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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Wednesday, December 6, 2006


Bad and Getting Worse
No "Duh!"

"The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating,"
-The Iraq Survey Commission

"No, sir."
-Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense nominee, when asked by Senator Carl Levin (DEMOCRAT-MI) if the US is winning the war in Iraq

So it's finally official. All we're waiting for now is to have "President Denial" admit that the only "throes" that Iraq is in are the "Throes" of Civil War based on sectarian lines.

The commission says we have things to change so we can "begin to move (our) combat forces" out of this quagmire which was created by the present Bush administration's inability to predict anything but profits for their war profiteering "base" of "haves and have mores."

"The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating,"
-The Commission

Welcome to reality, DC. It's nice to have you finally opening your eyes. One wonders if Daddy Bush's friends will make "Junior's" resolve on "Fixing" Iraq lean even more towards his already tired "Stay the course" or a more realistic solution which might actually require more work and less vacation time.

"There is no magic formula,"
-An anonymous source connected to the commission

It was stupidity that got us into this mess in the first place, and it was a lack of foresight that keeps us in there today. We all know that our troops aren't coming home tomorrow, but we also know that rhetoric alone won't solve any problems either. By stating "There is no magic formula," all this source is truly saying is that we're there and we'll let you know... maybe.

The commission's "soft" goal is to get troops back by 2008, a date which they can't write in stone due to the inevitability that the Bushies will say "no timetables". Again, as John Kerry might state, "How does one ask a soldier to be the last man (or woman) killed for a mistake?"

"Despite a massive effort, stability in Iraq remains elusive and the situation is deteriorating. The ability of the United States to shape outcomes is diminishing. Time is running out."
-The Commission

Sometimes when you attempt to not offend anyone, you end up offending everyone else. This statement does just that. First of all, Iraq has never been treated as a "massive effort". Instead, Rumsfeld has tried to treat the invasion as an exercise in small army efficiency. While he was having moderate success with that philosophy, even against the advice of his Generals, which included CENTCOM Commander Tommy Franks, that small army philosophy would not be sufficient for an occupation. That occupation never had a plan and anyone who even had the temerity to suggest a plan was duly "retired". Just as General David McKiernan, who was the top commander in Iraq during the invasion (Franks was at CENTCOM in Qatar, not actually in Iraq). McKiernan figured that he would have to be the military governor while the defeated nation got back on its feet, Instead, he was sent back to the US because he had this bad habit of telling the truth.

But time isn't really running out. The sands already sit at the bottom of the hourglass and we're already looking for a way to turn it right-side up once more. The initial era of good feelings between the people of Iraq and our military, and it was a very small window. Our leaders in Washington refused to take the opportunity when it was presented and now we have to figure out a new path or get out of the way and let the cards fall where they may.

"The report is an acknowledgment that there will be no military solution in Iraq. It will require a political solution arrived at through sustained Iraqi and region-wide diplomacy and engagement,"
-Senator Chuck Hagel (REPUBLICAN-NE)

Just a reminder to Senator Hagel, who has been as stand-up as a Republican could be under the first six years of the Bush reign. All of that crap is just rhetoric. We can't rely on words to fix infrastructure such as roads, electrical grids, schools and such. What politician are we going to talk to "fix" Iraq? What Iraqi group, religious, political or military, is going to be the chief negotiator in a nation so war-torn by ethnic violence and mounting hatred that will e listened to as the moderator for all parties. I get more meaningful words from the AFLAC duck.

Even the Democrats couldn't help but get in on the "quacking points":

"If the president is serious about the need for change in Iraq, he will find Democrats ready to work with him in a bipartisan fashion to find a way to end the war as quickly as possible,"
-House Speaker-Elect Nancy Pelosi (DEMOCRAT-CA)

The Iraq Survey Group ought to have come up with real solutions, not rhetoric. It almost appears that they were going out of their way so as not to hurt anyone's feelings or point the finger of blame where it actually belongs: At the Bush administration. They have admitted that there are problems, which is a good start, but they were put together to offer sage advice, not state the obvious.

It's like when you get a fortune cookie that says something like, "Skies become clearer when the clouds depart." I don't want homilies. Where the heck's my fortune?

It would have been nice to hear the Iraq Survey Group come up with a real, possible solution in much the same ways that the 911 Commission came up with proposals for the Bush administration to act upon immediately. Of course the Bushies, basically, ignored just about all of the 911 Commission recommendations out of hand, so there would be no guarantee that they would act on anything of substance that this Baker-Hamilton Commission would recommend either. it just would have been nice to see them offer something up.

"We do not recommend a stay-the-course solution,"

Yeah, but what would you do?

"No course of action in Iraq is guaranteed to stop a slide toward chaos, yet, in our view, not all options have been exhausted."

Name an option. Stop telling us what NOT to do and tell us what should be done.

We know that Iraq is a mess. We know that Iraq has been mismanaged from the day the "Mission Accomplished" banner hung on the rafters of the USS Abraham Lincoln. And we know that Iraq has been used as a wedge to drive between the American people; an excuse for anything and everything that is wrong in the US, so as not to blame the Bushies; and as photo-ops for President Photo-Op and his minions of Il-Advisors and war profiteering buddies.

There are many with real proposals to the situation in Iraq. Dividing up the nation into three separate states is one that seems to be on point. But it looks like nothing of substance will ever be done in Iraq until every possible dime is squeezed from the natural resources of the Iraqi people and the American middle class taxpayers who are funding this war.

