September 15, 2007

Bush oil cronie puts money on U.S. failure

Paul Krugman in the NY Times:
To understand what’s really happening in Iraq, follow the oil money, which already knows that the surge has failed.

Back in January, announcing his plan to send more troops to Iraq, President Bush declared that “America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.”

Near the top of his list was the promise that “to give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country’s economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis.”
Well, the legislation Mr. Bush promised never materialized, and on Wednesday attempts to arrive at a compromise oil law collapsed.

What’s particularly revealing is the cause of the breakdown. Last month the provincial government in Kurdistan, defying the central government, passed its own oil law; last week a Kurdish Web site announced that the provincial government had signed a production-sharing deal with the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas, and that seems to have been the last straw.

Now here’s the thing: Ray L. Hunt, the chief executive and president of Hunt Oil, is a close political ally of Mr. Bush. More than that, Mr. Hunt is a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, a key oversight body.

Some commentators have expressed surprise at the fact that a businessman with very close ties to the White House is undermining U.S. policy. But that isn’t all that surprising, given this administration’s history. Remember, Halliburton was still signing business deals with Iran years after Mr. Bush declared Iran a member of the “axis of evil.”

No, what’s interesting about this deal is the fact that Mr. Hunt, thanks to his policy position, is presumably as well-informed about the actual state of affairs in Iraq as anyone in the business world can be. By putting his money into a deal with the Kurds, despite Baghdad’s disapproval, he’s essentially betting that the Iraqi government — which hasn’t met a single one of the major benchmarks Mr. Bush laid out in January — won’t get its act together. Indeed, he’s effectively betting against the survival of Iraq as a nation in any meaningful sense of the term.

The smart money, then, knows that the surge has failed, that the war is lost, and that Iraq is going the way of Yugoslavia. And I suspect that most people in the Bush administration — maybe even Mr. Bush himself — know this, too.

After all, if the administration had any real hope of retrieving the situation in Iraq, officials would be making an all-out effort to get the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to start delivering on some of those benchmarks, perhaps using the threat that Congress would cut off funds otherwise. Instead, the Bushies are making excuses, minimizing Iraqi failures, moving goal posts and, in general, giving the Maliki government no incentive to do anything differently.

And for that matter, if the administration had any real intention of turning public opinion around, as opposed to merely shoring up the base enough to keep Republican members of Congress on board, it would have sent Gen. David Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq, to as many news media outlets as possible — not granted an exclusive appearance to Fox News on Monday night.

All in all, Mr. Bush’s actions have not been those of a leader seriously trying to win a war. They have, however, been what you’d expect from a man whose plan is to keep up appearances for the next 16 months, never mind the cost in lives and money, then shift the blame for failure onto his successor.

In fact, that’s my interpretation of something that startled many people: Mr. Bush’s decision last month, after spending years denying that the Iraq war had anything in common with Vietnam, to suddenly embrace the parallel.

Here’s how I see it: At this point, Mr. Bush is looking forward to replaying the political aftermath of Vietnam, in which the right wing eventually achieved a rewriting of history that would have made George Orwell proud, convincing millions of Americans that our soldiers had victory in their grasp but were stabbed in the back by the peaceniks back home.

What all this means is that the next president, even as he or she tries to extricate us from Iraq — and prevent the country’s breakup from turning into a regional war — will have to deal with constant sniping from the people who lied us into an unnecessary war, then lost the war they started, but will never, ever, take responsibility for their failures.


At 9/15/2007 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the man sees the writing on the wall, which is that the U.S., whether rightly or wrongly, does not have the intestinal fortitude to do what it takes to win.

Maybe the man sees the writing on the wall that the Dem's are going to push us out of Iraq.

Whether this is a right or wrong policy is not the issue that I choose to debate, but it seems like this man's decision is based on simple logic and litlle more.

At 9/15/2007 5:58 PM, Blogger Yas said...

it sux doesn't it.

At 9/18/2007 12:58 PM, Anonymous saul said...

Anonymous, what exactly do you mean by doing what it takes to win? What do you think could be done that Bush hasn't done? Do you think that you can still win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people?

At 9/18/2007 11:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Newspaper blogs have emerged as the clear winner on the internet.

According to a brand new study conducted by the independent-minded Pew Internet & American Life Project, January 2007, the number of people using the internet as their main source of political news has tripled since in mid-term election.

