Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Occupation of Iraq, Five Years Later: Evidence of "Progress" Cited but Hard to See

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the day the Bush administration decided it had the moral authority to invade the sovereign nation of Iraq, despite the absence of full UN backing, despite opposition from key allies like France and semi-allies like Russia. There's no rational person I know who would want the monstrous Saddam Hussein back in power (were he not brutally executed, that is), but with hawkish US leaders, like McCain and Cheney, competing for relevance in Baghdad (that is, after showing up either secretly or in full armor, demonstrating how dangerous the country remains) and then popping up in a market or meeting on oil profits once the coast was clear to suggest that "progress" is being made and it's been a "successful endeavor," it's clear that 100 years of occupation might be an understatement of their goals.

But five years into this debacle, the signs of progress (and it's always possible to find relatively better conditions when you're in some quarter of hell on earth ["A bombing on Monday evening killed 43 people near the Imam Hussein shrine in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, penetrating one of the most secure perimeters in Iraq." (emphasis mine)]) are constantly countered by signs of regression. Take, for instance, the fact that when its renovations are completed, the National Museum in Baghdad (you know, the one Rumsfeld mocked as insignificant when his breathtakingly incompetent prosecution of the war led to it being violently looted) will NOT reopen to the public for the foreseeable future:
Baghdad's National Museum, a treasure trove of artifacts from the stone age and Babylon to the Assyrians and Islamic art, will not reopen when renovation of two of its galleries is completed in a few months, an official said.

[...]

Although there are no fears of renewed looting, the building could become a target for bombers, said Maysoon al-Bayati, a media official at the museum.

"We are afraid of bombings," al-Bayati said in Baghdad. "We are afraid if we open the museum, bombers with explosive belts would come and damage the museum."
But museums are not how Bush and his friends measure progress. No, to them progress is measured not through quality of life, but rather through more liquid commodities:
Speaking to US troops at Balad air base north of Baghdad, Mr Cheney said the US had "no intention of abandoning our friends or allowing this country of 170,000 sq km to become a staging ground for further attacks against Americans".

Mr Cheney then flew to Irbil, capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region, where he pressed political leaders to pass long-delayed legislation on sharing Iraq's oil revenues.
Moments ago, President Bush more or less declared victory in Iraq:
Five years after launching the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Bush is making some of his most expansive claims of success in the fighting there. Bush said last year's troop buildup has turned Iraq around and produced "the first large-scale Arab uprising against Osama bin Laden."
He shooed away his critics with non-specific claims, continuing to simply ignore the facts:
As of Tuesday, at least 3,990 members of the U.S. military have died in the war, which has cost the U.S. roughly $500 billion. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglizt and Harvard University public finance expert Linda Bilmes have estimated the eventual cost at $3 trillion when all the expenses, including long-term care for veterans, are calculated.

Without specifics, Bush decried those who have "exaggerated estimates of the costs of this war."

"War critics can no longer credibly argue that we are losing in Iraq, so now they argue the war costs too much," he said.
But Bush has himself defined "victory" in Iraq in such terms that undercut his statements today:
VICTORY IN IRAQ DEFINED

As the central front in the global war on terror, success in Iraq is an essential element in the long war against the ideology that breeds international terrorism. Unlike past wars, however, victory in Iraq will not come in the form of an enemy's surrender, or be signaled by a single particular event -- there will be no Battleship Missouri, no Appomattox. The ultimate victory will be achieved in stages, and we expect:

