Category Archives: 05_kathy

Four Thousand

That is the number of U.S. troops who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, as of today:

Four thousand U.S. service members have died in U.S. President George W. Bush’s “war on terror” in Iraq and Afghanistan 5 1/2 years after American forces ousted the Taliban in December 2001.

A total of 3,596 have died in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion that removed Saddam Hussein from power. Some 2,957 of that number were killed in action, according to the latest Department of Defense figures. More than 26,500 personnel have been wounded in that conflict, 11,959 of them so seriously they couldn’t return to duty.

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The New York Times and Colin Powell

Looking through the response on Memeorandum to the New York Times editorial published today (and that I wrote about here), I see that the editorial has drawn fury from the right, and scorn from the left. The right, obviously, is outraged at the Times‘ “surrender to the terrorists”; and the left is dismissive of a too-late editorial that comes after years of beating the drum for war via official editorial policy and via reporting slanted in favor of Bush administration policy (by the likes of Judith Miller and Michael Gordon, for example).

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The New York Times Finally Tells the Truth, Without Mincing Words

Check out tomorrow’s (well, actually, today’s, now) editorial in the New York Times, called “The Road Home“:

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Near-Majority in U.S. Support Bush Impeachment

So far I haven’t seen this in any U.S. news outlet:

Nearly half of the US public wants President George W. Bush to face impeachment, and even more favor that fate for Vice President Dick Cheney, according to a poll out Friday.

The survey by the American Research Group found that 45 percent support the US House of Representatives beginning impeachment proceedings against Bush, with 46 percent opposed, and a 54-40 split in favor when it comes to Cheney.

Here’s the poll.

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A Couple of Tidbits

Oh, but it’s money well-spent.

So you think you’ve heard everything? You haven’t. Until now.

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Bang the Drum Louder

Joseph Lieberman is having a nervous breakdown because the United States has not — yet — started bombing Iran. In today’s Opinion Journal (where else?) Lieberman states as fact — with, needless to say, not one shred of evidence or support other than the statements of one military official — that Hezbollah, at Iran’s behest, is training Iraqis to kill Americans in Iraq; and that the Quds Force is instructing Iraqi insurgents — in groups of 60 at a time — in the use of mortars, rockets, and IEDs to kill American servicemen and women.

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My Independence Day

I’ve always had an ambivalent relationship to the Fourth of July. Like everyone whose birthday is also a major holiday, I’ve felt resentful at the fact that the anniversary of my birth falls on a day when everyone’s attention is occupied with another hugely important celebration.

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Democracy, I’m Your Biggest Fan

The New York Times is being called all sorts of nasty names by those lovers of democracy on the right, for publishing an op-ed by Ahmed Yousef, chief political adviser to Ismail Haniya. Haniya, a Hamas member, won the post of prime minister after Hamas’s landslide electoral victory last November.

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The Problem Is Militarism, Not 9/11

Andrew Bacevich has an op-ed in today’s Los Angeles Times:

Is the U.S. Army too small?

The Democrats vying to succeed George W. Bush think so. Presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama all promise, if elected, to expand our land forces. Clinton has declared it “past time to increase the end-strength of the Army and Marines.” Edwards calls for a “substantial increase.” Obama offers hard numbers: His program specifies the addition of 92,000 soldiers.

Leading Republicans concur. John McCain has long advocated a bigger Army. Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney are now chiming in. Giuliani wants to expand the Army with an additional 10 combat brigades. Romney says that “at least 100,000” more troops are needed.

This bipartisan consensus — which even includes Bush, who recently unveiled his own five-year plan to enlarge the Army and Marine Corps — illustrates the inability or refusal of the political class to grasp the true nature of our post-9/11 foreign policy crisis. Any politician who thinks that the chief lesson to be drawn from the last five years is that we need more Americans toting rifles and carrying rucksacks has learned nothing.

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A Mistake of Historic Proportions

[Just moving this back to the top for awhile, because it’s got a ton of good information in it, and I didn’t want it to fall into our own ‘Friday News Hole.’ — Melissa]

On September 8, 2002, Scott Ritter addressed the Iraqi Parliament — the first American citizen to do so [all emphasis is mine]:

Thank you Mr President and the members of the Iraqi National Assembly for giving me the opportunity to speak with you today. I understand that I appear before you today not only as the first American citizen to address your body, but also as the first non-governmental speaker as well. And I thank you for providing me with this historical opportunity.

As you are well aware, we live in dangerous times with the threat of war looming on the horizon and the harsh reality of life without normalcy stalking your nation and indeed the entire Middle East on a daily basis for well over a decade.

I am here today to discuss this situation with you and share with you my own personal insights and observations as to how this situation might be improved. Before I continue, I would like to offer a word or two about why I am here today and what motivates me to speak before you and the people of Iraq in this manner. For more than twelve years now, I have been involved with issues pertaining to Iraq. First as an officer of the United States Marine Corps participating in combat operations during the Gulf War of 1990-1991. And then, as a UN weapons inspector, a position which I served for nearly seven years from 1991 to 1998, and for the past five years as an advocate of truth in the search for a peaceful resolution to the problems that plague the relations between my country and yours. I appear to you as a private citizen of the United States of America. And while I have a great deal of respect and sympathy for the people of Iraq, I have a greater love for my own country and my people, which is why I am here.

