Saturday, December 30, 2006

year one

guy2k is one year old today, and I am perhaps as surprised as anybody that I have managed to keep this up for this long. I know I should lay before you some sort of greatest hits of my posts, showing you the most popular or most linked to or something, but honestly, such distinctions would not be statistically significant. If you are wondering what one year of posts looks like, scroll down to the archive, click on something at random, and relive those good times. I have averaged over a post a day here (and that’s not even including the stuff over at capitoilette), and I can assure you that every single one is a Pulitzer quality gem!

No, not really. . . but there are a few good ones, if I may say so myself. Mostly, I’ll remember the laughter. . . .

But, in all seriousness, I would like to thank all of my readers—especially you really regular ones—for sticking with me all year. I hope to keep this up and keep you coming back in 2007. (I would also like to encourage a little more feedback in the comments section, but why ask for the moon when we already have the stars, right?) Let me also thank all of those who were cool enough to quote or link to me this last year—you know who you are (plus, it’s late and I don’t want to go searching through 450 posts to make the thank yous clickable. . . sorry).

If we all don’t get to cyber-talk before Monday, let me take this cyber-moment to wish all of you a healthy, happy, and peaceful new year filled with progressive politics, enjoyable popular culture, and tasty mixed drinks.

See you in year two.


Friday, December 29, 2006

an event so momentous, we have to do it in secret

In what will be the mother of all Friday night news dumps, US forces are hastily coordinating with the nominal Iraqi government to hang Saddam Hussein before the dawn start of Eid al-Adha—the Muslim feast of sacrifice.

It goes without saying that executing a brutal dictator proves nothing and heals no one, and it seems equally clear that the Shiite dominated government has neither the will nor the authority to allow for a fuller airing of evidence against the former Iraqi leader or a more international legal process that might promote some reconciliation between the major ethnic and religious populations of the region. Further, the execution will end the current and other soon to start Hussein trials and silence the voices that might have served to continue to remind Iraqis about the bad old days under Saddam, allowing them to focus on the present bad days under American occupation.

But what is most striking, perhaps, is that the death of Saddam, something you think the Bush administration would have wanted to trumpet, promote, and even celebrate, is being rushed and pursued in a cloud of intentional obfuscation and utmost secrecy. Coming, as it will, not only before Eid, but before a weekend, and a New Year’s Holiday weekend, at that, AND a holiday that is to be followed with a state funeral and national day of morning for Gerald Ford, it is abundantly clear that the Bush administration wants to bury the bitter strange fruit of its Iraqi “victory” strategy.

It is probably appropriate to end the year with one more wrong and wrongheaded move on the part of the Bush Administration that will accomplish nothing except most likely to make the situation even worse, but it is still a little amazing that the “war president” that so proudly and publicly continues to send American men and women to their deaths in Iraq is so very embarrassed about the purported dividend of their sacrifice.

Amazing and disgusting.

(cross-posted to Daily Kos)

Update: Saddam Hussein was executed, "on schedule," at approximately 10PM EST. Bush and his gang hang one; meanwhile, the rest of the Iraqi people and the coalition soldiers are left to twist in the wind.

what I said. . . and what I didn’t

There are two pieces over at HufPo that do a nice job of expanding upon (OK, agreeing with) my post regarding some of the late President Ford’s less admirable traits—and it is nice to know I wasn’t just being a nasty blankety-blank blogger when I spoke ill of the dead. And, there is a fresh list of the top underreported stories of 2006 over at I go into a little bit more detail about all of that over at capitoilette.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

speaking ill of the dead

I hate hagiography, so the last two days have not been kind to me. . . since they’ve been exceedingly and incredibly kind to the newly-late President Gerald R. Ford.

When looking back at the brief presidency of Gerald Ford, there are far more reasons to spare the encomiums than to spare the rod. The names Rumsfeld and Cheney are among the topmost, but let me turn briefly to another negative that so very many seem to be pointing to as a positive—that would be the pardoning of Richard Nixon but a month after his resignation and Ford’s “promotion.”

So many in the last two days are pushing the notion that President Ford’s pardoning of Nixon was some great and selfless act of leadership. I see it (as I saw it then) as a cynical and selfish act of cowardice. Whether or not there was a “deal” to have Ford quickly pardon Nixon if Nixon resigned, if it is to be argued that Ford’s pardon made it easier for Nixon to resign—got him out of office before he had a total meltdown—then, no matter what you might call it, a deal was what it was. You can’t praise that end while denying that it came as result of a deal.

