Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Robert Kagen, NIE, BSs, Rumsfeld, Army Stretched Thin, Afghanistan, Lebanon, War at Home and Clinton vs FoxNews.

Since the release of the Naional Intelligence Estimate by the Natonal Intelligence Council, that stated that the war in Iraq is the primary recruitment vehicle for violent Islamic extremists, the right wing propaganda machine has gone into overdrive trying to denounce it.

For most of us the NIE just confirmed what we had already suspected and thought obvious.

For the right, however, these findings struck at the very core of their grand neocon,imperial, experiment to bring Iraq's oil fields under American control in the guise of bring democracy to the Middle East.

So, taking time off from their regular job of blaming Clinton for 9/11, they're repudiating the NIE report.

Neocon propagandist Robert Kagen has an editorial in the Washington Post today, in which he basically blows off the findings of the intelligence experts. As we've learned since Bush has become president, intelligence is just something to be ignored.

The biggest problem that Kagen finds is that, since the report hasn't been released, we should pay no attention to the statements made by the people who have seen it.

It's too bad we won't get to see the full National Intelligence Estimate on
"Trends in Global Terrorism" selectively leaked to The Post and the New York
Times last week. The Times headline read "Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens
Terrorism Threat." But there were no quotations from the NIE itself, so all we
have are journalists' characterizations of anonymous comments by government
officials, whose motives and reliability we can't judge, about intelligence
assessments whose logic and argument, as well as factual basis, we have no way
of knowing or gauging. Based on the press coverage alone, the NIE's judgment
seems both impressionistic and imprecise. On such an important topic, it would
be nice to have answers to a few questions.

He neglects to mention that the reason we won't be seeing it is because President Bush won't release it.

Well, is the threat now worse because of Bush's war in Iraq? Does the NIE say
the war has made the jihadist threat more dangerous? The White House could
resolve this very quickly by declassifying the NIE. If the report contains
nuances or success stories not conveyed by the Times report (and those of other
newspapers), releasing the report will clear things up.

Kagen goes on to say,

For instance, what specifically does it mean to say that the Iraq war has
worsened the "terrorism threat"? Presumably, the NIE's authors would admit that
this is speculation rather than a statement of fact, since the facts suggest

I don't know where neocons get their facts from, but the facts that I've found suggest that the NIE report is right on the money.

2003: The State Department's annual Patterns of Global Terrorism report now counts 208 terrorist attacks as having occurred in 2003, with 625 dead. When the report was released in April, it counted 307 deaths in a total of 190 terror attacks.

2004: There were 3,192 terrorist attacks in 2004, the center reported last July.

2005: The number of terrorist attacks worldwide increased nearly fourfold in 2005 to 11,111, with strikes in Iraq accounting for 30 percent of the total, according to statistics released by U.S. counterterrorism officials yesterday.

As proof of the rise in the numbers of terrorist attacks, the Bush Adminsitration has tried, unsuccessfully, to cover them up.

Washington - The State Department decided to stop publishing an annual report on
international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded
that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the
first year the publication covered.

If you like right wing misdirection, enjoy Kagen's column. If you prefer the truth, read what retired Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste has to say on the subject.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The conduct of the Iraq war fueled Islamic fundamentalism
across the globe and created more enemies for the United States, a retired U.S.
Army general who served in the conflict said on Monday.

The views of retired Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste appeared to buttress a grim
assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies, which concluded the war had inspired
Islamist extremists and made the growing militant movement more dangerous.

Nancy Gregg, at DemocraticUnderground.com profiles the folks that will read Kagen's column and think it makes sense. GOP+WOT=WTF?!? It's good stuff.

These sheeple are unwavering in their belief that their president and his
administration are the smartest guys in the room, even though none of them
anticipated that planes could be used as missiles, or that there’d be an
insurgency in Iraq. As for the fact that if the levees broke in a hurricane,
water might actually find its way into New Orleans – come on, people, who could
possibly have seen that coming?

And now we have a president who still garners the worship of his do-gooder,
Jesus-loving, Bible-thumpin’ constituents when he says provisions prohibiting
torture are murky and vague, and need to be reassessed or completely done way

Of course, it never occurs to the BSers that if we were going to dispense
with every document the Idiot-in-Chief doesn’t understand, all we’d be left with
is The Pet Goat and a handful of Henry cartoons.

A Progressive Daily Beacon opinion piece explains why the right is so fired up over the NIE report.

Understanding then, that the Republican Party and administration are less
concerned with policy success and doing right by the American people, and more
with being able to maintain political power and, too, the political slights of
hand they employ as the means and methods of retaining that power; it is easier
to put into context their reaction to the National Intelligence Estimate. That
reaction, of course, was not one of concern about the security of the nation or
the safety of the American people, but rather frantic and calculated spin.

Now that a majority of Americans are starting to see the Iraq war in the cold, clear light of reality, instead of the warm, rosy glow of White House spin and with elections coming up, the NIE report couldn't have come at a worse time for the people whose lies led us into it.

Among the most visible critics of the administration's approach have been
generals, vets, parents with sons and daughters in the military, and foreign
policy realists who think of themselves as moderate or even conservative
opponents of what they see as the administration's radical direction.

That is why news over the weekend of a National Intelligence Estimate on
Iraq is especially troublesome for Republican electoral chances. By finding that
the war in Iraq has encouraged global terrorism and spawned a new generation of
Islamic radicals, the report by 16 government intelligence services undercuts
the administration's central argument that the Iraq war has made the United
States safer.