At 9/19/2007 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's time to shut this sick puppy down.

At 9/19/2007 7:19 PM, Blogger UMRBlog said...


Guess I missed the part about what "logical man's" end game and metric measurement of success were gonna be. Maybe I just didn't get the memo....or perhaps I just got confused when Cheney's predictions of our being met with flowers in Bagdhad turned out to be just a tad optimistic.

I take your overall point but it's asking a lot of someone to exercise fortitude for an end that has not yet been identified.

At 9/20/2007 7:13 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 11:27.

I truly wish you weren't such a habitual liar.

That study cited is now 9 months old, and I don't doubt its results a bit. (which of course don't resemble what you say they do in the slightest.) The Pew Center has a sterling reputation, and I've always respected their studies.

I'm sure the numbers of people who look to the internet for their news and information is continueing on the trend it's been on since you thought the information superhighway was some road you'd never been on.

I have no doubt that the number of people searching for some alternative to the idiotic coverage of cable news and other media outlets which have literally destroyed the media as we know it in the quest for ever expanding profits, serving up a thin gruel of watered down sugar coated crap that doesn't require much work and doesn't ruffle any elite's (and potential advertisers) feathers. And since most major media is simply a subsidiary of global mega-corporations, there's a whole list of things that dare not be looked at, lest it incur the wrath of the owners.

But where you show your goofy stripes is when you take the results of this survey and try to hammer you're stupid assumption into it when it doesn't fit.

Right out of the box you start with a huge hunk of steaming bullshit by making the amazing leap from reading studies that say the number of people getting their information from the net is skyrocketing to asserting that newspaper blogs are the "clear winners" of the internet.

Could you answer just one simple and honest question?

What are you basing that on? Because it sure the hell isn't suggested by anything in the study you cited.

As a matter of fact, just this week, The New York Times announced that it is abandoning it's attempt to charge subscribers to access certain sections of their paper online.

It failed. Now they are allowing free access to their entire paper, as well as all their archives going back decades.

Not only that, but they are having to issue prorated refunds to those who bought long-term subscriptions (such as myself).

Yeah, those newspapers are really tearing it up. Chasing bloggers like scared rabbits.

So it's simply impossible to say that newspaper blogs are doing well based on the study you cited.

But of course, you've never held much regard for honesty when it comes to your juvenile attempts to attack this blog or myself.

It's just that I keep hoping for better.

At 9/20/2007 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saul, 'doing what it takes to win' - certainly the Bush Administration underestimated the push-back from the terrorists.

More troops are needed - if we want to win and set back the terrorists. This is what the 'surge' is all about and it is havingpositive results, however, it is still likely far short of what is really needed to get the job completed.

It is far short of what is needed because of the wimps on the far left who do not know how to win an engagement and have no intestinal fortitude to win...and Bush knows that he is not strong enough to fight them in the media (especially given the anti-war posture of the media).


You don't believe that the end has been identified? Come on...

The end is simple. We putter around on the verge of success, yet the in-fighting back here keeps anything remotely close to success an impossibility. Thus, as the inability to 'win' becomes more and more apparent, we have to (once again) leave with no success (solely due to the lack of 'will' on behalf of our politicians, press and thus, people).

Of course, you may not agree withthe line-by-line description, but in the end - the end will likely be the same.

At 9/20/2007 5:40 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon Gung-ho 10:09,

I'd remind you that the Bush administrations many quests for empire have stretched and abused our military to the point where even many in the military are openly saying that it's nearly broken, and that we simply can't continue things as they are.

The draw down in troops that Bush is trying to take credit for and attribute to phantom "success" in Iraq was going to happen anyway, because the troops have been used, re-used, and then used again until they simply can't keep them there any longer.

You can sit in your armchair and think that throwing more young lives at this is the way to certain victory, whatever the hell that is, but you're wrong, and dead wrong to boot.

No one, not even the sainted Gen. Petraeus, thinks that there is any possible military solution in Iraq. So why do you persist in believing this myth, paid for, as it is, with the blood and lives of other people's kids, fathers, mothers, brothers, uncles, aunts, etc.?

I wish they'd all visit you in a nightmare and taunt you for being so willing to sacrifice their lives for nothing but your petty need to feel macho. (at someone else's expense, of course)

At 9/20/2007 8:37 PM, Blogger UMRBlog said...


