Saturday, July 07, 2007

Author's note

I'm blogging over at LTAD today. Next post Monday, when the public library opens again.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Condi's little Embassy problem

How classic is this?

The WaPo reports today that our diplomats at the US Embassy in the "heavily fortified" Green Zone in Iraq have had the audacity to complain about construction blunders and their personal safety.

Imagine that!

"A toughly worded cable sent from the embassy to State Department headquarters on May 29 highlights a cascade of building and safety blunders in a new facility to house the security guards protecting the embassy. The guards' base, which remains unopened today, is just a small part of a $592 million project to build the largest U.S. embassy in the world. . .The first signs of trouble, according to the cable, emerged when the kitchen staff tried to cook the inaugural meal in the new guard base on May 15. Some appliances did not work. Workers began to get electric shocks. Then a burning smell enveloped the kitchen as the wiring began to melt."

Hmmm . . . Sounds like good ol' KBR doing their usual great job.

James L. Golden, the managing director of the Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO), says stop your whining you little babies:

Quit writing cables out in the open and, by the way, "None of the issues raised in the cable has merit. . . It appears [the embassy] and KBR simply do not want to operate the camp for other reasons."

It's all your fault. We gave you some damn flak jackets, so just suck it up. Duck and cover!

Foggy Bottom is already having enough trouble filling its diplomatic posts in Iraq, the WaPo reported back on the 21st of June that soon the "Agency will be forced to order its employees to serve in Iraq."

Apparently, Condi sent out another public cable saying that no positions would be filled any where else in the world until the Baghdad Embassy was filled.

She wrote:

"It is my fervent hope that we will continue to see sufficient numbers of Foreign Service and Civil Service employees volunteering for Iraq service, but we must be prepared to meet our requirements in any eventuality."

Fervent hope or desperate hope? Funny wording there.

Ray Crockett, the new Ambassador (i.e. sucker), wrote to Rice recently, shortly after getting stuck with the job: "Simply put, we cannot do the nation's most important work if we do not have the Department's best people."

Try protecting them first and then maybe they'll want to work there. They're diplomats for Christ sake, not cannon fodder.

Iraq: another update.

Yesterday, on the Grand Fourth, our illustrious "war" scoundrel sought refuge in patriotism in front of a captive audience of National Guardsmen at a base Martinsburg W. Va. After disgracing himself and his office earlier this week by giving one of the cronies who helped him lie us into the Iraq war a get-out-of-jail-free-pass -- in one of the most bold-faced political pay-offs in history -- he had to change the subject -- and quick.

George W. Bush and the exalted oligarchy he rolls with may not have to play by the rules but, from the assembled citizen-soldiers he was speaking to, he demanded: "More patience, more courage, more sacrifice."

Because we're almost there: General Fil said just the other day that after four years and 3,588 dead Americans, we control almost 50 % of Baghdad. And even better than that, those fractious Iraqi politicians are about to get around to passing the oil bill.

Not that oil is what the war has been about all along-- "Do not destroy oil wells" -- but, it just so happens the most important benchmark the White House wants to see met is a law splitting up the oil money between the various Iraqi ethnic groups and -- most importantly -- the multinational oil companies.

It doesn't look like it's going to happen, though. Al-Maliki may have rammed the proposal through his watered down cabinet, but that doesn't mean it's going to fly in the parliament -- even if they could ever get a quorum: 44 Sunni members are sitting out over a dispute about the speaker of parliament and a group of Muqtada's Shiites are also absent.

And, as if that weren't bad enough . . .

The LA Times reports:

"An influential group of Sunni Muslim clerics, the Association of Muslim Scholars, joined the fray surrounding the oil bill yesterday by issuing a religious edict, forbidding legislators from voting for it.' Whoever does so will be exposed by God's wrath and will have committed a crime of collaboration with the enemy,' said a statement from the group."

I'm sure they'll get it all worked out before they go on a month long vacation at the end of the month, right? W says: "I know it's a tough fight," but he'll also be in Crawford during the month of August working on his handicap and pulling some weeds, so just have patience and keep sacrificing.

Concord, Lexington and Baghdad:

W., always the optimist says, 'don't worry, be happy': Being such an avid student of history W. draws on the American experience during the revolution: "It's not easy to stand united. We learned that lesson during our own nation's history, and we're seeing that in Iraq today."

