Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Regretful Look Behind, A Glimpse Of Tribulations Ahead

What is in store for America and Iraq after another year of failure?

2006. At the beginning of this fateful year in history there was optimism that the elections in Iraq would help restrain the violence being witnessed in the war torn country.

I remained pessimistic, Iraq's problems were not going to be solved by any election, but Americans had their dreams of an easy democracy in this land of chaos, so I waited for the truth to be shown or thrown at them.

In January 2006 it was announced by the Iraqi Interior Ministry that more than 7,000 Iraqis, mostly civilians, were killed by violence in the previous year.

Also in January Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace stated that the progress in Iraq was "a very steady ramp of progress." Pace also claimed in January that in 2006 we would witness an increase in in competence of Iraqi security forces, and with that more US troops would be able to come home.

(Nearly a year later we are hearing the same stale statements from the same stale people, and now it looks not like troops will be coming home, but that more will be staying and more will be sent.)

The February 22 bombing of the al-Askari Mosque in Samarra, which was over 1,000 years old further escalated the violence between Shia and Sunni Iraqi's to new levels that were previously unseen.

Violence surges after the bombing, over one hundred people are shot and killed in the immediate furor.

In March, a 14 year old Iraqi girl named Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi was raped and murdered by US troops, she was set on fire in an apparent cover-up attempt. Her father, mother and five year old sister were not spared death.

In April it is announced that Iraqi police, soldiers and civilians were killed and wounded at a rate of about 75 per day, a rate three times as higher than at the beginning of 2004.

In May and June it is reported that upwards of 100 Iraqis were killed per day in sectarian violence.

The acts of violence have increasingly become more unspeakable and more complex and more difficult to understand. Whole families are executed, sometimes in broad daylight. Bodies routinely wash up on the shores of the Tigris and Euphrates, some are decapitated, some have been tortured. It is also known some Iraqi Security Forces are operating as sectarian death squads.

In May Nouri al-Maliki took office as Prime Minister of Iraq. Maliki vowed to take out "organized armed groups who are acting outside the state and outside the law."

But Maliki is clearly quite dependent on the support of Muqtada al-Sadr who commands the Mahdi Army in Sadr City Baghdad and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim who leads the Badr Brigade, which includes Iraqi exiles who fought alongside Iran against Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War.

In June the killing of the mythical overlord Abu Musab al-Zarqawi did little to change the landscape in Iraq. Violence only surged in Iraq after the theatrical last appearance of Zarqawi and his sudden dance with death.

It seemed in 2006 with each step taken forward two steps were taken back. Little progress, if any, has been made in Iraq. The country is being run by men who have allegiance to sectarian militias and foreign interest, unfortunately some of these men's interest seem to be anti-Iraqi.

In September spy agencies say that Iraq War worsens terrorism threat.

October becomes the fourth deadliest month for US troops since the war began in 2003 and the deadliest of 2006.

In November the Iraqi High Tribunal sentenced Saddam Hussein to death by hanging and the United Nations officials report 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in October 2006, the highest toll for civilian casualties since the Iraq War began in 2003.

Later in the same month over 200 people are killed when five car bombs and two mortars detonate in Sadr City, a Shia stronghold, becoming the deadliest attack since the Iraq War began. Shia then retaliate for the bombings and set fire to a Sunni mosque and attacking it's worshipers.

Also in November NBC decides to start calling the Iraq War a Civil War.

In December the bipartisan panel The Iraq Study Group releases their recommendations for the deteriorating situation in Iraq. Among the recommendations are talks with Iran and Syria, training more Iraqi forces and an eventual drawback of US troops.

President Bush states he will consider all the options presented by the Iraq Study Group. Soon thereafter rumors begin circulating that additional troops will be sent to Iraq.

Now here we are rounding the corner, preparing for 2007. What will the future bring us? The track record indicates we are heading for an increase in violence and tensions.

The President is preparing for his next move on the chessboard. He is currently meeting with his "top advisers" in Crawford, Texas. I imagine new slogans are being created as we speak...

The meeting is most likely aimed at creating a so-called "surge" in Iraq, which is most likely aimed in an another botched redemption attempt by the Bush Administration. The "surge" in US troops will most likely result in a competing "surge" in the inSURGency.

So as we enter 2007 keep in mind the Bush Administration is not going to allow failure to happen on their watch, it will be the responsibility of the next President to clean up this debacle.

History will not vindicate the mistakes, lies and alibi's of our current leaders. Their lack of foresight and planning and abundance of ego has only fueled the insurgency in Iraq, weakened the moderates, damaged the so called War on Terror and made the United States and the world a more dangerous place to live in.

2007 shall be another year of tremendous change, keeping in mind that change is not always good we should remember that the Bush Administration will not back away from it's crusade, and nor will the terrorist back down from their jihad and nor will the factions in Iraq suddenly stop fighting.

As long as non secular warmongers with a lack of vision are running Washington and Baghdad expect little improvement, protest their tyranny and do not allow yourself to be bought with their cheap and empty rhetoric and slogans.

Good luck in the new year, your going to need it. (me too)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Bigotry In America Part 2
Related : Bigotry In America, You Bet.

The fact of the matter is that I can't even believe in the year 2006 we are even having a debate about religious choice and equality in the United States. The constitution is crystal clear about religious freedoms.

Recently there has been controversy over the fact that the African American newly elected Democratic Congressman from Minnesota who happens to be Muslim wants to take his oath on the Koran.

Now hold on there. Wait just one minute before you think you can go and spout off about how Muslims shouldn't be allowed to take their oath on the Koran... I know some Christians have a tendency to make judgements and statements before dusting off the constitution and reading the thing.

Since the constitution is long and boring to Republicans, let me simplify it :

In Article. VI. of the United States Constitution it is written that "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

Can you read that? It's that simple! You don't like it? Then YOU get out, because clearly it is YOUR ideals are unconstitutional and therefore unAmerican.

The people who have a problem with Keith Ellison are the problem, they are the force that threatens to undermine American ideals and society because they don't even understand American ideals or the guidelines set forth in the Constitution by the founding fathers, men who philosophised more in one day than these neoconservative critics have in a lifetime.

Keith Ellison's choice of religion is not the problem, nor is the fact that he would like to take his Oath on the Koran. The constitution protects the rights of all religions or lack thereof, of not only the people, but those who represent them.

In time and age in America I cannot believe we are even having this debate. It is very simple, and for those who don't understand they need to either read the Constitution or retract themselves from this debate that shouldn't even need to be debated.

In this time and age, here we are in Iraq, in the Middle East in general, and we are preaching about this thing called Democracy. We think we have this experimental Democracy thing down so pat that we can just be spreading it all around the world like it's New Year's cheer.

Here we are in Iraq saying "Sunni, Shia, Kurds, you need to get along, and treat each other with equality. You need to be more secular, and not judge people based on their religion."

MEANWHILE, here we are at home harassing this American Muslim man who was fairly elected about... his religion. Clearly this country is still composed of bigots who don't practice what they preach.

Not only is it unconstitutional, it's downright hypocritical, and it truly exposes Right for what it is : A xenophobic, unAmerican, unconstitutional bunch vision-less racist who only hold this country back from progression.

It's an ugly statement, but their vileness and hypocrisy is astoundingly backwards and surprisingly similar to the type of ideology we are struggling to defeat in the Middle East.

Keith Ellison and his Koran are not going to upset the fabric of reality or Americanism. In fact, it embraces it. Some people have a poor perception of America and believe that the constitution and equal rights only apply to certain people.

You cannot grant full rights to atheist, Agnostics, Quakers, Christians and Jews and refuse them to Muslims.

Specifically because it is unconstitutional, but especially because we are attempting to democratize the Middle East while telling the Muslims that other sects of Muslims or Christians and Jews all deserve equal rights and that you shouldn't treat people differently because of their religion.

While it is becoming painfully apparent that Muslims are not equal in America, even if they are American, educated and successful.

An article I found on CBS illustrates it rather well with the following

"the oath is a religious ritual, both in its origins and its use by the devout today. The oath invokes God as a witness to one's promise, as a means of making the promise more weighty on the oathtaker's conscience. "


"For the devout, taking an oath upon a religious book is a religious act. Requiring the performance of a religious act using the holy book of a particular religion is a religious test. If Congress were indeed to take the view that "If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book [the Bible], don't serve in Congress," it would be imposing an unconstitutional religious test."