* In the short term:
o An Iraq that is making steady progress in fighting terrorists and neutralizing the insurgency, meeting political milestones; building democratic institutions; standing up robust security forces to gather intelligence, destroy terrorist networks, and maintain security; and tackling key economic reforms to lay the foundation for a sound economy.
* In the medium term:
o An Iraq that is in the lead defeating terrorists and insurgents and providing its own security, with a constitutional, elected government in place, providing an inspiring example to reformers in the region, and well on its way to achieving its economic potential.
* In the longer term:
o An Iraq that has defeated the terrorists and neutralized the insurgency.
o An Iraq that is peaceful, united, stable, democratic, and secure, where Iraqis have the institutions and resources they need to govern themselves justly and provide security for their country.
o An Iraq that is a partner in the global war on terror and the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, integrated into the international community, an engine for regional economic growth, and proving the fruits of democratic governance to the region.
So, clearly we are still in the "the short term" stage of victory, as the medium term requires that Iraq be "providing an inspiring example to reformers in the region, and well on its way to achieving its economic potential." I see no signs of that at all. Yet, being still, five years later, with victory, at best, in the "short-term" stage Bush steps out and claims he is "winning" in Iraq.

How many days until that deluded lunatic is out there?

Labels:

43 Comments:

Anonymous joseph.giannasio said...

How many days until that deluded lunatic is out there?

307 days
or
26,524,800 seconds
442,080 minutes
7368 hours
43 weeks (rounded down)

in case it wasn't a rhetorical question :)

3/19/2008 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

Vote Obama.

3/19/2008 11:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are candlelight vigils being held around the city tonight to mark the 5th anniversary of the start of the war (in Manhattan at Madison Square Park [which is NOT Madison Square Garden] at Broadway and 23rd St. For other sites, check moveon.org.

ps Obama's speech yesterday was amazing. I've been kind of sitting out the whole primary process, figuring I'll just vote in the election for whichever democrat gets the nomination, but after that speech, I'm a convert. Obama is clearly in another league. Hillary's old-school politics as usual thing just doesn't compare to Obama's honesty.

Oriane

3/19/2008 12:13:00 PM  
Anonymous nemastoma said...

Happy Anniversary!

3/19/2008 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

Obama's speech yesterday will go down as one of the great political and moral speeches, I have no doubt.The response will be a measure of how great we are and of how small and arrogant and short sighted too. Already there have been comments that "well he didn't completely forsake his pastor after racist remarks, etc, etc." We will see. God is great.

Also in the news: China blames the Dalai Lama for violence in Tibet. I equate that roughly with "George Bush claims victory in Iraq." My political banner reads simply "More Truth, Less Bullshit".

3/19/2008 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember McCain walking through that neighborhood (with 3 Blackhawk helicopters and 2 Apache gunships overhead and with dozens of armed soldiers everywhere) showing how safe it was? I read yesterday they couldn't do that 'walk' today in that very same neighborhood.

3/19/2008 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Lots of disturbances in DC today, road blocks even picketing office buildings. It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood!

IMPEACHMENT is the beginning of any solution.

3/19/2008 01:22:00 PM  
Anonymous joseph.giannasio said...

Being David mentioned Tibet I'll re-post an exerpt from an email sent out by Avaaz yesterday

After decades of repression under Chinese rule, the Tibetan people's frustrations have burst onto the streets in protests and riots. With the spotlight of the upcoming Olympic Games now on China, Tibetans are crying out to the world for change.

The Chinese government has said that the protesters who have not yet surrendered "will be punished". Its leaders are right now considering a crucial choice between escalating brutality or dialogue that could determine the future of Tibet, and China.


you can sign a petition here and get more info

3/19/2008 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Code Pink list of today's demonstrations around the country.

3/19/2008 01:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Code Pink site was kind of difficult to navigate. Here's a list of events in the NY region:

http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/index.html?action_id=112&id=&search_distance=30&search_zip=11209&submit=Search

Re Mark's statement
IMPEACHMENT is the beginning of any solution.:

Regime Change Begins at Home!

David,
who is this "god" you speak of?

(That's a rhetorical question; please don't answer. I'm a confirmed heathen and have heard it all before. But we heathens have morals too.)

love,

Oriane

3/19/2008 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

I agree with David's earlier comment Obama's speech yesterday will go down as one of the great political and moral speeches...

