Monday, December 11, 2006

Iraq Study Group Report--Grade: WTF?

It took the Iraq Study group nine-months to compile their report and the main stream media five minutes to sum it all up for the ignorant masses:

“Realists declare Iraq a mess!---Bush’s strategy isn’t working!---The troops can come home in 2008!---Lindsay Lohan is out of control!—Funniest Christmas Home Videos Available Now on DVD!”

It seems Bush hasn’t actually read it; he’s waiting for additional reports which he will then decide not to read all at once before deciding to do nothing until say, January 2008.
Not that the ISG Report shouldn’t be ignored; it is after all nothing more than a political tract garnished with a few statistics and bound together with idiotic suppositions and ludicrous “recommendations”.
Having actually read and then mulled-over the ISG report I offer this summary (which falls far short of the report's actual craptacular inadequacy and sheer poltroonosity, but neither you nor I have all day to really get into it).


The ISG recommends that the US military should stay in Iraq, put more effort into a training program that is beyond repair to save the country, democracy and freedom and in the meanwhile use their spare time to kill “insurgents” who ipso facto aren’t Iraqi citizens as well but just a bunch of fucking fuckers .
The non-insurgent Iraqis need to stop relying on fucking awesome US expertise and generosity, pull their fucking socks up and get fucking real.
All the countries that were castigated and threatened by the US over the past five years need to get their fucking act together and follow US orders on how to polish the giant steaming turd that Uncle Sam dumped on the porch and then accept whatever tip they get afterwards without whining.
The American public should shut the fuck up because they were the idiots who wanted to go into Iraq in the first place.
The Iraqi public should shut the fuck up because their "government" hasn’t asked the US to leave and even if they do the US won’t leave until their “interests” have been taken care-of and until they’re damn good-and-ready.
And then the Iraqis can have all the fucked-up and radio-fucking-active military equipment that no longer works to defend themselves and their utopian US-supplied democracy.

Once all that’s accomplished our brave and noble troops can finally leave Iraq—for Afghanistan where the situation is grave and deteriorating as militias are running rampant killing innocent civilians, sabotaging reconstruction efforts, undermining the authority of the government and giving safe-haven to terrorists planning attack the United States and freedom-loving democracies everywhere!

The bottom line is this: despite its ballyhooed criticisms of the Bush/Neocon adventure in Iraq the ISG report is nothing more than a cut–and-paste collection of hackneyed theory, spurious assumption, puerile analysis and remnants of neocon fantasy that allows the Bush administration to tread water for the next two years until Dubya inherits the immunities afforded all ex-Presidents.
During that time likely another one thousand US troops will die serving a pointless and irredeemable cause as will thousands more Iraqi civilians trapped in the consequences of US warmongering, political arrogance and ignorance, beyond the help of any sympathetic American soldier or Marine not too busy trying to save their own lives.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill; “Never in the field of human conflict have so few fucked-up so much for so many”. To expect the fuck-ups to abandon their entrenched fuck-uppery and thus un-fuck-up their fuck-up is about as fucked-up as you can get.
There is no “single solution” to the Iraq problem, but there is a course of action obvious to all except the fuck-ups still searching for some benefit from this mother of all fuck-ups, and that is to get the fuck out! Sure, it’s not perfect but really, what the fuck?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Bush Announces US Troop Withdrawal From Iraq

President Bush wholeheartedly embraced the James Baker III-led Iraq Study Group’s recommendations that US troops should be withdrawn from Iraq over the next year when speaking to the press during his visit to Jordan:

“So we’ll be in Iraq until the job is complete, at the request of a sovereign government elected by the people…we’re going to stay in Iraq to get the job done, so long as the government wants us there. so there’s one thing I'm not going to do: I’m not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete.”

Bush’s latest comments appear to be consistent with his oft-stated position of “staying the course” and his recent comment during his Vietnam trip when he said “if we quit, we lose.” Thus many pundits tell us that Bush simply will not withdraw the troops from Iraq.

Silly pundits.

What these pundits are forgetting of course is that whatever Bush says and does in public is the exact opposite of what he says and does in private. Here’s a tiny sample:

I will create 12 million new jobs” (1999 campaign promise).

“[If elected], Governor Bush will work to...establish mandatory reduction targets for emissions of four main pollutants: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury and carbon dioxide.” (Bush Environmental Plan, 9/29/00)

"What I think the president ought to do [when gas prices spike] is he ought to get on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say we expect you to open your spigots.” (1/26/00)

"We're going to keep the promise of Social Security and keep the government from raiding the Social Security surplus." (3/3/01)

“War is the last resort”

"We will be changing the regime of Iraq, for the good of the Iraqi people." (3/6/03)

"We do not anticipate requesting supplemental funding for '04" (via White House Budget Director Joshua Bolton, 2/2/04)

“Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a fantastic job” (just before ‘06 mid-term elections).

So when Bush says in public that he won’t withdraw the troops, his track record says that he will do just that.

Though I do recall him saying in 2000 that he didn’t think the US should be “involved in nation-building” and that’s one public statement he has certainly stuck with.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Aides Crisis

As a losing incumbent representative, certainly realities have to be faced: first is that you are a loo-oo-ser; second that thousands, even tens of thousands of people think you totally suck, and third, you are now unemployed.

But it's not all bad because you get a guaranteed pension, lifetime health-care and you can probably snag a poli-sci professorship/think-tank fellowship/radio-show/regular TV pundit gig/ weekly columnist job from which you can plot your political comeback or simply talk smack without consequence (and hopefully get a book-deal).

The real victims of anti-incumbency aren't the suddenly un-re-elected representatives, but apparently their aides who by the callous whim of a public they've tried so hard to manipulate, find themselves now de-funded, filibustered, defeated, disowned and disinhereted at the brink of Christmas like Dickensian orphans, with only their cell-phones and PDA's to keep them warm.

The Hill reports that Nancy Pelosi is working on legislation that would provide two months severance pay to any soon-to-be-unemployed congressional aides while they look for jobs after the January 4th take-over of the House. Though bi-partisan in scope, the proposed legislation of course will initially benefit only Republican staff.
(The proposal is similar to S. Res. 478--authored by Bill Frist--which provides aides to senators who have failed to be re-elected a ‘cushion’ of two months salary).

I’m sure that’s really nice of Speaker-elect Pelosi, not to mention a shrewd “under the dome” political move but I’m not sure what to make of this.

I mean, every time I found myself unemployed I’d apply for social security and have to wait three weeks before I got my first (at maximum) $375 per week check (which of course would be taxed come April 15).
So why can’t these aides do the same? It’s not as though Washington is a more expensive place to live than New York or New Jersey.

I'm all for people getting a "living wage" sufficient to allow saving a month's wages without too much hardship whilst waiting for the first dole-check to arrive when unemployment rears it's ugly head, but why should they get a "severance package" when tens of millions of Americans who provide quantifiable services and products that actually add to the economy and the national welfare, don't? What makes them so special?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Nancy Pelosi Declares War on Thanksgiving

Preznit Bush always keeps his Colt .45 ACP handy when meeting with known terrorists like Nancy Pelosi ( orig. photo: Pablo Martinez, AP)

"However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses."—George Bush 10/20/2006

On November 7th 2006, a day that will live in infamy, terrorist mistressmind and San Francisco madwoman Nancy Pelosi seized control of the US Congress.

Drunk with power and seaweed-tofu cocktails she proclaimed her administration would last for 100 hours. In her victory speech she predicted a new era of “bi-parties” and announced a new military “transformation” program that would include pink uniforms, and the installation of advanced gaydar on all current and future combat aircraft.
But absent from her speech was her real agenda.

Ever since the crack investigative team of Bill O’Reilly and John Gibson followed their noses, investigated their own cracks and squeezed out the shocking evidence that S-P’s were trying to kill the Baby Jesus, Pelosi's original plan to force America to worship stem cells instead of our Lord and Saviour had to be aborted forcing her to devise a new plan to destroy America—by turning American democratic elections into a weapon!

During his presidential campaign George Bush stated firmly that as President he “wouldn’t engage in nation building” and his efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq have shown he has kept that promise. Pelosi however has decided to keep such honest declarations hidden under her burqa (bought for her by her gay godless blog-masters—sources say she wears it at home when ordering her illegal immigrant housekeepers and handymen to vote), claiming she was too busy getting pregnant to serve in Vietnam.

But as Republicans wisely say “that’s old news” and “that’s all in the past” and “I’ll let history be the judge” (or Kenneth Starr)—what really matters is the future and the future is now, which as any conservative will tell you, was the 18th Century when the USA was founded as the zenith of political and social development.
But the wisdom of the Founding Fathers just isn’t good enough for Pelosi—oh no! Not only does she want to roll back all the social and economic advancements made in the last two-hundred and thirty years that the Republicans have been rolling back in the past six years to create a more perfect union and re-establish the natural law of the “have’s” having magnitudes more than the “have-not’s”, she is now secretly trying to destroy the celebration of Thanksgiving!

The proof is in the advertising. As soon as Pelosi’s coup was announced the Christmas-themed ads came out—completely skipping over Thanksgiving. Coincidence? I think not!
The saving of Christmas was just one part in the Global War on Culture. We must stay the course until America has a stable government that can defend itself.
Only when America stands up will Americans stand down. And with the leadership of John Gibson and Bill O’Reilly I doubt the war will last more than a few Friedman Units, when our brave culture warriors will be greeted as liberators and showered with plastic turkeys.

