Tuesday, February 27, 2007

and she’s supposedly the smart one

I’ve said it before, in so many words, but I’ll say it again here: I am not impressed with the intellect of Condoleezza Rice.

Wait, let me rephrase that: Condi Rice is a moron.

I know were are supposed to harbor some sort of respect for her advanced degrees and lofty academic background, and perhaps I, exempting ideology, even gave her the benefit of the doubt a few years back. But, now that we have had a chance to see Rice strut and fret upon the world stage in a leading role as Secretary of State, I feel pretty safe in saying that no deference is required. She may be driven, she may be disciplined, but she is not smart. I would, with complete confidence, go up against her in any quiz format you name, and I think I would kick her ass. . . just sayin’.

More to the point, however, after seeing her blow multiple opportunities to work for peace in the Middle East, including failing on this last trip to seize upon the deal between Hamas and the PLO, and, indeed, having witnessed her actually exacerbating war in Lebanon, rejecting diplomacy with Iran, and foiling Israeli-Syrian talks, I think its clear she’s out of her depth in Foggy Bottom. As George W. Bush has taught me that, gee, maybe I could handle the job of president, Condi Rice has allowed me to believe that I could do a better job as Secretary of State.

The most recent testament to Secretary Rice’s intellectual bankruptcy was a comment made on Fox Snooze this Sunday where she severely mangled the historical record while trying to draw some sort of connection between her administration’s ouster of Saddam Hussein and a previous generation’s fight against Hitler. At minimum, it was inarticulate, but, at its core, it was so full of historically stupid historical inaccuracies that it was taking me the whole damn night to catalogue them. . . .

Then I discovered that Keith Olbermann beat me to it. I normally don’t like to just “pass things along,” especially something as widely disseminated as Olbermann, but he basically covers all of my points. . . in half the time. . . and with twice as many jokes.

So, without further ado, let’s go to the videotape:

Monday, February 26, 2007

oscar question: what’s Hillary doing shilling for Al Gore?

Friday, February 23, 2007

the sweet smell of redress

Sweet, like rotting flesh.

I was surprised when Governor Rick Perry of Texas, purportedly a religious conservative, became the first in the country to mandate vaccinations against human papillomavirus. So, when Merck, the manufacturer of the vaccine, called Gardasil, publicly announced an end to their lobbying efforts for similar mandates in other states, I got to thinking. . . and googling. . . and writing.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

with friends like these, who needs republicans?

I don’t know who I am more pissed at, Maureen Dowd (in the greed hole) for trafficking in catty gossip rather than substantive issues (again), David Geffen for opening his yap to MoDo, or Hillary Clinton for challenging Obama to return Geffen’s money.

Rather than talking about Iraq, affordable healthcare, the trampling of the Constitution, or any other of the myriad mis-, mal-, or nonfeasances of the Bush Administration, the lead story on the news is about a nasty slap fight between two leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination. It not only makes the two Senators look un-presidential, it makes everyone immediately fall back on the old “politics as usual/it’s a filthy nasty swamp” meme, which turns people off—turns them off to listening to substantive debate, and discourages them from active participation in the process.

Yes, I mean it makes people stay home rather than vote.

Is that what you want Maureen? David? Hillary?

And, yes, I know that Barak Obama had to answer Senator Clinton’s challenge with some tough talk of his own. . . but I still wish he hadn’t dignified it with a response.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

unfortunate prescience—the spot that will not out

A little more than 12 hours ago, I was perhaps a bit snide (or “snarky,” as you internutters like to say) about the introduction of chemical weapons—specifically, chlorine gas bombs—into the theater of terror we know as Iraq. I surmised that Tuesday’s chlorine attack was just the beginning, and that when it comes to the Bush Administration’s falsified reasons to invade Iraq, continued US presence in the country has only served to provoke and proliferate horrors that were, in 2003, only figments of the NeoCons fearmongering imaginations.

I just logged on to the New York Times website to discover this story, posted about an hour ago:

BAGHDAD, Feb. 21 — A truck bomb that combined explosives with chlorine gas exploded in Baghdad on Wednesday, and officials said it may represent a new and deadly tactic by insurgents against Iraqi civilians. It was at least the third such attack in a month.

A pickup truck carrying canisters of the gas, which burns the skin and can be fatal after only a few concentrated breaths, exploded near a diesel station in southwestern Baghdad. The explosion killed at least 2 people and sent 32 wheezing, coughing victims to the hospital, Interior Ministry and medical officials said.

