Gray Flannel Dwarf


Out on a limb: Baker findings the GOP’s October Surprise?

So what do we have so far:

  • So that snotrag Newsmax tells us that Rove has assured Republicans of an “October Surprise

In the past week, Karl Rove has been promising Republican insiders an “October surprise” to help win the November congressional elections.

President Bush’s political strategist is also saying that the final two weeks before the elections will see a blitz of advertising, and the Republican National Committee is deploying an army of volunteers to key locations to help the grass-roots effort and monitor the elections.

The RNC is offering to fly in volunteers and cover their expenses.

Rove is not saying what the October surprise will be.

  • Then, we have James Baker, of all people, who heads up the Iraq Panel and is all over the news.
  • Next, we have conventional wisdom out there is that Bush will approve, at least in the release of its findings, whatever conclusion the committee comes to.

That’s not to say Bush is going to flip-flop on his belief that Iraq is central to the war on terror. It’s just that the political divisions at home, coupled with the mayhem in Iraq, have made changes necessary. Bet your last dollar that Baker will have Bush’s approval for his recommendations even before he makes them public.

  • And finally, today we find out the the Baker commission has pretty much ruled out any “victory” in the short term.

Instead, the commission is headed toward presenting President Bush with two clear policy choices that contradict his rhetoric of establishing democracy in Iraq. The more palatable of the two choices for the White House, “Stability First,” argues that the military should focus on stabilizing Baghdad while the American Embassy should work toward political accommodation with insurgents. The goal of nurturing a democracy in Iraq is dropped.

Anyone else see where I’m going with this? With Bush saying, as recently as this week, that we will keep troops in Iraq, “as long as I’m President”, this gives him an out. A change in course is can still be interpreted as “staying the course”, without any “cut and run”. To much cheers, applause, etc. Standing resolutely, then showing a bit of willingness to change — that’s a change of heart, right? Go soccer moms! It’s humility, right? Go evangelicals! At least, that’s what I’m thinking they’re hoping to convince American voters.

The Baker article above says that the committee won’t release its findings until after the November 7 elections. But leaks occur, inferences can be made, and postures can be construed.

Like I said — out on a limb. But we’ll see what comes of it.

Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 2:24 pm


Surprise…! What surprise…?

Washington Times: Rumsfeld makes surprise visit to Iraq

Has anyone else asked the question, “how can these things be surprises anymore?” I’ve been wondering this for weeks, now…it seems not a week goes by and if it’s not Dubya, it’s Condi or it’s Rumsfeld, someone is always on their way over there to make a “surprise visit”.

How many “surprise” visits does it take before they turn “mundane”? How come these haven’t been called “routine” visits to Iraq? They occur often enough.

I want to know the real purpose… andI don’t mean that in a particularly conspiratorial sense. Let’s look at the options.

If it’s to pep-talk the troops, then they’re bound to have already run into the law of diminishing returns. If this administration is dropping the phrase “war on terror” due to the notion that most Americans, now war-weary, think the war was a mistake, I can only imagine that a quick BJ from BushCo. wouldn’t have that much of an effect for those on the front lines.

On the other hand, in the first article linked, it’s mentioned that Rumsfeld met with the Iraqi Prime Minister. For a meeting like that, one would think you’d call ahead for tea time, you know? You don’t just “drop in” to hang out with the local officials.

In my mind, it’s pretty evident the WH is fairly upset at the prospect that, after everything has been said and done, Iraq is looking more and more like it’s going to be another Islamic theocracy. Rumsfeld is over there to have a friendly little “WTF” talk with the PM. Smile, wave to the camera! Surprise! Look who daddy brought home!

Listen here, buddy, we expected a little more from you all than this.

Not that I think it will do much good… the war is going worse than everyone thought it would, and the task of “nation building” is going worse than everyone expected too. In fact, the only thing over there in a better state than initially expected is the status of WMDs. Sure aren’t any of those, buster!

Oh, wait. The WH knew that well in advance, too.

Tags: , , , , , — cswiii @ 10:37 am


Blowing off Steam

I keep focusing on these quotes from today’s address.

“Some may disagree with my decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, but all of us can agree that the world’s terrorists have now made Iraq a central front in the war on terror,” he said.

