Friday :: Sep 1, 2006

The Family Feud

by pessimist

All across the nation, if the latest reports are to be believed, households are being sharply divided over whether King George is really protecting us against terrorism, as he like to pretend. the males, especially if testosterone addiction (sports) is big in their lives, succumb to this dumb assertion that American troops are in Iraq to keep the terrorists from exploding bombs in the streets of that country.

How would we know when the plan is working?

We don't. The Yahoo editorial board puts it like this:

Flailing U.S. mission in Iraq hinges on 'Battle of Baghdad'
Sep 1, 2006

On Thursday, President Bush reiterated his view that the United States' mission in Iraq is to bring a democracy that will be a beacon of freedom in the Middle East. That is an enticing vision.
But if it could be achieved with speeches and new plans,
it would have happened long ago
and U.S. forces would be home.
Certainly, it's difficult to know just when the line into full-scale civil war is crossed. Bosnia in the 1990s provides a useful yardstick. The point of no return there came when extremists managed to stir passions to the point at which neighbors felt they had no choice but to turn on their neighbors. That hasn't yet happened in Iraq, where polls show most Iraqis crave a normal life.
The reality is that the United States is flailing
as Iraq hovers between a low-grade civil war
and the full-blown version.
That reality leads to a hard truth: The United States probably has one last shot at achieving minimal stability in a unified Iraq. Bush's rhetoric aside, that is the best outcome that can be reasonably hoped for at this point. Accomplishing it means preventing an all-out civil war long enough that Iraq's fledgling government - which has been in office barely three months - has a decent chance of taking control, particularly of the proliferating sectarian militias.
If that can't be done, it's hard to see a useful role for U.S. forces.

So why send more troops to Iraq - and the other Rich White Oil Man's War, Afghanistan? More importantly, where are these troops going to come from - and that leads us to our example politically-divided American couple.

Jim Lampley and Bree Walker were for a time the toast of Los Angeles television, anchoring the KCBS evening news and marrying. What I interpret as career stresses ended up estranging the marriage, but they are still partners in an entertainment production company in Hollywood.

It must be an interesting relationship.

I'll open with Lampley's understanding that the Iraq mess is owned entirely by King George:

As Arianna points out in her latest, the continuing administration effort to blandish away the obvious in Iraq, the dreadful realization that suicide attacks are unpreventable-- it all conspires to produce the resentment which pours forth in those school and community gatherings the Times describes, where parents are establishing that this is Bush's war, not theirs.

Yet, as the title of Lampley's post, Why We Should Bring Back the Draft [06.03.2005], attests, he's bought in to the dull-brained idee that the military option is the only one:

I tore up my draft card one night in 1968 on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. No way you would ever find me supporting the draft. But Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y) said it one day a couple of years ago, and I've been thinking about it ever since. And I've decided Charlie was right.

Listen to a 45-minute audio interview with Congressman Rangel. [WMA]

Back when I was nineteen and avoiding the draft at all costs to stay out of Tet Offensive harm's way, I would have argued with passion that the draft was the ultimate in racism and economic discrimination, because mostly the privileged could find a way around it and mostly the underprivileged became the target.
But while it's cathartic in some ways to see the worm finally turning against those horrific lies, the growing division will damage us. And a part of what is happening is that those eighteen-year-olds who can do anything other than to enlist in the military will do so, leaving-- with some spirited exceptions-- only those who need the foothold of opportunity to take the risk.

He's forgotten a lot, hasn't he? It's all OK, though. He saved his own sorry ass, didn't he?

We shift for a moment to his ex-wife Bree Walker.

Walker has to be a Republican based on her being a recipient of the Senator Robert Dole Foundation's Media Awareness Award and the National Courage Award, and when she was named by President George Bush (the first one) as one of his Thousand Points of Light. Those sorts of honors don't go to liberals, progressives, or Democrats.

And yet, she sees more clearly the wrong-headedness of both King George and her ex-husband the draft-dodging liberal-cum-chickenhawk:

Clone Jim Lampley and Draft Him
by Bree Walker

The obvious solution to President Bush's Iraq problem is simple. He needs to reverse his position on funding for stem cell research, get over his "fear" of living in a world without cloning, and clone enough teenagers to build a draft the Chinese would fear. This would make him a hero to disgruntled scientists who have dragged themselves from all over the world to California, hoping to be a part of the next big stem cell wave, but who instead had to read about South Korea's new inroads into their turf.

