Friday, January 12, 2007

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William Lind thinks the latest strategery is "Less Than Zero:"

On the surface, President Bush's Wednesday night speech adds up to precisely nothing...But if we look at the President's proposal more carefully, we find it actually amounts to less than zero. It hints at actions that may turn a mere debacle into disaster on a truly historic scale...

As I have said before and will say again, the price of an attack on Iran could easily be the loss of the army we have in Iraq. No conceivable action would be more foolish than adding war with Iran to the war we have already lost in Iraq. Regrettably, it is impossible to read Mr. Bush's dispatch of a carrier and Patriot batteries any other way than as harbingers of just such an action.

The final hidden message in Mr. Bush's speech confirms that the American ship of state remains headed for the rocks. His peroration, devoted once more to promises of "freedom" and democracy in the Middle East and throughout the world, could have been written by the most rabid of the neo-cons. For that matter, perhaps it was. So long as our grand strategy remains that which the neo-cons represent and demand, namely remaking the whole world in our own image, by force where necessary, we will continue to fail. Not even the greatest military in all of history, which ours claims to be but isn't, could bring success to a strategy so divorced from reality. Meanwhile, Mr. Bush's words give the lie to those who have hoped the neo-cons' influence over the White House had ebbed. From Hell, or the World Bank which is much the same place, Wolfi had to be smiling.

No, Incurious George has offered no new strategy, nor new course, nor even a plateau on the downward course of our two lost wars and failed grand strategy. He has chosen instead to escalate failure, speed our decline and expand the scope of our defeat. Headed toward the cliff, his course correction is to stomp on the gas.

Ignorance is bliss only until it crashes into rocks with a lethal "thud."
"Those" People
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Thanks to Tbogg for the original might want to check this post.

That and something at Hullabaloo entitled There But For the Grace of God (scroll down if it's not the latest) caught my eye, because I've been thinking about some similar things over the last couple of days, particularly in light of the almost gleeful wrath expressed by some as to the plight of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans...a mix and match of "they deserve it for living there" and, especially in the case of NOLA, the not-so-veiled racism of "just a bunch of welfare cheats and chiselers" who've used the storm as yet another excuse to beg for public assistance.

Hmm...maybe it's just me, but I'd bet the poor, unfortunate soul pictured above didn't exactly take advantage of "the system," as is the case with some 1500 or more others. And I'd also bet that few New Orleanians, if any, wouldn't jump (and jump awfully high, if need be) at the chance to get back to the proverbial "status quo ante" of life before August 29, 2005.

Oh, and contrary to the oft spewed-forth wingnut myth that New Orleans was/is full of dusky, savagely-hedonistic-welfare receipients who take your tax dollars and use them to buy guns, bullets, and crack cocaine...well, after plowing through dozens of wingnut sites that proffer their rhetoric with ZERO documentation, I fnally managed to come across this (oh, and judging from the masthead, it's not exactly a bleeding heart publication...not with Victor Davis Hanson, Bill Bennett, and Peggy Noonan occupying various slots in the structure:

New Orleans does not have a stratospherically high government-dependency rate. In 2002, it had 6,696 families on cash welfare, or 3.6 percent...In 2000, 7.8 percent of New Orleans households received Supplemental Security Income...

Not that I expect wingnuts to ever let facts get in the way of their myths.

People who live in this region, contrary to those tightly clung-to myths, aren't asking for anything particular, New Orleanians are merely asking the government to make good on the liability THEY'VE ACKNOWLEDGED...which is only fair, considering that, one, it IS a matter of criminal liability, and two, that both New Orleans, and the United States Gulf Coast have been net assets to the country since their incorporation.

And, finally, it's particularly galling to consider that the government is more than willing to throw away money hand over fist for the fool's errand that is Iraq...the latest "pragmatic" argument that wingnuttia offers is, when boiled down, horrifically expensive procrastination, putting off the final, awful reckoning even further...while ignoring the chance to both do something positive AND gain some experience in nation building by opting for a surge right here, where it'd actually be appreciated.

But, with the fools in power we've got...[bang head on keyboard]
Bush's Brain...
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...and Bush's Bitch
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Thanks for nothing, Joe. Or, as Dr. Morris might put it, Fuck You, You Fucking Fuck.

Oh, and Joe, you little whore: once you've finished servicing Shrub, Vitty-Cent might like a little. Why not take full advantage of the knee pads you're wearing and crawl on over to his office, too.

And Senator Landrieu, well...again. How many more times is it going to take before you learn?
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

First, I've been spending my morning reading about yesterday's demonstration. I also saw b.rox on television last night--which was quite the coincidence: usually, as I commented over at YRHT, it seems as if whenever I tune into CNN the space-alien/insect visage of Larry King fills my screen. The change to the very human sounding Bart made all the difference.