No, Mr. President,

You made Iraq a central front on the ‘war on terror’.
You implied the links between Hussein, WMD and terror networks.
You falsified information and went against many well-respected people in Washington who told you it was a bad idea.
You took out the leader of an authoritarian-yet-sovereign nation, allowing the predicted power vaccuum to come to life.
You fulfilled, in their eyes, the prophecies of an American imperialism in the Middle East.
You threw the rocks at the proverbial hornets nest and got the swarm’s temper enflamed.

…and now the world’s terrorists are the ones who turned Iraq into a hotbed for terrorism.

Oh, well. yeah – maybe you’re right.

“This mission isn’t easy, and it will not be accomplished overnight.”

Does that mean you’ll be giving back the flightsuit, then?

Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 1:30 am


Over 1000 gone in Iraq.

Peace be unto their families.

But we’re making progress, right?


Laurie Mylroie Simply Won’t Shut Up.

FrontPage magazine: The Saddam-9/11 Link Confirmed

Yep, she’s at it again, trying to lead on the American public, suggesting that Hussein had a role in the 9/11 attacks — and yet has little to show for it, in this article. Per the article,

Evidence is “something that indicates,” according to Webster’s. Proof is “conclusive demonstration.” The report of a well-regarded allied intelligence service that a 9/11 hijacker appeared to have met with an Iraqi intelligence agent a few months before the attacks is certainly evidence of an Iraqi connection.

She decides to quote Webster to define “evidence” and “proof” — and yet, when you read her article, the supposed meeting between al-Ani and Atta is, in no uncertain terms, a mesh of hearsay and circumstantial evidence. No need to quote them all here, go read the article for yourself.

Really, though, the bulk of this article looks more self-defensive in nature, and personally I am not surprised to see it, ever since Clarke’s book was published, and she was mentioned in it; indeed, she mentions Clarke in this article.

Former White House counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke is a prime example of this phenomenon. Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, when President Bush asked him to look into the possibility of Iraq’s involvement, Clarke was “incredulous” (his word), treating the idea as if it were one of the most ridiculous things he had ever heard. On September 18, when Deputy National Security Adviser Steven Hadley asked him to take another look for evidence of Iraqi involvement, Clarke responded in a similar fashion.

Having been readily debunked, she resorts to personl attacks. However, again she makes arguments, in this case ad hominem attacks against Clarke, with no supporting evidence, simply making a blanket statement that Clarke “adamant refusal to even consider the possibility of an Iraqi role”, and makes some absurd, conspiratorial accusations that some shadowy “elite” refused to even consider an Iraq connection — and again, cites unnamed confidential documents.

Iraq was indeed involved in those assaults. There is considerable information to that effect, described in this piece and elsewhere. They include Iraqi documents discovered by U.S. forces in Baghdad that U.S. officials have not made public.

Seriously does anyone take this woman seriously anymore? Did they ever? For an author and scholar apparently so “well-respected”, I’ve never seen a more poorly structured article. If I were an editor, I’d refuse this on the spot — not because of the subject manner, but because it is so incoherent and poorly constructed.

There’s enough of an unseasonably warm front over Washington right now. We don’t need any more hot air, Ms. Mylroie.

Quagmire Accomplished

(Title stolen from a funny image on Fark)

LA Times: Far From Ready for More War

“We have never had the need for a huge Army to stay engaged like we are now,” said Col. Michael Linnington, who commands the 3,400 soldiers of the 101st Airborne’s 3rd Brigade. “Today if you’re an active-duty unit, either you’re going be in Iraq, or you’re going be preparing to go back to Iraq. That’s the way it’s going to be.”

I’m sure that’s just what the slew of enlisted soldiers want to hear. Yeah, now granted, it’s easy to say that “if they didn’t want to go over there in the first place, they wouldn’t have enlisted”. However, to say that is to forget that a lot of people join the military as something of a gamble: the pay is okay — well, at least better than Burger King — and the chances of actually being deployed anywhere are relatively small. Not anymore, though. This quote kind of puts things in perspective. “That’s the way it’s going to be” — for the next fifty years.

Tags: , , — cswiii @ 11:37 am


Fired Shots, Fired Photographers

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

–Bob Dylan, “Masters of War”

MSNBC: Woman fired for photo of flag-draped coffins

I can’t say I expected this, but it doesn’t surprise me, either, anymore. Information has been stifled for the past four years regarding Iraqi intentions and outcomes, why stop now?

