I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
Well Newshoggers has closed it's doors so Middle Earth Journal is active once again.

Showing posts with label George W. Bush. Show all posts
Showing posts with label George W. Bush. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

More On the NIE

This from Jimmie:
There are quite a few folks who would have us believe that the President is just hell-bent on taking us to war with Iran, which is utter and complete nonsense. In order to hold that as true, you’d have to believe that George Bush is quite simply an inhuman monster who wants to engage in a hot war for no good reason at all.
After nearly seven years it would be hard to not to think that Bush/Cheney are indeed "just hell-bent on taking us to war with Iran" - it;s not "utter and complete nonsense" but a pattern.

At a press conference this morning George W. Bush made it clear that he is
a) A serial liar
b) Totally out of touch
c) All of the above
At a press briefing this morning, President Bush said he was told by his Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell “in August” that “we have some new information” regarding Iran’s nuclear program. But Bush asserted “he didn’t tell me what the information was”:
BUSH: I was made aware of the NIE last week. In August, I think it was John — Mike McConnell came in and said, We have some new information. He didn’t tell me what the information was. He did tell me it was going to take a while to analyze.
Later, when a reporter followed-up on this statement, Bush asserted no one ever told him to stop ratcheting up the rhetoric against Iran:
REPORTER: Are you saying at no point while the rhetoric was escalating, as World War III was making it into conversation — at no point, nobody from your intelligence team or your administration was saying, Maybe you want to back it down a little bit?

BUSH: No — I’ve never — nobody ever told me that.

Biden leaves out c) All of the above.
Biden: Bush either not truthful or incompetent on Iran
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Joseph Biden (Del.) Tuesday asserted that President Bush is not leveling with the country when he says that he did not know in mid-October that U.S. intelligence services believed at that time that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

“Are you telling me a president who is briefed every single morning, who is fixated on Iran, is not told back in August that the tentative conclusion of 16 intelligence agencies in the United States government said they had abandoned their effort for a nuclear weapon in ’03?” Biden said in a conference call with reporters.

“That’s not believable,” Biden added. “I refuse to believe that. If that’s true, he has the most incompetent staff in … modern American history and he’s one of the most incompetent presidents in modern American history.”

Bush told reporters earlier Tuesday that he was made aware only last week of a National Intelligence Estimate that described the stop to the Iranian nuclear program.

“I love presidents who parse words,” Biden said in response. “The NIE didn’t get written until a week ago.”

And Josh agrees

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Mission Accomplished Again

I see that Don Surber has not heeded the advice of his wiser colleague Rick Moran and has donned his own manly codpiece and declared "mission accomplished". Sorry Don, while violence may have temporarily been reduced to the same levels it was a couple of years ago the surge is still a failure as the Iraqis are no closer to political reconciliation than they were a couple of years ago. As I recall that reconciliation was the goal of the surge - not a few less bodies on the street. The New York Times got it right yesterday.
Still No Way Out
There has been so much horrible news out of Iraq for so long that it is natural to want to celebrate better news. Sending another 30,000 American troops into Iraq has made life better: attacks are down, as are the number of American and Iraqi casualties. Some refugees are even venturing home. The news has cheered Americans and dampened Democrats’ enthusiasm for keeping up the pressure on Iraq policy. Unfortunately, it is just as important to look at what has not happened since President Bush announced his surge: Iraq’s leaders are no closer to making the political deals that are the only hope for building a self-sustaining peace.

Without a serious effort at national conciliation, American troops are just holding down the lid on a pressure cooker. Iraq’s rival militias, the insurgents, the bitter sectarian resentments and the meddling neighbors haven’t gone anywhere. Consider this all too familiar horror: yesterday, police said they pulled six bodies from the Tigris River about 25 miles south of Baghdad. They were handcuffed and showed signs of having been tortured. And five, including a child, had been beheaded.

Perhaps 160,000 American troops could hold down the overall casualty numbers indefinitely, but they cannot wipe away that sort of hatred. That’s the job of Iraq’s leaders. Either way, the American military doesn’t have enough troops for such an occupation without end, and the American Treasury can’t keep spending $10 billion a month to maintain it.

Mr. Bush’s escalation was sold as a way to buy Iraqi politicians breathing room to finally address the problems driving the sectarian violence: by agreeing on an equitable division of oil wealth, rules for provincial elections and ways to bring more Sunnis and former Baath Party members into the Shiite-dominated government.

Instead, Iraq’s politicians — and their American backers — have squandered the time and the best efforts of American troops. Mr. Bush’s generals are so frustrated that they’ve begun to complain publicly about the fecklessness of Iraq’s leaders. The ever-feckless White House, rather than looking for ways to compel Iraq’s leaders to perform, is lessening the pressure.
And then we have this from the man who would be king.
On Monday, Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki signed a declaration pledging that their governments would put in place a long-term political and security pact sometime next year. "The shape and size of any long-term, or longer than 2008, U.S. presence in Iraq will be a key matter for negotiation between the two parties, Iraq and the United States," Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, the White House official in charge of Iraq war matters, said at the briefing unveiling the agreement.

