December 11, 2007 archive

Feith Speaks

As reported today by Thomas E. Ricks of the Washington Post (Ex-Pentagon Aide Says U.S. Abandoned Quick Iraq Transition), Doug Feith gave a speech last night at the American Enterprise Institute.  The article concentrates on the supposed attack he made on the administration of the Coalition Provisional Authority by L. Paul Bremer.

The key point according to Ricks was Feith’s statement that “a lengthy occupation was, I believe, the single biggest mistake the United States made in Iraq”.  Ricks further reports-

Bremer, in a brief telephone interview last night, took issue with Feith’s account. “His argument isn’t with me” but with Bush, Bremer said. The career diplomat said that Bush told him in May 2003, before he headed for Baghdad, to “take our time setting up an interim administration.” Even before he left Washington, Bremer added, he thought the U.S. occupation “was going to take a couple of years.” Bremer said Feith’s view that there was a major change in course that summer is incorrect.

Now I’m inclined to go with Bremer on this one since I think the war was all about the oil in the first place.  The major bases and the Vatican sized embassy (a monumental edifice complex that reminds me of Germania) are indicators of this as are all the neocon publications of the PNAC pundits that outline the subsequent course of action of this administration as surely as Mein Kampf.

Mid Eastern dominos and this time we win the Vietnam war.  They have nowhere to hide.  No Triple Canopy to protect them.  Sun Tzu knew a guerilla hides in and is hidden by the people.

All this talk about dominos has made me hungry and I haven’t even gotten to the main question which is based on this-

… Many military officers disliked his precise, intellectual approach to making decisions, which they found tangled and time-consuming. Most famously, retired Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, who led the U.S. invasion force in Iraq, stated in his memoir that Feith had achieved the reputation within the military of being “the dumbest [expletive] guy on the planet.”

But Feith was consistently supported by then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who in a 2004 interview with the Associated Press called him “without question, one of the most brilliant individuals in government” and “one of the really . . . intellectual leaders in the administration in defense policy.”

So, Feith- “precise, intellectual”, “one of the most brilliant individuals in government” or as brainy as a bag of rags?

Four at Four

Some news and the afternoon’s open thread.

  1. Well, it’s a start – according to The Guardian, Forest protection expected to form key part of Bali climate deal. “Officials said steps to protect forests were included in a new draft of the so-called Bali roadmap, and that they expected them to appear in the final text produced at the end of the talks on Friday. The move would make financial rewards for not cutting down trees a key part of a new climate deal.” But, of course, the Bush administration is obstructing progress on emissions target. From the NY Times: “the United States and the European Union remained deadlocked today on whether countries should commit now to including specific cuts in climate-warming emissions in a new climate pact.” EU wants each industrialized country to cut emissions 25-40% by 2020, which is opposed by the Bush administration and its polluting partners in Canada, Japan, India, and China.

    “Logic requires that we listen to the science,” Stavros Dimas, the European Union’s environment commissioner, said today. “I would expect others to follow that logic.”

  2. According to the AP, the U.S. Military undergoes command changes in Iraq. “With the exception of Petraeus, senior commanders generally arrive and depart with their units, which means most of those now leaving or preparing to leave have been there for up to 15 months. Topping the list of departures is Petraeus’ second-in-command, Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, who is due to leave in February when the 3rd Corps finishes its command tour and returns to Fort Hood, Texas. He will be replaced by Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of 18th Airborne Corps, from Fort Bragg, N.C.”

  3. We’re still in Iraq and the Democrats in Congress might have noticed this time that we’re pissed about it. The LA Times reports Democrats face outrage from liberals over funding for the war and a veto of the $500-billion package. “Senior Democrats are facing a restive liberal base incensed by talk that a budget deal would provide more money for the war in Iraq without attaching any conditions aimed at forcing troop withdrawals. Additional war funding would represent a major concession to the president”.

  4. The Los Angeles Times reports Study finds humans still evolving, and quickly. “The pace of human evolution has been increasing at a stunning rate since our ancestors began spreading through Europe, Asia and Africa 40,000 years ago, quickening to 100 times historical levels after agriculture became widespread, according to a study published today. By examining more than 3 million variants of DNA in 269 people, researchers identified about 1,800 genes that have been widely adopted in relatively recent times because they offer some evolutionary benefit.”

Lt. Whiteside: Army Moving toward Common Sense

In today’s WaPo Dana Priest and Anne Hull provide followup coverage on the Army’s effort to court-martial Lt. Elizabeth Whiteside for her psychological breakdown while serving in Baghdad: “Leniency Suggested for Officer Who Shot Herself.” The original investigative piece was published on December 2nd: “A Soldier’s Officer.”

