Monday, April 23, 2007

You're Doing A Heckuva Job, Gonzo

By all accounts, the testimony of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales before the Senate Judiciary Committee was an unmitigated disaster.

When pressed to explain key discrepancies in previous statements over the firing of 8 U.S. Attorneys, Gonzales had a very fuzzy memory. 71 separate times, the embattled Attorney General couldn't remember important details.

He couldn't even recall details of a conversation between himself and a president. This alone should prove one thing...Gonzales is either a liar, or grossly incompetent.

I am not sure what would be worse, the fact that Mr. Gonzales deliberately misrepresented his role in the firings to save his hide, or the fact that he really left such important decisions to judicial neophytes such as Monica Goodling, who got their degrees from Pat Robertson's Regent University School of Law.

The fact that antipathy for the man crossed party lines and enjoyed rare bipartisan support should have sent the loud-and-clear message to the White House that the Attorney General needed to be replaced. In the case of the Attorney General it is very hard to keep up morale in the Justice Department when your leader has lost their credibility. The position means far more than merely carrying George's is a post that is supposed to serve the American people, not merely Rove & Partners.

So, in that context, it is utterly both shocking, and totally revealing, to see the response of George Bush today.

If there was any doubt that Bush is the single worst leader this nation has ever seen, and an intellectual dullard to boot, it came with the following pronouncement today, regarding Gonzales' testimony. Bush said that Gonzales "went up and gave a very candid assessment, and answered every question he could possibly answer, honestly answer, in a way that increased my confidence in his ability to do the job."

Gonzales couldn't remember key details 71 times and that "increased" his confidence??? Why not just come right out and say, you're doing a heckuva job Gonzo? It would leave the same ironic taste.

Can January of 2009 come fast enough to save this nation?

One can only hope.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

McCain & The GOP Iraqi Brigade: Escape From Reality

With all the reports on daily violence in Iraq, the latest comments by Sen. John McCain and some of his fellow Republicans, currently touring the war-torn nation, are stupefying.

It's the media, stupid

According to Sen. McCain, the real problem is the media. The former Vietnam War POW said in a news conference, reported on by the Associated Press, that Americans were not getting the "full picture" of progress.

Sen. McCain, speaking under heavy guard, at a press conference in Baghdad's Green Zone, said,
"The American people are not getting the full picture of what’s happening here. They’re not getting the full picture of the drop in murders, the establishment of security outposts throughout the city, the situation in Anbar province, the deployment of additional Iraqi brigades which are performing well, and other signs of progress having been made."
Drop in murders? What alternative universe is this man living in? We even had an increase in U.S. troop deaths in March, the first full month of Bush's 'surge.'

Additionally, our history in Iraq shows that whatever short term gains are made when added troops go in to 'clean up' an area, the situation reverts back as soon as troops withdraw.

To get a sense of just how out of touch this man is, here are some other nuggets from the AP article:
"McCain said the Republican congressional delegation he led to Iraq drove from Baghdad’s airport to the center of the city, citing that as proof that security was improving in the capital. Prominent visitors normally make the trip by helicopter."
So, the fact that they did not travel by helicopter is significant? Perhaps, they could make their trip because, as the article further stated,
"The delegation was accompanied by heavily armed U.S. troops when they were not in the Green Zone, site of the U.S. Embassy and Iraqi government. They traveled in armored military vehicles under heavy guard."
Conveniently, McCain visited areas that were the focus of the surge, ignoring the fact that violence has been getting displaced to other parts of Iraq, with no let up in the brutality.

What points would the McCain Sunshine Tour like the media to report on? The 4 hours a day that Iraqi neighborhoods may actually have electricity and running water? The finding of 48 severed heads, as opposed to 50?

Dumb and Dumber

Fortunately, for McCain, he is accompanied by other robots from his party, so some of the truly inane comments are not solely his domain. For example, that bastion of truth, Sen. Lindsey Graham, had this to say,
“It will be a huge mistake to set a deadline. It [the U.S. troop surge] is working. We are doing now what we should have done three years ago. ... The Iraqi people want their own destiny but they don’t have the capabilities yet”
Doing what we should have done 3 years ago? How comforting that must be to the families of the troops that have died in that 3 year stretch of wasted time? The Iraqis who have lost their loved ones in that period must have appreciated it as well.

As for not setting deadlines....if you never set a deadline to pull out, you can never leave. I fear, that is what the Republicans want. A permanent presence in Iraq that serves the corporate interests of the oil conglomerates that control our foreign policy and dictate the GOP platform.

And, if Graham is so in favor or Iraqi people setting their own destiny why does he not care about the opinion polls in Iraq that show the vast majority do not want us there?

Greeting us like liberators?

According to AP,
"Delegation members, who included Rep. Mike Pence, a Republican from Indiana, and Rep. Rick Renzi, an Arizona Republican, spoke glowingly of an hour they spent in the Bab al-Sharqi market, which was hit by a suicide bomber on Jan. 22. At least 88 people died in the attack.

"The congressmen said they were impressed with the resilience and warmth of the Iraqi people, some of whom they said would not take their money for souvenirs the delegation bought."
They wouldn't take your money Rick? That couldn't possibly have anything to do with the men with guns that accompanied you on your shopping excursion?

No, of course not.

The Iraqis are so overjoyed that we have come to liberate them and are prospering so much in the post-Sadaam era, that they want you to take as many souvenirs as you want.

Maybe you would be interested in some skull fragments? I hear they make great necklaces.

Keeping the bar low

And, just to make sure that news will not get in the way of the abject futility of the mission, expectations have been set way low. How else to explain the following:
"Speaking at a joint news conference with al-Moussawi, U.S. military spokesman Rear Adm. Mark Fox also expressed confidence in the security sweep, saying half of the U.S. troop reinforcements are in place, but he warned it would not be easy to pacify the capital and asked for patience.

"'The effort to exert security in Iraq will take time,' Fox said. 'Our job will not be accomplished within days or weeks.'

'We are going to see more violence in the coming weeks and months,' he added."
In other words, 'ignore the violence, it is irrelevant.' And, 'don't even think of trying to find a way to determine if the strategy is actually working. We'll let you know.'

If Sen. McCain was looking for good news to report, this should have made him warm all over,
"Underscoring security concerns, Fox said two suicide vests were found unexploded Saturday in the Green Zone, less than a week after a rocket attack killed two Americans in the vast central area."
Wow! Isn't that encouraging! Somebody found a way to get 2 suicide vests into the Green Zone, but whoever did thought selling it on E-Bay would be more beneficial than the virgins one would acquire in the hereafter.

This is progress?