Like it or not, this country still has a deep thread of racism. Obama’s response to his friend and pastor shows the complexity of his moral understanding, life is not black and white.

Today he said, "…when we are making decisions about matters as grave as war, we need a policy rooted in reason and facts, not ideology and politics."

Why would any politician do that?

Obama fact sheet.pdf Pretty good policies.

3/19/2008 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger jeff f said...

George Bush is delusional, he is out out of touch and does not even begin to address the issue of the fact that this is the first time since the American revolution that we have borrowed to fund a war. On top of that he cut taxes.

I say he is the worse President since Nero.

We are in so deep with the BS it's not even funny.

No one is even addressing the issue that if the dollar keeps falling and there is a run on it we could wake up one morning and think we are in Argentina circa 1999.

3/19/2008 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger jeff f said...

If you have not seen this documentary on Iraq No End in Sight by Charles Ferguson please rent it.

If half the stuff in this is true it was worse than we thought, a lot worse.

On a good note Obama gave one of the most honest speeches in the history of this country on race by a politician.
He is an amazing man but I fear that if he does become president
the mess is so bad that he will be in danger of burning out like Carter did.

3/19/2008 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Tangential but related to the thread as it's developing:

I didn't catch all of Obama's speech, but I heard sound chunks and it was very good. He's a smart, decent guy who considers the large gray areas most of us live in, not just the polarizing slices of black and white.

I must say, though, that I'm far more troubled by the sexism in his pastor's inflammatory speech than in its anti-white sentiments. Since when does Hillary have the kind of power he attributed to "rich white folks"? Did anyone in the press bring this up? The very fact that Hillary is damned at every turn (for being strong if she's assertive, for being weak if she exhibits one iota of human emotion, for being shrewish when she's right, and horribly wrong when she's simply mistaken) shows that sexism is all too alive and well.

It's right that racism be addressed. But isms tend to run in clusters. Let's not canonize one candidate and demonize another.

Did Obama address this in his talk? Did anyone in the press? Have we?

3/19/2008 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

First we had "Mission Accomplished"

Now we have "Plan For Victory"

It seems like his whole plan is running backwards and I am afraid to ask what's next.

3/19/2008 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Barack Obama’s Speech on Race The transcript has no "rich white folks."

3/19/2008 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Not Obama's, the pastor's.

My reference was in the paragraph about the pastor, because while there was outrage to the racist remarks, I didn't read or hear anyone respond to the sexism.

3/19/2008 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

It was the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Jr. who made the remarks which are being seen as inflammatory.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.
Direct quote follows:

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

3/19/2008 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Everything following the first sentence is a direct quote from the speech transcript.

3/19/2008 03:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we're going down this road

I don't think the rev wright is all that crazy.

I for one believe rich white folks are screwing all americans and have been doing so for quite some time.

I would say Hillary Clinton most likeky has never even taken a cab, let alone not been able to get one.
(and though she may never have been called a n-word, she's definetely been called a bitch)

but most important, forget about opening a discussion about race, can we begin to admit that 9-11 was a result of resentment caused by fifty years of our meddling in the middle east and begin to take some responsibility for our actions?

can anyone say Karma?

OK don't want to be so Hippie Dippie.

can anyone say Blowback?

