January 5, 2007

Three issues

Issue One Iraq insanity

The rather barbaric neck-breaking of Saddam Hussein amidst sectarian shouts and taunts wasn't exactly a shining moment for the new Iraqi government. His martyrdom is all but assured amongst his Sunni followers across the mid-east and it throws gasoline on the already explosive sectarian conflict in Iraq.

Now take a few steps back and look at the entire Iraq situation.

There have now been over 3000 U.S. troops sacrificed and scores of thousands blinded, maimed, crippled, and wounded.

Why?

What exactly is Bush's purpose? What is the goal? What is it that we've spent hundreds of billions of dollars and spent all these precious lives to achieve?

What have we accomplished? Well, Saddam was taken out of power and hung.

Is that what people here were so jazzed up about with their rabid patriotism and support of Bush these past many years? Is this what thousands of our troops and over a half million innocent Iraqi men, women, and children have died for? To remove Saddam Hussein?

And looking back, Saddam was able to keep Iraq as a cohesive and stable country. How? Often by brutally repressing anyone who tried to rise up and challenge either his power or start any conflicts.

He slaughtered people who tried to assassinate him. This was held up as a reason he needed to be taken out by Bush. The infamous gassing of the Kurds wasn't even mentioned in his trial and was not what he was convicted for. And of course, Rumsfeld et. al. were sure he had poison gas because they had the receipts. They'd sold it to Saddam when he was at war with Iran.

But essentially, Saddam ruled with an iron fist, and kept Iraq relatively stable and functioning. Though there was poverty and want in his country, it was not nearly as bad as many other misruled countries around the world.

He was a brutal dictator who held his fractious country together and enforced "peace" so to speak, with strength and force.

Now we go blundering into the country, topple Hussein, disband his army, set up an erstwhile government, and now, to no one's surprise except the Bush administration apparently, these factions were set loose to battle for supremacy.

Without Saddam's brand of iron-fisted repression, the gates are open and it's a huge, deadly free-for-all.

This of course could have been foreseen by anyone with an even rudimentary knowledge of Iraq. But of course, Bush and his crew wanted this war, and they were going to get it, facts be damned.

So now that we've effectively "broken" Iraq completely, is it any wonder that no one has a clue as to what to do now?

Is sending in a "surge" of troops really going to accomplish anything other than trying to establish a tiny ring of security enough for the pampered residents of the Green Zone, or the Emerald City as it's known, to get the hell out?

Is the lives of the 3000 troops and the unbearable grief of their families left behind all worth what we've accomplished in Iraq?

Did they die so that Saddam could be killed and the country thrown into chaos for decades, with the likely outcome a wider war amongst mid-east countries and the establishment of an Iraq even more hostile to the US than the Iraq of Saddam Hussein?

Is there anyone in this country, especially politicians, who are brave enough to see this for the utter disaster it is and say so?

And can the American people, even liberals and Democrats, bring themselves to actually acknowledge the scope and massive scale of what this most reckless and thoughtless of all presidents has lead us into?

Since the constantly shifting rationales for why we invaded a country which had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks of 9-11 have shifted and changed so many times it's hard to keep track, can anyone try to guess as to what motivated Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Pearl, and the rest to rush to invade Iraq, even if it meant lying through their teeth to do it?

Why did we invade Iraq? What profit did it represent to those at the top who pushed so recklessly for it? What did they think would happen and why?

Issue Two

"Fair play" in congress.
Since the new Democratic congress was sworn in yesterday, there's been a big bitch-fest among Republicans, who of course, knowing no shame, are actually barking about those mean Dems leaving them out of debate on a few issues to do with Pelosi's First 100 Days agenda.

First of all, it's nearly enough to make you lose your lunch to hear these bastards who routinely treated all Dems like rented mules for the past decade or so now standing there whining about fair play.

But it does raise a difficult issue, and one that's proving impossible for me to decide.

Everyone acknowledges that the myth of "bipartisanship" is a worthy goal, and that the mid-term election represented American's desire to put an end to the Republican style of abuse and arrogance of power whereby they essentially gave the opposition party the finger every time it expected to actually participate in the government of this country and represent the half of the population who voted for them.

They were denied meeting rooms, not informed of content of bills, denied debate or allowed a ridiculously short time for debate, they slipped in bills in the dead of night, illegally held votes open until enough arms were twisted to pass bills their way, and even offered bribes on the floor. At one point, they even called the capitol police to break up a Dem caucus meeting.

They abused the rules committee so badly that it was unprecedented.

Now these same creeps are on TV whining that Pelosi isn't coming through with her promise of cooperation.

So, this presents a dilemma. Should the Dems, who in my opinion have every right conceivable to give the Republicans a large dose of their own medicine, fight tough and employ a little of the Republican-style use (or abuse) of power, or should they immediately make nice and bend over backwards to make sure the Republicans are able to water down, amend, and dilute Democratic measures in the spirit of "bipartisanship"?

Bear in mind that the Republicans have for years been passing amazingly brazen bills designed to ensure their power and control, measures such as phony bills to make it nearly impossible to raise taxes.

Should the Dems just take the hit early and do the right thing to get rid of all these partisan and ideological measures and put government back the way it was meant to be? Or should they lay down and allow things to essentially run according to Republican rules?