Yet, many do just that. And they praise the “healing” that Ford began with his pardon, pursuing this “noble” course even though it eventually (maybe) cost him reelection. First, let it be understood that there was nothing healing about that pardon—to call it so would be to say that you could heal a cut by forgiving the knife. What Ford did do was short-circuit the rule of law by pardoning a man before he had been tried or convicted of a crime, and short-change the American people by preventing a full public hearing of the shamed former President’s misdeeds.

Gerry Ford did not pardon Tricky Dick to heal a country in spite of the political fallout, he moved as quickly as he did because he thought that a protracted court battle would be deleterious to his personal political fortunes and to the future electoral success of the Republican Party. Ford pardoned Nixon in an attempt to put the matter to bed—to sweep it under the rug before the coming election cycle. Our “long national nightmare” was not over, but Ford was hoping that by pardoning Nixon, the scandal that was to persist as his and his party’s political nightmare was.

That was the kind of “level-headed” leadership that we now find our press and punditocracy praising.

And, if you want another example of the particular profile in courage that Gerald Ford happened to cut throughout his life, than look no further than today’s Washington Post. There, you will see a story, based on an “embargoed” interview with none other than Bob “I’m saving it for my book” Woodward, about Ford’s strong criticism of George W. Bush and the Invasion of Iraq. “I don’t think I would have gone to war,” said Ford, and, “I just don't think we should go hellfire damnation around the globe freeing people, unless it is directly related to our own national security."

Ford also had a few choice words for his former Chief of Staff:

“I think Cheney has become much more pugnacious" as vice president. He said he agreed with former secretary of state Colin L. Powell's assertion that Cheney developed a "fever" about the threat of terrorism and Iraq. "I think that's probably true."

All of this was said in July of 2004—yes, three months before the crucial and closely contested presidential election—but was kept under raps until now because of an agreement between Ford and Woodward,

Would a rebuke from this supposedly levelheaded and courageous elder statesman have prevented Bush from going to war? Not likely, I must admit. Could such a non-endorsement from a fellow Republican and ex-president flipped enough votes in Ohio or New Mexico or Florida to propel John Kerry to the presidency? Hard to say. Would it be the courageous thing to express your thoughts when they might have some impact? Even for a guy who played a few too many football games without a helmet, that should have been a no-brainer.

Gerald Ford might have been a nice guy, and, when compared with some of the cynical Republican Presidents that followed him, maybe he seems honest or, at least, bipartisan. But, if we let history be the judge—instead of the appointed and self-appointed healers of an ill legacy—then it is clear that the Ford we now honor was neither the right man for the time nor a president for the ages.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

boxing day

Congratulations George, you’ve now killed more Americans than Osama bin Laden.

Kind of gives boxing day a whole new meaning, don’t it?

Friday, December 22, 2006

I kill children

I have been wanting to write about this so-called strategy that is now being espoused by the three great military minds of our time—I am of course referring to the Deliberator, the asshole, and the traitor—but I get so angry that I find it hard to be eloquent. So, instead, I just want to blurt out a few things:

(My blurt got a bit long, so follow me over to capitoilette.)

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Good Kwanza, and Hooray for the Solstice.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

2007’s word of the year

There have already been plenty of radio shows and newspaper articles on what might be christened 2006’s word of the year. Macaca is up there. So is google as a verb (though maybe a little too 2005), and, of course, Decider as a proper noun. Carbon Neutral is a nice one—even if it is really two—and Merriam Webster Online chose Truthiness.

Problem is, Truthiness was already 2005’s word of the year according to the American Dialect Society, the self-anointed grand arbiters of this contest. The ADS has, in the past, given shout-outs to Red State/Blue State/Purple State (2004’s “word” of the year), metrosexual (2003’s w.o.t.y.), santorum (a by-product of anal sex, 2003’s most outrageous word of the year), and, looking back to 1999’s top spot, Y2K—a personal favorite for obvious reasons.