Now, to the bad:
Perhaps a few folks who stop here have been following, to some extent, the situation with Spocko--more here, here, and at First Draft, so I'll assume you're familiar with the details. It was nice to hear that Spocko--who's actually stopped by my humble site and added a comment a few times--was vindicated. After all, he was excerising his right to fair use AND free speech in opposing hatemongers, modern day Father Coughlins polluting the airwaves...which brings me to, um, the ugly...

I don't normally practice self-censorship...but for some reason today I'm actually questioning my own judgement and taste...maybe it's because Spocko and BlogIntegrity sound very reasonable...while my latest effort is perhaps more of the "fight fire with fire" variety. it is--and you can decide for yourself (to be honest, it's also not my best technical effort either, but...). Let's just say my inspiration was based on something I wrote in a comment at First Draft last night: that Melanie Morgan might want appropriate cheese for her whine. Knock yourself out, Melanie...literally.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

How Big of a Hole is He Gonna Dig?
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The ultimate double-dumb double-down...Scout Prime has the links.
"G., G., G.W.B., How Many More Will Die for Thee?"
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Yet another comparison between presidents hailing from the Lone Star State, this time looking at what LBJ said 40 years ago in a SOTU that focused on Vietnam, and Shrub's yawner last night.

As I told a friend in an email, if there's an afterlife, this comparison alone ought to convince LBJ that he's in hell. To be mentioned in the same breath as and on par with a moral and intellectual midget like George Walker Bush qualifies as an eternal a damnation as anything...
Because a New Unit of Measure...

...demands a new instrument for measuring it, I present:
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The Perpetual Friedman Unit Stick. Um, square, actually.

F.U. 4 Evah!
Maybe WE'RE in the Parallel Universe
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And, in this particular everything, those at the top of the heap aren't merely the epitome of evil, but mind bogglingly stupid to boot. Sort of like Idiocracy, except right now instead of in the future. I mean, I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Meanwhile, In the Other Hot War
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If you're not depressed enough about having dingbats in charge at a time when intelligent people in power are desperately needed...

Well, here's the website to go with the Frontline show about Afghanistan I saw last night. Again, consider: these clowns can't even fix the mess HERE along the Gulf Coast...and they're gonna try to fix things THERE--a place that defeated both Russia AND Britain when they were at their imperial apex?

Oh, and if you haven't yet seen it, the Rude Pundit linked to a superb Salon article by Gary Kamiya. Short version: Foreign policy as blood feud revenge will...get us where we are today.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got an appointment...with my bartender, for an extensive consultation.

Might have something to say about Shrub's pathetic rant a little later. How do I know it'll be a pathetic rant? Has it ever NOT been one?
And If You Believe That...
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"White House Officials" claim Shrub was "upset"
after seeing the Hussein execution video, specifically comparing it to the Abu Ghraib torture photos...

Yeah, right. Sure he was. After all, it's not like he'd ever do something crass, like, oh, I don't know, make jokes about the non-existence of WMD's...or taunt a nascent insurgent movement with a ridiculous boast like "bring 'em on."

Oh, wait.

Meanwhile, Shrub's poodle across the pond is likewise looking to find a proper shade of lipstick for the pig that was Hussein's hanging.

Even dim bulbs shine a little bit of light, I guess, and both Shrub and Blair must realize that the conclusion of this particular chapter is yet another fine mess they've managed to create...on top of the epic sized trash heap they've already generated.
Because History Repeats Itself
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First as tragedy, then as farce. Apologies to the person who recently made a comment at this site referring to Shrubjefe as "Oedipus Tex"--wish I could find the comment so I could give credit where it's due...but I can't for some reason. And link.

But far more troubling is the notion that the Bush administration has shaped its escalation plan in part to spite the ISG.
Although the president was publicly polite, few of the key Baker-Hamilton recommendations appealed to the administration, which intensified its own deliberations over a new “way forward” in Iraq. How to look distinctive from the study group became a recurring theme.

As described by participants in the administration review, some staff members on the National Security Council became enamored of the idea of sending more troops to Iraq in part because it was not a key feature of Baker-Hamilton.

Placing politics above national security...for Team Bush, it's nothing new, of course. But you'd think they'd finally have figured out just how high the stakes are...I guess not, though. Geez.
El Decidador
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Like a pouting child--or a third world jefe ultima--"the decider" will puff his chest and thrust out his jaw tonight...while insisting he can still unshit the Iraqi bed.


I've said this before, and I'll say it again...and again: if Shrub can't fix his mother-of-all-incompetent-fuck-ups RIGHT HERE IN AMERICA, that is, the flood of New Orleans and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, then how in hell can anyone think he'll somehow pull a rabbit out of his hat, as opposed to merely sticking his fat little fist into giant, steaming pile, in Mesopotamia?