Yes, it's just like 1776 all over again.

The AP reports that: "Bush compared the citizen-soldiers of the Continental Army who traded pitchforks for muskets to the guardsmen and other military personnel fighting today."

In reality, the Continentals of the Revolution showed more similarities to the Iraqi insurgents. In his excellent "Origins of the American Revolution," John C. Miller writes:

"The very extent of the colonies was believed to make impossible any conquest by the British army. Although the British might gain a foothold, they could not hold down the country as the American army adopted the Indian method of fighting. 'I think it will be best to let our Enemies land without opposition,' said a colonial strategist, 'and we can bush fight them and cut off their Officers very easily, and in this way subdue them with very little loss.'

Alexander Hamilton advised Americans to avoid a pitched battle: 'It will be better policy,' he said 'to harass and exhaust the soldiery by frequent skirmishes and incursions.' [I don't know, that sounds a little like terrorist talk to me, better keep an eye on that Hamilton character.]

A common complaint of British generals was that the Americans would come out and fight like men. Sound familiar?

Diyala, all over but for the shouting?

In any case, the fight in Diyala Province seems to be in the mopping up phase at this point.

The NYT reported recently:

"Maj. Gen. Abdul Karim al-Rubaie, the Iraqi commander of operation in Diyala, said the coalition and Iraqi forces had made significant advances during the recent large-scale operation to clear al-Qaeda from Baqubah. 'Life has gradually started to go back to normality in these areas, and residents are happy with the military operations,'" al-Rubaie says. [See, shake and bake does work.]

In news from further south, however, where we're fighting the Shiites (Not al-Qaeda):

"American F-16s bombed buildings in Diwaniya after insurgents launched 75 rockets and mortar shells at a coalition base. Iraqi officials said the jets killed 10 civilians, including women and children, wounded 30 others and damaged several houses."

The US military said they "targeted and bombed insurgent launch sites" and blamed the insurgents for using civilians as human shields. Of course, in the case of the 3 American soldiers charged with allegedly killing 3 Iraqi civilians in Iskandariya and leaving weapons near their bodies to make it look like they were insurgents; that was on purpose. I'm not sure the Iraqis are willing to make the distinction between the two types of civilian killings at this late date.

In any case . . . back in Diwaniya:

"The strike led to a protest march by residents, some of whom opened fire on a government building, leading to an exchange in which a 17-year old demonstrator and two security guards were killed."

It's getting more and more difficult to tell the residents from the insurgents these days. That's the problem with occupations, isn't it?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The new Libby rule:

It looks like in this country there are two sets of laws. For the vast majority of us there is the law, but then for the small number of mega-rich politically connected types; there's Bush justice. The right wingers have spent so much time and effort to pack the courts with their ideological fellow travelors, about two thirds of the federal bench are now of the Federalist Society ilk, and they talk a good game about getting tough on crime with their mandatory minimum sentencing, but when it comes to one of their own, well that's different.

W. has got a lot of gall to claim the Libby sentence was "excessive" when he denies due process to some 300 odd detainees at Gitmo, whom he's prefectly content to just allow to waste away. My God, where' the outrage?

Monday, July 02, 2007

George W. Bush: The Law and Order President

AP reports:

"President Bush spared his former aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby from a 2 1/2-year prison term in the CIA leak investigation Monday, delivering a political thunderbolt in the highly charged criminal case. Bush said the sentence was just too harsh."

Yes, perjury isn't that bad, right?

Trent Lott on Clinton's perjury:

"I think clearly perjury is an impeachable offense . . . I think bad conduct is enough for impeachment."

Bill Frist:

"There is no serious question that perjury and obstruction of justice are high crimes and misdemeanors. . . Indeed, our own Senate precedent establishes that perjury is a high crime and misdemeanor. . . The crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice are public crimes threatening the administration of justice."

Arlen Specter:

"Perjury and obstruction of justice are serious offenses which must not be tolerated by anyone in our society."


George W. Bush on Scooter Libby:

"I respect the jury's verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison."

Question for all the potential Democratic nominees . . .

Would they pardon George W. Bush for any crimes he may be convicted of in the future?
hit counter script Top Blog Lists Favourite Blogs Top List
My Zimbio
Top Stories