Sunday, January 28, 2007

what's wrong with this picture: no. 3,084

Marge: Revenge never solved anything.

Homer: Then what are we doing in Iraq?

The Simpsons, January 28, 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

in Iraq, the later it gets, the later it gets

in response to a calling in a debt at the White House prioritizewisely said...
unfortunately, jim, when we pull out, and massive slaughters occur and baghdad becomes a militaristic haven breeding ground for evil, it will not only rest on bush's conscience, but also yours, for you champion the withdrawal, you sicko. why not let the military, who signed up to do this, and bush the instigator, and freer of the people of iraq, follow through with their promises to the iraqis. Yes, america is hurting a little, but iraq needs us more, you selfish sicko. You should be writing childrens poems or something, where your propaganda can do less harm.

It already weighs on my conscience. Somewhere near 35,000 Iraqi dead in 2006 . . . over 600,000 excess Iraqi deaths since the Shock and Awe campaign in 2003. Shock and Awe . . . you tell me who the propagandists are . . . about 50,000 Iraqis displaced every month . . . Nearly every session of the Iraqi Parliment since November adjourned for lack of a quorum . . . former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi no longer in Iraq, reportedly splitting his time betwen Amman and London . . . Adnan Pachachi said to be living in Abu Dhabi . . .

I'm sick that I failed to mobilize fellow Americans stop our part of this madness before it began.

I'm frustrated that I failed to moblize enough voters in 2004 to put the brakes on The Bush Doctrine.

I lament that others reap what my elected representatives have sown by action and inaction.

Mr or Ms Prioritizewisely, Baghdad is presently the 'militaristic haven breeding ground for evil' you fear because evildoers fill the vacuum created by Mr Bush's misadventure. A bad thing is today much worse because we as a people failed in our duty. I am horrrified to be a part of that.

The harm is done, friend, with more to follow no matter what.

I'm convinced we need to swallow hard and engage every stakeholder in the region to make the best of what is just godawful in every dimension. Shia, Sunni, Iraqis, Turks, Saudis, Iranians, Jordanians, Syrians, Kuwaitis . . . the whole lot.

The most strident get out now advocates I've heard, acknowledge that disengagement will take months — force protection alone guarantees that. It's time to break our engagement in this Lose/Lose scenario and get on with what the American president likes to refer to as hard choices. The later it gets, the later it gets.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

calling in a debt at the White House

Dear Mr President,

The question before us is, "Can another 20 thousand US troops secure the safety of Baghdad's citizens beyond the day those US Soldiers and Marines leave?"

I find no reason to believe they can.

Mr President, I'm afraid "you broke it, you bought it" includes living with the consequences of your failed policy.

I don't believe the debt you owe can be paid under the terms you've outlined.

The 109th Congress should have taken care of this but they didn't. That's why we elected the 110th Congress.

So, sorry, but we're cutting you off.

I find myself resisting the urge to quote the Bible at you here . . . You'll have to find another way to make the best of this wretched mess . . .


Jim Hancock

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

what goes around comes around in Iraq

I noted recently that Bush National Intelligence Agency Chief (and now Assistant Secretary of State nominee) John Negroponte was present in the 1972 meeting at which Henry Kissinger told Chinese prime minister Chou that the US would accept a communist government in Vietnam.

Now in the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof cites Bob Edgar recalling that as a young congressman in April 1975, he encountered a presidential call for a surge of troops similar to the one set in motion by President Bush. On that occasion of course it was President Gerald Ford calling for more U.S. forces to stabilize Saigon.

In that context, Kristof writes, a White House photo capture Ford conferring with two of the architects of that request: senior Ford administration officials Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.

And so what goes around comes around.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

peace with honor . . .

