Thursday, December 01, 2005


Yesterday George Bush gave a speech at Annapolis Naval College in which he offered up the shiny new ‘National Strategy for Victory in Iraq’.

The partisan pundits and clueless commentators then exercised their jaws about the quality and content of Bush’s turgid performance instead of analyzing and discussing the strategy document itself—even though Bush himself invited everyone to do so. .

The fact that this ‘strategy’ now exists isn’t due to the administration’s initiative, but instead due to the likes of Cindy Sheehan, Congressman Murtha and the overwhelming and obvious truth that the White House was fiddling whilst Baghdad burned.

Nearly 3 years ago the Iraq Experts Group offered the White House a comprehensive strategy for the Iraq war plan which Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Libby, Rumsfeld, Rove and Rice pointedly ignored. Every dire prediction that the IEG made were its recommendations not followed has since come true.

So has the White House finally "wised-up"? No, of course not. Given the challenge of acting responsibly for once and diligently addressing the deadly serious issues of Iraq’s present and future (and thus that of the United Sates too) Bush and company have once again sacrificed policy for politics.

You have to read it for yourself but here are some highlights that I have gleaned and would like to share:

Firstly, this document was clearly cobbled together purely in response to recent public pressure. Nice to know that the futures of two nations and the "global war on terror" can be organized in just a few weeks.
Secondly, this "strategy paper" has no author! NOT ONE! No attribution whatsoever. Shouldn’t Rumsfeld’s name be there? Or Rice’s? Bueller? Anyone? Ah ha! With no attribution there is no responsibility, no accountability, nor is there any authority.
Thirdly, the document begins with a couple of lies (actually by default because it opens with a quote from George Bush speaking a few weeks before the invasion of Iraq) :
"The United States has no intention of determining the precise form of Iraq's new government. That choice belongs to the Iraqi people. Yet, we will ensure that one brutal dictator is not replaced by another. All Iraqis must have a voice in the new government, and all citizens must have their rights protected." (February 26 2003)
Every country requires a leader if not a government. Chalabi was hand-picked by the US to replace Saddam Hussein and form a new US funded government.
As for citizens’ rights, need I mention Abu Ghraib?

And then the lies and bullshit continue:
"Our strategy is working" (Infrastructure, services and even oil production are still behind pre-war conditions)
"Much has been accomplished in Iraq, including…restoration of full sovereignty" (except that the Iraqi economy is being subsidized by the US, the police force was once again placed under the control of the US army just a few weeks ago and the Iraqi "Army" is just one battalion)
"Coalition troop levels, for example, will increase where necessary to defeat the enemy or provide additional security for key events like the referendum and elections". (The Spanish quit, the Poles, Italians and British are drawing-down and the rest of the coalition have no plans of increasing their troop commitments).

How about some "fun facts"?
"Hundreds of judges have been trained since the fall of Saddam Hussein. These judges are now working and resolving cases under Iraqi law. In 2003, approximately 4,000 felony cases were resolved in Iraqi courts. In 2004, they resolved more than twice that number. This year, Iraqi courts are on track to resolve more than 10,000 felony cases."
Actually Iraqi law hasn’t been codified; it doesn’t exist. Bremer’s statutes are still on the books but the legal system remains undefined because the constitution hasn’t been ratified.
As far as the processing of felony cases is concerned are the courts now more efficient or have the number of felonies increased? And how exactly are these cases being ‘resolved"?

One of my favorite sections is entitled "Progress On The Economic Track".
Here’s a typical example:
"Since April 2003, Iraq has registered more than 30,000 new businesses, and its stock market (established in April 2004) currently lists nearly 90 companies with an average daily trading volume over $100 million (from January to May 2005), up from an average of $86 million in 2004."
Note the benchmark date of 2003, specifically April which closely approximates the end of the invasion that destroyed the Iraqi government and its economy. With whom have these businesses been registered? What types of businesses are they? How many Iraqis do they employ?

I’ll spare you the rest.