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“Hey, Kids! Let’s Put On A War!”

We can call it Babes Old Fools in Arms!

Sen. Joseph Lieberman said Sunday the United States should consider a military strike against Iran because of Tehran’s involvement in Iraq.

“I think we’ve got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq,” Lieberman said. “And to me, that would include a strike over the border into Iran, where we have good evidence that they have a base at which they are training these people coming back into Iraq to kill our soldiers.”
[…]
“We’ve said so publicly that the Iranians have a base in Iran at which they are training Iraqis who are coming in and killing Americans. By some estimates, they have killed as many as 200 American soldiers,” Lieberman said. “Well, we can tell them we want them to stop that. But if there’s any hope of the Iranians living according to the international rule of law and stopping, for instance, their nuclear weapons development, we can’t just talk to them.”

He added, “If they don’t play by the rules, we’ve got to use our force, and to me, that would include taking military action to stop them from doing what they’re doing.”

Lieberman said much of the action could probably be done by air, although he would leave the strategy to the generals in charge. “I want to make clear I’m not talking about a massive ground invasion of Iran,” Lieberman said.

“They can’t believe that they have immunity for training and equipping people to come in and kill Americans,” he said. “We cannot let them get away with it. If we do, they’ll take that as a sign of weakness on our part and we will pay for it in Iraq and throughout the region and ultimately right here at home.”

What would life be without a domino theory to give it meaning?

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C.I.A. Ran Secret Prisons in Poland and Romania

That is the finding of a report prepared for the Council of Europe, a coalition of countries that monitors human rights:

The CIA ran secret jails in Poland and Romania to interrogate key terror suspects, shackling and handcuffing inmates, keeping some naked for weeks, and reducing contact with the outer world to masked and silent guards, a European investigator said yesterday.

The CIA called the report “distorted,” but stopped short of denying the existence of such prisons. The agency said it does not discuss the location of its overseas facilities. Poland and Romania also vehemently denied the allegations.

“High value detainees” like self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and suspected senior Al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah were held in Poland, said the report, which cited CIA sources. It said lesser detainees, but still of “remarkable importance,” were taken to Romania.

[…]

The report said its conclusions about the clandestine prisons relied on “multiple sources which validate and corroborate one another.” Marty said his team spoke with “over 30 one-time members of intelligence services in the United States and Europe” as well as former or current detainees and human rights activists.

While conceding at a news conference that sources for the report were limited, Marty said they were “well placed,” including some who “were implicated.”

The alleged prisons were at the center of a “spider’s web” of purported human rights abuses that Marty outlined in his initial investigation a year ago.

That report focused on flights to spirit detainees to CIA hideouts with landing points in at least 14 nations.

Clandestine prisons and secret CIA flights involving European countries would breach the continent’s human rights treaties, although the Council of Europe has no power to punish countries. The council, which is separate from the European Union, was set up four years after World War II to promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Europe.

[…]

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano did not address whether there were secret detention centers, but he disputed the report’s characterization of the agency’s activities.

“When you see words like apartheid and torture in the document, that tells you it’s biased and distorted,” he said. “The CIA’s counterterror operations have been lawful, effective, closely reviewed, and of benefit to many people — including Europeans — in disrupting plots and saving lives. Our counterterror partnerships in Europe are very strong.”

Gimigliano is a liar. Note I did not say he is wrong. That would imply a mistake made in good faith. But that is not the case. Gimigliano knows as well as he knows his own name that secret prisons are illegal by definition. Secret prisons cannot be reviewed, closely or otherwise, because they’re secret. No one knows where they are. No one knows who is being held in them. To suggest that C.I.A. “reviews” of interrogation practices in its own clandestine facilities, with no independent oversight of those “reviews,” could possibly be legitimate, is beyond absurd, beyond outrageous. The contempt such a claim reveals for ordinary common sense, not to mention what the law requires, truly takes one’s breath away.

Cross-posted at Liberty Street.

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Passing the Religiosity Test

Do you remember the good old days? You know — when candidates for high office did not have to publicly declare their love for the Lord in order to have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning elections?

Cross-posted at Liberty Street.

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The Strange Case of the Soviet Torture That Morphed Into “Interrogation”

Scott Shane of the New York Times writes about how the C.I.A. and the Pentagon, after 9/11, turned to a Cold War-era military program that trained Americans in how to resist common Soviet torture techniques in order to develop the so-called “enhanced interrogation methods” used against detainees in Guantanamo, in C.I.A.-run secret detention centers, and in other U.S.-controlled interrogation facilities worldwide:

HOW did the United States, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, come to adopt interrogation techniques copied from the Soviet Union and other cold war adversaries?

Investigators for the Senate Armed Services Committee are examining how the methods, long used to train Americans for what they may face as prisoners of war, became the basis for American interrogations.

