Another Astonishing George W. Bush Interview

I think a wise man named Ice Cube once said, "It ain't over motherfuckers." Bush ain't done yet. True, we've had astonishing interview moments from this president. He told Bob Woodward that 'we'll all be dead' by the time history judges him. He told xxx xxx that he had given-up golf in response to the prolonged occupation in Iraq and the higher-than-expected number of US military casualties. But now we have this. It is so revealing, sad, infuriating, and shocking all at once:

Chris Matthews: Joan I'm not sure what the message there is. Is the President saying in retrospect that he would not have invaded and occupied Iraq as a matter of geopolitical policy had there been no weapons of mass destruction? Is he saying that that was the single definitive reason why we went into that country and occupied it? Is that what he's saying?

Salon's Joan Walsh: Yes. It seems like it. Charlie Gibson did follow up with that question Chris and he wouldn't quite answer it. But I just have to say that is the most astonishing, buck passing, self pitying answer I could have imagined. He acts as though the Intelligence agencies where some wholly owned subsidiary of some other administration, rather than his, his responsibility. He acts like people outside the administration agreed when he was responsible for pushing that faulty intelligence, for stove piping it and ignoring everything. That any kind of doubt, any kind of dissent and really cooking the books in terms of the case for WMDs. I mean it's really scandalous how he's distancing himself.

Friday Evening Bad News: Holiday Weekend Edition

Last night was no exception to one of the biggest rules in the era of electronic news media. If you have bad news to report, save it for Friday evening. We have two minor stories and one enormous 'holy shit' story to remember from last night.

1. New York governor David Patterson pardoned Slick Rick. Slick Rick had been sentenced and served five years for the 1991 shooting of two men. But this pardon wipes the conviction off his record, preventing him from being deported back to his native Wimbledon. It seems David Patterson is a friend to Old School hip hop artists. As we say in the Old School, he knows what time it is! Good for him. But I wonder what the two survivors of the shooting think, assuming they are still alive.

2. The Liberal Avenger: John McCain finally had his medical records of the past few years released, under tightly-controlled circumstances (what a shock, and on the Friday before a 3-day weekend, too). Cable TV news networks all declared McCain to be in great health. His BMI is a healthy 24. He had a pre-cancerous patch of skin removed early this year. Oh, and he takes a lot of mind-altering drugs. But never mind that last bit.

3. And in a much, much more important development, an internal audit found that the Pentagon cannot account for a new, combined grand total of $15 Billion spent on Iraq reconstruction and security training projects. We had heard a $9 Billion figure discussed for years. However, this revised total takes into account new data, and compiles the results of previous audits, without overlap. Needless to say, this is something that Henry Waxman's committee is going to have to escalate. His committee was already shown one example - a $320 Million cash payment for Iraqi salaries that was released with just one signature and no due diligence that the cash actually went to Iraqi personnel.

Complete Keith Olbermann Special Comment, May 14 2008

Twelve unforgettable minutes (and 2,000 words) of American television news. It is my hope that this is remembered by historians and media scholars as one of the most important and visceral TV news moments of this decade. Time will tell.

President Bush has resorted anew to the sleaziest fear-mongering and mass manipulation of an administration and public life dedicated to realizing the lowest of our expectations. And he has now applied these poisons to the 2008 presidential election, on behalf of the party at whose center he and John McCain lurk.

Mr. Bush has predicted that the election of a Democratic president could "eventually lead to another attack on the United States." This ludicrous, infuriating, holier-than-thou and most importantly bone-headedly wrong statement came during a May 13 interview with and online users of Yahoo.

The question was phrased as follows: "If we were to pull out of Iraq next year, what's the worst that could happen, what's the doomsday scenario?"

The president replied: "Doomsday scenario of course is that extremists throughout the Middle East would be emboldened, which would eventually lead to another attack on the United States. The biggest issue we face is, it's bigger than Iraq, it's this ideological struggle against cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives."

Mr. Bush, at long last, has it not dawned on you that the America you have now created, includes "cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives?" They are those in — or formerly in — your employ, who may yet be charged some day with war crimes.

Through your haze of self-congratulation and self-pity, do you still have no earthly clue that this nation has laid waste to Iraq to achieve your political objectives? "This ideological struggle," Mr. Bush, is taking place within this country.

It is a struggle between Americans who cherish freedom, ours and everybody else's, and Americans like you, sir, to whom freedom is just a brand name, just like "Patriot Act" is a brand name or "Protect America" is a brand name.

But wait, there's more: You also said "Iraq is the place where al-Qaida and other extremists have made their stand and they will be defeated." They made no "stand" in Iraq, sir, you allowed them to assemble there!