Nominations are ongoing for 2006’s big word over at the Dialect Society’s website—well, not quite, it seems you have to be a “real” journalist or something (which reminds me, I nominate establishment media)—but because the word of the year has to be in something resembling common usage by the end of the appointed year, I want to get a head start on 2007.

I nominate Tinkerbellista. Yes, I invented that word. Just last week, as a matter of fact. I originally spelled it “Tinkerbelle-ista,” but I think the word will evolve to lose its final “e” and hyphen, don’t you? (I actually heard someone remark with love that blogs are great for the language because they are essentially un-copyedited. Hooray for us!)

A Tinkerbellista is a person hanging on to a discredited idea or belief that thinks or espouses that if we all just believe in whatever it is with more fervor, it will become true. The more improbable or implausible the whatever is, the harder we must all believe (see: victory in Iraq).

Obviously, Tinkerbellista (don’t worry, it will eventually lose its capital “T,” too) comes to us courtesy of Peter Pan, who urges all of us to save the rather ethereal Tinkerbelle by believing, and to show that belief by clapping.

While credit for the origins of this word as a pejorative must go somewhere else—I have seen the sarcastic exaltation “clap louder” on several blogs—I would here and now like to take credit for being the first to call the non-sarcastic “clap louder” crowd Tinkerbellistas. (Don’t believe me? Go ahead, google it. . . or just clap louder!)

So, now, my dear readers, it is all up to you. Your mission for 2007 is to sprinkle your speech and writing with the great, grand, and useful word Tinkerbellista.

(And, if you want to nominate any of those “old” words for 2006, the ADS may not want to hear from you, but I do. I’d love it if you left your favorites as comments below. Thanks!)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

pot in every chicken

News Monday that marijuana is now pretty much indisputably the United State’s number one cash crop—an estimated $35 billion annually—instantly conjured this rejoinder in my mind: and that’s without subsidies!

The issue of farm subsidies will no doubt come up at some point during the run of the 110th Congress, and it is almost as certain that nothing substantial will be done about them.

As a preface to any further discussion, let me just state that I have nothing against the so-called family farmer. Small-scale farming is a noble and rewarding profession and provides me with a greenmarket full of delights. But small farms received almost none of the roughly $144 billion that the federal government doled out in the form of “stability payments” in the last ten years.

In fact, 73% of the federal aid goes to just 10% of the recipients—large agribusiness companies that produce beef, grain, and cotton if they produce any farm sector product at all. The purple cauliflower and stamen apples for which I cruise Union Square this time of year are almost guaranteed to be federal dollar-free.

Further, “red” states and “swing” states get a disproportionate amount of the aid. Eight states—TX, IA, IL, NE, MN, KS, AR, and ND—receive over half the money. Or, to look at it another way, three quarters of the aid has gone to just 57 of the 435 congressional districts.

While I do think there is some place for the federal government in the farm economy—to help the few independent, small farmers left and assure that the food we all need is the food that is grown, for instance—the current system is little more than the kind of corporate welfare Republicans and Democrats alike are fond of criticizing.

But just because it is criticized doesn’t mean it is likely to change. The mere fact that we have a Senate means that farm states are over-represented on Capitol Hill, and the payment distribution, as noted above, makes for some very handy political greenmail come election time.

Of course, the size of agricultural subsidies are a just a silly pittance when compared with the cost of the debacle in Iraq, but it should still be noted that much like in the case of “defense” dollars going to the Halliburtons of this world, our taxes are being used in the case of farm aid to reward large corporations with political irons in the fire.

Add to stability payments the money spent for domestic Marijuana eradication, and you have a two-pronged argument against billions of our federal tax dollars being wasted. The bumper marijuana crop shows that the war on pot has pretty much failed, just as it seems to vividly demonstrate that you don’t need subsidies to make money in agriculture.

Monday, December 18, 2006

perhaps this explains the chilly reception by our “recovering” alcoholic president

A regular reader (one of my few) has recently complained that this blog’s header had promised politics, popular culture, and mixed drinks, and, as of yet, I had yet to deliver on the latter of the three. “Where are my mixed drinks?!? You promised mixed drinks!” he demanded—perhaps after imbibing a few mixed drinks on his own.

Well, fair is fair, and since we are all about the, er, um, truth here at guy2k, let’s rectify the matter by honoring both the promise of my header and the already moribund report from the Iraq Study Group—aka the Baker Commission—at the same time.

