Archive for April, 2007


What Rummy And Friends Didn’t Bother To Read

April 29, 2007

I stumbled upon this today:  Reconstructing Iraq: Insights, Challenges, and Missions for Military Forces in a Post-Conflict Scenario (pdf- 84 pages)

In October 2002, the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, in coordination with the Office of the Army Deputy Chief of Staff/G-3, initiated a study to analyze how American and coalition forces can best address the requirements that will necessarily follow operational victory in a war with Iraq. reconstructing-iraq.jpg
The objectives of the project were to determine and analyze probable missions for military forces in a post-Saddam Iraq; examine associated challenges; and formulate strategic recommendations for transferring responsibilities to coalition partners or civilian organizations, mitigating local animosity, and facilitating overall mission accomplishment in the war against terrorism. The study has much to offer planners and executors of operations to occupy and reconstruct Iraq, but also has many insights that will apply to achieving strategic objectives in any conflict after hostilities are concluded. The current war against terrorism has highlighted the danger posed by failed and struggling states. If this nation and its coalition partners decide to undertake the mission to remove Saddam Hussein, they will also have to be prepared to dedicate considerable time, manpower, and money to the effort to reconstruct Iraq after the fighting is over. Otherwise, the success of military operations will be ephemeral, and the problems they were designed to eliminate could return or be replaced by new and more virulent difficulties.

Reading it is like discovering the long lost works of Nostradamus or something.   Virtually every pitfall and challenge we’ve had since we invaded Iraq is addressed in those 60+ pages of text. In fact, it really makes you wonder how anyone thought this was going to be worth the risk.  It is an absolutely glaring contradiction to the rosy predictions made by guys like Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, and makes the ‘Mission Accomplished’ incident seem even more absurd than it already appeared to be.  It also reminds me of this: Iraq post-war plan muzzled

“The secretary of defense continued to push on us … that everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to go in, we’re going to take out the regime, and then we’re going to leave,” Scheid said. “We won’t stay.”

Scheid said the planners continued to try “to write what was called Phase 4,” or the piece of the plan that included post-invasion operations like occupation.

Even if the troops didn’t stay, “at least we have to plan for it,” Scheid said.

“I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next person that said that,” Scheid said. “We would not do planning for Phase 4 operations, which would require all those additional troops that people talk about today.

“He said we will not do that because the American public will not back us if they think we are going over there for a long war.”

Ya don’t say?

Update:  In today’s WaPo: Assessments Made in 2003 Foretold Situation in Iraq

The two assessments, titled “Principal Challenges in Post-Saddam Iraq” and “Regional Consequences of Regime Change in Iraq,” were produced by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) and will be a major part of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s long-awaited Phase II report on prewar intelligence assessments about Iraq. The assessments were delivered to the White House and to congressional intelligence committees before the war started.


There Is No ‘War On Terror’

April 28, 2007

The question came up at the Dems. presidential debate the other day, and the field was asked to raise their hands in response (hat tip: hot air):

My quote from LGF:

I’m surprised more Dems wouldn’t want to distance themselves from a catchphrase that provided a foundation for the Iraq invasion. On the other hand, maybe some of them are worried about how their vote will get spun by the noise machine.

I for one can make the distinction between smart counterterrorism/protecting the homeland and a ‘war’ that is, by definition, unwinnable. Thats why I flip out a bit when someone says whey want to ‘win’ or that we are ‘winning’ the WoT. There is no ‘winning’; only not losing. We can be ‘safer’, but never completely ‘safe’. ‘Terror’ isn’t going to sign a treaty, call for a ceasefire, or announce its surrender. etc.

Update:  The subject came up again on LGF:  Edwards:  War on Terror is a fake.


OK, Seriously, Raise Your Hand If You’re One Of The 28 Percent

April 27, 2007

Via the WSJ

President Bush’s approval rating slipped to new lows in the most recent Harris Interactive survey, but he’s not alone: For the first time since the series began, all of the political figures and institutions included in the survey have negative performance ratings.

Of the 1,001 American adults polled online April 20-23, only 28% had a positive view of Mr. Bush’s job performance, down from 32% in February and from a high of 88% in the aftermath of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The current rating is his weakest showing since his inauguration.

