You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Iraq war’ tag.

About WMD’s. He did it to oust Hussein.  Duh.

I’m sure Bush, Cheney, and company will now offer their heartfelt apologies for going to war on a lie.

Although one wonders why we need 50,000 troops to stay behind now that it’s over.

Heard on the radio this morning that the month of July was the bloodiest month in over two years in terms of Iraqi deaths in excess of 500.  The US military is disputing the numbers, but I”m not sure what the motive would be for the Iraqi government to inflate them.

Obama says that 90 thousand troops are being “brought home,” which is good news; but are they coming home or being redeployed to Afghanistan?

Franken’s first legislative win – the government will not hire contractors who mandate arbitration clauses for victims of sexual harassment or assault.  The text is as follows:

Sec. 8104. (a) None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any existing or new Federal contract if the contractor or a subcontractor at any tier requires that an employee or independent contractor, as a condition of employment, sign a contract that mandates that the employee or independent contractor performing work under the contract or subcontract resolve through arbitration any claim under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or any tort related to or arising out of sexual assault or harassment, including assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, or negligent hiring, supervision, or retention.

It arose from a particular story of a brutal rape victim, drugged and attacked by her fellow KBR employees and denied legal recourse.  Franken grills the KBR attorney.

30 Senators voted against the amendment – all of them Republicans.  Only Jon Stewart can respond to that.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Stewart“, posted with vodpod

From someone who emailed it to me.

Oppose the Government’s ruinous foreign wars
U.S. Out of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq

Rally at the Courthouse in Eureka
Saturday, October 17th at 1 PM

From the first Gulf War much of the anti-war left has tried to bring the prior kozy relationships between neocon pols and Saddam Hussein’s regime into the national discussion.  The media ignores it as irrelevant.  The right just dodges the topic on principle.  The 1983 photograph of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Hussein shortly after a number of dissidents had been executed gets discussed only insofar as it is a “favorite” jpeg download for blogs.

The left has long held that the Reagan administration downplayed the gassing of the Kurds in the late 1980s in order to maintain a pact with Hussein convenient to the Cold War.  Again, the mainstream media grudgingly acknowledges the implications, while rolling its eyes at this and any “blowback” type argument, as something “we all know.”  For this reason, buried deep in a CNN article about “heinous crimes” is material validation of the same.

Declassified U.S. government documents show that while Saddam Hussein was gassing Iraqi Kurds, the U.S. opposed punishing Iraq with a trade embargo because it was cultivating Iraq as an ally against Iran and as a market for U.S. farm exports.

According to Peter Galbraith, then an idealistic Senate staffer determined to stop Hussein from committing genocide, the Reagan administration “got carried away with their own propaganda. They began to believe that Saddam Hussein could be a reliable partner.” Read once-secret U.S. documents

Wait for the inevitable feint. “We all knew it, what is there to discuss?” Pakistan maybe? Saudi Arabia?

A reminder – Clif Clendenen will be holding an event at Beginnings tomorrow evening beginning at 6 p.m. Despite what the initial posters said, the event is free. Lot’s of food. Music (including Steel Toed Slippers). Fun for the whole family. All are welcome regardless of campaign affiliation or endorsement.


Cristina Bauss will sub in for me on All Things Reconsidered tonight. I believe the topic will be Richardson Grove.


CNN spent a couple of hours on yesterday’s 5th anniversary of the war asking “was the war worth fighting?” The mainstream media framing leaves me cold often, but on this occasion I was ready to toss the television out the window (unfortunately, it’s not mine). The question is not whether it’s “worth” anything. The question is whether we have the right to attack a country which is no threat to us, however bad the regime may be – unless perhaps we are attempting to prevent genocide. But the genocide took place 20 years ago while he remained an ally against Iran.

The conclusion? Well, if you take Wolf Blitzer and company to heart, it’s not about the mistakes of the past. It’s about what McCain will do in the future. The initial war support wasn’t an error in judgment because “everybody” made the same mistake – except Obama of course, but his stand doesn’t count because he wasn’t yet in the Senate.


I am of course with my family in Monterey. I have fond memories, but as I’ve said previously, it’s no Santa Cruz.

