Posts Tagged ‘iraq’

The Conspiracy Grows

August 1, 2008

Obviously this is meaningless, but with bentonite in the news today, I just Googled it.  Result #4:

Bentonite Performance Minerals LLC – Halliburton

Bentonite Performance Minerals LLC (BPM) is a world leader in the production of Wyoming bentonite, the benchmark in the global sodium bentonite industry. – 30k – CachedSimilar pages


McCain: Wrong and Unserious on National Security

June 27, 2008

Reading this sort of thing drives me up the wall: “When asked who “would best protect the U.S. against terrorism,” 53% of respondents chose McCain to just 33% for Obama. And nearly half, 48% to Obama’s 38%, trusted McCain to handle the war in Iraq, though 57% said they believed the U.S. was wrong to invade Iraq and 56% said they would like to see the troops brought home within the next two years.”

Why isn’t the DNC running ads, right now, that show all of McCain’s errant predictions about Iraq, along with his false claims now about how he was the Bush administration’s biggest critic, with the buzzer noise from Family Feud across all of them?

“And I believe that the success will be fairly easy” and “There’s no doubt in my mind that… we will be welcomed as liberators.”  [CNN, Larry King Live, 9/24/02. MSNBC, Hardball, 3/24/03]

“I think we could go in with much smaller numbers than we had to do in the past… I don’t believe it’s going to be nearly the size and scope that it was in 1991.”  [Face the Nation, 9/15/02]

“There’s not a history of clashes that are violent between Sunnis and Shias. So I think they can probably get along.” [MSNBC Hardball, 4/23/03]

McCain was asked, “at what point will America be able to say the war was won?” He responded, “…it’s clear that the end is, is, is very much in sight.” [ABC, “Good Morning America,” 4/9/03]

Exactly one year before violence in Iraq peaked:  “Overall, I think a year from now, we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course.”  [The Hill, 12/8/05]

He can get the *ding* noise and applause for this one: “no one has supported President Bush on Iraq more than I have.”

Lessons from History, Personal and Political

June 15, 2008

The Times has a lengthy article on John McCain’s 1974 thesis on lessons of Vietnam.

Adm. Jim Stockdale wrote that the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was based on completely false impressions (not deliberately so, but false nonetheless).  He also thought that the US should have bombed the dickens out of Hanoi, and, like McCain in his thesis, argued that congressmen who opposed the war were rooting for failure and surrender.

Lord knows that they earned all manner of admiration for their toughness and defiance in the Hanoi Hilton.  That doesn’t mean that they drew the right lessons for US policy, though. Strategy has to involve some awareness of costs and benefits, and you just don’t get it from McCain, not on Vietnam, and not on Iraq.

He did have some concept of it on Somalia, though.  Was it that he connected the Vietnam war to the threat from communism, and the Iraq occupation to the threat from terrorism?  That conservative Republicans tended to support both of them, but not Somalia?  Who knows.

Kosovo: Another Vietnam, Demonstrating the Truth of the Powell Doctrine

May 28, 2008

So said John McCain in 1999:

Nearly two weeks of NATO bombing has failed to stop the Yugoslav Army’s brutal removal of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, and starkly revealed the limitations of an air-only campaign in trying to break President Slobodan Milosevic’s will to wage war. The capture of three American soldiers along the Macedonia border only made matters worse.

Suddenly, General Powell’s principles are looking a lot more attractive. ”This only affirms the Powell Doctrine,” said Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican, who joined the growing chorus of those clamoring to send ground troops into Kosovo. ”This is more reminiscent of the gradual escalation and bombing pauses that characterized the Vietnam War.”

Even General Powell broke his usually self-imposed silence on continuing military operations last week, offering remarks that carried a distinctly I-told-you-so ring. ”The challenge of just using air power is that you leave it in the hands of your adversary to decide when he’s been punished enough,” General Powell told reporters before a speech in Blacksburg, Va. ”So the initiative will remain with President Milosevic.”

Thanks for sticking to your guns in the Bush era, guys.  Real profiles in courage, the both of you.

Occupation Today, Occupation Tomorrow, Occupation Forever!

March 12, 2008

George Bush demonstrates his reasoning skills:

“The decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision early in my presidency,” Mr. Bush said, to a standing ovation. “It is the right decision at this point in my presidency, and it will forever be the right decision.”

Well, that’s convincing.   There’s more of it here:

“See, I believe we’re in an ideological struggle with extremism,” says the President. “These people prey on the hopeless. Hopelessness breeds terrorism. That’s why this trip is a mission undertaken with the deepest sense of humanity, because those other folks will just use vulnerable people for evil. Like in Iraq.”