The Velvet Hammer

1 oz cream
3/4 oz crème de cacao (brown)
3/4 oz Vodka

Shake well over ice cubes in a shaker; strain into a cocktail glass.

This recipe is adapted from Charles Schumann’s American Bar, which notes that this drink can also be called a Vodka Alexander, even though the drink bears little resemblance to the soon to be senior Senator from Tennessee.

Friday, December 15, 2006

sudden impact (delayed bombshell)

As I write this morning, I would say I feel guardedly optimistic that Senator Tim Johnson will recover from his AVM brain bleed and emergency surgery and be able to return to the Senate sometime before the end of this coming session of the 110th Congress. Why do I feel optimistic? I have some familiarity with arteriovenous malformations because of a relative, and I have read reports that the Senator is responding to touch and voice, but mostly, I’ll admit, I’m thinking with my heart.

And, I will also admit to feeling a bit queasy both listening to and participating in the political speculation about what would happen should Johnson die or remain incapacitated. The constant use of the word “sudden” is, for some reason, particularly annoying, maybe because reports use the same adjective for health and politics, as in, “Senator Johnson’s sudden illness could cause a sudden change in Democrats’ political fortunes” —I’m paraphrasing—implying that all Democrats can think of is the larger political situation and not the precarious health of a husband and father.

But that’s not what I really want to talk about—not quite. What really caught my ear was a report on Thursday’s Morning Edition featuring Nina Totenberg and Renée Montagne. The report focused on the politics surrounding Tim Johnson’s illness, and Montagne asked Totenberg about previous instances of Senators in less than perfect health hanging on to their seats.

Totenberg worked her way to the case of Strom Thurmond, who served in a closely divided Senate in 2001 and 2002.

Senator Thurmond was desperately needed [by Republicans] for that reason, and he was physically walking around, but, basically, not there. . . . He had an escort everywhere he went. It was very clear he didn’t recognize people. . . .

Thurmond did serve until just months before his death in 2003, but I think that Nina Totenberg makes it clear he shouldn’t have. But here’s what really gets me—I feel like we all kind of “knew” that the 98, 99, 100 year-old Thurmond wasn’t all there, but we didn’t “know.” Where was Nina in 2001 or 2002? Why was there no exposé on how the Republicans were propping up Thurmond to hold on to his seat? Why was there no report on the fact that a guy who was non compos mentis was actually casting votes on important legislation?

I don’t think it would have been untoward to report on Thurmond’s lack of mental acuity. It certainly was as germane to a discussion of national politics and the fate of the Senate—if not more so—than the now constant speculation about the future wellbeing of Senator Tim Johnson.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

and now for the bad news

I don’t want to circle the wagons or join the circling buzzards just yet, but the one-two punch of Senator Tim Johnson’s “stroke like” event (possibly a TIA) and emergency surgery coupled with a terrible decision by US District Judge James Robertson in the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan does once again have me feeling that habeas corpus is circling the drain.

As I write this, Senator Johnson (D-SD) is reportedly still in surgery. Rumors are flying, and I can’t really begin to speculate on what the outcome will be here, but that hasn’t stopped South Dakota’s Secretary of State from clarifying (no doubt he was asked—I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt) that if Johnson cannot complete his term, South Dakota’s Republican Governor, Michael Rounds, can appoint a replacement for the next two years.

If Rounds appoints a Republican to fill Johnson’s seat, then the Senate drops to a 50-50 Dem/Rep split with Vice President Cankles breaking the tie.

This is especially bad news for those of us who were looking for the 110th Congress to undue some of the damage done to our Constitution and 800 years of common law by the 109th—most specifically through passage of the Dungeons Act. More commonly known as the Military Commissions Act, S.3930 not only allowed for the president to establish military commissions to try present and future “enemy combatants,” it gives the self-same president the power to declare who is an enemy combatant, gives the president the power to ignore the Geneva Conventions with regards to torture, and denies detainees the right to challenge their imprisonment on habeas grounds in federal court. The law even retroactively barred current pending challenges from going forward.

