April 8, 2008 archive

A Secret Military Plan For Iraq

His anyone read this story?  It seems that there is NO exit from Iraq.  The plan is temporary, but will the next president honor it?

A confidential draft agreement covering the future of US forces in Iraq, passed to the Guardian, shows that provision is being made for an open-ended military presence in the country.

The draft strategic framework agreement between the US and Iraqi governments, dated March 7 and marked “secret” and “sensitive”, is intended to replace the existing UN mandate and authorises the US to “conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security” without time limit.

The authorisation is described as “temporary” and the agreement says the US “does not desire permanent bases or a permanent military presence in Iraq”. But the absence of a time limit or restrictions on the US and other coalition forces – including the British – in the country means it is likely to be strongly opposed in Iraq and the US.


It will be interesting to see if this is addressed by the candidates on their stump speeches about Iraq.

Muse in the Morning

Art Link


We are Normal: a duet

Would you please

Lend me food?

I am hungry.

We do not know you.

You are alien.

You are not welcome.

We are normal.
Can I please

Share your water?

I am thirsty.
We own the water.

You are strange.

You cannot have any.

We are normal.
Will you then

Share your fire?

I am cold.
We need all the warmth.

You are other.

You must go away.

We are normal.
Is it too much to ask,

To be able to live,

To be able to be?
We don’t like your kind.

You are different.

You make us think too much.

We are normal.
But all I want is

To live in peace,

To be happy.
You have no right to be happy.

You offend us.

You hurt us by existing.

We are normal.
I know how to love,

How to care,

How to hurt.
You are not one of us.

You don’t belong.

We want you to die.

We are normal.

–Robyn Elaine Serven

—June, 1994

Please join us inside to celebrate our various muses…

Interior Secretary no-show at Senate Polar Bear Hearing


The Bush Administration’s Interior Secretary, Dirk Kempthorne, was a no-show at last Wednesday’s Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee hearing, chaired by Barbara Boxer, on the listing of the polar bear as an endangered species.

“This listing is months overdue, in violation of the Endangered Species Act,” the California Democrat said at the hearing of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee.

The deadline for a decision was Jan. 9. Conservation groups petitioned to list polar bears as threatened more than three years ago because their habitat, sea ice, is shrinking from global warming.

In a letter to Boxer, Kempthorne said he “respectfully” declined her invitation to appear at the hearing, since he is a named defendant in a lawsuit over the polar bear listing filed by an environmental group.

Pony Party, Game On!!

Cue the band…..”It’s the most wonderful time of the year….”

NHL Playoff Matchups:

Eastern Conference
Montreal (1) Boston (8)
Pittsburgh (2) Ottawa (7)
Washington (3) Philadelphia (6)
New Jersey (4) NY Rangers (5)
Western Conference
Detroit (1) Nashville (8)
San Jose (2) Calgary (7)
Minnesota (3) Colorado (6)
Anaheim (4) Dallas (5)
Home Team (seed) Visiting Team (seed)

or, if you’d like extensive coverage

Free Tibet on Golden Gate Bridge

One World One Dream – Free Tibet 08

Screen caps from KTVU Video

This is the BIG story in the Bay Area tonight.  These 3 people on the bridge were truly brave souls and after 3 hours flying their banners and Tibetan flags, they were taken into custody and booked for felony conspiracy.  The city of San Francisco is ‘bracing for uproar’, iow shitting bricks, about what to do with the Olympic torch relay on Wednesday.  After London and Paris I can only imagine what will happen here. Tensions have been building for weeks now.        

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Yup.  That “Surge” sure is working-

Anxiety Rises Over Vulnerable Housing In Iraqi Green Zone

By Sholnn Freeman, Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, April 8, 2008; Page A08

BAGHDAD, April 7 — A little after sunrise on Easter Sunday, a mortar shell or rocket crashed into Paul Converse’s trailer inside the Green Zone, the rigorously defended seat of U.S. power in Iraq. Converse, who once told his brother he felt safer in Iraq than on American freeways, died the next day.

Converse’s death has underscored the vulnerability of housing facilities in the Green Zone to artillery and missile attack, spreading fear among thousands of security contractors, interpreters, American soldiers and embassy personnel.

A 56-year-old government auditor, Converse was the first of four Americans to die in Green Zone shelling in the past two weeks. Four days after Converse’s death, Mazin Zwayne, a 62-year-old American civilian working for the Defense Department, was killed in a shelling attack. On Monday, shells killed two American soldiers and wounded 17 others. It is so far unclear whether the others were also killed in trailers, in part because the U.S. Embassy, citing security concerns, generally refuses to give details of where shells and rockets hit.

Crackdown on Militias May Add to Instability in Iraq


Published: April 8, 2008

BAGHDAD – A crackdown on the Mahdi Army militia is creating potentially destabilizing political and military tensions in Iraq, pitting a stronger government alliance against the force that has won past showdowns: the street power wielded by the radical cleric Moktada al-Sadr.