What Bush will almost surely be pushing for is permanent U.S. bases in Iraq, enshrined in a pact he can sign a few months before he leaves office. And here, as they used to say, is the beauty part: As far as Bush is concerned, he doesn't have to seek congressional ratification for such an enduring commitment of American force, treasure and lives.
Of course this will be an empty and meaningless agreement since it won't be approved by either the US Congress or the Iraqi Parliament. Both Bush a al-Maliki are at least smart enough to know they will never get that kind of approval. Bush has thrown the Republican candidates another boat anchor - they either have to distance themselves from the agreement and piss off the 24 percenters they need to win the nomination or piss off everyone else and lose the general election. The best way for the Democrats to handle this issue is to point out that without congressional approval it is non-binding.

Meanwhile it would appear the the Demcrats may have finally grown a pair.
Pelosi won't budge on troop pullback dates in war funding bill
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A top Democrat who had hinted that a compromise on war funding was possible appeared to back away from the idea Friday as the Democratic congressional leadership refused to consider it.

On Thursday, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, said he and the White House Iraq coordinator Gen. Douglas Lute discussed a compromise in which Congress would provide additional funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan if the administration accepted readiness standards for the troops sent into battle and a ban on the use of torture.

The Democrats' part of the compromise would be to extend the time period in which they would demand that troops be withdrawn from Iraq, Murtha said.

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi showed no sign of accepting such a compromise and said the Democratic Congress would not pass a war funding bill other than the one that had already passed the House.

"We have provided every penny that is currently necessary to fund Defense Department operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world," Pelosi said. "It is President Bush and his Republican allies in the Senate who are preventing extra funds from reaching our troops."

On Friday, Murtha appeared to back away from supporting the compromise, saying "the fact remains that the war in Iraq cannot be won militarily" and that the Iraqi government has failed to capitalize on "window of opportunity" created by the additional U.S. troops.

Murtha and called for "an orderly redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq as soon as practicable."

"The House of Representatives has passed a $50 billion funding bill that provides the president, our troops, and our nation with a responsible plan for bringing our troops home," Murtha said. "The president should heed the advice of the American people and allow this funding bill to become law."
It's about time.

Friday, November 02, 2007

A new torture czar?

Many of us fought the confirmation of torture czar Abu Gonazales but in the end the Senate failed in their duty and approved the torture czar anyway. Well the Senate has another chance and they should not listen to the adolescent rantings of Bush and reject Mukasey. Now he's never going to say that waterboarding is torture, he can't. If he did Mukasey would be obligated to go after all those who approved and carried it out. Let Bush make a recess appoint but Senators let the people of the US and the world know you don't approve. My own right leaning local paper, The Oregonian, agrees in an editorial this morning.
Bush, Mukasey and torture
T he United States needs an attorney general with enough conscience and courage to state the truth about torture: It is a crime in any form, including waterboarding, an interrogation technique used by CIA officers, with authorization from President Bush, to question at least three high-level terrorism suspects in 2002 and 2003, according to The New York Times.

Disappointingly, Bush's nominee for attorney general, Michael Mukasey, dodged the issue this week. He told the Senate Judiciary Committee he didn't know whether the simulated drowning of prisoners is torture or illegal, and in taking that stance he may well have scuttled his chances of being confirmed.

He shouldn't be -- not, at least, on the testimony he has offered so far. As he parried questions from Senate Democrats this week, Mukasey failed to show any of the backbone that is so sorely needed in the person who replaces Alberto Gonzales, who was all too willing to turn the Justice Department into a political arm of the White House.

Granted, the grilling over torture put Mukasey in a tough spot. He clearly was constrained by instructions to steer clear of potential legal woes for CIA agents who engaged in waterboarding or those who authorized it.

But Mukasey should have told the truth: Getting information from prisoners by making them think they are about to be drowned is torture and a violation of standards of decency recognized by the civilized world for decades. He could have added, perhaps truthfully, that he didn't know whether waterboarding as practiced during the Bush administration was technically against U.S. law but that it should be and that as attorney general he would not stand for such conduct.

The Mukasey nomination proceedings produced an ugly reaction this week as Bush supporters rushed to defend waterboarding as painless, safe, lawful and necessary to protect American lives. Stunning in its embrace of torture, this rationalizing put the United States in its worst light since the Abu Ghraib scandal erupted in 2004.

Bush added to the Orwellian tone of the debate Thursday. While refusing to say whether U.S. interrogators use waterboarding, he said "the American people must know that whatever techniques we use are within the law." But when asked by reporters whether he considers waterboarding legal, he shot back: "I'm not going to talk about techniques. There's an enemy out there."

In other words, be afraid. And quit asking questions.

Mukasey, a respected former federal judge, deserves at least a measure of respect for telling senators he found waterboarding to be repugnant. That's not nearly enough, however.

The nation's next attorney general must have a clear legal position on the use of simulated drowning as an interrogation technique. Unless Mukasey promptly provides such information to the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination may never reach the Senate floor, nor should it.
George W. Bush is not in a position to nominate anyone who should be approved. So simply don't approve anyone. The AG of the United States is not the President's AG but the peoples. Don't approve someone who is not the peoples AG.

Why I bother