Friday, November 10, 2006

An Ode to Donald Rumsfeld

I thought of recording this myself but realizing I sing as well as Don Rumsfeld "manages" the DoD I thought I'd spare everyone the agony of my efforts (unlike Don).
Still, pretty much everyone should know the tune, so sing it to yourself in private and if anyone with areal singing voice would like to record and post it on YouTube or as an mp3 or whatever, go ahead--though I'd appreciate a credit for the lyrics:


Oh Donny boy, the pols, the pols were calling
You to resign ‘cos you so often lied
The years have gone, there’s no end to the dying
Tis you, tis you must go the people cried

But came ye back with summaries so callow
With unknown knowns and things we did not know
Said you I’ll stay and not laid-out to fallow
Oh Donny boy, oh Donny boy I love me so

But if you come, and say my powers are dying
And I’m not dead, as dead I shall not be
I’ll find a job where I can keep on lying
The PNAC’s kept a comfy seat for me

And I shall hear that everyone loved Rummy
And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be
I will not fail to take my government money
I’ll sleep in peace, of that I guarantee

Oh Donny boy, your polls were clearly falling
But stayed you still and heeded not the words
Of critics that you still kept on ignoring
Oh Donny boy, you polished all your turds

And will you hear the cries of those still dying
From all the lies you chose to say and sell
For rationalizing all the deadly lying
There is a special place for you in hell

And you will hear from all the souls you’ve taken
And all your dreams should fearful nightmares be
Your ego ruled, humanity forsaken
Oh Donny boy, thy name is infamy

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


(Post Midterm/Rumsfeld Resignation Press Conference)

Bush: I thought we were going to do great yesterday. Show’s what I know! ( smirk, shrug)

(Actually, Bush did give some diplomatic and considered answers to a couple of questions)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Cry Me A Tigris River

In his Vanity Fair latest article (nonsensically titled “Neo Culpa”) David Rose provides a lamenting violin score to teary-eyed neocons whose dreams of greatness now lie crumpled like so much snot-soaked tissue paper.

Rose writes “As he [Richard Perle] looks into my eyes, speaking slowly and with obvious deliberation, Perle as chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, had invited the exiled Iraqi dissident Ahmad Chalabi to its first meeting after 9/11.”

Ah yes, poor, homeless, dissident Chalabi; forced to wander the streets of Washington until the kind neocons took him in, gave him hope, a home and $300 million of taxpayer’s money.
(poot!) (sniff)—Is someone chopping onions in here?

Anyway, Perle continues;
"I think if I had been delphic, and had seen where we are today, and people had said, 'Should we go into Iraq?,' I think now I probably would have said, 'No, let's consider other strategies for dealing with the thing that concerns us most, which is Saddam supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.'
But above all, Perle says “At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible.… I don't think he realized the extent of the opposition within his own administration and the disloyalty" .

So, to summarize:

The Iraq clusterfuck that Perle both promoted and shaped is the fault of the millions who didn’t protest loudly enough, the Iraq Experts Group who failed to send him their risk analysis, General Shinsecki who failed to insist on enough troops, Joe Wilson, the IAEA, the U.N. and finally George Bush for not realizing how opposed his own party was to the invasion.

Basically Perle just mentioned in passing that invading Iraq might be a good idea, but as it’s turned out, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea at all—but should he be blamed for that?

Recognizing that Perle “is now plagued with doubt” (and in need of a hug) Rose then wonders “What do the rest of the pro-war neoconservatives think… how do his comrades-in-arms feel?”

Gosh yes! What do his comrades-in-arms feel? Do they feel as bad as the comrades-without-arms that actually served in the war? Are the poor little neocons sad? Is something bothering them? Would they like to share their feelings?
Rose writes that he expected “disappointment” but instead finds “despair, and fury at the incompetence of the Bush administration the neoconservatives once saw as their brightest hope.”
Kenneth Adelman, a lifelong neocon activist and Defense Policy Board member until 2005 said in a Washington Post op-ed in February 2002 that “liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk." Now he says, "I just presumed that what I considered to be the most competent national-security team since Truman was indeed going to be competent. They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the post-war era. Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional."
Adelman again: "I've worked with [Rumsfeld] three times in my life. I've been to each of his houses, in Chicago, Taos, Santa Fe, Santo Domingo, and Las Vegas. I'm very, very fond of him, but I'm crushed by his performance. Did he change, or were we wrong in the past? Or is it that he was never really challenged before? I don't know. He certainly fooled me."
Michael Rubin, former Pentagon Office of Special Plans and Coalition Provisional Authority staffer: "Where I most blame George Bush is that through his rhetoric people trusted him, people believed him"
Richard Perle: "Huge mistakes were made, and I want to be very clear on this: They were not made by neoconservatives, who had almost no voice in what happened, and certainly almost no voice in what happened after the downfall of the regime in Baghdad. I'm getting damn tired of being described as an architect of the war."

Perle, Adelman and Rubin didn’t just champion the invasion of Iraq as a matter of belief, but as a policy that they developed and acted upon. Perle was indeed an architect of the war, as was Wolfowitz and it was their friends and co-conspirators—Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld and Bolton along with their minions--who executed the actions and principles with which they all agreed and who crushed all dissent and rational consideration by not only exercising the executive power afforded them but also by increasing that power not for their “moral” foreign policy goals but to intimidate and destroy any challenge to their self-appointed roles as the guardians and champions of their privileged, blinkered vision of the future of America, democracy and the world.

For these disgusting creatures to claim “disappointment”, for these individuals to blame their co-conspirators and reserve none for themselves and to plead betrayal and victimization is utterly beyond the pale.
These people are as guilty as any who were tried in Nuremburg for engaging in a war of aggression—not defense, as they claimed—and for the deaths of hundreds of thousands, simply to satisfy their vision of the world which had no more legitimacy or reasoned argument to support it than did the governments of Hitler or Stalin or Pol-Pot or any other regime led and sustained by mindless apparatchiks convinced of their own superiority.

And now Perle is complaining that his comments weren’t supposed to be published until after the mid term elections?!!!
He doesn’t even apologize for his role in the Iraq debacle, and yet he chastises David Rose for quoting him?!!!
This fucker, a former policy-maker is apparently upset because despite Rose’s best efforts to paint Perle as a victim of his own good intentions, is pissed–off because Rose, being as stupid as every official and non-official suckling at the Bush administration’s teat, accidentally reveals through Perle’s own thoughts and words issues that are relevant to the American public that voters don’t apparently deserve to know when they are charged with deciding the nature of their own government and future.

Though un-elected, Perle’s job as a Defense Policy Advisor was NOT to promote the fanciful ideas of a sequestered club of pseudo intellectuals with a hard-on for war and imperial dominance, but to serve the citizens of the country. Instead he chose to be a player, to be active only to satisfy himself. And now in his complaints following this article he is still serving only himself.

It’s thanks to fuckers like him, who view everything through a self –referencing political lens that the US consistently engages in policies abroad that engenders the kind of hatred that leads to strangers from one side of the planet determined to kill other strangers from the other side of the planet. But it’s not the policy-makers who are driven to kill out of frustration to be heard and it’s not the policy-makers who get blown to bits as a result.

I’m so fucking mad at this fucking GIT and his fucking friends and the whole fucking lot of them that I can’t properly conclude this post.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Apocalpto Now

It’s hard to know who to trust anymore when it comes to film criticism.

This weekend Dazed and Confused was being shown on the TV so after a quick Google of reviews (all very positive) I bothered to watch it.
It wasn’t so much “crap” as utterly pointless—which is ironically fitting I suppose but when it comes to wasting my own time watching film-makers and actors wasting their time along with mine, I prefer it to be a spontaneous act of lethargy on my part rather than being due to professional persuasion.

I’ve been burned too many times before; the Unbearable Lightness of Being was recommended by Siskel and Ebert basically because at a couple of points legitimate European actresses got naked and simulated horniness wearing floppy couture hats. X-Men II added a second dimension to its characters, Star Wars 27—Revenge of The Lack of Pith was “dark” and explained everything no-one cared about and pretty much already knew.

I realize that the province of critiquing movie dross really belongs to World O’ Crap (MST3K having been long gone) but Scott can’t be everywhere at once and he has a lot of catching up to do, so where might one turn for honest advice and informed opinion on upcoming soon-to-be-released gobs of digitally enhanced celluloid magic?
Why FOX of course!

It happens that Father Jonathan Morris (Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch’s roving religious reporter) is also a movie critic!.
You may have read his resounding and non-partisan approval of “The Passion of The Christ” and it’s uplifting message that the torture and death of a single cult figure that was the fault of a handful of Jews is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago when tens of thousands of Jesus’s devout believers, incapable of overpowering a couple of dozen roman soldiers to crowbar him off a cross simply wandered by and told him to “hang in there.”
he subject of Father Morris’s latest critique (he’s not a biological father—at least as far as he knows, being a Catholic priest and all) is Mel Gibson’s new film Apocalypto.

“Never before had I made an intercontinental flight to see a movie. But that's what I did this month when I accepted Mel Gibson's invitation to preview and critique his new film “Apocalypto,” (scheduled to appear in theaters on December 8th) says this pastor of pop-culture.
I didn't make the trek across the ocean for entertainment value. My work as a consultant on and off the set of Gibson's “Passion of the Christ,” gave me a new appreciation of the power of well-made, serious, and widely-distributed movies. They influence culture. They affect the way we think about the story they tell. Sometimes they warp our view of history or of humanity. Other times they inform, inspire, and challenge. But they always leave a mark.”
Hey, if anyone knows anything about affecting the way people think, the warping of history and humanity and leaving some kind of mark—who better than a Catholic priest?