But the badly coordinated push into Basra has unleashed a new barrage of attacks on American and Iraqi forces and has led to open fighting between Shiite militias.

Figures compiled by the American military showed that attacks specifically on military targets in Baghdad more than tripled in March, one of many indications that violence has begun to rise again after months of gains in the wake of an American troop increase. Overall attacks on Baghdad more than doubled, to 631 in March from 239 in February, reflecting new strikes against the Green Zone, the fortified headquarters for Iraqi and American officials, as well as renewed fighting in Sadr City between the Mahdi Army and American and Iraqi forces.

So let’s bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran-

Next Hot Topic In U.S. Campaign: The Iran Question

Sharp Differences In Viewpoints Echo Discord on Iraq Issue

By YOCHI J. DREAZEN and LAURA MECKLER, The Wall Street Journal

April 8, 2008; Page A3

WASHINGTON — Iran might end up sharing center stage when Gen. David Petraeus and the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, testify Tuesday before Senate panels featuring the three presidential candidates.

Iran is emerging as a hot-button campaign issue, with the candidates differing sharply on what approach to take toward Tehran and its hard-line leadership. Likely Republican nominee John McCain, who has been delivering warnings on Iran, told reporters ahead of the hearing, “I think you’re going to hear more about the Iranian influence, the arms they’ve provided, the money, the training, particularly the extent of their influence in southern Iraq. It’s pretty extensive, and I think he’s going to be talking about that.”

The three candidates differ over Iraq, but the disagreements about Iran are just as striking. Sen. Barack Obama has offered to negotiate with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions. His rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton, has described Iran as a threat to U.S. interests across the region and voted in favor of labeling Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist force. Sen. McCain favors tough sanctions against Iran and has hinted that he would use force to prevent the country from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Sweet dreams.

Tell me again, who are the terrorists?

I’ve been struggling a bit. With role assignments. Because I’m confused. Are the Iraqis themselves the terrorists? Or do Iraqis harbor terrorists? No. Wait. Terrorists infiltrate Iraq. And we are there to get rid of terrorists, right? Wait, or was it to get rid of the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WsMD)? Or was it the threat of terrorism? Who are the insurgents btw? Are they related to the terrorists? Wait. Iran is involved in this, right? It’s terrorists [being paid by Iran to infiltrate Iraq] who are killing Iraqis, right? Or are the Iranian people themselves terrorists? Or do they just harbor terrorists? I know… maybe they outsource their terrorism. Anybody? Do they also have WsMD? Wait.

Tell me again, who are the terrorists?

      The Historic Basis of … Prosperity

The main expansionist strategy of the European business classes during the 19th century was colonialism; that is, each country would try to carve out areas of control in the third world, using its technological superiority translated into military terms. The raw materials and labor and markets of these colonies were for the exclusive exploitation of businesses centered in the home country. The inherent weakness of this colonialist strategy, from a capitalist point of view, is that the bulk of the populace remained in poverty and therefore provided not much of a market for the goods of the home country.

Crunch Time In America: An Interview With Economist Jared Bernstein

Jared Bernstein's Book

The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal on April 6th and x-posted today at The Wild, Wild Left, The Peace Tree,The Independent Bloggers Alliance and Worldwide Sawdust.

How many economists have you read or watched on television in recent years that claimed the economy was performing well while you struggled to make ends meat and keep up with the cost of living? Indeed, until recently a happy talk virus had infected a cabal of conservative plutocrats who preached the virtues of limited regulation, market forces and free trade as wages declined and predatory lenders had a party. It seemed we were hearing conservative politicians and their mouthpieces at the Heritage Foundation or Fox news refer to the economy as “the greatest story never told” at every opportunity.

Now that the housing and credit crisis has metastasized, conservative apparatchiks are fighting to minimize government intervention on behalf of regular folks while preserving corporate welfare. They accuse anyone who raises a fuss of waging class warfare. Instead these agents of the status quo prefer we erroneously obsess about Social Security going bust and agree to privatize it for Wall Street’s benefit.

I Was Mostly Excoriated

 Let’s do the disclaimer first:  

I support Obama and want him to get the nomination over Hillary, and win the general election over McCain.


That being said, I was mostly excoriated by the orange Obamabots when I posted this diary, back in February, to wit:  It Begins:  What Will Obama Do?.  They have a very “shoot the messenger” attitude over there, if it’s not blowing kisses at Obama.  I can’t abide such things.

At any rate, that now being “of record”, let’s turn to today’s Talking Points Memo and an article found there entitled:  Conservatives Planning New Attack Group for Election.  A’yup — it’s all about what’s already sort of started, but which hasn’t begun to really get going, yet:  an assault on Sen. Hopey Hope the likes of which will make mere Swiftboating look like a deluge of love letters.

