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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Monday, December 4, 2006


Failure: What's in a Word?

"We have not failed in Iraq. We will fail in Iraq if we pull out our troops before we're in a position to help the Iraqis succeed."
-National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley

Huh? Like most drunks, the first step is to always admit that you're a drunk. It's impossible to fix a problem while you consistently deny its existence. We have failed in Iraq, or more precisely, YOU (Mr. Hadley), President Bush, your old boss Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfled and all of the other neo-cons who are still attempting the old-con (as in confidence game) of pissing on our heads and telling us that it's raining, have failed in Iraq. So go on and hang another banner and think of a REAL strategy to change - not necessarily win - but, change things in Iraq. That is, of course, if that IS your new plan.

And what happens if we can't "help the Iraqis succeed"? What happens if, as it appears now, the Iraqis change sides by looking at who happens to be coming into their village at any given time?

One has to look at Hadley, the new face of the Bush administration and ask "Why him?" in much the same way that Hadley must be asking "Why me?" Somehow in the combined Bush administration brain someone must have said "We need a new face for this administration. Why not Stephen Hadley?" This hack is nothing but a new cover on a really old book.

"The president understands that we need to have a way forward in Iraq that is more successful."

Why is it that the president himself can't tell us what he actually understands? Why is it that we're always hearing from his peanut gallery as to what he understands? Why is it that every time the president says something there needs to be a slew of his political talking-heads on every news channel explaining exactly, or approximately, what he said? Maybe you should just tell us what the president actually DOES understand. That list should be a heck-of-a-lot shorter than the list of what he doesn't quite get.

Here's what I understand:
-I understand that this president either doesn't have, or he doesn't want to have a clue
-I understand that this president is a man who has never, ever in his 60 years on this Earth, had to make a single, solitary sacrifice
-I understand that when this president makes up his mind, right or wrong, it's made up... for good

President Bush is just like Max Power, the alter -ego of Homer Simpson who, when pressed by Bart said:
HOMER SIMPSON: There are three ways to do things: The Right Way; the Wrong Way; and the Max Power way
BART SIMPSON: But isn't the Max Power way the same as the Wrong Way:
HOMER: Yeah, but you get there quicker.

Just where is Max Power trying to get to faster anyway?... Armageddon?

Hadley stated that, in the Bush administration "success" in Iraq so far (my quotation marks for emphasis purposes), that the president still needs to find ways to be more successful. More successful than what? After the capture of Saddam Hussein and the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq, just what "success" in Iraq is Mr. Hadley pointing to? Success in Iraq can only be measured in one way: Not one more life lost. Not one more American life lost and no one more Iraqi civilian life lost.

Imagine going to work every day and not knowing if:
A) You will be coming home
B) When you get home, if everybody that you left at home that morning will still be there, and still be alive, when you got home that evening

Bush is now going to meet with Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution. al-Hakim has already had a high-level meeting with secretary of State Condoleezza Rice which he termed as "very clear". Sounds as if demands were made and we weren't the ones making them.

"we have asked for the American forces to stay in Iraq"

So I guess that means the 300,000 or so Iraqi policemen that Rummy said were ready before the 2004 election was just another one of the "Bush-speak mis-spokens."

Trying to understand the frustrations of the American and Iraqi people have not been a strong point of the Bushies either. Take this last statement by White House press secretary Tony snow:
"I don't think anybody thinks the level of violence is acceptable,"

On the surface, it sounds almost conciliatory, until you remember all of the other sound-bites created by the Rove Bureau of mis-information:
-"I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees"
-"I don't think anyone could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center."
-"But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud"
-''I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency"
-"Stay the Course"
-"We're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here"

Need I go on?

And why does Bush now have to speak to al-Hakim? Doesn't Secretary Rice take good enough notes? Maybe it's just another moment for President Photo-Op to stand under another sign, but this time, instead of it reading "Mission Accomplished" maybe it should read "Mission? What Mission?"