(hat tip:rpassman) | digg story

Well, we know the gang at Blogs for Bush are part of the group, but who else?  (BTW- I suppose if you’ve titled your blog “Blogs for Bush”, one may feel obligated to support the president and his administration unconditionally.  Sometimes I wonder what Bush would have to do to lose these people.  Bite the head off a bat in public?  Nah.)

I mean, forget Scooter Libby/Plame, Harriet Miers, Katrina, Gonzales, ‘Brownie’, Rumsfeld, cronyism in the CPA, no WMD stockpiles, 5 million missing emails,  no Saddam-al Qaeda link, Walter Reed, and the fact that he has single-handedly squandered any post-9/11 international sympathy and support…the man is just plain painful to listen to.   There’s absolutely nothing about him that comes across as someone who represents this great nation of ours.  Small miracles happen when Bush manages to put a complete sentence together without his audience holding back cringes.

So tell me….What is in this damn kool-aid you’re drinking?

Update: As of this writing, there are 340 comments on the Digg link. I gotta tell ya, it’s hard to find those 28%ers.


Judith A. Klinghoffer’s Bizarre View On ‘Winning The War On Terror’

April 26, 2007

As the blogs react to a recent opinion poll that came out regarding terrorism and the Muslim world, one column by Judith A. Klinghoffer caught my attention:  Poll: US unpopular but winning War on Terror

Now, anyone who’s read a bit of my blog will probably be thinking that my head exploded just reading the title (you’re not far off), but I thought I’d comment on it.  I’ll skip the long analysis of what was prefaced as a ‘push poll’, and move right to the conclusion:

All in all, the glass is 3/4 full. Yes, theoretically, Muslims would like to see a day when they will all unite within the border of a righteous Khalifat but they disagree with Al Qaeda and Bin Laden means and unwilling to pay the high price needed to achieve it. The As it was the American led War on Terror which raised that price, it is a small wonder America is not popular in the Muslim world. I am sure the US was not popular in Germany during W.W.II. or in the USSR during the Cold war. Trying to be popular with the enemy is a strange idea anyhow. Actually, as we have learned with victory comes even a very short lived boost of popularity. All in all, PIPA push poll contains encouraging news.

Stumbling through the grammatical errors in that, and ignoring the fact that Judith slipped in her opinion that the ‘Muslim world’ is the ‘enemy’ (and validating our unpopularity in the process), it’s clear that I’ve come across a rare brand of Kool-Aid here.  

On one hand, we have the quest for ‘victory’ in the ‘War on Terror’.  A war which, by definition, can only be ‘won’ the day that people stop wanting to blow us up. On the other hand, we have a poll showing our rampant unpopularity and sympathy to al Qaeda across 4 Mid East nations .  The verdict: ‘encouraging news’.  Even if it is a push poll, I don’t know how anyone can view this as a positive step towards victory in a war that is unwinnable to begin with anyway.  In fact, I think I would have learned more if she would have just taken the poll herself and posted her answers.

Something tells me that this all comes back to Bush and Iraq.  The war has worsened our post 9/11 position.  The war supporters don’t want to admit that us ‘BDS’ sufferers were right all along, so they whitewash news like this by screaming ‘push poll’.  It’s the same type of thing when people say that the ISG doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about (as if they do either), or try to spin the NIE’s assessments.  No one wants to admit that they supported what turned out to be an unmitigated disaster.

So, just for the record, this has been the most popular forum on, and has run like this since 2002:

World War III
September 11th was undoubtedly one of the most tragic days in American history. It’s unconscionable that Bush has used those who lost lives on that day as justification for an endless campaign of fear, misinformation and hate. Bush’s sudden need to wage war on Iraq will only breed more world hatred for the US, inspire more terrorism, at a cost of even more untold civilian lives. War should always be a LAST RESORT, not a matter of policy.

Registration is open.

Update:  More ‘encouraging news’ : Annual terrorism report will show 29% rise in attacks

WASHINGTON – A State Department report on terrorism due out next week will show a nearly 30 percent increase in terrorist attacks worldwide in 2006 to more than 14,000, almost all of the boost due to growing violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. officials said Friday.