In 2002, the C.I.A. and the Pentagon became concerned that standard questioning was inadequate for suspected terrorists and turned to a military training program called Survival, Evasion, Reconnaissance and Escape, or SERE. For decades, SERE trainers had exposed aviators and others at high risk for capture to Soviet-style tactics, including disrupted sleep, exposure to extreme heat and cold, and hours in uncomfortable stress positions. Sometimes the ordeal included waterboarding, in which a prisoner’s face is covered with cloth and water is poured from above to create a feeling of suffocation.

Some of those techniques have been used on prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and in Afghanistan and Iraq, and at the C.I.A.’s secret overseas jails for high-level operatives of Al Qaeda.

Many SERE veterans were appalled at the “reverse engineering” of their methods, said Charles A. Morgan III, a Yale psychiatrist who has worked closely with SERE trainers for a decade.

“How did something used as an example of what an unethical government would do become something we do?” he asked.

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Condi and Dick and Iran

Michael Hirsh and Mark Hosenball write about the power struggle between Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice over Iran policy, with Rice supposedly favoring diplomacy — however a Bush acolyte would define that word — and Cheney pushing hard for war. Here’s a particularly telling bit [bolds are mine]:

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News Flash: Al Qaeda Tortures People

James Taranto in the WSJ Opinion Journal on the lack of attention in the media to a report that Al Qaeda practices torture:

We also checked the blogs of Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Greenwald, among the most hysterical accusers of America in the “torture” debate, and here is what they have had to say about the al Qaeda documents: .

Cute, huh?
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Stuff You Just Can’t Make Up

1. Pres. Bush accusing opponents of his immigrant amnesty legislation of fear-mongering.

2. Tony Blair’s response to being told that Muslim anger at the West was not surprising given that the United States and Britain invaded Iraq and Afghanistan:

When he had finished, I said to him: tell me exactly what they feel angry about. We remove two utterly brutal and dictatorial regimes; we replace them with a United Nations-supervised democratic process and the Muslims in both countries get the chance to vote, which incidentally they take in very large numbers. And the only reason it is difficult still is because other Muslims are using terrorism to try to destroy the fledgling democracy and, in doing so, are killing fellow Muslims.

What’s more, British troops are risking their lives trying to prevent the killing. Why should anyone feel angry about us? …

3. Michelle Malkin in high dudgeon over “left-wing political child abuse” and the “exploitation” of 3-year-olds who were taken to an antiwar event in NYC at which they sang “It’s A Small World” in front of a “Tree of Peace” made out of green construction paper. “Ready to gag?” she warns her readers before inviting them to view a video of teachers talking to children about “pursuing peaceful paths to end all world conflicts.”

4. Robert Knight at NewsBusters apoplectic over the scandalous failure of the major media to report that the winner of the National Spelling Bee was homeschooled.

5. Right-wing bloggers sermonizing about “Darkness Redux” and “the silence of the complicit” because of the MSM’s failure to write about and show photographs of torture committed by Al Qaeda — while remaining silent about articles like this and this.

Links to right-wing blogs mentioned in this post can be found in my cross-post at Liberty Street.

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Pres. Bush Wants Iraq To Be the New South Korea

Pres. Bush is having visions again, and in his visions he sees the United States staying in Iraq for the next 50 years, just like we did in South Korea:

President George W. Bush would like to see a lengthy U.S. troop presence in Iraq like the one in South Korea to provide stability but not in a frontline combat role, the White House said on Wednesday.

The United States has had thousands of U.S. troops in South Korea to guard against a North Korean invasion for 50 years.

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Mighty Joe Lieberman

Joe Lieberman reporting from Iraq:

CNN reports that Lieberman is on an unannounced “surprise” visit to Baghdad. Paula Hancocks followed Lieberman around. She talked to Lieberman and reported, “He said he was happy with the progress. He was devastated by the fact that May was turning in to the deadliest month since November 2004. But he said he did believe that this surge eventually would pay off and it would start to break the insurgency.”

Richard at All Spin Zone marvels at how different the view looks from Planet Lieberman than from anywhere else.

Of course, rose-colored glasses always work better in Emerald City, aka the Green Zone — which is where Lieberman spent most of his time in Iraq. Wonkette reports on what he missed:

Meanwhile, “everyday life” continued, if by “life” you mean “mass murder.”

On Memorial Day, 10 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq — eight of those died when an American helicopter was shot down north of Baghdad. And yesterday, “gunmen dressed in police uniforms staged a well-coordinated kidnapping at Iraq’s Finance Ministry and abducted five Britons. Two vehicle bombings in Baghdad killed at least 44 people and injured 74. And the bodies of 32 men — all shot and tortured, some handcuffed and blindfolded — were found in two locations north and south of the capital on Tuesday.”

Lieberman laughed and said, “The surge is working!” May is already the deadliest month for American troops in Iraq since 2004.

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Uhhh, What Happened To Protecting the American People?

As Liss mentioned below, the Bush administration is taking legal action to prevent a small meatpacking company in Kansas from testing its entire herd for mad cow disease. WTF, you say? Oh, don’t worry. They have a good reason: They want to protect the giant meatpackers from consumer pressure to test their cows [my emphasis]:

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