Tag Archives: Iraq

Obama Makes McCain Irrelevant

I have never before seen a presidential nominee become irrelevant before being nominated. That’s the story of the McCain candidacy this mid- July, 2008, more than a month before the Republican convention convenes early September. Joe Trippi just might be right here. Perhaps the Republicans will choose not to nominate their own presumptive nominee.  Smart money would agree with Trippi.

In the meantime, Obama, the candidate who, not too long ago was being lambasted for not having passed a commander in chief threshold, has just met with troops in Kuwait, and leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has left them almost weeping in joy about the prospect of his election.  The image of Obama as Commander in Chief has pretty much overwhelmed anything McCain has to offer. 

Obama is brighter, quicker, more level headed, has a better grasp of the relevant facts, shows better judgment, and much keener insight into foreign policy issues.

John McCain has been relegated to the dinner theatre version of commander in chief. not even close to being ready for the big time.

So how does McCain respond to Obama’s foray into international relations? 

He is spending his days vindictively  hocking lugies at Obama’s path,  sophmorically blaming Obama for supporting a timetable for troops to leave Iraq. Happens that much of america let alone the rest of the world, including Iraqi leader al Maliki (and his VP) also wants American troops to leave en par with Obama’s plan. Maliki wants american troops out by 2010.  so, whoo do you want as commander in chief? the one who is responsive to the american people, world and Iraqi leaders, or one who will again ignore all this.

 In Afganistan, Hamid Karzei agrees with Obama’s insights of about a year ago that his country– rather than Iraq– is the rational front in war against terror.  At home, McCain blathers on about staying in Iraq, and is also running an illogical new ad that suggests Senator Obama happens to be responsible for gas prices.

On the issues, the campaign is over.  Obama just went went onto McCain’s self annointed stage of expertise, pulled back the curtain and found little old man ozzie McCain, simulating a reality of iraq having borders with pakistan, and about Maliki not really saying what his own translator says he said,  and obama playing politics with war…  

In the meantime, the world is holding its breath that repulicans either heed Trippi’s advice or that come november american voters don’t blow it again.


Obama & McCain: Tacking versus Flipflopping

During the past couple weeks, left bloggers, myself included, have begun to pile on Obama for appearing to tack right in preparation for the general election. That’s right, tack.  As the sailors out there are aware, tacking is a tactical as opposed to strategic move.  A shift in tactics, or tacking, helps you get to your original destination, albeit while making adjustments to account for prevailing winds.  That is what Obama has been doing.  You see it on campaign finance, perhaps the Iraq War (but not really– see Cleveland debate), perhaps even late term abortions and FISA.  (note, despite what the MSM says, no flipflopping and no tacking on death penalty for child rapists)

You can trust the person tacking because it means they remain open minded while also committed to their stated mission and objectives.  They merely are adjusting to shifts in their own thinking (yes, it happens), and the real world along the way.  Stated another way, a person who fails to tack is susceptible to ideological rigidity (think Bush) or empty headed plodding (think BUSH).

In the alternative, flipflopping or changing course during a political campaign ought to make for a wary voter. Changing course raises the red flag of political expediency and cynical maneuvering to enhance electability.  John McCain has shifted course on tax cuts, campaign financing, immigration, even on the war on Iraq.  Further, there is a blurry line between changing course during the campaign and lying outright. Not too long ago, McCain said he couldn’t balance the budget; today he says he can. He now claims he will balance the budget by lowering taxes and winning the war in Iraq during his first term. This exceeds changing course and enters into flat out delusion, another trait the voter ought be wary of.


To be clear:

Obama= tacking=trust

McCain=changing course/ flipflopper= be wary

No Third Term: Preempting an October Surprise in Iran

Not since 1940

The netroots are beginning to alert the general public about a possible October Surprise against Iran to help advance the cause of a Third Bush Term. (for example, see FDL)   This is a concern that is more than merely a few apprehensive progressives feeling paranoid on the eve of a tough fall campaign.  I believe the stage is already set for an October Surprise, likely to be launched if BushCo believes it can get away with it.

BushCo has opportunity, which consists of the fall campaign and a democratic opponent whose patriotism they are trying to impugn (because of his middle name, mostly), and whose relationship with Jewish voters they are trying to exploit.  They have Joe Lieberman, a self appointed spokesperson for “moral jews everywhere,” but whose friendship with John Hagee (and other anti-Semites), belies any real fealty in this fight. Lieberman is McCain’s Ron Cohen, a self hater who belittled and condemned political opponents as soft on communism.  Lieberman’s victims comprise anyone who issues a critical word against Israel’s Palestinean policies.  And BushCo has a desperate scrap dog campaigner in John McCain, who is chomping at the bit to throw his own kidney punches against anyone who hasn’t been been held POW or who doesn’t support wars in Iraq and Iran.