After examining this situation I have fully realized for perhaps the first time how important a secular government is.

With constitutional dumb asses like Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode and bigoted crusaders like Dennis Prager who cannon handle themselves when someone of an "opposing" religion wishes to take an Oath on their own holy book, maybe a new approach should be taken.

If it's such a big deal to these people, they can't handle the slightest bit of diversity that they think they can punish Muslims, then maybe everyone should be collectivly punished and no one is allowed to use any holy book to take their oath by.

How do the religious ideologues like that? Take an affirmation on the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and Bill Of Rights, that's what your there to uphold in the first place.

I don't believe such a resolution should be made, but the point is that if there cannot be a Koran then there cannot be a Bible, or a Torah or any other holy book present during the Oath.

In conclusion, Ellison's request is Constitutional, and his opponents are not in compliance with with that. It is the opponents who are threatening American ideals, not Keith Ellison.

Furthermore it is ludicrous to try to teach other nations about religious equality and tolerance when it is so apparently absent here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

"Do-Over" Number 814 : Send More Troops
A solution for an overstretched military becomes stretching the military even more

The President has expressed his desire to sent 15,000 - 30,000 additional troops to Iraq, even though the Joint Chiefs of Staff oppose additional troops fearing the cost would far outweigh the benefits.

General John Abizaid, who replaced the rockskull Tommy Franks in Iraq has in recent weeks expressed his opposition to additional troops levels as well. Now Abizaid is to retire, and Abizaid's early departure could make it far easier for the White House to demand for a "surge" in troops.

The Democrats, who know they were elected because the American people demanded change in Iraq are showing little backbone in standing up against the President's desire to send more troops to Iraq. By change, I don't think we meant we wanted to dig our heels in even further...

Rumsfelds replacement, Robert Gates went to Baghdad, but refused to address wether or not the US should send additional troops, stating "all options are on the table,"

Meanwhile there are are ideological optimist who are so bent on something they can call "victory" and so determined to create a "legacy" for George W. Bush that they are unwilling to discuss the negative repercussions which could result from sending more troops to Iraq.

This is the sort of short sightedness that ushered in this new age of terrorism in Iraq.

Before, during and after the invasion, the Bush Administration and it's lackey's refused to hear any evidence or opinions regarding Iraq that were contrary to their own, therefore they were incredibly inept at controlling the situation once it inevitably spun out of control.

Our military is already stretched thin, an admission made by many now that we are entering year four in Iraq with little to no progress made.

There are real threats out there, countries with nuclear weapons, countries that want nuclear weapons and powers that are beginning to rival our own.

Could have, would have, should have, but didn't send more troops in the first place. It's a little late in the game to be calling for a "do-over". What would be done with these troops in the event of a so called "surge"?

Put them on street corners so angry Iraqi's, insurrectionist and terrorist can target them?

Another "shock and awe" to kill a few bad guys and a lot of civilians to get the Iraqi's even more fired up and give the terrorist even more recruiting powers?

What are you going to do with those troops other then send them off to die? The fairy tale is over, there is no direction, there is no mission.

Motion should not be confused with action! As Benjamin Franklin once said.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Time's "Person of the Year"

This years TIME magazine's "Person Of The Year" was an interesting choice, it was "You".

Why? "In 2006, the World Wide Web became a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter". The full article can be read at Time.Com.

The TIMEpiece also reads "It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes."

It concludes " But 2006 gave us some ideas. This is an opportunity to build a new kind of international understanding, not politician to politician, great man to great man, but citizen to citizen, person to person. It's a chance for people to look at a computer screen and really, genuinely wonder who's out there looking back at them. Go on. Tell us you're not just a little bit curious. "

TIME is keen to observe our growing community of blogging, information swapping, original creative content and overall true originality.

People are watching your videos on YouTube and looking at your profiles on MySpace and reading your blogs on Blogger.Com. Best of all, they are doing it from all over the world, and yes, that is pretty amazing when you think about it.

Although the nomination was surprising, it is quite fitting. User content has really driving the web to it's prominence and made it the much needed entertainment and enlightenment tool.

It was a novel nomination, obviously the media is catching onto what the rest of us are doing in our free time.

"I'm going to blog about my state of mind or the state of the nation or the steak-frites at the new bistro down the street? Who has that time and that energy and that passion?

The answer is, you do. And for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you."

"Digital Democracy", I like that.

Read TIME Magazine's "Person of the Year" at Time.Com.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

No Good News For The Holidays

President Bush has expressed that he will not make much anticipated announcements regarding the Iraq War until after the New Year. He says he will not be "rushed" into any decisions.

Meanwhile 2008 Republican Presidential hopeful John McCain expressed to reporters in Baghdad that he believes 15,000 to 30,000 more troops should be deployed to Iraq, also along on the delegation was turncoat Joe Lieberman.

Commanders in Iraq do not share McCain's point of view, and one of the Senators traveling in the same delegation, Republican Susan Collins of Maine said "I'm not yet convinced that additional troops will pave the way to a peaceful Iraq in a lasting sense,"

McCain is making these bold statements shortly after a poll by Wall Street Journal and NBC shows less than one in four Americans approve of the Bush Administrations handling of the war in Iraq.

A survey conducted on Iraqi's by the Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies found that 95% felt that the security situation has only deteriorated since the arrival of US forces.

It is a feeling of treading water, of going nowhere slowly.

The President is on a "listening tour". What the hell is a "listening tour"? This man doesn't know how to listen, he likes to talk, albeit not very well. This is just get plain ridicules, and it seems we are just delaying the inevitable here.

The President is likely only listening to ideas to coincide with his own, which indicate a long presence in Iraq and mulling the possibility of sending more young men and woman to Iraq so the loss can be even more monumental in the end.

These people that die, both American troops and Iraqi civilians, are just numbers and not people to people like President Bush, they are the ways to the means. In other words the loss and the humiliation will be vindicated if the mission ultimately succeeds. This mantra keeps people like Kissinger, Rumsfeld and Bush pushing their agenda long after it has lost support or meaning.

I am sure many US troops are inwardly disappointed that no announcement will be made before the holidays. I am sure a lot of them would at least like to have an idea of what was going on and not feel like they were participating in an endless mission.

Christmas could have been a lot more joyful for thousands of families across America who would like to see their loved ones safe, if the President had decided to make his announcement before the holidays.

Because it is better to know something about the future, than it is to know nothing about the future at all.
Bill O Reilly's "No Spin Zone"

While not a viewer of FOX News I accidentally tuned in one day because the channels numbers are similar to that of the Weather Channel.

I noticed this infamous man, Bill O Reilly calling something the "No Spin Zone" and I thought "O Really?" and I just had to watch, it was watching a bad car accident, you know you shouldn't look because what is in there is probably grotesque, but you

"The No Spin Zone"? Is this man aware that he is currently the sitting Spin King? Or is the "No Spin Zone" a segment FOX runs regularly to amuse itself with it's own open hypocrisy?

It's one thing to put a "spin" on things, but it's quite another to label a segment as "non spin" when the whole purpose of the segment is to serve as "spin"

All this talk of spin has me dizzy...
Control Of Senate Hangs In Balance With Johnson's Health

Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson suffered from "stroke like symptoms" on Wednesday and was in critical condition Thursday after late-night brain surgery.

The U.S. Capitol physician said the surgery was successful and that Johnson had suffered from bleeding in the brain caused by congenital arteriovenous malformation.

While everyone is concerned about the Senators health, many are also concerned about the Democrats tenuous grip on power in Senate, and how Johnson's departure could impede that.

Democrats were expected to hold the majority by only one seat, but this could soon change, tossing Senate back into the hands of Republicans.

If a replacement must be named for Johnson it could be determined by Republican Gov. Mike Rounds.

How terribly convenient for the Republicans, that Rounds would be the man who would have the power to name the Johnson's replacement, if one is needed.

Mike Rounds, after all is the man who decided when Democratic Sen. Dick Hagen died in 2002, to appoint a Republican to replace him, even though the district was overwhelmingly Democrat.

Bob Burns, political science head at South Dakota State University said "It would be expected that Governor Rounds would appoint a Republican, if in fact the seat would be vacated, which would bring a tie and Cheney would be the deciding vote."

We all know how Vice President Cheney will vote, if given the chance.