As certainly as if that were the plan, the borders were left wide open by your government's farcical post-invasion strategy of "they'll greet us as liberators." And as certainly as if that were the plan, the inspiration for another generation of terrorists in another country was provided by your government's farcical post-invasion strategy of letting the societal infra-structure of Iraq dissolve, to be replaced by an American viceroy, enforced by merciless mercenaries who shoot unarmed Iraqis and then evade prosecution in any country by hiding behind your skirts, sir.

Terrorism inside Iraq is your creation, Mr. Bush!


It was a Yahoo user who brought up the second topic upon whose introduction Mr. Bush should have passed, or punted, or gotten up and left the room claiming he heard Dick Cheney calling him.

"Do you feel," asked an ordinary American, "that you were misled on Iraq?"

"I feel like — I felt like, there were weapons of mass destruction," the president said. "You know, 'mislead' is a strong word, it almost connotes some kind of intentional — I don't think so, I think there was a — not only our intelligence community, but intelligence communities all across the world shared the same assessment. And so I was disappointed to see how flawed our intelligence was."


You, Mr. Bush, and your tragically know-it-all minions, threw out every piece of intelligence that suggested there were no such weapons.

You, Mr. Bush, threw out every person who suggested that the sober, contradictory, reality-based intelligence needed to be listened to, and fast.

You, Mr. Bush, are responsible for how "intelligence communities all across the world shared the same assessment."

You and the sycophants you dredged up and put behind the most important steering wheel in the world propagated palpable nonsense and shoved it down the throat of every intelligence community across the world and punished anybody who didn't agree it was really chicken salad.

And you, Mr. Bush, threw under the bus, all of the subsequent critics who bravely stepped forward later to point out just how much of a self-fulfilling prophecy you had embraced, and adopted as this country's policy in lieu of, say, common sense.

The fiasco of pre-war intelligence, sir, is your fiasco.

You should build a great statue of yourself turning a deaf ear to the warnings of realists, while you are shown embracing the three-card monte dealers like Richard Perle and Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.

That would be a far more fitting tribute to your legacy, Mr. Bush, than this presidential library you are constructing as a giant fable about your presidency, an edifice you might as well claim was built from "Iraqi weapons of mass destruction" because there will be just as many of those inside your presidential library as there were inside Saddam Hussein's Iraq.


Of course if there is one overriding theme to this president's administration it is the utter, always-failing, inability to know when to quit when it is behind. And so Mr. Bush answered yet another question about this layered, nuanced, wheels-within-wheels garbage heap that constituted his excuse for war.

"And so you feel that you didn't have all the information you should have or the right spin on that information?"

"No, no," replied the President. "I was told by people, that they had weapons of mass destruction …"

People? What people? The insane informant "Curveball?" The Iraqi snake-oil salesman Ahmed Chalabi? The American snake-oil salesman Dick Cheney?

"I was told by people that they had weapons of mass destruction, as were members of Congress, who voted for the resolution to get rid of Saddam Hussein.

"And of course, the political heat gets on and they start to run and try to hide from their votes."

Mr. Bush, you destroyed the evidence that contradicted the resolution you jammed down the Congress's throat, the way you jammed it down the nation's throat. When required by law to verify that your evidence was accurate, you simply resubmitted it, with phrases amounting to "See, I done proved it" virtually written in the margins in crayon.

You defied patriotic Americans to say "The Emperor Has No Clothes," only with the stakes — as you and the mental dwarves in your employ put it — being a "mushroom cloud over an American city."

And as a final crash of self-indulgent nonsense, when the incontrovertible truth of your panoramic and murderous deceit has even begun to cost your political party seemingly perpetual congressional seats in places like North Carolina and Mississippi, you can actually say with a straight face, sir, that for members of Congress "the political heat gets on and they start to run and try to hide from their votes" — while you greet the political heat and try to run and hide from your presidency, and your legacy — 4,000 of the Americans you were supposed to protect — dead in Iraq, with your only feeble, pathetic answer being, "I was told by people that they had weapons of mass destruction."


Then came Mr. Bush's final blow to our nation's solar plexus, his last reopening of our common wounds, his last remark that makes the rest of us question not merely his leadership or his judgment but his very suitably to remain in office.

"Mr. President," he was asked, "you haven't been golfing in recent years. Is that related to Iraq?"

"Yes," began perhaps the most startling reply of this nightmarish blight on our lives as Americans on our history. "It really is. I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the Commander in Chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be as — to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal."

