Wednesday, April 11, 2007

War is hard work...

Apparently, it's much too hard for the layabout we currently have in the White House, the guy who managed to screw up every business he ever tried to run, and one of whose current titles is "Commander-in-Chief." It seems that the "decider" has become the "delegator." However, there's just one small problem -- no one wants the job. As Kevin Drum in his "Political Animal" blog at the Washington Monthly says, "Does anyone truly think that a shiny new White House staffer with no budgetary authority, no bureaucratic support, and little in the way of institutional levers of control is going to be able to magically get everyone on the same page sometime in the next few months? It's a suicide mission, and the fact that Bush apparently thinks that a bit of org chart shuffling will make a significant difference in Iraq is just one more sign of how deeply out of touch with reality he is."

Even the guy who came up with the idea for the surge wants no part of being the "war czar." That would be retired four-star Army general Jack Keane. According to the Washington Post, "Keane, a former Army vice chief of staff, was one of the primary proponents of sending more troops to Iraq and presented Bush with his plan for a major force increase during an Oval Office meeting in December. The president adopted the concept in January, although he did not dispatch as many troops as Keane proposed."

Why on earth would anybody want this job?

If I weren't so busy crying, I'd have no choice but to be laughing instead.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Through the looking glass

I was watching Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer on CNN this morning, and I saw what may have been the most bizarre political conversation I've ever seen. Arlen Specter, the Republican Senator from Pennsylvania, was defending House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's controversial trip to Syria, while Democrat (in name, at least) Joe Lieberman was vigorously denouncing the trip. You can see the video at Crooks and Liars.

Is there anyone out there who still believes 1) that Lieberman is a Democrat in anything other than name; or 2) that he has any credibility left on anything? I honestly cannot remember a single issue in the last four years that he's gotten right -- of course, that might be because he sides with the White House more than Dennis Hastert.

I don't know what the good folks in Connecticut were thinking when they re-elected Liebermann in the '06 general election after the Dems booted his butt in the primary. Evidently the Republican candidate must have been a real yo-yo...

Politics on an Easter weekend

I just found an extremely interesting discussion at Pandagon regarding the thin line between religion and politics. If you're interested in the subject at all (and I think that progressives need to be very interested in this age of culture wars), I recommend that you check out Amanda's post as well as all the comments. Very intellectually stimulating...

Thursday, April 5, 2007

An excellent read

For those of you who haven't read it yet, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.

The book is an exhaustive history of the terrorist organization, with over 500 sources utilized to detail how a small group of Islamofascists brought America to its knees five and a half years ago.

Wright doesn't take a political stance in the book -- there's no bashing of either the Bush or Clinton administrations (or even Israel for that matter). Instead, he paints a steady portrait of an organization that remained all but unknown throughout most of its history, even going bankrupt at one point. The account is riveting, reading more like a suspense novel than a history tome.

The book traces the history of al-Qaeda far beyond bin Laden and al-Zawahiri to the man who formed the radical theocratic notions that resulted in al-Qaeda, Sayyid Qutb, who became al-Zawahiri's mentor. It is impossible to understand Islamic terrorism without understanding Qutb.

One thing the reader will come away with is a knowledge of how the U.S. intelligence services charged with protecting the nation failed utterly -- not through laws preventing the sharing of information, but rather through bureaucratic boondoggles that prevented anyone from ever gaining enough pieces of the puzzle to accurately see what was happening. The author makes it abundantly clear that this was due to misplaced pride and jealousy, especially between the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. This is also the result of an American mindset that is simply incapable of understanding the forces that lead to such hatred.

I believe this is an absolute must-read for anyone interested in ascertaining the truth about terror.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Shrub ignores Congress again -- no surprise there!

I don't know why this caught me by surprise -- after seeing the attorney scandal and everything else the idiot-in-chief has done for the past six and a half years, nothing should surprise me.

Remember Sam Fox? Sure you do. He's the guy Bush nominated to be the ambassador to Belgium recently. The same guy who donated $50,000 to the Swift Boaties. If you recall, the nomination was pulled when it became apparent that there was no way in hell he could be confirmed by the Senate.

Well, guess what. With the Senate in recess for a week, Bush gave him a recess appointment. That's right, an appointment until the end of term with no necessity for confirmation. Not only that, but if you look at the announcement from the White House, you'll see that they really tried pretty hard to hide it -- all the way at the bottom.

If a Democrat (let's say, for example, Bill Clinton -- or Barack Obama -- or Hillary Clinton -- or Al Gore -- or John Edwards) pulled this kind of crap, I can only imagine the response we'd be hearing from the likes of Crush Limpoop, Bill Orally, Sean Inshannity, etc. I do know that it wouldn't be pretty.

This is without a doubt the most offensive recess appointment Bush has made since John Bolton. If you remember, that was another case of the Prez waiting until Congress was in recess in order to thumb his nose at the confirmation process.

Is this legal? Unfortunately, yes. The recess appointment process was designed to keep government running without lapses during the times Congress takes off -- it was not designed to circumvent the confirmation process. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of the Federalist Papers knows this. Does it carry an unbelievably rank stench? Of course it does.

If anyone really thinks that George W. Bush has any regard for the Constitution, I want to know what that person has been smoking -- because it's certainly better than anything legal I can find.

Monday, April 2, 2007

John McCain -- An Honorable Man

This post may not make much sense. You see, I read the other day the quote by my Senator, John McCain, about how an American could go walking through the streets of Baghdad and feel perfectly safe. To paraphrase Shakespeare, "John McCain is an honorable man..."

Therefore, I was obviously surprised when I saw that John McCain, who is "an honorable man" needed 100 American troops, three Blackhawk helicopters, two Apache gunships, and a kevlar flak jacket to go walking down the street in Baghdad.

But John McCain is an honorable man. So, I guess he's right -- any American can walk down the street in Baghdad and feel completely safe. Right?

As long as you have the entire U.S. military at your disposal, and you stay in the most secured area of the city, you wouldn't be technically lying about being able to walk down the street safely. Right?

Glad to know how much progress we're making over there. Ask John McCain -- an honorable man.