I honestly can't tell if you're a spoof and actually agree with me or you really believe that there are some establish metrics to let us know when we've gotten to "victory". How many schools? How many barrels of oil? How many sewage treatment plants? Get it? Metric identifiers so we know when we've arrived at the Promised Land.

I choose to believe you were actually illustrating how brain-damaged the Wolfy/Perly colonialists are and so I say "thank you for your support" (with due apologies to Bartles and James.)

At 9/21/2007 8:22 AM, Anonymous saul said...


I guess I'm interested in your more concrete thoughts on what you think is needed, rather than just saying we should do more. For example, how many more troops do you think it would take in Iraq? Where are we going to get the extra troops from? Do you think reinstituting the draft will be necessary?

Once the troops are in place, what would they do there? How long do you think it would be necessary for them to stay?

Do you think that all of the people attacking the Americans in Iraq are al-Qaeda terrorists? Do you think that some of them are just Iraqis who can't stand having their country occupied by a foreign army? How are you going to on the one hand get tougher with the terrorists and on the other win over the Iraqi nationalists? Or do you think they should all be killed?

How long do you think it will take for the Iraqis to accept US rule over them? What are the odds that the Iraqis are at any time in the foreseeable future going to set up a popular pro-American government?

At 9/21/2007 11:59 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I know it's a bit premature, pending their reply... but I'd have to say, game, set, match.


At 9/22/2007 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saul, Dope...

The problem with you guys is that you think that you have more answers than the Generals on the ground in Iraq. I think that questions are great to ask and that our leaders need to be held accountable for doing the best that they can based on the information that they have.

However, ask the questions - and at some point, SHUT UP!

At some point you have to appreciate that Monday morning quarterbacking - anything (the war, the economy, a fight with your wife), is incredibly easier than real-time decisions.

And I woulkd suggest that since you guys likely punch a clock for a living and are not on the front line of decision-making, then you really have no clue what you are talking about.


At 9/22/2007 11:29 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 9:21

Sorry this democracy shit really bugs the hell out of you, but really, don't you realize how ridiculous your view of opponents to THEIR government's policies is?

It's not YOUR government alone, and it's sure the hell not the Republicans or conservative's government alone.

It's not those like yourself who think that citizens should only speak up for a polite amount of time, then, even if NOTHING is done about things, they should meekly sit their asses back down, and as you so smoothly put it, SHUT UP.

Spoken like a person who would truly have been very comfortable in communist Russia, or China, or pre-invasion Iraq, for that matter.

Apparently you don't even realize how anti-American your sentiments are, and that's simply amazing to me.

I'm especially amazed at your grumpy anti-Americanism in light of the fact that a huge and growing majority of your fellow Americans think the war never should have been started in the first place, and want it to end, with troops brought back home.

Yet you authoritarian followers still get all bent out of shape at mearly having to hear or see people continue to actually do their patriotic duty as citizens and let their voices be heard in disagreement of what OUR government is doing IN OUR NAMES.

Apparently you've long ago abandoned the notion that in America, the people rule.

You clearly think that there's a small elite in the country, apparently Republicans and the military, who should be able to do whatever the hell they feel like, and we're allowed to squawk just a little, and then give up and bend over.

That's bullshit.

The military is NOT a ruling part of our government, and it is NOT to be politicized, despite Bush's obvious attempts to do just that his entire time in office.

The military does NOT work for Bush, and does NOT serve for those who profit from war or simply get some vicarious macho thrill from it.

It functions for ALL Americans. And when the President mis-uses and abuses that military, and a clear majority of Americans demand that it end, then, I suggest that's not the time to "SHUT UP", as you suggest.

I bet a lot of German's in the 30's and 40's felt it was their duty to shut up too.

If you prefer a country ruled by corrupt leaders who continually strive to assume more and more near-dictatorial powers, where government and corporate power are merged to the point where there's almost no distinction between them, and ultra-nationalistic ideologues, then perhaps you better go find a fascist country, because that's how they run things.

Those of us who prefer America the way it was intended to be by our founding fathers don't need to be told to "SHUT UP" by those who would surrender our freedoms in a heartbeat in the name of authoritarian rule.

SINCE WHEN, do American citizens give up their right to protest the actions and policies of their own government unless they're a general?