In this context, "blowback" came to be shorthand for the unintended consequences of U.S. policies kept secret from the American people. In fact, to CIA officials and an increasing number of American pundits, blowback has become a term of art acknowledging that the unconstrained, often illegal, secret acts of the United States in other countries can result in retaliation against innocent American citizens. The dirty tricks agencies are at pains never to draw the connection between what they do and what sometimes happens to those who pay their salaries.In this context, "blowback" came to be shorthand for the unintended consequences of U.S. policies kept secret from the American people. In fact, to CIA officials and an increasing number of American pundits, blowback has become a term of art acknowledging that the unconstrained, often illegal, secret acts of the United States in other countries can result in retaliation against innocent American citizens. The dirty tricks agencies are at pains never to draw the connection between what they do and what sometimes happens to those who pay their salaries.In this context, "blowback" came to be shorthand for the unintended consequences of U.S. policies kept secret from the American people. In fact, to CIA officials and an increasing number of American pundits, blowback has become a term of art acknowledging that the unconstrained, often illegal, secret acts of the United States in other countries can result in retaliation against innocent American citizens. The dirty tricks agencies are at pains never to draw the connection between what they do and what sometimes happens to those who pay their salaries.
Published on Thursday, May 4, 2000 in the Los Angeles Times
The Consequences Of Our Actions Abroad
Americans Feeling the Effects of 'Blowback'

by Chalmers Johnson


notice the date

Instead all people can say is we are innocent and were a victim of an unprovoked attack by people who hate freedom.

3/19/2008 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

Joanne, I'm as concerned about sexism as you are.

My main concern with the modern state of feminism is that it has an alarming tendency to deteriorate into victimology--that too many people have learned that they can get special status the easy way, by claiming victimization.

It's a fine line to walk, when you're pointing out obvious examples of discrimination, and Hillary often has to walk it.

But any assessment of gender issues, like racial issues, has to also take into account the way in which people take certain privileges and benefits from their gender identity.

I, for one, play shamelessly upon those advantages with my persona. I get huge amounts of web traffic from horny goons Googling 'Pretty Lady.' I have sexist old farts hanging onto my every word, when they would be dismissed out of hand were they written by a less-scintillating persona. I acknowledge these things openly, and openly use them to my advantage, knowing that if I had the advantages of a good-looking male Harvard graduate, I'd be using those instead.

I don't recall seeing any instance where Hillary has admitted the advantages she has obtained by being female, well-off, and married to the former President. She wasn't elected to the White House, yet she's running this campaign on the basis of her 'experience' in the White House. If she's going to call 'victim' status on the basis of her gender, I'd like her to also acknowledge the privileges of her position as well.

Bottom line is, I don't think any of these identity issues are zero-sum equations. Progress in one area helps progress everywhere. I am supporting the candidate who has shown the ability to cut to the heart of every issue, with courage, honesty, openness, and an acknowledgement of his limitations and imperfections. If Hillary were that candidate, I'd support her.

Supporting her solely on the basis of her gender, without taking any other issues into account, would truly be sexist.

3/19/2008 05:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joanne,
"Let's not canonize one candidate and demonize another. "
I don't think anyone is demonizing Hillary here. Mostly we were talking about this one particular speech that Obama gave (or that's what I'm talking about) and how moving it was, how honest, how willing to deal in a real way with a difficult topic, how no-bullshit it was. I haven't heard or read any of the sermons or speeches that the pastor gave, except for the little sound bites I've seen in the news (and I have to agree with the anon above who didn't think they sounded all that crazy), so I can't comment on the sexism expressed in them. But if you listen to (or read - it's widely available) Obama's whole speech, he addresses exactly this kind of thing, the factioning, the pitting of one group against another, the feeling that if someone gains, someone else loses (like you seem to be doing here; people have said positive things about Obama and you're reacting in a defensive way as if we'd bashed Hillary), the way people are divided and feel they have to protect their turf from those "others". He addressed this in a very personal and human way, in a way I don't think I've ever heard any politician speak before.

I'm not even saying that I think he'd make a better president than Hillary (I think she's got the edge in terms of experience dealing with adversaries and the wisdom and streetsmarts that come from going through all the snarky attacks from the Repub's and everything else, and surviving spectacularly) and I wonder if Obama is too idealistic and not experienced enough to fight dirty... anyway, I'm babbling on, but the point is I'm undecided about which one would make a better president (and which one has a better chance running against McCain), but I was mightily impressed by Obama's speech.

