31 August 2006

I always wondered what an aneurysm felt like

"The security of the civilized world depends on victory in the war on terror and that depends on victory in Iraq. So the United States of America will not leave until victory is achieved." -- George W. Bush

30 August 2006

Quote of the Day

Countdown's Keith Olbermann. Forgive the length and lack of original commentary. IMO, none is needed, and such things should be disseminated, in full, and in as many areas as possible.

C&L has the video.
The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack.

Donald S. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.

Mr. Rumsfeld’s remarkable comments to the Veterans of Foreign Wars yesterday demand the deep analysis - and the sober contemplation - of every American. For they do not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence - indeed, the loyalty — of the majority of Americans who oppose the transient occupants of the highest offices in the land; Worse, still, they credit those same transient occupants - our employees — with a total omniscience; a total omniscience which neither common sense, nor this administration’s track record at home or abroad, suggests they deserve.

Dissent and disagreement with government is the life’s blood of human freedom; And not merely because it is the first roadblock against the kind of tyranny the men Mr. Rumsfeld likes to think of as "his" troops still fight, this very evening, in Iraq. It is also essential. Because just every once in awhile… it is right — and the power to which it speaks, is wrong.

In a small irony, however, Mr. Rumsfeld’s speechwriter was adroit in invoking the memory of the appeasement of the Nazis. For, in their time, there was another government faced with true peril - with a growing evil - powerful and remorseless.

That government, like Mr. Rumsfeld’s, had a monopoly on all the facts. It, too, had the secret information. It alone had the true picture of the threat. It too dismissed and insulted its critics in terms like Mr. Rumsfeld’s - questioning their intellect and their morality.

That government was England’s, in the 1930’s.

It knew Hitler posed no true threat to Europe, let alone England.

It knew Germany was not re-arming, in violation of all treaties and accords.

It knew that the hard evidence it received, which contradicted policies, conclusions - and omniscience — needed to be dismissed.

The English government of Neville Chamberlain already knew the truth.

Most relevant of all - it "knew" that its staunchest critics needed to be marginalized and isolated. In fact, it portrayed the foremost of them as a blood-thirsty war-monger who was, if not truly senile - at best… morally or intellectually confused.

That critic’s name… was Winston Churchill.

Sadly, we have no Winston Churchills evident among us this evening. We have only Donald Rumsfelds, demonizing disagreement, the way Neville Chamberlain demonized Winston Churchill.

History - and 163 million pounds of Luftwaffe bombs over England - taught us that all Mr. Chamberlain had was his certainty - and his own confusion. A confusion that suggested that the office can not only make the man, but that the office can also make the facts.

Thus did Mr. Rumsfeld make an apt historical analogy. Excepting the fact that he has the battery plugged in backwards. His government, absolute - and exclusive - in its knowledge, is not themodern version of the one which stood up to the Nazis.

It is the modern version of the government… of Neville Chamberlain.

But back to today’s Omniscients.

That about which Mr. Rumsfeld is confused… is simply this:

This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely. And as such, all voices count — not just his. Had he or his President perhaps proven any of their prior claims of omniscience - about Osama Bin Laden’s plans five years ago - about Saddam Hussein’s weapons four years ago - about Hurricane Katrina’s impact one year ago - we all might be able to swallow hard, and accept their omniscience as a bearable, even useful recipe, of fact, plus ego.

But, to date, this government has proved little besides its own arrogance, and its own hubris.

Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused, morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina, to the entire "Fog of Fear" which continues to enveloppe this nation - he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies, have - inadvertently or intentionally - profited and benefited, both personally, and politically.

And yet he can stand up, in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer’s New Clothes.

In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised?

As a child, of whose heroism did he read?

On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight?

With what country has he confused… the United States of America?

The confusion we — as its citizens - must now address, is stark and forbidding. But variations of it have faced our forefathers, when men like Nixon and McCarthy and Curtis LeMay have darkened our skies and obscured our flag. Note - with hope in your heart - that those earlier Americans always found their way to the light… and we can, too.

