next month's shuttle launch, saying that they will press ahead despite potentially catastrophic risks.

The head of the US space agency, Dr Michael Griffin, overruled warnings that there was a "relatively high" chance the shuttle's external fuel tank could shed some of its solid foam coating when it launches on 1 July, carrying seven crew including Briton Piers Sellers, an Edinburgh University graduate.


Um ... And the crew is all right with this? I don't mind putting my ass on the line for my country, but if you're asking me to go on a suicide mission, the Commies better be marching up Pennsylvania Avenue. I don't think trying to distract the American people from the horror in Iraq or the corruption at home qualifies.

Joe-mentum ... not

According to the new SUSA tracking poll, Lieberman's approval/disapproval among Democrats is now in negative territory for the first time ever at 46/50, sinking 10 points since last month:


Heh ... Ned!

Great thanks to Atrios.

Fans drop trou at World Cup


Around 1,000 fans arrived for the Ivory Coast tie in their traditional bright orange trousers - but bearing the logo and name of a Dutch brewery.

To protect the rights of the official beer they were denied entry, so the male fans promptly removed the trousers and watched the game in underpants.

Please, Lord, don't let this happen at the Superbowl! Americans show their brand loyalty on T-shirts. Acres of fat, hairy, pasty white beer bellies... (runs away screaming)

"Molest a child for Bush!"

From The Monitor (McAllen, TX), which is somewhere in the depths of the Rio Grande Valley:

EDINBURG - Political consultant and ad producer Carey Lee Cramer is expected to testify today defending himself against charges he sexually molested two young girls.

Cramer, who gained national notoriety with an anti-Al Gore commercial in 2000, is facing several counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Cramer's commercial showed a young girl picking daisy petals and ends with a nuclear blast, a remake of a 1964 ad by Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson's campaign against Republican Barry Goldwater. Cramer's ad made national news, though he refused to identify who financed the commercial. One of the girls in the ad stands as his accuser now.

I'm sure part of his defense will be, "Well, at least he isn't a homo!"

Gotta love them Republican 'moral values'!

Reclaim the Issues - "Occupation, Not War"

Common Dreams

Every time the media - or a Democrat - uses the phrase "War in Iraq" they are promoting one of Karl Rove's most potent Republican Party frames.

There is no longer a war against Iraq.

Our military machine is tremendously good at fighting wars - blowing up infrastructure, killing opposing armies, and toppling governments. We did that successfully in Iraq, in a matter of a few weeks. We destroyed their army, wiped out their air defenses, devastated their Republican Guard, seized their capitol, arrested their leaders, and took control of their government. We won the war. It's over.

What we have now is an occupation of Iraq.

The distinction between "war" and "occupation" is politically critical for 2006 because wars can be won or lost, but occupations most honorably end by redeployments.

If Democrats can succeed over the next three months in making it clear to average Americans that the "War In Iraq" ended in 2003, and that we're now engaged in an "Occupation Of Iraq," then Democratic suggestions to end or greatly diminish the occupation will take on a resonance and cogency that will both help them in an election year, and help to bring our soldiers to safety and Iraq to stability.

On the other hand, if Democrats are perceived as pushing for America to "lose the war in Iraq," they will be vilified and damned by Republicans and many swing voters, and could thus lose big in 2006.

If the Democrats don't shift the discussion from "war" to "occupation," the Republicans will succeed in painting them as being "in favor of losing a war," which will destroy their electoral possibilities.

Instead, every time a Republican or a member of the press uses the Rove slogan "War in Iraq," Democrats need to correct them by saying, "You mean the Occupation of Iraq..."

I'm going to start doing that myself. We need to end the occupation and didi out of there as soon as possible. Also, in addition to "Lie and Die", we need another short, simple, bumper sticker-length, yet true (unlike the Republicans') talking point to help get our Nation back from the war criminal elite. Go read the article.

Probe Finds Iraqi Troops Killed Two American Soldiers

AP via KABC(L.A.)

SAN FRANCISCO. June 20, 2006 - Two California soldiers shot to death in Iraq were murdered by Iraqi civil-defense officers patrolling with them, military investigators have found.

The deaths of Army Spc. Patrick R. McCaffrey Sr. and 1st Lt. Andre D. Tyson were originally attributed to an ambush during a patrol near Balad, Iraq, on June 22, 2004.

But the Army's Criminal Investigation Division found that one or more of the Iraqis attached to the American soldiers on patrol fired at them, a military official said Tuesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the military did not plan to release the report until Wednesday.

