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This is What Democracy Looks Like
Friday-Sunday, October 20-22, 2006
They Love a Parade
"BAGHDAD, Iraq - Al-Qaeda-linked gunmen staged military-like parades Friday in a string of towns west of Baghdad, underlining the growing confidence of Sunni insurgents in a part of Iraq where U.S. and Iraqi forces maintain a heavy counterinsurgency presence."
-From the AP article, "Iraqi insurgents stage defiant parades" by Hamza Hendawi
As I read this, all I could think was, "THERE THEY ARE! SHOOT 'EM! BOMB 'EM! THEY'RE RIGHT OUT IN THE OPEN! DO SOMETHING!!!!!"
Have the insurgents gained enough confidence to show up the US Army that way? They're marching in Baghdad. Can you believe that? This doesn't sound like "last throes" to me.
We know what we know. We know that there was no al-Qaeda presence in Iraq prior to our ousting Saddam Hussein, And now we also know that there is an al-Qaeda presence because THEY ARE MARCHING IN THE STREETS OF BAGHDAD! Some of these parades have occurred less than 2 miles from US bases.
Sunni insurgents now claim to have established Islamic states in six of Iraq's 18 provinces.
Much like in Afghanistan, the insurgents have been given hope by the lack of a plan for occupying and rebuilding their respective nations. I Afghanistan, the Taliban is back and has just about taken over all of the southern part of the nation. And the poppy crop, which is responsible for most of the world's heroin supply, is a booming business.
This weekend, you may expect the REPUBLICANS who will appear on the talking head shows, and Fox News (anyone on Fox News) to blame this show of whatever-you-wish-to-call-it (force?; bravado?) to blame it all on the DEMOCRATS. They'll say stuff like "The Islamo-fascists are trying to get the DEMOCRATS elected because they're losing the war on terror, and we, the REPUBLICANS are the only ones who can save you."
All one has to do is look at the facts to realize that the Bush administration, with incompetents such as Rumsfeld, Bremmer, and a whole slew of idiot cohorts, doesn't have a clue as to what to do, and they never have.
What has happened since "Mission Accomplished" was flying over the bridge of the USS Abraham Lincoln? Nothing good, that's for sure.
The government which we put in to run Iraq (yeah, I know they were elected, but, c'mon) has been nothing short of a poor imitation of all the corrupt governments around the world looking to steal rather than govern. Imagine that one of their first points of business was to organize "death squads" in the mold of the nazi gestapo and Saddam's elite REPUBLICAN guard.
Meet the new Iraq, same as the old Iraq.
It's getting to the point where the Bushies are actually thinking about staging a coup, of sorts, to remove their own government.
The lack of realization that a nation without direction will be lost due to an inept occupation somehow slipped the minds of the Bushies. People like Rumsfeld were so concerned about minimizing forces for an invasion that they forget to spot that huge forest (the occupation) for the trees (the invasion). And this is a never-ending forest.
"It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."
-Secretary of Defense Donald "We Don't Know What We Don't Know" Rumsfeld
"What you'd like to do is have it be a short, short conflict. . . . Iraq is much weaker than they were back in the '90s,"
-General Richard "I'm Rumsfled's Lapdog" Myers, comparing the Bush (41) era Iraq to the Bush (43) era Iraq
"The Iraqi people understand what this crisis is about. Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator."
-Former Under Secretary of Defense Paul "I Did Such a Crappy Job That They Made Me Head of the World bank" Wolfowitz
"I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly, . . . (in) weeks rather than months."
-Vice President Dick "Go <F---> Yourself" Cheney
Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!
Only after the "Mission" was "Accomplished" did the Bushies realize their errors, whether they chose to admit it or not.
"A campaign on the harsh terrain of a nation as large as California could be longer and more difficult than some predict."
-Bush, forgetting that it was he and his band of liars who did the predicting
"However long it takes.... It isn't a matter of timetable, it's a matter of victory."
-Bush, with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, forgetting about "I doubt it will take six months."
"Nobody should have any illusions that this is going to be a quick and easy victory. This is going to be a tough war, a tough slog yet, and no responsible official I know has ever said anything different once this war has started."
-Myers, calling himself, the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense and all of their underlings "irresponsible", whether he realizes it or not
Now, the new mission appears to be a never-ending occupation of a nation that should have been under its own control years ago. We can't even finish prosecuting Saddam Hussein!
Now the Bushies are talking about Iraq as a "generational war", even as they refuse to recognize the reality that the oil-rich nation is already in a full-blown civil war.
The GOP is now telling us that Bush has a "plan" for victory in Iraq. Stay the course is no plan, although it is their slogan. the course has shifted and it's blowing in a dangerous direction.
Math class always taught me to look for the common denominator. In the case of the Iraq war, all one has to do is follow the money to find out what is really going on. As long as we are in Iraq, war profiteers such as Halliburton and Blackwater will be able to keep on reaping the benefits.
One wonders if this was their "plan" all along.
And, One Day Later...
How Can "Stay the Course" Still be "The Plan"?
Keep in mind, the following quote comes from a Senior State Department Official, not (yet) a former Senior State Department Official. Also keep in mind, the interview was with, of all organizations, al-Jazeera television. The interview was conducted in Arabic.
"We tried to do our best but I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq,"
-Alberto Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department
Apparently, the reason that Fernandez is offering up this assessment is because someone, somewhere figures that it's a good idea.
"We are open to dialogue because we all know that, at the end of the day, the solution to the hell and the killings in Iraq is linked to an effective Iraqi national reconciliation. The Iraqi government is convinced of this."
The "reconciliation" that Fernandez was speaking about is a deal between the Sunni insurgents, the United States and the current government in Iraq.
