amid still sliding poll numbers, president bush has just lost his number one fan:
i am frustrated with the progress. if you were to take it and put me in an opinion poll and said do i approve of iraq, i'd be one of those that said, no, i don't.
— president bush, pbs newshour with jim lehrer
hmm — looks like it's really just down to laura and barney now.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Sunday, January 14, 2007
it sounds like bush is getting tired of all the carping know-it-alls-without-a-plan:
president bush on saturday challenged lawmakers skeptical of his new iraq plan to propose their own strategy for stopping the violence in baghdad.
"to oppose everything while proposing nothing is irresponsible," bush said.
but if bush is genuinely interested in seeing other plans, he need only check his inbox.
it's where he'll find, among others, the murtha plan, the kerry-feingold plan, the biden plan, the edwards plan, the levin-reed plan, and not to mention the baker-hamilton plan, otherwise known as the iraq study group plan, which bush already sounds familiar with, since he was recently overheard describing it as "a flaming turd".
and then there are the seemingly daily growing roster of freely-dispensed blogger plans like the johnson plan. it's plainly apparent to none but the willfully blind and deaf that at this late date there are no lack of thoughtful alternatives.
unfortunately (and i do say this with the utmost respect to all those who have been applying the necessary brain-power and wisdom that's been heretofore lacking in this debate) all these plans represent nothing more than idle academic masturbation. they're all quite pointless. and that's why you'll find no trademarked and patented "aarrgghh plan" on this site.
because unless the first step in your grand strategy reads:
my grand strategy for iraq
by carping know-it-all
remove george bush and dick cheney from office.
... then your plan is nothing but toilet paper.
because unless you're willing to let events continue to spiral for at least another two years, george bush will give your precious plan all the due consideration he gave to the over-anticipated iraq study group report — that is, as steve gilliard remarked, he'll "wipe his ass" with it.
which leaves us with only one plan — the only one that matters — the kagan plan, more fondly known as "the surge".
and what makes this one plan oh-so irresistible to the commander-in-chief?
frederick kagan, 36, is the author of choosing victory, a blueprint for the surge adopted by president george w bush. just as everybody had begun writing off the influence of the neocons at the white house, genial, chubby-faced frederick gave the muscular intellectuals a lease of life.
it was at camp david last june that kagan, a military historian and fellow of the american enterprise institute, outlined his plans for pouring more troops into iraq to bush and his war cabinet.
donald rumsfeld, the then defence secretary, was unimpressed, but kagan's views got another hearing when bush was searching for ways to ditch the seemingly defeatist recommendations of james baker's iraq study group. "wow, you mean we can still win this war?" a grateful bush reportedly said.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
oregon congressman david wu on the floor of the house rebuking bush's plan to escalate our adventure in the middle east:
now, this president has listened to some people, the so-called vulcans in the white house, the ideologues. but unlike the vulcans of star trek, who made the decisions based on logic and fact, these guys make it on ideology. these aren't vulcans. there are klingons in the white house. but unlike the real klingons of star trek, these klingons have never fought a battle of their own.
don't let faux klingons send real americans to war. it is wrong.
wu, a democrat, is chairman of the technology and innovation subcommittee of the house science and technology committee, and apparently an avid star trek fan:
he admitted friday that while recovering from a recent back injury, he watched "a whole basket of star trek tapes" lent to him by a neighbor. which star trek series or movie is his favorite?
"i watch them all," wu said. "a terrible confession."
Thursday, January 11, 2007
secretary of state condoleeza rice, speaking at today's senate foreign relations committee hearings on bush's plan to send more troops to iraq:
it's bad policy to speculate on what you'll do if a plan fails when you're trying to make a plan work.
ah ... so that explains the last three years.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
nir rosen @ iraqslogger:
hijacking eid and hanging saddam
the important muslim holiday of eid al adha was due to begin over the weekend. for sunnis it began on saturday the 30th of december. for shias it begins on sunday the 31st. according to tradition in mecca, battles are suspended during the hajj period so that pilgrims can safely march to mecca. this practice even predated islam and muslims preserved this tradition, calling this period 'al ashur al hurm,' or the months of truce. by hanging saddam on the sunni eid the americans and the iraqi government were in effect saying that only the shia eid had legitimacy. sunnis were irate that shia traditions were given primacy (as they are more and more in iraq these days) and that shias disrespected the tradition and killed saddam on this day. because the iraqi constitution itself prohibits executions from being carried out on eid, the iraqi government had to officially declare that eid did not begin until sunday the 31st. it was a striking decision, virtually declaring that iraq is now a shia state. eid al adha is the festival of the sacrifice of the sheep. some may perceive it as the day saddam was sacrificed.