Golf, sir? Golf sends the wrong signal to the grieving families of our men and women butchered in Iraq? Do you think these families, Mr. Bush, their lives blighted forever, care about you playing golf? Do you think, sir, they care about you?

You, Mr. Bush, let their sons and daughters be killed. Sir, to show your solidarity with them you gave up golf? Sir, to show your solidarity with them you didn't give up your pursuit of this insurance-scam, profiteering, morally and financially bankrupting war.

Sir, to show your solidarity with them you didn't even give up talking about Iraq, a subject about which you have incessantly proved without pause or backwards glance, that you may literally be the least informed person in the world?

Sir, to show your solidarity with them, you didn't give up your presidency? In your own words "solidarity as best as I can" is to stop a game? That is the "best" you can do?

Four thousand Americans give up their lives and your sacrifice was to give up golf! Golf. Not "Gulf" — golf.

And still it gets worse. Because it proves that the president's unendurable sacrifice, his unbearable pain, the suspension of getting to hit a ball with a stick, was not even his own damned idea.

"Mr. President, was there a particular moment or incident that brought you to that decision, or how did you come to that?"

"I remember when [diplomat Sergio Vieira] de Mello, who was at the U.N., got killed in Baghdad as a result of these murderers taking this good man's life. And I was playing golf, I think I was in central Texas, and they pulled me off the golf course and I said, it's just not worth it any more to do."

Your one, tone-deaf, arrogant, pathetic, embarrassing gesture, and you didn't even think of it yourself? The great Bushian sacrifice — an Army private loses a leg, a Marine loses half his skull, 4,000 of their brothers and sisters lose their lives — and you lose golf, and they have to pull you off the golf course to get you to just do that?

If it's even true.

Apart from your medical files, which dutifully record your torn calf muscle and the knee pain which forced you to give up running at the same time — coincidence, no doubt — the bombing in Baghdad which killed Sergio Vieira de Mello of the U.N. and interrupted your round of golf was on Aug. 19, 2003.

Yet CBS News has records of you playing golf as late as Oct. 13 of that year, nearly two months later.

Mr. Bush, I hate to break it to you 6 1/2 years after you yoked this nation and your place in history to the wrong war, in the wrong place, against the wrong people, but the war in Iraq is not about you.

It is not, Mr. Bush, about your grief when American after American comes home in a box.

It is not, Mr. Bush, about what your addled brain has produced in the way of paranoid delusions of risks that do not exist, ready to be activated if some Democrat, and not your twin Mr. McCain, succeeds you.

The war in Iraq, your war, Mr. Bush, is about how you accomplished the derangement of two nations, and how you helped funnel billions of taxpayer dollars to lascivious and perennially thirsty corporations like Halliburton and Blackwater, and how you sent 4,000 Americans to their deaths for nothing.

It is not, Mr. Bush, about your golf game! And, sir, if you have any hopes that next Jan. 20 will not be celebrated as a day of soul-wrenching, heart-felt thanksgiving, because your faithless stewardship of this presidency will have finally come to a merciful end, this last piece of advice:

When somebody asks you, sir, about Democrats who must now pull this country back from the abyss you have placed us at ...

When somebody asks you, sir, about the cooked books and faked threats you foisted on a sincere and frightened nation …

When somebody asks you, sir, about your gallant, noble, self-abnegating sacrifice of your golf game so as to soothe the families of the war dead.

This advice, Mr. Bush: Shut the hell up!

Bush's Sacrifice

I'm speechless. Not surprised. Just aghast. The full transcript of the latest Bush interview is here.

Q Mr. President, you haven't been golfing in recent years. Is that related to Iraq?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it really is. I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the Commander-in-Chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be as -- to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.

Q Mr. President, was there a particular moment or incident that brought you to that decision, or how did you come to that?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I remember when de Mello, who was at the U.N., got killed in Baghdad as a result of these murderers taking this good man's life. And I was playing golf -- I think I was in central Texas -- and they pulled me off the golf course and I said, it's just not worth it anymore to do.

Billions Per Month.....For What, Again?

Ex-Guantanamo inmate in Iraq suicide bombing: TV

So Iraq is the breeding ground for terrorists, huh?

Looks to me like our boys in 'Uba are doing a fine job at it as well. I wonder if we can fire off another 500 Million per month to combat the "enemy combatant combatants"........

....hmmm sounds like Jimmy Two Times from Goodfellas..."I'm gonnah get the papers, get the papers."