“That's why I cared to see Gibson's first post-“Passion” production” he goes on (presumably caring more about the product of genius than the all-expenses paid trip that would let him see it). “Yes, movies matter — some more than others. Viewers of the “Passion” know what I mean. Picture for just a second, if you would, Jesus Christ crucified. Remember his face, his bloody face. Look into his eyes, the forgiving and loving ones. What you see is a different image of Jesus. That there is the power of a well-made film! Because I know Mel, his noble intentions and his creative genius, I was eager, though somewhat unconvinced, to see how much his new film would matter.
Mel has done it again! His film matters. That's my critique of “Apocalypto.”

Well, there you go! No ifs, buts, metaphors or subtexts! There’s nothing more Christian than three hours of widescreen bloody sacrifice! But wait, could Apocalypto be more subtle than that?
“Don't get me wrong. This is no sequel to “The Passion of the Christ” writes the Catholic critic, apparently because “Mel just didn't have it in him.”
And I can quite understand that because first of all the sequel to the Passion Of Christ would involve about half an hour of Jesus being taken down from the cross some wailing and gnashing, cave closed, rock rolled away, ascending into heaven and then what? Two hours of clouds and angels and Morgan Freeman in a white suit washing the floors and pretending to be all wise and whatever? Nu-uhh! That would be blasphemous!

“Some of his fervent fans will be disappointed if they were hoping for another religious epic. He doesn't see himself as a prophet, a spiritual director, or a religious role model” opines our dog-collared dogmatist.
Not because most of Mel’s most fervent fans have his occasional buttock shots saved on a continuous loop for posterity (as it were), but because his most fervent fans admire almost everything in his filmography—as a self destructive vengeful psychotic with a death wish in the Mad Max series of films, or as a self destructive vengeful psychotic with a death wish in the Lethal Weapon movies, or as a vengeful psychotic in Hamlet and Braveheart and The Patriot; but not so much as the guilt ridden victim of science in Forever Young or the burn victim in The Man Without a Face, but still—good looking, great buns and mostly vengeful psychotic victim of something or other, so what’s not to love and forgive?

“But he knows how to make movies, and he has been making good and responsible ones for a very long time continues Christ’s critic, coyly failing to highlight the family values and respect for authority so rvident in the Mad Max and Lethal Weapon series—not to mention the success of the very entertaining but utterly pagan Braveheart that bankrolled the Passion of Christ. No indeed, no lucre is filthy once it is put to God’s work!

But enough of the past, what of the immediate future—namely the just in time for Christmas release of Apocalypto?
“Of all of his past films, this one most resembles Braveheart. The only difference is that it takes place in an ancient Mayan jungle, (instead of the Scottish jungle ?) is spoken in the ancient Mayan language (instead of a modern Scottish brogue), and is represented by a bunch of unknown actors who, for the most part, had never acted before” (so I guess it’s like Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, but with Scotsmen playing pre-Christian Middle-Americans).

“Oh yeah” adds our groovy faith-based film-ologist, ”and the story is not about Scotland's fight for independence from the Brits” (because that was called Braveheart and he died in the end and this is called Apocalypto), “but rather the fight for personal and spiritual independence of a hero who risks his life to free himself from an opulent, but now decaying pre-European Mayan culture.” (a hero who frees himself but no-one else?)

Despite his overall praise Father Morris does find some room for actual criticism:
“Warning: count on a few typical Gibsonian scenes that my sensitivities could have done without (one in particular was unnecessarily vulgar). I suggest you watch it alone before you take your kids.”
I can only assume he is referring to unnecessary buttock-action and whatnot of a heathen sexual implication instead of scenes of bloody torture.
So, though Father Jonathan Morris raves “Mel’s Done It Again!” I frankly still don’t know what the heaven this movie is about or why I should watch it—other than he says I should. As I said at the beginning of this piece I’ve been burned by film critics before so why should I listen to Father Morris? Because he speaks for God, and you know God is an infallible critic-- just read the Old Testament!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Planet Bush


HOST: "I’m curious, have you ever googled anybody? Do you use Google?"

BUSH: "Occasionally. One of the things I’ve used on the Google is to pull up maps. It’s very interesting to see — I’ve forgot the name of the program — but you get the satellite, and you can — like, I kinda like to look at the ranch. It remind me of where I wanna be sometimes."


Friday, October 20, 2006

Nobody Expects ANOTHER Spanish Inquisition!

The State Department’s chief legal adviser, John Bellinger, (or Cardinal Biggles, as he’s known to his captives) is telling foreign governments that instead of them whining about how the Guantanamo Bay detention center should be closed down, they should all accept custody of the remaining 400-plus detainees so that ...umm…Gitmo can be closed down?

"No one's comfortable with the situation in Guantanamo," he said (presumably alluding to the lack of comfy chairs). "But if we really want to reduce the numbers to send people back, progress cannot be made by just simply saying Guantanamo should be closed. We have to have practical suggestions, practical ways to move forward."
Some suggestions have been put forward such as forcing the detainees to renounce terrorism and become a Viking choir with a limited Spam-based repertoire or turning Camp X-Ray into a cheese-shop, but a top British military officer has rejected them as being “very silly indeed.”

US officials insist there are still ten British residents held in Guantanamo whilst British officials insist there are only…five!…three sir!..three—no,…one! Only one bona-fide British citizen whilst the other nine are probably French kniggets.

However Cardinal Biggles remains adamant in his position that the suspicious goat-herders the US unilaterally invited to spend up-to five years “getting away from it all” (free of charge, by the way—either fiscal or criminal) in a custom built 50-million dollar tropical hideaway have outstayed their welcome and it’s high time the rest of the world come and pick them up because lately their continued freeloading in Cuba at US expense has become abit of a Hispanic Imposition.

And the rest of the world should also stop asking questions about how the detainees were treated too! After all, the US didn’t expect some kind of Spanish Inquisition!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

When Johnny Comes Marching Home –Part II

Whilst US politicians and the American public have been discussing the Iraq War, US soldiers have had to fight it. The only poll I know of that sampled the opinions of the troops was conducted by Zogby. An overall majority thought it was time to leave Iraq over the next 12 months and that was back in February 2006.
Beneath the broad sentiment amongst the troops that they should be brought home lay some interesting and disturbing issues. According to the now seven-month-old poll (taken after roughly three-years of occupation):

93% said that “removing” weapons of mass destruction is not a reason for U.S. troops being there.
90% thought the war was retaliation for Saddam’s role in 9/11
68% of the troops said that the real mission was to remove Saddam Hussein.

These figures are rather interesting: Bush, Cheney, Rice and Powell made it very clear that Saddam Hussein in their view had to be removed by force to prevent him transferring WMD to terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda. Bush, Cheney, Rice and a horde of mouthpieces constantly implied a connection between Hussein and Al Qaeda and thus 9-11 (and Cheney never hesitates to repeat this fallacy even today).
Well, Hussein was removed, there were no WMD and there was no Al Qaeda presence in Iraq (though now apparently, there is). Except for the absence of WMD and Al Qaeda it would appear then that the US forces accomplished their mission.
So why are they still there, three years later?
Because they were given a new mission; to establish a democratic government and provide security for private contractors to re-build the infrastructure and the economy.
And yet…only 24% said that “establishing a democracy that can be a model for the Arab World" was the main or a major reason for the war—meaning that the vast majority thought establishing a democracy wasn’t their job—contrary to Bush’s post “mission accomplished” statements.
Small wonder then that after three years of occupation though 58% said the ‘mission’ was “clear”, 42% thought it was “hazy”. In politics that would be called a winning majority but for an army it’s a terrible statistic.
The purpose of a soldier is to be prepared to kill or be killed to accomplish some worthwhile mission. If you aren’t sure of the mission how do you justify killing someone else or getting killed in the process? Uncertainty is a rare privilege in the military and it’s not usually afforded to the ordinary soldier—certainly not when the bullets and bombs are flying.

Bush has said several times that leaving "before the job is done" would "dishonor the sacrifice" of those who have already died. It's an argument that tortures every soldier--and the cruelty of if it is breathaking.
There would have been no sacrifice if Bush and his cabal hadn't invented the reasons for war. Fewer would have been sacrificed if all the soldiers had been provided with body armor, if Rumsfeld hadn't treated the troops as guinea pigs to test his theories of warfare, if Cheney, Wolfowitz and Perle hadn't treated it as a business venture, if Bremer hadn't acted like Nero, if Generals Myers and Pace hadn't ordered mass roundups of civilians and used collective punishment.

When these soldiers come home they will lie awake at night and wonder what it was all for. And the terrible is--nothing. Nothing that mattered to them anyway.
The noble quest to bring down a dictator did not make the US or the world safer. Instead of creating a democracy they created anarchy. Instead of establishing human rights they abused them. Instead of making firends they made more enemies. Instead of helping people they hurt them and killed them.
They were told they'd be fighting for a good and noble cause and that they would be bringing peace and prosperity to Iraq--and they were lied-to.

But all these facts won't rush into their conciousness once they come home--many already know it. The best way to honor the sacrifice of those who have died already is to stop any further dying for no good reason and bring the troops home.