The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this Administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought.

And about Mr. Rumsfeld’s other main assertion, that this country faces a "new type of fascism:"

As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that — though probably not in the way he thought he meant it.

This country faces a new type of fascism - indeed.

Although I presumptuously use his sign-off each night, in feeble tribute… I have utterly no claim to the words of the exemplary journalist Edward R. Murrow. But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could I come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of us, at a time when other politicians thought they (and they alone) knew everything, and branded those who disagreed, "confused" or "immoral."

Thus forgive me for reading Murrow in full:

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty," he said, in 1954.

"We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law."

"We will not walk in fear - one, of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of un-reason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men; Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were - for the moment - unpopular."

29 August 2006

Secretary of the Indefensible

Rumsfeld Lashes Out at Bush's Critics

Tuesday August 29, 2006
By Robert Burns
AP Military Writer

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday the world faces ``a new type of fascism'' and likened critics of the Bush administration's war strategy to those who tried to appease the Nazis in the 1930s.

In unusually explicit terms, Rumsfeld portrayed the administration's critics as suffering from ``moral or intellectual confusion'' about what threatens the nation's security. His remarks amounted to one of his most pointed defenses of President Bush' war policies and was among his toughest attacks on Bush's critics.

Speaking to several thousand veterans at the American Legion's national convention, Rumsfeld recited what he called the lessons of history, including the failure to confront Hitler. He quoted Winston Churchill as observing that trying to accommodate Hitler was ``a bit like feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last.''

``I recount this history because once again we facesimilar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism,'' he said.

``Can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?'' he asked.

``Can we truly afford to return to the destructive view that America - not the enemy - is the real source of the world's troubles?''

Rumsfeld spoke to the American Legion as part of a coordinated White House strategy, in advance of the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, to take the offensive against administration critics at a time of doubt about the future of Iraq and growing calls to withdraw U.S. troops.

Rumsfeld recalled a string of recent terrorist attacks, from 9/11 to deadly bombings in Bali, London and Madrid, and said it should be obvious to anyone that terrorists must be confronted, not appeased.

``But some seem not to have learned history's lessons,'' he said, adding that part of the problem is that the American news media have tended to emphasize the negative rather than the positive.
At the risk of being labeled "shrill," or "lacking civility," the only conclusion I can come to, is that our Secretary of Defense is an unscrupulous bastard, without a shred of decency, honor, or respect for this country and its citizens.

There are points that can be argued and debated, but this is not one of them. To address Rumsfeld's odious comparisons with anything other than derision and abject contempt is to confer upon them a legitimacy that they do not merit in any way, shape, or form. And for all the negativity the traditional media allegedly emphasizes, they are guilty of doing just that, again and again. Calling this venom a "pointed defense" of administration policy, as is done in the second paragraph of the article, is akin to urinating on someone's shoes and calling it a "rebuttal."

Sometimes, "bugfuck insane," is just that.

Rumsfeld's comparisons are both intellectually and morally bankrupt. This type of mendacious demagoguery is the product of years of failure and mismanagement that carry with them, a stench that no amount of perfume can cover. Unable to defend his own record, he lashes out--foolishly and incorrectly--at everything else.

No American should have to explain why he isn't like a nazi-era appeaser because he disagrees with the president. And right now, that's the majority of the population. According to Donald Rumsfeld, more than 150,000,000 people are "confused" about the challenges facing the country, and want to give terrorists a pass and hope for the best.


And you neither can, nor should, reason with that.

Scary T-Shirt! Code Red, Code Red!!

T-Shirt Inscription Keeps Iraqi Man From Boarding Flight
WNYC Newsroom

NEW YORK, NY August 29, 2006 — An Iraqi architect says he was not allowed to board a Jet Blue flight at JFK because of the Arabic inscription on his t-shirt.