This strategy paper is nothing more than a cut and paste collection of meaningless verbiage and promotional pieces crafted by political advisers collated by anonymous interns as a pathetic sop to public outrage in a desperate attempt to shore up a failed presidency.

This isn’t a strategy for "Victory In Iraq" it’s the same old strategy of hanging on to domestic power through lies, obfuscation, manipulation and misdirection.

As an alternative to this highly polished turd, here’s my strategy for "victory" in Iraq:

Remove the President and his political cronies from policy-making and set up a bi-partisan task force to address the realities of this particular issue and arrive at a policy based on intelligent consensus.

Unfortunately for our troops, Iraqis, the American public and the world there’s little chance of that happening before the 2006 elections.
Bush and the Neocons have three more years to go and their strategy is clear--to ignore their moral and might I add legal and constitutional responsibilities and instead use their current power and position solely for their own ends. And that's the strategy behind the 'strategy'.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I Declare a Dumb War!

According to John Gibson and Bill O’Reilly but most especially John Gibson the US is engaged in a WAR ON CHRISTMAS
Apparently this WAR ON CHRISTMAS threatens the US like no other war the US has ever known because the WAR ON CHRISTMAS is being fought from WITHIN!
On the front lines of this war stand O’Reilly and Gibson. Actually O’Reilly isn’t so much on the front lines as back in HQ, issuing orders such as "boycott Sears!" and "buy my mugs and loofahs!"
Gibson however has decided on a more active approach in warning us all of a vast lefty liberal secularist army intent on destroying Christmasâ and thus America, simply because that’s what liberals want, more than anything else in the world.
Channeling the spirit of a perverted Paul Revere, Gibson has mounted his high horse and galloped off into the night yelling "THE SECULARISTS ARE COMING, THE SECULARISTS ARE COMING!" to all who will listen by writing a book called ( approximately) "The War On Christmas And Why It Is Worse Than You Think".

As a practicing secular liberal I must say I’m a bit miffed at not having been clued-in on the WAR ON CHRISTMAS . I regularly get e-mails from "Friends of Hillary" and "Move-On" and even Michael Moore once in a while but apparently all that doesn’t even qualify me as a simple camp-follower to the vast lefty liberal progressive secular army that has been amassed to destroy Christmas . Despite my adoration of Janeanne Garofolo I guess I’m just not that hard-core.
Yet despite this obvious snub from the lefty intellectual elite, I’m still keen to join this vast army of anti-Christmasites so that together we can crush the dangerous notion of "peace on earth and goodwill to all men" once and for all.
Perhaps my being overlooked as a potential stormtrooper in the WAR ON CHRISTMAS is simply a result of the inherent lefty-liberal fault of bad organization; it is entirely possible that someone forgot to mail my invitation.

In order to shake off my obviously clerical error-driven 4F rating and to prove myself worthy as a frontline liberal elitist secular America-hating defeatist, I chose to go independently behind enemy lines and infiltrate the ranks of the Pro-Christmasites in the hope of gaining valuable intelligence to serve our WAR ON CHRISTMAS.
Cleverly disguised as an Internet "user" I penetrated a target-rich environment which I will call "Amazon" and acquired my subject, codenamed "Review". What I uncovered raises more answers than questions.

In reviewing John Gibson’s book about the "War On Christmas", Julie Wood of DeatsVille Alabama (boasting approximately TWELVE streets, half of which are dead-ends, yet still having Internet connectivity) offered the following:
Quote: " How very sad that people feel they must bash this book due to what they perceive to be grammatical errors, yet their (sic) very own review contained spelling and/or grammar errors! The point is NOT to find grammatical errors, it IS to see that in America, there is a great falling away from what our wonderful country was founded upon - belief in the God who made us. Although this falling away was predicted in the Bible millions of years ago (emphasis added), it is comforting to know that there are those of us, like Mr. Gibson, who are not afraid to stand up for the tradition of celebrating the birth of Christ. I commend Mr. Gibson for taking a stand, and I pray that others will follow his lead".