Maj. Mervin H. Steals, the investigative officer in charge of the preliminary hearing, forwarded the following recommendation up his chain of command:

One of the Army values is integrity, which is defined as doing what is right, legally and morally. The moral thing to do is dismiss these charges, to allow 1LT Whiteside to end her military service and receive the benefits that she will desperately need for the remainder of her life.

The commander of the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, Maj. Gen. Richard J. Rowe, Jr., is responsible for a final command decision in this case, but it now appears as though the Army is moving toward resolving this case in a sensible, medically appropriate, rather than medieval, way.

Below the break are some additional insights directly from the Whiteside family, as well as my own question on the difference between us and the “Greatest Generation.”

(Will X-post at Daily Kos and Raising Kaine.)

America DOES Torture….Now What?

Every statement George Bush has ever made about torture is wrong.

Every statement George Bush has ever made about torture has been based on the delusion that waterboarding is not torture.

George Bush authorized waterboarding after his pet lawyers told him it wasn’t torture. (It doesn’t cause organ damage, which was essentially their  standard)

NOW six years after the fervor of 9/11  ……waterboarding has been rejected by our society and the world, the “debate” is over. Waterboarding IS torture.

Let me state it clearly:

Waterboarding is torture. America has waterboarded. America tortures.

Obey tells White House to stick its spending bill

Wisconsin’s Dave Obey, the House Appropriations chair, is never one to mince words.  

He’s famous for his explosive language and telling it like it is, even on the House floor.  

He’s got a temper (not that there’s anything wrong with that.)  And he hates to be pushed around.

So it should be no surprise that Obey has pulled the plug on the deal the Democrats were working on with the White House, to pour billions more into Iraq in return for some domestic pork.

The Washington Post reports:  

A Democratic deal to give President Bush some war funding in exchange for additional domestic spending appeared to collapse last night after House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey (D-Wis.) accused Republicans of bargaining in bad faith.

Instead, Obey said he will push a huge spending bill that would hew to the president’s spending limit by stripping it of all lawmakers’ pet projects, as well as most of the Bush administration’s top priorities. It would also contain no money for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“When the White House continues to stick it in our eye, I say to hell with it,” House Appropriations Chairman David Obey. He said he will push a stripped-down spending bill.

He’s just as hot in his Wall Street Journal quotes:

“I’m not in the business of trying to pave the way for $70 billion or $90 billion for Iraq for $10 billion in table scraps,” Obey said. “We asked Bush to compromise. He has chosen to go the confrontation route.”

“I want no linkage what-so-ever between domestic [spending] and the war. I want the war to be dealt with totally on its own. We shouldn’t be trading off domestic priorities for the war.”

Whether he can make it stick is another question.  As chairman, he has a lot of clout.  But too many Democrats seem far to ready to wheel and deal and sell us out on the war, as noted here on Saturday.

But Obey, at least, has had enough.  He sounds ready to dig in for the long haul — unless his caucus undermines him, which would not be a shock.  Back to the Post:

House Democratic leaders were scheduled to complete work last night on a $520 billion spending bill that included $11 billion in funding for domestic programs above the president’s request, half of what Democrats had initially approved. The bill would have also contained $30 billion for the war in Afghanistan, upon which the Senate would have added billions more for Iraq before final congressional approval.

But a stern veto threat this weekend from White House budget director Jim Nussle put the deal in jeopardy, and Obey said he is prepared for a long standoff with the White House.

“If anybody thinks we can get out of here this week, they’re smoking something illegal,” he said.

A timely call to your representative in the House would be in order, asking him/her to do the right thing and refuse to support any Iraq appropriations that are not tied to troop withdrawals.

Call the House Switchboard 202-224-3121

Or go here to find email and phone for your representative.

UPDATE: Another Wisconsin blogger notes that Obey has been less than consistent on war funding and wonders whether he has seen the light.  

Pony Party….good morning!!!

good morning, all!!

sheesh…things have just been sooooo hectic in my corner of the world that i feel like i havent had time to ‘hang out’ around here in a while.  i miss you!!!

so, um….hey, what’s going on?

The green philosophy of Dennis Kucinich

Via Salon by Amanda Griscom Little.

Let’s see what Dennis has to say about his environmental philosphoy!

Docudharma Times Tuesday Dec.11

This is an Open Thread: Come On Take a Test Drive.