REPORTER: Raed Jarrar was wearing a T-shirt that read "We Will Not Be Silent" in Arabic and English, when he was approached by security officers. The officers said the Arabic script was upsetting other passengers, and told Jarrar to either turn the shirt inside out or wear something else. Jarrar protested but finally wore a T-shirt provided by a Jet Blue employee.

JARRAR: I grew up and spent all my life living under authoritarian regimes. and i know that these things happen. But I'm shocked that they happened to me here, in the U.S. Especially that I moved from Iraq because of the war that was waged in Iraq under titles like democracy and freedom.

REPORTER: A spokesman for Jet Blue says the airline is investigating to see if the security officers were with the airline, the Transportation Security Administration or the Port Authority. He also said the airline does not forbid Arabic T-shirts, but that it does take into account the concerns of its passengers.
We are becoming a nation of bedwetters.

If a single line of Arabic script has you trembling and flagging down security, that's not "concerned," that's paranoid. It's also staggeringly stupid, unless you subscribe to the notion that it's conventional hijacker wisdom to wear things to call attention to yourself before you even get onto the airplane.

By handling this the way they did, Jet Blue validated the "concerned passengers'" paranoia and ensured that it will happen again. The guy had already been subject to the same security procedures as everyone else. His shirt was nothing more than a convenient excuse for the passengers to act on their fear of any Arabic-looking man. Again, unless they think a bomber is going to be strolling up to the gate with "Death to America" emblazoned on his chest, it's fairly clear that their problem was with the individual, not his clothes.

For anyone who might claim that the passengers were just being vigilant, doing their part to thwart terrorism, I have one thing to say:


Terrorist acts are a tactic, part of strategy, not a goal unto themselves. The goal is for fear to supplant reason as the ruling principle in our lives. So, check your watch and mark the date, folks, because when urine-soaked, borderline racist douchebaggery like this is legitimized--and in this case, it most certainly was--then the terrorists just won.

28 August 2006

Good thing there wasn't anything else going on

Like a President being found in violation of his oath to uphold the Constitution.
Prosecutors drop case in JonBenet slaying

By Jon Sarche, Associated Press Writer

BOULDER, Colo. - Prosecutors abruptly dropped their case against John Mark Karr in the slaying of JonBenet Ramsey, saying DNA tests failed to put him at the crime scene despite his repeated insistence he killed the 6-year-old beauty queen.
A wonderful, weeklong use of the sum total of MSNBCNNFOX's "reporting" resources, wasn't it?

26 August 2006

The gulf between Presidential sycophant Katherine Harris and anything resembling reality continues to widen

Apparently there ARE some GOPers who won't be campaigning for Joe Lieberman.

Brace yourselves, the wingnuttery gets very deep, very quickly.
"If you are not electing Christians, tried and true, under public scrutiny and pressure, if you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin," she told interviewers, citing abortion and gay marriage as two examples of that sin.

"Whenever we legislate sin," she said, "and we say abortion is permissible and we say gay unions are permissible, then average citizens who are not Christians, because they don't know better, we are leading them astray and it's wrong . . ."

...In reality, she said, "we have to have the faithful in government" because that is God's will. Separating religion and politics is "so wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers," she said.
Praise Jeezus.

23 August 2006

Not only don't we know, but we hardly KNOW we don't know

From Reuters:
Congress report faults U.S. intelligence on Iran
Wed Aug 23, 2006
By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. intelligence community is ill-prepared to assess Iran's nuclear weapons capabilities and its intentions for developing weapons of mass destruction, a congressional report said on Wednesday.

Noting "significant gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the various areas of concern about Iran," the House Intelligence Committee staff report questioned whether the United States could even effectively engage in talks with Tehran on ways to diffuse tensions."
This is what happens when you have an administration that views "engagement" as a reward for obeying a demand on pain of death, rather than as the means to attaining the requested outcome.

