Saturday, January 13

Randi Defeats CACI (Almost)

If you're not aware of the case, in August 2005 Air America on-air host Randi Rhodes verbally criticized miltary contractor CACI International Inc for their involvement in the Abu Grhaib abuse scandal.

"They raped and murdered children, misrepresented themselves as military officers, supplied interrogators to Gitmo, and fought on the side of the pro-Aparthied South African Government"

CACI sued for defamation, claiming none of their employees had not been charged with any crimes.

The core of Randi's "crime" according to CACI was essentially that she dared to quote comments made by the former Commander of Abu Ghraib at the time of the abuse, Gen Karpinski.

She said on August 10th ...

There are Rape Rooms. The people that are torturing and raping and using our soldiers to film it - the ones that are being paid to do this are not our troops, but it's CACI and Titan and the people who relieved General Karpinski of her command in Abu Ghraib. They were independant contractors.

On August 11th Randi asked...

Why are independent contractors, including CACI, allowed to torture and rape little children using low-level clerks [such as Lynndie England], who then go to jail for 10 or 15 years?

On August 15th.

There are hundreds of thousands of mercenaries there. And God only knows who is commanding them. Who's giving them marching orders. Who do they answer to? I don't know, they're mercenaries.

No one dares to talk about all these contractors, Blackwater, CACI, Titan and Three Canopies. There's no command and control. They don't report to anybody. They're not loyal to you. They're not loyal to me. They're not loyal to America. They're loyal to the corporation.

They have fought on the side of Aparthied. Just like Cheney used to vote against abolishing Aparthied. He loves these guys. These guys literally fought on the side of Motubo, who used to chop peopl--, little children's hands off.

On August 25th she stated (in reference to an inteview with Gen. Karpinski)

The President let those contractors [into Abu Ghraib], he let those contractors lie to our kids and those kids believed that they were military intelligence units, that they were CIA. But they weren't. They were employees of CACI and Titan.

This deteriorated into contractor heaven. Mercenaries all over the country, killing people. [General Karpinski] said they had no previous training. They were supposed to be interpretors, but that CACI and Titan had offered them a chance to upgrade their employement as interrogators.

So they kicked her out of the cell blocks at night, told her she couldn't travel at night to the cell blocks, couldn't come to Abu Ghraib at night, and at night the little mice would play, and they'd play rape the boys, and rape the girls, and pile them high, and they'd use low-level military people, and they wore military uniforms too - they'd literal impersonate officers.

The [Iraqis] say that the raping of their children, the raping of their children in front of them is no different than Saddam. It's incredible. So this was Donald Rumsfeld's wet dream...

The plan was almost perfect. The Uniform Code of Military Justice prohibits the maltreatment of prisoners, so any mistreatment which was perpetrated by U.S. Soldiers is a Court Marshal offense - however what law prevents civilian employees or private citizens from abusing detainees while on foreign soil where U.S. law does not apply?


Well, almost nothing except for the 8th Amendment and the War Crimes Act, which prohibits all "Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions". But prior to Abu Ghraib President Bush had made a determination that "Enemy Combatants" were not covered under the Geneva Conventions, which - although completely incorrect and false - temporarily created legal cover for the criminal actions that were to be taken by civilian personel and contractors.

So at Abu Ghraib MP's such as Sgt. Graner took orders from unranked persons wearing military garb. Even those that were actually intelligence officers were often of less rank than Graner. I once saw one of these men interviewed by Paula Zhan (still looking for the transcript) where she pointed to him in the photographs and he claimed in his defense...

"How could I tell a Sargent what to do? I'm only a specialist.

Except that as was clearly visible in the picture - he wasn't wearing any insignia.

When the Fit finally hit the Shan Graner and England went to Prison after being Court Martialed, but not the Contractors who directed their actions, and have continued to employ these techniques at the Secret CIA prisons and elsewhere.

Problem solved - nothing to see here - move along now, move along.

The key to the plot, according to invetigative reporter Seymour Hersh who was among Randi's sources, was Blackmail. The U.S. was beginning to take casualties as a result of the growing insurgency, but had little or no intelligence sources on which to draw - meanwhile many innocent Iraqis had been caught up in the initial sweep through the country and were being housed at Abu Ghraib. According to Hersh, those who were abused at night were not selected because they were intelligence targets, but in order to induce them to become confidential informants on the insurgency once they were released. They were subject to physical degradation, and sexual, homoerotic humuliation - being shown as subordinate to a female such as Spc Lynndie England - and all this was documented and photographed to be used as materials to keep them in line and under the thumb of military intelligence - so that they would spy on the insurgency from the inside!