If that's the case, WHAT IN THE HELL is a shallow frat boy like Bush, who played around in obsolete jets in the Champagne Squadron of the Texas Air National Guard, and even skipped out on that when it got to the boring part, doing leading our entire country into ruin and sending thousands of our best to their deaths?

Shouldn't he have to know what the hell he's doing?

I think your anger and energy would be much better used if you directed it towards the incompetent zealots who lied us into this mess in the first place, and efforts to support those who are truly trying to find the least worst way out of it.

At 9/23/2007 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The people rule" - are you kidding me!

Do you feel like you rule, with your cute little blog?

Do you really think that you are 'making a differnce'?

You Dem's think that you actually have leaders that care - that's nice. No wonder that Dem's are the union's party - union people think that their leadership cares as well, then they create strife in order to justify their high salaries and they screw the people that think the leadership is serving them!

Do you feel like you have power - with the garbage going on in DC?

Do you REALLY think that Hillary or Edwards really care about YOU? (silly question, as I am sure you do).

You are sheep that have bought into the lie - a perfect Democrat!

Well, you go for it. You make your differnce. You keep blogging and the world will be a better place for it. Conflict will end around the world, poverty will be snuffed out, national healthcare will save the poor and unfortunate...

Oops, we started welfare in 1964 - and the percentages have only increased - after something like 11-TRILLION dollars.

11-trillion dollars.
No change.

...maybe, the 'for the people' thing isn't real?

But that's ok - you keep believing...

At 9/23/2007 10:48 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 7:59

Deal, and you continue being a miserable hopeless mean-spirited person, doing nothing, devoid of any hope or spirit of caring.

It's a shame more Americans don't share your frankly, shamefully dismal and hateful outlook.

Thank God that the founders and immigrants that built this country didn't share your crushing defeatist cynicism, or they would have handed the country over to the first dictators that came down the pike.

People have fought and died in this country for just causes, many of them directly involving demanding equitible and fair treatment for working people and the end of often brutal oppression by the wealthy and powerful.

If that gets you nervous, so be it, but it's the history of this country.

The fact is that you're LAZY, and WEAK.

The reason is that it's lazy and weak and EASY to adopt your cynical attitude. You think it then excuses you from giving a shit, or from even paying any attention to the things going on in YOUR country. You take the cowards way out and just throw up your hands, give all power to the powerful and elite, and bend over and grab your ankles, take what they give you, and then become more hateful because of your overwhelming feelings of impotence and unimportance.

And no, I don't think these presidential candidates care about ME personally. How in the hell could they?

But yes, I do believe that they believe in the ideal of a great and good America, and I do believe that many of the Dem candidates truly feel that the country has been sorely mislead and that changes need to be made right away to avert our country from the simply disasterous course it's been set on.

I do believe that they truly care about the middle class, and yes, they believe that if you work hard and pay your bills, "play by the rules" as they say, that you deserve a decent existence and shouldn't be force to suffer catostrophic losses simply so others can grow ever richer.

The Dem candidates, every last one of them, is vastly better than any Republican candidate, who won't even pretend that they give a shit about the welfare or lives of anyone but those who have already made it.

So enjoy your miserable, joyless hope-less life. I'm sure you can occupy your time snarling and hating this group or that and blaming them for your misery, or blaming them for the fact you're not the multi-millionaire you always felt you should be.

It's a sickness.

Your reasoning is twisted. You think that because literally millions of poor men women and children have been kept from dying of malnutrition or disease and been provided safe houseing, etc. that's a sign of failure?

You think that because a large amount of money has been spent on "welfare" that somehow that was supposed to end all poverty, disease, or ensure that no one in the country ever found themselves in desperate circumstances due to major illness, job loss, etc.

I'd ask if you're nuts, but I think you've already answered that quite well.

Perhaps you could go out west and see if the little shack that the Unibomber lived in is avialable. You could live there on top of a buried arsenal of guns and no one would bother you. You could probably not pay taxes and therefore get a warm glowing feeling in what passes for your heart knowing that you didn't help anyone or anything. (though I'd bet a large amount of money that in your life, you've benefited over and over from federal programs. Hell, if you drive on an interstate or have flown on a plane, or eaten food from a store or taken a prescription, you already have.)

To pervert Jesse Jackson's slogan in your honor, keep hate alive!


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