Oh Julie! How very sad that you can’t tell the difference between "perceived" grammatical errors and actual grammatical errors, such as you yourself have provided. And FYI Julie, America WASN’T founded on a belief in God, but rather in rejecting the imposition of intransigent religion on public life.
As to the Bible predicting a "falling away" MILLIONS of years ago, you’d have a hard time explaining that particular belief to your fundamentalist leaders whose calendars begin 4004 B.C. The term "millions" simply isn’t in their vocabulary, and it shouldn’t be in yours either. Methinks you are a false Christian and a blasphemer!

With a "review " entitled "Get a life, losers", reviewer ‘Freethinker’—"not afraid of diversity of political thought" writes:
Quote: "Here's a revolutionary thought-how about all you hate-filled, closed-minded intolerant liberals quit writing reviews for a book you haven't even read???? Go to Michael Moore's website if you want to spew hate. This forum is for people who READ!!! Is this how you form your beliefs, through blind ideology, without even examining the evidence???

Whereas "riceburner117" with a review entitled "whats wrong with all you liberals" offers the following
Quote: "Ok, let me start off by saying that I'm 15 and probably have more sense than most liberals out there. Any one who says that this book doesn't preach the truth is blind. Have you noticed how Coca-Cola didn't put Santa on their cans this year? Have you noticed that most stores aren't allowed to say "Merry Christmas" because it might offend some minority that no one has ever heard of? People dont understand that we are the silent majority. We dont stick up for ourselves. Even our schools marquee's don't say Merry Christmas, it's "have a happy holiday" or "have fun on winter break". That I know of, we have one Jewish kid in our school. I talked to him, and he said that he's even part Christian. It makes me sick, and the Liberals who are so blind by their own ego's, beleive that it's propaganda set out their by the Republicans. We should start sticking up for ourselves, and if you dont like it, you can move over with your French buddies and riot in the streets".

What can I say? If these are the defenders of Christmas then our lefty-liberal progressive tree-hugging fag-embracing godless treasonous communist forces are assured of victory in our glorious WAR ON CHRISTMAS!

I just have a few questions: Who is in charge? When do we charge? How much can we charge? And once we succeed in destroying Christmas, do we still get presents?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Security Detail

Ever since Richard Reid’s attempt to blow his feet off in the hope of killing his fellow air travelers was thwarted by an observant flight attendant, the majority of airline passengers have been obliged to remove their shoes for x-ray examination before boarding a flight, domestic or international.
Since the shoes-off policy was initiated no one else as far as I know has attempted to blow an aircraft out of the skies with their shoes, so could this be an example of an actually successful security procedure?
As I watched the four-year old ahead of me submit to the procedure I’d have to say, mmmmh--not so much.

Instead of a security procedure we have an institutionalized reaction to the lunatic scheme of a lone nutcase. If this procedure really worked why not apply it to say, shopping malls which we have been repeatedly told since are also potential terrorist targets? Of course causing an explosion (however small) on an aircraft is potentially disastrous, but then walking into a mall with a machine gun causes a bit of mayhem too—and didn’t that happen just the other day, for about the umpteenth time?

Reid was caught whilst trying to light the fuse to his shoe bombs. The subsequent shoes-off policy was accompanied by a "no lighter and no matches policy"
Presumably if x-raying shoes eliminates the concealment of explosives in them, the means to light the fuse is surely irrelevant, so why ban lighters and matches too?

Unless x-raying shoes doesn’t actually guarantee the discovery of plastic explosives that can be lit by a fuse, in which case it would make sense to ban lighters and matches, just in case.
But then if x-rays DON’T provide a guarantee of discovery, why are lighters still banned but matches are now acceptable?

How is it that the x-ray operator on my flight to Washington didn’t note the lighter in my coat pocket (I voluntarily handed it to a TSA official after the X-ray)? On my return flight from Washington it was also missed and this time I carried it on the plane.
Having no explosives in my shoes, being allowed a lighter makes logical sense, yet regardless it was a contravention of the security procedure in place.

Personally I find this whole security procedure only mildly irritating, but its implementation is clearly suspect. I wonder what that four year-old ahead of me thought?