Oriane

ps Off topic, but I just noticed that tonight on Law & Order "an art dealer is found stoned to death." Hmm, sounds like one of those Agatha Christie stories where everyone had a motive. Just kidding, Ed.

3/19/2008 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger jeff f said...

The taking of innocent lives is wrong no matter the context. What happened on 9/11 for instance is not blow-back or whatever you want to call it. It was an act of terrorism period. To blame people who were just going to work everyday for the actions of the American government is ridiculous and does nothing to address what is going on in the Middle East.

I lost 80% of my family to the German military in WW2, should I go and blow up some office building in Berlin because of this? I don't think so, if you keep taking an eye for an eye soon the whole world will be blind.

I oppose everything this current Government stands for and I resent the way they have destroyed our country. I also resent the way the Democrats have sat on their fat asses and have done nothing to but worry about getting re-elected.

I know what to expect from the Republicans, I expect more from the Democrats and they keep dropping the ball over and over and over again.

As for the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Jr he's wrong period.

I understand where it's coming from, this kind of hatred, but if Martin Luther King thought like this and acted in this way the civil rights movement would have died in 1964.

Is there injustice in the world, yes, do we change it by inciting more hate?

How is that a man of God a preacher is not questioned or at least asked how is it that on one hand he talks about the forgiveness of Christ and in the next sentence he is condemning all whites to hell.

Not very Christian of him if you ask me.

3/19/2008 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Oriane,
I read the transcript. It was a good speech and, judging from the sound chunks I heard, he delivered it well. But my initial comments were not about Obama's speech; they were about the pastor's remarks.

Stephanie,
I am not speaking generally about the modern state of feminism. I'm pointing out a specific instance of sexism vis a vis racism, where everyone got upset about a black pastor ranting about white folks but not one person said a word about the sexism in his remarks. Sexism and racism are two wings of a dirty bird.

(By the way, I wouldn't dispute that rich white power has been the source of this country's problem. Look at Cheney and Bush and just work your way back. I just wouldn't lump Hillary in that category. White skin, yes; wealth and male privilege, no. Well, wealth only very recently; back when Bill was getting sued, before they started writing books, neither one has a pot to piss in.)

As for Hillary's experience, let's recognize that she is a lawyer, has been involved in public serivce for a long time and, as an intelligent woman, was involved in her husband's presidency in ways that previous First Ladies could not have dreamed of doing. She's is also now a US Senator with more experience in Congress than her opponent.

Honestly, to be a woman and have the opportunity to choose a smart,experienced, capable female Democrat as president is a no-brainer for me.

We happen to be extraordinarily fortunate that we have to candidates who are smart, experienced, capable and Democrat. At this stage of the race, I;ve made my choice. But if Obama gets the nomination, of course he'll get my vote.

3/19/2008 05:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff represents a case in point to the hypocrisy and delusional denial of the current American position, an arrogant statement of absolute punctuated with a Period.

You obviously have no Idea of the history of the post WWII policies in the middleast.

you're not the only one to have loses from WWII, and I would say that Germany has been brought to justice.

next you're going to insist that all the collateral damage in Iraq is different because we are fighting terrorism, not acting like terrorists.

the taking of innocent life is wrong period..right.

The people going to work were innocent, the US government is far from innocent and that is the point. The attack wasn't on the individual people going to work it was directed at the American government.

The actions of the American government for the last fifty years is responsible for the anger and frustration that resulted in the attack.

A: Americans interfered with the government in the middle east.

B: Middle Easterners get tired of being oppressed and lond to be liberated from the west

C: They take the only action they can

Blowback as defined by the CIA the agency responsible for the interference.

Wake up. Our country is far from innocent and unless we accept our responsibility and listen to the will of the middle east we will never be safe.

you want to demonize wright for telling the truth from the perspective of the black experience we will never heal the racial wounds either.

3/19/2008 06:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of documentaries, there is a great one playing at the Cinema Village here in NYC. It's called "War Made Easy" and it's a stunner, see it if you can.