My Possible Role In Rosie’s Departure From ABC

April 25, 2007

I don’t want to make a big deal out of this, as I know it will probably sound a little nuts.  I do, however, feel that I should get this off my chest, since I had a feeling that Rosie’s days at ABC were numbered after her little rant about WTC7 and the 9/11 attacks last month.

I know that Rosie and ABC are maintaining that the reason she’ll be leaving in June has everything to do with contract negotiations, and nothing to do with anything Rosie’s said on the show.  But, it’s hard to overlook the coincidence that this news comes less than a month after “the incident” and numerous calls for boycotting of The View’s various sponsors (not to mention at least a full week of conservative talking heads railing ABC on TV and the radio for giving the “Truthers” a voice).  For the purposes of this blog post, we’ll assume the latter theory (tinfoil hats are optional)….

On the the day of Rosie’s rant, I was surfing the blogs and found the video segment posted on LGF.  I remember thinking that Rosie had gone “all in” this time, since she had hinted at a little 9/11 Trutherdom earlier on the show.  In addition, I remembered that I had stumbled upon this picture a few days earlier:


So, I decided to submit it to LGF,  since a) it seemed quite relevant and b) I’m not a Truther.  At the time, I really didn’t think it was a big deal, but as I began to see the picture show up on other blogs and eventually in a boycott video, I started to realize that the picture may have been a little more powerful than my first impression.  As a matter of fact, I suppose it could be argued that no other single image tied ABC to the 9/11 Truth movement so directly.  I mean, there it was:  the ABC logo, 9/11 Truth, and “Thanks Rosie!” all in one picture.  I’m sure this is an association that Disney/ABC was hoping they could avoid.  With the pic’s exposure on at least two popular blogs, I think it’s safe to day that the image could have been included in a few angry emails that got sent off to ABC.  Take it a step further, and it’s plausable that the image eventually appeared in the email inbox of a higher ranking ABC exec. or two. 

If you assume all that (and that’s a big IF), then I’m sorry to say that the 30 seconds it took me to locate that picture and post it in the comments section of LGF may have played a role in Rosie’s departure from The View.

Phew!  There.  I feel better.  Now, someone please post an animated gif of a black helicopter (just for fun).


To Malkin, The War Is A Big Joke

April 25, 2007

Fellow netizen Killgore Trout posted this link over on LGF, and I have to say I’m a little shocked:

As I stated a few days ago, I think Harry Reid was unwise to say that ‘the war is lost’.  This display, however, seems to reveal an attitude of flippancy towards the Iraq situation.  It’s pretty embarrassing, if you ask me.  After all, while Malkin waves her white flag pom poms and spells LOSER in a lame appeal to the 30%ers, our troops continue to die: Base mourns 9 soldiers killed in Iraq

The spouses of the 82nd Airborne have grown accustomed to peeking through their blinds in the mornings to make sure a casualty notification team isn’t waiting outside.

This week, nine of those families were discovering the worst: Two truck bombs killed nine of their paratroopers in the division’s deadliest day of combat since the Vietnam War.

Oh well, I hope they had a good laugh.


Wal-Mart Chooses HD-DVD

April 24, 2007

Gotta love Digg.   

There is one retailer that has the power to call the winner of the protracted Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD fight and that vendor is Wal-Mart.

read more | digg story

I have to admit that initially I thought that the Blu-ray format was going to win this one, solely based on the fact the the PS3 is also a Blu-ray player.  Sony has had a bit of a shaky launch of its new gaming console, however, and the regular stand-alone players are still more expensive than their HD-DVD counterparts.

Honestly, I haven’t been terribly impressed with either format.  Most of the players available have plenty of glitches (1st gen. machines tend to have that), and the quality of the content is currently only a benefit to those who a) have an HDTV, and b) are unsatisfied enough with regular DVD to make the plunge into a newer, more expensive format.  That isn’t a big market right now.