-Noah Greenberg

On Confirming Gates

Robert Gates' testimony to Congress that we are neither winning nor losing in Iraq is very problematic. When the security in Iraq is deteriorating rapidly and continuously and the domestic political support for the war is visibly ebbing, it would seem apparent to me that we are losing.

The juxtaposition of Gates' attitude of "hard-eyed polly animism" with the Baker Commission's statements that there is no "silver bullet," could lead one to infer that influential and powerful people are beginning to believe that victory in this conflict is untenable.

The pathetic people who are still trying to work with the President clearly are more concerned with maintaining their own status of power and influence than they are with the safety of the Iraqis or the well being of the American people.

The time for discussions of victory is long past, it is time for the anti-war movement to change the subject and force the government to be realistic about Iraq and our conduct there.

The anti-war movement must shift the discussion from timetables and tactics to a discussion that we have not had before: the discussion of the consequences of a unilateral US withdrawal from Iraq.

We have for too long granted the President and others assumption that the consequences of "retreat" are more dire than the consequences of staying the course.

It is time for the President and Gates to explain how the withdrawal of American forces will provide a situation in which an Arab force can take over in Iraq and mobilize forces capable of threatening anyone outside Baghdad.

If the people on the left will begin asking how this will happen, what forces in the Arab World exist that could Iraq back together and make it a formidable and threatening power, they will quickly find that the people on the right, even those who are sincerely concerned about our future security, have no answers.

It is clear that the consequences of continued involvement are civil war and increasing violence and destruction for the Iraqis and a vertiginous decline in power and influence for the United States.

The Right must be forced to prove their unfounded contention that the consequences of withdrawal will be more adverse to our future security.

-Robert Chapman

Media Madman

The New York Times and the Iraq Survey Group

The NYT summarized the Iraq Study Group report in this way:

NYT: Saying that “the situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating,” a bipartisan commission today urged stepped-up diplomatic and political efforts to stabilize that country, coupled with a shift in the mission of the American military to allow the United States to “begin to move its combat forces out of Iraq responsibly.”
RJS: Grave and deteriorating? We actually needed a study group to determine this.

NYT: This could allow all United States combat brigades “not necessary for force protection” to be out of Iraq by the first quarter of 2008, the Iraq Study Group’s report said.
RJS: I heard this before. It sounds exactly like we will stand down when they stand up. Three years later - where are the 200,000 Iraqi troops that we stood up? Either that's an incredible lie or they have deserted.

NYT: The panel studying the war in Iraq presented its findings this morning to President Bush, who said he would take their ideas “very seriously” and act on them “in a timely fashion,” and then to Congressional leaders.
RJS: In other words, he'll ignore them completely.

NYT: The report, by a 10-member commission headed by former Secretary of State James A. Baker 3d and former Representative Lee Hamilton of Indiana, urges a commitment by the United States to work with Iran, Syria and other nations to bring stability to the region.
RJS: Bush already ruled out talking to Iran and Syria. Your move.

NYT: “We do not recommend a stay-the-course solution,” Mr. Baker said pointedly at a question-answer session accompanying the report’s release. “In our opinion, that is no longer viable.” Those remarks were sure to be interpreted, at least by administration critics, as a rebuke to President Bush.
RJS: Mr. Baker, Bush said he won't use the phrase "stay the course" anymore. Instead, his new phrase is "rave the course" - meaning that he raves like a lunatic at anyone who challenges him on Iraq.

In conclusion, the ISG is useless. The truly tragic part is that Democrats are buying into it. That means we will get nowhere the next two years. So far, I have heard this fdrom Democrats:

1) Rangel proposed a draft (yes again!).
2) Corzine proposed sending more NJ national guard to Iraq and criticized Menendez in the media for having an unrealistic Iraq policy.
3) Reyes, the new head of the House Intelligence committee, wants to send 20,000 more troops.
4) Give Em Hell Harry Reid won't cut or reduce any money for Iraq.

So Democrats, pray tell, how do you plan to make good on your promises to bring the war to an end in one year's time?

-Robert Scardapane

A Bit of Humor

Al Gore's plan to deal with the fact that President Bush still hasn't seen An Inconvenient Truth...

Q: Do you know if President Bush has seen the movie yet?
GORE: Well, he claimed that would not see it. That's why I wrote the book. He's a reader.

Via ThinkProgress, via Gristmill

So, Mr. Gore, did you write a comic book? I hope it has lots of pictures; otherwise Laura will have to read it to Georgie.

I just couldn't resist some sass at GWB's expense ... before Noah beats me to it!

-Robert Scardapane

(Rats! Foiled, again! -Noah)

Falling Snow

Q Isn't it striking that this administration was accusing the likes of John Murtha and other Democrats who suggested course correction, including phased withdrawal, of cutting and running --
MR. SNOW: No, let me --
Q -- at the same time that the Defense Secretary was suggesting just the same option?
Q You don't see hypocrisy there?
MR. SNOW: No, because you're talking about apples and oranges. If you take a look at -

Xmas is about to come around.
As Snow falls to the ground.
Apples and oranges abound
As politicians get out of town.

-Robert Scardapane

In response to, "Bush has splashed blood on the hands of every American with his torturing and killing in Iraq. Blaming Webb for speaking the truth makes no sense. Try blaming Bush for taking all of America down the rabbit hole of his own arrogance," Rhian writes:

...and when indictments are handed down, let's not forget to put Alberto Gonzales name on one, for his part in attempting to legalize, the best he could, the torture practices.

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-Noah Greenberg