Soldiers who witnessed the attack have told her that two Iraqi patrolmen opened fire on her son's unit. The witnesses also said a third gunman simultaneously drove up to the American unit in a van, climbed onto the vehicle and fired at the Americans, she said.

"Nothing is clear. Nothing is clear," she said. Her son was shot eight times by bullets of various calibers, some of which penetrated his body armor, she said. She believes he bled to death.

"I really want this story to come out; I want people to know what happened to my son," she said. "There is no doubt to me that this (ambushes by attached Iraqi units) is still happening to soldiers today, but our chain of command is awfully reckless; they don't seem to give a damn about what's happening to soldiers."

It must be a strange feeling to go on patrol knowing someone's probably gonna shoot at you, but not knowing exactly which way to point your rifle.

Since we've trained over 260,000 Iraqi trigger pullers of various types, I think they've been 'stood up'. It's time for us to 'stand down'. Now. Let 'em fight their own goddam fight and let the chips fall where they may. Let 'em kill each other instead of our guys.

I've said this before and you just know I'm about to say it again: Fuck Iraq. The whole goddam sand pile isn't worth one drop of American blood. Our guys joined up to defend America, not Iraq.

Our troops are being injured and killed, and our coffers are being plundered, in the service of lying criminals, corporate profiteers, and satanic Hitlerian cryptochristofascist ideologues. Notice how I didn't say 'crimes, profits, or ideology'? This is not about ideas or philosophy. It's about the evil PEOPLE who espouse them.


They're reactivating my old unit!

PRESS RELEASE -- Secretary of the Air Force, Office of Public Affairs

Release No. 010606
June 20,2006


Because of historical lineage, the 16th Special Operations Wing flag will transition to Cannon, and Hurlburt Field will regain its designation as the 1st Special Operations Wing.


Hurlburt Field will continue as the headquarters of Air Force Special Operations Command and will also be the home of the 1st Special Operations Wing.


It means a lot to us who were there at the beginning, when Air Force Special Operations became something more than just search and rescue and a 'transport' service.

Sorry, couldn't find a link and I have to go to work. Got this via email from DefenseLink.

The party of 'moral values'...

... noting that three of the top potential Republican candidates are admitted adulterers...

So, how do the Jesus freaks square their consciences with this? Oh that's right, it's okay if they've announced their devotion to Jesus. You know, I'm tired of hearing about God. I don't care whose god it is, Muslim, Jew, Christian, just shut the fuck up already. If you want to prove your devotion, speak through your actions. All the rest is bullshit and it's coming in like the high tide.

Oh thank God ...

Jenna and not-Jenna are safe...

See ya's ... revisited

TOKYO, June 20 -- Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced today that he will withdraw 550 troops from Iraq, ending a landmark mission that became Tokyo's largest military-related operation since World War II.

On Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced that Iraqi troops would take over security next month around the southern city of Samawah, where the Japanese and other forces are stationed. Officials here have repeatedly said that the Japanese -- whose withdrawal has been anticipated for months -- had been awaiting that decision before finalizing withdrawal plans.


Can ya still call it a coalition when everybody but the Brits, Aussies, and us has packed up and gone home? The Aussies will be out just after their next round of elections, and the only one in Britain who wants their troops in Iraq is Tony Blair.

For all those people who called me an asshole for predicting this war would be just like Vietnam; when does it begin to not look like Vietnam? Or, do we have to have close to 60,000 dead before you people will agree that it does?

Big tip o' the Brain to our pal Scout Prime.

Good on Big John

While I badger John Kerry from time to time, mainly because he didn't stand up to the Swiftboaters, he would still have made a far better President than Dumbya. He also has the right idea. C&L has an excerpt from his appearance on that old, rotting, lizard-skinned idiot Imus' show:

Kerry: No, what it does is provide the only opportunity for success. Stay the course is not a plan. And what this administration wants is to have a fake debate, as usual. There, there, you hear the drumbeat on every television show from every commentator, cut and run, cut and run, cut and run, cut and run. That's their phrase.

They've found their three words, they love to do that, and they're gonna try to make the elections in November a choice between "cut and run" or "stay the course." That's not the choice. My plan is not "cut and run." Their plan is "lie and die." And that's what they're doing...Our plan is very simple. It's re-deploy to win the war on terror. Change to succeed...

The distinguished junior senator from Massachusetts is absolutely right. It's time we start pushing this meme.

Republican plan for Iraq = Lie and Die

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Germany - 3

Ecuador - 0

Mrs. F was kind enough to tape the game and I watched it after I got home from work. They won their group and it's on to the next round. I'm sure my family is still partying. Nobody's going to work tomorrow over there, that's for sure.