Also, the jump from regular DVD to HD/Blu-ray isn’t as significant as the previous jump from VHS to DVD.  Think about it.  When DVD was introduced roughly 10 years ago, the benefits over VHS included much better picture and sound quality, as well as convenience features like no rewinding, chapter selection, multiple audio tracks and subtitles, repeat functions, etc.. When you go from standard DVD to these HD formats, you’re really only gaining some picture quality (the sound is also higher resolution, but most people would be challenged to notice).  Simply stated, these formats aren’t nearly as groundbreaking as the last one, and I think it’s quite possible that they could both flop.  That, or they may wind up being used more for computer and professional applications than movies, since an optical disc that can hold up to 50 gigs could have a lot of uses besides the ability to see T2 in a little higher picture quality.  Add to the equation the rise in on-demand and downloadable content, and you might just see your average consumer paying $5.99 to watch a new release one time off their HD cable box instead of using one of these new players.

Anyway, it’ll be interesting to watch this play out. 

Another related Chamber post: Adult Movie Makers Are Embracing HD


Rudy Giuliani And The Politics Of Fear

April 24, 2007

Someone posted this link on LGF and I couldn’t believe it when I read it.  It’s like deja vu:  Giuliani warns of ‘new 9/11’ if Dems win

“If any Republican is elected president – – and I think obviously I would be the best at this – – we will remain on offense and will anticipate what (the terrorists) will do and try to stop them before they do it,” Giuliani said.

OK.  Never mind the fact that 9/11 occurred while a Republican president (the current one) was in office.  Rudy seems to be implicitly guaranteeing that we won’t have another attack in the 1 1/2 years that Bush has left, in addition to the 4 years that this hypothetical Republican president would serve.  All because we’re on the ‘offensive’.  We’re on the ‘offensive’ all right.  We’re stuck in that ‘offensive’ that has been a cause célèbre for inspiring you jihadis the world over. Maybe Rudy’s right, as I would certainly describe that kind of recklessness in response to a terrorist attack as ‘offensive’.  This is fearmongering, pure and simple.

So, can we get that in writing, Rudy? 

Forget it.  I thought that we’d be done watching the fear card being played in our elections, but here we have Rudy grabbing the torch from Cheney:

. “It’s absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we’ll get hit again,” the vice president said, “that we’ll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we’ll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind-set, if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts and that we are not really at war.”

I suppose they think they need to keep doing this, but the Republicans watched their polling lead on the issue of ‘terrorism’ erode to the point where the Dems actually had the advantage last November.  Giuliani apparently thinks that people will still buy it.  If it worked in ’04 maybe it will work in ’08.  Or so they hope.

BTW- Ever wonder why the Dems don’t run with the “we may get hit again”?  I don’t understand why they couldn’t.  They could bring up Katrina while they’re at it, and really scare the heck out of people about what might happen if we do have another major attack (knock, knock) while a Republican is in office.  I’d hope they’d be above it (exploiting a national tragedy), and just let the current Republican president’s record speak for itself.

Update:  I should note here that Giuliani never said the words ‘new 9/11’ even though the headline of the Politico story would lead one to believe that he did.  So, I’m going to go ahead and recant my statements above comparing Giuliani’s statements to Cheney’s.  (what’s going on at The Politico?)  I still stand by my assertion that what he’s engaging in here is fearmongering, however.

Update:  I think Keith Olbermann at MSNBC may have seen my post: Video: Olbermann commentary blasts ‘fearmongerer’ Giuliani


Silliest ’08 Election Sidebar Widget Yet

April 24, 2007

I know there are a lot of conservative bloggers out there who want Fred Thompson to run for president in ‘O8.  The prevailing slogan circling around is “Draft Thompson!“, and it is beginning to appear (in various forms) in the sidebars of conservative blogs everywhere.  So, I borrowed one:

Comments about crappy photoshopping aside, if it looks like Thompson’s face seems a bit foreign pasted inside of a WWII helmet….it’s because it is.  Thompson has never actually served in the military, so I’m not quite sure what kind of message a sidebar image like this is trying to send.   I suppose the logic is based on some focus group findings that a potential candidate’s face superimposed on an old WWII poster gets high marks.  Or not.   It’s probably anyone’s guess what inspired this, actually.  Who cares!  Thompson looks tough, and we’ve got a WoT to win.  Hooah!