The only thing more discouraging than the U.S. finding itself in this situation 3+ years into the Iraq debacle, is that, thanks to BushCo's enthusiasm for its famous "One Percent Doctrine," the likelihood that any lessons have been learned is nil.

21 August 2006

Quote of the Day

Jon Stewart: "Now I often look to you for perspective, so assessing the Middle East situation from a more mathematical way, on a scale from 'fucked' to 'motherfucked' would you say..."

Reza Aslan: "I'd go with 'motherfucked.'"

18 August 2006

The Boy King stomps his feet after his spanking

The idiocy knows no bounds.
"I would say that those who, um, um, herald this decision simply do not understand the nature of the world in which we live." -- George W. Bush, on the ruling striking down the NSA's illegal spying program
Similarly, anyone offering that opinion simply doesn't understand the nature of the government he allegedly heads.

Think about this for a second. The Chief Executive of the United States is responding to a question of Constitutional law with what amounts to the Radiohead Defense: It doesn't suck, you just don't "get it."

Sweet Jesus.

If El Presidente's job was working the counter at a McDonald's, and he exhibited the same depth of knowledge of that institution, the manager would have his nametag and paper hat by the end of the shift.

The suggestion that ANYONE'S "understanding of the nature of the world," has the slightest relevance to whether or not a process is constitutional reveals a level of ignorance--or, possibly, arrogance--that is, simply, staggering. What's worse, in this case, it's impossible to determine which condition is more responsible.

17 August 2006

Remember that illegal domestic spying program?

It's illegal.
NSA eavesdropping program ruled unconstitutional
Judge orders immediate halt to program

Thursday, August 17, 2006

DETROIT, Michigan (AP) -- A federal judge ruled Thursday that the government's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt to it.

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit became the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency's program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers who say the program has made it difficult for them to do their jobs. They believe many of their overseas contacts are likely targets of the program, which involves secretly taping conversations between people in the U.S. and people in other countries.

The government argued that the program is well within the president's authority, but said proving that would require revealing state secrets.

The ACLU said the state-secrets argument was irrelevant because the Bush administration already had publicly revealed enough information about the program for Taylor to rule.
Once again, a victory for the rule of law and the Constitution, but what sort of tangible result can be expected from people who clearly cared nothing for those things, to begin with? Either way, Glenn Greenwald does his customary top-notch job on this one.

Fearmonger of the Day

Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
"They're (Middle Eastern terrorists) waiting for the Democrats here to take control, let things cool off and then strike again."
A pathetic lie from a small, petty man in the service of a smaller, pettier man and his criminally negligent administration.

10 August 2006

A severe risk of fading domestic support

Through the night, authorities in the UK disrupted a plot to blow up commercial airliners using liquid explosives.  About 20 people have been taken into custody and, according to the BBC, "most of the 'principle characters' were British born" and officials have reason to believe the "main players" have been detained.  Coverage from the Guardian and the BBC can be seen here and here.  The most notable difference with coverage in U.S. outlets:
Chertoff: Plot 'suggestive' of al-Qaida
By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON -  Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the terror plot disrupted in Britain is "suggestive of an al-Qaida plot," but noted the investigation was ongoing and no final conclusion could be made.
...A senior U.S. counterterrorism official said authorities believe dozens of people were involved or connected to the overseas plot that was unraveled Wednesday evening. The plan "had a footprint to al-Qaida back to it," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
What a surprise. 
"Suggestive" of al-Qaida.
An al-Qaida "footprint."
No "al-Qaida involved," though, is there?
The Brits don't even mention it--there not being any, y'know, EVIDENCE--but the U.S. officials make sure to float that connection to the press by 8:00am.  In a country where 50% of people still believe Saddam had WMD, the administration knows that's all they need to do to revitalize a boogeyman that's lost its mojo.  Their involvement in Iraq having given way to the sectarian civil war, Al-Qaida's been exceedingly quiet, lately, doing little more than piggybacking media statements on top of the crisis in Lebanon so they don't get overshadowed and forgotten. 
Now, Chertoff is doing their PR work for them so that El Presidente and the rest of the GOP can go back to invoking that dread name in the "Dems are soft on terror" segments of their stump speeches leading up to November.  And we all know how that hackneyed formula goes:
Fighting in Iraq = Fighting Terror
Al-Qaida = Terror
Wanting plan to leave Iraq = Wanting Al-Qaida to blow up planes with liquid explosive
Will that fly with--or even possibly influence--the 60% of Americans who oppose the war and want to begin some level of withdrawal by the end of the year?
Who knows.  The only certainty is that the GOP chickenhawks are going to try.