Murtha v. Rove

The Smirking Chimp

At least the battle lines are drawn and clear. It's Jack Murtha vs. Karl Rove. They are the front men who represent the moral and political choices the American people will make in the 2006 elections.

Pennsylvania congressman Murtha is an authentic and sincere man who knows the horrors of war firsthand. The former Marine put his own life at risk in Vietnam, where he was wounded and decorated. Murtha is calling for a new course in Iraq, a change in direction that will save the lives of countless Iraqis and American troops.

Rove is the supreme cynic, the total utilitarian. He believes in nothing and craves only power. Rove is nakedly amoral, a perfect reflection of the men he serves. When the Vietnam War came his way, Rove chose to duck and dodge, cut and run. He is a physical coward who shamelessly uses the lives of Americans dying in Iraq to slur his political opponents.

We are seeing a dress rehearsal of the Busheviks' fall campaign, another grab-bag of lies. They will do anything to retain control of Congress as they continue on the path of unobstructed destruction of the ideals our nation once stood for.

These serial criminals and career incompetents fear the very thought of one house of Congress with subpoena powers that would compel them to testify under oath. The vile Rove knows George W. Bush's presidency, his ultimate political dirty trick, will be exposed as the corrupt fraud it is.

No presidency in memory has had such a compliant, loyal and acquiescent bunch of lap dogs in Congress. The White House raids the Treasury and gives the lard-ass Republicans on Capitol Hill all the pork-barrel projects they want. In return, GOP lawmakers let the White House get away with murder -- literally.

During the Vietnam War, Rove managed to get a series of student deferments as he jumped from college to college confusing the local draft boards. Rove was usually working on political campaigns and not attending classes as a full-time student as his deferments required. He dodged the draft, but never got a degree. Rove did, however, become a master of deception.

Jack Murtha is an honest, decent man who has served his country honorably as a Marine and member of Congress. He cares deeply about our troops and knows the futility of the conflict in Iraq, which can never be won militarily.

Karl Rove believes in fear and smear. He cares nothing about the morality of the war and the fate of those fighting there. He just wants to win in November.

The American people have a clear choice on the war and our nation's future: Jack Murtha or Karl Rove.

That's about the clearest that point has been made. In the reality-based world, my money's on the Colonel, but Rove's politics have nothing to do with reality.

Why doesn't somebody just punch Rove's lights out - on camera of course. I volunteer.

Semper Fi, Colonel Murtha. I'm with you all the way.

Tell your Senators... support the Kerry-Feingold Act.

Congress at the mid-term

The Drum Major Institute has its report on how Congress voted in terms of the Middle Class. The results aren't too surprising. Extensive site, but if you have the time give it a look-see.

Military's Leadership Crisis Begins With Bush and Rumsfeld

Bob Geiger expands on Fixer's post, a little below this one, about the crisis in military leadership.

But unlike Abu Ghraib, where low-level enlisted personnel were allowed to take the fall, it is vital that we understand that what happened in Haditha, while certainly an atrocity for which the troops involved bear responsibility, was an overarching failure of leadership that goes all the way to the Oval Office.

Which suggests a significant lack of leadership on the part of officers on the ground and, as I think many Americans now believe, at the Defense Department going all the way to the top of the food chain with Donald Rumsfeld. Somehow these Marines thought it had suddenly become a free-for-all, where all bets were off and all rules of conduct were suspended. Ultimately, accountability for that can only be assigned to people in positions of leadership.

Then there's the White House, the Republican-controlled Congress and the Defense Department who started this war, went into it without a plan to win the peace and are responsible for creating a new generation of troops who have endured multiple deployments and undoubtedly operate with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) now and will for a long time to come.

he Republican Congress talks a lot about supporting the troops but has done little to provide the massive funding necessary for the untold number of PTSD cases we will have in our country for a generation. The second part of that GOP one-two punch, is that they've done zero to bring the White House back to reality and to get our troops the hell out of there so we can avoid having young men and women, stretched to the limit on their third and fourth tours in combat. Indeed, they just voted in principle last week to keep our troops there indefinitely.

There is indeed a problem in our military -- but it goes from the top down, not the other way around. It comes from an administration that likes to use men and women in uniform for Bush's public-relations stunt du jour, who started this war on a whim, who offer nothing but "stay the course" to our 130,000 boots on the ground and who appear to advocate keeping our honorable, but worn-out troops in Iraq forever.

The truth is, if George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld wanted to show a fraction of the honor they expect from our troops, they would all do the right thing -- and resign.

Once they resign (fat chance!) they'll be easier to arrest. That would be a good thing.