From the article:

John Molino, the deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy, denied that the no-photos policy was intended to prevent the public from seeing the human toll of combat, saying it instead “reflects what we believe the families desire.”

What’s this? From all I’ve heard, families of those soldiers killed have found the pictures to be both respectful and honourable. I guess they just don’t help re-election efforts.

It’s okay, I’m sure this woman will find plenty of good work, elsewhere. Karma has its place in life.

Tags: , , — cswiii @ 11:59 am


A Question of Intent

Initially, the administration said an invasion was necessary to find and destroy weapons of mass destruction that Iraq possessed and was prepared to use. With none uncovered, the White House now says the war, in which more than 500 U.S. troops and thousands of Iraqis have died, was justified by Saddam’s alleged intent to build and use such weaponry.

“We are looking for weapons, we’re looking for production equipment, we’re looking for the decisions by the regime to sustain a capability … but we have not found existing stocks of weapons as some had expected,” Duelfer said.

Duelfer, appointed by the CIA in January, guides the on-the-ground hunt by the Defense Department’s Iraq Survey Group of about 1,300 personnel. He said they regularly receive reports of hidden weapons which are then checked out, “but we haven’t found any at this point in time.”

It’s been said from the beginning that the US was making Saddam prove a negative, prove that there were no WMDs… and now they’ve all but admitted there are none, so they’re now backpedalling and using the term ‘intent’.

Ergo, the criteria for initiating war was not met, and did not exist.
Ergo, Bush’s war cannot be considered bellum justum

This war was never a “zero-sum game”. It came at the expense of the Iraqi people and lives of American soldiers, and will have repercussions for decades.

Tags: , , , , , — cswiii @ 11:21 am


A View from the Inside

“While this commandeering of a narrow segment of both intelligence production and American foreign policy matched closely with the well-published desires of the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party, many of us in the Pentagon, conservatives and liberals alike, felt that this agenda, whatever its flaws or merits, had never been openly presented to the American people. Instead, the public story line was a fear-peddling and confusing set of messages, designed to take Congress and the country into a war of executive choice, a war based on false pretenses, and a war one year later Americans do not really understand. That is why I have gone public with my account.”

Tags: , , , , , , — cswiii @ 5:46 pm


ha-ha </nelson>

And everyone said it was gonna be so fast…

Gooooooood morning Vietnaaaaaam!

Article below…

Tags: , — cswiii @ 1:45 am


More rumours…

Just the facts, ma’am — well, as factual as the press reports them, anyway.

Have things started? The Standard reports firefights in Basra. The Evening Standard (UK)

Article below…

Tags: , — cswiii @ 1:16 pm

Rumours of Tariq Aziz’s defection and/or death

Defection reports:
Report 1Sky News (UK)
Report 2The Sentinel (UK)

Defection Rumour (since proven untrue) below:

Tags: , , — cswiii @ 10:16 am


Another publication, The Washington Post,

Another publication, The Washington Post, has published an article similar to the previously mentioned New Republic editorial.

Article saved below…

Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 11:16 am


From The New Republic: Why

From The New Republic:

Why does so much of the world think the Bush administration has hidden, nefarious motives for its war in Iraq…The responsibility for these misguided, toxic analyses lies mostly with other societies and other governments. But there’s a third reason for the world’s radical distrust of America’s war effort, and, for this, the Bush administration has only itself to blame: It keeps saying things about Iraq that turn out not to be true.

Of course, quoting and linking this article will cause some parties to immediately cast The New Republic aside as a liberal rag, when, in fact, it’s pretty centrist. In fact, it might be argued that, historically, it has been fairly conservative with regards to foreign policy. Regardless – for people who make such rash assumptions, I need not trifle with trying to change minds.

Article below…

Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 1:12 pm


Doesn’t that bug you?

Thanks to chaley for this link from the Observer (UK)

Revealed: US dirty tricks to win vote on Iraq war

Five-cent synopsis: NSA plans/planned to plant devices on UN delegates, in an effort to have the most up-to-the-minute information on any given nation’s voting intentions.

Granted, as the article says, UN members, to some degree, speak with the assumption that they’re being bugged, but still… not good PR for the NSA.

You’d think they’d at least encrypt their email :>

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 7:01 pm