Posts Tagged ‘afghanistan

26
May
09

Namby-Pamby ‘Bout Gitmo Detainees

It’s perfectly acceptable for the Senate to shoot down funding for the removal of the Gitmo POWs if there is no plan in place for the aforementioned approval. I’m down with that.

All this NIMBY shite, however, regarding the detainees is right-wing/media overblown hoopla. Remember the summer of shark attacks? And then there was the media storm about steroids in baseball. The Terry Schaivo saga. And on and on and on. The media fixates on an issue, turning it into a much bigger monster than it actually is.

And the right-wingers want to ride this one all the the way to the 2010 elections. “The liberals want to let the terrorists run loose on American soil! The liberals want to let the terrorists go so they can attack us again!” God, all the needles it would take to pop all those gasbags full of hot air.

First of all, it has been quite common for the United States to hold prisoners of war inside U.S. territory. Really, peeps, it’s no big whoop. I would willingly pit any of the Gitmo POWs against the vast majority of inmates incarcerated in the U.S. in some steel cage death match with all my money on the American criminal. Damn straight.

The U.S. penal system, as well as its legal system, is well-equipped to deal with these men – ALL of them, even the real bad ones.

I challenge the media to profile each of these detainees individually. You see, grouping them together is marketing trickery to conjure images of these men far worse than they actually are. Remember, children, the best decisions are made with an over-abundance of information. So, let’s find out who these men are and then we’ll see if you’re still so scared of these rag-tag boogeymen.

Do they want to harm Americans? Yes. Are they “evil”? Sure.

But this is the freaking United States of America and if you think we can’t handle a few religious extremists caught in combat who have no access to military technology even close to many third world countries, let alone the U.S. than there is a severe plague of underestimation of U.S. fortitude.

And the Right. For fuck’s sake, they are ridiculous. All their bravado, all their gun-waving, dick-jousting, big man rhetoric, evaporates at the mere thought of some weakened, slipper-wearing men with beards being held in a super-max in Colorado. It’s pathetic.

The Right doesn’t even think the U.S. legal system – that so many Americans have died for – is capable of dispersing justice to these criminals.

Well, they may hope to win elections with this load of crap. But I, for one, am taking a stand on the side of U.S. strength and might. We can handle these guys. And any notion that we can’t is assinine politicking – from the Democrats as well as the Republicans.

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24
Sep
08

Release of Intelligence Report on Afghanistan Postponed Until After Election

In the ongoing campaign of secrecy an politicization of our troops and military activities by the Bush administration, the latest NIE on Afghanistan will not be made public until after the presidential election, according to Brian Ross of ABC News.

US intelligence analysts are putting the final touches on a secret National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Afghanistan that reportedly describes the situation as “grim”, but there are “no plans to declassify” any of it before the election, according to one US official familiar with the process.

Apparently, the NIE will report that the situation in Afghanistan is grim. Shocker.

Seth Jones, an expert on Afghanistan at the Rand Corporation think tank, called the situation in Afghanistan “dire.”

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“We are now at a tipping point, with about half of the country now penetrated by a range of Sunni militant groups including the Taliban and al Queida,” Jones said. Jones said there is growing concern that Dutch and Canadian forces in Afghanistan would “call it quits.”

“The US military would then need six, eight, maybe ten brigades but we just don’t have that many,” Jones said.

Last week, Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress “we’re running out of time” in Afghanistan. “I’m not convinced we’re winning it in Afghanistan,” Adm. Mullen testified.

I’m sure Afghanistan will be part of the dialogue during the debate Friday night. But McCain has yet to present a concise plan for a reduction in our troop levels in Iraq – despite every other major player from Obama to Bush to Maliki expressing their strategies.

The troops are overloaded with tours in quantity and in length. We’re losing major ground in the verifiable terrorist bullseye. So, I ask you, how is John McCain putting country first? All he gives is over-bloated threats about gates to hell and no substantive policy presentations on refocusing efforts toward Afghanistan.

Of course, now the Bush administration is helping him by keeping this NIE under wraps until after the election. Releasing the report would give the situation in Afghanistan the searing light of attention it deserves.

Republican leadership has not been good for the country, nor has it been good for the troops. Obviously.

23
Sep
08

Update On Decrease In Violence In Iraq

In my efforts to combat the campaign of misinformation regarding the “success of the surge,” I have blogged about the efficacy of Sunni payoffs and the new strategic ops program Bob Woodward has brought to light.

I’m sure many of you saw the new report that came out yesterday indicating the ethnic cleansing in Iraqi neighborhoods has been the “primary factor” in reduced violence in Iraq, especially in Baghdad. Whether ethnic cleansing was THE primary factor or not, I cannot say, but am sure it was a very large component – much larger than Bush’s surge – in reducing violence.