Monday, December 11, 2006

A State Of Anarchy

When the "Mission Accomplished" banner waved, on that fateful day when George W. Bush told the world that major combat had ended in Iraq little did we know that we were only at the beginning on a long, perilous journey.

That day now seems like it was at least a decade ago and "Mission Accomplished" is a sad reminder of lies told and promises broken.

The day Bush proclaimed "Mission Accomplished" has become associated in my mind with the day the real war began in Iraq.

Now we are drawing close to the fourth anniversary of our botched occupation/liberation, and we are further from the ultimate goal than we were during the good old days of the "Mission Accomplished".

Iraq has descended into a state of chaos. Sectarian militias roam the neighborhoods of Baghdad and al Anbar province, protecting some, massacring others

It is common place for a suicide bomber to pretend he is an employer looking for day laborers, only to detonate himself when the crowds of impoverished job seekers come close enough for maximum impact.

Beheadings have declined since the demise of Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who had a certain penchant for decapitation, but still occur, even to woman.

Bodies riddled with bullet holes that show signs of torture wash upon the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, the location many biblical scholars believe to be the location of the garden of Eden.

Children who do not even understand the situation cannot attend school. Soon we risk a new generation that knows only war that may evolve into the next generation of terrorist, rather than the new generation to rebuild Iraq.

A trip to the market is necessary and can be deadly. Some hospitals have even become sectarian, throwing out patients of the opposite sect.

Iraq has become a complete and utter state of anarchy that is teetering on the brink of being uncontainable and close to spilling over it's borders.

Rather than pouring aid and resources into Iraq, it's neighbors who complain of the American occupation do little to help the Iraqi's themselves and as we well know some of Iraq's neighbors contribute to the chaos.

Inadequate Administrations, in both the United States and in Iraq have only contributed to the problem. The refusal to honestly address the problem with earnest intentions has thwarted all attempts to contain the situation.

For instance the Presidents of these counties, Talabani and Bush, have failed to live up to even the slightest of expectations.

Both puppets can offer criticism of the report just released by the Iraq Study Group or of any suggestions of a drawback of US troops, but neither has any original or useful ideas of their own. In fact these two have done little to help the situation at all except run their respective mouths.

Every approach to Iraq has failed very possibly because the United States should have never been in Iraq in the first place, the United States should have been tracking down Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, not thinking it can somehow suddenly transform the world now that the trade centers are gone.

The focus should have always been on the elimination of those responsible for 9/11 and the securing of our own country, including borders and ports.

Instead, we blundered into Iraq, wasted our resources and our time while Osama bin Laden is probably in a silken palace somewhere smoking shishna laughing about how he never thought the United States to bleed itself in Iraq, rather than in the pursuit of him.

A living Osama bin Laden is walking testament to our enemies that one can attack the United States and live to tell the tale.

Iraq took the main force of the blow in the War on Terror, though it had no ties to the attacks on America and did not possess the alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction the Bush Administration had claimed it had.

Our invasion and occupation has contributed to the picture we see today in Iraq. Though now the violence is now aimed mostly between Sunni and Shia the state of lawlessness which allows for such behavior would not have been present if not for our mission of ill logic.

Not only is a speedy resolution reasonable, it is necessary. Reconciliation talks need to be more than lip service. Iraqi leaders have to take responsibility, but the United States cannot just hand the burden over without offering it's assistance and advice.

Advice which should not come from someone with such a poor understanding of the Middle East and Democracy as George W. Bush.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Relief And Anger Over New Iraq Report, What's Next?

Nothing. President Bush is awaiting two additional reports, one from his friends down at the Pentagon and one from his buddies at The Justice Department, before he is going to decide on how to access the situation.

After The President has reviewed all three assessments he will then give a televised address to tell the nation and the world on what the next step will be.

I would be very surprised to see President Bush change is mind and I expect it will take more pressure to break the levee that is his will.

Rather, I expect the reports coming out of the Pentagon and out of the Justice Department to more or less encourage the battle in Iraq to be an open ended occupation.

The Iraq Study Group was composed of mostly old timer Republicans and Democrats, none of which has expertise in any field relating to the Middle East, rather the panel consulted with the experts for their information to draw their conclusions.

The report has drawn praise, criticism, relief, anger and confusion.

A lot of criticism is coming from some conservatives and Jewish who are asking what the Israeli - Arab conflict had to do with Iraq.

Well, it doesn't really. Israel has as much to do with Iraq as Iraq had to do with 9/11 and President Bush has so long demanded that the Iraq War was part of the War on Terror and interconnected the two so intimately.

So now that we are talking about the Iraq War, we have to talk about The War On Terror, and if one is sincere about the stated intentions of The War On Terror, then one has to seriously and sincerely address the Israeli-Arab peace process. It is a view that has been been previously expressed by moderate leaders in the Middle East, Kofi Annan and Tony Blair.

Democratic Senator and Iraq War opponent John Murtha was not pleased with the report and said it "is no different than the current policy.'' in a statement and that "Staying in Iraq is not an option politically, militarily or fiscally,'' .

Republican John Mccain, who is considering a Presidential run in 2008 for the CONservative party complained "I do not agree that you can take the trainers that are necessary, much less the troops that are necessary, from the existing forces there,''

The Presidential hopeful continued "There is only one thing worse than an overstressed military, and that's a defeated military"

That's really the kind of logic that needs to be punched in the nose. It's not defeat, it's called trying to speed up the processes and try to help Iraq stand on it's own and really see if a Democracy in Iraq is actually viable.
People like Mccain need to be told that things cannot be forced into existence by the sheer will of the stubborn alone.

There was also relief across the board with many expressing the hope that President Bush would consider changes to his open ended policy in Iraq and the Middle East. There was also reportedly some anger from sects within Iraq who felt they were not represented in the report.

The report offers 79 separate recommendations and can be read in PDF form on CNN.Com.

While the report offers recommendations of change most of the suggestions are nothing new and many have been offered by Democrats in the past and criticized as "cut and run" strategy's.

It is also unlikely the ISG's report will have much of a long term impact. Soon the Pentagon and the Justice Department will release their assessments on Iraq and they are likely uphold and reinforce the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld mantra and we will be staying the course again in no time.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Will The ISG Report On Iraq Change US Policy?

Today the Iraq Study Group released it's much anticipated report on Iraq, which was given to President Bush early this morning in Washington D.C.

Key recommendations are as follows [ Source : CNN ]
• Change diplomatic and military missions
• Engage Iran and Syria to address border, insurgency and reconciliation issues
• Renew commitment to comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace and provide additional support to Afghanistan as part of regional approach
• Evolve U.S. military role to support Iraqi Army units as Iraq moves to take responsibility for security sooner
• Move all U.S. combat brigades not needed for protection out of Iraq by first quarter of 2008
• Make no open-ended commitment to Iraq to keep large numbers of U.S. troops in Iraq
• Improve Iraq's criminal justice system, oil sector, U.S. reconstruction efforts
• Implement recommendations in coordinated fashion

Read PDF of full report on CNN.Com.

These are suggestions that certain journalist, bloggers and Democrats have suggested in the past, this report offers nothing new, except that it comes from the hands of a bipartisan panel, which may help give the document more weight.

Now that the report has been released the next big question is will President Bush accept any of the advice which has been offered to him?

My other question is, has President Bush been shown enough opposition from both Republicans and Democrats to put him in the position that he is forced to change the course he has so readily stayed?

I don't believe so, but I would love to be proven wrong.

Suggestions in the report include to renew US commitment to comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace, a process that has been largely abandoned in recent years.

The conflict is a constant source of animosity for many moderate and extremist Arabs alike. Neutralizing the Arab-Israeli conflict is essential to the struggle against terrorism and must be adequately and fairly addressed if goals of peace in the Middle East are sincere.

Also included are suggestions that the United States engage with Iran and Syria regarding the porous borders, their contribution to the insurgency and reconciliation, presumably between Sunni and Shia factions, as well as nationally. My question is how does anyone actually see that as being realistic? Sure, it sounds nice, but...

Furthermore, what would posses the Iranians, avowed enemy of the United States for decades now, to help the Americans and the Iraqi's, when both countries have been Iran's enemy in the past? Taking it a step further, if the Iranians did help, would that not be basically handing the keys of Mesopotamia over to what could become an Iranian superpower on it's way to being a nuclear superpower?

