Monday, March 28, 2005

Beginninig of the end of our long national nightmare?

It appears over the past two weeks or so the American people have really gotten fed up with W and Co. It may be the war or maybe the Terri Schiavo case or rising oil prices, but the polls have really started going south for the neocon agenda and so-called "values issues."

USA Today reports a new poll showing:

"President Bush's approval rating has fallen to 45%, the lowest point of his
presidency, according to a new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll.

The finding, in a poll of 1,001 adults Monday through Wednesday, is a dip from 52% in a poll taken last week. Bush's previous lowest rating, 46%, was recorded last May.

The new poll found the largest drop for Bush came among men,
self-described conservatives and churchgoers.

The poll also found an increased number of Democrats. In this survey, 37% said they were Democrats and 32% said they were Republicans. Last week, 32% said they were Democrats and 35% said they were Republicans.

Bush's handling of the economy also appears to have contributed to the poll's findings.

Bush's economic ratings:

• 59% said economic conditions are getting worse, Bush's highest
negative number on the economy in two years.

• 32% rated economic
conditions good or excellent, the lowest rating in over a year. "

That's not so hot. The whole rushing back to Washington ploy last Sunday to sign the Schiavo feeding tube bill didn't do anything for him either. [See the polls at my other blog for this date.] Where has W been these past few days anyway? Is he laying low.

Cheney 2008!

Have no fear though, the true believers are still out there, albiet if less vocal than before.

David Froomkin's Washington Briefing last Friday noted there's an interest out there in neocon world for Cheney to run in 2008! (Oh God, please! Run Dick run.)

"Turns out Jonathan Chait and I have been gathering string on the same phenomenon -- but he published first, in this morning's Los Angeles Times: 'The Draft Cheney movement is burbling just below the surface. Fred Barnes suggested it earlier this month in the Weekly Standard. Tod Lindberg of the Washington Times and Lawrence Kudlow of National Review Online echoed Barnes in columns this week." [Go to the WaPO for the links, I'm having technical diffiiculties.]

Chait notes how "the columns hyping Cheney read like a thinly disguised plea for Bush's support. 'If the president let it be known he thinks Cheney would be the best person to succeed him,' writes Barnes, 'that would be enough to release Cheney from his promise not to run.' "

Fred Barnes (always one with a firm grip on reality.) goes on:

"As professions of lack of interest in the presidency go, Cheney's is unusually
strong. Yet there's every reason he should change his mind. He's not too
old. President Reagan was 69 when he took office.

Despite past heart trouble, Cheney hasn't had a serious health problem for years. Besides, his health has nothing to do with his refusal to consider running in 2008. He's an experienced candidate at the national level and an effective debater with a wry sense of humor. (Gasp!)

But there's a larger reason Cheney should seek to succeed Bush. In all likelihood, the 2008 election, like last year's contest, will focus on foreign policy. The war on terror, national security, and the struggle for democracy will probably dominate American politics for a decade or more. Bush's legacy, or at least part of it, will be to have returned these issues to a position of paramount concern for future presidents.

And who is best qualified to pursue that agenda as knowledgeably and aggressively as Bush? The answer is the person who helped Bush formulate it, namely Cheney."

But, of course. With solid thinking like this on the other side, one has to ask, just how pathetic was Kerry's campaign?

Neocons on the outs?

If Greg Palast is correct, the nominations of Wolfowitz to lead the World Bank and John Bolton for U.S ambassador to the U.N. might actually be seen as demotions. He has an intereting article in Harper's concerning the neocon plan to privatize Iraq's oil back in 2001 which was roundly rejected by Big Oil. Ultimatly, they're the ones that brought W to the dance and the neocons are paying for it.

This time two years ago.

[NY Times April 11, 2003]

"Looting and suicide attackas chaos grows in Baghdad." (Damn liberal press!)

Baghdad is scene of widening anarchy as jubilation accompanying collapse of
Saddam Hussein's rule gives way to spree of violence and looting; suicide
bombing attack on checkpoint manned by American marines leaves at least four of
them severely injured;

American troops were firing into the air to discourage
the marauding bands, most of the looters were able to pick targets at will
in plain view of American units without any fear of any American

One marine officer standing a top a tank at a check point in east
Baghdad said that he has been aksed repeatedly by Iraqis why his unti had done
nothing to stop the looting and he had explained that he had no order to
respond. “I’ll tell them the truth, that we just don’t have enough troops., “ he

On March 20th 2005 Rummy expalined to Fox News Sunday why this was. (Hint: it's not his fault.)

"...given the level of the insurgency today, two years later, clearly if we
had been able to get the 4th Infantry Division in from the north through
Turkey, more of the Iraqi Saddam Hussein Baathist regime would have been
captured or killed. The insurgency today would be less.