I am not a lawyer, but many who are find that last point wholly unconstitutional, and expected the courts to agree. Even our current wingy Supreme Court has stood up for the habeas rights of detainees in both the Rasul and previous Hamdan decisions. As Barbara Olshansky of the Center for Constitutional Rights noted on Wednesday, “this is the first time in the history of this country that a court has held that a man may be held by our government in a place where no law applies.”

I write all of this, I’m afraid, with a small note of irony because Tim Johnson was one of a handful of Democrats that voted for S.3930. I found that an inexplicable and unforgivable vote, and was looking forward to a primary challenge to Johnson in 2008, but that is for then. . . .

This is for now: Senator Johnson is an important part of the slim Democratic majority in the Senate. If those of us who believe in the US Constitution and the most basic of universal human rights are to have any hope of walking back the damage done by the last Congress, we need 51 Senate Democratic Caucus votes in this one.

As a compassionate human being, I would wish Mr. Tim Johnson the best regardless of the circumstances, but in this case, this believer in human rights and the rule of law wishes Senator Tim Johnson a speedy and full recovery.

(Postscript: Though I do examine the political implications of the South Dakota Senator’s possible TIA in this post, it is disappointing to note that the coverage of Tim Johnson’s health provided by the Washington Post explicitly links Harry Reid’s rushing to Johnson’s bedside with the fragile Democratic majority, implying the Majority Leader-to-be Reid’s concern was not for a friend and colleague, but for his own political future. Did I say “disappointing”? I meant to say “disgusting.”)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bush sees his shadow; six more weeks of death

George Bush, our fearless (?) leader, had originally planned to launch his new, new, new way forward for Iraq next week, right before Christmas, in an address to the nation, but now, it has been reported, the Decider has decided to wait till sometime in the new year.

That’s OK, really, take all the time you need. It’s not like anyone is going to die or anything in the meantime.

Yeah. . . .

It actually disgusts me—and I know I should be over it with this administration, but I can’t help it. Is there nothing that evokes a sense of urgency with this guy?

Apparently, he needs more time to hear from folks, you know, get some information about Iraq. . . . What has he been doing the last four years?!? The idea that this man doesn’t eat, drink, and breathe Iraq, the fact that it is not haunting his every waking and sleeping moment, points to nothing short of a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder.

Or—and I am not dismissing the psychopathy—maybe Bush has decided, but needs to give all of us a little time to forget that a) the Iraq Study Group just confirmed that he completely fucked this thing up and should plan to just get the hell out, and b) we all just marched to the polls and voted for an end to this war.

Or maybe he’s just looking for a way to play this off of the incoming Democratic Congress.

Or maybe he just didn’t want to ruin Christmas for the 20,000 (or maybe 40,000) additional US troops he plans to send over to Iraq to help protect Sunni/Saudi interests in the region and double down on his bet that “the only exit strategy is victory.”

No matter what the answer, there is one constant: US soldiers and Iraqi citizens will continue to die while we all wait for Bush to bless us with his wisdom.

I’ve got much more about Iraq, the Saudis, and the “double down strategy” over on capitoilette. Please take a look.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

on mugging

AKA: profiles in style.

She may have been stoned enough to drive her new Mercedes SUV the wrong way down the 134 Freeway, but she wasn’t too stoned to strike a pose. Look at her—chin down, mouth closed, eyes looking up under her lids—this is possibly the best picture Nicole Richie has ever taken!

This is a woman who was clearly thinking and thinking clearly about what was going to happen with this photo.

Contrast that with another mug shot from earlier this month. Ladies and gentleman, Rip Torn!

Torn was arrested after taking on a tractor-trailer with nothing more than his 1995 Chevy Cavalier and snifter full. Quite a set of different choices, all the way down the line, no? But still, can you say he is without style?

(Thanks to TSG for the pix.)

Monday, December 11, 2006

how Mao, brown cow

Well, it’s settled. The Decider has decided that rather than take the vanilla-flavored advice of daddy’s CYA commission (oh, I’m sorry, I meant to say the ISG, Iraq Study Group), which was dispensed last week in a report titled The Way Forward—A New Approach, he instead is going to unveil his own initiative titled The New Way Forward.

Prez George’s “New Coke” of a rebranding strategy is, of course, indicative of a dearth of imagination rivaled only by its surplus of cynicism. And, I am not the only one who has noticed with raised eyebrows and a hardy chuckle that these phrases are shockingly reminiscent of Mao’s Great Leap Forward, a program that was as unmitigated a disaster in its time and place as Bush’s Iraq policy is today.