My view is that they need to be a little ruthless now and get it over with.

Permit me an analogy. Let's say the House is an actual house, which the Republican's have owned for decades now, and they've painted the walls a garish purple and put in toilet seats with Jesus' image on it and have corporate call girls living upstairs and have otherwise messed the place up and fixed it to suit their peculiar lifestyle. They've debauched a place which has a lot of history and needs to be preserved.

Now the Dems own this house.

Wouldn't it be fitting to try to undo all the more extreme things the Republicans have installed? Would that be wrong and radical and "un-bi-partisan" (wow!)

Wouldn't it be within the Democrat's rights, and the rights of the majority of people who supported them and voted them into office for them to do what was necessary to first put things back in order before getting on with the business of governance?

I think so.

So perhaps for a period of time, the Dems should continue the firmly established Republican style of leadership in the House, which basically means that you operate as if the minority doesn't exist.

Then after some of the more important issues have been dealt with, and some of the more egregious damage left over from the Republicans has been corrected, then resume running the House the way it had been prior to it's radical occupation in the recent past.

What do you think? Should the Dems immediately play nice? Or are they within their rights to give the Republicans a taste of their own medicine?

If the Dems do play Republican style hard-ball, how badly will it hurt them politically, if at all?

Issue Three

Anyone else find it a bit suspicious that Bush's attorney suddenly jumped ship with little or no explanation? Did she see the writing on the wall?

Some are suggesting that Bush's penchant for issuing several bizarre "signing statements", where in addition to signing legislation, he issues a dictate saying which parts of the bill he's going to obey and which he's not. He does this by the legal ju-jitsu of interpreting what he says the bill means and how he intends to "follow" the law.

Much like the secret wiretapping and email snooping, it's now revealed that Bush, in a recent signing, held that he has the right under the law to open anyone's mail he feels like if it's a matter of "national security", which means anytime, anywhere.

He already has this ability and can do so through the courts, so why all of this overkill?

Some say that it's in anticipation of the revelation of criminal acts by the president and others, and an effort to establish that he believed he was following the law at the time. (Doing so, of course, by issuing bizarre interpretations of the law in his "signings")

In other words, he can have the defense of saying that he'd written in a signing that he felt that this legislation authorized him to do all these patently illegal and unconstitutional things, thus, how can he be guilty if he didn't think he was breaking the law?

The Republicans in congress have provided a shameful protection to this administration, and now without it being able to prevent investigations and otherwise divert serious questions, corruption and incompetence will be at last able to be revealed.

The true scope and level of this will likely never be revealed, but even some of it will shock the country.

Some say that the Dems better not dare to spend much time investigating administration sins, or the American public will turn on them.

I say hogwash. Once the dirt starts being revealed, the American public will be clamoring for more.

I predict that there will be many major and shocking scandals and revelations to come in the next decade or so. This most secretive of any administration in history has a lot to hide, and the public will likely be shocked when some of it comes out.

4 Comments:

At 1/05/2007 9:14 AM, Blogger Dave said...

The Democratic Party has two opportunities here:
1) Get revenge for the past Republican wrongdoing and misdeeds.
2) Set the example for how we want our government should be run.

There no doubt will be many investigations in the coming months, as there should be, into the current administrations handi-work. At the same time there will be more opportunities to heal old wounds, find common ground on which to operate and really make a difference in the outcomes for the American people.

It's time to set the example, in my opinion. Get the people in the middle more excited about our future and engaged in the process. The Democrats won the majority of elections this past year mostly by the center of the party.

Let's focus on our future and not let the past mistakes of others dictate our behavior!

 
At 1/05/2007 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Issue 1: Everybody knows that troop escalation would only work to stabilize the country if there were 500,000 troops in Iraq. In trying to figure out why the new cannon fodder for no good reason, I've come up with a bad one. Here is the full text of my latest letter to the editor:

"What if the hasty execution of Saddam Hussein on the eve of a Muslim holiday was meant to further inflame Iraqi sensibilities and justify the troop escalation they call “surge?” What if the escalation they call “surge” is actually a cover for setting up an attack on Iran?

"Here’s what. In the December 18 issue of The American Conservative Magazine, William S. Lind lays out the logistics, the tactics, all the vulnerabilities that could and probably would transform our fighting force into 140,000 hostages of the Iranians if we make this move. The piece is called, 'How to Lose an Army.'

"And how is it that our neocon leaders think that they can set so much of the Middle East ablaze without our pal Israel getting burned? Must be another cakewalk-in-Iraq moment. Apparently they have gnawed through their last tether to reality.

"Bin Laden is laughing. The next conflagration will be the icing on his cake."

 
At 1/05/2007 5:06 PM, Blogger Carl Nyberg said...

The U.S. military has succeeded in creating a sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shia. Who would that benefit?

 
At 1/06/2007 11:10 AM, Blogger illinidem said...

I think the resignation of Harriet Myers is very interesting. The buzz I have heard is that insiders in the White House don’t think she will be able to withstand the various and assorted investigations that have been long overdue. Funny that she was good enough for the Supreme Court, but not good enough to deal with the job of White House Counsel. That call for a lot of speculation. Either she is cannot be dirty enough to defend these corrupt thugs, or she has been too dirty in proposing signing statements etc.

 

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