The report also suggests for the US to gradually evolve U.S. military role to support Iraqi Army units, something we have are already attempting do to.

In my view it is not the number of Iraqi forces that is inadequate, it is the quality of these forces that is inadequate. While some are brave individuals working to salvage their country others are loyal to sectarian militias, and some Iraqi's have, specifically in al-Anbar province complained that US troops treat them more humanely than Iraqi forces, who are often from out of the area.

What is needed is more oversight of Iraqi forces, training that does not only involve weapons training but ethics training. Better organization is needed so it is known what forces are operating in what areas and what times, making it easier to determine who is responsible for the infamous death squads in police and military uniform.

The report also recommends making no open-ended commitment to keep large numbers of U.S. troops in Iraq. I haven't heard that one before, I haven't heard the Democrats saying one that for years now...

Improving Iraq's criminal justice system, oil sector, and U.S. reconstruction efforts are also on the ISG's laundry list of things to do.

What "criminal justice" system is this report talking about? I have heard that Iraqi's often do not even report kidnappings and murders because they do not trust the police. If there was some type of effective criminal justice system there is no way all this violence could continue unchecked. Improve the system? I think you need to create it first.

Oil sector and reconstruction efforts? This is the part of the report that entities like Halliburton are waiting for. This is where their big money lies, when they charge the US taxpayers for jobs they never do and still win contact after contact for the "reconstruction" effort. Their guys on the ground making ~ $17,000 (US) a month while US soldiers get about $2,000 (US) a month. The comparison is a travesty, so who do you think wants the war to continue? The US soldiers or defense contractors and mercenaries?

It is important that the oil sector be repaired and protected, but not for the benefit of America but for the benefit of Iraq, this money can be used to improve infastructure and living conditions of Iraqi's. Suggestions should have been made to reduce or eliminate Iraqi debt and to offer low interest loans to the country for security and infastructure related expenditures.

However, the most disappointing thing about the report is that none of the suggestions actually seem to be new, and furthermore it is doubtful if President Bush, the Vice President Cheney and their new Rummy - Robert Gates will actually implement the much needed changes.

When receiving the report this morning President Bush craftily stated that he would "consider all suggestions" in the report, but did not in any way indicate support or agreement with the reports assessment.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Gates On Track To Become Next Secretary Of Defense

Related -
LA Times Hints of a Rumsfeld-ian style
LA Times Has Gates learned his lesson?
Washington Post For Defense Nominee, Echoes of Old Questions Gates Criticized on Handling of Intelligence at CIA
DOL Robert Gates, White House Appeaser?

Today the Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously approved the confirmation of Robert Gates as new Defense Secretary, which will send the nomination to full Senate.

It seems as if America is so eager to have Donald Rumsfeld gone they do not even care who heads the Pentagon, as long as it was not Rumsfeld.

But is Gates the right man for the job or is he a Rummy in sheep's clothing?

While television news had failed to illuminate the viewing audience of the history of Robert Gates the newspapers of this great country have not failed us this time, and for those of us who were paying attention we were reminded of just who this Robert Gates was.

If Gates can somehow turn things around in Iraq without the shady dirty business he is best known for (politicizing intelligence and Iran-Contra Affair) then he will be vindicated in my eyes, but until then I remain thoroughly skeptical of this harmless looking man.


After the reelection of Ronald Reagan during a time when relationships with the Soviet Union were aggressive, then CIA Deputy Director Robert Gates delivered a report to the White House which suggested that the Soviets had been involved in the plot to assassinate Pope John Paul the Second.

The only problem with the report? It was purely politicized elephant shit that was not backed by any facts whatsoever.

There was never any evidence to support his theory and his theory has been widely proven to be false, but none of that mattered, because Gates was able to "hand deliver" cherry picked intelligence directly to the White House.

Gates is well known and has in the past been fairly criticized, even by some Republicans for his habit of politicizing intelligence.

This can be extremely dangerous in a time when cherry picked-politicized intelligence is what ultimately led this country into a war with Iraq and what keeps us in a war in Iraq.

During the Iran-Iraq War Gates allegedly passed intelligence to Iraq. That war claimed one million lives and lasted eight years and altered the political landscape in the region.

In 1986 several members of the Reagan Administration sold weapons to Iran in order fund Contra militants in Nicaragua, the scandal became known as the Iran-Contra Affair.

Robert Gates had a close relationships with those involved in the Iran-Contra Affair and although there was not sufficient evidence to warrant charging Robert Gates with a crime for his role in the scandal, many did not believe his assertion that he simply did not remember key facts when Gates was known for having an extraordinary memory.

How can the television media ignore these facts and allegations? Will they ignore these allegations if Gates helps lead us into a regional war with Iraq on one side and Iran on the other?

The most disturbing revelation is that both Democrats and Republicans seem to be willing to dismiss Gates past.

All Gates had to do was go into that hearing and agree to the painful fact that we all know, which the United States is not necessarily winning the quagmire in Iraq (duh) and then Gates was golden as far as they were concerned, he was in.

This revelation too, is disturbing. It makes the process entirely to easy for Gates who is surely intelligent and possibly manipulative, otherwise he would not have made it to the position he is in today.

Gates knew, and Bush knew and Rumsfeld knew and the Republicans knew that Gates had to go into that hearing agreeing with American consensus which is "change in Iraq". That's all he had to agree with, and the media ate it up too.

Supporters of Gates have insisted that Gates has changed, that he has matured and that he has changed.

It looks like now is the time we are going to be forced to see if Robert Gates has indeed changed or if he is the same sock puppet-political windsock-stove piping politicized intelligence to the White House mini Rumsfeld that he has been known to be in the past.

I hope Gates is indeed the right man for the job and can change the outcome (for the better) in Iraq, but I am not holding my breath.

I hope for the best but I expect that somehow things are going to get a lot more complicated in the Middle East with Robert Gates at the helm of this runaway ship. I hope I am wrong.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Does US Need New Govt. Institution To Combat Terrorism?

Outgoing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recently wrote a memo to his comrades in arms in which he pondered the great questions of the War on Terror.

The memo was scattered with questions, but there was a recurring theme that seems to have escaped the media.

Rumsfeld refers to creating new government entities three times in the recently leaked memo, which can be read at USA TODAY.Com.

But in a country already tied down with bureaucracy and poor communication within existing government entities one has to ask if creating a new one is really the answer.

The memo reads as if it were hand crafted for public release, not a secret memo that got "leaked" to the public. Rumsfeld is posing mostly rhetorical questions, posed purposely with the intent of making a point, not asking a question.

So are new government institutions or entities really the answer to Rumsfeld's questions?

As I view it in this case the government is part of the problem. Maybe there are too many entities already operating within it, rather than not enough.

The focus should perhaps be focused on more efficient and intelligent agencies, rather than new agencies. Let these agencies be head by competent individuals, not those who have family or friends in high places.

But in a government already steeped in debt and war whose present government institutions are not entirely efficient it may not be a productive pursue the idea of creating a new government institution.
Leaked? Rumsfeld's War-On-Terror Memo

The text below is of a leaked memo written by Donald Rumsfeld regarding the GWOT and was copied by Dreams Of Liberty from USA TODAY, where the memo can also be read.

October 16, 2003

TO: Gen. Dick Myers
Paul Wolfowitz
Gen. Pete Pace
Doug Feith

FROM: Donald Rumsfeld

SUBJECT: Global War on Terrorism

The questions I posed to combatant commanders this week were: Are we winning or losing the Global War on Terror? Is DoD changing fast enough to deal with the new 21st century security environment? Can a big institution change fast enough? Is the USG changing fast enough?

DoD has been organized, trained and equipped to fight big armies, navies and air forces. It is not possible to change DoD fast enough to successfully fight the global war on terror; an alternative might be to try to fashion a new institution, either within DoD or elsewhere — one that seamlessly focuses the capabilities of several departments and agencies on this key problem.

With respect to global terrorism, the record since Septermber 11th seems to be:

We are having mixed results with Al Qaida, although we have put considerable pressure on them — nonetheless, a great many remain at large.

USG has made reasonable progress in capturing or killing the top 55 Iraqis.

USG has made somewhat slower progress tracking down the Taliban — Omar, Hekmatyar, etc.

With respect to the Ansar Al-Islam, we are just getting started.

