Friday 19th of July 2019

iraqalypto .....

iraqalypto .....

 

from the centre for american progress …..

"[President Bush] decided, frankly, that it's not ready yet," White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said yesterday of the White House's promised Iraq plan. "[It] is not going to happen until the new year. We do not know when, so I can't give you a date, I can't give you a time, I can't give you a place, I can't give you a way in which it will happen." As the administration dawdles, the "grave and deteriorating" situation in Iraq continues to worsen. Yesterday, 70 Iraqis were killed in a truck-bomb attack, five U.S. soldiers died, and a grim milestone was reached: 25,000 U.S. soldiers have now died or been wounded in the war. Seventy-one percent of Americans disapprove of Bush's handling of the conflict, an all-time high. (Only 16 percent agree with Bush and Cheney that we're winning.) A change in strategy is desperately needed, yet the "search for a new plan for Iraq seems to be taking place with as much urgency as the deliberations over a new color for the dollar bill." The White House initially promised a new plan "before Christmas," but that has been pushed until January at the earliest. The decision to delay may be an attempt to "blunt the effect of the publicity" of the Iraq Study Group's report, or a way to keep a possible increase in troop levels under wraps until after the holidays. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) called the delay "unpardonable." "Every day that goes by," Hagel said, "we are losing ground." "The nation is in a crisis, and Americans need to hear how he plans to unwind the chaos he has unleashed in Iraq," the New York Times writes. "Americans need to see that he is prepared to choose among the undesirable alternatives, and clear the way for a withdrawal of American troops that does not leave even more killing and mayhem behind." (The Center for American Progress has a way: Strategic Redeployment.)

CNN's John King reported yesterday that Bush is "very seriously considering...agreeing with Sen. John McCain and increasing U.S. troop levels in the short-term." According to King, Bush "has asked for more advice about" how he could send 20,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq, and administration officials "need more time to put all that on the table." One defense official called the plan a "double down." The Los Angeles Times reports today "strong support has coalesced in the Pentagon" for a surge in troop levels. Only a month ago, Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. Commander in Iraq, said he "met with every divisional commander, General Casey, the core commander, General Dempsey" to discuss the idea of troop level increase. "They all said no," Abizaid said. But now, Bush is signaling he may ignore the opinions of top military leaders in Iraq like Abizaid, the Iraq Study Group, and the American people. The Army and Marine Corps are already stretched to the breaking point. "At least two-thirds of Army units in the United States today are rated as not ready to deploy," and it is estimated the Army "will need $18 billion a year to repair, replace and upgrade destroyed and worn-out equipment."

In October, Bush said the U.S. was "absolutely" winning in Iraq, and Cheney described the "general overall situation" there as going "remarkably well." Some of Bush's former political allies on the issue are harsly questioning Bush's happy talk. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR), once a strong supporter of Bush's Iraq policy, has called the continuation of Bush's policy "criminal," a "dereliction," and "deeply immoral." Yet the administration is still not taking the tough criticism seriously. Yesterday, Tony Snow dismissed Smith's comments, saying that "politics are emotional." When asked if Smith is in "favor of democracy," Snow said, "I don't know." "The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating," the Iraq Study Group report found. One reporter asked Bush about the group's appraisal, wondering if he was "still in denial about how bad things are in Iraq." "It's bad in Iraq," Bush said curtly. "That help?"

This week, Bush began a "listening tour" with foreign policy advisers and the military leadership. "There is a theatrical quality to at least some of these meetings," the Christian Science Monitor reports. "Presumably, Bush already knows well the attitudes of the officials of his own administration. Why call on them now?" Today, Bush meets with the Joint Chiefs whose suggestions, like many of the other people Bush has met with this week, "will, once again, run counter to several of the main points proposed by the Iraq Study Group." The advisers Bush met yesterday "shared the White House's skeptical view of the recommendations made last week" by the ISG and "disagreed in particular with the study group's plans to reduce the number of U.S. combat troops in Iraq." (Three of the five he consulted support or are open to escalation.) Meanwhile, not represented in these meetings are the 62 percent of Americans who want Bush "to set a timetable for withdrawal" of U.S. troops from Iraq.

spitting on a bonfire .....

‘Right now, we have on the table a "possible exit strategy" from Iraq – James A. Baker's Iraq Study Group report – that, once you do the figures, doesn't get the U.S. even close to halfway out the door by sometime in 2008; and that report is already being rejected by the Republican and neocon hard right; by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, who continues to plug for some form of "victory" ("The enemy must be defeated...") on his last lap in Iraq, while still flaying the media for only reporting the "bad news"; by a President who is still on the IED-pitted road to success ("Not only do I know how important it is to prevail, I believe we will prevail..."), has called for three other reviews of Iraq policy (by the Pentagon, National Security Council, and White House) in an attempt to flood Washington with competing recommendations, and is probably on the verge of "surging" 15,000–20,000 more U.S. troops into Baghdad.

All sides in this strange struggle in Washington would add up to so much political low comedy if the consequences in Iraq and the Middle East, the oil heartlands of our increasingly energy-hungry planet, weren't so horrific. As Andrew Bacevich, historian, former military man, and author of The New American Militarism, wrote recently in the Boston Globe, Iraq's many contradictions "render laughably inadequate the proposals currently on offer to save Iraq and salvage American honor. Dispatch a few thousand additional US troops into Baghdad? Take another stab at creating a viable Iraqi army? Lean on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to make ‘hard decisions?' One might as well spit on a bonfire."

Consider the strangeness of it all from the Washington perspective. The Iraq Study Group essentially wants to infiltrate the already largely sectarian army the Bush administration has set up in Iraq, an army incapable of handling its own logistics or, in many cases, planning its own missions, with 10,000–20,000 American advisors to do what the U.S. military has been unable to accomplish these last years. That largely Shiite (and Kurdish force) is already a motor for further violence. Adding vast numbers of (still largely untrained, surely resented, and undoubtedly resentful) advisors to it will only ensure that the "Iraqi Army" remains functionally a thoroughly recalcitrant American one into the distant future. This is the functional definition of a failed strategy from the get-go, but given the geostrategic la-la land that George Bush and Dick Cheney inhabit, it now passes for "realism" in our national capital.

For a touch of actual realism, it seemed reasonable to turn to those who have been living out the results of Washington's mad plans these last years – actual Iraqis. Independent journalist Dahr Jamail, who has written regularly for Tomdispatch on our occupation of Iraq and, from 2003 to 2005, covered it in person, offers us at least a glimpse of the nightmare world that George Bush's "cakewalk" into Iraq inflicted on those in its path. Here are some of the people "stuff" happened to. ~ Tom’

Emails From The Front Lines Of Iraqi Daily Life

meanwhile, under the Floridean sun...

Florida Halts Executions After Injection Problem

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: December 15, 2006

Filed at 5:27 p.m. ET

OCALA, Fla. (AP) -- Gov. Jeb Bush suspended all executions in Florida after a medical examiner said Friday that prison officials botched the insertion of the needles when a convicted killer was put to death earlier this week.

Separately, a federal judge in California imposed a moratorium on executions in the nation's most populous state, declaring that the state's method of lethal injection runs the risk of violating the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled in San Jose that California's ''implementation of lethal injection is broken.'' But he said: ''It can be fixed.''

.................

Gus: sorry, I can resist this one: "no jab from Jeb...". Seriously though, our country should stop all FTA with the US until that country shows the world it has grown up by abolishing the death penalty in all states. 

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