And as they lie awake at night and wonder what their sacrifice was for, I hope they'll realize that though it might appear to have been all for nothing, they can still make their sacrifice for something--that they can use their bloody and tragic expereinces and speak with unimpeachable authority to the public and the politicians and reclaim their true mission and uphold their honor and fight for and defend America from the true enemies of freedom and democracy--the politicians and demagogues who have betrayed them and this nation.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

When Johnny Comes Marching Home –Part 1

Time to Come Home?
In early 2003 Donald Rumsfeld—best known for knowing everything yet not knowing anything—confidently doubted that the war in Iraq would ever stretch to six months. He has since spent the last three-plus years insisting that every miserable fact of failure in Iraq is mere “defeatist” speculation, as have Bush, Cheney and Rice. But the truth, being stranger than fiction and a lot more useful, has slowly but surely seeped past the administration’s filter and into the cognitive area of the American public’s brains.

This year an August 9 CNN poll reported that 60% of their respondents wanted “some withdrawal” by the end of 2006.

An August 5 Opinion Dynamics/Fox News poll found 27% wanted all troops out by year’s end and 31% wanted all troops out over the next 12 months—for a total of 58% wanting the troops out. This month that figure has risen to an impressive 73%. The vast majority of Iraqis want the US to leave as well for many obvious reasons.

Don’t Let The Door Hit Your Ass On The Way Out
So what might happen if Bush & company chose to act on the overwhelming public sentiment in both the US and Iraq and actually began withdrawing troops (assuming no UN assistance)?

It took two weeks to reach Baghdad from Kuwait and that was with less personnel and equipment than the 140,000 or so now deployed. Withdrawal will take at least a couple of months. US forces have only three viable points of exit—the airport, the port of Basra and the Kuwait border.

As US forces fall back for departure the various militias will move in to abandoned areas to create and consolidate their presence and influence and to prevent their rivals from doing the same. The inevitability of a power struggle ought to keep a number of their fighters away from attacking the US forces as they depart. Pure pragmatism would suggest that the Iraqis just let the US forces leave without harassment so the various factions can escalate their civil war that much sooner and with greater strength.
However there will be a huge temptation for many to get in some “last-licks” as the US retreats. With US forces concentrated and on the move, out in the open and keen to be leaving at last, they will be vulnerable to harassment from relatively small opposition forces.

To counter this possibility the US will want to call on Navy/Marine air-power to keep the Iraqis at bay. I imagine that cluster and phosphorous bombs would be the preferred munitions as anti personnel and area-denial weapons and their use would be no more discerning than has been the case in any other support operations thus far—in other words they will blow the holy crap out of anything and everything to protect the departing forces.

Whether the US forces leave under fire or not the Iraqi militants will be able to claim victory—military, political and even moral. What will the US have to show for their efforts?

Never In The Field of Human Conflict Have So Few Done So Little For So Many
Bush still insists that the troops must stay “until the job is done” but what does he mean by that? There aren’t enough troops to provide the security needed to restore essential services, permit meaningful reconstruction and allow the government to establish authority—there never has been and apparently there never will be (at least not until after 2008)—so why keep them there?
The answer is; to satisfy the psychopathic egos of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld which sent the troops to Iraq in the first place. If they refuse to bring the troops home there will be no retreat and therefore no failure. Even if the GOP loses both houses in November and even if impeachment was begun immediately Bush can wield his “signing statements” and simply refuse to accede until his term is over—whereupon he (and Cheney and Rumsfeld) can literally (not just figuratively) walk away from responsibility.

And what about the troops?
A February 28, 2006 LeMoyne College/Zogby poll of the US troops indicated that 72% overall wanted to leave by the end of 2006 (89% of Reserves and 82% National Guard had that opinion, whilst for the Marines it was a significantly lower but still notable 58%).
Given the trend of public opinion and the increased violence in Iraq since February 2006 it would be safe to assume that the soldiers desire to get the hell out of Iraq has likewise increased.

Whether they get to leave sooner or later their departure (under fire or not), whatever relief the troops might feel will be severely tempered. Neither defeated nor victorious, whatever individual accomplishments and personal satisfactions they might derive from their service will be challenged by other inseparable experiences and realities. Though they will leave the battlefield, the battlefield will not leave them so easily. My thoughts on the soldier’s homecoming will follow in part II.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

In Which I Agree With David Limbaugh That Conservatives Should Not Listen To Propaganda!

From David Limbaugh (the equally stupid but not so rich brother of Rush Rimjob) and his latest analysis on NewsMax of whatever it is that lives in his rectum.

I don't care how many times I hear it, I refuse to believe that significant numbers of conservatives will stay home in November and thereby assist the Democratic Party to regain control of Congress.

David Limbaugh refuses to believe anything Republicans and conservatives say (who aren’t in the administration or the media).

Democrats and the Old Media have been working hard to create this perception for several months, citing poll after poll to support their claims.

By having the audacity to publish what likely Republican voters are actually saying!

It reminds me of the exit poll manipulation orchestrated by the Old Media and Democrat operatives in 2004 to create the GOP-deflating perception that John Kerry was winning big.

By reporting how the public were actually voting, instead of how they were supposed to vote!

But with the unveiling of the Foley scandal, there is an even bigger spring to their step – kind of like their perverse, gleeful reaction to problems with the delayed federal response to Hurricane Katrina.

Remember Geraldo Rivera’s tears of joy? Remember Anderson Cooper’s satiric anger?

Before Foley I gave conservatives more credit than to believe they would sit this election out over their disillusionment with Republicans concerning immigration and domestic spending. My confidence remains after Foley as well, despite push polling and other techniques designed to discourage conservative turnout.

David can’t describe those “other techniques” so that conservative voters won’t be able to adapt to them.

Conservatives are generally rational creatures and sophisticated enough to understand that the national interest will not be served by turning national security over to a party wholly incapable of safeguarding it for the sake of punishing Republicans.

Yet strangely they aren’t are so rational and sophisticated as to understand that they shouldn’t be expressing their opinions to pollsters and the media—it’s the RNC’s job to express the opinions of likely voters.

To the argument of some conservatives that losing the election will result in the nation eventually returning to its conservative roots, I say "nonsense."

David is absolutely correct. No matter how many times I read it, what he just wrote makes no sense!

We can't afford the luxury, during time of war and incalculable threats to our national security, our culture, our freedom and our sovereignty, of taking our ball and going home for a few critical years.

David is right again; with real wages down, no job growth and a record national debt we can’t afford luxury. And with incalculable threats to our national security, now is not the time to stop dealing with something incalculable.

I do not believe conservatives will deliver control to the party of tax and spend because Republicans haven't done enough to curb domestic spending.

Right once more!. The Republicans still need to get rid of taxation altogether and impose a direct tithe to reduce the spending of domestics.

My assessment is reinforced by news that the Bush tax cuts have unleashed a robust economy and explosive federal revenues that have reduced the deficit to 2 percent of GDP, lower than the 2.7 percent average of the last 40 years.

Absolutely right, David! The fact that GDP growth under Bush is 2.5% compared to 3.6% under Clinton and 3.5% under Reagan and that averaging the deficit-reduction rate to GDP over 40 years is irrelevant and that the national debt (as opposed to the deficit) is back where it was in Reagan’s last year—at a record high--is just not worth thinking about.

I don't believe conservatives will conspire to assign control over immigration to the wide-open-border Democrats, notwithstanding the Republicans' tardy and so far inadequate response to the immigration problem. My assessment is reinforced by news that Congress passed a measure to erect a 700-mile border fence.

A 700 mile border fence will send a clear message to illegal immigrants and Al Qaeda-types which is: if you ignore the other 1251 miles of border that isn’t fenced, we will catch you!

Conservative angst forced recalcitrant politicians to act. This is how you get results – not by replacing a highly imperfect party with an incomparably egregious one.

That’s right David!. Conservatives are excellent at ignoring a problem for five years and then reacting instantly to get a result, or as we like to say in math; "x"

And I especially don't believe social conservatives, because of their disappointment with Republicans over Foley, will turn to a militantly secular Democratic leadership to protect Washington pages from sexual predators. My assessment is reinforced by the immediate resignation of Foley and the Republican leadership's initiation of comprehensive investigations into the matter, promising full accountability for culpable Republicans.

Again, the voting base is expressing opinions independent of the Republican Party so quite rightly David refuses to believe them.

My optimism that conservatives will not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good and stay home in November is further enhanced by Democrats recently overplaying their hand on the Foley scandal.

Right-on, David! The GOP are perfect, notwithstanding you just called them highly imperfect because compared to the incredibly low standards of secular Democrats the GOP is perfect!

Though they boasted for the longest time that they could trounce Republicans in November by a substantive debate on the issues, they've been studiously avoiding such a debate and resorting only to attacking Bush and scandalmongering.

The Democrats couldn’t even ban the debate on banning flag-burning!

But now that they think the Foley affair is tainting the entire Republican Party, Nancy Pelosi has gotten cocky enough to unveil her agenda for the first 100 hours of her speakership.
She'd better hope that she hasn't triggered a true national debate on the issues and unwittingly nationalized the congressional elections, something the Republicans hadn't managed to pull off.

Because... by making the control of the House of Representatives and thus national policies a referendum on the GOP majority instead of it simply being a series of un-related local elections that just coincidentally result in the formation of national policies, she'd be totally distorting the the meaning of the process--making it about the election of representatives who reflect a public consensus rather than maintenance of incumbents who ignore or disbelieve the opinions and wishes of their constituents and the electorate.

Can you imagine the Democrats winning a debate over national security when they've vigorously opposed almost every tool President Bush has tried to use to prosecute the war on terror? How would they gain from a true debate over Iraq when Democrats still don't have a plan and can't even decide whether they favor withdrawal, "timetables" or "benchmarks"?