Monterey’s alternative newspaper readers chose Starbucks as the county’s number one coffee house. Did I mention that Monterey is not Santa Cruz? Their number one bookstore is Borders.


Oddly enough, the seafood selection at Shopsmart in Redway is far superior to most anything I found today as I was hunting for wild caught shrimp. I finally found a specialty store in Monterey proper named Sea Harvest where the selection was maybe slightly better than Redway’s. More evidence we live in a blessed place.


The parking meters in Monterey are electronic. They reset when you move your car. I wonder how long it took for that technology to pay for itself. Also annoying is the fact that the machines only accept quarters.


I’ve shut down the comments in the last Reggae thread. I don’t have time to clean it up.


Yours to the revolution.

Extra points to the first poster who can name the American novelist who used to sign off his letters that way. No, it wasn’t Steinbeck.

I’ve only had time to skim the articles. The link was e-mailed to me this morning. Basically Mother Jones is examining the “out of Iraq now” position of many anti-war activists from practical and moral basis in symposium format. It presents six challenges for anti-war activists to consider, including a number of post-evacuation scenarios.

From the intro:

There are no good options in Iraq, but the options narrow to the horrific the longer our leaders dawdle. Bush seems content—whether out of delusional optimism or cynical “strategery”—to run out the clock and stick the next administration with this mess; only 5 percent of Americans expect him to do otherwise. And the Democrats are playing the other side of the same game—content to let the GOP go down with its man.

So what is to be done? First and foremost, anyone running for or holding national office must be forced to answer these questions: What’s your schedule for withdrawal, and what consequences do you foresee? Which comes first—withdrawal, a functioning Iraqi government, or a solid international peacekeeping force? What concessions would you make to get Iraq’s neighbors to help? What degree of bloodshed are you prepared to stand by and watch?

We put such questions to five dozen military men, think-tankers, peace activists, academics, and politicians. Some of their responses follow, and we’ll post the full interviews online, along with a list of those who refused to respond—including the architects of the war, leading presidential candidates, and the congressional leadership. Some, it should be noted, begged off because they were taking a summer break, even as Iraqi politicians were being criticized for doing the same. We hope that if we can’t force them to reckon with reality, you can. As General Zinni notes, “the government is us. We made promises and commitments. The administration proposed the war; Congress—the voice of the people—authorized it; we are responsible for it. We can’t claim, ‘I didn’t vote for him in the first place’ or ‘I changed my mind.’ There has to be some sort of obligation that falls to us as a society for what our government does in our name.”

I suggest that before posters from any side of the debate start spouting off rote rhetoric, pat answers, and sound bites that maybe you actually read some of the material first?

Just a suggestion.

No folks, one million people in Iraq have not died since the invasion started. I know it’s being reported on Free Speech News, Amy Goodman and numerous lefty media.

From Just Foreign Policy:

The number is shocking and sobering.

It is at least 10 times greater than most estimates cited in the US media, yet it is based on the only scientifically valid study of violent Iraqi deaths caused by the U.S.-led invasion of March 2003.

That study, published in prestigious medical journal The Lancet, estimated that over 600,000 Iraqis had been killed as a result of the invasion as of July 2006. Iraqis have continued to be killed since then. The graphic above provides a rough daily update of this number based on a rate of increase derived from the Iraq Body Count. (See the complete explanation.)

And from my left wing friend, who sent me the link:

Don’ t bother trying to refute the idiots with a counter-study.

Just ask them to cite a single article or report from the last four years that shows 2740 Iraqi deaths in one day, which would be the average daily toll if a million Iraqis have been killed.

If 2740 have been killed day in and day out, every day, for four straight years, there must be at least one published report somewhere.

Okay, I know this is going to generate some angry anonymous responses. Eric Kirk is a DLC operative. He’s a Zionist. He’s a lawyer. He doesn’t listen to the Dixie Chicks.

Well, the anti-war movement can’t afford to lose any more credibility. Despite the fact that everyone on the planet now opposes the war in Iraq except for a handful of hardcores, precious few of the pols up for election in 08 for any position are taking a firm stand. The nut case conspiracy theories don’t help. Associations with a coalition run by a sectarian group which embraces a repressive xenophobic nation which believes that its leader is immortal doesn’t help. The bad arithmetic won’t help either. There are plenty of facts to justify opposition to the war. We don’t have to make them up.