What happened was we had to come in from the south, our 4th Infantry
Division was blocked in the north.

As a result, by the time Baghdad was taken, the large fraction of the
Iraqi military and intelligence services just dissipated into the communities.
And they're still, in a number of instances, still active."

And naturally, in any case it was the generals on the ground making the calls as to troop numbers and what to guard and what not to guard. It wasn't Rummy. (Goddamn Turks!)

Also from April 11th 2003 there is this oldy but goody. Remember, this is less than a month after the invasion.

DOD briefing on the war:

Rummy: "The images you are seeing on television you are seeing over,
and over, and over, and it's the same picture of some person walking out of some
building with a vase, and you see it 20 times, and you think, "My goodness, were
there that many vases?" (Laughter.) "Is it possible that there were that many
vases in the whole country?"

Q: Do you think that the words "anarchy" and "lawlessness" are
ill-chosen --

Rumsfeld: Absolutely. I picked up a newspaper today and I couldn't believe
it. I read eight headlines that talked about chaos, violence, unrest. And it
just was Henny Penny -- "The sky is falling." I've never seen anything like it!
And here is a country that's being liberated, here are people who are going from
being repressed and held under the thumb of a vicious dictator, and they're

And all this newspaper could do, with eight or 10 headlines, they showed a
man bleeding, a civilian, who they claimed we had shot -- one thing after
another. It's just unbelievable how people can take that away from what is
happening in that country!"

Certainly Ken Adelman, "Mr. Cakewalk," after laying low as the initial invasion seemed to be going a little shaky was quoted as saying critics of the Iraqi war plan couldn't argue with success. Right you are Ken!

William Bennet said "This will go down as one of the greatest militray efforts of all time!"

William Krystal said, "This is a little bit of Vietnam in reverse, I would argue." If by that he meant just like Vietnam, he would be right.

And best of all, check out James K. Sweeney ["I told you so."] from April 9, 2003:

"The war is over; the mop up will take another week or so...

Iraq is about the size of California with a population around 25 million.
It was conquered (yes, conquered) in about 2 weeks. Dictators the world over are
simply in shock and awe over that indisputable fact....

The American military can kill the bad guys without destroying the country.
Iraq was a remarkable military and political event. It was executed without
wreaking havoc on the civilian population and at a loss of something less than
200 deaths, half of which were accidents, not from enemy fire. If that doesn’t
send a clear message to North Korea and the rest, nothing will.

And who was right? We were. The President; the best security cabinet in
generations; the neo-cons; the chicken hawks; and those of us the losers call
imperialists, corporate lackeys, killers and worse. All of them were wrong and
all of us were right."

You sure were Jimmy boy. Got any lotto numbers for me today?

Two months after Iraq's "historic election" we're still waiting for a government to appear. The NY Times reports today:

"The country's leading political parties held last-minute talks today
before a meeting of the National Assembly scheduled for Tuesday, as a wave of
violence in central Iraq that began on Sunday night left at least nine people
dead, several of them police officers.

As the 275-member assembly prepared to hold its second meeting, more
than two months after general elections, it appeared that the top politicians
had failed to reach any deal to install a government."

U.S. casualties are way down in the past month, probably due to us pulling our troops back into heavily guarded bases just as the Brits are doing in Basra.

The Guardian reports:

"It is quite hard to find out what's going on in Iraq these days for the
simple reason, I assume, that for safety reasons almost all reporters are
confined to their hotel rooms.

Such a situation suits our government in the run-up to the election, when they will try to present us with a picture of slow but rewarding progress in Iraq following the elections of two months ago.

Despite the frequent car bombs in Baghdad, some people may still have in their minds a picture of a more peaceful scene in the south of the country; for example, in Basra where our troops not so long ago were to be seen riding around wearing berets and waving to the natives.

A story in the Times last week gives a different picture. The reporter,
Catherine Philp, described how a group of picnicking students had been attacked
by members of an Islamic militia. Two of them were killed and others beaten with
sticks and rifles butts.

According to Ms Philp, the town of Basra is today controlled by
fanatical religious militias which disapprove of things like picnics.

So what has happened to the British army which, we thought, was in
charge? When one of the students appealed for help at the British military base
he was told to 'go to the Iraqi authorities'.

From this account, it appears that our army is confined to barracks waiting to be told what to do by a government that doesn't exist. That probably suits Mr Blair, as the last thing he wants is more British casualties hitting the headlines. But one wonders what the army thinks about it. "

Meanwhile, we're trying to get the hell out of there and we don't care how many Iraqi soliders have to die to get it done. We've got Iran to get to.


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