The US has now killed more innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan than Bin Laden killed in the WTC that horrible day.

3/19/2008 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

no end in sight will put thick black rimed bottle glasses on hindsight.
taxi to the dark side will take you to hell and back
the fog of war will make you misty eyed for reel to reel tape


jeff f - if you think its worse then you werent reading or hearing about al the people talking about the mismanagement of the war and the "exit stategy" - but to use your pulp fiction terminology - its going to get bad, really bad. then its going to get worse and then maybe a little better, but probably not as good as before, and well all be drinking soy milk and soylent green and then the sun will go supernova and the universe will slide into cold entropic decay. Oh, and there is no god.

3/19/2008 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

this whole "the u.s. is guilty of crimes against humanity" is all well and good, but in order to keep a large imperial state running (hellow cold war, hello very real threat of communist syle police state) you have to break a few eggs - there are "bad people" out there (totalitarian idealogues) that need to be "taught a lesson" and "sent to hell" - otherwise they will come back at you - because "they just dont care" about your "morality."

Liberal guilt pisses me off - like you really want to eat vegetables (they feel pain too bro!). I eat meat sometimes, (when I can afford it) and while it's sad that animals feel pain, use tools and empathize, I enjoy a good steak more than the company of cows. Call me callow and callous, but Im also not one to say that animals dont have souls, or that cow heaven is separate from human heaven.

The so called preachers who "tell the truth" are masking this essential truth (my truth, man) - that after death there is no more life, and that's all she wrote, amen. And no, I'm not running for office.

3/19/2008 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger jeff f said...

For one thing the history of the Middle East is not only about the US.
It's more complicated than that, the French, the Brits, and so on.

Don't call me hypocrite or delusional my statement is based on this ridiculous notion that people deserve to die horrible deaths due to bad politics. Anon your showing yourself to be a bit of an demigod on a subject that you also seem to know very little about.


I never said I supported the war in Iraq anon 6:14. Far from it, I was saying that one act of oppression does not make killing innocent people right. By the way Bin Laden and his lot carried out the attack as far as we know. Are you anon saying he and his absurd beliefs are in the right? Do you support the Taliban and all that they represent just because they oppose our government?

How do we dominate the Saudis? Last time I looked they seemed to have us by the nuts.

The Egyptians, are we telling them what to do? How about the

Jordanians, I see influence in all theses spheres, but I don't think we control as much as you think.
If we did then why is gas almost $4.00 per gallon?

Or are you really talking about Israel. Are you?

Zip you make no sense what so ever.

3/19/2008 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

No one is even addressing the issue that if the dollar keeps falling and there is a run on it we could wake up one morning and think we are in Argentina circa 1999.

FWIW, the dollar is bottoming as we speak, currency reversals take time but the low was this Monday you can quit worrying.

3/19/2008 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

As we enter the 21st century it will be interesting to see if nation states attempt to find diplomatic resolution to their differences or continue to use force as the primary method of response. The concept of "an eye for an eye" has been around for ages, it supports the failed idea that if you are struck, the only response is to strike back.

In this new century this concept presents two new problems. The obvious one is the danger of mass destruction, do we descend to "a city for a city" as a viable resolution regardless of the blow we suffer. The second relates to how states respond to terrorism. In this respect the US has amply demonstrated that the old methods are ineffective.

War is immoral, spending money for war is an immoral waste. Our fearless leader assures us that the cost of the war in Iraq is only 500 billion dollars, others place the cost six times higher, regardless of which figure is right, it is an expenditure of money which brings no good to the world. I am not trying to say we shouldn’t have a military, only that before this country ever wages war it should exhaust all other options.

The "other options" should include considerations of how the war costs might be spent in a productive rather than destructive way. It should be clear that the billions of dollars going down the drain in Iraq are doing little to increase our security here at home. In this new millennium, war is a primitive solution to our problems and threatens the human race.