Bob also goes into the looming and present nightmare of PTSD that will be with our troops for the rest of their lives. Go read.

The Dark Side

The Boston Globe

"Frontline" delivers a devastating look tonight at the efforts of Vice President Dick Cheney to gain control of the war on terror after 9/11. In doing so, the show purports, he compromised the integrity of America's intelligence system.

To many, Cheney is the dark side of the Bush administration, and this program will only cement that judgment. "Frontline" chronicles the brutal campaign by two consummate political in-fighters -- Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld -- to decimate the CIA, politically emasculate Secretary of State Colin Powell, and construct a near-limitless concept of executive power during war. While many of these strands are familiar, they have not been assembled as effectively before on television to present a coherent picture of what happened after 9/11.

"The Dark Side" is, in a sense, CIA payback for its treatment. The program is dominated by legions of former CIA officers, some of whom left over the agency's treatment by the White House, and they detail what they view as Cheney's efforts to find the intelligence to fit the war he wanted against Saddam. Virtually no one, in contrast, appears from the Cheney-Rumsfeld camp to defend the two men's actions.

Probably because their actions are getting more and more indefensible by the day.

Don't miss this show. Get info on showtime at PBS or the "Frontline" link above.

Hadji Girl 4

Okay, this is the last one, basically because thinking about this is keeping me up nights again. Have I mentioned there is a big price to pay for allowing yourself to get in touch with your more baser instincts? It's how I figured out I wasn't a psychopath; those guys can sleep well.

Anyway, I'm talking about leadership today. Or the lack thereof. This struck me this morning:


Russert: If your analysis is not correct, and we're not treated as liberators, but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?

Cheney: Well, I don't think it's likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators.


And that was that. They created a culture around the need to go to war. They made their plans, fixed the intelligence, defiled a genuine relationship that took two centuries to cultivate to give them some legitimacy, and got themselves a war.

The grunts on the ground, who would ultimately do the dirty work, didn't have a say. The flag (Generals and Admirals) officers who did speak up, opposed to the folly, were cashiered or discredited. Opposition was considered traitorous. Those in command positions now are nothing more than 'yes men' for the administration.

So now we have a war run by draft dodgers and incompetents.

Under the auspices of the Global War on Terror (GWOT), we have abdicated our responsibility to treaties signed in good faith by those speaking for the people of the United States. The Geneva Conventions are not quaint or archaic, or a plot by the U.N. to tie America's hands when prosecuting the GWOT. They are in place to protect our soldiers. This is why I talk about taking the high road. The Rude Pundit says it best as only he can:

Chances are, maybe even by the time you read this, the two American soldiers, captured by the Mujahideen Shura Council in Iraq, will be dead, probably in some horrible way, probably with their bodies dumped like all the horribly murdered Iraqis in the blood and gore-strewn landscape that are the markers of Iraqi liberation...


What if we get pictures of the soldiers, nude, cowering, screaming in a corner, shitting themselves on the filthy floors of a makeshift cell, as their captors hold snarling dogs on leashes just out of bite range of the soldiers?

What if we learn that their captors decide that the soldiers can offer intelligence that can be of use to al-Qaeda and, in order to get that information, the captors put the nude soldiers into rooms that are heated to hellish temperatures, followed by rooms that are impossibly cold with colder water tossed onto them? What if the soldiers are made to stand for days on end? Put into stress positions that fuck up their muscles and limbs? Denied sleep? Had loud music played into their cells? Kept in isolation and fed bread and water for days, weeks on end?


And he posits:


And what about the good right-wing punditry? Would Rush Limbaugh look at the photos of the nude, cowering Americans and say it looks like fraternity hazing or some such shit? Would others dismiss it as a media fabrication? Or would they just pathetically overlook everything done in our American names to Iraqis, Afghanis, and others, calling madly for the heads of the captors, not even thinking about the irony of such a statement?


Yes, ladies and germs, what if? Can we take the high road? Of course not. Our leaders say treatment like that is permissible to achieve certain ends. Is it okay for us to do it but not al-Qaeda? We are in no position to protest the treatment of these men, whatever it might be, because we've taken a path no better than those we claim to be so different from. The abuses at Abu Ghraib might have been committed by the grunts, but they were given legitimacy by the leadership.

As I've explained in the first three parts of this little diatribe, and what it seems few people understand, is the guys doing the shooting don't make the decisions. They don't get the whole story, or anything near the truth. They're allowed to listen to Rush, but not Al Franken. They're allowed Fox 'News'. Most of the grunts in Iraq believe Saddam was in cahoots with Osama to pull off 9/11. So anybody who thinks the average soldier has any decision-making ability is fooling themselves. The grunts believe they are doing the right thing. They couldn't do their jobs if they didn't.