Addendum: Somebody posted the following. I guess we all should watch our arithmetic.

Your buddy needs to get his math right …1,000,000 over four years is 685 a day. Still sounds high to me.

Second addendum: This post got linked over at Daily Kos. I don’t have time to get into a long discussion over there, but it’s interesting to learn that I actually an a DLC member. I really think the left should have some requirements for membership, including a literature class in which you learn about irony.

He may be anti-choice and conservative on some key social issues, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delivered for the anti-war cause today. By a vote of 50-48-2 the provision of the war spending bill demanding a one year time-line for withdrawal from Iraq survived a challenge that included 2 members of the Democratic Party and one member of the recently formed it’s-all-about-me Party.

The latter is of course Joe “let’s-make-the-Senate-a-House-of-Lords” Lieberman, who was on NPR this morning whining that the provision would result in a presidential veto – a promise that probably kept some of the anti-war votes in line. Reid managed to keep DLC-type Democrats like Ben Nelson in line, and scored two Republican votes to offset the weenie factor in the Democratic Party. Kos has the details in the link above.

The bill still has to be reworked to reconcile with the House bill which is a bit more stringent. CNN has a few more details.

Meanwhile, give credit to Reid. And let the president veto troop funding if that’s his wish.

Meanwhile, these Republicans are facing tough re-election campaigns next year. Their opponents have an issue.

Norm Coleman (MN)
Susan Collins (ME)
John Cornyn (TX)
Liddy Dole (NC)
Pete Domenici (NM)
Mitch McConnel (KY)
Pete Sessions (AL)
John Sununu (NH)
John Warner (VA)

This bill won’t end the war. But it drastically reshapes the debate. It’s not a question now of if we pull out, but when.

The photo is from Wikipedia.

Look, I oppose the war. And this gentleman’s piece doesn’t change my mind about it. But whether you agree with his take on the broader issues of the war, what is contained in the piece is an appeal to war opponents to take some care in their rhetoric. Activists would do well to think about Mr. Finlay when selecting their slogans and argument. For that matter, what would you say to the family of the woman he describes.

I just got back from a mission where we came upon a dead body in the middle of the road. Not a big deal, happens quite often, usually a middle-age man. But this time was different. She had her hands tied up behind her and had been tortured. She had the skin on her entire face ripped off. She had her pants pulled halfway down and her top ripped off.

She looked like she was American — whether she was or not. She looked barely 21. Worst of all, we were forced to leave her in the middle of the road with a pack of dogs eating at her dead body …

Driving away from her in the middle of the road was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I don’t feel like a soldier is supposed to feel tonight because of the events that took place. It hurts too bad even to cry.

Okay. Certainly the victims of the death squads organized by the “good guys” don’t look any better. You can come up with a thousand responses. Earlier today in response to Andy Stunich arguing that most Iraqis are probably grateful for the invasion (or were at one point anyway), I responded that the same may be true for dozens of other countries. But would I make the argument personally to a torture victim of Hussein’s? Or somebody whose entire family “disappeared” under the regime? As controversial as it may be with some of my fellow war opponents, I do believe that most Iraqis are better off than they were under Hussein, even with the existing chaos. And I do also believe that it’s beside the point in terms of justifying the invasion. But in speaking to a Hussein regime victim, I probably wouldn’t bother to argue the point, which would seem cold or at minimum hyper-intellectual. Maybe I would. I’d play it by ear.

But in no case would I ever tell them, nor any soldier, nor any family of a victim or soldier, that the soldier “died for nothing.” Whether the war is wrong, the soldiers did not die for nothing. At minimum, they died for an idea or a hope. And hopefully for more.

I do note that Mr. Finlay is allowed to speak his support for the war. Any of his fellow soldiers who might disagree is not free to voice that dissension.

Oh, I started to read the comments attached to the Times-Standard piece. The first two posts, one on each side of the issue of the war, were very disappointing and completely missed the point. I didn’t bother to read beyond them. But in it’s 50 plus years of existence, I would hope that the peace movement has collectively learned better. Unfortunately, even with like 60 percent war opposition, the peace movement appears to be blowing it.

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