Can we go back a second, 500 Million per month......500 Million. Wow. I guess you really don't get what you pay for these days. I cannot even imagine what it would take to actually buy every single homeless person a home, but I bet that 500 Million bucks per month might cover that and get them all a nice wardrobe, a decent transit system that could cross a new infrastructure of tracks and bridges, as well as things like food and proper health care..... know, to make them viable candidates for all those jobs we keep shipping all over the world.

The Mess They Got Themselves Into

We have come to a bizarre twist in the ongoing chaos in Iraq. We now have Shiite militias - the al-Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigade - waging war against Iraq's Shiite-dominated government. It is all going to hell, and the handbasket has increased speed yet again.

But I want to take a moment to remind kind readers of how this latest development is directly related to the UK forces in Iraq. Remember them?

Where were most of the UK soldiers stationed? Basra. Iraq's second-largest city. Where has most of the recent Shia-on-Shia violence taken place? Basra. How did a city go from a relatively stable zone to the epicenter of a renewed civil war in less than a year? Ask Gordon Brown.

We know that Tony Blair arrogantly and unnecessarily marched into Iraq shoulder-to-shoulder with George W. Bush. Why he decided to make such a strong statement is anyone's guess. He threw away his legacy, his party, and a good deal of his nation's respect and prestige (what they had left). It seems to this author that Blair suffered from the same ailment as Ian Fleming. He felt the need to reassure his countrymen than Britain still mattered. But instead of writing pulpy spy novels, he did something far more expensive and tragic. As the recent 2-part Frontline documentary, "Bush's War" outlines, Tony Blair might have been counting on a UN resolution to legitimize his zeal and quick support of the US. But when the resolution fell through, Blair continued to back Bush. UK troops occupied Basra and kept things relatively stable for 4 years.

Enter Gordon Brown. He knows he has to withdraw British troops from Basra soon. But he does so at a very slow pace. It seems to this author that the British slowly let Basra fall into the hands of Shiite militias without realizing it. At first, this tactic reduced violence in Basra. But then the powder keg exploded after the British left their base in October.

I believe that the chaos in Basra is linked to our special friends and their own, separate strategic fuck-up. Of course Blair shouldn't have joined this crusade to begin with. But what's Gordon Brown's bloody excuse?

Three Reasons Hillary Didn't Win My Vote

1. She never explained why she should be my president, aside from the fact that she was an excellent first lady who lived in the White House for 8 years. I remember a born-again peanut farmer from Georgia who explained why he was running in the aftermath of a national disgrace. We have a similar situation and Hillary could have done the same.

2. She spoke of having 35 years of experience. While her career got off to an amazing start, the last decade has not impressed me. Clinton isn't as pro-active or courageous as some of her colleagues in the Senate. When I think about my favorite senators in office, I list names like Barbara Boxer, Russ Feingold, Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd, Sheldon Whitehouse, Patrick Leahy, Chuck Hagel (R), Carl Levin, Daniel Inouye, Chris Dodd, and Bob Menendez. Hillary is not one of them. To paraphrase David Mamet, she's white bread.

We have to keep in mind that it is a mix of legal and political experience. She is not saying that she has been preparing to be President for 35 years. In fact, I think the idea of becoming president only occurred to her in 1999 when her husband was impeached. (Barack probably decided to run after Gore conceded in 2000. He had to hope that Kerry would lose so he would get his chance.)

Senator Clinton's career is nothing to scoff at. She is a graduate of Yale Law School. During her time as a doctorate student, she volunteered at a hospital, worked on child abuse cases, advocated for migrant workers, and became involved in a new 'child rights' movement which gave children more power in the courtroom to fight for what's theirs. She even declined Bill Clinton's first marriage proposal. She was liberal, ambitious, and had characteristics I greatly admire. She was the breadwinner in the family from 1977-1992, earning and investing more than Bill did. She was the leader in that family, which might explain her impulse to defend Bill and restore her family name through her own election to the Presidency. All well and good. Her US Senate seat was supposed to springboard her into the white house. But her conservative track record in the Senate has done nothing to impress me. Yes, I think it would be good for the Clinton family to get a shot back at the Bushes. I can root for a little revenge. But do the Clinton's need this victory? Do they need to hit back, Corleone style? Why should I root for a family that went into the White House slightly more affluent than me, and came out as millionaires and heroes?

3. Most important is Senator Clinton's refusal to admit that she made a mistake by voting AYE on Joint Resolution 114, the authorization to invade Iraq. All she has to do is admit she made a mistake, and she has my vote. Really. That's all she has to do. I want a woman in the White House in my lifetime. Hillary is not perfect, but she's a fine choice for that historic role. What a shame she won't admit her mistake.