Right again! I mean, really! George Bush has been very clear that he doesn’t believe in timetables or benchmarks. By refusing to leave Iraq and by keeping US successes a secret, Bush is keeping the terrorists guessing and on the defensive!

Can you imagine Democrats prevailing on a values debate where it would be emphasized that they actively promote the radical homosexual agenda and castigate one of the finest institutional exemplars of traditional values in our nation's history – the Boy Scouts – for their moral refusal to permit homosexuals to be scoutmasters?

Can you imagine the Republicans prevailing on a values debate where they actively promote a party political agenda over an individual’s homosexual agenda and then castigate one of the finest institutional exemplars of traditional values in our nation's history – the GOP – for their moral refusal to gay-bash a GOP member who had broken the law he himself wrote?

Does Nancy Pelosi truly support the National American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA)
or just proudly march in parades with them and receive 90 percent approval from their ACLU enablers? Inquiring minds surely want to know.

Does Denny Hastert truly support NAMBLA and should he be praised for being sensitive to his subordinate colleagues NAMBLA-like leanings?

It is time for conservatives to ignore the Democrat and Old Media propaganda and vote in even greater numbers in November. If Democrats and the Old Media keep reporting that conservatives are going to stay home, they might be in store for the upset of their lives on Election Day – just maybe.

I agree with David! It is time indeed for conservatives to ignore the propaganda and vote!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ride The Wind, Cut The Cheese

Before you read Sally Kestin’s excellent and scary South Florida-Sentinel article on the FEMA-funded Project HOPE you should put together a preparedness kit—no, not duct tape, flashlight and bottled water:
I recommend a box of tissues (to wipe away the tears of laughter), paper towels (to clean up the coffee-spit), something to bite on (Gumby?) for the teeth-gnashing, and a bottle of Bourbon. Here’s why:

$22.6 million is being spent on 450 “counselors” to help Wilma and Katrina hurricane victims cope with psychological trauma.
The trouble is that most of the “counselors” are utterly unqualified and with FEMA itself preventing them from actually finding those they are supposed to be helping, time and money is being spent on therapy for the “counselors” themselves!

It’s unclear whether the “stress management” efforts are the same for the hurricane victims as they are for the “counselors”, but here’s an example:

Hand out a diagram of a piece of Swiss cheese and have each person write three things in three of the holes that they can do right now and have control over. (i.e. read tonight to their kids, take a bubble bath tonight, get a massage tomorrow, etc.)."

Call me crazy but I think that kind of activity and advice would increase stress, not reduce it. In fact I’m getting totally stressed-out by this right now. Maybe I should get some counseling myself.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Best Blog Links

To anyone arriving here via the ever-excellent Crooks & Liars (or just by accident) my "American Inquistion" post is IMHO decent, but nothing to get too excited about. One post amongst millions, however adequate, doesn't amount to a bean, let alone a hill of them.
So in the hope of making your visit more worthwhile, here's a handy list of links to prevous posts that have been most popular--apparently becuase I'm better at satire than serious comment. So click on a couple and hopefully you'll be sufficiently amused that you might have reason to return every once in a while.

The Dukes of Hazzard County
America’s Giant Balls: A Larger View
The Iraqi Free Press-A $100 million Value!

Geeks Gone Wild
The Art of Writing: Who’s Your Dada?
Cheney: I Have al-Quailda In My Sights!
Best Presidential Library Ever!
Captain Future!
Cricket Explained
You Don’t Know Jack!
Robots Are People Too!
Plato’s All-American Mexican-Free Republic
DHS and the Three F’s
Bush’s Memoirs


Thanks to a combination of Blogger's ocassional quirks and rubbish QOs from Verizon DSL the post below is quite buggered. The list is a compilation of previous posts that any new visitors here from the C&L link might enjoy and thus persuade them to revisit once in a while.
The links aren't parsed at the moment thanks to tech issues in uploading. but you can click and get to a couple of the archived posts that will hopefully give you a life. Meanwhile I need to fix this. AARRGGH!

Crooks & Liars

NOTE: Right now at 5.31 EST the links seemd to have been crosslinked somewhat. I'll have to edit and repost to parse them out properly, but it's not completely messed up so click away--you'll get something. Fix is on it's way.

The Dukes of Hazzard County
America’s Giant Balls: A Larger View
The Iraqi Free Press-A $100 million Value!
Geeks Gone Wild
The Art Of Writing: Who's YOur Dada?

Cheney: I Have al-Quailda In My Sights!
Best Presidential Library Ever!
Captain Future!
Cricket Explained
You Don’t Know Jack!
Robots Are People Too!
Plato’s All-American Mexican-Free Republic

DHS and the Three F’s
Bush’s Memoirs

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tortured Logic of The American Inquisition

Guantanamo Bay is famous for one thing! Illegal imprisonment and the suspension of habeas corpus… TWO things!… illegal imprisonment and the suspension of habeas corpus...and, prisoner abuse—three! Three things!
Illegal imprisonment, no habeas corpus, prisoner abuse and the complete suspension of reality…(sigh) Right! Guantanamo Bay is famous for, not necessarily in this order and subject to modification, four or more things, those being the….(etc).

Not even Monty Python’s ultra-hilarious sketch “Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition!” reaches the level of absurdity that plays out at Camp X-Ray in Cuba. Amongst its more-than seven hundred prisoners were ignorant teenage boys, farmers, a crippled old man and an informant on radical Muslim’s for MI5 (the British intelligence service), all of whom were included in Donald Rumsfeld’s catch-all phrase, “the worst of the worst”.

Since around 2004 Gitmo’s cells have been slowly emptying, with not one “detainee” brought to trial in the US (or anywhere else for that matter). The Guardian now reports that the US is trying to return its nine remaining British inmates to the U.K in a package deal and interestingly enough the U.K, government is refusing. Why?

For one thing the U.K. is currently insisting that only one of the nine is actually a British citizen. And the other thing is that if the U.K. were to accept all nine anyway, the US is insisting they be kept under 24-hour surveillance indefinitely.
As these prisoners haven’t been proven guilty of anything, the U.K can’t just stick them in one of their own prisons—that would be illegal. Letting them live outside of prison but under constant surveillance would also be illegal under British law.
And then there’s the fact that these men have been held illegally in the first place so to accept their status as some kind of criminal without evidence would also be illegal.
Finally the US has no right to dictate the terms under which a British citizen may live in their own country anyway, nor the conduct of British law.

Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld have good reason to empty Camp X-Ray in light of public discontent threatening to change the political scene. Even if Democrats win both houses this November, that still leaves almost two-years of inevitable deal-making and stone-walling to suppress and scrub the shame of Gitmo—two years in which Bush as Commander In Chief can employ his executive powers to clean the place out.

But with America’s “strongest ally” in the “war on terror” currently (finally!) refusing to be complicit in covering-up illegal detentions and prisoner treatment, what then for these nine? Will they be the only ones left? Or will the one acceptable Brit be released and the rest shipped off to who knows where? First this administration wanted them, in fact need them, and now it wants to wash it's hands of them.
These captives may not be screaming from the rack or hot pockers, but it's still torture.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Mark Foley--Guest Blog

Mark Foley reaching out or reaching-around with some apparently deserving but possibly impressionable young lads. Photo credit to whoever took the photo.

The following text is SATIRE--in case some idiot tries to reference it as anything other than that.

Hey, it's Mark! R ur parents home? Wot U wearing right now? Is it just me or is it HOT in here? !! OH! It must be YOU!

Who was it who said that politics is like a “greased pole”? I think it was the same guy who said that “politics makes for strange bedfellows”. Anyway, never in my wettest dreams did I imagine that things would come to a head like this!

As you probably know, I was minding my own business when suddenly I found myself with this huge mess on my hands and now I’m being smeared, with headlines like “Foley’s Electile Dysfunction” and “Page Me!”—teenage boys can be so cruel!

With my personal internet privileges revoked I thought there was nothing I could do to set things straight. Shunned, I sought refuge in the gym but five minutes of sweaty pumping and I was spent. I didn’t feel like a man anymore, I felt like a little boy. But then I heard someone say “hey, I know you! I met you cruising in Florida!” and before I knew it he’d put his blog in my hands.

I may be on my knees right now but thanks to 5th Estate’s helping hand I again have the tool I need to touch my constituents and grab their attention once more. I’ve been thoroughly tea-bagged by everyone (except Jeff Gannon) in the so-called media (just like the Clintons have been by Fox). But thanks to this “blog-o-tunity” all I can say to the media-whores and presstitues is--Look out bitches!!!!
And to everyone who still believes in me (clap as hard as you can, it really does help!) allow me to describe my position in the most explicit terms—I think I owe you that favor (you can pay me back later--flowers, chocolate, votes, a pair of strappy Jimmy Choo’s—let’s decide over a tossed salad, around noon-ish?)

As I’m sure you all know I was raised a Catholic. I’m not sure if the preservation of feminine virginity and taking an interest in the development of boys came to me naturally or whether it was beaten into me, but either way I developed a fascination for morality which led me naturally to the “big tent” of the Republican Party.
Unlike some politicians who talk about being “bi-partisan” but never do anything about it, I never forgot my youthful experiences. As a grown man I wanted to share those semenal (sic) experiences with a new generation of confused youth. And for that sincere desire I am now already convicted by the press who, like Madame Le Farge in some incomprehensible History Channel costume drama, want nothing more than to see me well-hung!

Well! As sure as bears shit in the Bushes I will NOT take this abuse lying down! I am not going to swallow the slimy ejaculations of my critics! No Sir! Instead it is I who will give them a mouthful!