Headlines For Tuesday December 11: Poll Finds G.O.P. Field Isn’t Touching Voters: Waterboarding Recounted: Lost tapes may entangle CIA: Putin anoints deputy prime minister as heir to presidency:


Poll Finds G.O.P. Field Isn’t Touching Voters

Three weeks before the Iowa caucuses, Republican voters across the country appear uninspired by their field of presidential candidates, with a vast majority saying they have not made a final decision about whom to support, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Not one of the Republican candidates is viewed favorably by even half the Republican electorate, the poll found. And in a sign of the fluidity of the race, former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, who barely registered in early polls several months ago, is now locked in a tight contest nationally with Rudolph W. Giuliani and Mitt Romney

Waterboarding Recounted

Ex-CIA Officer Says It ‘Probably Saved Lives’ but Is Torture

By Joby Warrick and Dan Eggen

Washington Post Staff Writers

Tuesday, December 11, 2007; Page A01

A former CIA officer who participated in the capture and questioning of the first al-Qaeda terrorist suspect to be waterboarded said yesterday that the harsh technique provided an intelligence breakthrough that “probably saved lives,” but that he now regards the tactic as torture.

Zayn Abidin Muhammed Hussein abu Zubaida, the first high-ranking al-Qaeda member captured after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, broke in less than a minute after he was subjected to the technique and began providing interrogators with information that led to the disruption of several planned attacks, said John Kiriakou, who served as a CIA interrogator in Pakistan.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

The muses are ancient.  The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them.  Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of comedy and tragedy, of the inward and the outward.  In one version they are Calliope, Euterpe and Terpsichore, Erato and Clio, Thalia and Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Urania.

It has also been traditional to name a tenth muse.  Plato declared Sappho to be the tenth muse, the muse of women poets.  Others have been suggested throughout the centuries.  I don’t have a name for one, but I do think there should be a muse for the graphical arts.  And maybe there should be many more.

Please join us inside to celebrate our various muses…

My diary history at Daily Kos, part 2

Well!  I put up part one of my annotated diary history at Daily Kos (the annotations are what make it something new) last night, and when I tried to put up part two tonight it was administratively removed.  So I’m going to post it here and link to it.  Initially, I’m going to post it as one huge file if I can; then I’ll break it up into multiple pieces.  (I’m not sure what the posting limitations are here.)  I had origially wanted it to appear in one diary, so maybe this will turn out for the best.  I stopped when the software here refused to post anything more.

It’s leading up to pretty much what you’d expect.  Sorry to use up so much of your space, buhdy, but you owe me.  (I’m not sure for what, but I’ll think of something.)

This diary may be the most self-indulgent thing that I’ve ever seen on [DKos], so I’m posting it at a quiet hour and asking that people do not recommend it.  (I mean it.  I don’t want to spawn imitators.)  Note that I’ll soon be traveling, possibly without computer access, so my year here is over and I choose to mark it in this way.

When posters have complained about a lack of reader response, about never making the Rec List, and so on, I’ve sometimes suggested that they take the word “diary” literally.  A traditional diary may one day be published, or may serve as grist for a memoir, but it is foremost written for ourselves, to memorialize our own thoughts.  (We just happen to do so out here in the open.)  If we’re lucky and so disposed, a diary may also change others’ thinking and perhaps the world.  Regardless, it has value in its being written and being ours.

And so: here is part 2 of an easy-to-read annotated list, from latest to earliest (in proper blog form), of every diary I have written here at Daily Kos as Major Danby (less the first 78 that I listed there.)  Thanks to Markos, the CEs, and my friends and readers for helping me generate, publish, refine, defend, and now compile the work described below.  Without you, there would have been nothing.

Regular Series on DocuDharma

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Well I won’t pretend I’m not sitting here watching new episodes of Shin Chan instead of Olbermann, but I’ve already seen that once and the last half is so so.

Anyway it reminded me of some of the earliest Pony Parties where I used a Shin Chan YouTube to set the right mood.  I’ve seen them again recently when I was looking at some other older stuff.

Finding old stuff is kind of hard unless we label it correctly.  Then we can use tags to find them and bookmark them.

RiaD has a spot on idea that we should make all the series diaries here a little easier to find, one or 2 buttons away.  If you’re an author of one or participate in one I’d like you to please take some time and go through your back catalog and see that everything is tagged to your satisfaction.

I don’t want to initiate any tag warfare here.  For the most part it’s impossible.  The only people who can change your tags are the same ones who can edit your essays- you and all the Board Members.

What I would like you to do is regularly check back and make sure your work is properly cataloged in the library here.

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