When we hear of abuses, crimes against civilians, and general misconduct by our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines, you must remember the military is a tightly controlled organization. When those in the lower ranks act up, or act out, you can almost always trace it back to a permissiveness on the part of the command, be it the local commander, the theater commander, or the Commander in Chief himself.

When I was in, I knew how long my leash was. So did the other guys. We knew what our CO would let us get away with and we generally didn't cross the line. When we did, we paid, usually with really shitty details so we didn't forget exactly where the line was. My CO looked the other way to a lot of our hijinks but no one got hurt.

The line in the GWOT has become very wide and very gray. There is only one reason for that and it's simple. Failure of leadership. A rule of thumb to use is the wider and grayer the line, the higher up in the chain of command the failure goes. A supply sergeant running a black market operation out of Okinawa is a local command failure. Soldiers murdering innocent civilians and torturing prisoners is a failure at the top.

As I've said before, the grunts should pay for what they've done but so should the leadership. I've seen a whole buncha grunts go to jail over the past couple years, but the people who define where the line is have yet to answer for their crimes.

It is why I want more than to see Bush and his cronies out of power, I want them all in jail too.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Bush: America's defender against gay married terrorists

Paul Krugman via The Obfuscation Report.

In case you haven't noticed, modern American politics is marked by vicious partisanship, with the great bulk of the viciousness coming from the right. It's clear that the Republican plan for the 2006 election is, once again, to question Democrats' patriotism.

So what's our bitter partisan divide really about? In two words: class warfare. [...]

But if the real source of today's bitter partisanship is a Republican move to the right on economic issues, why have the last three elections been dominated by talk of terrorism, with a bit of religion on the side? Because a party whose economic policies favor a narrow elite needs to focus the public's attention elsewhere. And there's no better way to do that than accusing the other party of being unpatriotic and godless.

Thus in 2004, President Bush basically ran as America's defender against gay married terrorists. He waited until after the election to reveal that what he really wanted to do was privatize Social Security.

So what should we do about all this? I won't offer the Democrats advice right now, except to say that tough talk on national security and affirmations of personal faith won't help: the other side will smear you anyway.

But I would like to offer some advice to my fellow pundits: facereality. There are some commentators who long for the bipartisan days of yore, and flock eagerly to any politician who looks "centrist." But there isn't any center in modern American politics. And the center won't return until we have a new New Deal, and rebuild our middle class.

This is the line that bears repeating: "There isn't any center in modern American politics."

Thoughts on the 'Khalilzad Cable'

'Just World News' by Helena Cobban

Is the "Khalilzad Cable", the full text of which was published by the WaPo today, the present war's equivalent of the Vietnam War's "Pentagon Papers"?

The "Khalilzad cable", which was sent from Viceroy Khalilzad to Secretary of State Condi Rice just "hours" before the surprise trip that Bush made to Baghdad on June 12, reveals how stunningly unsuccessful all the US's efforts to stabilize Iraq and build effective, pro-US new security forces there have been. Equally significantly, it also reveals the degree to which Zal Khalilzad, the US Viceroy in Baghdad, is aware of this situation-- despite all of Bush's earnest public avowals that things are going ahead very well in Iraq.

That's why it deserves to have the same impact within the US policy elite that the Pentagon Papers had in their day.

So okay, at the next press briefing at the White House or the State Department, let's hear some of those reporters asking the Prez, or Condi, or their flaks: "So really, how are things going in Baghdad? And do you judge that Ambassador Khalilzad is an experienced and well-informed judge of the situation there?"

Yeah, we'll see what kind of 'rug dance' Snow will do.

My judgment from all the above-- assuming the cable as leaked and published is genuine (and I assume the WaPo would have done much to authenticate it before they published it)-- is that things are even more precarious for the US position in Iraq than I had previously thought... It seems to me that Khalilzad and his staff there are hanging on by a hair. And what's more, he seems to understand this-- and to be eager to warn Condi about just how bad things are... And this, apparently even after he'd gotten the good news about the killing of Zarqawi and Maliki's completion of forming his government...

Editor & Publisher weighs in on this as well.

Scout Prime brings up "The Second Cable".

Let's keep our eyes on how this one plays out in days to come. I think things are maybe a lot worse in Iraq than even we cynics think they are.

Start your week with a twisted smile...

Ironic Times

Poll: Americans' Global Image Slips Again
We now rank lower than Libya, but higher than North Korea.