Have we fashioned the right mix of rewards, amnesty, protection and confidence in the US?

Does DoD need to think through new ways to organize, train, equip and focus to deal with the global war on terror?

Are the changes we have and are making too modest and incremental? My impression is that we have not yet made truly bold moves, although we have have made many sensible, logical moves in the right direction, but are they enough?

Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?

Does the US need to fashion a broad, integrated plan to stop the next generation of terrorists? The US is putting relatively little effort into a long-range plan, but we are putting a great deal of effort into trying to stop terrorists. The cost-benefit ratio is against us! Our cost is billions against the terrorists' costs of millions.

Do we need a new organization?

How do we stop those who are financing the radical madrassa schools?

Is our current situation such that "the harder we work, the behinder we get"?

It is pretty clear that the coalition can win in Afghanistan and Iraq in one way or another, but it will be a long, hard slog.

Does CIA need a new finding?

Should we create a private foundation to entice radical madradssas to a more moderate course?

What else should we be considering?

Please be prepared to discuss this at our meeting on Saturday or Monday.


Source : USA TODAY

*The author of Dreams of Liberty believes the memo was not leaked, but that the Rumsfeld memo was written with the intent of public release as part of the vindication of Rumsfeld following his coming resignation.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

American Support For The Iraq War And What It Really Means

Some people, like the President and his supporters like to fabricate theories as to why the majority of Americans no longer support the war in Iraq.

One theory the President and his henchmen tried to use was that Americans who did not support the war were unpatriotic (and a non Judaeo-Christian terrorist).

Another theory offered that Americans no longer supported the war because Americans were "appeasing terrorist" and yet another theory claimed that Americans were "weak in their resolve" to fight terrorist. When they got real desperate they began to claim that these Americans actually wanted the enemy to win.

All the above theories are absolutely ludicrous and can only be made by individuals who are personally, politically and sometimes financially motivated to do so, or are unhealthily blind to circumstance and reality.

Support for the war in Iraq ... How do I put this?

Personally I began to falter in my footsteps when it turned out Iraq did not have the Weapons of Mass Destruction since they had been destroyed by the first President George Bush during the first Iraq War.

The chest thumping patriotic drum beat slowed down a bit for me when documents and memos seemed to reveal this misdirection was purposeful not accidental and made by the people who hold the highest offices in the country.

When these leaders then started accusing me and other Americans of being unpatriotic and of terrorist appeasement for so much as questioning the war, that just turned me further away from their agenda and their vague and open ended mission.

The leaders who were insulting not only my intelligence and my morality but my patriotism no longer deserved my open ended support by that time as far as I was concerned.

When the Abu Ghraib story broke, this did little to lift my spirits about the direction of the war or the type of people who were leading my country. It began to demoralize me, and I believe it demoralized other Americans as well.

Suddenly it didn't really feel like we were liberating anyone anymore and it was all just a sham. Whatever it was it sure didn't seem like we were coming off as "good guys" to our allies either.

The more time progressed the more apparent it became that the President was full of hot air. He made mistakes, refused to own up to them, every time he opened his mouth it was just to put his foot in it.

Then came Haditha and Hamdania incidents and the rape, murder and burning of little Abeer Qassim Hamza. Around this point I started to say this war is absolutely insane.

All that was just on the war front. Domestically the ruler ship was just as insulting to our own Democracy.

What President Bush and his lackeys do not realize it is these actions that have demoralized us and caused us to lose our resolve, not some hooded man on a cheap recording making vague threats.

This administration's habitual prevaricating, inability to solve problems and total disregard for advice has done just as much to damage American resolve as the terrorist have.

So whenever the war comes under criticism and I hear a member of the Bush Administration or their supporters come out to chant their familiar mantra : "unpatriotic, terrorist appeaser, no resolve, wants the enemy to win" I am never surprised.

It is a perpetual state of denial on their behalf. It is much easier for these people to convince themselves of things that are not true, rather than face the reality that it was ones own actions and words that have led to the lack of support in Iraq, or anywhere else for that matter.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Bigotry In America? You Bet.

There are milestones in our great Democracy. To name a few would be to name the freeing of the slaves, allowing woman to vote and allowing minorities to hold political office.

Multiculturalism and religious equality are qualities embedded in the Constitution and the documents that America is founded on. For instance, in Article. VI. it is written

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

The First Amendment to the Constitution also reads

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

To reach further back one can site The Declaration Of Independence, which in it's opening lines states

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights"

Note that it is written "endowed by their creator" not endowed by my creator or your creator or the creator, but the creator of the individual. It is written to protect the religions and beliefs of all Americans, not just some.

So what really shocks me, in the year 2006 is when people who think they are true Americans exhibit and display some very truly unAmerican traits, such as racism and/or religious intolerance.

These people often claim that if America allows religious harmony and equality that it will "undermines American civilization".

This idea is laughable because multiculturalism and religious tolerance does not undermine American civilization, it builds American civilization and it advances American civilization and it serves as a role model to the world.

But there are many intolerant bigots still living amongst us. Like I wrote, they claim to know what "American values" are and talk about the "voice of the American people" a lot and they say they want to "protect" American culture all while they try to tear it apart, but mostly it is just intolerance and xenophobia.

In the 2006 elections America saw it's first Muslim Congressman elected in the entire history of the country, this is another milestone in our Democracy, specifically because our Constitution reflects that people of all religions are allowed to serve in political office and that "no religious test" shall be required. It is one quality in which our Constitution is more advanced than others.

I did not expect, but I should have figured that some people in this country would be tremendously opposed to Ellison taking his Oath on a Koran or even the fact that he was Muslim.

However I was actually shocked and somewhat dismayed when right wing pundit Dennis Prager attacked newly elected Keith Ellison of Minnesota. Ellison is a Muslim man, fairly elected and has asked that he could be sworn in on the Koran, rather than the Bible.

Again, Article. VI of The United States Constitution states that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

Again, the first Amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Dennis Prager claimed in a recent column that letting Ellison take his oath on the Koran rather than the typical Bible "undermines American civilization" and made insinuations that Ellison was making a statement such as "my culture trumps America's culture" by wanting to use a Koran rather than a Bible.

Prager produced some of the most crackpot theories and accusation in his recent column in which he claims "America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress."

WOW, that's pretty.. what do you call it... bigoted? Narrow minded? He doesn't even realize that when he is spouting off about "American values" that he is contradicting the guidelines set forth in the Constitution, all while claiming to be a patriot!

In the inflammatory column Prager goes on to write "In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath."

Prager even compares letting Ellison take his oath with the Koran to letting someone take their oath with Hitler's "Mein Kampf".

First, Mein Kampf is not a Holy Book, and Second it is highly unlikely Nazi will ever be sworn into any office in America and Third most neo Nazi's embrace Christian ideals anyway.

Is this guy Prager even serious or is he too busy making a mockery of himself? He's practically frothing at the mouth, insinuating that Ellison or his supporters would mock the Bible. Not only that Prager is claiming that America is vehemently opposed to this heinous act of exercising ones Constitutional rights.

Allowing Ellison to take his oath on the Koran will not disrupt the fabric of American society, and it does not show disrespect for American society.

Our Constitution was set up in such a way to allow room for and protect religious minorities in public life and in office. Allowing one to practice their own religion does not surrender one to confirming the legitimacy of another person's religion but does confirm an equal and civil society.

By the way, Prager, beg you please, do some research before even writing about this subject again or maybe even read up on that whole Constitution thing.

Personal Note : Sometimes people who claim to want to protect American civilization actually inherently try to destroy it. Their ideals of American civilization are much different from the one outlined in the Constitution of the United States which serve to protect minorities and religions.

As written above, I believe it is another milestone in our great Democracy to see a Muslim elected to Congress. There was a time when people like Dennis Prager railed against letting Catholics, African Americans and woman run for office.

Last, I look forward to hearing the right wing conspiracy theories that will inevitably hatch around that Muslim Congressman and his "leftist supporters" and I am sure if Prager does not start the conspiracy theory about the "Leftist and Muslim Agenda To Overthrow American Values With Homosexuals And Flag Burners" then I am sure Rush Limbaugh or Pat Robertson will pick up on it soon enough.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

"Your doing a heck of a job Maliki"

It seems like every time President Bush tells someone they are doing a good job they are out of a job within a week or so.