Sunni payoffs are also a primary factor in their “Awakening”, placing into question the stability of the decreased violence should the U.S. decide to reduce payoffs to Sunni tribes as our forces are withdrawn. Furthermore, there are around a million Shia refugees that will be looking to return to Iraq as reconstruction, which has been an abysmal failure, continues. Violence in the Anbar province and Baghdad continues to be very fragile. Despite the existence of ethnically-cleansed neighborhoods, poverty breeds violence and the payoffs ensure tribesmen do not look singularly to killing to “get what’s theirs.”

Developments to transition the security burden to the Iraqi government, however, are in progress. As the Associated Press reported yesterday, “The Iraqi government will begin paying the salaries of about 54,000 of the mostly Sunni fighters in Baghdad Province who joined the fight against al-Qaida.” Unfortunately, the article does not state that the U.S. is currently paying those salaries and gives the impression that the Iraqi government is “all of the sudden” offering payments to Sunnis. Obviously, Iraq – who stands to make between $67 and $79 billion in oil sales this year – has the cash to offer these payments despite the ubiquitous corruption in the government’s ranks.

This increased role by the Iraqi government is certainly a sign that there is a possibility of violence remaining at a reduced state as the U.S. refocuses its military efforts where they should be: Afghanistan.

What is most irritating as the election enters its final stage is the reluctance by Democrat leaders, besides Biden, to point out the other variables that reduced violence in Iraq and suck the air out of Republicans’ continual misleading about the results of the surge. Just this Sunday on 60 Minutes, Obama again failed to give a comprehensive response to claims about the surge:

Kroft: Iraq. When we talked to you the first time, back in February of 2007, you had proposed, at that time, a piece of legislation that would have had all the troops out in 16 months. Which means they would have been out by today, if it would have been passed. We would have missed the surge. We would have missed the reduction in violence.

Obama: Oh, wait, wait, wait, Steve. I mean, now you’re just engaging in a huge hypothetical. We don’t know what would have happened if we had initiated the plan that I put forward at the beginning of 2007. And the fact of the matter is that, as successful as our troops have been in lowering the violence in Iraq, and they have performed brilliantly. But the truth of the matter is we still don’t have an oil agreement. We still don’t have provincial elections. The commanders on the ground themselves acknowledge that the political progress that’s needed has not been made. So we all welcome the reduction in violence, but the notion that somehow this was the only way for us to solve the problem, and that the problem has been solved, I completely disagree with.

He really needs to get with the program ahead of this Friday’s debate on national security. Cowtowing to uninformed notions that honesty regarding military situations – especially troop activities – is somehow unpatriotic is no way to lead. A presentation of the facts is the best and most effective way to pop McCain’s false surge balloon. Simply saying, “We don’t know what would have happened if we didn’t go ahead with the surge,” does not get the job done, and presents a weak and disingenuous message. And that goes for all Democrats – not just Obama.

12
Sep
08

Lieberman Continues Playing Politics with Our Troops

Alright, Liberals, time for that famous anger. And anyone who else who thinks that decisions regarding the military should be measured and reasoned.

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butt-buddies

As I’ve written before, the “success” of the Surge actually has more to do with the U.S. government paying of the Sunnis and new secret ops strategies than manpower. The added troops helped undoubtedly. When discussing a war, however, it is of grave importance to acknowledge and understand the entire picture – which we have yet to see from McCain, Lieberman, or their third butt-buddy, Lindsey Graham.

I’ve almost beaten it into the ground, but I’ll provide the links here:

Decreased Violence in Iraq and Finally, Honesty About the Surge

I love it when you talk dirty

Furthermore, I have previously written that Joe Lieberman is playing politics with our troops with his proposed legislation ” which expresses the sense of the Senate recognizing the strategic success of the troop surge in Iraq.” Earlier, Lieberman had defended this amendment by quoting General Petraeus, “‘Iraq is still viewed as the central front for al-Qaida.’ Let me repeat that: ‘Iraq is still viewed as the central front for al-Qaida,’ which is to say by al-Qaida. Not Afghanistan, Iraq; not Pakistan, Iraq.”

According to Think Progress, Lieberman introduced the amendment Sept. 10, S. Amdt. 5368 to S. 3001, which states, among other things:

(18) In 2007, General Petraeus described Iraq as “the central front of al Qaeda’s global campaign”.

(19) In 2008, as a consequence of the success of the surge, al Qaeda has been dealt what Director of Central Intelligence Michael Hayden assesses as a “near strategic defeat” in Iraq.