Documents Found With Zarqawi Vindicate Bush
Praise his handling of Iraq, economy, Katrina, Texas Rangers, Harken Energy.

Report: Seventeen Glasses of Beer a Day May Prevent Prostate Cancer
And standing up.

Hadji Girl 3

Since I brought up the realities of combat and the rationale for war yesterday (Hadji Girl, Hadji Girl 2), I'd like to talk this morning about what the guys and girls in the meat grinder have to deal with.

As I've let on, I've seen combat on more than a few occasions. Basically on spec ops missions where we encountered unfriendlies. Grenada was different, but it was more of a spec ops job than a war. And that's what I'm getting at. Yesterday we spoke of the inherent inhumanity of war as it related to the civilians. Today we speak of the troops.

Some smart guy said, many years ago, that war was 'long stretches of boredom interrupted by short stretches of intense terror'. Which is quite probably true. It's this difference I'd like to talk about. The difference between 'war' and an 'operation'. I was on operations. We trained up, were on station for a week or so, took care of business, were debriefed, and then returned to our base. Over, done, put it in the past and prepare for the next.

When we were done, our ladies (or guys, but don't ask, don't tell) were waiting for us. The bar was open and you were back in the bosom of 'family', so to speak. We could decompress, drink, fuck, do whatever we had to in order to forget about the nastiness we just finished dealing with. Trust me, you have to forget, or at least put it in a place where you can deal with it.

The guys in this war don't have that luxury. Not only are they going out to fight, their patrols at constant risk from IED, but they are not safe when they come in from patrols either. They are living in the war zone. A mortar or rocket can ruin their day at any time. They are always on, always up, always juiced. There is no time, no place, for them to decompress fully.

Sex is difficult and in the Mid-East, booze is close to non-existent (black market and officer's tents only ... probably). Oh what? Sex and booze? 'We don't send our troops out to fuck and get drunk', you might say. Well, let me tell ya. They're human beings too and there are only so many ways humans can deal with that kind of stress in a place where their freedom is so limited. A place where personal safety is a very tenuous thing.

In the Air Force when I was in, we had a thing called the 'Golden B-B'. I'm pretty sure it had its origins in Vietnam. It went that there was a bullet with your name on it somewhere. Until you and that bullet met up, you'd be fine, but one day that Golden B-B was gonna get ya. Well, when you live every fucking day looking, waiting, watching for that Golden B-B, you can get a little, if not a lot, crazy. Especially when you know, until you get orders home, that Golden B-B might catch up with you as you lay in your rack, or cot, or bedroll, dreaming about the hottie waiting for you when you get home.

Do that for a year at a time. Then do that year for the second or third time.

Think you'd keep your sanity?

And you wonder why I have no patience for people who talk about war like it's a big fucking game?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Who Supports the Troops?

The Nation is a gold mine today.

The February Le Moyne College/Zogby International survey of U.S. troops serving in Iraq found that 72 percent of them thought the United States end its operations in that country by the end of 2006.

On the day when the 2,500th American died in the Iraq quagmire, the Senate was asked to approve the sentiment of the troops who say that it is time for them to get out of the middle of a foreign civil war.

The vast majority of senators decided to do the bidding of the president who deceived them about the "case" for war and who then played politics with national security and the lives of the young men and women who wear the uniform of the United States.

Only six members of the chamber charged with serving as the ultimate check and balance on the fools' missions of failed presidents chose to support the troops. Boxer, Byrd, Feingold, Harkin, Kennedy and Kerry will, of course, be vilified by Rove regenerated attack machine for having done so. It will be suggested that they sent the wrong message to the troops by voting as they did.

At the end of the day on which the American death toll topped 2,500, however, the only message the six senators sent to the troops was this: We agree with you.

Six. Six who value principle and the lives of our troops above playing along with Rove's charade. The other 93 are despicable partisans or cowards.

Travel Dept.

If you're contemplating a tropical cruise to dodge next winter a little, contemplate this one. Does ecology trump politics and sexual fantasy? I could be a very green pickle in a Molly-and-Katrina sandwich...

Dunkirk in the Desert

Nicholas von Hoffmann: Nightmare Scenario at The Nation.

Is the badly outnumbered American expeditionary force in Iraq in trouble? Is it in danger of being trapped? With all our firepower, are we looking at the possibility of some kind of a military defeat?

We could be moving toward an American Dunkirk. In 1940 the defeated British Army in Belgium was driven back by the Germans to the French seacoast city of Dunkirk, where it had to abandon its equipment and escape across the English Channel on a fleet of civilian vessels, fishing smacks, yachts, small boats, anything and everything that could float and carry the defeated and wounded army to safety.