This tone deafness should not have surprised me—again. This is, of course, the brain trust that gave us countless permutations of “Homeland”—as in “homeland security, department of”—a word that instantly reminded me of apartheid South African Pass Laws and Bantustans, and Nazi Germany’s Heimatland.

And this deafness should serve as a reminder to anyone who thinks that President Bush plans to listen to any advice when it comes to what’s in, under, or below the name of his New Way. Like New York Democratic Representative Gary Ackerman, for instance, who had this to say after a meeting with the President (as quoted in Newsweek):
For more than an hour the lawmakers, Democrat and Republican, "ripped into" the administration's Iraq policy, Ackerman recalls. "It was like a group intervention. It was ... certainly the most pointed discussion I've ever had with any president." When they were finished, Bush thanked them for coming. "I take your comments very seriously," he said. Ackerman was puzzled, but impressed. "He really seemed to be listening," he says.

It is also hard to imagine that Ackerman met with the same President Bush that Democratic Senators Harry Reid (NV) and Dick Durbin (IL) met with two days later.

"I just didn't feel there today, the president in his words or his demeanor, that he is going to do anything right away to change things drastically," Senate Majority Leader-elect Harry Reid, D-Nev., said following the Oval Office meeting. "He is tepid in what he talks about doing. Someone has to get the message to this man that there have to be significant changes."

Instead, Bush began his talk by comparing himself to President Harry S Truman, who launched the Truman Doctrine to fight communism, got bogged down in the Korean War and left office unpopular.

Bush said that "in years to come they realized he was right and then his doctrine became the standard for America," recalled Senate Majority Whip-elect Richard Durbin, D-Ill. "He's trying to position himself in history and to justify those who continue to stand by him, saying sometimes if you're right you're unpopular, and be prepared for criticism."

Durbin said he challenged Bush's analogy, reminding him that Truman had the NATO alliance behind him and negotiated with his enemies at the United Nations. Durbin said that's what the Iraq Study Group is recommending that Bush do now - work more with allies and negotiate with adversaries on Iraq.

Bush, Durbin said, "reacted very strongly. He got very animated in his response" and emphasized that he is "the commander in chief."

So, whether he calls it The Way Forward or The NEW Way Forward, whether he mixes the vanilla ice cream with the New Coke or just stays the high fructose corn sweetened course, what should be clear to everybody at the counter is that with Mideast strategy still in the hands of the same soda jerk who made this chocolate mess, it will be no more scooter rides forward for any of us.

(How’s that for torturing—I mean, aggressively interrogating—a metaphor?)

And, I would be remiss if I didn’t note that while the Decider is taking all of this time to decide, people keep dying. As Frank Rich noted in Sunday’s New York Times (behind the greed wall, but excerpted here):

It is yet another, even more reckless flight from reality to suppose that the world will stand still while we dally. The Iraq Study Group’s insistence on dragging out its deliberations until after Election Day for the sake of domestic politics mocked and undermined the urgency of its own mission. Meanwhile the violence metastasized. Eleven more of our soldiers were killed on the day the group finally put on its show. The antagonists in Iraq are not about to take a recess while we celebrate Christmas. The mass exodus of Iraqis, some 100,000 per month, was labeled “the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world one” by Refugees International last week and might soon rival Darfur’s.

To have faith that anything productive or proactive will emerge from this White House with anything resembling the urgency it deserves would be a great leap indeed.

(And, one more thing. A note to Newsweek: The adjectival equivalent of “Republican” is “Democratic.” To use the phraseology “the lawmakers, Democrat and Republican” is a phrase that, in today’s context, signals an allegiance with rabid right-wingers. . . and you wouldn’t want to do that, would you?)

(Cross-posted over at Daily Kos.)

Friday, December 08, 2006

iraq study group—the musical

Boy, have I had rockin’ big night! I have just spent the last several hours reading through the Iraq Study Group Report (it’s a PDF), and my advice to you—free of charge—is wait for the Broadway musical that will be made from the movie.

It’s the little things you do together,
Do together,
Do together,
That make perfect relationships.

The bad guys you pursue together,
Cap’tal you accrue together,
“Facts” you misconstrue together,
That makes Iraq a joy!