It was as if I heard an owl shriek. I got an instant and palpable chill. I am actually sick to my stomach. I find this development very disturbing—it is a genie that is hard to put back in the bottle—and the confirmation of my earlier prediction is not the least bit rewarding.

Reading on in the same story, you will see that another US helicopter has been brought down by ground fire, and that violence continues and continues to evolve. . . not in spite of, but because of the Bush escalation.

Meanwhile, despite the increased military effort, 20 bodies were found Wednesday in the capital, an Interior Ministry official said. In addition to the chlorine attack, four bombs ripped through areas of the city, killing at least six people, while mortars rained down on a Sunni neighborhood of western Baghdad, leaving three people dead.

The most violent explosion occurred at about 5:30 p.m. local time, when an abandoned car exploded in Sadr City, the largest Shiite area of the capital, killing at least 4 people, witnesses said.

It was the second car bomb inside the neighborhood since the Iraqi government announced the start of the security crackdown one week ago. Two others have exploded at checkpoints on its edge.

Fatma Al-Saiedi, 35, who was wounded in the explosion, said the attacks were a result of the new security plan, which has pushed out the Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia, and replaced it with what she and some other residents contend are incompetent Iraqi policemen and soldiers.

“We trusted the Mahdi Army,” she said. “The Americans have arrested so many of them and now this happens — every day, another car bomb. We expect there to be more of them.”

This is what the “surge” hath wrought. What hath made Bush drunk hath made them bold. Hark! Peace! Indeed.

(cross-posted over at Daily Kos)

finally, some wmds!

Sure, the Bush administration lied to get us into war in Iraq—but as you now see, they were only lies at the time.

Maybe there weren’t actually any al Qaeda in Iraq back in early 2003, but, thanks to the Iraq War, there are plenty of al Qaeda sympathizers there now.

Maybe Iran wasn’t a real threat to regional stability or a potential nuclear power back in the early 2003, but look what a difference four years of Bush’s war has made for our new worst enemy.

And what about chemical weapons? Oh, you could nitpick and say that all of that looking between 2003 and yesterday never turned up a shred of evidence about any kind of extant chemical weapons program in Iraq, but who needs old evidence when you have this:

BAGHDAD, Iraq: A hidden bomb ripped through a tanker carrying chlorine gas killing nine people and filling hospital beds with more than 150 wheezing and frightened villagers after noxious plumes covered homes and schools north of Baghdad.

What, you say that wiring a tanker truck filed with chlorine isn’t the same thing as a real chemical attack? Give it time—I’ve read that four more chlorine tankers have been hijacked recently in the same area!

It’s a subtle twist on the old Lenin quote—it’s not that a lie told often enough becomes the truth, it’s that a lie told long enough gives it time to become the truth.

Or, it is like the story about the teenaged GW, who would challenge you to a game of one-on-one, first to eleven wins, and, when you beat him to eleven, would say, “let’s play to fifteen!” (Screw the rules—just keep playing till I win!) For the sake of the “coalition” troops and the Iraqi people, I guess we should all hope that president-aged Bush justifies all of his made-up pretexts for war as soon as possible.

. . . .

Two more things I’ve just gotta add:
Condoleezza Rice is a waste of jet fuel, and
days like this make me ashamed to be American.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

John McCain is a lying, two-faced asshole (oh yeah, he’s also full of shit)

Readers here know how much I “enjoy” cataloging the offensive statements, flip flops, and lies of America’s most media-hungry asshole, Arizona Senator John McCain, but with the “Straight Talk Express” now in full ’08 campaign mode, it is virtually impossible to keep up with McCain’s almost complete lack of straight talk. Really, it’s gotten to the point where you can use that joke:

Q: How do you know John McCain is lying?

A: His lips are moving.

Monday’s swing through South Carolina saw McCain deciding this whole Iraq mess is Donald Rumsfeld’s fault:

We are paying a very heavy price for the mismanagement -- that's the kindest word I can give you -- of Donald Rumsfeld, of this war. The price is very, very heavy and I regret it enormously. I think that Donald Rumsfeld will go down in history as one of the worst secretaries of defense in history.

Of course, McCain has defended and praised Rumsfeld in the past—hell, even the AP was able to go back in time three months to find John the Asshole commending Rummy—and blaming Don of the Dead fails to either assign responsibility to idiot Rumsfeld’s idiot boss, President Bush, or take any responsibility himself for his ongoing support of the President’s war “strategy.” But if McCain had left it at that, why, given his current penchant for bullshit, it would hardly be worth noting.