It started with Michael Brown, who was doing a "heck of a job" with the bungling of the FEMA reaction to hurricane Katrine. Brownie was gone in days.

Then it was Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, whom Bush had said was doing an excellent job. Bush also said that Rumsfeld was not going anywhere. Then, Rumsfeld resigned the day after the elections.

So when President Bush said that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki was the "right man for the job", I thought, nice to know you Maliki.

Whenever President Bush compliments you on the job that your doing it usually means your about to lose that job.

"Your doing a good job" is actually code for "pack up your desk" in Bushanese.

It is hard to discern wether Maliki really wants to do the right thing for his country but is thwarted by sectarian rifts and violence, or if Maliki is not committed to the job but committed to sectarian militias.

So days ago I had written about the alliances between members of the Iraqi government and sectarian militias and how I believed they prevented a peaceful objective from being achieved in Iraq.

As if to prove my point members of the Iraqi government loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr walked out of parliament and the Cabinet on Wednesday in protest to Maliki's planned meeting with President Bush, today the boycott continues and the bloc claims that they are about to form an alliance with Iraq's Sunni's and Christians that has been under works for several months already.

Saleh al-Mutlag a Sunni politician and critic of Maliki said that the alliance would not include the Mehdi Army, a militia loyal to al-Sadr, but that the alliance could be achieve peacefully because al-Sadr himself is "not negative" about the idea (yet). He says the alliance would be composed of Clerics, Kurds, Turkmens, and Yazidis and nonsectarian.

All these indicators may possibly be pointing in the direction of the ousting of Maliki. Whether it's a good thing or not, hey, it's hard to tell these days what makes things better and what makes things worse.

Some are suggesting that this alliance Saleh al-Mutlag is speaking of with cooperation from al-Sadr may just be the key to securing the situation in Iraq, others say it's a recipe ripe for disaster.

At any rate, "Your doing a heck of a job," Maliki, at not being able to form alliances within your own country. "Your doing a heck of a job" at not preventing violence too.
Bush Not Seeking "Graceful Exit" From Iraq

At the hastily arranged and rearranged summit in Amman, Jordan President Bush "reassured" Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that Washington D.C. did not seek a "graceful exit" from Iraq but would like to speed up the turnover of security to the Iraqi's.

The meeting comes shortly after the "civil war" debate has reignited and amid a leaked memo which expresses the lack of faith in Maliki's abilities to handle situation. It's like the puppet master scolding the marionette.

Meanwhile, The Iraq Study Group, the 10-member, bipartisan panel tasked with studying the United States policy in Iraq will release its recommendations on Dec. 6.

Reuters is reporting that The Iraq Study group "has decided to recommend that the U.S. military transition from a combat role to a support role in Iraq." While The New York Times is reporting that "15 Brigades Would Gradually Stand Down Under Plan"

While the idea of a bipartisan The Iraq Study Group seems pleasant in theory the truth in the matter is that no member of the panel has any experience or expertise in middle eastern affairs.

Each member of the panel has experience in their own respective fields, unfortunately none of those respective fields directly relates to knowledge of warfare in the middle east or culture in the middle east.

It is unlikely the panels suggestions will in any way alter the decisions the President makes so I am not even going to allow myself to get excited at any kind of prospect of change because I simply do not see it happening any time soon.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

U.S. Soldiers YouTube Videos To Be Investigated By Pentagon

The video below is one of the videos to be investigated by the Pentagon.
The video shows at least two U.S. soldiers taunting Iraqi children with bottled water.

Recently U.S. soldiers who thought they were pranksters posted videos of them taunting Iraqi children on YouTube.Com and now the joke is on them, the Pentagon is investigating their conduct.

The video above depicts at least two U.S. soldiers laughing and taunting Iraqi children with bottled water, the other video reportedly shows a soldier complaining that deadly force cannot be used against children who throw rocks.

The soldiers conduct, while not illegal was most definitely immoral and seemingly oblivious to the reality that these children actually live in.

It also yet another severe contradiction to our so called image as "liberators" of the middle east.

The mainstream media has yet to pick up on the story though the Pentagon is investigating the videos and the evidence is in the videos the soldiers posted themselves online that anyone can see, for the time being.

Not only did the soldiers involved behave in an unacceptable manner they thought their conduct was so acceptable and so humorous that they posted it online for the entire world to see.

I wanted to congratulate the bloggers for bringing so much attention to the video.

But who I should really be thanking is the soldiers decided to record their bullying of school age children for their own amusement, for if they had not recorded their "prank" no one would have known about it.

These soldiers, like the soldiers at Abu Ghraib recorded their deeds for people to see, thus proving they were proud of them.

I cannot express enough the importance of conduct of war, or just plain conduct of being a human being in a position of authority.

War is bad, I understand. War is ugly, I know. But what about all that propaganda about how we are going to "liberate" the people in Iraq? How does this kind of conduct contribute to that mission?

Talk about "winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people"...

That is what starts to sound like the joke, tell that to the pranksters.

Related : Report: Pentagon investigates YouTube video of U.S. troops
Related : Liberating Factor Or Aggravating Factor
Related : Iraqi Kid Runs For Water

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Wars And Rumors Of Civil Wars

With the numerous slain bodies found in the streets of Baghdad, the explosives that detonate daily, the death squads who operate freely and the sectarian strife that is gripping the capital one has to wonder if this is only a war between Iraq and the United States or if it has become a battle between Iraq and itself.

CNN correspondent Michael Ware, who is on the ground in Baghdad illustrates rather well in the video below that this indeed appears to be a Civil War.

Ware cites that "The debate about whether this is civil war is fueled either by the luxury of distance" or "is fueled by the spin of those with a political agenda to deny its existence."

Ware later states "We now have institutionalized death squads in police uniforms.

You're having Sunni patients pulled out of Shia-controlled hospitals.

You have neighborhoods with fighting positions.

You have districts engaged in mortar wars -- one neighborhood lobbing bombs on another neighborhood and then retaliating.

People carry dual identity cards -- one Sunni, one Shia. Children dare not go to school for fear of crossing ethnic lines. Wolf, if this is not a civil war, then I don't want to see one when it comes. "

Transcript of the above video can be found at CNN.Com.

Civil War Or Sectarian Strife? Is There A Difference?

There has been a persistent argument as of late, and that argument is whether or not Iraq is really in a civil war or not.

Microsoft Encarta defines Civil War as "war within country: a war between opposing groups within a country"

Answers.Com identifies Civil War as "A war between factions or regions of the same country"

Some modern scholars have stated that the definition of Civil War is more than one group or faction within a country competing for political power in a conflict in which over 1,000 people have died.

Dictionaries would produce similar results, so why is there so much argument as to what the Iraq War has now become?

In part I blame doublespeak which has caused us to become confused and unsure of the situation.

After all it wasn't "prisoners of war" we have captured during the war, they are "enemy combatants".

It wasn't "domestic surveillance" when it was spying on tens of millions of ordinary Americans, it is "terrorist surveillance".

At last, most importantly, it wasn't a "civil war" when Shia and Sunni factions were killing each other, it is "sectarian violence". The truth got buried in the manipulative vocabulary.

The only significant difference I can identify that makes Iraq different than other civil wars is that the situation in Iraq was triggered, though not directly caused, by external forces.

In the case of Iraq it seems the actions of invading the country based on the misleading Weapons of Mass Destruction theory, toppling Saddam Hussein and the previous fueds between the factions were conditions ripe for Civil War.

Iraq also had the forceful "help" of "al Qaeda in Iraq" and others to help push it into it's beginning stages of a Civil War with the bombings of the holy shrines and mosques and massacring of civilians.

However, for now we cannot keep arguing over the definition of what a Civil War is or not. We have to address the problem as it is, in all honesty and admit that most likely we are in the beginning of a bloody Civil War in Iraq.

How we handle the conditions on the ground and our effectiveness in assessing and reacting to the situation will ensure our defeat and the collapse of Iraq or our victory and the rebuilding of Iraq.

But the longer we wallow over definitions of words instead of just understanding the plain obvious the harder it is going to be to avert an all out crisis, and by crisis I mean this could easily get worse.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Jordan's King Abdullah Says Region Is Facing Three Civil Wars

King Abdullah's comments come shortly after a tentative cease fire has been agreed upon between Israel and Palestine after nearly five months of bitter fighting in Gaza, the assassination of Pierre Gemeyal in Lebanon and a particularly bloody month in Iraq.