(21) As a consequence of the success of the surge, sectarian violence in Iraq has fallen dramatically and has been almost entirely eliminated.

(22) As a consequence of the success of the surge, overall insurgent attacks have fallen by approximately 80 percent since June 2007 and are at their lowest level since March 2004.

(24) As a consequence of the success of the surge, the Government of Iraq has made significant strides in advancing sectarian reconciliation and achieving political progress, including the passage of key benchmark legislation.

Now, if the amendment said, “As a consequence of the success of government payoffs to Sunnis, new special operations strategies and the surge…yada, yada, yada,” this amendment would would be truthful.

The problem with the amendment stems from a basic principle of logic. Correlation does not prove cause between two variables. The surge is a variable and decreased violence in Iraq is a variable. That the surge happened at the beginning stages of the decrease in violence means the surge correlates to the surge, but it does not mean the surge caused it. More in-depth study of the decrease in violence in Iraq will outline Sunni payoffs (Sunni Awakening) and special operations programs more as causal factors. I learned this basic principle of logic as part of my education at an evil liberal university. Apparently, Lieberman didn’t.

Somebody's gotta chip on their shoulder....

I will repeat my opinion of this amendment. By introducing this piece of legislation at this time, Lieberman is politicizing the war and politicizing our military and politicizing our troops. He merely wants the Senate to agree to this 25 percent-true amendment so that McCain has ammunition to fire at Obama should Obama avoid the vote, vote no or vote yes. They want to pigeon-hole Obama into agreeing to a typical Republican slant on reality. It is shameful and reprehensible.

You can email Joe Lieberman at correspondence-email@lieberman.senate.gov to tell him your thoughts. I know I will. I haven’t decided if I’ll be incendiary or not… (NEVERMIND, I can’t get any of these email addresses to work… Still on the search for the right address!)

Furthermore, Lieberman is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. I know, it’s freaking crazy. If you’d like to sign the petition to have him removed, visit liebermanmustgo.com. I’m proud to say I’m one of 53,050 signers, but hope many more will join the effort. I can’t imagine they’d let him stay after this ridiculous behavior.

And, Connecticut, I know…I know… We’re saddled with him until 2012. Can I just suggest that you please, please remove him from office when you get the chance? I mean, for the love of pete! I know this comes from a Texas resident – but I swear, I SWEAR, I have not voted for Kay Bailey Hutchison or John Cornyn (at least after the age of 20 – kay bailey’s been around a looooooooonnnggggg time).

Update: I decided to go ahead and go with slightly incendiary language. Here’s the email I sent Lieberman’s office (at least, I tried to send him and will continue to do so until I find the correct email!)

Lieberman –

Your amendment to acknowledge the success of the surge without acknowledging Sunni payoffs or the new military strategic operations strategy is misleading and partially false.

You are only introducing this amendment with Senator Graham as a tool to attack Senator Obama should he vote “no,” “yes,” or avoid the vote altogether.

It is shameful and reprehensible that you would use our military for your own petty political games. It is easy to see through this charade and you know it.

I gladly anticipate your removal from your Senate chairmanship for you have lost your honor and integrity. I have signed the Lieberman Must Go petition with pleasure.

I’m sure the minions in your Senate office won’t let you read this, but at least they will know that there are plenty of us out there who see through your lies and bullshit. We’ll be watching.

Shame on you,

Meredith

01
Aug
08

Lieberman Using Surge Resolution for Shady Politics

I almost laughed out loud this morning when my daily news sweep revealed McCain minions Senator Lindsay Graham and Senator Joseph Lieberman plan on introducing legislation that will praise the success of the surge (which happened in Iraq), as Lieberman put it, in a central front of the war on terror against the enemies who attacked America on 9/11/01.

Obvious Points of Contention

The obvious points of contention with such an imbecilic statement are as follows:

  • Al Qaeda operated out of Afghanistan, not Iraq. Hussein had no contact with Al Qaeda, according to THE PENTAGON. In other words, Afghanistan, not Iraq is the central front to the war on terror. Iraq was Bush’s war of choice, not war on terrorists.
  • The success of the surge is largely to do with the payoffs of the Sunni death militias and buying the loyalty of previous insurgents and enemies. The increase in troop levels would likely not have had as significantly a positive effect on the violence in Iraq without the influx of cash in violent areas. Where’s a Lieberman and Graham resolution celebrating paying off the enemy? Cause there’s your success in the reduction of violence.
  • The situation in Afghanistan has intensely devolved – a situation which might have been alleviated had the surge happened in the actual central front of the war on terror. Perhaps at this point, we wouldn’t have troops deaths in Afghanistan on the rise.