McAsshole, however, took it a step further, returning to one of his favorite subjects, misleading us about what he has said previously about the Iraq War:

I have been saying for 3 1/2 years that we would be in this sad situation and this critical situation we are in today.

Alas, sadly for the Senator, we all can count, so we all know that the war has been going on for almost four years, and back four years ago, McCain said the war would be easy. But why go back that far when McCain has provided us with evidence of his lying ways within his three-and-a-half year window? Here’s what he said just over one year ago:

I think the situation on the ground is going to improve. I do think that progress is being made in a lot of Iraq. Overall, I think a year from now, we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course. If I thought we weren’t making progress, I’d be despondent.

So, it just begs the question, especially as the nascent escalation already shows signs of being a bloody disaster, what’s your mood now, asshole?

Monday, February 19, 2007

what gets Joe out of the house on a Saturday?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to remember something from 2000 where Joe Lieberman, then Al Gore’s running mate, refused to campaign on the Sabbath. So, how is it that it is now OK with traitor Joe to schlep his wrinkly ass over to the Senate chambers on a Saturday to speak out against his Democratic colleagues (as well as seven Republican ones, I might add) and vote against cloture on the latest version of a non-binding resolution denouncing the escalation of the Iraq War?

For those that hate trying to keep procedural votes on non-binding resolutions straight, voting against cloture—voting against voting, really—prevents the Senate from expressing, in a rather tepid and non-binding way, that it has the sense that President Bush’s plan to escalate the war in Iraq is a rather bad idea. In other words, like Joe’s own, escalating the Iraq War is a good idea.

Excuse me for going all biblical on your ass, Joe, but what happened to not creating or destroying on the Sabbath? What now makes it OK to go to the Hill, speak, and vote on a Saturday afternoon? What makes it OK to create a bigger quagmire in Iraq? What makes it OK to vote to destroy even more lives?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Scooter takes a knee—can a pardon be far off?

Read this and then try to convince me that Cheney hasn’t already struck a deal with Libby. Go ahead, I dare you.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Putin on the Ritz

What did he say?

We are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper-use of military force in international relations. One country, the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way.

Actually, I’m guessing there are few readers here that haven’t at this point heard those words, translated from the mouth of Vladimir Putin, but what was he trying to say?

Not that it isn’t fun and easy to talk smack about the US these days, but what did Vlad the impeller hope to accomplish by pissing off his host, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and a good number of her invited guests, including such uncontained hyper-users as Defense Secretary Bob Gates, Senator John McCain, and his mini-me, Joe Lieberman?

This is what occurred to me yesterday: Putin ain’t talkin’ to them. I think Putin senses a unique opportunity to strengthen Russia’s position in the world, both as a trading partner and as a political and military leader, precisely because it is so easy to despise and/or fear US aggression.

Who else has the might (and will, and track record) to really stand up to the greedy and rapacious “world’s only remaining superpower?” By positioning Russia (once again) as the big boy of the anti-American family, a bulwark against United States hegemony, the gold standard, the Ritz of American opposition in a world of so many Holiday Inns and Motel 6’s, Putin has struck a cord with so many less powerful countries.

And Putin is striking that cord with an eye to striking a deal. Russia will extend their aid and clout and the protection of their nuclear umbrella to countries that want to stay away from or stand against the US, but Putin will likely expect something in return. It could be resources, it could be influence, it could be a place to put a forward military base, but whatever the request, Russia will have bought its way into another country. Russia will have broadened its sphere of influence. Russia will have nurtured a client state.

While the US is going around making enemies, Russia is looking to make friends. . . with benefits.

I’m not saying that Putin’s goals are particularly noble, but I think his strategy might prove to be effective. It not like he isn’t getting help from the overstepping United States. Hell, thanks to the Bush Administration, we pretty much offer 24-hour room service when it comes to delivering heaping platefuls of fear and loathing. And with every threat leveled at a sovereign nation, with every unfulfilled promise of aid, infrastructure, or democracy, with every dead Iraqi (or Palestinian, or Lebanese, for that matter) it’s as if Bush himself has placed another turndown mint on Putin’s pillow.

Monday, February 12, 2007

the post where I congratulate Paul Krugman for realizing what I realized almost a year ago

I am already seeing huzzahs in the blogasphere for Paul Krugman’s Monday NYT column (in the greed hole). In it, Krugman warns that the Bush administration will use Iraq as the excuse for an attack on Iran. I am a big Krugman fan, and I mean to take nothing away from his point, but on today’s realization, I gotta say, gee, ya’ think?