09 August 2006

Quote of the day

"I am a sports fan, so I am going to use a sports comparison. As I see it, in this campaign we just finished the first half and the Lamont team is ahead." -- Joe Lieberman, 08/08/06

"Here's a sports comparison: There was a game...and YOU LOST!" -- Jon Stewart, 08/09/06


You know those days, when, everytime you try to do something, forces conspire to interrupt you? The phone...the doorbell...somebody stops by your office, that sort of thing? I anticipated a big news day as the reactions to Holy Joe's non-concession in the Connecticut Senate race rolled in, but every time I tried to rub two thoughts together, something else came up that made him look like even more of an arrogant, out-of-touch, self-important weasel than he did just minutes before.

And he was looking awful to begin with.

First, this gem from his "screw you" speech to Connecticut Dems:
"I am disappointed not just because I lost, but because the old politics of partisan polarization won today. For the sake of our state, our country and my party, I cannot and will not let that result stand."
"That result." What Joe seems to have forgotten is that "that result" is the will of the Democratic voters of the state he represents. THAT, not so-called old politics, is what he has deemed himself entitled to supersede. The intent of the process takes a backseat to what Joe wants. GREAT way to set himself apart from his BFF, El Presidente, no?

As the reporting on last night's event went into full swing, we were treated to headlines like this:
Democrats abandon Lieberman, back Lamont

By STEPHANIE REITZ, Associated Press Writer

HARTFORD, Conn. - Top Democrats on Capitol Hill abandoned Sen. Joe Lieberman one by one Wednesday and threw their support to Ned Lamont, the anti-war challenger who defeated him in the primary. But Lieberman said his conscience demands that he run as an independent in November.
Framing this story as anyone abandoning Lieberman is either some of the laziest--or, alternately--most deceitful reporting we've seen in awhile. After declining to follow Lamont's lead in pledging support to the eventual nominee, he hedged his bets with petitions and "conceded" by...not conceding and, instead, running against "his" party's choice.

You weren't abandoned, Joe, you jumped ship.

As if that weren't enough, as national Dems lined up behind the legitimate nominee, a Lieberman aide let ABC News in on one vote of confidence that his vanity party DID receive:
According to a close Lieberman adviser, the President's political guru, Karl Rove, has reached out to the Lieberman camp with a message straight from the Oval Office:"The boss wants to help. Whatever we can do, we will do."
Only fitting, I suppose, since Joe's been looking to the GOP's script for most of his campaign against Democrats Ned Lamont. Tony Snow(job) followed it up by devoting time in today's White House presser to recycle the "influence of the extreme left" canard before saying "the president's going to stay out of that one." It seems Tony's forgetting he's supposed to speak for the president, not editorialize for Tony Snow. Must be another FauxNews flashback.

Finally, when you thought the Lieberman's GOP tongue-bath couldn't get any more egregious, Kenny Mehlman got on Hardball and REPEATEDLY declined to endorse the GOP nominee in the Connecticut general election. (From A-blog, with the vid at PoliticsTV):
MATTHEWS: Do you want Republicans in Connecticut to vote for the Republican candidate or do you want them to vote for Joe Lieberman, which one?

MEHLMAN: I'm letting Republicans in Connecticut make that decision.
You're the party chair for chrissakes! How do you demure on whether or not your constituents should vote for the party's candidate? This is beyond unthinkable.