Of course, then there's the Rumsfeld memo. To understand the soon-to-be former Secretary of Defense is to understand his passion for micro-management. The Pentagon is full of Rummy's little notes on those yellow pieces of paper. They call these "snowflakes" at the Pentagon and everybody who's anybody has been up to their ears in these blizzards. So when I heard that a memo surfaced that had Rummy suggesting a troop withdrawal, I was just a bit surprised. after all, this is the guy who was the poster boy for "We'll leave when the job is done."

"Clearly, what U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough,"
“In my view it is time for a major adjustment,”
-The Rummy memo of November 6, 2006

Talk about being a day late and a dollar short. Maybe that's the reason why Rummy's been fired (Resigned? Retired?). After all, President Bush is "The Decider". Whatever happened to "Stay the Course", or are they going to say that they never said it?

"When you have the outgoing secretary of defense, the main architect of Bush's policy, saying it's failing, that puts a lot more pressure on Bush,"
-Michael O'Hanlon, of the Brookings Institution

But will Bush be swayed? After all, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been real money-makers for his "base" of "have and have more" war profiteering buddies. So, what's the rush?

And besides, he's "the Decider", remember?

The Rumsfeld memo, contained 21 possibilities, or a grand total of 20 more than existed on November 5, 2006. here's my personal favorite:

"Begin modest withdrawals of U.S. and Coalition forces (start “taking our hand off the bicycle seat”), so Iraqis know they have to pull up their socks, step up and take responsibility for their country,"
-the Rummy memo

Withdrawals! WOW. No wonder you lost your job, Rummy!

We all await with baited breath the recommendations of the Iraq Advisory Board, headed by former Bush (41) Secretary of State James Baker and 911 commissioner Lee Hamilton. We don't know if some, or even any of their recommendations will be taken seriously by the Bushies. After all, "Junior" must be tired of taking a back seat to Daddy and his friends no matter what advice they offer. And, let's be honest here, even when the non-partisan 911 commission gave the Bushies a whole lot of ideas to implement after all of the hearings, the Bushies resisted just about every single one of them, making the commission irrelevant.

Everything that is going on now points to an Bush-led failure in Iraq that doesn't amount to a hill of beans to the Average American. Win or lose, our lives will be the same. This was never a war where we were ever going to have to fight the Iraqis "here". But it is a conflict turned into a civil war that is, and will continue to claim the lives of innocent Iraqis every day, regardless of an immediate American troop pullout.

The truth is that Rummy may be partially right: We should take off the training wheels and "remove one hand from the bicycle seat" right now. Then we should remove the other one and let the consequences of what we helped the people of Iraq create be. No matter how much the Shia's, who we are loosely in bed with, want us to stay, our presence in Iraq is nothing but a disturbance and we need to let them sort this out amongst themselves. And even if this means that no oil comes out of the ground, then so be it.

We can set up a quick-strike base in the Kurdish territory allowing us to keep an eye on the goings-on in Iraq. we can help the Sunni's create their own land and the Shi'ites create their own land in much the same way that the Kurds have created their own land. But we just simply can no longer be in the middle of it, think of it as a good thing, then leave with a banner that says "Mission Accomplished".

-Noah Greenberg


What's the next ex-president to do? Shall he retire to his giant ranch in Crawford, Texas or to a new ranch in South America's Paraguay? We can call it Crawford, South, or L'il Crawford or simply "Crawfordito".

It seems that the Bush twins' (Jenna and Barbara) trip to South America has turned from their excellent adventure, full of night clubs and soccer games, into a working vacation - one that might have them looking at land for their daddy of grand-daddy way south of the border.

Maybe GW should have his whole book collection for his new presidential library translated into Spanish?

According to Upsidedownworld (http://upsidedownworld.org) and Prensa Latina (http://www.plenglish.com), someone named George Bush has bought n the area of 173,000 acres of land for a ranch or "Environmental preserve".

Now how hypocritical is that?

It isn't surprising to me that a Bush would purchase land still inhabited by over 6,000 people right from under them; nor is it improbable that there might even be oil somewhere under this rather large piece of South America. What does surprise me is that they would do anything at all for the environment. That is, unless you remember that George W. Bush made sure that the shore was cleaned up with federal money very near to the home of Bush (41) and mom "Babs" a couple of years ago. I guess it only pays to clean up the environment as it pertains to you. Must be "base" of "haves and have mores" thing.