Though I’ve been forced to relinquish my seat to some sordid back-room deal for the time being, rest assured I’ll be back and on top once again! So watch out America, I’ll be coming from behind! And then you’ll all be sorry!

Signing off for now as your GOP congressional mispresentative from Florida;

Mark "I'm NOT gay!" Foley.

Friday, September 22, 2006

GOP Brains On Display!

“The Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act includes new provisions to further strengthen congressional authority and oversight, and provide clear rules for electronic surveillance if the President notifies the Congress that he has reason to believe that an attack is imminent that would result in death or serious injury or substantial economic damage. The rules will include time limits, written notification, full justification, and clear identification of the groups and their affiliates believed to be about to launch an attack.
We listen to our enemies. Our intelligence community must be able to gather information to protect us, and react rapidly to threats. At the same time, we must ensure that the liberties of Americans are protected. We can do both.” N.M. GOP Rep. Heather Wilson

So according to this proposed Act, if the President doesn’t notify Congress that he has reason to believe that an attack is imminent, just as he didn’t notify Congress of his circumvention of FISA was and is illegal and continues to this day, then Congress in its ignorance has nothing to do. This “Act” would negate FISA and add to Bush’s increasingly imperial powers.

“Our elections are too important to allow the possibility of fraudulent and illegal voting practices and that is why I supported H.R. 4844, the Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006. This bill would ensure that state and local governments have effective means to prevent non-citizen immigrants from illegally registering and voting in federal elections.
The Federal Election Integrity Act would require voters in federal elections to provide a photo ID by 2008. By 2010, voters would be required to provide a photo ID that can only be obtained with proof of citizenship. Federal law already makes it a crime for non-citizens to vote in federal elections and this bill would give state and local governments the tools they need to enforce the law. H.R. 4844 is important legislation and will preserve the democratic integrity of our electoral process.” Texas GOP Rep. John Culberson

Why the hell would non-citizens vote?
And why have a new photo-ID to prove citizenship when we already have one—it’s called a passport.
Oh yeah, and federal law makes it a crime for citizens to manipulate the election process and results. Try starting there.

“Congress must do more to increase access to affordable, quality health insurance and we must work to control the costs in our health care system. I have proposed several common sense interim steps - including expanding and encouraging health savings accounts, allowing individuals and businesses to buy insurance across state lines and over the internet and expanding tax credits to help small businesses provide coverage for their employees.” Vt. GOP Candidate for Congress Martha Rainville

All this was done two years ago and resulted in higher costs. More restricted coverage and a reduction in those insured. And why should small businesses (the Labor Department defines “small business” as a company with up to 500 employees or $12 million p.a. gross income) get a tax credit if individuals, going by this idiotically vague “plan”, would then be able to get “affordable” healthcare on their own due to the benefits of this magical scheme?

"Unfortunately, Hugo Chavez has become a clown. What’s even more unfortunate is his deliberate efforts to intervene and interefere (sic) with the internal politics of his neighbors, jeopardizing democracy and destabilizing many Latin American nations who are struggling to secure a better future for their citizens." Ill. GOP Rep. Jerry Weller

Unfortunately, George Bush has become a clown. What’s even more unfortunate is his deliberate efforts to intervene and interfere with the internal politics of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran, jeopardizing democracy and destabilizing many Middle-Eastern nations.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Iran, Panic and the “Nuclear Option”

Well I’ve read Col. Gardiner’s report that claims US Special Forces have been in Iran for a while in preparation for possible military action.
Whilst they may indeed have been there, are they really there now? Gardiner writes very coherently but he doesn’t provide any kind of corroboration the public can use.

If it’s true, isn’t he tipping the Iranians off and putting SOF and CIA in danger?
Or is he sufficiently convinced the Bush plans to launch a military campaign he thinks would be so disastrous that blowing the whistle now is the lesser of two evils?
Or, is he perhaps the witting or unwitting agent of psy-ops campaign? I have no idea.

Gardiner provides some depressingly clear-eyed reasons why attacking Iran would be a monumentally stupid idea—far, far more disastrous than the Iraq misadventure—and is seeing signs that the Bush administration is keen to stay the course by not listening to sense but to some higher power located between their ass-cheeks. Gardiner hears the same aggressive rhetoric and confused claims from Bush and his supporters in the “think-tanks” and the media that were used to justify the invasion of Iraq, being applied to Ahmedinejad and Iran. Combined with whatever scuttlebutt he hears from his military sources he’s probably got some pretty good reasons to be concerned.

But however much the neo-cons and their idiot lackeys in the GOP and the press might want to attack Iran, it doesn’t mean they can or will.

The war-mongers ideal would be to destroy the entire Iranian nuclear program—they can’t just whack one or two “key” sites.
According to Gardiner the target list runs to around 400 and some of those are hardened, naturally.
To get the job done, the attacks would have to be quick and massive—requiring a combination of cruise-missiles launched from stand-off positions and over-the-target attacks from fighter-bombers which would need protection from the Improved Hawk (and other) SAM systems Ronald “we are not trading arms for hostages” Reagan so generously sold to the Ayatollah. That would require a bunch of F-111 Wild Weasels and EA6-B Prowlers for radar suppression and F-117 Nighthawks to knock out the SAM sites. It’s easier and quicker to commit the Air Force and the Navy than it is the Army to military action but it would still take some evident preparation.

On the political front, Bush won’t have any military support from the UK, or from anyone else—except Israel, which has been receiving shiny new F-16I fighter-bombers (I think they have about 50 out of the 102 ordered) fitted with custom, long range fuel tanks ideal for getting them from Israel to Iran and back.
Some Israeli minister today (I forget who) was shouting about Iran being a major threat but then Israel has been embarrassed by the Lebanon screw-up, is being pressed hard on it’s use of cluster-bombs and the Israeli public is none too happy and I suspect he's just trying to divert attention.
The American public isn’t too happy either. The Congress is up for grabs and most importantly there’s already a lot of public pushback from the military to the suggestion that force should be use against Iran.

I may be wrong but apart from the usual suspects, there doesn’t seem to be as much cheerleading for action in the media against Iran as there was for Iraq and less acquiescence to the White House noise-machine amongst the more moderate press this time around. Most of the fear-mongering seemed to occur in the first quarter of this year and with all the other very public misfortunes Bush and his pals have visited upon us and themselves they aren’t getting the traction they need to prosecute this issue.
Gardiner may be sounding the alarm but he seems to be fear-mongering in his own way—but a “good” way.

The only trouble with all this is that this administration (meaning Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzalez and the most rabid members of the GOP) don’t operate on reason and don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves and their own fantasies of certitude and superiority. Desperate to justify themselves in the face of criticism and opposition they could be tempted to forget the preamble, the propaganda and the pretense and just go for broke and order an attack anyway.

But you know what? If it came to that I think the military would say no. It would be the military’s “nuclear option”, one that wouldn’t destroy anything for once.

I really think there’s no need to panic. Unless I’m wrong in which case panic won’t do you any good any how—it’ll be too late.

Have a nice day--tomorrow could be your last. Enjoy!

Monday, September 18, 2006

IRAN-Don't Panic! (Yet)

Retired Air Force Colonel (and former teacher at the U.S. Army National War College) Sam Gardiner told Wolf Blitzer tonight on CNN: “We are conducting military operations inside Iran right now.”
At various times over the past 18 months he has said that he believed covert surveillance and HUMINT operations were being conducted, focused on Iran’s nuclear disposition and its political dissidents.
Frankly I would expect the US to conduct such operations anywhere at any time in any country.
But now, says Gardiner. “The evidence is overwhelming.” To support this more elevated claim he cites the following:

a) When the House Committee on Emerging Threats recently called on State and Defense officials to testify if U.S. forces were in Iran or not, none showed up.
b) Some U.S. naval forces had been alerted for deployment (according to Time magazine), which Gardiner calls “a major step”
c) Gardiner states that “The plan has gone to the White House. That’s not normal planning. When the plan goes to the White House; that means we’ve gone to a different state.”

ThinkProgress has the full transcript here

Plenty of pundits, politicians and commentators have weighed in on this subject over most of the year—those on the political Right beating the war drums yet again and those on the Left remarking on the similarity to the lead-up of the Iraq invasion.

Now given the orchestration of lies and the colossal cock-up that the Bush administration has wrought and still refuses to acknowledge in Iraq, it is entirely possible that the White House is not only contemplating attacking Iran but is actively involved in the early stages of actually doing so.


Just because Gardiner has respectable military qualifications, it doesn’t mean his expertise extends as far as his words and conclusions imply. Gardiner lays out his analysis presumably more thoroughly in a .PDF titled The End of the “Summer of Diplomacy”: Assessing U.S. Military Options on Iran.

I haven’t read it yet, but I intend to.
The highlighted points above he makes to support his assertion are weak in themselves and not very strong even together ( except perhaps for the first, which is very curious) .
Remember, it was the pursuit of “facts” to fit suspicions that got us into Iraq in the first place.

That’s not to say Gardiner is wrong, it’s just that his apparent conviction needs to be supported by more than a limited collation of fact and supposition as presented in this CNN appearance.

Nor is he wrong to be alarmed by the possibility that he may be correct; there were some indicators of the Iraq invasion that hardly anyone noticed (such as the huge increase in sorties over the no-fly zones for several months prior to the Iraq invasion).

I can think of all sorts of reasons why BushCo would want, and need, to attack Iran in the very near future. So I’m going to read Gardiner’s analysis with a skeptical eye and try and corroborate or refute his arguments with some research.

