The politics of terror July 11, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, Dubya, Iraq, Middle East, News and politics.
Dubya and his cronies are at it again, making vague assertions about an al Qaeda cell that might be on the way or in the US already (Oh Noes!!1!) while Chertoff has apparently confused bad take out with terrorism. The timing, of course, is no coincidence: Bush’s massively failed Iraq policy has collapsed to the point that he’s in real danger of having his own party join with the Democrats to force a withdraw, and so it’s time to divert attention with breathless threats. Jill over at Brilliant at Breakfast explains exactly what’s going on:
So as you hear Michael Chertoff over the next 48 hours opine that it’s such a nice day for a terrorist attack because terrorists like to attack during the summer months, watch Olbermann’s reports again. Think about the trouble Bush is in. Think of the trouble he was already in during the summer of 2001. Then remind yourself that there are many ways to be a terrorist. The Department of Defense defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of — or threatened use of — force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives.” That this Administration has already a) made up threats that don’t exist, and b) exaggerated threats that aren’t significant, well, 2 + 2 = 4.
There is no doubt that the U.S. has long been guilty of terrorism under this or any similar definition. We have interfered in other nations political process, threatened and attacked sovereign nations who were no threat to us, and had our political leaders–especially in this administration–use fear as a coercive technique on our own people. I’ll say outright what Jill has already highlighted: the Bush administration is a terrorist administration which uses fear and threats to hold power and manipulate the public will.
I’ve not yet commented much on Impeachment, but I will now: I’m not sure Impeachment is a political winner for the left, and I do not care. The simple truth is that Bush has committed high crimes and misdemeanors, and it’s time for Congress to take a stand against him. Whether we have the votes is irrelevant, as is political expediency. All that matters is that this man–and his puppet-master-in-chief, Dick Cheney–has done this country great harm, and done so in violation of the Constitution and the treaties which the Constitution demands he uphold. That same Constitution gives us one recourse, and it is time to use it. Impeach Bush and Cheney. Drag them into trial, and outline the dozens of abuses from the past six and a half years.
Iraq fails to meet any benchmarks July 9, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Dubya, Iraq, Middle East, News and politics.
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Remember when Bush “agreed” to benchmarks on the condition he not be bound by them? Well, now we know why he wouldn’t agree to such a thing:
THE Iraqi Government is unlikely to meet any of the political and security goals the US President, George Bush, set for it in January, when he announced a major shift in US policy, Bush Administration officials say.
Any. The Iraqi government can’t meet a single objection we’ve set, which is a poor reflection on the leaders, and a far worse reflection on the work we have failed to do in stabilizing that country and giving it wise council.
There are rumors flying that Bush is going to have to change course now, since these benchmarks indicate such complete and obvious failure. But I don’t believe Bush will do any such thing. My prediction: Bush will make a speech with vague promises about “redeployment” of resources and the like, but the goal will remain what it has been for some time: refuse to admit defeat no matter what, “stay the course” and make the next President clean up after him.
He probably doesn’t see it that way, and no doubt thinks he’s building his legacy, but there can be no doubt that at this point he is simply stalling. I predict he will continue to do so until Congress finally listens to the electorate and forces his hand. This might be closer than we think, given the increasing Republican scramble from Bush, a scramble which would explain why Bush is likely to continue to stall by giving lip service to changing course.
Sera, you won’t want to miss this July 6, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Iran, Iraq, Israel, Middle East, News and politics.
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It’s worth noting that the US bears a great deal of responsibility for the violence, fundamentalism and lack of stability in the Middle East. A few examples:
- We’ve supported dictatorships and corrupt rulers in Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.
- We’ve supported the Israeli governments strategy of keeping Palestinians poor, isolated and desperate.
- We trained bin Laden and supported the Taliban as a means of involving Russia in a quagmire of insurgency.*
- We supplied the weapons to run multiple wars in the region, including in Israel, Iraq/Iran and Afghanistan.
Simply put, we have fostered an environment of desperation. When people have nothing to lose, they are more likely to lash out, and far more likely to support those who lash out. Terrorism isn’t going away, but we have created an environment that could not have been better designed to foster it.
I’m still waiting to see all this covered on the nightly news.
*You’d think someone in the Bush administration would at least have noted this.
One Question on Michael D. Evan’s New Book May 18, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in bigotry, Iran, Middle East, News and politics, wingnuts.
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Why didn’t he just name it “The Final Solution to the Muslim Problem”? I mean, the ideas it contains are offensive enough, but doesn’t he have either the historical awareness or the sense of propriety to find a different phrase for his title?
Jesus Christ, these people terrify me.
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In a move sure to send shivers down the spine of sane people everywhere, Dubya has met with Dobson about Iran, in a move that starkly mirrors a similar conversation just weeks before the Iraq invasion. And what did Dobson have to say? You guessed it:
“The world looked at Hitler and just didn’t believe him and tried to appease him the way we’re hearing in Washington today,” Dobson remarked. “You know, the President seems to me does understand this, as I told you from that meeting I had with him the other day, but even there it feels like somebody ought to be standing up and saying, ‘We are being threatened and we are going to meet this with force — whatever’s necessary.’”
I’ll give you a minute to let the terror subside. Just take deep breaths and remind yourself that Dobson may not entirely control the White House.
Feeling better? No? Me either. I’ll just add this: the world didn’t believe Hitler? What the fuck does that even mean? It’s like an incomprehensible sentence from a Freshmen Composition paper: “When it comes to Hitler, there are many different viewpoints but many people think that we did not believe Hitler enough.”