Ulterior Motives

I must, however, bring up another note that speaks to Lieberman and Graham’s ulterior motives for introducing such a resolution, which does not come from the bottom of their hearts and is not ultimately designed to praise the troops.

In recent days, McCain has stopped mention the surge’s success in every other sentence and criticizing Obama’s failure to recognize the strategy’s “accomplishment.” It wouldn’t be PC for Obama to forcefully interject the correct assertion that many other factors, especially bribes, have more to do with the improved situation in Iraq.

The resolution would force a vote in the Senate, calling on Obama to capitulate to the Republicans on their surge rhetoric, potentially offending the Democratic base, or avoiding the vote (I highly doubt he’d cast a Nay), opening himself up to a Republican-concocted media storm full of loaded missiles underhandedly referring to Obama’s lack of loyalty.

It’s clear the McCain Campaign, especially under the direction of Steve Schmidt, will leave no mud unslung in their attempt to wrench this election from Obama. I doubt this legislative strategy by Graham and Lieberman (sure…they came up with it themselves) will have any lasting negative effects on Obama should they succeed. Still, it reeks of the distaste yet to come as the days between now and the election dwindle.

Spineless Joe

On another note, I checked a number of Connecticut news sites and not a one of them had a note about these new tactics proffered by their shamed senator and his incorrect geographical assertions. Lieberman’s behavior and increasing lack of character almost makes me glad Gore didn’t win in 2000. What a complete lack of spine to switch parties mid-election simply to win. And ever since, Lieberman has felt extremely comfortable abdicating any appropriate political standards to stay relevant and on the national stage. And he could be our vice president right now! Yikes.

I hope the voters in Connecticut are paying attention even if their news is not. While we’ll have to put up with this politically ambiguous fall-for-anything, stand-for-nothing senator until 2012, at least he’ll be largely silenced after Obama wins and the Senate kicks him out of his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. That’s right. The chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security thinks the central front of the war on terror is in Iraq.

We need to start administering IQ tests to our national leaders. Anybody with me?

If you’d like to participate in the effort to encourage the Democratic Steering Committee to remove Lieberman from his chairmanship, visit liebermanmustgo.com.

The Senate floor should serve as the stage solutions to the grave problems our country faces at this moment, not for shifty political strategies.

UPDATE: 08.04.08 Beautiful. Tom Brokaw asked Lieberman on Meet the Press yesterday if he was going to the Republican Convention. Lieberman predictably would not answer the question directly but intimated he would go. Before asking about the convention Brokaw suggested the  next Democratic Caucus might be uncomfortable for Lieberman and brought up the liebermanmustgo.com website to him as well! The signatures on that website are increasing rapidly, which is so amusing to my inner political child. Click here if you’d like to read the transcript of yesterday’s show; or, if you just want to read Think Progress’s note on the show, click here.

24
Jul
08

Live Blogging of Obama’s Speech in Berlin

Chris Matthews said yesterday that Obama’s trip had gone so well, he just skip Germany and just come home. This has to be one of Matthew’s larger brain farts. Can you imagine how pissed the Germans would be if Obama canceled on them last minute? Furthermore, the speeches given by JFK and Reagan in Germany will be remembered throughout history. For Obama to squander such an opportunity at such an exciting time would be a massive mistake. Minus 10 points, Chris!