In May 2006 a transcript of the June 20, 1972 meeting between Dr Henry Kissinger and Chinese Prime Minister Chou En-lai to discuss disengagement of American troops from Vietnam was declassified and released under the Freedom of Information Act. It's interesting to note that John Negroponte was present at the meeting. Prime Minister Chou would be the go-between with the Hanoi government. On page 37, Dr Kissinger said:

If we could talk to them the way we talk to you, Mr. Prime Minister -- I don't mean in words but in attitude -- I think we could settle the war. As a practical matter, we think the quickest way to end it now is on the basis of ceasefire, withdrawal, and return of prisoners. That's the least complicated and leaves the future open. We are prepared in addition to declare our neutrality in any political contest that develops and in terms of foreign policy we are prepared to see South Vietnam adopt a neutral foreign policy.

We can also go back to our proposal the President made last January 25 and which was formally presented on January 27, and perhaps modify this or that provision and that involved political discussions also. But in practice, political discussions take forever. And the practical consequence of any political solution is either it will confirm the existing government in Saigon, which is unacceptable to Hanoi, or it will overthrow the existing government in Saigon, which is unacceptable to us. And it is almost impossible to think of a possible compromise between these two.

So we should find a way to end the war, to stop it from being an international situation, and then permit a situation to develop in which the future of Indochina can be returned to the Indochinese people. And I can assure you that this is the only object we have in Indochina, and I do not believe this can be so different from yours. Se want nothing for ourselves there. And while we can not bring a communist government to power, if, as a result of historical evolution it should happen over a period of time, if we can live with a communist government in China, we ought to be able to accept it in Indochina.

. . . if we can live with a communist government in China, we ought to be able to accept it in Indochina.

Nearly 700 Americans -- and I have idea how many others -- died between the time Dr Kissinger told Prime Minister Chou the US would accept a communist government in Vietnam and the time the last Marine, 19 year-old Judge Darwin Lee of Iowa, died there.

There was of course no mention of Dr Kissinger's concession in President Nixon's Peace with Honor speech on January 23, 1973.

+ + + + +

I thought the most unusual thing about President Bush's New Way Forward in Iraq address last night was that he gave it at all. That as much as anything, I suspect, signals the end. We will be making up for this misadventure for a long time. Best we get started.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

conservative summit | Colbert meets O'Reilly

Liberals should be forced to listen to Fox, and delvelop an ear for why it works. But it does remind me of the Loud Family, with every segment ending in a group-shout. They all seem to know when to settle for the toss to commercial.
— David Wagner upon hearing that Stephen Colbert and Bill O'Reilly will . . . trade pulpits? . . . on January 18.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

love will keep us together in Iraq

President Bush wants a “surge” of more U.S. troops to Baghdad, in one last attempt to bring order. Whenever I hear this surge idea, I think of a couple who recently got married but the marriage was never very solid. Then one day they say to each other, “Hey, let’s have a baby, that will bring us together.”
— Thomas Friedman in the New York Times, January 3, 2006
Raising Adults is available now and it's just ten bucks

Bits + Pieces

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

saving face | losing lives

American boys in armored jackets and night scopes patrolling the streets of Baghdad are not going to pacify this country, any more than they will convert it to Methodism. They are there to die so that a man in the White House doesn't have to admit that he, George W. Bush, the decider, the one in the cowboy boots, made grievous mistakes. He approved a series of steps that he himself had not the experience or acumen or simple curiosity to question and which had been dumbed down for his benefit, and then he doggedly stuck by them until his approval ratings sank into the swamp.
— Garrison Keillor, in Daddy Issues,, January 3, 2006

Monday, January 01, 2007

happy new year

History is the best antidote to delusions of omnipotence and omniscience. Self-knowledge is the indispensable prelude to self-control, for the nation as well as for the individual, and history should forever remind us of the limits of our passing perspectives. It should strengthen us to resist the pressure to convert momentary impulses into moral absolutes. It should lead us to acknowledge our profound and chastening frailty as human beings — to a recognition of the fact, so often and so sadly displayed, that the future outwits all our certitudes and that the possibilities of the future are more various than the human intellect is designed to conceive.
— ARTHUR M. SCHLESINGER Jr. in the New York Times, January 1, 2007