Archive for December, 2006

Happy New Year, Saddam is dead

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Thanks to the magic of camera-cellphones we have a snapshot of Saddam’s last seconds. Our newsmedia is careful to point out that Saddam was removed from U.S. custody, to avoid any implications that we had any role in his execution. Oh, no, we went to war because — what was it again? Oh, right, WMD and Iraq’s involvement in 9/11.

Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein

What’s left out of all Western media reports on Saddam’s infamous crimes is that many of them were aided and abetted by the United States government, especially under Ronald Reagan. When it suited our short-term interests we helped Iraq obtain nerve-gas precursors and turned a blind eye to his use of chemical weapons during Iraq’s war with Iran. And where was American outrage at the time those same chemical weapons were used against Iraq’s Kurdish population?

Let the Iraqis fail

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Bush has said he will defer announcing his Iraq War plans until after the New Year. Maybe he thinks Jesus will be reborn on December 25 and sweep him up into Heaven. More likely, he is counting on another Rove-like trick. The Joint Chiefs are recommending we pull our troops out of the cities and let the Iraqi Army handle combat chores, while our troops concentrate on training the Iraqi Army and hunting for terrorists. Well, golly, as Rummy used to say, the Iraqi Army can’t solve the problem — it is the problem. The Army is fragmented along secular lines, Shiite vs Sunni. Fat chance they’ll end the carnage in Iraqi cities. But at least when they go out to slaughter each other they’ll be better trained.

Also, where are the terrorists? Are they hiding out in the desert or are they in the cities? You know, the cities from which we are removing our troops. I don’t claim to be the reincarnation of Clausewitz, but I think I see what’s going on. Bush has always claimed he would listen to his generals. His generals are conveniently handing Lame Duck El Supremo a face-saving way out of Iraq.

Proud to be a stupid Cassandra

Friday, December 8th, 2006

In vino veritas, “In wine, truth.” The same could be said of adversity. You never really know someone until you see them through tough times. And what tougher time than a war? The Weekly Standard is a Washington-based neoconservative rag, published by William Kristol, one of the co-founders of the now-defunct Project for a New American Century (PNAC). I’ve seen Kristol on Book TV a few times. I think he’s a simpering, condescending jerk, who never misses a chance to let everyone know how smart he is. Well, as Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t bragging if you can do it.” In bellum veritas, “In war, truth.” The truth is, Kristol can’t do it.

The Two-State Solution

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

The Iraq Study Group Report (mirrored here) notes that

The United States cannot achieve its goals in the Middle East unless it deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict and regional instability. There must be a renewed and sustained committment by the United States to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts: Lebanon, Syria and President Bush’s June 2002 committment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. This committment must include direct talks with, by and between Israel, Lebanon, Palestinians (those who accept Israel’s right to exist), and Syria. (page xv)

This has been a popular topic of discussion here and elsewhere and deserves another look. Because, unfortunately, before they get out of their Executive Summary, the Study Group has already fallen into the abyss.

In memoriam

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

Robert Gates swept through the confirmation process to become the new Secretary of Defense yesterday, by artfully positioning himself as the Anti-Rumsfeld. While Rumsfeld consistently publicly proclaimed victory in Iraq was just around the bend, Gates bluntly admitted we were losing the war. As Rummy would say, Golly gee whiz. It’s a fair comment on how bad things are when that simple admission seems like a gust of fresh air. In these wretched times, all the next nominee for U.N. Ambassador will have to say is “There’s a civil war raging in Iraq” and his or her confirmation is assured.

Wolfowitz, Perle, Rummy, Bolton — and the Republican congressional majority — all swept away by this unnecessary war. Hannah Arendt once wrote

What binds these men together is a firm and sincere belief in human omnipotence. Their moral cynicism, their belief that everything is permitted, rests on the solid conviction that everything is possible. (more…)