In Bush’s age of fear, I’d like to keep some semblance of reason. I don’t plan to succumb to panic just yet. Give me a week before I freak.

The Hill Blog- Representin' Our Representatives

As if our politicians don't have enough opportunites and outlets to express their opinions whilst ignoring the citizens', they also have a cozy little spot called "The Hill's Congress Blog" where our elected Representatives tell us what's on their minds.

The public is welcome to comment on the postings but seeing as the comments never appear anywhere I'm not sure what the point is and besides I'm sure the reps. don't have time to engage in a discussion thread (nor indeed should they).

Still as thus utterly pointless as this may seem, the blog is very informative in that it provides many examples from Republicans and Democrats alike--easily copied of course for later reference--of their rhetorical style, the issues they think are important and frankly their mental capacity.

For instance Brian Billbray (R-CA) has posted House Acts to Make Border More Secure which reads like a press release or official statement and sounds all sensible and mature, but his previous post of September 15 seems to be much more personal.

Entitled No Amnesty For Terrorists Billbray leads by quoting Nancy Pelosi; "...and even to capture him[Bin Laden] now, I don’t think makes us any safer.”
From this Billbray concludes that "The American people don’t want amnesty for terrorists."

Right, well, there you go then. That was certainly worth the extra $3000 pay raise.

How about J.D. Hayworth's (R-AZ) Appeasing Iran Does Not Work

"History has proven that the Democrats have a horrible track record when working toward stability in the Middle East and it’s laughable that they would blame President Bush for enabling Iran to become a global menace. It was Democratic President Jimmy Carter who stood by as Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah of Iran, ushering in the dangerous, volatile theocracy that is still in existence today. Most importantly, it was Carter, not President Bush, who in 1979 watched as the American Embassy in Tehran was overrun and American citizens were held captive for 444 days."

The last, first: that doesn't make any sense at all! But what about the rest of the "arguments?"

Ah yes! History! That Camp David thing? That was actually from a Dean Koontz novel. And that popular uprising in Iran? Not that popular! And talk about unstable! Remember when they tried to topple Hussein back in the 80's, but couldn't because we provided him with nerve gas which Hussein used on the Iranians? Remember when the US Ambassador gave our good friend Hussein the green light to grab some Kuwaiti oil on the border--but then went and invaded the country instead? Now he was stable!

Oh and remember when Reagan DIDN'T appease the Iranians by selling them missiles for hostages in Lebanon? Or was that the other way around? I guess I'll have to wait for one of Dubya's future historians to decide that for me when we are all dead.

"During the Clinton Administration, it is now clear that the secret Iranian nuclear program was up and running and Iran was providing support for Hezbollah and al Qaeda terrorists."

Of course! It was Clinton's fault that the Russians in 1995 agreed to begin rebuilding the then 20 year-old Bushehr nuclear reactor that had been crippled in the Iran-Iraq war.
And it was his fault that Madeline Albright persuaded the Ukraines not to provide needed turbines in 1998.
And it was Clinton's fault that the reactor was surrounded by Raytheon Improved Hawk SAMs that Reagan sold Iran. Oh, and of course the rebuilding of the reactor was known only to a few thousand journalists over the ten years since reconstruction began and only this year, during Bush's tenure, has the reactor begun to provide a tiny amount of enriched uranium though the plant isn't actually completed yet. (detailed Global Security report here ). Oh and that bit about supporting Al Qaeda? Ummm....not true. False. Made-up.

"After all that’s happened the Democrats still don’t get it. The pattern of unspoken appeasement clearly does not, and never will, work. It didn’t work in the 70’s, didn’t work in the 90’s and especially won’t work now."

So you see this half-assed blog that is paid for by our tax dollars has its uses; between the obvious cut-and-pasted press releases are the telling, personal posts--direct from the source and unfiltered by journalists. So there you have it, in his own words Rep. Hayworth is clearly a deranged, lying sack of shit--not for slamming the Dem's you understand, but for incoherent babbling, rewriting history and lying. See? I'd only assumed that before and now I know for sure--right from the source!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The 1% Solution

As I’ve been off-line for a week I exchanged some loose bits of greenish paper for tightly bound organized white paper which are apparently called “books”.

The larger and thicker of the two was "Fiasco", a highly detailed account of the invasion and occupation of Iraq that illustrates and illuminates the strategies, tactics, thoughts, experiences and actions of those directly involved—from generals to corporals. Frankly it’s a bit of a slog, but then such is both the soldier’s and the documentarian’s life. The efforts of the soldiers and commanders and the efforts of the author are worth an effort from the reader.

The more compact book is “The One-Percent Solution" by Robert Suskind. Its title explains the doctrine Cheney espoused immediately after 9-11; that basically any conceivable threat to the US should be regarded as a certainty and acted upon. The book then goes on to illustrate how this singular doctrine both energized and confounded the prosecution of the “war on terror”.

It is written like a fast-paced movie, akin to Fox’s “24”. The bulk of the book concerns the actions of intelligence officials, but it is interspersed with moments of deep narrative, exposition, insight and comment about the nature and practice and impact of intelligence and personality and how these factors shape policy as a whole.

The terrible thing about this book is that it is thrilling and all too real. My impression from this book is that Bush et al are not overstating the case that there are extremists in the world constantly plotting to kill innocent people en-masse in pursuit of their respective causes and to affect change, and the administration and government are certainly obliged to counter them.
On the other hand the “1% Solution” is clearly not the means by which the US (or anyone else) should defend itself. Suspicion alone is not grounds for action, especially when that suspicion is based on a personal conviction. Sadly or rather horrifically this book illustrates both practically and philosophically, by example, how poorly equipped our current leaders and political infrastructre are to deal with the problem they so often claim is exclusively within their expertise and jurisdiction.

This book, through real examples and judicious commentary, explains the harsh and bizarre realities of governance and politics that surround not just the “war on terror: in particular, but policy in general—how it is formed and promulgated.

There is little outright blame in this book, but a lot of exposure. It is very explanatory, but inconclusive. It is above all eye-opening. Read it!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Path to 9/11 and the Destuction of Truth

When the South Tower was hit the broadcast repeaters that the “rabbit ears” attached to my TV relied upon were knocked out, so when I switched on my TV that morning at nine a.m. my first inkling that something unusual had happened was the static on the screen as I began searching for a signal. And then there it was--the WTC billowing smoke.

The only reason I was getting any TV news at all was because there was just one New York station that broadcast via the Empire State Building and that was Channel 7, WABC. As that awful day unfolded Peter Jennings did the most extraordinarily professional job—no one could have done better.

So how does ABC choose to depict 9-11 upon the advent of the fifth anniversary? By airing a “docudrama”called "The Path to 9-11" supposedly based on the 9-11 Commisions report that Bush fought tooth and nail to prevent ? What the fuck do we need a “docudrama” for? The news footage wasn’t dramatic enough?

And it’s becoming evident from pre-release reviews that the “documentary” aspect of this enterprise is riddled with fiction dressed as fact.
It was sickening enough when Bloomberg (who I think is a very practical mayor) pimped Manhattan to the RNC and Bush, back at the scene of his criminal negligence, proclaimed himself a hero as his sycophantic audience spat and shit on New York’s citizens in their applause.

I remember the events of that day and the days and weeks and months that followed well enough and not just through witnessing it on TV.
There was the regular roar of combat jets as they circled overhead providing pointless “air-cover”.
There was the endless convoy of emergency vehicles lighting up the night as they stretched for miles along the Pulaski Skyway that feeds the Holland Tunnel and downtown Manhattan.
There were the photos and fliers and messages that were plastered on the walls at Journal Square Plaza. There was the unusual quiet of my neighborhood as police, fire and ambulance crews abandoned their usual routes past my apartment and concentrated on the Hudson and Manhattan.
There was the shutting-down of the Holland Tunnel to all but official traffic that lasted a year and to this day still disallows commercial vehicles for fear of a massive truck-bomb.
I queued with thousands at Madison Square Garden for half a day, given food and drink by the Red Cross as we all waited for our chance at a couple of hundred jobs.
I went downtown and wandered around Wall Street and Vesey and Church where everything was coated in dust and debris as though a vast overstuffed vacuum cleaner bag had been emptied over the city, turning everything grey.
When I finally found a job I worked pretty much every other week in Manhattan and forced to drive through the Lincoln Tunnel on every trip I could see the vast emptiness of the WTC’s absence. At home, at night, when I went to the local store I could see the huge columns of light piercing the sky that marked where the towers had been. When the WTC PATH station re-opened the train curved around what was once an undergorund mall and was now a rectangular crater open to sky, grey and vacant and as we circled the scene with all the blackberries and cell phones and people packed cheek by jowl, there was no sound.

I wasn’t actually there when the buildings were struck, when they collapsed, I wasn’t on the streets. I knew one person who worked in the WTC, Henry Jennings, who broke his arm trying to squeeze out of a jammed elevator. I wasn’t a victim, I don’t have nightmares or health problems nor was I financially ruined—I was just a peripheral witness.

But if I want to recall 9-11 I have my own memories and the documentary footage stored on my computer. If I want to “understand” it I can re-read the 9-11 Commission report also on my PC along with other documents I’ve saved for reference and review. And I have wealth of visible and invisible reminders of the event and it's aftermath. I for one don’t need some fucking “docudrama” to explain it all for me.

The very fact that ABC has chosen to dramatize the most dramatic and important event the US has experienced for a century and attempted to give the effort some authority by claiming documentary support in the re-telling of the event, its causes and effects, already suggests unnecessary and callous manipulation of a national tragedy that is already a matter of well documented record. Does anyone need a fucking "docudrama" of 9-11? Certainly New Yorkers don't.