Here we go,

  • Speaker is echoing. If this goes on the whole time…let’s just say, “Chinese Water Torture.”
  • Speaking not as a candidate, but as a citizen of U.S. and World.
  • He just laughed at a crazy yell from an audience member. So perfect that show of humor.
  • Talking about his father dreaming of a better life and someone in American answered his calls.
  • Recalling when U.S. & Germany histories became intertwined 60 years ago.
  • All that stood in the way of the Soviets marching across Europe and perhaps starting another world war was Berlin. The airlift began.
  • “People of the world, look at Berlin. Where Germans and Americans learned to work together and trust each other.” And make good beer!
  • NATO – the greatest alliance ever formed to defend our common security. Take that, isolationists!!
  • Good speech writing, Good delivery cadence.
  • The 21st Century has revealed a world more intertwined than at any other time in history. (paraphrasing) This new closeness also brings new dangers.
  • The terrorists of 9/11 plotted in Hamburg.
  • Climate problems.
  • The poppies in Afghanistan come to Berlin as heroin.
  • We cannot afford to be divided… No one nation can defeat these challenges alone.
  • Sometimes, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have drifted apart and forgotten our shared destiny.
  • In America, there are voices that deny Europe’s role in our security and our future.
  • Global citizenship.
  • “Greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from each other.”
  • We must tear down walls dividing rich/poor, races, religions.
  • I hope Americans are remembering that Germany is having massive race/religion issues. Their lax immigration laws have created tension with their growing population of Arabs and Muslims. In many ways, America has outpaced European in progress of race relations – I noticed while living over there.
  • Now is the time to join together across the globe.
  • “This is the moment we must defeat terror and dry up the well that supports it.”
  • The camera has closed up on his face – good staging.
  • NATO’s first mission beyond Europe’s borders, Afghanistan, must be accomplished.
  • He said tal-ee-ban again. One of his handlers needs to get on that.
  • “We must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.” Ahmadinejad, can you hear me?
  • We need a strong European Union.
  • If I were a betting person, and I am, I’d say he’s obviously going to win the election if, for not other reason, than he’s the polar opposite of George W.
  • Passing responsibility to Iraqi govt. and finally bring this war to a close.
  • Crowd started chanting Obama! Obama! with a European accent. giggle.
  • Must reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere.
  • “This is the moment to give our children back their future.”
  • The world will watch and remember what we do with this moment.
  • He’s addressing problems in more countries than George W. can probably name.
  • When we reject torture and stand for the rule of law.. (attn: Rummy, Cheney, McFlipFlop etc. etc.)
  • There are time when U.S. actions do not live up to our best intentions. — Is he saying W. and Cheney had good intentions? Objection!
  • All free people everywhere became citizens of Berlin. Jeez, that’s a good line!
  • Conclusion: I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope with an eye toward the future, with resolve in our heart. Let us remember this history and answer our destiny and remake the world once again. Thank you, Berlin!

Andrea Mitchell is reporting German officials say the crowd is more than 100,000 strong.

Compete with that, McCAN’T. Booyah.

McCain says he’d like to give a speech in Berlin as president (suggesting it’s inappropriate for Obama to give the speech as just a candidate). Won’t happen, John. Sucks to be you today.

UPDATE: Huffpo is reporting the Foreign Service barred it’s employees from attending the Obama rally. Is there any freedom left the Bush administration hasn’t tried to curtail?? There has never been an administration in the history of the United States that has so strongly attacked our freedoms, liberties and right to pursue happiness. How does that man Bush hold his head high every day as he marches our country toward an autocracy? I have never been more thankful for term limits than I am at this moment. Of course, I suppose it wouldn’t matter if Bush could run for reelection. The landslide would smother any hope he would have of continuing his disastrous political career.

20
Jul
08

Don’t Call It A Timetable

I’ve been anticipating the White House explanation for the coming draw-down in U.S. forces in Iraq. How would the administration, in all their pride and arrogance, deal with the hints that this new strategy is a capitulation to the growing demands to draw this military debacle to its appropriate conclusion?

The drums for Afghanistan are beating louder every day as the violence continues to climb in this forgotten war. Furthermore, the Iraqi refusal to establish an agreement for a long-term U.S. military presence was nothing less than an embarrassing slap in the face for the Bush administration. Glorious, indeed, wasn’t it – reading those headlines?

And just this weekend, as Obama traverses foreign lands, Der Spiegel is reporting Maliki agrees with the Democratic presidential nominee’s plan for withdrawal. Gasp! (UPDATE: Maliki’s spokesman is saying Der Spiegel misinterpreted Maliki’s statements, according to MSNBC. UPDATE: haha. ThinkProgress is reporting the Bush administration has pressured the Iraqi government to “walk back” on the statements made in the Der Spiegel interview, the translator worked for Maliki, not Der Spiegel AND the NYTIMES obtained a recording of the interview and supports the original interpretation).

Perhaps this recent period of political bassackwardness and insanity under W. will soon be behind us. And how does the White House present the surprising injection of reason in their policy?

Of course, they present it as a new strategy of their own formulation, complete with their own semantic flavor – amusing to boot. This morning, as I watched the airing of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s exclusive interview with CNN bear Wolf Blitzer, it was clear the administration has finally embraced a timetable for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq. But she didn’t call it “timetable.”

No, Bush cronies would never use that liberal cuss word “timetable”, so those clever little word smiths introduced their new phrase for future troop reduction and it’s a beaut if I do say so myself: ASPIRATIONAL TIME HORIZON.

Not timetable. Aspirational Time Horizon. I couldn’t have come up with a better phrase myself if you’d given me a month and an unlimited supply of pinot grigio. And I am kickass at Family Fued.

So, I hope you will enjoy, as I will and as the flame of the W. Bush presidency is wonderfully extinguished, one of last sieges of megalomania from our executive branch.

And one more time for shits and giggles: Aspirational Time Horizon. It just rolls of the tongue!




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