On a morning where papers are full of reports on the Bush Administration’s queer as shit “off the record” briefing about how the evil Iranians are perhaps, possibly supplying a few fancy explosives that maybe, could have killed something like 18% five-and-a-half percent of the American war dead since the “end of major combat operations,” is there any question left in anyone’s mind about this—this idea that Bush/Cheney will use Iraqi civil strife as a pretext for war with Iran?

I could spend paragraphs picking apart this “please ignore the man behind the curtain” official leak of 16-month-old evidence about Iranian “EFPs”—there are plenty of questions to be asked, like, “How do you know the EFPs come from the Iranian government and not just some arms dealers or rogue Revolutionary Guardsmen?” (Oh right, it’s an “inference.”) But, I think we can safely say that even if the vast majority of what BushCo is floating is true (and I expect the opposite will be shown to be the case), it still doesn’t justify hostile action or guarantee a positive result from such a use of force.

Yes, there is much to say on this morning where we learn that new acronym and PK lays out the “secret” plan to expand the war, but all I really want to say (and I take no joy in saying it) is, “I told you so.”

PS Yes, I know that Sy Hersh told us so well before I did.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Pelosi clearly implicated in Smith’s death

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is suspected of involvement in the mysterious death of former Playboy playmate and reality television star Anna Nicole Smith, so implies a well-placed source who declined to be named because of the nature of the speculation. The San Francisco Democrat has clearly benefited from the shift in national attention, and so would have a motive in provoking the Texas model’s early demise.

“One need only have tuned to ‘The Situation Room’ to understand the implications,” theorized a source. The Situation Room is a CNN newsmagazine hosted by Wolfe Blitzer, and Ms. Smith’s death—only eleven minutes before Blitzer was to go on air—changed the focus of the show. CNN, which has followed the lead of the Washington Times in breathlessly promoting the Pelosi-Air “investigation” every day this week because there was reportedly nothing else going on of note in the world, had intended to continue to speculate incessantly about the leak from an anonymous Department of Defense source that had provoked at least two rabid Republican representatives to condemn the new Democrat leader. The former topless dancer’s passing caused Blitzer, along with CNN colleagues Nancy Grace and Larry King, to instead speculate incessantly about the life and death of Ms. Smith.

Ms. Pelosi was thus spared hours of information-free scrutiny.

“The connections between CNN’s previous coverage and current coverage cannot be ignored,” some source sort of said, “They were talking about Pelosi and then they weren’t—they were talking about Anna Nicole—you do the math.”

White House spokesman Tony Snow, possibly in an attempt to head off the Smith murder, also urged members of the Washington media to move on. “This is a silly story,” he said.

Snow did not revise his statement to reiterate support for Speaker Pelosi after the death of Anna Nicole Smith.

(As you by now might have noticed, absolutely nothing in this post is supportable with a link to a factual source because absolutely nothing here is factual. Nothing except the Snow quote, that is—he did say the Pelosi non-story is “silly.”

If you want to know what the facts are about the travel needs of the new Democratic House Speaker, you might take a look at this and this. If you want to know what is really going on in the world, don’t try turning on CNN or reading the Washington Times. Instead, try googling Iraq war, Iran war, Darfur, Congressional Oversight Iraq, etc.

I also want to congratulate AZ Representative Jeff Flake for summing up the level of the Pelosi controversy stoked by his Republican brethren this way: “Next week, we are going to steal their mascot and short-sheet their beds.”)

Update: Harry Shearer, Paul Riekhoff, and Marty Kaplan take different approaches to roughly this same point.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

a cry for help

While Dick Cheney and every White House flunky (yes, that includes you, Joe Lieberman) continue to malign those that advocate for open debate on—and redirection of—administration Iraq policy, claiming it somehow undermines the troops or hurts morale, what could inspire the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Peter Pace, to basically walk up to Capitol Hill and beg for more debate?

There's no doubt in my mind that the dialogue here in Washington strengthens our democracy. Period.

Yes, that’s a quote from General Pace, talking specifically about the debate over the resolutions before Congress that express disapproval of the Bush escalation—so, what is he doing? Well, if this were someone else, I might just say that he was stating the obvious, but we are talking about good soldier Peter Pace, the same Peter Pace that just a few months ago claimed that Donald Rumsfeld’s leadership was inspired by god (!).