If there is a God, Bush will go to hell.

3/19/2008 08:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff,

you poor pitiful delusional hypocrite you.

So now that you distorted the facts to prop up your truth, tell me when did the French and English cut their loses and stepped back to let the U.S. do the dirty work?

of course someone with a limited black and white view of absolutes has to point fingers and say who is right and who is wrong, and could never see the righteous U.S.A. as faulty in anyway.

and if you want to date the beginning of the problems in the middle east with the west

can you say Crusades?

as for Saudi Arabia, the royal family would have been overthrown a long time ago if it wasn't for the U.S..

gas is $4.00 a gallon because
A:the oil supply has peaked

B: we are competing for our part of the supply with burgeoning economies such as China

C: Bernake intentionally devalued the dollar to make it more competitive globally so it's not as expensive as you think

D: In order to make alternative fuels economically feasible and curtail consumption a price increase was needed

No I wasn't talking about Israel, are you an anti-semite? are you
?..

3/19/2008 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger jeff f said...

Well it's easy to insult people when your anonymous.

I know to well about the history of the Middle East, a lot of my family comes from there.

How far back do you want go here, the Crusades? which one, what about the Islamic invasion of Eastern Europe? What about the Ottoman Empire? History is full off war and one Empire trying to conquerer another. What is your point with bringing up the the Crusades?

There is a lot of bad history here, but there is a lot of bad history in Ireland to and while the IRA was a pretty violent bunch you never saw them flying planes into sky scrappers.

How is this an argument for
justification of this act?


That the Islamic people of the Middle East from the 12 century are the reason for Bin Laden?

Am I an anti-Semite, hmmm. that would be interesting, but I'm Jewish and I'm not one of the self hating types.

I don't like what's going on, if you read my comments you would see that I am anything but self righteous, thank you for putting words in my mouth. I just don't see the argument of 'we deserved 9/11' as viable, that was my point.

But noooooo you have to twist it into this idea to through back at me and add insults and so on, your a coward by the way and a blow-hard.

3/19/2008 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger the reader said...

I think Obama's pastor was probably thinking a bit more broadly than just the middle east when he was criticizing US foreign policy. The record or US involvement in Latin America is perhaps even more horrific. check out John Pilger's 'war on democracy' to get some idea of the depth and history of US foreign policy folly. here's the youtube link
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to6uNUTf8g4

3/19/2008 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

I saw Lawrence of Arabia so shut shut shut up about not knowing how the middle east was penciled in over cucumber sanwiches and tea.

I make sense and if you dont think so, you are a sheep and not a hawk, not that that will make any sense to you also, but also I love the devil, sssssss. ssssss.
sssssss.
God what is this conversation about anyways? Of course the chickens are coming home to roost, and the IDIOTS who get upset when anyone speaks the truth need to get waterboarded pronto.

But no one DESERVES to die - because THERE IS NO GOD.

does that make sense? No meaning, no consequences, no duh.

Take it to a higher level. I know you saw haeven can wait, so i needn;t be too patronizing.

George, can I sell my gold? it's burning a hole in my toga.

3/20/2008 12:49:00 AM  
Blogger jeff f said...

Zip Lawrence of Arabia was a Hollywood movie, it was not entirety true and seeing this film does not make you an expert on the Middle East.

What and who are the idiots?
Who determines this? You? How come your the self appointed gadgie here?

Speaking of the Ottoman Empire they ruled with an iron fist and you don't see Bin Laden's minions flying planes into Istanbul.

George your comments are very well put and I agree with your point of view.

Now it would be nice if we could at least attempt to have some sense of rational thinking instead of flame wars.

3/20/2008 02:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

poor jeff still stuck in a black and white world of absolutes and needing right and wrong and a sense of moral righteousness deciding who deserves what.

mix baking soda with vinegar and as the cocktail fizzes the baking soda disolving and the vinegar loosing its tartness is all you would think "that's what they get for mixing".