Karl’s In Charge

April 24, 2007

Please forgive my semi-lame play on the title of an old ’80’s sitcom, but I’ll try my best to have it make sense.  I wanted today’s entry to be all about everyone’s favorite Bush administration figure, Karl Rove, as he seems to have a hard time staying out of the news lately:  Rove warns of threat of terrorism

In a question-and-answer period after his speech, Rove was asked whose idea it was to start a pre-emptive war.”

“I think it was Osama bin Laden’s,” Rove replied.

Someone on the Think Progress thread pretty much stated the response to this as I would have:

Actually Rove is right. Getting the US bogged down in a nasty guerrilla war in the heart of the Middle East is exactly what Bin Laden was after when he launched the 9/11 attack.

So the question becomes, why were Rove and the rest of the Bushies so eager to give Bin Laden what he wanted?

Comment by A Hermit — April 19, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

Now, it’s pretty easy to pick on Rove for silly comments like that, as it is just another example of the ridiculous spin that has come from this administration over the last 6 years.  If you’re really interested on why I agree with A. Hermit’s post, check out this thread in the fearbush forums. My real reason for this post has to do with Rove’s involvement with this A.G. Gonzales fiasco (called by some as a non-scandal scandal). First, a few pertinent links:

All this presents quite a few question marks, and an immediate impression that the administration may be covering something up here.  Although that might be true, I’m not convinced that it means that they are covering up anything improper or illegal, per se.  It has been noted by many that Bush is well within his right to fire attorneys at any time.  So…. why?

As you might expect, I have a theory…

What Rove’s conveniently missing emails and Gonzales’s abysmal memory are hiding has less to do with the firing of U.S. attorneys, and more to do with Rove’s power in general.   They’re covering up the uncomfortable revelation that Rove has been wielding more power and asserting more influence over our branches of government than his title of Deputy White House Chief of Staff would seem to imply.  In other words, it could very well be that when it comes to who’s really running things in the White House, Karl’s in charge. Unfortunately, considering the Bush administration’s terrible luck with finding documents (along with their secretive nature in general), we may never know for sure.

Update:  The L.A. Times is reporting that there will be investigations into Rove’s scheming: Low-key office launches high-profile inquiry (for the digg link, click here). 

The new investigation, which will examine the firing of at least one U.S. attorney, missing White House e-mails, and White House efforts to keep presidential appointees attuned to Republican political priorities, could create a substantial new problem for the Bush White House.

First, the inquiry comes from inside the administration, not from Democrats in Congress. Second, unlike the splintered inquiries being pressed on Capitol Hill, it is expected to be a unified investigation covering many facets of the political operation in which Rove played a leading part.

Hopefully they won’t run into too many missing documents or administration officials with preemptive alzheimer’s, but this is definitely something worth following up on. 

Others blogging the L.A. Times story:

The Blotter, Shakesville, TPMmuckraker, The Carpetbagger Report,, CANNONFIRE, NION, PoliBlog (TM), DownWithTyranny!, On Politics, CorrenteWire, Think Progress, Balloon Juice, AMERICAblog, TIME: Swampland, Tennessee Guerilla Women, The Heretik, The Agonist, Macsmind, Little Thom’s Blog, Prairie Weather, On Deadline and Liberal Values



Great Wall Of Baghdad

April 21, 2007

 Another Digg find.  A three-mile wall in Baghdad: US builds Baghdad wall to keep Sunnis and Shias apart

 The project, which began on April 10, is being worked on almost nightly, with cranes swinging enormous concrete barriers into place.

Although Baghdad is rife with barriers around marketplaces and areas such as the heavily fortified Green Zone, this is the first in the city to be set up on sectarian lines.

The concrete wall, which will be up to 12ft high, “is one of the centrepieces of a new strategy by coalition and Iraqi forces to break the cycle of sectarian violence,” US officials said.

| digg story

Note:  the story says the wall’s being dubbed “great wall of Adamiya” .  Built by night. Guarded by troops.  Right smack in the middle of sectarian warfare in Baghdad.  Think they’ll be done in a month as planned? 

Old tricks are the best tricks – build a wall. 