It wasn't a bunch of "frat-boy" hijinks, and it was not done to extract information, it was done to make them the snitches for the U.S.

For her commments CACI International came after Randi with both barrels - seeking $1 Million on Compensatory Damages and $10 in Punative Damages. And Randi isn't the only one - they've also gone after bloggers who've commented or reported on Gen Karpinski's statements.

Subsequently a counter suit has been filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights against Donald Rumsfeld in Germany, Gen Karpinski is the plaintiff's star witness.

Meanwhile on the CACI v Rhodes case, after being provided access to all of Randi's source material for her statements the court granted the Defense motion for summary judgement stating...

a reasonable jury could not conclude that: a) the alleged defamatory statements "could [not] be interpreted as stating actual facts." about CACI and/or b) the statements were made with actual malice -- i.e. a "reckless disregard for the truth"

The case then, is effectively over. The facts and the truth have won (so far), as has Randi.

Yay for our side.

Update from Comments Randi had the case dismissed last Sept, but CACI has since appealed the decision and on Jan 2nd, the court declared that the appeal could go forward despite Air America's Bankruptcy proceeding. So - it's not quite over yet folks.

Still any eppeals court would have to accept the facts as this court has established them and overturning this decision would be extremely difficult on that basis IMO.

Unfortunately a full accounting for the atrocities that occured Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, using our tax dollars, has yet to be made.


Thursday, January 11

Skunk Anansie - I Can Dream

Skunk Anansie - I Can Dream

Where they come from...

Here is a Map of where our 3000 Iraq Casualties have come from so far.

Next time someone tries to claim the Blue States haven't given their fair share of blood for Bush's Bogus War - send them this JPG and a link to this site.


Olbermann on Escalation

Last night just before the President's Speech (which I live blogged on Dkos) Keith Olbermann gave a mini-Special Comment which outlined all the many reasons why Bush has long ago completely destroyed his own credibility. From Crooks and Liars.
kobs.jpg Keith Olberman reviews the lack of credibility that has permeated the Commander in Chief on Iraq.

video_wmv Download (7699) | Play (6600) video_mov Download (2957) | Play (4384)

Keith: We would be greeted as liberators, with flowers. As they stood up–we would stand down, we would stay the course, we were never 'stay the course',The enemy was al Qaeda, was foreigners, terrorists, Baathists. The war would pay for itself, it would cost 1-point-7 billion dollars, 100 billion, 400 billion, half a trillion dollars.

And after all of that, today it is his credibility versus that of generals, diplomats, allies, Republicans, Democrats, the Iraq Study Group, past presidents, voters last November, and the majority of the American people.

Transcripts below the fold

Olbermann: President Bush makes no secret of his distaste for looking backward, for assessing past results.

But in our third story on the Countdown tonight… too bad.

Any meaningful assessment of the president's next step in Iraq must consider his steps and missteps so far.

So, let's look at the record:

Before Mr. Bush was elected, he said he was no nation-builder; nation-building was wrong for America.

Now, he says it is vital for America.

He said he would never put U.S. troops under foreign control. Today, U.S. troops observe Iraqi restrictions.

He told us about WMDs. Mobile labs. Secret sources. Aluminum tubing. Yellow-cake.

He has told us the war is necessary…Because Saddam was a threat; Because of 9/11; Osama bin Laden; al Qaeda; Because of terrorism in general; To liberate Iraq; To spread freedom; To spread democracy; To keep the oil out of the hands of terrorist-controlled states; Because this was a guy who tried to kill his dad.

In pushing for and prosecuting this war, he passed on chances to get Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Muqtada al-Sadr, Osama bin Laden.

He sent in fewer troops than recommended. He disbanded the Iraqi Army, and "de-Baathified" the government. He short-changed Iraqi training.

He did not plan for widespread looting, nor the explosion of sectarian violence.

He sent in troops without life-saving equipment.

Gave jobs to foreign contractors, not the Iraqis.

Staffed U-S positions there, based on partisanship, not professionalism.

We learned that "America had prevailed", "Mission Accomplished", the resistance was in its "last throes".