To think that's even possible is going beyond delusional to full blown schitzophrenic hallucination.

Indeed, the Rude Pundit notes today that the extra troops for Surge 2007® will be pulled from National Guard and Reserve Units...just like in 2005, when large numbers of Louisiana Guardsmen and Reserves were over there instead of here.

Shrubjefe the decider, who feels he owes nothing to the people of this nation, has opted for perhaps the dumbest twin bets a gambler can make: dumping more lives and money on the losing side of Operation Stupidest Tactical and Strategic Blunder Ever, while simultaneously gutting the emergency response infrastructure here in the US.

And all because he can't bear to admit he's failed.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Fit for Duty
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How can you not hold everyone up to and including the Chimp-in-Chief responsible for allowing someone--Pfc. Steven Green--with "homocidal ideations" to remain active in the Army?

All joking aside (i.e., killing is what soldiers do, etc. etc.), when you read the entire article, it's pretty evident that Green was a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off...which is exactly what happened (he raped an Iraqi child before murdering her...just after he'd killed the rest of the family in cold blood).

Yet he was perfectly acceptable by George W. Bush's standards. Which speaks volumes.
Operation Drunkard Looks for Lost Keys
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Actually, for those being deployed, and those already there, it's quite a bit more serious, but the image above is more or less what's been in my head as one, I waited for Blogger to reintroduce itself to the internets, and two, read or otherwise looked over the latest news about the upcoming splurge, I mean, surge (or bump), which stands about as much chance of succeeding as, well, a drunk looking for his lost keys three blocks away because "the light's better here."

Iraq is irrevocably lost. It's OVER. Yet, the administration, led by the mulehead-in-chief, continue to insist that they can somehow turn the mother-of-all-rancid-shit into something resembling shinola. Yesterday Paul Krugman asked if this was cynicism or delusion, implying a mixture of both. I'd like to add the additional question of whether or not the whole sorry, deadly, tragic, grotesque spectacle is a final sop to appease the Team Bush base...the expense of what they apparently consider acceptable losses of lives and money for the sole purpose of well, at this point ONLY being able to thumb their collective noses at those of us who actually understood that Iraq was a Pandora's box of trouble just waiting for a gaggle of idiots to come along and open. In other words, they're playing politics with violent death.

Sadly, I wouldn't be all that surprised if this WAS the case. We've seen--quite clearly for those of us along the Gulf Coast--how readily, even eagerly, Bush's "base" is ready to throw away an entire region without so much as a "see ya later, thanks for the natural resources." So, what's a few extra troops' lives...or a few thousand extra Iraqi lives...if it delays the day of reckoning to January 20th, 2009?

And, if surge/bump somehow DOES manage to do that, you can bet thousands of GOP chickenhawks that, come January 21st, they'd be blaming whoever occupies the Oval Office for the loss...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Tony Snow: Americans Just Want a Decent Shit Sandwich

After insisting that the midterm elections showed that Americans "weren't concerned" about Iraq to the extent that "surge" might be as acceptable as anything, Snow went on to insist that, in fact, what Americans RALLY want is decent, economically-priced-but-nicely-portioned steaming excrement served up on a sesame seed bun...which, coincidently enough, is pretty much the GOP program in a nutshell.

What I'm saying, David, and you can be as partisan as you want with your question, but what I'm saying is that if the last six years have shown us anything, the American public wants and expects this administration to serve up a delicious shit sandwich, with all the fixings...and that's what this administration intends to do in 2007.

At that point, President Bush himself appeared at the podium and presented Snow with one of his own, which the press secretary pronounced "delicious."

Snow had no comment to a follow up inquiry as to whether or not shit-on-a-stick was also being considered, though his gestures, body language, and mumblings indicated he didn't want to talk with his mouth full...of shit.
Thank You For Your Sacrifice
Image Hosted by this how Shrub expects to find the extra troops for Operation Bump & Surge? (h/t WIIIAI)

US Army urges dead to re-enlist

The letters were sent to more than 5,100 Army officers listed as recently having left the military.

But this figure included about 75 officers killed in action and about 200 wounded in action.

OK, to be fair, the Army is apologizing:

"Army personnel officials are contacting those officers' families now to personally apologise for erroneously sending the letters," the army said in a statement.

It said the database normally used for such correspondence with former officers had been "thoroughly reviewed" to remove the names of dead and wounded soldiers.

"But an earlier list was used inadvertently for the December mailings," it added.

But I can't help thinking that this latest indignity is part and parcel with what I've seen from Team Bush. Chimp-in-Chief reeks of insincerity when he barks out "thank you for your sacrifice" in addresses to the, um, still living members of the armed forces (remember, he attends no funerals), then there was the "nope, no weapons here" joke...and then read the recollections of people like Cindy Sheehan, who point out the utter callousness with which they've dismissed the dead (Shrub couldn't even remember Casey Sheehan's name when meeting with the family).