A Presidential veto on stem cell research would be just another windshield cowboy ride through a desert wasteland of ignorance. If Bush were to encourage California's stem cell agency to work faster and more furiously, we could crank out battallion after battallion of cargo gear-clad soldier wannajoins eager to be all that they can be.

And the good news, for all those so infuriated this morning by former draft-dodger Jim Lampley's wild-eyed suggestion that we should bring back the draft, is that Lampley lives in California. This gives us a chance, under the right scientific circumstances, to give Lampley what he deserves for his hypocrisy and draft him, again and again and again.

Now if we could only clone Ben Bradlee.

Ben Bradlee, for those who don't recognize the name, is the Bu$hco lapdog editor of the Washington Post.

But I digress.

I switch back to Lampley now to point out that he's offering up the evidence of the betrayal of his values and standards in asking the pertinent questions - all the while ignoring his support for the continuation of the crisis which drives his contention:

The current system harbors all the same discriminatory elements as did the draft, but the net result is an even more extreme division, a more pernicious South Americanization, between gung-ho military achievers and poor kids brought in to meet recruitment quotas. There is no leavening of the system with differing talent, with greater penetration of the social fabric across the board, and with all parents having to consider at least the possibility of their children having to go. Those elements come into play only with a draft.
If millions of parents in the red states had been faced with the prospect that their teenager might face a decision about the next military adventure, might they have looked at Iraq a bit differently? If millions of teenagers knew this was coming up for them, might they take off their I-pods for a second and read a blog or two?

One would hope. They might learn something important: Not only is King George completely unable to protect us in the war against terrorism - he's losing it:

Bill Cusack: Osama Bin Laden is Kicking George Bush Ass
Aug 31, 2006

An ass kicking isn't just getting bitch slapped. It's getting viciously, relentlessly pummeled to the point where you are forever changed.

For some inexplicable reason, this dreary nightmare scenario is where Bush wants to be. It seems to Al Qaeda Bush is actually cooperating with their plans. The biggest Al Qaeda asset in any U.S. invasion, however, will be Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsy's lean and mean military philosophy will make sure U.S. forces are tired, stretched thin, over worked, constantly under pressure, doing jobs they are not trained to do and exposed to violence - terror - hello - on a daily basis.

Within days after 9/11 Bush begins pushing for an invasion of Iraq. Bush takes Al Qaeda's bait hook line and sinker, as if Bush was following an Al Qaeda script. Bin Laden is amazed the US is falling into the trap so easily.

Bush says the sale of Iraqi oil will pay for turning Iraq into a model democracy, which means the U.S. won't be budgeting money for the occupation. Al Qaeda now knows exactly how to drain the U.S. treasurey and that their efforts will work. Bin Laden provides strategy, tactics, training, money and equipment, tells his operatives to do their worst as best they can then sets them loose. He's not even in contact with most of them. We're fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq all right, but Al Qaeda never left America. We could not have more inept leadership if a cold, greasy bag of freedom fries sat in the Oval Office.

March 2003. The US invades Iraq validating Al Qaeda in the eyes of many Muslims. Bin Laden's dream comes true. He is convinced Allah put Bush in office to bring down America... As expected, the world, seeing no Iraqi connection to 9/11, does not like the invasion. Even the countries that actually go along with Bush have small percentages of their populations actually supporting the war. The U.S. will be going in alone for all practical purposes. Cheney says the insurgency is in its last throws.

Radical Iran, backed by China and largely ignored by wait and see Russia, swoops into Iraq bolstering radical elements and destroying US troops and resources as planned. China financed our $9 trillion budget deficit and continues to pay for our war as they support elements that drain away the money we borrow, forcing us deeper into their debt. China can cut off the cash spigot and pull the plug on our war anytime they want, or dig us deeper into debt by further destabilizing the middle east through Iran. They can violate our intellectual properties, rip off our products, undercut us everywhere, and we'll just have to like it. They have us by the balls.
Its as if Bush, like the Manchurian Candidate,
is a Chinese puppet put in place to insure Chinese ascendancy.
He's either that or the worst geo-political strategist of all time. The Chinese ambassador to the U.S. recently told Rumsfeld to "shut up" about Chinese defense spending. Rummy did just that.
Within 50 years the President of The United States will be a Chinese puppet
the way the Shah of Iran was once our puppet.
Today Al Qaeda thinks they can break our back by pressuring our allies to withdraw economic and military support. That is why we haven't seen any significant attack pan out on our shores since 9/11. It's got nothing to do with Bush's inept wire tapping bullshit. However, if this approach does not begin to bear fruit soon Bin Laden will refocus his resources directly on us. At that point we'll be in for a rough ride.
George Bush, your ass is being thoroughly kicked.
And it's not over yet.
Not for you, not for the next President, and not for America.