Of course, pledging to support your party's nominee, whoever it may be, should be a no-brainer, too.

Rove. Snow. Mehlman.

Good luck shedding that DINO label now, Joe.

08 August 2006

Lieberman concedes to Ned

...if "conceding" means hoisting a big middle finger to the Democratic voters of Connecticut and pledging to go full speed ahead with his bullshit Connecticut Lieberman for Lieberman independent run.

He can call himself an "independent Democrat" all he wants. That doesn't change two things:

The majority of Democratic voters in Connecticut want another candidate.

Holy Joe is going to try and defeat that candidate.

If you're actively attempting to beat your own party's candidate in a general election, that puts the lie to your alleged affiliation. The only interests that Lieberman has in mind are personal.

Leadership needs to strip him of any and all leadership positions, immediately.

Fingers crossed...

The gap has narrowed some, but it's still looking pretty cosistent--and good--for Ned Lamont in CT.

Lamont: 51.7%
Lieberman: 48.3%

07 August 2006

Adventures in speechinating

Once again ensconced in the comfy confines of his Crawford ranch, the vacationer-in-chief took time out between his 10:00 and 11:30 brush clearing sessions to respond to some of those uninformed amatures who've seen fit to spout off about the violence engulfing Iraq. (You might've heard of them: Gen. John "the sectarian violence is probably is as bad as I’ve seen it" Abizaid of U.S. Central Command, and Gen. Peter "we do have the possibility of that devolving to a civil war" Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs).

Before reading further, you might want to steel yourself for the stupid rays, lest you become lightheaded and fall to the floor.

So sayeth El Presidente:
“You know, I hear people say, Well, civil war this, civil war that. The Iraqi people decided against civil war when they went to the ballot box.”
Which is not unlike staring at a raging, five-alarm blaze, only to offer, "You know, I hear people say, well, inferno this, inferno that. The warehouse owner decided against infernos when he put in those smoke detectors."

04 August 2006

Collective Punishment, by the numbers

This week, the Lebanese Minister of Justice started laying the groundwork for going after the Israeli government for war crimes.
Lebanon is planning to file a lawsuit against Israel in the International Criminal Court. Tuesday, Lebanese Minister of Justice Charles Rizk made a written petition to the Lebanese Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, asking him to bring up the issue in the next meeting of the Lebanese cabinet, so that the prime minister will be able to collect witnesses in preparation before filing of the complaint.

The minister wrote to the prime minister: "The repeated Israeli attacks on Lebanon, on its infrastructure, its citizens, women and children, since July 12 are a grave breech of international law and international agreements. As such, they clearly constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity."
Of course, as far as our government is concerned, anything done in the course of a "lasting peace" is A-OK. A few parties--like the rest of the world--tend to disagree. But, then again, all THEY have on their side are those oh-so-"quaint" Geneva Conventions. One of them just happens to address procedures "relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War." (Unlike Israel today, some actually make that distinction). From the wild Wiki-people:
Article 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed.

Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.

Pillage is prohibited.

Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.

"Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions collective punishments are a war crime. Article 33 states: 'No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed,' and 'collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.'

By collective punishment, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World Wars I and II. In the First World War, Germans executed Belgian villagers in mass retribution for resistance activity. In World War II, Nazis carried out a form of collective punishment to suppress resistance. Entire villages or towns or districts were held responsible for any resistance activity that took place there. The conventions, to counter this, reiterated the principle of individual responsibility. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentary to the conventions states that parties to a conflict often would resort to 'intimidatory measures to terrorize the population' in hopes of preventing hostile acts, but such practices 'strike at guilty and innocent alike. They are opposed to all principles based on humanity and justice.'"
Not surprisingly, the Administration and traditional (U.S.) media explain Lebanese civilian casualties, not as collective punishment, but the inevitable result of combatting the Hezbollah fighters hiding among them. Setting aside the question of whether or not that's even the case, there's a few things that aren't open to interpretation or alternate points of view:

Population of Lebanon: 3,874,000

Hezbollah Fighters: 600-1000 active (with 3,000 - 5,000 available and 10,000 reservists)

Lebanese civilians/military killed (as of 08/04/06): 675

Lebanese civilians/military wounded: 2,327

Lebanese civilians displaced to date: 800,000-1,000,000
3,000 assorted casualties and a quarter of the country's population driven from their homes.