21 Democratic senators, including the late Paul Wellstone, voted against the Iraq use-of-force resolution. Every Democratic senator I list above as my favorites voted against it, except those who weren't in office at the time (Menendez and Whitehouse). Hillary could have stood with them. She refused. What leadership is that? Would JFK call that a profile in courage? I think not.

Now I know the most Clinton or Obama can ever give me is two or three moderate Supreme Court justices. But I think Clinton gives me an extra special nothing on the side.

As for Obama...I didn't ask or even want him to run. I didn't ask for a movie star smile. I didn't ask for a deep, strong voice. I didn't ask for an athletic, black president of a white, overweight country. But the more I think about it, the more I realize it would make me happy to see Obama take the helm. And after all, if only selfish people run for that office, I want a selfish reason to see them win. I haven't felt good about my country since......since.....President Clinton was acquitted by the Seante? Wow. That was February 12th, 1999. I remembered what Alexander Hamilton said 200 years ago. He said, "Here, Sir, the People govern." On that day, the People won.

What might an Obama victory do? It might make me feel good about the USA for 50 days. So this is what we've come to - incredibly low expectations for our country. I have many other reasons to smile in my life. Life is good! But when it comes to my country, this has been a most depressed decade. We've been losing, people. Losing a lot.

What would Lincoln say? Where's the freedom in a culture now dominated by fear (and celebrity news)?

Sure, I know, I shouldn't think this way. This is irrational. I should shut-up and order that chicken caesar salad and vodka drink with a twist. But I don't want a caesar salad. I don't want another vodka drink right now. I want to try a rye. I want a president with a Muslim name just to make the wingnuts shit themselves for four years (can you imagine what Ann and Pam would do? Kill themselves, I hope). I want to see Barack Hussein Obama be the president to bag Osama bin Laden. It could happen. I want Obama to be the political equivalent of my Red Sox. I want to see him win. Why not him? Why the hell not?

Hillary didn't explain why she should be president. Neither did Obama. But since life is unfair, one of them had to lose my vote. They both have huge egos. They are both insane to want this job. They both refuse to reverse any of the serious changes Bush brought to this country (Homeland Security, the imprisonment of Lindh and Padilla, The Patriot Act, the spread of torture and domestic spying). But Hillary's vote for Joint Res 114 was the tie-breaker. Game over. We have a winner, who won by screwing-up less.

Great Question, Great Answer

The question, from today's editorial in the LA Times:

The interesting question is why the U.S. economy, beneficiary since 9/11 of the largest military spending binge in history, now requires $150 billion more in the form of a short-term stimulus package. Why hasn't the $1 trillion in defense spending, in addition to the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, been sufficient to keep the economic boom going?

The answer, from Economist's View commenter, James Kroeger:
The answer should be apparent to any Democrat[ic] Economist. The incredible borrowing spree of the past several years has really been the only thing that kept the economy from collapsing into a Greatest Depression Ever as a direct result of the massive tax cuts Bush et al. gave to the rich. Reducing the income tax rates of rich people is always CONTRACTIONARY.

I strongly recommend reading Kroeger's entire comment here. One of this country's biggest exports has been money.

Friday News & Blog Roundup

Goodbye, bastard: Another former murderous dictator is passing away without being brought to justice. This particular dictator was responsible for a 7-figure death toll.

Merrill Lynch rocked: At first, Merrill reported a $7 Billion loss due to poor sourced mortgage investments. Analysts on the street estimated that it was more like $12 Billion. Now Merrill has become a little more honest and is expected to report a $15 Billion loss, as it scrambles to raise cash and slow hiring. The DOW slides as the skies darken over the entire financial sector. American Express and Tiffany have both been rocked today due to lower consumer spending, a trend that will continue all year. Even McDonalds is down a whopping $4 today.

Bank M&A action: Charlotte-based Bank of America has decided to purchase bleeding mortgage lender, Countrywide, for $4 Billion. That would make Bank of America the nation's largest mortgage lender. Details of the deal are sketchy, which makes this amateur analyst wonder about the risk and wisdom of such a deal. Countrywide shares have fallen 15% today in reaction to this news. Meanwhile, Chase is in preliminary talks to purchase Washington Mutual, which is also seriously bleeding in this lending crisis. That would almost make Chase the nation's second largest bank. But it would be a solid third place, right behind Bank of America and Citi. Watch more banks report losses next week. Eyes will be on PNC, SunTrust, and other 'super-regionals' similar to WaMu. Big banks could bail-out smaller banks.