Well, here’s what I think—I think that Pace is the “good” soldier, so he can’t bring himself to openly contradict the administration that gave him his chairmanship, but I also think he knows he is helping preside over a disaster that is not only a losing strategy, but a policy that is rapidly destroying the military to which he has devoted his whole life. I think saying that dialogue “strengthens democracy,” is as close as Gen. Pace can get to saying to Congress: Jane, stop this crazy thing!

It’s a cry for help. Pace can’t come right out and say, “Please, for the love of all that is holy, do something!” but he can encourage dialogue/debate/dissent on a war that is being run by ideologues that have never fired a shot in anger (no, quails and rich friends don’t count, Dick). He wants the Senators and Representatives to exercise their constitutional right to take control, to do something, to stop the Bush/Cheney treadmill to oblivion.

That’s how I see it. I think I’ve spent enough time reading between the lines of government-speak to say that I see it correctly. I hope that some of our elected representatives are savvy enough to see it the same way.

(The Jetsons is the property of Hanna-Barbera Studios.)

pictures worth 1,000 words – or – ya’ gotta’ have friends

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, center, an independent, with two Republican colleagues Wednesday: John McCain, left, and Lindsey Graham.

I know there’s a joke here. . . something about sandwiches and assholes and sanctimonious pricks—you get to decide who’s which—but, like I said, a picture is worth a thousand words.

But, if you still need words, check out Kate Zernike’s NYT piece. (Warning: the above sandwich meat is spoiled and will make you sick.)

(Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

profiles in cowardice

Somehow, the senior asshole from Arizona, John McCain, found himself absent Monday when it came time to show for the record whether he stood solidly behind President Bush and his escalation or whether he stood with the vast majority of Americans who want to see a quick end to the Iraq War.

McCain is all gung-ho on national talk shows, but when it comes to putting a vote down on paper, he’d just as soon say “no comment.” What could possibly have been more important than Monday’s roll call?

McCain, who will do and say anything in his pursuit of fawning press coverage and higher office, has been absurdly inconsistent on Iraq from the get go (the bald assertions of lily-livered, two-faced, pseudo-liberal ass(hole)-kissers like Joe Kline not withstanding), but what to make of the NEW converts
—the ones who have had shotgun conversions since the November elections. I’m talking about Republican Senators like Gordon Smith (OR), John Sununu (NH), and Chuck Hagel (NE)—all of whom have made very public proclamations about the need to break with the president’s Iraq “strategy” (all are up for reelection in ’08). Now, though, all of them, along with more than 40 of their GOP brethren (and their houseboy, Joe Lieberman, of course), voted against opening debate on the so-called Warner compromise resolution, in essence preventing an up-or-down vote on the Bush Administration escalation.

The senators' actions and inactions put American men and women in harm’s way every day, and every day some of those men and women die, yet it is too much for the Republicans to publicly commit to a position on a resolution by one of their own. Well, they may have thought they could remain silent, and the resolution may be nonbinding, but the active inaction of the Senate Republicans speaks volumes, and the vote against debate binds all of them to Bush and Cheney.

Cowards all.

To paraphrase Kos’s paraphrasing of Hagel, time for all of them to go sell shoes.

Monday, February 05, 2007

file under: pictures worth 1,000 words

Stenny and Nancy and. . . George. . . .oh my!

(Photo via Think Progress)

ceci n'est pas un bombe

Perhaps it would have been more poetic if the big (big? eh) Magritte show had been in the city that freaked out the most over the ATHF stunt, but I’ll have to serve as the bridge. Less than 24 hours after I saw the art exhibit in LA, Boston had a surreal breakdown.

This picture cracks me up almost as much as the fact that Michael Chertoff had to make a big public show of congratulating Boston officials for freaking out and spreading irrational fear—weeks after the same promotion had passed without notice in other major US cities.

(picture courtesy of boing boing via dKos)

Friday, February 02, 2007

let's do the numbers

What’s in a surge?

Buried at the bottom of a New York Times article on the confirmation hearings of General George “two-thirds of all dead soldiers in Iraq died on my watch” Casey to become Army Chief of Staff was a short paragraph pointing out that the so-called surge of 21,500 troops will require an additional 15,000 support troops (according to the Congressional Budget Office).

Surprise, surprise—Bush lied. His escalation tallies approximately 36,500 soldiers and marines, which makes it more like the numbers suggested in Fred Kagan’s American Enterprise Institute plan unveiled last month, and noticeably more than the 30,000 John “asshole” McCain said was really the amount needed to “succeed,” or whatever he calls it.