And the good news is that Americans - even some Red Staters - may finally be understanding this:

Polls show opposition to Iraq war at all-time high
By Tom Regan & Arthur Bright,
September 1, 2006

Sixty percent also say terrorism is more likely in US because of Iraq.

A series of polls taken over the last few weeks of August show that support for the war in Iraq among Americans is at an all-time low. Almost two-thirds of Americans in each of three major polls say that they oppose the war, the highest totals since pollsters starting asking Americans the question three years ago. Many of the polls were conducted in advance of the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on Washington and New York.

A new Associated Press/Ipsos poll that surveyed the country, and more specifically residents of Washington and New York, shows that many feel the cost in blood and money in Iraq may already be too high and that Osama bin Laden will never be found. The poll also showed that 60 percent of Americans believe that the war in Iraq has increased the chances of a terrorist attack in the US.

"I think there's a fatigue about the price of doing these activities," said Robert Blendon, a specialist in public opinion at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. "There's also a concern about the competency of how well we're doing them."
Popular support for the war on terror helped neutralize opposition to the Iraq war for a long time, said political analyst Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute. "Now the negative effect of Iraq is dragging down support for the war on terror," he said.

A Princeton Survey Research Associates International poll conducted Aug. 24-25 for Newsweek shows that 63 percent of Americans disapprove of the way the president has handled Iraq. A CBSNews/New York Times poll conducted Aug. 17-21 shows 65 percent of Americans disapprove of the way the president is dealing with Iraq. Among those who identified themselves as independents, 67 percent disapprove.

And yet, there are signs that Americans don't recognize that they too can be terrorists:

Finally, a survey by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute found that 60 percent of Americans believe screening of people who look "Middle Eastern" at airports and train stations is OK.

Quinnipiac's director of polling, Maurice Carroll, said he was surprised by the apparent public support for racial profiling.

"What's the motivation there --
is it bigotry, or is it fear
or is it practicality?"
he said.

Without any defining motivation, it is pure terrorism at its most basic.

And yet, there remains an age-based division in the population that can be exploited by Bu$hCo:

Quinnipiac poll also found that Americans considered the 9/11 attacks of more significance than the attack on Pearl Harbor. But the findings varied considerably among age groups, with 9/11 being the most important event among those 35 and under, but with Pearl Harbor being more important those 65 and older.

"People have fresh memories of 9-11 and many don't have any memories at all of Pearl Harbor, and those who do don't have fresh memories of it," said Bruce Schulman, a Boston University professor of history and American studies. "We also feel pretty confident that we know how the results of Pearl Harbor turned out...

... and we certainly don't know what the consequences of 9-11 are going to turn out to be.

As a result, it isn't wise to misunderestimate KKKarl. He still has cards left to play:

Divide and conquer
by Eric Alterman
September 1, 2006

The White House is planning to browbeat America into voting Republican. It might just work.

Leaving aside questions of empirical reality in Iraq - which appears to grow ever more apocalyptic by the day - or what any of this has to do with the historical phenomenon known as "fascism", how is that Republicans can expect to go into a mid-term election season where every poll holds their party to be extremely vulnerable by not merely disagreeing with but actively demonising the views of a majority of voters?
What turns out people is anger. Republicans understand this in a way Democrats do not.
If the Republicans can excite their base with appeals to their fear of Islamic terrorists - whether they are Iraqi, Saudi, Afghan, Pakistani, or home-grown American does not really matter - they will be able, despite everything else, to turn them out.

Rove and company are betting that their base will be paying attention while more moderate voters, who have, during the past two years, moved into the Democrats' camp on virtually every single issue related to national security - will not be sufficiently motivated to interrupt their day and wait on line to vote.

Hello, Diebold? You on the line, Blackwell?

With superior organisation, self-discipline, and financial resources, the Republicans think that by ratcheting up the McCarthyite rhetoric, they can divide the country just enough to squeak by in the races they've targeted to retain control of both houses.

Given the situation in Iraq, as well as the likely reaction most people have to being called traitors, wimps, appeasers and dupes, common sense would bet against them. But I wouldn't.

Neither would I - and neither should you.

Ask not how the Diebold votes, for it votes for thee.

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pessimist :: 3:05 PM :: Comments (7) :: Digg It!