Think the surge worked?: The mainstream media has reported that the surge in Iraq worked. But now, as the surge has to wind-down this spring, the pentagon is saying that the overall success of the surge has a 50/50 chance at best. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Mark Kimmitt acknowledged at a right-wing think tank that the surge will be judged a failure if the Iraqi government cannot unite the country, reconcile major political stalemates, and keep violence levels relatively low as they were in late 2007. The video of Mr. Kimmitt speaking is at the ThinkProgress link above.

And speaking of Iraq violence: A new World Heath Organization report has a very conservative estimate that 150,000 Iraqis died violently during the first 3 years of the US occupation. At first glace, it seems to be a rebuttal to last year's Lancet study, which estimated 600,000 excess deaths (by all unnatural causes, including disease, suffered by anyone who died in Iraq). But Juan Cole points out the study's methodology and assumptions, and it turns out that it could have easily concluded that 250,000 have died. But the WHO report opted to keep the number conservative. Add two more years that the report does not cover, and the Lancet study isn't so outrageous after all. In any case, the bottom line is we destroyed a country, and we made ordinary Iraqis refugees, widows, orphans, amputees, disabled, and dead. No number crunching can get around our nation's worst foreign policy decisions in 30 years, and what has become part of our generation's legacy. And for the most part, we have ignored it.

Rudy's sinking ship: Senior Giuliani staffers are forgoing paychecks this month. And while the mainstream media did not report that Rudy spent nearly $3 Million on New Hampshire, and finished behind Ron Paul, it is now becoming apparent that his strategy to focus on Florida is going to backfire. He might still finish third in Florida. But there's no way he can win the GOP nomination now.

Rudy's fiscal insanity: Oh, and Rudy knows his economics! He has repeated his plan to not only cut taxes further for the rich, but he'll balance out those cuts with addiditonal tax cuts! The economy needs stimulus and Rudy's proposed cuts are twice as big as Ronald Reagan's. Economists chuckle.

Hot, Dangerous, Deadly Month In baghdad

A couple of news stories this morning (other than 4 more US troops were killed overnight, bringing the August death toll to 20 in just 6 days, which puts it on-track to 100 by the end of month).

First, Iraq's Electric Ministry reports today that the national power grid is on the verge of collapse. Power plants are receiving less fuel, and have had to shut down. Baghdad is receiving less electricity this month, and that means that less water is being treated or pumped to businesses and residences. That means that the sanitation problem continues to get worse. And now the US general overseeing Iraq infrastructure says this is a problem for the Iraqis to solve themselves - even while the multinational fund-raising for re-building Iraq's infrastructure is nowhere near the set goal. Wait, how many years has it been since the fall of Baghdad, again?

Second, it needs to be stressed that one of the most underreproted facts about Iraq is the amount of unemployment there. Under Saddam's regime, the most stable and prosperous jobs were in oil, government, african trade, and most important, the military. Now with unemployment hovering at 50%, where are the good jobs? Well, it seems a UN News network has found one growth industry.

The Handbasket Just Increased Velocity

We don't need to leave in order for Iraq to disentegrate and break-up. It is happening now. This news is long-awaited, but now there is officially a new crisis for the fragile Iraqi government.

Sunni bloc quits Iraq govt, 73 dead in bombings
By Mariam Karouny and Paul Tait
Wednesday August 1st, 2007

The main Sunni Arab political bloc quit the Iraqi government on Wednesday in a blow to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's shaky coalition as suicide bombers killed more than 70 people in three attacks across Baghdad.

The resignation move pushed the government into a new crisis undermining its efforts to reconcile Iraqis and end sectarian strife.

Fifty of Wednesday's dead were killed when a suicide bomber in a fuel truck packed with explosives targeted motorists at a petrol station.

The Sunni Accordance Front left Maliki's Shi'ite-led coalition over his failure to meet a list of about a dozen demands, including a greater say in security matters.

"The government was still ... closing the door on reforms which are needed to save Iraq," Accordance Front spokesman Rafei Issawi told a news conference, adding the government should have met its demands or "at least admit its failure."

Issawi said Deputy Prime Minister Salam al-Zobaie and five ministers would resign on Wednesday.

The Sunni Front's 44 members will remain in the 275-seat parliament. Its withdrawal will have little practical effect on the 15-month-old government, which is virtually paralyzed by infighting but needs only a simple majority to keep functioning.

Maliki's government has already been weakened by the withdrawal of fiery Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's political bloc, one of the biggest in parliament, over his refusal to set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

The coalition is under pressure from the United States to end sectarian strife between Shi'ites and Sunni Arabs, which has killed tens of thousands. Washington is unhappy at the slow political progress in reconciling the warring sects.


Iraq Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, a member of the Sunni bloc, said the Front was still open to negotiation.