Obviously, our forces in Iraq will not be defeated in open battle by an opposing army as happened in 1940, but there is more than one way to stumble into a military disaster. Fragmented reports out of Iraq suggest we may be on our way to finding one of them. Defeat can come from overused troops. It does not help that one by one, the remaining members of the Coalition of the Willing give every appearance of sneaking out of town.

The Internet is alive with pessimistic stories and opinions about what may be happening, one of which informs its readers, "Military commanders in the field in Iraq admit in private reports to the Pentagon the war 'is lost' and that the U.S. military is unable to stem the mounting violence killing 1,000 Iraqi civilians a month. Even worse, they report the massacre of Iraqi civilians at Haditha is 'just the tip of the iceberg' with overstressed, out-of-control American soldiers pushed beyond the breaking point both physically and mentally."

The shortage of troops, which three years ago was a restraining factor, has become a potential disaster, with the ever-rising level of hostility to the American presence. To stay the course, to win, to realize our objectives, we need a half-million soldiers to pacify that country. If the force levels remain the same for another year and a half, this small, exhausted and overused American force may become so unglued that staying in Iraq will be come impossible. There may be no choice but retreat.

A half-million pair of boots on the ground can only be gotten by conscription. The chances of reactivating the draft for Iraq are nil. If our political leaders have to choose between a new conscription and risking a defeat, there is no question about what they will do.

Air evacuation would mean abandoning billions of dollars of equipment. There is no seaport troops could get to, so the only way out of Iraq would be that same desert highway to Kuwait where fifteen years ago the American Air Force destroyed Saddam Hussein's army.

Another analogy might be the defeated Wehrmacht leaving Russia in headlong high-speed retreat by the same roads it used to invade. I'd hate to see the same look on U.S. troops' faces as was on those Germans': A combination of despair, exhaustion, and relief.

The Real Security Risk...

Noo Yawk Daily News

After slashing the city's anti-terrorism funds, Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff now apparently thinks angry letters from New Yorkers are the real safety threat.

When a Daily News reporter attempted to deliver scores of messages protesting the cuts to Chertoff's Washington office, he was promptly turned away.

The letters, faxes and printed e-mails "would put all the employees here, including the secretary, at risk," said a Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman when the delivery was attempted Friday.

She cited the 2001 scare caused by anthrax-laced letters.

Chertoff was not in any immediate danger. He was safe in a Moscow hotel during an official visit.

I wish I could make up shit like that!

Good News/Bad News

Will Durst

It's almost dead solid meteorological summer and the crossing of the solstice seems to have inaugurated a season of good news/bad news for George W Bush, the Democrats, Iraq, you, me, pretty much everybody. Allow me to illustrate.

The good news is we've uncovered a new tactic of Al Qaeda: asymmetrical warfare. The bad news is the three guys at Guantanamo Bay who introduced it aren't able to tell us where to send the royalty checks.

The good news is Abu Musag Al Zarkawi is dead. The bad news is 72 virgins in heaven just filed a restraining order.

The good news is Michael Chertoff has determined New York City is without any national monuments and therefore safe from terrorism. The bad news is Michael Chertoff gets to determine anything.

The good news is failure is not an option. The bad news is it's a factory installed standard feature.

The good news is President Bush got to look Nouri Al Maliki eye to eye. The bad news is Nouri Al Maliki has to sleep with a chicken foot under his pillow to counter the curse of the evil eye.

The good news is there's more at the link. The bad news is there's not enough of them.

Happy Father's Day

To all you dads out there. God bless ya.

Hadji Girl 2

Okay, so let's talk about war a little, since most Americans think it's something like a cross between Mission Impossible and a Tom Clancy novel. It's not. People talk of war in terms of 'surgical strikes' and 'special ops units', thinking a few bombs and a few commando units running around can win any conflict. From the way the Iraq War has been run, it would seem a few of the civilians (and some of the generals) in the Penatgon believe the same things. I'm not talking about the morality of war, because war is also immoral by definition.

The idea behind going to war is to pound an enemy hard enough, destroy enough of his infrastructure, and kill enough of his people to make him lose the strength and the stomach to fight. Simple.

Your enemy's government is your enemy, his people are your enemies, and his ability to resupply his troops is your enemy. [If you want some perspective on this, check out some of the Bugs Bunny cartoons made during the war years ... if you can find them - F-man] When you have to start making distinctions; 'we are not angry with the people of (pick any country), just their government', you lose your right to wage war. When you have to say, 'we don't want to destroy their (pick something), just remove their leadership', when you force the men and women you send into combat to differentiate which of the 'enemy's' people are friend or foe, you have no right being at war to begin with.