With 4 days to go until the first airing, ABC-7 has yet to promote in its 5-7 local news what ought to be a significant program of great interest to New Yorkers as well as to the nation. Is ABC being sensitive? Why, if the show is going to be an honest appraisal five years after the event? Perhaps instead of producing something scholarly and relevant, something to be proud of, they've ended up with a melodrama, a mockery of a reality and fact that still shapes our lives today?

If ever there was an example of how far TV news and analysis has fallen this unnecessary "docudrama" is surely it. Dan Rather was fired, Ted Koppel is retired as is Tom Brokaw a long time favorite of mine and IMHO the best of those three. Phil Donahue was blackballed, Bill Moyers has quit, having nothing to lose but he's still active and David Broncacccio and the NOW team are doing good work. 60 minutes and 20-20 are shadows of their former selves.

On 9-11 I was forced to watch ABC first and then was able to switch between it and WNET Channel 13 who had arranged to piggy-back off the ABC signal. I pretty much stuck with Peter Jennings. He simply amazed me with his insight and inquistion. He functioned as both a real "anchor" and as an investigate reporter functioning "on the fly" as he gathered and applied his personal and professional resources as he quizzed his guests and informed the public calmly, sometimes emotionally, but professionally and responsibly.

So much was damaged or destroyed on 9-11. Symbols, property, lives, families, faith, hope, confidence, freedom, honesty and trust. ABC still promotes itself as "the most trusted" in broadcast news. They owe that claim to Peter Jennings and his team. Though some at ABC still do sterling work with Jennings no longer at the helm there is no one left to champion that claim and there is no more obvious proof than this "docudrama". It''s mere existence is an insult to New Yorkers, to the nation and to responsible journalism. It is theater masquerading as fact, national tragedy made product and maniplated to satisfy a niche market.

I may be wrong but I doubt Peter Jennings would have made a "docudrama'' about 9-11. Like me he wasn't directly involved, but he was there and it was all too real for him, for me, for some 40 million people in the tristate area and Washington D.C.

That's a lot of potential critics with actual experience and intimate knowledge of 9-11, ABC/Disney! I don'tt doubt you'll get great Nielsen ratings ( I'll certainly watch it) , but I'd keep an eye out on the "put" options on your stock if I were you.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Of Cluster Bombs and Cluster-Fucks

F-16I--Israel-specific version of the US manufactured F-16 includes upper fuselage mounted external fuel tanks for increased radius/time over battlefield that also "free-up" the two largest capacity underwing hardpoints for increased bombload. The IAF has approx 330 Fighter-Bombers (F-15 and F-16) s and 50 A-4 ground attack aircraft.

The F16I is wicked gorgeous IMHO (but only as long as you are the pilot) . If you are the recipient of its capablities, it has to be terrifying.

When Hezbollah conducted a cross-border ambush of an Israeli patrol, killing 8 and capturing two, Israel could have responded they way usually do (and the way Hezbollah expected them to) —by launching a public, token punitive raid of their own whilst developing negotiations and formulating a rescue plan in private.

Instead Ehud Olmert took the radical decision of launching a war intended to “smash” militant Hezbollah and force the return of the two military captives.
In other words, because a militant group over which the one-year old Lebanese government had little control had engaged in a criminal act against military personnel, the entire Lebanese nation would have to pay for the transgressions of a few.

After bombing national entry and exit points (the airport, sea-ports and border crossings), the IAF (Israeli Air Force) then bombed communications centers, transportation facilities and roads--anything that served an urban society that might also serve an urban military. This strategy hindered or prevented externally-sourced re-supply and support as well as movement for Olmert’s declared target Hezbollah, which, were it a discrete military force with clear logistical communications would make perfect military sense by confining Hezbollah militants to one areas and subjecting them to a siege that would be relieved either by surrender or destruction.

As the militant Hezbollah were not a discrete military force with easily identifiable military bases, personnel and equipment but instead a militia integrated with the general population in towns and villages, the ‘containment’ strategy also meant containing civilians too, in the geographic arena where Hezbollah was supposed to be ‘smashed’.

In an effort to separate civilians from militants Olmert allowed the southern Lebanese some 24 hours to evacuate from the declared target area. This magnanimity however risked undermining the military containment strategy, so whilst bombing suspected Hezbollah-riddled civilian centers was temporarily halted no such moratorium was applied to the potential escape routes; thus civilians were given a day to decide whether to be bombed at home or bombed when they left.

Apart from preventing civilian evacuation to clear the way for classic military-vs-military warfare, Olmert’s military strategy also hindered ordinary humanitarian aid both from within Lebanon and especially from without. It also hindered the evacuation of foreigners, many of whom were citizens of Israel’s traditional allies, and I suspect it was those people that the 24-hour warning was meant to serve more than anyone else, but thanks to the strategy in place even that concession to civilians and innocents fell short of the practical, let alone the ideal.

The US government didn’t voice actual approval of Olmert’s actions but it didn’t condemn them either and that should come as no surprise to anyone. What was surprising to me (sort of) was that the US gave tacit approval not through the usual guff of “we’re analyzing the situation” but by essentially stating that Olmert had at least two weeks to “defend itself”. The continued launching of large salvoes of retaliatory Katyusha rocket attacks by Hezbollah gave a clear indication of the ineffectiveness of the IAF’s bombing campaign. Instead of changing the patently flawed strategy, it was decided that more bombs were needed which, as the IAF had already expended much of its supplies, were quickly provided by the US.

As soon as the shaky ceasefire went into effect, NGO’s, UN personnel and reporters were able to move in and assess conditions on the ground. But though the air strikes had stopped, the bombing campaign in essence was still ongoing courtesy of the cluster bombs--supplied in significant part by the US.

A recent report by the BBC showed reporter Orla Guerlin (possibly the world’s most experienced television reporter of armed conflict) pointing out a dozen bomblets scattered around the remains of a Lebanese home. The bomblets shown appeared to be of an American anti-armor type, dull grey and about the size of a soda-can (US anti- personnel bomblets resemble the typical tuna-can, squat and wide).

Now why would the IAF use anti-tank cluster-bombs when Hezbollah doesn’t have any tanks? Because that’s what was most readily available from the US? Because dropping anti-personnel bomblets in civilian areas would be a clear violation of international law governing their use?

Manufacturers of CBU (Cluster Bomb Unit) bomblets claim they will explode on impact (as they are supposed to) 95% of the time, but in the real world the failure rate has proven to be 70% to 90%. CBUs release anywhere from around 200 to 600 bomblets, meaning that anywhere from 10 (5% of 200) to 200 (30% of 600) won’t explode on impact but may well explode upon being disturbed later on.

Regardless of whether cluster-bombs are configured with anti-armor or anti-personnel bomblets they are ONLY allowed to be used against distinctly military targets and NOT in civilian areas. Clearly the IAF has disregarded this restriction (just as the US has in Iraq).

According to Jan Egelund of the UN the IAF dropped the majority of their cluster bombs in the last three days leading up to the ceasefire. The US had been supplying the IAF with more cluster bombs for nearly two-weeks by that time. And since the ceasefire UN investigators report having found approximately 100,000 unexploded bomblets at 359 sites. Even when one allows for exaggeration ther is still the potential that as many people could be killed afte the cease-fire as before it, and most of them will be civilians.

The US State Department is now investigating how US-supplied cluster-bombs came to be used by our steadfast ally Israel on civilian areas (against an enemy they couldn’t see that didn’t have any tanks) which would be a contravention of US policy and law. Given the US government’s record thus far regarding illegal actions by the military and “wrongdoing” by the military’s suppliers I wouldn’t expect anything to come it.

It’s pretty obvious that both Olmert’s strategy and execution was conducted with a calculated disregard of civilian casualties especially towards the Lebanese but also in part towards Israeli civilians too; and let’s not forget his sledgehammer campaign also risked the lives of the two IDF hostages (and encouraged large scale retaliation against Israeli civilians). Added to this is the US complicity not just in Olmert’s craptacular strategy that couldn’t possibly deliver on its promised aims, but also in the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas. With the evidence of a two-week bombing campaign already common knowledge, for the US to supply anti-tank CBUs to the IAF upon urgent request against targets that had no armor, on some assurance that they would not be used against civilians is beyond naivety or stupidity, it’s just criminal .

Hezbollah’s initial raid violated all kinds of statues and Israel had every right to use similar force to redress the situation. Instead Israel effectively went to war against Lebanon as a whole, though they did not engage the Lebanese army (who remained notably absent throughout the conflict). The strategy of simply bombing an enemy dispersed amongst civilians and near impossible to distinguish from them guaranteed both significant civilian deaths and the failure of the declared mission.

Olmert’s strategy failed to smash Hezbollah and recover the two soldiers. Israel had enough problems with Syria, the Palestinians and Hezbollah anyway. Now it has bolstered support for Hezbollah and given the rest of the Lebanese cause for revenge.
The regular Israeli population unsurprisingly supportive of the initial response soon realized the dangers of Olmert’s war and are now calling for his head. The IDF was given goals it simply couldn’t achieve despite its long proven effectiveness so now with its reputation diminished Israel’s national security has been compromised.

The parallels between Bush’s and Olmert’s strategies and execution are remarkable and the lesson is pretty clear: universal use of cluster-bombs (rhetorical, metaphorical and actual) to solve perceived problems invariably results in a cluster-fuck.