Doesn't get much more "collective" than that.

02 August 2006

Joke of the Day

Someone needs to get Talabani a slot at the Improv. Seriously.
Iraq Vows to Handle Security This Year
Aug 2, 8:16 AM (ET)


BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - President Jalal Talabani said Wednesday that Iraqi forces will take over security of all provinces in the country by the end of the year. Currently U.S. forces handle security in 17 of Iraq's 18 provinces.

The optimistic statement by Talabani comes at a time when the country is reeling under intense sectarian violence, mainly involving Shiite and Sunni militias. On Tuesday, more than 70 people were killed in one of the worst days of bloodshed...

"We are highly optimistic that we will terminate terrorism in this year... the multinational forces' role is a supportive one and the Iraqi forces will take over security in all Iraqi provinces by the end of this year gradually and God's will, we will take the lead," he said.
Either that, or get him into rehab. Because he sounds like he's on some of the sweetest dope our other pet narcostate "Freedom on the March" poster child, Afghanistan, can produce. Here's a ONE DAY roundup from those reality-based folks at Reuters:
BAGHDAD - A U.S. soldier was killed by a roadside bomb on Monday south of Baghdad, the U.S. military said on Tuesday.

BASRA - A British soldier was killed when a mortar round landed on the British military base in Basra, 550 (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, the British military said.

MOSUL - Gunmen killed a student in the college of Islamic law and wounded another in Mosul, 390 km north of Baghdad, police said. Gunmen killed a man in a separate incident in Mosul, police added. The reason was unclear.

BAGHDAD - Gunmen attacked two minibuses carrying civil servants in the electricity department of Baghdad, killing four and wounding seven, police said.

NEAR KUT - A roadside bomb exploded beside a fuel truck wounding its driver in an area near Kut, 170 km southeast of Baghdad, police said.

KIRKUK - A member of the Arab Consultative Assembly, a gathering for Arab tribes and political parties, was gunned down in northern Kirkuk, 250 km north of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD - Seven people were wounded, including three police commandos, when a car bomb targeting a U.S. patrol exploded on Zayouna district, eastern Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD - Nine insurgents and 25 suspected insurgents have been detained by the Iraqi army forces in the past 24 hours in different areas of Baghdad, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

BAGHDAD - A suicide car bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol exploded on Palestine Street, northeastern Baghdad, wounding two civilians, a police source said.

BAGHDAD - Gunmen shot at an Iraqi Army checkpoint in the northern outskirts of Baghdad, wounding five, including one civilian, an Interior Ministry source said.

NEAR TIKRIT - A roadside bomb went off near a bus carrying Iraqi soldiers, killing 20 of them and wounding 13 near Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad.

BAGHDAD - At least 10 people were killed and 22 wounded when a car driven by a suicide bomber exploded near an army patrol in the mainly Shi'ite Karrada district of Baghdad, a source in the Interior Ministry said.

MUQDADIYA - Seven people were killed and 15 wounded when a car bomb exploded beside a police patrol near a hospital in the town of Muqdadiya, 90 km northeast of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD - A civilian was killed and another wounded when a roadside bomb exploded in northeastern Baghdad, police said.

BAQUBA - The bodies of three people were found in Baquba, 65 km north of Baghdad, police said.

KIRKUK - Two policemen were killed and another wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol in the northern oil city of Kirkuk, police said.
But the Iraqis will be able to go it alone by Christmas. No problem.
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