Add to this the fact that Sheehan's killers are the ones who most likely will be the main power in "The New Iraq," and I'm beginning to think I understand why the collossal screw up that IS "The New Iraq" is so studiously ignored or understated by those in charge...and their media lackeys. Facing the problem is more than a little overwhelming...although the longer we ignore it, the worse it gets...
Playing With House Money Blood
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Quagmire of the Vanities
The only real question about the planned “surge” in Iraq — which is better described as a Vietnam-style escalation — is whether its proponents are cynical or delusional.

Senator Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, thinks they’re cynical. He recently told The Washington Post that administration officials are simply running out the clock, so that the next president will be “the guy landing helicopters inside the Green Zone, taking people off the roof.”

Daniel Kahneman, who won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science for his research on irrationality in decision-making, thinks they’re delusional. Mr. Kahneman and Jonathan Renshon recently argued in Foreign Policy magazine that the administration’s unwillingness to face reality in Iraq reflects a basic human aversion to cutting one’s losses — the same instinct that makes gamblers stay at the table, hoping to break even.

Of course, such gambling is easier when the lives at stake are those of other people’s children.

Well, we don’t have to settle the question. Either way, what’s clear is the enormous price our nation is paying for President Bush’s character flaws.

I began writing about the Bush administration’s infallibility complex, the president’s Captain Queeg-like inability to own up to mistakes, almost a year before the invasion of Iraq. When you put a man like that in a position of power — the kind of position where he can punish people who tell him what he doesn’t want to hear, and base policy decisions on the advice of people who play to his vanity — it’s a recipe for disaster.

Consider, on one side, the case of the C.I.A.’s Baghdad station chief during 2004, who provided accurate assessments of the deteriorating situation in Iraq. “What is he, some kind of defeatist?” asked the president — and according to The Washington Post, at the end of his tour, the station chief “was punished with a poor assignment.”

On the other side, consider the men Mr. Bush has turned to since the midterm election. They constitute a remarkable coalition of the unwilling — men who have been wrong about Iraq every step of the way, but aren’t willing to admit it.

The principal proponents of the “surge” are William Kristol of The Weekly Standard and Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute. Now, even if the Joint Chiefs of Staff hadn’t given the surge a thumbs down, Mr. Kristol’s track record should have been reason enough to ignore his advice. For example, early in the war, Mr. Kristol dismissed as “pop sociology” warnings that there would be conflict between Sunnis and Shiites and that the Shiites might try to create an Islamic fundamentalist state. He assured National Public Radio listeners that “Iraq’s always been very secular.”

But Mr. Kristol and Mr. Kagan appealed to Mr. Bush’s ego, suggesting that he might yet be able to rescue his signature war. And am I the only person to notice that after all the Oedipal innuendo surrounding the Iraq Study Group — Daddy’s men coming in to fix Junior’s mess, etc. — Mr. Bush turned for advice to two other sons of famous and more successful fathers?

Not that Mr. Bush rejects all advice from elder statesmen. We now know that he has been talking to Henry Kissinger. But Mr. Kissinger is a kindred spirit. In remarks published after his death, Gerald Ford said of his secretary of state, “Henry in his mind never made a mistake, so whatever policies there were that he implemented, in retrospect he would defend.”

Oh, and Senator John McCain, the first major political figure to advocate a surge, is another man who can’t admit mistakes. Mr. McCain now says that he always knew that the conflict was “probably going to be long and hard and tough” — but back in 2002, before the Senate voted on the resolution authorizing the use of force, he declared that a war with Iraq would be “fairly easy.”

Mr. Bush is expected to announce his plan for escalation in the next few days.

According to the BBC, the theme of his speech will be “sacrifice.” But sacrifice for what? Not for the national interest, which would be best served by withdrawing before the strain of the war breaks our ground forces. No, Iraq has become a quagmire of the vanities — a place where America is spending blood and treasure to protect the egos of men who won’t admit that they were wrong.

The pundits have long beaten the tired old saw about Shrub being "the guy you'd like to have a beer with" into the ground. No, Shrub's the annoying guy sitting next to you at the bar, occasionally elbowing your drink while loudly spewing nonsense.

But, to change the subject for just a second: not only don't I want to sit next to him at a bar, I sure as HELL don't want to find myself with him at Harrah's. Not that I gamble anyway, but shit, could you imagine? Down more than a thousand or so, and he's still pushing to double or nothing...I think Olbermann made a similar reference last week--something about a schoolyard kid who won't admit defeat.

In a word, that's scary. Especially when you consider that the guy's never actually had to face up to his multiple failures. Ever.