We got three retired military officers testifying on the Hill today that Rumfeld ought to resign. While I agree that Rumsfeld is about as useful as dog vomit, I see no reason for him to resign. Mainly because Bush will just replace him with another usless fool who will be just as detrimental to our military as Rumfeld is.

Three retired military officers who served in Iraq called today for the
resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, telling a Democratic
"oversight hearing" on Capitol Hill that the Pentagon chief bungled planning for
the U.S. invasion, dismissed the prospect of an insurgency and sent American
troops into the fray with inadequate equipment.

Rumsfeld's grasp of strategy can be plainly seen in the latest Army announcement. For the Bush Administration that used to brag that our military had the capability to win two wars at the same time, reality has just trumped fantasy. It's the soldiers who pay for right wing incompetence.

WASHINGTON -- The Army is stretched so thin by the war in Iraq that it is again
extending the combat tours of thousands of soldiers beyond the promised 12
months _ the second such move since August


Gary Brecher has the best explanation of the war in Afghanistan that I've run across. It's also funnier than hell.

Except the new wars just don't work that way. The tough part was really just
beginning. The biggest problem once we took Kabul was tribal. Reporters are
always calling the Taliban "Islamic extremists," but it's way simpler than that:
the Talibs are Pushtun, and our allies in the Northern Alliance were their old
tribal enemies the Tajiks, Uzbeks and a few free-agent Hazaras.

The Pushtun are the biggest tribe in the country, if you can call it that,
by far. Afghanistan is 42% Pushtun, and the second-biggest group, the Tajiks,
are only 27%. Pushtuns are -- now how can I say this nicely? -- insane. The
craziest Taliban rules, like demanding every man have a beard that was at least
ZZ Top length, aren't Mohammed's rules; they're just Pushtun tribal ways.

The fighting may be over in Lebanon, but the killing goes on. Thanks to modern weapons southern Lebanon will remain lethal for quite a while.

The scourge of munitions from the cluster bombs now littering southern Lebanon,
mostly American-made but some manufactured in Israel, will be a "lasting
legacy," the United Nations has said. U.N. officials estimate that the Israeli
military fired 90 percent of the bombs during the last 72 hours of the conflict,
which began on July 12 after Hezbollah fighters seized two Israeli soldiers in a
cross-border raid and ended with a cease-fire on Aug. 14. As many as 1 million
of the bomblets are unexploded, they say, wounding or killing three people a
day. The threat of stumbling across a bomblet has paralyzed life in parts of the
south that depend on the harvest of tobacco and now-abandoned groves of bananas,
olives and citrus.

Meanwhile the war at home goes on unabated. Bush Administration and Republicans are unrelenting in their attempts to undermine the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions. It's just amazing to me how they can do this and wave the flag and thump the Bible at the same time.

But civil libertarians and surveillance experts say the changes are less
significant than the senators believe. Kate Martin, director of the Center for
National Security Studies, said the legislation still amounts to a sweeping
rewrite of federal law to allow the president to conduct "massive warrantless
surveillance of Americans" with no court oversight

It's looks like they want to start calling American citizens "unlawful combatants".

The definition applies to foreigners living inside or outside the United States
and does not rule out the possibility of designating a U.S. citizen as an
unlawful combatant. It is broader than that in last week's version of the bill,
which resulted from lengthy, closed-door negotiations between senior
administration officials and dissident Republican senators. That version
incorporated a definition backed by the Senate dissidents: those "engaged in
hostilities against the United States."

Daily Kos describes these attempts to do away with your Constitional rights like this,

McCain says Bush gets to decide, and with habeus corpus now out the window, you
don't get to go to court to challenge it. This
is the compromise
those principled, independent Republican Senators reached
with Bush on who is an unlawful combatant:

The definition applies to foreigners living inside or outside the United
States and does not rule out the possibility of designating a U.S. citizen as an
unlawful combatant. It is broader than that in last week's version of the bill,
which resulted from lengthy, closed-door negotiations between senior
administration officials and dissident Republican senators. That version
incorporated a definition backed by the Senate dissidents: those "engaged in
hostilities against the United States."...

Spokesmen for John W. Warner (R-Va.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey O.
Graham (R-S.C.) -- the senators leading negotiations with the Bush
administration -- did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the new
language, but others on Capitol Hill said the three had accepted it.

Under a separate provision, those held by the CIA or the U.S. military as an
unlawful enemy combatant would be barred from challenging their detention or the
conditions of their treatment in U.S. courts unless they were first tried,
convicted and appealed their conviction.

And finally Keith Olbermann's comments on the Fox News interview with Bill Clinton. You can find a complete transcript of the interview here.

And finally tonight, a Special Comment about President Clinton’s interview. The
headlines about them are, of course, entirely wrong. It is not essential that a
past President, bullied and sandbagged by a monkey posing as a newscaster,
finally lashed back.

It is not important that the current President’s "portable public chorus"
has described his predecessor’s tone as "crazed."

Our tone should be crazed. The nation’s freedoms are under assault by an
administration whose policies can do us as much damage as Al-Qaeda; the nation’s
"marketplace of ideas" is being poisoned, by a propaganda company so blatant
that Tokyo Rose would’ve quit. Nonetheless.

The headline is this: Bill Clinton did what almost none of us have done, in five
years. He has spoken the truth about 9/11, and the current presidential

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I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.

John Stuart Mill (May 20 1806 – May 8 1873)