King Abdullah of Jordan's comments were that "We could possibly imagine going into 2007 and having three civil wars on our hands,'' said Abdullah on the ABC program "This Week'', he continued "It is time that we really take a strong step forward as part of the international community and make sure we avert the Middle East from a tremendous crisis.''

The Middle East already seems to be in the birth pangs of a tremendous crisis, and averting it seems like something akin to changing the weather.

It's become an open secret, parts of the Middle East are collapsing before our very own eyes and each day the problem becomes just a little worse, the solution becomes even more elusive.

But we go on another day, thinking that somehow something will change without direct intervention and discussions.

The problem with the current leadership in the United States is their inability or refusal to engage in the diplomatic discourse that is in dire need if we are to avert crisis.

We also don't have real any allies in the Middle East besides a tentative relationship with Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

We do little to change this fact, in fact we seem to only encourage hatred, bigotry and outrage with ourselves. There has to be another way to do this.

Our leaders keep reminding us of the importance of the time we live in, but I think it is they who forget the true importance of this time and their role in diffusing the crisis.

So will anyone at least consider the words of Abdullah? I think anyone who is paying attention by now realizes that Iraq is in a civil war and the quicker we acknowledge and accept this fact the quicker we can access the problem. The longer we ignore it the deeper we sink into the quicksand.

This is what Civil War looks like in Iraq. This is what 60 years of poor foreign policy in the Middle East looks like. You have let the genie out of the bottle, no pun intended, and good luck putting the genie back inside.

But Abdullah touches base on something integral and sensitive when addressing Middle Eastern issues and that is the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

The ongoing conflict there is another road block that needs to be directly dealt with in an equal, fair and honest fashion rather than bias and discriminatory tactics we witness in order to promote the idea of peace in the Middle East.

President Bush cannot continue to escape away to countries that have little to do with the conflicts and talk to people who cannot help solve the problems if he is serious about anything other than leaving the Middle East in worse shape than when he found it.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Liberating Factor Or Aggravating Factor?

I cannot verify the authenticity of this video, but I am sure if it gets passed around enough eventually CNN or MSNBC will take notice and the identity of these "pranksters" can be revealed.

My first reaction when I saw this video was shock, humiliation and aggravation, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

What kind of low life taunts thirsty children in the desert with bottled water? Anyone who keeps current on the situation in Iraq knows that Iraqi's do not have steady access to clean water and electricity.

It is easy to laugh when you are not the child who is living in poverty and who is living in a war torn countries for reasons you are not yet old enough to understand. But you are old enough to understand the cruelty in the "joke" that was played on you.

This kind of conduct, though hardly illegal is extremely unbecoming of a supposed liberator and is the type of conduct that should be reprimanded.

Chances are that kid wouldn't have had to run for several blocks for water he didn't even get before the war, so laughing, as the soldiers did in the video, was highly inappropriate and if you ask me downright immature, insensitive and cruel.

Update : The Pentagon is now to investigate this incident. See U.S. Soldiers YouTube Videos To Be Investigated By Pentagon
Robert Gates, White House Appeaser?

There was an audible sigh of relief the moment Donald Rumsfeld announced his resignation.

But in our jubilation, yes, jubilation, America forgot to ask who the proposed new guy was.

We knew his name, but little about his past, it didn't matter much, because Rumsfeld was leaving, and the celebrations could begin.

But Gates, may not be much better and may be much worse. Worse for America, that is.

In a White House of mistakes, lies and secrecy a confirmation of Robert Gates will only intensify the secrecy and White House boot licking.

But it should come as no surprise because the President himself is known for surrounding himself not with people who are competent and independent but with people who are appeasing ideologues who let something get in the way of their honesty and criticism.

Robert Gates has been nominated by two Republican presidents, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush in the past for the position of director of central intelligence.

The first attempt to usher in Gates, known for his ideological support of the White House which often caused him to make bad choices on key issues failed after Gates withdrew.

Senate Intelligence Committee members did not believe Gates assertion that he could not remember the facts surrounding the Iran-Contra scandal. Specifically because it is well known that Gates has a superb memory but testified 33 times he did not recollect key facts surrounding the controversy.

The second attempt was successful and Gates was confirmed as director of the CIA. This apparent victory was narrow and Gates had received 30 votes against him making him the least popular CIA directed to be nominated in 60 years.

Gates has received a lot of criticism for his failure to tell the truth to power and received blunt criticism from former Secretaries of State James A. Baker III and George P. Shultz and the US military and is well known for politicizing intelligence.

With the Iraq War being presumably started on politicized intelligence wouldn't it be a very poor choice indeed to nominate Gates, who is known for politicising intelligence? Not if your George W. Bush and you need every political windsock in town stove-piping politicized information to the top.

This Gates has already been involved in suspicious activity in the Middle East that he apparently doesn't recall so I don't think it is wise to get him involved in more serious Middle Eastern activities that he won't recall in the future.

Because in the future it may be Gates who will testify that he does not remember the key facts about the Iraq War and his involvement in it, or the Iran War and his involvement in it, if the Iran War does indeed materialize, which it may under this man's direction.

Look at it this way : Would you hire a housekeeper if she had a reputation for leaving houses messier than she found them? Would you hire her on the basis that she was a nice girl who told you everything you wanted to hear, even if it were not true? Then why confirm Gates, who will most definitely do the same.

The resignation of Rumsfeld and the nomination of Gates doesn't show momentum, it doesn't show the President finally willing to change course after years of failure and actually try to win this war in Iraq.

It shows a President who is replacing Rumsfeld with the same archetype of political lackey to try to solve the most pressing issue this country is facing today which is a huge mistake and we will realize this in two years, when nothing has changed for the better in Iraq and we are possibly anchored in Iran with someone who was invoved in the Iran-Contra heading it all.

Don't confirm the worm!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Rangel Calls For Reinstatement Of The Draft

Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y said on Sunday that he supported reinstating the draft and will propose such measures early next year. Rangel has proposed conscription in the past which has obviously been unsuccessful.

"There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way," Rangel said.

Rangal has called for reinstatement of the draft, stating that because of an all volunteer military wartime burden is often disproportionately placed on lower income and minority families.

Rangal and as many others who please to do so can call for reinstating the draft.

But I view it as something that should not even be considered unless there is a ground invasion in the continental United States or if the United States must face a dangerous state or military power that far outnumbers our own.

Young men and woman are not very likely to join the military if the country is at war and they do not support the policy of the war.

Trying to force young men and woman into war after a draft has been reinstated will only cause unrest and animosity among the youth in the nation as soon as they realize what is happening.

Rangals idea that the draft is somehow a deterrent to politicians who like to wage fruitless wars is absurd.

In wars that were fought in the past wave after wave of young men were sent off to die and the fact that the military was mandatory rather than volunteer only encouraged leaders to send more human beings off to die because they had a large pool of people to send.

Now that the military is volunteer only there is a limited amount of troops you can send and only so many wars you can wage at once, therefore it impedes upon the leadership that seeks to wage or prolong unjustified or unsupported wars, so it is necessary.

The idea of being plucked out of my home and being told I had to fight in Bush's insane Iraq War infuriates me. The idea that it is a supposed Democrat who is proposing such a forceful idea only infuriates me more.

Yes, let's give the cronies in Washington D.C. all the civilians they need to convert into soldiers to go unwillingly fight in their holy war extravaganza they helped manufacture over there in the Middle East.

Rangal can state all day long that he wants to reinstate the draft to "prevent" politicians from waging wars, but I see reinstating the draft as a way to give politicians more ammunition for their wars, rather than preventing them.

I am willing to fight for my country if my country is being assailed and I need to protect my homeland. I will fight for my country if we are ever faced with a real world power with military and technology comparable to our own.

But I will not go willingly if you are asking me to attempt to "liberate" a country that is being ravaged by civil war when the people apparently don't even want to be "liberated" by me and my very presence seems to only be hurting the civilians rather than helping them.

However, there is little reason to fear because Rangal has tried to reinstate the draft before and has failed and will most likely fail again.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Democrats Show Independence From Pelosi In Hoyer Selection

Democrats, perhaps sensing the controversy that would follow John Murtha's nomination to Majority Leader choose a less controversial figure to help head the Democratic Party, Steny Hoyer.