Will we see a top of the page story about the real size of Bush’s escalation? Or the additional $20 billion the support troops will cost? Will we see any story on how the number of troops Senator McCain likes to cling to for future CYA is actually being deployed now?

Breath not being held.

(update: escalation could be as high as 48,000)

Blood and oil

Exxon/Mobile announced on Thursday that it had netted a cool $39.5 billion in 2006, an amount NBC’s Casey Stengel Brian Williams described as “The biggest ever corporate profit that would be in the history of corporate profits.” That means the oil giant made something like $107 million in profit every single day last year. . .

. . . which is just a little more than half of what the US spends each day in Iraq.

And one more number. . .


Thursday, February 01, 2007


US “strategy,” for lack of a better word, in the fighting of the Iraq War (or perhaps we should say “wars”) has often and with some justification been referred to as a game of “whack-a-mole.” With the implication being that every time US troops hit hard at one flash point, violence of the insurgent or civil war variety simply pops up somewhere else, the phrase is certainly not a compliment.

Alas, one of the problems with the allusion is its singularity—hammer one mole down, and one mole pops up from another hole. As four sordid years of US whacking will illustrate, for every sow-sized American victory, it seems a labour of moles pops up elsewhere.

But at least, as the metaphor goes, America is swinging its $200 million-a-day mallet at actual moles—as ill-advised as this strategy may be. But, with the decider decision-maker flailing wildly in Baghdad and pouring more flesh-and-blood whackers into a sinkhole in Al Anbar, it seems clear that chop-meat George and his butcher buddies can’t really tell a mole from a hedgehog, meerkat, vole, or shrew.

Add (with heavy sighs and shaking head) the comments of Bush flunky Nicholas Burns (theoretically a top State Department diplomat) on Thursday’s Morning Edition, and you start to wonder if the administration is even swinging at mammals. In an interview, Burns details with a complete lack of detail how Iran is supposedly helping “Shia insurgency groups” (see what I mean about not being able to tell moles from other creatures?) in the south of Iraq and is spreading this “operation” throughout the country. This, says Burns, has required the US—in an act of self-defense, mind you—to “warn Iran privately” and “detain Iranian officials” (one can only imagine what that means beyond the initial abduction).

All of this talk and action, it appears so very clearly, is designed to provoke a confrontation with Iran and escalate whack the whole mess right into another country.

Meanwhile, up north, real trouble is brewing—trouble that one might think would have every diplomat and military strategist working overtime to whack back into its hole before it could even show its scary, hairy head.

KIRKUK, IRAQ — American officials, regional leaders and residents are increasingly worried that this northern oil-rich city could develop into a third front in the country's civil war just as additional U.S. troops arrive in Baghdad and Al Anbar province as reinforcements for battles there.

The LA Times article spends many inches explaining the situation (yes, it’s about oil, identity, and nationalism), and, if you will forgive me, I don’t think I’m making a mountain out of molehill to call it a looming bloodbath. But, beyond that initial indication that “American officials” are “increasingly worried,” one gets no sense from the article that said officials have a plan to head off the coming conflagration.

Rather, in reading the LA Times, following recent events, and listening to Burns, it seems that the US has decided it has an interest in helping the Kurds demonstrate an al Qaeda connection to the Sunni population in Kirkuk—while at the same time working hard to “prove” that the Iranians are involved (presumably in helping the Shiites, or so I would assume, anyway). It is a strategy about as clear as I have explained it—which is to say, I have no freaking idea what the administration is thinking. (Unless, of course, they actually want to stoke Sunni/Shiite tension in the north in order to strengthen the position of the Kurds, but then what will be the reaction of Turkey?) In fact, I am almost certain that in writing this, I have taken more time to think about it than those at the White House.

I say that in part because I am trying—desperately—to look at the whole picture instead of just staring down one or another deep, dark rabbit hole. Or, should I say “mole hole?” And rather than “staring”—which would imply at least some studied attention—I should probably just get back to the whacking metaphor. Whacking seems about as nuanced as the wild Bush bunch can get, and caring not at all how many mallets they break, the administration will keep hammering on holes. . . with the vainglorious hope that they will hit a few moles in the process.

And, beyond Bush’s inability to play the game with any degree of skill, what gets lost in he metaphor is that both the mallets and the moles are, in reality, people.