"The doors are still open on all options, including returning to government, if they introduce reforms," Hashemi told reporters.

The Accordance Front is made up of three main Sunni Arab groups, including Hashemi's Islamic Party. Its list of demands included the disbanding of Shi'ite militias that have targeted Sunni Arabs.

Iraq's other deputy prime minister, Kurd Barham Salih, told Reuters the Sunni bloc's withdrawal was the most serious political crisis yet faced by Maliki's government.

He said preparations were continuing for a summit of the political leadership of Iraq's Kurdish, Shi'ite and Sunni Arab communities, which would take place in "the next few days."

"The crisis is grave and its implications should not be underestimated, but I hope it offers an opportunity to address the causes of political instability afflicting this country," Salih said of the meeting.

The Accordance Front, which last week suspended the work of its six ministers and gave Maliki a week to meet its demands, accused the government of failing to consult it on key issues.

The U.S. ambassador and the top general in Iraq are due to give a crucial progress report to Congress next month as U.S. President George W. Bush comes under growing pressure to show progress in the unpopular war or bring troops home.

In Baghdad's Mansour district, police said the suicide bomber had lured motorists queuing for petrol before exploding the fuel truck. Another 60 people were hurt.

Twenty people were killed when a suicide bomber blew up his vehicle near a popular ice cream parlor in a bustling commercial area of Baghdad's predominantly Shi'ite district of Karrada. Another bomber killed three in southern Doura district.

The U.S. military, which began a build-up of 30,000 extra troops this year in a bid to buy time for Maliki to meet his political targets, said three of its soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in the east of the capital on Tuesday.

Another was killed by small arms fire in eastern Baghdad on the same day, taking the total killed in July to at least 78, the lowest monthly toll for the U.S. military in Iraq since last November and since the troop build-up began in February.

(Additional reporting by Ross Colvin, Aseel Kami and Peter Graff in Baghdad)

Human Trafficking By First Kuwaiti Contracting

That's not a typo. This is fucking incredible. These two whislteblowers, despite their hokey appearance and grammatical errors, speak for themselves.

The US State Department has a lot to explaining to do. And this is yet another scandal to unfold in Bushworld.

Just watch this, especially the second video.

Holy Motherfucker.

Henry Waxman should go on the fucking warpath. And he will.

Rory Mayberry is not a new face to appear before Congress. He blew the whistle on Halliburton's scandalous management of food services for foreign contract laborers in 2005.

And now, he reports that he met Filipino and Indian workers who were being paid as little as $200 per month by First Kuwaiti, and if he blew the whistle then, he would have been thrown out of the Green Zone to face greater physical risks. Sounds like something out of Pol Pot's Cambodia or Argentina 30 years ago. It's scary and real.

Generation Chickenhawk (AKA The 2007 College Republican Convention in DC)

The nation's Max Blumenthal has put together a piece of guerrilla filmmaking that would make Michael Moore proud. This piece speaks for itself. It's hilarious. But listen to the remarks from Tom Delay regarding the relationship between abortion and illegal immigration.

If you believe abortion doesn't affect you, I contend it affects you in immigration. If we had those 40 million children that were killed over the last 30 years, we wouldn't need the illegal immigrants to fill the jobs that they are doing today. [3-second pause] Think about it.

Wow. Just wow.

This is simply awesome. Could this be the best thing I have ever seen on YouTube? Except maybe the sneezing baby panda? No, this is even better. You rock, Max!

The quotes in this are incredible. And these kids seem sober (of course, their mental stability is highly questionable).

That kid talking about how we are all tempted by homosexuality is pretty funny. Speak for yourself, kid.

And don't accuse Max for being just another liberal. He got a press pass to the Taking Back America conference in June, and did his best to ridicule it as well:

And here is Max at CPAC (the Conference Political Action Conference) in March. Also hilarious. Priceless stuff.

Saying Goodbye To Private Wilson, 18

There's a tragic story behind every one of our 3,628 soldiers lost in Iraq. This is the most recent example from my city. A young Trinidad-born son of a naturalized Army officer enlists at age 17. He is dead at age 18:

The Imperative of War: A Life Recruited at 17, Taken at 18
July 18, 2007

A little more than a year ago, Le Ron A. Wilson, not yet 18, walked into the military recruiting center on Jamaica Avenue in Queens and signed up to serve in the Army. He had the kind of brains and drive that make a good soldier, the persistence that wears down parents. His mother, Simona Francis, gave her permission.