"The Governor of Alto Paraguay, Erasmo Rodríguez Acosta has admitted to hearing that George Bush Sr. owns land in the Chaco region of Paraguay, in Paso de Patria. Acosta says that rumor has it that Bush owns near to 70 thousand hectares (173,000 acres) as part of an ecological reserve and/or ranch. However, the governor said he had no documents to prove the rumor."

Now, I know that it's only a rumor, but, c'mon... dont'cha think that it's at the very least possible?

Without an extradition treaty between the US and Paraguay, this could be the perfect place for "Junior" and Laura to clear some weed in their waning years. After all, there is no statute of limitations on murder here in the USA, right Mrs. Bush?

Paraguay is a small, kidney-shaped, land-locked nation sharing a border with Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina. It seems to be just cozy enough for any Bush that would wish to call it home.

I heartily endorse it for America's soon-to-be ex-first family.

-Noah Greenberg

Forgetting the Past

I recently attended a wedding in Fair Lawn, NJ at an Armenian church. It was the first time that I had ever been in an Armenian church and I found it quite interesting.

I knew nothing about Armenia and, with a little research, found out it was in the eastern part of Turkey. That's really all that I wanted to know and left it at that!

In The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, December 3, 2006, appears an article by Carlin Romano "On Books". The book is entitled "A Shameful Act. The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility". The recent trip of the Pope to Turkey, "his first trip to a Muslim land - revealed a profound truth: Those who forget the past sometimes simply want to forget it."

The Pope did not say one word about "a country whose predecessor state, the Ottoman Empire, committed the largest genocide in history against Christians."

Turkey is "99 percent Muslim" today because of rulers like Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II, "who regarded Armenians as a degenerate community, and ordered the massacre of 200,000 Turkish Armenian Christians in 1894-96".

The "nucleus of future nationalist leaders of the Turkish Republic, known as the Young Turk government, embarked in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire (1915-16) on horrific acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing to rid Turkey of Christians.

"To put it bluntly: In those dying days, Ottoman leaders killed most of Turkey's Christians, just as Nazi Germany would kill most of its Jews." By 1915, an estimated 1.3 million Turkish Armenian Christians, two-thirds of the remaining Armenian population of Turkey, were murdered through starvation, death marches, and execution.

Hitler's famous question to his generals eight days before invading Poland in 1939 . . . "Who today, speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians?" Certainly not Pope Benedict XVI.

-Bob Driscoll

In response to, "Just imagine that you have a child overseas in a violent, war-torn environment where both sides are trying to kill him," Robert Chapman writes:

This is not an abstract idea for me. In the mid 90s during one of our stand offs with Saddam Hussein, my son was serving in Frigate flotilla in the Mediterranean when President Clinton ordered forces to the Persian Gulf.

The Navy split the task force and my son went to the Adriatic where was decorated for service in the Bosnian War.

Interestingly, his most dangerous assignments came from duty and acts for which he received no decorations: drug interdiction duties off the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Colombia.

When my son was serving in dangerous places overseas a lot of thoughts went through my mind. The President or another politician asking about him might well receive a response akin to "mind your own business.""

And Lew Warden opines:

So Bush is an overworked fool and Web is an asshole with an ego problem. If he had a boy in Iraq (does he? Or so you imply.) he could have said, “I’d like to get him and all our other boys home (as soon as possible) (right now) (or whatever).” Webb is just another loud-mouthed Liberal. I don’t like Bush or his policies but this kind of behavior is not acceptable. Impeach the bastard, don’t insult the office. JFKerry also was/is/and always will be a vainglorious, self-serving (expletive deleted) and the American people told him so when they rejected him in favor of a fool like Bush. When you get beat by people like Bush and his crowd, you have to take a serious look at your party and the people who control. And it can happen again, because the public is fickle, unsettled, and the jfkerry crowd is an albatross hanging around your neck. Didn’t the spanking Lieberman gave you teach you anything???

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-Noah Greenberg