This is a man giving foreign policy advise to the POTUS. No wonder Iraq has been such a disaster.
The Iraqi parliament even wants us gone! May 9, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Iraq, Middle East, News and politics.
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We’ve known for a long time that the Iraqi people want us out of their country, and since the last elections we’ve known beyond any doubt the American people want the same. But surely those in power–the ones who are participating in the US-backed government and therefore have the most to loose should we leave–want us to stay! Well, not so much.
On Tuesday, without note in the U.S. media (my emphasis), more than half of the members of Iraq’s parliament rejected the continuing occupation of their country. 144 lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal, according to Nassar Al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the Al Sadr movement, the nationalist Shia group that sponsored the petition.
I will say it again: this is a vote from the legislative body that owes its existence to US Directives. We’ve fucked up the country so badly that even those who are in power only because we erected and defend the system that keeps them their want us gone.
Remember when we were going to “win the hearts and minds” of the Iraqi people?
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That’s right. While giving Bush a near-complete free pass on Iraq policy for years, the NYT is now accusing Democrats of being the ones who are trying to use the war to score political points:
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton proposed Thursday that Congress repeal the authority it gave President Bush in 2002 to invade Iraq, injecting presidential politics into the Congressional debate over financing the war.
Is Clinton trying to score political points here? Of course. She’s a politician; it’s what she does. But to claim that she is somehow making the war an issue of presidential politics when it had not been so before is incredibly disingenuous. Why doesn’t the NYT say the same thing when McCain calls for even more troops?
Put another way, why is trying to end a disastrous and deadly conflict “politics,” while trying to continue it anything else?
Regardless, it seems unlikely Clinton’s proposal will have much effect, largely because Bush is certain to say the previous authorization stands, and the issue will then go to the courts, which drags out the war and plays into Bush’s desperate hands.
How congress decides to respond to Dubya’s flaunting the will of the people remains to be seen. Each day that goes by demonstrates more clearly the American people want out of Iraq. Congress must continue to apply pressure to the President and–more importantly–continue to force his allies in the Republican party to go on record as supporting the war.
And the Iran War looms ever closer February 20, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Dubya, Iran, Middle East, News and politics.
US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country’s military infrastructure, the BBC has learned.
It is understood that any such attack – if ordered – would target Iranian air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centres.
The US insists it is not planning to attack, and is trying to persuade Tehran to stop uranium enrichment.
So we’ve already planned our attack. Of course, we’re denying it:
But diplomatic sources have told the BBC that as a fallback plan, senior officials at Central Command in Florida have already selected their target sets inside Iran.
But that doesn’t add up. By all reputable accounts, Iran is years away from being able to build nukes, if they’re even really trying (forgive me for not blindly believing Dubya on that one). Why have a plan of attack on a country that is no threat and is years away from being able to be one?
I’d wager a large sum we have no equivallent plan to deal with the Saudi royals, though they’ve done far more to shelter terrorists than Iran.
Bush plans to take us to war. And it remains to be seen whether anyone will stop him.
Bigotry: because you’re really looking out for them February 19, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in bigotry, Israel, Middle East, News and politics, wingnuts.
It’s not uncommon for bigots to try to justify their oppression of others by claiming it’s really just a kindly way of taking care of those weaklings who need it. For example, take the justification of ultra-Conservative Jews bullying and assaulting women to force them to dress “appropriately” and move to the back of buses.
Israeli educator and writer Shira Leibowitz-Schmidt, of the Haredi College for Women, says the gender segregation is a natural attempt by the ultra Orthodox to combat what they see as secular Israel’s growing permissiveness and the eroticization of public spaces.
“Today in Israel, women go around sometimes as if they’re at the beach,” she said. “It’s really very undignified and it’s erotically stimulating and it’s also just distracting. And that’s a form of coercion — I call that non-religious coercion. I call that coercion of eroticism. That’s a much more serious problem: the creeping degradation of the public square.”
Take a moment to think about that: those who are attacking women who don’t do as they demand are defenders of righteousness, while those who oppose such attempts to force one’s religious bigotry on others are really anti-freedom.
It’s the same no matter which religion’s fundies are at it: they will justify their theocratic actions by claiming that a) God’s with them and b) they’re really looking out for other people, doing them a favor.
In a completely unrelated matter, they should know that the Flying Spaghetti Monster particularly likes Sausage dishes (as Sausage is the meat corollary to string pasta) and so in order to keep from angering Him I must force them to eat Pork products on their buses every day in a desperate attempt to save their souls.
Of course I’d never do this: I don’t believe I have the right to force other people to live by my beliefs. Hmmm.
[UPDATE: Fixed a typo.]
Why does Dubya want to attack Iran? February 17, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Iran, Iraq, Middle East, News and politics.
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…not because they are a danger, as the Sunnis have reportedly inflicted far more casualties on US Troops than have the Shites. Maybe it’s because they want a war despite the evidence, and aren’t about to attack the Saudis, even if they are far more dangerous to US policy than is Iran.
But that’s no surprise. The Saudis have been supporting terrorists for some time, and though they might be buddy-buddy with American money, they are in no way pro-democracy.
But Iraq wasn’t about protecting us, nor was it about removing a bad man from power. Iran won’t be about either of those things, and neither will Syria or any other war Bush tries to force us into. Because it’s always been about colonialism and money, and those twin goals mean we’ll continue to threaten Iran while treating the Saudi royals like allies.