The very first comment under the TPM article is the best one, too:


The issue is this…

                    Will the Democrats collectively wet their pants

                    at the sight of these attacks or will they




And, no, I’m not “JimboF”.  

The answer to the question is, well, I don’t know.  When Ed Shultz called McCain a “warmonger” a couple of days ago, the Obama campaign attained light-speed in its rush to denounce Shultz.  So, I’m not sure what’s going to happen when the gloves really come off.  And the people at orange think that Hillary’s all diabolical and nasty.  She’s a piker compared to what the GOP’s going to do to Obama.  Brace yourselves . . .

Mu . . .

The Misogynist

Raw Story has an excerpt from Cliff Schechter’s upcoming book:

Three reporters from Arizona, on the condition of anonymity, also let me in on another incident involving McCain’s intemperateness. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain’s hair and said, “You’re getting a little thin up there.” McCain’s face reddened, and he responded, “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt.” McCain’s excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days.

Many in the media, and many in the blogs, have revealed a surprising latent misogyny, this campaign season. But McCain could become president. However much antipathy some Democrats may feel for one or the other Democratic candidates, this is the alternative.

Regarding Noam Chomsky

This is not a pressing political issue.  If you want to read something “important”, read something else.

One thing that I have often been given grief for while blogging is my antipathy towards certain figures on the political left, notably Edward Said and Noam Chomsky.  Some people have deeply questioned my commitment to ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza because of it.

This post by David Bernstein of the Volokh Conspiracy illustrates very well why I have long felt that Chomsky is not to be taken seriously on political issues:

First, I’ve located the original source cited by Chomsky. It’s Yossi Beilin, Mehiro shel Ihud 42-43 (Revivim, 1985), a Hebrew book, never translated to English, written by Israeli dove Beilin. It’s a secondary source that provides only the barest context for Dayan’s remark–all the book tells us is that Dayan’s comment illustrates an extreme attitude toward Palestinian refugees, and was made during a meeting with other leaders of the small RAFI party, which was composed of hawkish defectors from the dominant Labor Party. Apparently, Chomsky couldn’t be bothered to look up the original transcripts, which are footnoted by Beilin.

Second, Dayan didn’t make this remark in the “early 1970s,” he made it in September 1967, just three months after the Six Day War.

Third, he didn’t say it to his “cabinet colleagues,” or in any official government capacity, but at meeting of the leaders of his small party, and his statement on that particular day may or may not have reflected his more general, or his longer-term, views regarding the Palestinians.

Fourth, according the book, Dayan was addressing the situation of Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, not all Palestinians, or even all Palestinians in the West Bank.

Fifth, and by far most significant, Chomsky leaves out the next few sentences uttered by Dayan: “For now, it works out. Let’s say the truth. We want peace. If there is no peace, we will maintain military rule and we will have four to five military compounds on the hills, and they will sit ten years under the Israeli military regime.” Thus, rather than this quote reflecting a long-term “plan” by Israel, it reflected Dayan’s view of the alternative if a peace deal with Jordan (Beilin notes on the same page that Dayan was willing “to divide authority on the West Bank with Jordan”), could not be reached. Moreover, even in the absence of an immediate peace deal, Dayan was not speaking of a permanent occupation, but of a ten-year Israeli presence.

Calling Obama’s & Clinton’s bluff: Stop the war NOW

Another good idea undoubtedly doomed to fail, but worth the effort to try:

Military Families Speak Out is challenging U.S. Senators — starting with two named Obama and Clinton — to filibuster and stop President Bush’s request for more money for the Iraq war and occupation, another $102-billion.

Democrats aren’t even talking about saying no.

The Democrats’ plan appears to be to load up the bill with more domestic spending, rather than trying to stop the war spending. They want to add money for everything from storm-damaged national parks to local law enforcement grants to trying to use nuclear fusion to produce energy, CQ reports.

Instead of trying to stop the war, they’ve written Bush a letter, politely suggesting that he should change his strategy and plans.  Right. That’ll be happening any day now, no doubt.

Military Families Speak Out has a simple idea:  Stop the war by refusing to fund it.  That, you may recall, is how we finally got out of Vietnam.

They start by quoting Obama and Clinton, then ask them a simple question:

“Let me be clear: there is no military solution in Iraq, and there never was. The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq’s leaders to resolve their civil war is to immediately begin to remove our combat troops. Not in six months or one year – now.” — Sen. Barack Obama, September 12, 2007

“Our message to the president is clear. It is time to begin ending this war — not next year, not next month — but today.” — Sen. Hillary Clinton, July 10, 2007

On the campaign trail, Senator Obama and Senator Clinton both say that the war in Iraq needs to end. Military Families Speak Out has one question for them: what are they doing now as sitting United States Senators, to bring our loved ones home from Iraq?

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