Some sources say the Democrats "snubbed" Pelosi and that their choice shows division within the Democratic Party.

I think the move shows independence from leadership, which is an especially good thing when the leadership may be wrong and may be committing a move that will cause the Democrats more problems than it is worth.

Remember, leadership unity is not always a good thing, no matter how pleasant it may seem to have leaders who are in lock step with each other.

Lock step leadership within the Republican party helped contribute to it's own demise. The problem with lock step leadership is it does not allow room for new ideas and free thinking.

The Democrats made a few promises when they were elected. Those promises included a transparent and ethical Congress.

Having Jack Murtha as Majority Leader would have only stirred controversy and allowed the Republicans to say the Democrats were not even keeping their own promises.

I, for one, do not want lock step leadership to rule the 110th Congress the way it ruled the 109th.

If you have independent thinkers within your own party they are more likely to see mistakes being made and usually more able to fix those mistakes because they are thinking beyond the strait party line.

With that said, I hope Hoyer makes an excellent leader who can help lead the Democrats and America towards a better tomorrow.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Will Politicians Ever Learn? hahahahahahaha

Scandal, corruption, or even the hint of it turns most logical Americans off.

So why, why oh why do the Democrats and the Republicans insist upon embroiling themselves in it?

To me, John Murtha seems a good candidate for Majority Leader because of his strong stance against the Iraq War and the Iraq War playing so heavily into the elections.

BUT he was under investigation although never charged in the FBI's Abscam operation, so this leads to accusations of corruption. Not such a good thing in a "transparent" and "bipartisan" Congress.

And the Republicans choosing Trent Lott to be Minority Whip? Trent Lott will be a tsunami to any effort at bipartisanship from either sides and he also has his involvement in drooling all over and appeasing racial segregationist.

With Abramoff shuffling off to jail, Tom Delay looking like the Greedy Old Pundit and the general loses of the oh-so-powerful GOP it would seem both the Republicans and the Democrats would realize now is not the time to be pulling their radical and polarizing bullshit.

The strange and radical ideals of the far right and far left need to be put on the back burner, there are bigger problems and whether these people like each other or not they have a job to do.

Their job isn't really to bicker and moan about wedge issues that tear this country apart - but to keep this country secure without infringing upon our rights.

The politicians in Washington D.C. need to find a way forward in these forsaken wars. Outsourcing and an exploding deficit are just a few of the reasons we can't go on like this forever. They also need to help the lower and middle class and the elderly.

There are real issues at hand, these are the issues many Americans are concerned about.

And really, most of all these politicians need to quit believing they are infallible.

We will keep cleaning house until we get the job done, and they need to remember that and not get too settled into their new diggs unless they are going to start looking out for the welfare of the American people and humanity, rather than special interest groups and their pocketbooks.

That goes all around, by the way, to Republicans and Democrats alike.
Well, We Voted... Now What?

Same thing, different day? So far, it looks like it. But January is over a month away.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss? I certainly hope not.

Promises of bi-partisanship but inevitable partisan fights? As above.

Is the war going to change? It doesn't look like it.

Will the Democrats take the blame? You can bet your ass.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

And They Still Wonder...

Question : What do you do when your political party becomes unpopular and loses the elections?

Answer : You ask the racist appeaser, Trent Lott to take the position of Minority Whip, ensuring the American people can be sure what the Republican party is still about...

The Mississippi Republican Trent Lott received criticism when he praised infamous racial segregationist Strom Thurmond at his 100th birthday.

Lott had stated at the birthday party, "I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."

Thurmond was a staunch racist, and the Presidential campaign Lott is referring to is one in which Thurmond ran as a Dixiecrat with one of his platforms being racial segregation, their slogan was "Segregation Forever".

It's one thing for someone who grew up in the stupid ages (Thurmond) to believe in the backwards concepts of racial segregation. It's quite another for someone as young as Trent Lott to support such utter nonsense.

There was a time when Republicans actually did stand up for the rights of African Americans. One we should know, remember and cherish was Abraham Lincoln.

So, at one time, a long time ago a Republican or two stood up for the rights of minorities.

But now it is the Democrats who embrace the ideals of equality, and they are called "liberal" for something as basic as the concept that all human beings are created equal.

If I were a Republican I would be stomping my feet right now. No way can the racist Strom Thurmond lover hold a prominent position in my party.

But thankfully I am not a Republican and so far I have not witnessed any Republicans disagreeing with Lott becoming Minority Whip.

So what does that really say, without saying anything at all, about the values and ideals of the Republican party and what they really stand for?

It's just a question.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The "State Of Denial" Now Reaches All Republicans

Browsing the headlines of our nation's more conservative news sources would suggest the "State Of Denial" Bob Woodward has recently written about has fully engulfed the Republican party and all it's supporters.

Who are insisting that the American people are "reading too much" into the elections, and that the Iraq War and Republican corruption doesn't have "that much to do" with the Republicans failure to keep the majority.

Not surprisingly the Republicans are being quick to blame their usual bogeymen it likes to scapegoat. Typically, more often than not, the "liberal" media.

That pesky old "liberal" media. Why do they always want to expose government corruption? How dare that "liberal" media tell the American people the facts. Just who does that "liberal" media think it is? Those are supposed to be secrets.

The "State Of Denial" needs to end. It could not be any more clear why the American people voted the way they voted unless it was required on the ballot to explain the reason you chose to vote the way you did.

The refusal of the Republicans to admit the real reasons they lost the elections would be infuriating if it were not so pathetic.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

America Votes For Change, Will They Get It?

It has been a long hard road, but we somehow managed to chase most of those oil grubbers and war mongers making themselves a little too comfortable in Washington D.C.

A brave few will remain, but one thing is for sure, leadership is about to drastically change in America.

George W. Bush will remain in his post, which angers some liberals. Most moderates and independents are willing to leave Bush alone, so long as he cooperates with the Democrats in an effort to solve the ills of our own society and move forward in the Wars.

My personal belief is that the Democrats are willing to work in a bi-partisan effort to save the country. Most likely the Democrats view Bush as poorly as they did a week ago.

But beginning the process of impeachment could and would distract the country and it's leaders from problems that need solutions, such as terrorism, the Wars and other domestic problems.

So I don't believe, as the conspiracy theorist are already proclaiming, that the Democrats are forming an unholy alliance with George W. Bush and the neoconservatives in Washington.

But I do believe George W. Bush now has little room for error, and if we encounter open resistance from him, the impeachment process may begin.

The Voice Of The American People

The voice of the American people was strong and defiant on November 7, 2006. For so many years the Bush Administration and it's Republicans had insisted it was the voice of the American people, and they were proven wrong.

The American people are the voice of the American people, and we spoke loud, clear with defiance of their rhetoric when we voted against them in what will be called a national election.

We Voted For A Change.

We are not a bunch of flaming liberals, we are human beings yearning for change. We have been attacked by our enemies then deceived by our leaders, we are patriots who loved our country but questioned it's leadership. We have beliefs in human rights and adhere our Constitution and want to abide by international law and treaty.

We were sick of sex scandals, lobbyist scandals, the ruthless partisanship and the general veil of deceit the Republicans has cloaked themselves in for so long.

Most of all we wanted change.

So can the Democrats bring change to the country? Or will Bush stymie them at every corner and avenue?

One would certainly hope so. But change, no matter how hard the Democrats try, will be hard to come by. The President will still be the President, but his power will be impeded, as will the Democrats power.

The Neoconservatives Last Wild Card

But the President has stuck in one last wild card to play, it was so crafty that even most of his neoconservative supporters are not even aware of it. That wild card was Robert Gates.

The Bush Administration knew that if the Democrats took the majority that item one was the removal of Rumsfeld.

If the Republican war-money grubbers had allowed the Democrats to take control of House and Senate, the Democrats in turn would have began pushing for Rumsfeld's resignation.

With the Democrats in control of Congress whoever Bush choose as a nominee to fill Rumsfeld's post would have been closely scrutinized by the Democrats.

But, the war machine had reasoned, if Rumsfeld resigns immediately after the Republican defeat, they would have the ability to usher in their own suitable candidate that will be loyal to the neoconservative agenda at the Pentagon.

So even as Democrats take over House and Senate, The White House and The Pentagon will remain under neoconservative control. So I view change in the Iraq War is most likely near impossible until 2008 when a new President is elected.