He has said more troops were not necessary, and more troops are necessary, and that it's up to the generals, and removed some of the generals who said more troops would be necessary.

He told us of turning points: The fall of Baghdad, the death of Uday and Qusay, the capture of Saddam, a provisional government,the trial of Saddam, a charter, a constitution, an Iraqi government, ¤elections, purple fingers, a new government, the death of Saddam.

We would be greeted as liberators, with flowers.

As they stood up–we would stand down, we would stay the course, we were never 'stay the course',

The enemy was al Qaeda, was foreigners, terrorists, Baathists.

The war would pay for itself, it would cost 1-point-7 billion dollars, 100 billion, 400 billion, half a trillion dollars.

And after all of that, today it is his credibility versus that of generals, diplomats, allies, Republicans, Democrats, the Iraq Study Group, past presidents, voters last November, and the majority of the American people.

BarbinMD points out that everything Bush said last night - he previously said last october.
  • He's already said he wasn't happy with the situation in Iraq.
  • He's already said that the Iraqi Government has been "disarming the militias and death squads".
  • He's already said we would focus on better training and equiping the Iraqi forces.
  • He's already talked about sharing oil revenues and reforming de-baathification.
  • He's already talked about reaching out to local Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the UAE.
  • He's already said he mourns the loss of every American soldier.
  • The only thing he didn't say was "We're definately winning".

This "New Way Forward" is the same-old way forward plus another 21,500 troops. Only 11% of the country supports this. It's a losing strategy, just like the losing strategy he's been employing all along. He's completely ignored the Iraq Study Group and will completely ignore Congress. Last night I heard Sean Hannity proclaim...

If the American people were united behind this effort, there is no way we could fail.
So basically it's our fault that George W. Bush is a total fuckup? It's our fault he started a War with an unarmed country under false pretenses? It's our fault he didn't listen to General Shinseki, didn't pay attention to the looting, didn't respond to the insurgency, didn't correct problems with the reconstruction, de-Baathified, disbanded the Iraqi Army without first disarming the Iraqi Army, failed to properly train and equip the new Iraqi Security Forces, and now can't even admit that Iraq is in the midst of a Civil War? No, sir - this is not our fault.

This is George W. Bush's fault and although he may claim "Where Mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me" - he has failed to do the right thing and take full responsibility by stepping down as President (and taking Cheney with him) and allowing someone who knows what they're doing to take over.

That's taking responsibility, everything Bush has done to date - is far from it.


Wednesday, January 10

Super-Surge or Go Home

Ted Kennedy at the Nation Press Club. yesterday warning the President against "Escalation" in Iraq.

Senator Kennedy also posted on Dailykos with the text of his bill to block further troop deployment to Iraq unless the President first outlines the mission and it's goals.

In contrast we've seen Joe Biden and Steny Hoyer both state that they don't think the Congress has the Constitutional Power to block the President's "Surge" even though Congress has done exactly that many times in the past.

Via Think Progress.

December 1970. P.L. 91-652 — Supplemental Foreign Assistance Law. The Church-Cooper amendment prohibited the use of any funds for the introduction of U.S. troops to Cambodia or provide military advisors to Cambodian forces.

December 1974. P.L. 93-559 — Foreign Assistance Act of 1974. The Congress established a personnel ceiling of 4000 Americans in Vietnam within six months of enactment and 3000 Americans within one year.

June 1983. P.L. 98-43 — The Lebanon Emergency Assistance Act of 1983. The Congress required the president to return to seek statutory authorization if he sought to expand the size of the U.S. contingent of the Multinational Force in Lebanon.

June 1984. P.L. 98-525 — The Defense Authorization Act. The Congress capped the end strength level of United States forces assigned to permanent duty in European NATO countries at 324,400.

November 1993. P.L. 103-139. The Congress limited the use of funding in Somalia for operations of U.S. military personnel only until March 31, 1994, permitting expenditure of funds for the mission thereafter only if the president sought and Congress provided specific authorization.

The main problem with a "Surge" is that it's just doesn't include enough troops to get the job done.

Counter-insurgency operations require at least 20 combat troops per 1000 people in a given area. And look closely. That's not just military personnel, but combat troops.... [Yo]u'd need 120,000 combat troops to mount real counter-insurgency operations just in Baghdad. We currently have 70,000 combat troops in the whole country. So concentrate all US combat personnel in Iraq into Baghdad. Then add 20,000 more 'surge' combat troops. That leaves you 30,000 short of the number the Army thinks you'd need just in Baghdad.