Yesterday, not far from the recruiting center, the short, happy life of Le Ron Wilson was recalled at a funeral Mass in Christ the King Church. Twice named soldier of the month in his platoon, a specialist in the repair of weapons, a correspondent with scores of friends on his MySpace page, Private First Class Wilson and another soldier were killed on July 6 by a roadside bomb.

Many of those in the church yesterday wore buttons with his image. The pictures that show him fresh-faced do not lie. He was born on Nov. 16, 1988. He was not yet 13 during the attacks of Sept. 11 and never voted for a president. He barely had to shave.

He is among the youngest soldiers killed in Iraq. Of more than 3,600 soldiers who have died in the war, about 30 have been 18. Tens of thousands of Iraqis young and old have also lost their lives.

In the pews, his classmates from Thomas Edison High School dabbed their eyes.
“Me and Danielle, one of our friends, tried to talk him out of it,” said Lilibel Araullo, 19, recalling when he enlisted. “A few others signed up. Justin. Derrick. I went to see him down in Savannah, before he left.

“Last time I heard from him was in June, a phone call, he was telling me it was hot over there,” she said. “I told him: ‘Message me on MySpace. Let me know you’re O.K.’ So I would get messages from him — ‘I’m alive, I’m okay.’ ”

These are the rites of connection for the young. Rituals for the dead are woven into the church and the military. For the church, a bishop came; for the Army, a general. The bishop, Octavio Cisneros, recalled the suffering of the mother of Jesus, and prayed that she would bring peace to Private Wilson’s mother. The general, Bill Phillips, spoke of the fellowship of soldiers, their care for one another and their mission.

He read the citations for the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star and the Combat Action Badge for service in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the name given to the invasion that started more than four years ago as a mission to eradicate weapons of mass destruction that turned out not to exist, and in retribution for the Sept. 11 attacks, which the Iraqis had nothing to do with.

The name of the operation is not heard so often these days.

The medals and a framed flag were presented to his mother. Ms. Francis handed them to relatives. Then the bishop, stood to begin the final prayers in the church.

“Into your hands, father of mercies, we commend our brother Le Ron,” Bishop Cisneros said.

When he was done, Ms. Francis strode behind her son’s coffin, composed but struggling.

The young people did not bother. They wept openly, then pooled together in cars, ready to join the procession to Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, where they would lay their friend down.

“A girlfriend? Not in high school,” said Ms. Araullo. “He went to Hawaii, on recreation; there was a girl named Roxanne he met that he liked. That was before he went to Iraq.”

A few blocks away, as the funeral procession moved east, it was break time at the military recruiting center where Le Ron Wilson declared that he would become a soldier.

Two girls cantered streetward, down a flight of stairs, out into the sunshine. They paused beneath a sign for the center, where they are working through August.

“We go leafleting, we call people up about recruitment,” said one of the girls. “A lot of people say ‘no’ right away because they think they have to go straight to Iraq, but that’s not true, there’s other things they could do.”

She was 14. Her companion was 15. All told, they said, nine teenagers, paid $7.15 an hour by the city’s summer job program, are working at the Jamaica recruiting center.
Military recruiting, of course, is the work of professional soldiers, not teenagers in a summer program to learn how to hold a job.

Still, it is not surprising that they would be drawn into the search for new soldiers. Just as youth must be served, so, too, must the needs of a country at war.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

An Anti-Bush Editorial From A Scaife-Owned Newspaper

No End In Sight
Short and sharp. This, from a Scaife-owned newspaper:

The war in Iraq
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Editorial
Sunday, July 15, 2007

Perhaps Jack Murtha put it best: The Pennsylvania congressman, among the first to make the cogent argument that staying the course in Iraq was the exercise in futility that indeed the war has become, says President Bush is delusional.

Based on the president's recent performance, we could not agree more. "Staying the course" is not simply futile -- it is a prescription for American suicide.

We've urged for months to bring our troops home. Now is the time.

"Progress" has become such a nuanced, parsed and tortured term that it no longer has meaning.

The "fledgling" Iraqi government -- how long can it reasonably be called that? -- consistently has not stepped up to the plate.

President Bush warns that U.S. withdrawal would risk "mass killings on a horrific scale." What do we have today, sir?

And quite frankly, during last Thursday's news conference, when George Bush started blathering about "sometimes the decisions you make and the consequences don't enable you to be loved," we had to question his mental stability. [Italics added]

If the president won't do the right thing and end this war, the people must. The House has voted to withdraw combat troops from Iraq by April. The Senate must follow suit.

Our brave troops should take great pride that they rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein. And they should have no shame in leaving Iraq. For it will not be, in any way, an exercise in tail-tucking and running.

America has done its job.

It's time for the Iraqis to do theirs.