I'm stunned, and on so many levels, too. First, it's our of character for anyone in the Bush administration to admit anything, let alone "arrogance" on their part. Keeping in mind that Mr. Fernandez, considered a Senior State Department official (for now), is far enough down the Bush food chain that he could become an easy sacrifice. But next, that this interview obviously took place with the blessing of, at the very least, Condoleezza Rice, the current Secretary of State. Rice is the one person in the Bush administration who actually appears to care about its legacy and, more importantly, how history will ultimately treat her.
One wonders if this a another clever Bush administration plan to shift all of the blame somewhere else... like to former Secretary of State Colin Powell. After all, the state Department are the ones responsible for diplomacy, aren't they? Look for another "Senior State Department Official" to come out and say "Powell blew it." Then you can listen for the constant noise of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and all of the other tentacles of the Bush administration to repeat it time and time again.
Most experts think that the insurgency won't end until there are real negotiations that can lead to a lasting peace in Iraq. This "blow them up, move on, then go back and blow them up again" strategy that Rumsfeld is employing just ain't getting it done.
Apparently, this interview was conducted in response to someone portraying himself as a spokesman for the Baath Party using the name "Abu Mohammed":
Mohammed "appeared to set near impossible conditions for the start of any talks with the Americans, including the return to service of Saddam's armed forces, the annulment of every law adopted since Saddam's ouster, the recognition of insurgent groups as the sole representatives of the Iraqi people and a timetable for a gradual, unconditional withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign troops in Iraq."
-From Hamza Hendawi's article fir the Associated Press titled Envoy: U.S. showed 'stupidity' in Iraq
"We are witnessing failure in Iraq and that's not the failure of the United States alone but it is a disaster for the region. Failure in Iraq will be a failure for the United States but a disaster for the region."
-Fernandez, in a most confusing statement
This is a poor response to the events of just days prior in Iraq, where Mohammed's insurgents and al-Qaeda supporters actually held parades in western Baghdad, and in other parts of Iraq that now are insurgent strongholds.
One has to ask the question "What if?" while these statements go back and forth between the two sides.
-What if we had a real plan for the occupation?
-What if we kept second and third tier Baathists, which included in their jobs as the nation reorganized?
-What if we allowed the Iraqi regular army to stay together as a national police force, with its officers in place and its mission clear?
"For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: 'It might have been!'"
-John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), American Poet, Quaker and proponent for the abolishment of slavery
One wonder what words Whittier would written today.
"Arrogance" and "stupidity" are the proper words to use to describe the Bush administration policies on Iraq. So how can "Stay the course" continue be the plan?
Another One of "Bush's Plans"
"It's not the financial plan I would choose, but it's a financial plan,"
-Columbus Ohio prosecutor Dan Cable
Cable prosecuted successfully Mr. Timothy J. Bowers of Ohio for bank robbery. Mr. Bowers was convicted and sent to prison for three years. Bowers walked into a bank, demanded money from a teller (who put a few bucks into an envelope and activated the silent alarm), took the money and then handed it over to a bank guard and waited to be arrested. Mr. Bowers couldn't find a job and wasn't able to get Social Security payments yet, so, at 63 years of age, he chose a different "financial plan". Bowers will spend the next three years in prison and then be able to collect his retirement stipend.
"It's unfortunate you feel this is the only way to deal with the situation."
-Judge Angela White
But nevertheless, Mr. Bowers felt this was his only choice. In fact, he had backup. The court ordered a psychological exam which found Bowers "competent". In other words, his "plan" was valid.
"It's a pretty sad story when someone feels that's their only alternative,"
-Defense attorney Jeremy W. Dodgion
The first thing I thought of when I read this story was how we, as a society, are shifting back to a time when the elderly had nowhere to go; when there were work-prisons for orphans; and where it was every man for himself. If President Bush is looking for a legacy, this will be a part of it.
Can you imagine a person feeling they have a better life in jail? This is why the minimum wage must be increased. It's wrong to tell people to get off of welfare and then pay them so poorly that they are better off on welfare or in jail!
-Noah Greenberg and Robert Scardapane
KENNY AND THE DEAD DONKEY
A young Hillbilly called Kenny moved to Texas and bought a donkey from a farmer for $100.00. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day.
The following day the farmer drove up and said, "Sorry, son, but I have some bad news. The donkey died."
Kenny replied, "Well then, just give me back my money."
The farmer said, "I'm sorry, I can't do that. I spent it."
Kenny said, "OK. Just bring me the dead donkey."
The farmer asked, "What are you going to do with him?"
Kenny answered, "I'm going to raffle him off."
The farmer said "You can't raffle off a dead donkey!"
Kenny responded "Sure I can. I just won't tell anybody he's dead."
A month later the farmer met up with Kenny and asked, "What happened with that dead donkey?"
Kenny answered, "I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars apiece and made a profit of $998.00."
The farmer asked, "Did anyone complain?"
Kenny said, "Just the guy who won, so I gave him back his two dollars."
Kenny grew up and eventually became the chairman of Enron.
-Sean (Mr. Blue-Sky)
Ferguson Bad for New Jersey Taxpayers
Mike Ferguson boasts about cutting taxes. But, are all tax cuts really good? Ferguson cut taxes for oil & gas companies that are making record profits. Where is the value to the taxpayer? Ferguson supported tax cuts for the upper 1% that resulted in less money flowing down to the states for education and health care. Where is the benefit for the taxpayer?
Linda Stender supports tax cuts for the middle class. She wants to maintain the child tax credit and elimination of the marriage penalty. She does not support tax cuts that needlessly drain the treasury.
Tax cuts should be targeted to the people that need them - namely, the working people who are having a hard time making ends meet. Mike Ferguson simply does not get it. This is why I support Linda Stender for NJ-7th Congressional district.
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