And it's certainly clear we don't have 120,000 combat ready troops to spare, not right now. This "Super-Surge" idea which is essentially what Gen. Shinseki argued we needed at the very start of the Iraq War - has now been embraced not just by John McCain, but also Lindsey Graham and even Dick Morris.

If 120,000 is what we need and we don't have it - we'll need to get those troops elsewhere. If we hadn't completely fubar'd the training of Iraqi Troops, and could trust them not to engage in sectarian internecine warefare we'd have more than enough of what we need.

But we don't.

If we could trust the Saudi's to come in a create a bulwark to protect the Sunni's - we possibly have enough if the presence of even more foreign troops wouldn't drive the Iraqi even further over the edge.

But we can't.

The one option left to us - is Diplomacy. We need to sit down and start having some serious talks with al-Maliki, and the Sadr Sect of the Iraqi government. We need to talk about Insurgent Amnesty. We may need to talk about Partitioning the Country (and the Iraqi Security forces) and establishing a Senate with equal reqpresentation from each the three major factions, Kurd, Sunni and Shia. We may need to include the Saudis, Iranians, Turkish and Syrians in these talks.

We need to put al-Qaeda in Iraq on the back burner. Zarqawi is long dead. Saddam is dead. It's time to look toward the future and it won't be easy, especially since this is the very last thing anyone expects President Bush to recommend tonight.

He's heard from everyone, he's heard from the Iraq Survey Group and most of the Congres and almost no-one supports this "Surge" as insufficent and pointless in the midst of a growing Civil War.

But he's going to do it anyway and warn the Congress not to try and stop him.

They will debate the issue and ultimately they probably will generate a resolution of some type denying and/or objecting to escalation - and then he'll just do it anyway and punctuate his action with a Signing Statement.

Where we go from there is anyones guess. Does Congress sue the President in order to get him to abide by an anti-escalation resolution? How long will that take to go through the courts? What court has jurisdiction? What if the court sides with the President, or worse yet - what if the Court sides with the Congress?

Would not such a blatant disregard for the will of the people, the will of Congress and the rule of law - knowingly sending more of our troops into a hopeless "No win" situation - not be a highly Impeachable Offense?

If this is the path the Bush intends to pursue tonight will be the first day of the end of his Presidency. May it be remembered long in infamy.


Monday, January 8

American Concentration Camps - Now Open for Business

Manzanar 1943

We thought we'd learned from our mistakes. We thought we knew better.

During WWII we made a grave mistake, we let our fear and paranoia after Pearl Harbor drive us to allow the internment of Japanese American Citizens in Camps such as Manzanar.

It wasn't until 40 years later in 1988 that President Ronald Reagan signed a bill that both apologized and paid restitution to the 60,000 internment survivors still within the U.S.

What is occuring today in Taylor Texas may yet require another future President to make similar gesture of sorrow and regret for actions occuring on our watch. Only this time, the targets aren't Japanese-Americans, they're innocent Muslims and their children.

As he signed the Internment Restitution Bill Reagan Stated:

Yes, the Nation was then at war, struggling for its survival and it's not for us today to pass judgment upon those who may have made mistakes while engaged in that great struggle. Yet we must recognize that the internment of Japanese-Americans was just that: a mistake. For throughout the war, Japanese-Americans in the tens of thousands remained utterly loyal to the United States. Indeed, scores of Japanese-Americans volunteered for our Armed Forces, many stepping forward in the internment camps themselves. The 442d Regimental Combat Team, made up entirely of Japanese-Americans, served with immense distinction to defend this nation, their nation. Yet back at home, the soldier's families were being denied the very freedom for which so many of the soldiers themselves were laying down their lives.

Journalist David Niewert while making a public speech in Seattle regarding these camps based on is his book Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community found himself recently peppered with antagonistic questions from one elderly caucasian in the audience who had apparently been taking tips from the likes of Michelle Malkin and failed to note the fact that many of those held in places such as Manzanar were not immigrants, they were American Citizens who simply happen to be of Japanese decent.