War is for the defense of the nation and nothing else. Certainly not for 'regime change' in a nation posing no threat. It is the basest form of national revenge and, by definition, should be fought without concern for anything but victory. Dresden, the firebombing and atomic bombing of Japanese cities during World War Two, that was war in all its excruciating malevolence. It was a simple decision. We were attacked, the next day we were at war.

There was no need to spin things on 8 December 1941. No need for forged documents, no need for weapons inspectors, no need for intelligence assessments; bombs fell upon the U.S. Pacific Fleet at its homeport of Pearl Harbor. That was all the evidence needed. Did you think what happened after, the years of world war, was an honorable pursuit? There was unspeakable horror, almost a generation's worth of European and Japanese men wiped out, countless innocent deaths and we reconcile that with the fact we faced an enemy we believed evil incarnate. We did whatever was required to force their capitulation.

One day, we will have to reconcile the war in Iraq. We will have to sit back and ask if all the deaths, the maimings, and the horror was worth it. I tend to believe this war will leave us with a case of national post traumatic stress syndrome. It might take years, but eventually we will come to the collective realization that we were the bad guys. I think many of us do already.

Hadji Girl

Seems the Marines in Iraq are making up their own songs (video). Now, I usually leave Affairs de Corps to Gord because they're his boys, but a lot of people are taking exception to the brutality inflicted in Haditha and other places in Iraq and this video will probably raise more Hell. Let me explain something, being I've been in combat with Marines. Remember this:

The Marine Corps is not a police orgainization. The Marines have one purpose, to kill the enemy by any means possible. If you expect them to be touchy-feely and 'community oriented' like your local cops, you're sadly mistaken.

Now, I'm not condoning or trying to justify anything that resembles a war crime, but I think some of us on the left have to develop stronger stomachs.


I worry about people who think like this coming back into society. That kind of thing cannot be considered gallantry on the battle field. It's ugly and dirty and ultimately is going to blow back on some of these guys. I hope the Republicans are prepared to spend as much on VA mental health as they've spent filling their right wing cronies' bank accounts because a lot of these guys are going to need help. Our troops are in danger of losing their humanity in a war being fought for bogus political reasons. Some of them are going to have a hard time living with that.


Note to Digby: War is ugly and dirty and if you want to win, you have to be prepared to kill women and children. That's just the way it is. If you don't want innocents killed, don't go to war, period. The guys on the ground don't have the luxury of debating whether the war is just or not.


It's a good deal for senior ground commanders, who get career boosts by dint of assignment to the war zone that used to be a relatively peaceful country, ruled by a dictator whose fangs had been pulled by 12 years of sanctions and UN weapons inspections. For the younger ground commanders at company level, and the EM [enlisted men], of course, it's just toughski shitski, so suck it up, troop.


While we rail against war, there is a sad fact that war (not this war), sometimes, has to be done. I don't want touchy-feely Marines. I don't want touchy-feely anybody in the combat disciplines, be they Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine. I want them to be comfortable enough with killing that they won't hesitate when the time comes. I was, once. Rightly or wrongly, and don't forget these guys hear what the government wants them to hear, the Jarheads in that meat grinder believe anybody brown over there is a potential enemy. Ask a Vietnam-era infantry troop how that goes. Ask him how you justify friend from foe when Hell is erupting all around you. I couldn't, not unless you were wearing the same uniform I was.

A few weeks back, I alluded to an op in Afghanistan many years ago where we took ground fire extracting a CIA operator from Waziristan. I lost a friend on that op and I had no qualms drawing a bead on anybody on the ground as the chopper tried to lift off. I didn't care who it was; Soviet, Afghani, goat herder, it didn't matter. Shit, thems on the ground probably thought we were Russians. All we knew was we were taking fire. The door gunners and ramp gunner opened up and all of us who could, found a spot on that damned Pave Low to fire from. There was brass flying and noise from the mini guns and rifles cracking and small arms fire puncturing the fuselage, the chopper's jets screaming to lift that heavy bitch adding to the din. It was fucking insane. I'm sure a lot of innocents died that day. Have a rifle in your hands in the same circumstances and tell me what you'd do.

If the Marines had been used properly, not interchangably with Army troops or Military Police, we would see far fewer of these horrors perpetrated upon innocent civilians. If it weren't for the Chimp's illegal war, none of the atrocities would have happened. While the Marines, if found guilty, must take responsibility for their actions, the ultimate responsibility lies at the door of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and Capitol Hill.