I never made any justifications I just listen to the people who did the thing explain why they did it.

I never said we deserved the attack I only said it was the result of our actions a cause and effect scenario.

You had to bring morality into it and just to prove that you really have your head up your a&$, I never called you self righteous, go back and look, a hypocrite, arrogant, delusional, pitiful but never self righteous. I insinuated you view America as righteous. so whose putting words in whose mouth

want to get to the root of the troubles in the middle east, let's crack open the Torah and go way back to the very beginning
back to Avram, Hagar and Ishmael, Sarai and Isaac

want to see a great documentary watch "Forgiving Dr. Mengele"

I forgive Osama Bin Laden.
can you?

want to know how ridiculous a war on terror is watch "The Battle of Algiers"


Zip,

mold your gold into lucky charms sized Venus of Willendorfs' and sell your toga.

3/20/2008 02:58:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I forgive Osama Bin Laden.
can you?


Sure, right after I watch his soul descend into Hell, I'll forgive him. So long as he goes anything but quietly, that is.

There may be a time, at some point in the future, when it makes sense to consider the rationales of the men who flew planes into our buildings. But as for the motivations of OBL, I'm fairly sure I understand them already. He's an ambitious, power-hungry, and resentful prick hellbent on getting back at those who denied him respect and love as a child. In other words, your run-of-the-mill politician. Here's a rather long, but insightful psychological profile of bin Laden by Jerrold M. Post, MD, author of Political Paranoia: The Psycholopolitics of Hatred. (PDF file)

Until OBL does the hard work of forgiving his family, who marginalized him and his Palestinian mother, calling them "the slave and the son of the slave" (and becomes a more stable human being in the process), he'll continue to eek out revenge via proxy and remain a danger to those unlucky enough to lie in his path, so I see no reason to forgive him first (most if not all of his religious fervor is a front, as evidenced by the fact that when he had a chance to make a difference in the lives of the Afghanis, he chose instead to push on vaingloriously toward a new and greater enemy he could rally his followers around), I fully expect he'll die of kidney failure before then, anyway.

3/20/2008 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

Zip,

re: gold,
short term to $800,
long term to $2500

3/20/2008 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

Ed’s hit it on the head re Osama.

Osama is a sociopath not a revolutionary.

He debases the Muslim faith, there is no exaltation in this.

3/20/2008 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger jeff f said...

anon 2:58 your still a coward and I wont be brought into a flame war with you.

Yes you did say that, call it cause and effect whatever you want, it's in your subtext. I never said anything about who deserves what, I only said no deserved to die because of the transgressions of our government. You could argue that the Pentagon was fair game but the WTC, no I don't think so.

I wont stoop to your level of hurling insults because your not worth it.

I come to this blog because there is some sense of common decency and your attacks on me are unwarranted.

I have a different opinion than yours. You are right I do see 9/11 as a pretty black and white event.
I do see Bin Laden as a despot, as an evil man who only wants to bring pain and suffering to the world.

I do not however view the whole world with in the same way, I am not that naive.

However I am waisting my time as your still a coward hiding behind your own anonymity because you feel comfortable and smug calling perfect strangers who dare to question you petty names.

I don't think your diatribes are adding to this discussion.

3/20/2008 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger quirk29 said...

Kinda sad to say, but it now seems Iraq was probably better off under Saddam Hussein then under the current occupation. Oh, and there's talk of keeping this up for 50 or 100 years? Hopefully, things will start to turn around after January 25, 2009.

3/31/2008 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

I hope you mean Jan 20th, 2009 inauguration day, eight years will be quite enough, we don't need five extra days.

in case you want to know how long that is.

295 days

or

9 months, 20 days
25,488,000 seconds
424,800 minutes
7080 hours
42 weeks (rounded down)

3/31/2008 03:01:00 PM  

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