... although the shia dominated iraqi media claimed saddam was terrified prior to his execution and fought with his hangmen, saddam's on screen visage was one of aplomb, for he was conscious of the image he was displaying and wanted to go down as the grand historic leader he believed himself to be.
the new york times:
u.s. questioned iraq on the rush to hang hussein
none of the iraqi officials were able to explain why mr. maliki had been unwilling to allow the execution to wait. nor would any explain why those who conducted it had allowed it to deteriorate into a sectarian free-for-all that had the effect, on the video recordings, of making mr. hussein, a mass murderer, appear dignified and restrained, and his executioners, representing shiites who were his principal victims, seem like bullying street thugs.
but the explanation may have lain in something that bassam al-husseini, a maliki aide closely involved in arrangements for the hanging, said to the bbc later. mr. husseini, who has american citizenship, described the hanging as "an id gift to the iraqi people."
nir rosen @ iraqslogger:
saddam had been in american custody and was handed over to iraqis just before his execution. it is therefore hard to dismiss the perception that the americans could have waited, because in the end it is they who have the final say over such events in iraq. iraqi officials have consistently publicly complained that they have no authority and the americans control the iraqi police and the army. it is therefore unusual that iraqis would suddenly regain sovereignty for this important event.
digby @ hullaballoo:
bush's law: if it's possible to make things worse, he will.
saddam hussein is the the man i would have thought was least likely to be turned into a martyr, but damned if they didn't manage to do it. bush's law. and here's the great thing about it — the us, which claims rather unconvincingly that it had no say in this because iraq is a sovereign country, gets blamed for this right along with the shi'a government and moqtada al sadr. terrific. lose, lose for us — as usual. heckuva job, bushie.
christopher hitchens @ slate: (hitchens has been called "the gold standard for leftwingers who had adopted the neocon stance on iraq", so his post represents something of an ongoing epiphany)
lynching the dictator
... in spite of his mad invective against "the persians" and other traitors, the only character with a rag of dignity in the whole scene is the father of all hangmen, saddam hussein himself.
... the said chief perpetrator was snatched from the dock — in the very middle of his trial — and thrown as a morsel to one of the militias. this sort of improvised "offing" is not even a parody of the serious tribunal that history demands.
... did our envoys and representatives ask for any sort of assurances before turning over a prisoner who was being held under the geneva conventions?
... we have helped to officiate at a human sacrifice. for shame.
... to have made the butcher saddam into a martyr, to have gratified one sect, and to have cheated millions of iraqis and kurds of the chance for a full accounting — what a fine day's work!
p.z. myers @ science blog pharyngula:
how can they screw up this badly?
why is it that i, nasty ol' atheist who is completely ignorant of theology and religious history, can see the parallels in the execution of hussein, but our theocracy-sympathizing leaders bumble along, failing to see the damning errors of their position?
... you know, foreign occupying power, powerful religious group agitating for the execution of a hated, charismatic competitor, promises of who will bear the guilt for the deed, metaphorical washing of the hands ... jebus, if i know what a counterproductive pr disaster that was for the pharisees and the romans, what's the matter with the american leadership in iraq? don't they read the bibles they thump? add to that that they've apparently done the execution at a time when it is "religiously unacceptable", and we've got a situation that makes pontius pilate look good.
the new york times:
at the burial, several mourners threw themselves on the closed casket. one, a young man convulsed with sobs, cried: "he has not died. i can hear him speaking to me." another shouted, "saddam is dead! instead of weeping for him, think of ways we can take revenge on the iranian enemy," sunni parlance for the shiites now in power.
the los angeles times:
sunni grief, anger flow at funeral
"today they proved themselves that the trial and the execution were mere retaliation and not justice," said a mourner from tikrit, near al auja, who gave his name only as abu mohammed, a customary nickname. "it is clear now against whom we should retaliate."
booman @ the booman tribune:
shrine desecration and other happy news
the execution of saddam was handled very badly. there were many errors, but allowing footage of the executioners yelling 'moqtada, moqtada, moqtada' was perhaps the worst mistake. the sunni response, breaking into the samarra shrine and parading around a faux-coffin of saddam the martyr-hero, is about the worst sacrilege imaginable. imagine a bunch protestants blowing the dome off of st. peter's cathedral. then imagine them breaking into the church and parading around pictures of hitler and mussolini. there is not going to be any end in the cycle of sectarian violence.
Monday, January 01, 2007
1 according to the iraq coalition casualty count, "two task force lightning soldiers assigned to 3rd brigade combat team, 1st cavalry division, were killed sunday as a result of an explosion while conducting operations in diyala province."
2 the globalsecurity.org count continues to stand at 3002.