He finally stepped in it, however, when he attacked my consistent use of the term "concentration camps" to describe the so-called ten "relocation centers" that held some 120,000 internees. (There has been some ongoing discussion of exactly what terminology to use to describe the Japanese American "internment"; currently, most historians favor using "internment camps" to describe the military camps that held a number of "enemy aliens" swept up in Justice Department arrests shortly after the outbreak of war, while the "relocation centers" -- a bureaucratic euphemism concocted by architects of the evacuation -- are more accurately described either in terms of the incarceration they represented, either as "prison camps" or "concentration camps.")

"You shouldn't call them concentration camps," he said. "We weren't starving people to death or murdering them in gas chambers. Calling them that makes people think that's what went on there."

Well, I responded, what you're describing is properly called a death camp. "Concentration camp" was a term created, during the Boer War, to describe the mass prison camps the British erected to incarcerate Boer families. It has been used consistently afterward to describe these kinds of arrangements, including by both Franklin Roosevelt and Attorney General Biddle, in official documents, to describe the Japanese American camps.

Then as now, we were at war - then as now, American Citizens are being caught up in this net - then as now, we've chosen to close our eyes, close our ears and turned our backs on those whose freedom we have denied including over 200 children (many born in the U.S.) now being held in one Texas Relocation Internment Concentration Camp. From the American-Statesman.

Groups highlight plight of jailed immigrant families
Cox News Service
Friday, December 15, 2006

AUSTIN, Texas — The T. Don Hutto Residential Center, a private detention facility in Taylor, Texas, is emblematic of new federal policy that detains all unauthorized immigrants from countries other than Mexico while the government determines whether they should be deported or have a legal right to be here.

The Taylor center is used for that purpose, but it and a much smaller one in Pennsylvania share a distinction: They are the only two such facilities in the country that hold immigrant families and children on non-criminal charges.

Last Month the Human Rights group "Texans United for Familes" staged a 35-mile walk from the State Capitol in Austin to the Taylor Faciilities to highlight the issues.

"Housing families in for-profit prisons not only calls to question our moral values and our respect for human rights, but it is also a waste of taxpayer money," said Luissana Santibanez, a 25-year-old University of Texas student and an organizer with Grassroots Leadership, which works to stop the expansion of the private prison industry.

Yes, you did read that correctly - this is a For-Profit Privately operated prison. This means their incentive isn't to rehabiltate (since no crime has been alleged in these cases), their incentive is simply to house as many "inmates" as possible with the lowest possible overhead, like any other form of slavers human cargo private business would do.

The Taylor jail began holding immigrant families this summer under a contract with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. It is owned and operated by Corrections Corporation of America. Williamson County receives $1 per day for each inmate held there.

Upon learning about the protests, Rick Zinsmeyer, director of adult probation for Williamson County, said "I was told the purpose (of housing immigrant families) was to keep the families together, instead of separating them, so this is interesting."

Organizers of Thursday's press conference and walk said the Taylor jail houses about 400 people, including about 200 children who are held with their parents. They said children receive one hour of education — English instruction — and one hour of recreation per day, usually indoors.

There is also the issue of whether any these people are actually illegal immigrants or not as noted in this letter from Dallas Attorney John Wheat Gibson who represents several of the detainees at Hutto.

Whoever told you the people imprisoned in Taylor, Texas entered the country illegally lied to you. I have seven clients now imprisoned since November 3 at the T. Don Hutto prison, and every one of them entered the U.S. legally with a visa issued by the United States government.

Furthermore, there is no reason for the imprisonment of these children except as victims of a Michael Chertoff publicity stunt. In midnight raids on November 3 the Department of Homeland Stupidity took these children, who were enrolled in school, from their homes, with their parents and imprisoned them.

The sole purpose of the raids, political propaganda, was apparent from a DHS press release which characterized the victims as "fugitives" and "criminals." In fact, none of the families I know of were either fugitives or criminals. The two families I represent had conscientiously kept the DHS informed of their current residential addresses.

The purpose of the publicity stunt was to make the ignorant Fox-News brainwashed masses believe that 1) the Muslims among us are our enemies but 2) the DHS is protecting us, and therefore 3) we should not mind shredding the Constitution.

Shades of Prager, Goode and Glenn Beck - eh? To these rabid wing-nuts anything we do to protect ourselves from a potential threat, even if that threat is in the form of a child, is fine in their book. Nevermind using due process to first prove that there is a threat. Nevermind habeas corpus - which thanks to the Military Commissions Act no longer applies to any "foreigners" anymore. Nevermind Justice. These people won't even bat an eye, just as many people during WWII didn't.