Update:  I think the wall is a testament to how colossally bad an idea this whole adventure was to begin with.  I know visitors will probably comment that I sound like a defeatist on this or something.  I don’t care.  I thought this Iraq thing was wrong from day one.  Now here we are in the 5th year of this, and we’re resorting to building a friggin wall.  It’s kinda hard to be optimistic.

Update:  I was looking all over the place for a map of the area and where the wall was going to be built, and I found one on Zeyad’s site, Healing Iraq:

click for full size

Zeyad has a lot of good maps up on his site.  As you can see from this one, Adhamiya is on the East bank of the Tigris and directly West of Sadr City. Between them lies an area of mixed Sunni/Shia neighborhoods where much of the sectarian conflict rages.

Update:  Look what showed up in the Think Progress RSS feed:  Iraqi PM Orders Halt to Baghdad Barrier

“I oppose the building of the wall and its construction will stop,” al-Maliki told reporters during a joint news conference with the Secretary-General of the Arab League Amr Moussa in Cairo, Egypt. “There are other methods to protect neighborhoods.”

OK.  Is it safe to say that al-Maliki wasn’t consulted before they broke ground on this?  What the heck is going on over there?

Update:  The answer to the latter question above remains up in the air:  U.S. to ‘respect’ Iraqi wishes for wall

Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a U.S. military spokesman, indicated that there may have been a miscommunication.

“Discussions on a local level may not have been conveyed to the highest levels of the Iraqi government,” Garver said.

Al-Maliki is seeking to drum up support for his Shiite-led government among mostly Sunni Arab nations and his comments may have been aimed at appeasing them.

“Whether the prime minister saw this plan or not, I don’t know. With him in Cairo, it complicates things,” Garver said

To me, all this represents a snapshot of how messed up it really is over there.  Who is making these decisions anyway?  


What’s With All The Impeachment Talk?

April 20, 2007

Digg quote:

Vermont’s senate in an honorable and patriotic move, voted to Impeach Bush Friday

read more | digg story

The skinny:

MONTPELIER, Vt. Apr 20, 2007 (AP)— Vermont senators voted Friday to call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, saying their actions have raised “serious questions of constitutionality.”

The nonbinding resolution was approved 16-9 without debate all six Republicans in the chamber at the time and three Democrats voted against it.


Update:  Found another WP blogger lookin’ at the Cheney angle:  Scholars and Rogues PING! …looks like a good one for the blogroll too


You Don’t Need To Be Saying That, Harry

April 20, 2007

When it comes to saying “We Lost”, I’m one of those people that believes, from a certain point of view, that we ‘lost’ the minute we stepped foot in that country.  That being said, and the situation being what it is, I’m still not sure if it’s the wisest thing for someone like Harry Reid to use that word specifically.  Why don’t these guys use words like “We tried”, or at least try to declare victory like the Brits?    I mean, Saddam is dead, we got the WMD’s, they’re ‘sovereign’…There are a lot of better ways to describe the need to do a cost/benefit analysis of the situation and declare the need to pull our troops out, if that’s what the situation really calls for. 


If the Middle East wants to think we’ve ‘lost’ because we’re pulling troops out, fine.  Not much we can do about that.  But you don’t have to tell them.  Jeez.



April 18, 2007

I gotta tell ya, there aren’t too many commercials on TV anymore that make me laugh.   This is probably due to the fact that I spent many hours sitting through marketing courses in college, and therefore learned to view commercials for what they are (someone trying to sell you something). Too bad, really.  On the plus side though, perhaps it makes me more qualified to acknowledge ad campaigns that actually excel, and feel confident in my judgement for giving them credit.  Or, maybe I’m just rambling.  Anyway, here’s Comcast’s favorite turtle couple….The Slowskys

Now, it’s pretty funny.  Or, maybe it’s exceptionally funny.  Why?  Because when I watch it, I’m somehow OK with the fact that it costs


a month for the privilege of posting about Bill and Karolyn Slowsky on this blog and occasionally spotting another Slowsky commercial while watching my Comcast HD cable box.  In fact, I think anyone with an informed opinion would consider that a ‘home run’.  Congrats Comcast!

P.S. As luck would have it, the Slowskys have a blog .  PING!