I [Bob Geldof] don’t want to go there. I have my views and they’re at odds with his, and I don’t want to spoil the interview or be rude in the face of his hospitality. “Ah, look Mr. President. I don’t want to do this really. We’ll get distracted and I’m here to do Africa with you.” “OK, but we got rid of tyranny.” It sounded like the television Bush. It sounded too justificatory, and he doesn’t ever have to justify his Africa policy. This is the person who has quadrupled aid to the poorest people on the planet. I was more comfortable with that. But his expression asked for agreement and sympathy, and I couldn’t provide either.

“Mr. President, please. There are things you’ve done I could never possibly agree with and there are things I’ve done in my life that you would disapprove of, too. And that would make your hospitality awkward. The cost has been too much. History will play itself out.” “I think history will prove me right,” he shoots back.

Yes, he always does think that.  How does it play out?

“I made my arguments and went down in flames. History will prove me right,” said then-Rangers owner George W. Bush [after being the only owner to vote against adoption of the wild card], whose foresight led him to bigger and better things.

“This is an exercise in folly.”

Nine postseasons and three wild-card World Series champions later, the concept promoted by Commissioner Bud Selig is almost universally accepted and unquestionably good for business.

That article was from the beginning of the 2004 postseason, which the wild card Red Sox went on to win in thrilling fashion.


March 7, 2008

Pace Andrew Sullivan, the consensus of Washington journalists is hardly an immutable, always-accurate accounting of what’s going to happen in the world.

There are also very powerful strategic, economic and moral arguments for getting out as fast as we can. But what troubles me is that these arguments are not really relevant. The Washington elites have already decided. It’s unthinkable for the US to leave Iraq at any point in the foreseeable future. This, as Greenwald would say, is the Serious Position. You can challenge it in the campaign or on the blogs, but no one actually believes anyone will actually do this. They’re humoring us.

Hillary Clinton was the certain nominee, then Obama was.  McCain was dead, until he wasn’t.  Things change.  Consensuses change.

Shouldn’t it matter that a candidate says, and sixty-plus percent of Americans agree, that we should draw down our occupation?

(Post title is from this infographic).

“We Had An Accountability Moment, and That’s Called the 2004 Elections”

February 28, 2008

McCain, channeling Mark McGwire, insisted today that his differences with Obama about Iraq are “not about decisions that were made in the past.”  He went on to question Obama’s “understanding of the size of the threat and what’s at stake in Iraq.”

McCain is, of course, either lying or ignorant about terrorism, al Qaeda, and Iraq.  Joe Klein, who’s done a very good job of following the molecular movements on the ground, expressed astonishment yesterday at McCain’s claim that al Qaeda would “be taking a country” if the US stopped occupying Iraq:

They’d be taking a country? Last time I checked, Iraq has a Shi’ite majority. McCain thinks the Shi’ites–the Mahdi Army, the Badr Corps (and yes, the Iranians)–would allow a small group of Sunni extremists to take over? In fact, as noted above, the vast majority of indigenous Iraqi Sunnis aren’t too thrilled about the AQI presence in their country, either.

McCain’s grandiose rhetoric on terrorism and Iraq, while pleasing to the know-nothing GOP base, is counterproductive because it plays into everything al Qaeda wants without helping our cause at all.

So he’s trying to close off debate on how he was wrong about the invasion at the time the decision was made, in favor of advancing wrongheaded views about what to do now.

We need to hope, pray, and prod so that the media sticks to the facts on this issue, and not the meta-discussion of whether pleasing lies might be politically effective.  It’s a very good sign that Ignatius and Klein might be willing to prioritize facts over caricature character narratives.

(Post title is a Pres. Bush quote from early 2005).

Barack Attack

February 27, 2008

Obama manages to be pleasant and appealing, and to go on offense.  (Via).  I can’t wait for the “there you go again” moments in his debates against McCain.

“McCain thought that he could make a clever point by saying, ‘Well let me give you some news, Barack, Al Qaeda is in Iraq,’ like I wasn’t reading the papers, like  didn’t know what was going on.” Obama said, leaning into his developing McCain impression.

He then described the context — a hypothetical question from Tim Russert — and said, “First of all, I do know Al Qaeda is in Iraq, and that’s why I said we should continue to strike Al Qaeda targets.”

“I have some news for John McCain,” Obama continued, “That’s there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain” began the Iraq war, he said.

“They took their eye off the people who really were responsible for 9/11,” he said.

This is good policy, and it happens even to be polling well.

Being a Democrat right now is like being a Red Sox fan.  It’s strange not to be the underdog and not to expect your side to screw it all up.   I could get used to it, though.