This is Racial Profiling at it's most base level, and what's worse is that it completely fails to help identify and isolate those who actually might most wish to harm us, since the available evidence indicates that these people came here to escape oppression, not wage "Jihad". At least, not until this experience.

This story was previous diaried on Kos just before Christmas, and apparently one commenter provided information from a visitor to the center.

I have been to the Hutto Residential Center in Taylor Texas and can testify that it does not look like their publicity picture. The publicity picture looks almost nice: the lobby of an East European hotel maybe? The reality looks like an updated version of a concentration camp, replete with razor wire, double fence with gravel covered death zone between them. It looks like a place where you would stick grave criminals, not children.

And how about the quality of the conditions, I mean, a little detention really couldn't hurt anyone especially if their parents happen to be nearby right?

Frances Valdez, an attorney with the Immigration Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law who has visited clients at the facility, said detainees have reported receiving substandard medical care and becoming ill from food served at the jail.

"A lot of children are losing weight. People suffer from severe headaches," Valdez said. "I think there's a lot of psychological issues going on. Most of these people are asylum seekers, so they've already suffered severe trauma in their country." She said immigrants are not given psychological treatment.

So they've fleed oppression in their homeland - only to be oppressed by our Die Fatherland Homeland Security Forces and then sold into captivity?

I think this nation is going to have a great deal make restitution and apologize for in the years and decades ahead.

When will we ever learn?


Sunday, January 7

The "Last Throes" of the Bush War

After losing the election, losing Osama bin Laden, losing the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, losing control of it's government to Moqtada al-Sadr and turning Saddam Hussein into a Sunni Martyr - just what do you think the Redstaters are thinking of now?

They're upset that Bush's little Police Action in Iraq seems to be in it's last throes.

There is some alarming rhetoric in the press surrounding the President's "new-way-forward-in-Iraq" speech that will take place on Wednesday. Mr. Bush has been crafting a revitalized Iraq policy over the last two months; he's made some tough decisions and brought in a new team. Some of what he's considering looks promising, and there are some impressive new eyes on the job. But the entire effort may be doomed before he even opens his mouth by the way it's being framed in the media:

This is our "last try" in Iraq. (see here, here, here and here for examples).

Actually, they don't call it our last try in Iraq--it's Mr. Bush's last try, but for a moment let us entertain the fantasy that we're in this together as a nation.

Yes, that is indeed a fantasy - especially since anyone who told you people this was a bad idea was called a traitor and appeaser by the Bush Administration -- but please go on and tell us were all "in this together" - I'm all ears.

As a nation, we need to recognize that defining the current strategic shift in Iraq as some sort of last gasp is insane, not to mention self defeating.

But we don't have to defeat ourselves, the insurgents, the Sunni and the Shi'a Militia have already done that for us.

It's just like the "timetables" people keep arguing about--we might as well rent billboards all over Baghdad telling insurgents that if they just keep their heads down for the brief period that we're sending in the additional 10,000 troops or whatever the number will be, they'll be fine. Because this is it. The last try. There won't be any more attempts to move them after this.

There won't be anymore from President Bush after this - because he doesn't have enough time left in his Administration to pull anymore rabbits out of his hat. In fact, it's pretty clear that all he's trying to do is run out the clock - assuming of course that he doesn't get benched first.

But wait, didn't Gen Abizaid say that there were only 1000 members of al-Qaida in Iraq? Why - yes, he did. Meanwhile we've already trained nearly 300,000 Iraqi troops - so exactly why should another 10-20,000 American forces make any difference this time, especially when the last surge was such a spectacular failure in Baghdad?

From Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid:

Surging forces is a strategy that you have already tried and that has already failed. Like many current and former military lead>ers, we believe that trying again would be a serious mistake. They, like us, believe there is no purely military solution in Iraq. There is only a political solution. Adding more combat troops will only endanger more Americans and stretch our military to the breaking point for no strategic gain. And it would undermine our efforts to get the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future. We are well past the point of more troops for Iraq.

Most of the insurgents (which total about 30-40,000) are not Al-Qaeda. They are disaffected Iraqis, Sunni and Shia, not foreign fighters. How exactly do we "defeat" them? Which side do we take?