Mm-Hmmm. . .

It’s the little things you share together,
Tear together,
Lay bare together,
That make fucked up dictatorships.

The sinkholes you stop up together,
Strongmen you prop up together,
Blood pools you mop up together,
That keep Iraq “intact.”

The troops that you deploy together,
Allies you annoy together,
Cities you destroy together,
That make perfect relationships.

Uh-huh. . .
Mm-Hmmm. . .

For my next number, please jump over to capitoilette.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

pretty guys make graves

I feel a little sorry for the ladies and gentlemen of the press who are paid to suffer through daily bull sessions with White House Press Secretary Tony Snow. I’m not supposed to feel sorry for them, I suppose, because Snow is theoretically so affable and charming, and has such “a way” about him, and speaks everyone’s language having once been, nominally anyway, a member of the fourth estate himself. But, feel sorry I must.


I'll take my answer over to capitoilette. . . .

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

feeding the meat grinder

One week ago, Dafna Linzer and Thomas Ricks of the Washington Post published details of a classified Marine Corps intelligence report that concludes that in Western Iraq

“The social and political situation has deteriorated to a point” that U.S. and Iraqi troops “are no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency in al-Anbar.”

This report, though brought out in the open in late November, has been circulating amongst war planners since August.

Monday saw the death toll from a Marine helicopter crash in Anbar province raised to four. Add to those, six other US soldiers killed on the ground in al-Anbar since December 1st, and the 90 other service personnel killed in that province from the start of September through the end of November, and you have 100 Americans killed fighting in a battle for a province that had already been determined to be militarily un-winnable.

That’s one hundred dead men and women—100 mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters killed—and for what, exactly? If the United States is “no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency in al-Anbar,” then why are they still fighting in al-Anbar? Why are soldiers being put in harm’s way if they can’t do anything but lose?

Of course, Anbar province is just one section of countrywide failure of policy and strategy, but it is a stunning example of the senseless carnage this war has wrought. Whether inept, callous, or cynical in conceptualization, it is wholly disgusting in its execution.

There is the now famous John Kerry quote, “How do you ask a man to be the last man die for a mistake?” I ask, how do continue to ask men and women to die for an already well understood disaster?

(hat tip to Think Progress for the WaPo story)

Monday, December 04, 2006

“the US did not invade Iraq—it entered a conflict that had not ended”

Reason number infinity squared for the 2003 invasion of Iraq was articulated Sunday night by the Hoover Institution’s Dr. Kiron Skinner in an interview with the BBC (I wish they would post a transcript, but I wrote this down as I heard it, and I believe my quotes are close to verbatim). Dr. Skinner, who is a former member of Rummy’s Feith and Bum corps (also know as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s Defense Policy Board), and has worked extensively with former Secretary of State George Schultz and current one Condoleezza Rice, was asked to react to an earlier BBC interview with outgoing UN Chief Kofi Annan.

In that piece, Mr. Annan said that the situation in Iraq was now worse than it was under Saddam Hussein and worse than the civil war that gripped Lebanon in the 1980’s.

Dr. Skinner (who, by the way, is the woman who uncovered the letter by Ronald Reagan where he admitted to thinking that sex was “tinged with evil” until a “fine old gentlemen” counseled him to observe the primitive Polynesians. . . really) chastised the Secretary General, saying that, “There were many reasons for going into Iraq, not just to search for weapons of mass destruction, but most importantly, perhaps, because Iraq was in violation of a host of UN resolutions put in place at the end of the last Gulf War.” She continued that, thusly, “The US did not invade Iraq—it entered a conflict that had not ended.”

Asked to comment on the continued violence and the failures of White House war policy, Skinner said, “Emerging democracies often war with one another.”

One wonders which emerging democracies she includes in her assertion. As I see it, she could only be referring to Iraq and the Untied States.

(similar piece crossposted at Daily Kos)

Friday, December 01, 2006

every day I write the book

I know I’ve been neglecting this blog the last ten days or so, but it was for a good cause.

Forgive me this tiny brag, but I didn’t pace myself very well, so the last week was kind of hellish, and the icon is the sum total of my reward. . .

. . . except for the experience, of course.

I’ll be back next week with the non-fiction. Thanks for sticking ‘round.