Back to Redstate:

Such billboards might come as a relief to a war-weary public as well. Let's wrap this up, and go back to raising the minimum wage and taxes on "the rich" to assuage our consciences as the stock market goes ever higher. Let's not bother with that messy business so far away. It's such a downer. We'll give it one last try, and then pull the plug.

Yeah, yeah - all they have to do is wait for us to leave and then do their worst as if they've been saving it all up or something.

The myopia of this argument is the presumption that this is purely a military problem, with a military solution. Iraq is in the full-on throes of a Civil War, sparky, we don't have a dog in that hunt.

The only solution to this - short of the complete genocide of the Sunni's that is feared by the Saudis - is diplomacy. The various Iraqi Factions need a renegotiation, they need to rework the terms of the deal that was establish by the fantastically incompetant Coalition Provisional Authority. They need to amend their constitution and call for "Neutral Corners", split the nation into semi-autonomous sectarian states each with their own local government and militia with the ability to negotiate and stike a balance with the national goverment.

Y'know - kinda like our country. Here's more from Joe Biden.

No number of troops can solve this problem. The only way to hold Iraq together and create the conditions for our armed forces to responsibly withdraw is to give Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds incentives to pursue their interests peacefully and to forge a sustainable political settlement. Unfortunately, this administration does not have a coherent plan or any discernible strategy for success in Iraq. Its strategy is to prevent defeat and hand the problem off when it leaves office.

Meanwhile, more and more Americans, understandably frustrated, support an immediate withdrawal, even at the risk of trading a dictator for chaos and a civil war that could become a regional war.

Both are bad alternatives. The five-point plan Les Gelb and I laid out offers a better way.

First, the plan calls for maintaining a unified Iraq by decentralizing it and giving Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis their own regions. The central government would be left in charge of common interests, such as border security and the distribution of oil revenue.

Unfortunately this - which would ironically achieve everyones goals of establishing a peaceful Iraq - is the last thing that Bush is likely to suggest since it is a Democrat[sic] plan, instead he perpetrates this ridiculous "Surge , Accelerate and Sacrifice" dog and pony show on us all. Pathetic.

Yes, Mr. Bush has played into this meme by making his protracted deliberations so very public, which has fostered the image of a rudderless administration casting about for a magic-bullet solution--and so allowed the press to cast this as a sort of Custer-at-Little-Big-Horn style last stand. And you may argue that in the world of the newly-Democrat congress, this is Mr. Bush's final practical opportunity to act in Iraq before the close the purse strings on him. Fine. Let them try. And if the President allows this to happen his legacy will take the beating it deserves, as will his country. He is, after all, still president, and it is beholden on him to keep trying.

Yes, that's right - any second now the wall he's been beating our collective heads into will just fall away an crumble. Speaking of "insane" what was that old definition for repeating a failed strategy and expecting a different result again?

Oh yeah.

Look - let's take a flight of fancy and presume that we could ever throw enough troops to completely quell the violence in Iraq (ala McCain and the Snake-Talk Express he's been riding lately). That would require Gen Shinseki's long ignored force of 400-500,000 people. We don't HAVE the manpower for that. Not unless we implement Charlie Rangel's Draft. You up for that sparky?

Didn't think so.

As citizen of this country, win lose or draw on this particular effort in this particular front of the war, I can only pray that it is not our "last try." I for one hope that Mr. Bush will be successful with this strategy--but even so, casting it as a "last try" is delusional. Because even if we succeed here and drive them out of Iraq, the enemy will not stop trying. And in this context, our "last try" will be followed by only one thing. The end.

Drive who out of Iraq - the Sunni or the Shi'a? The Kurds maybe? Speaking of "delusional".

If Mr. Bush does implement a surge - (or will it be a bump? Possibly a mole-hile? Maybe a hitch in our git-along?) - it won't be short term, it's likely to last as much as 18 months, and even more likely to fail. Our Redfaced friend is correct, this is indeed an "end game" strategy and not a winning one. Like this poster, Bush will not be diverted from his disasterous course. Like the moth and flame - failure is their fate.

The sad reality is that Mr. Bush is very likely just a deluded as this poster - and we all remain yoked to their fate until the next Presidency (which with luck could come much sooner rather than later for our troops who are on an endless treadmill leading to both PTSD and increasing incidents of Suicide as a result of Bush's disasterous posturing).

Yes, one way or another, this is "The End". Heaven help us all.