Beyond that, BushCo knows how to invent an enemy and propagandize war. They did it before to horrible effect, and would do it again, if for no other reason than to enjoy a resurgence–however temporary– of the popular support they once enjoyed after manipulating the media and public in March 2003.

So while, Scott McClellan, the NYT, and most recently Jay Rockefeller and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (Phase II Report) have all given voice to evils of the BushCo PR machine, the machine still exists, and it remains manifest to any interested observer that the Administration is not to be trusted to speak truthfully about Iran.

But, since Democrats, including Obama,  remain wary of charging the administration with impeachable offenses– such as lying their way into war with Iraq–  Bushco knows it has some wiggle room to plan and perhaps even launch a second war (or get Israel to do it), ostensibly to carry out its promise not to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons (even tho this is contradicted by the December 2007 IIE, the last official word on Iran and nukes), before election day.

How to prevent an October Surprise against iran?  PUBLIC DISCOURSE, DIALOGUE, BOGGING, TALKING, LETTERS, PETITIONS…

it is incumbent upon the MSM and Obama to speak out against the train of BushCo abuses.  




Hillary’s “Bitter” Outrage and the question of Entitlement

Hillary is outraged at Barack’s “bitter” comments because she thinks she is the only one entitled to feel embittered this spring 2008. What does she have to feel bitter about? her democratic base has abandoned her. how does entitlement fit in? She feels entitled not only to the presidency but to the feeling of bitterness itself. Her sense of entitlement to bitterness leaves her unable to feel any empathy for other people who may feel bitter about the economic recession, war in Iraq or the gross abuses of power coming out of the executive branch.

This is an issue of entitlement not bitterness. I wish the press would expose such patterns of Clintonian entitlement.

Bush hints at McCain October Surprise War

When McCain went to the White House after locking up the nomination, I wondered what if anything he and W talked about.  Today, while listening to a tape of Bush’s speech, the topic of their conversation became clear to me.  I heard chuckles of an October surprise against Iran that would be designed for McCain’s electoral benefit, of course. A blood brother gift from one neocon to another.   I heard it in the new rationale rationale for remaining in Iraq, namely to hold Iran in check.  (as well as in his suspension of troop reduction and request for an additional $108 billion).  Loud and clear: The enemy is no longer al-quaeda; it’s Tehran.

Since this war long ago turned into a political disaster for Bush, why would McCain follow suit as he has,  insisting that Iraq remain his top-gun issue–against the wishes of 70% of the voting public– if it weren’t for some rose garden deal?  Consider that  Bush 41’s poll ratings went through the roof for several months following the ’91 Iraq war, before he went on to lose the ’92 election.   Fear of papa Bush is why Mario Cuomo and others didn’t run, leaving Bill in a lackluster field.  41’s re-election was a certainty, that is, if only the election were held closer to the time US bombs hit their targets in Baghdad.  A lesson not to be forgotten.   Again, the surprise.   Bombing strikes against Iran in the weeks before the election would likely invoke enuf fear as to ensconce McCain in the presidency.   “W” doesn’t have his dad’s brains, but he does have more crass political brawn.   Would also likely give both W and III a hearty chuckle– which they both enjoy– at the country’s expense.  

and finally, it will be interesting to see whether McCain’s media chums will give Bush a pass on this next war, just for their guy McCain.





Heckuva job, Maliki

 The Bush Administration just handed the al-Maliki Government in Iraq the kiss of death.  Saying he is doing a “heckuva job” (actually said  “pretty good job”), Defense Secry Robert Gates just secured Maliki’s likely demise after his having been humiliated by Muktadr al-Sadr in Basra.  In congratulating Maliki, Gates also said,   

“I think we’ve all known at some point that the situation in Basra was going to have to be dealt with. It is the economic  lifeline of the country.  To have it under control of gangs and militias over the long term is not acceptable…  So I think all of us in the government were pleased to see Prime Minister Maliki take this on, take the initiative and go down there himself with Iraqi forces and try to resolve the issue.”

 This statement is Bush-speak for “heckuva job Brownie,” which translates to “wow, we/you really f*#ked up again.”  It also means, “you’re outta here” (Maliki is toast).  Ya see, al-Sadr neither surrendered nor gave up arms.  Quite the opposite.  He got Basra and boucoup bucks, and in turn Maliki got to say he won a “cease-fire.”

 After 5 years of war,  such claims as “the surge is working” and suggestions that Bush succeeded in having installed a legitimate government in Iraq all rise and fall with media and then public acceptance of the puppet Maliki regime and its simulated governance as real.

 This time, the mainstream media is complicit in constructing the canard that Maliki controls the Iraqi military, and that it, with his say, pushed back the al-Sadr militia.  Likely truth is, the US government is giving al Sadr and his supporters heaps of money to claim a “cease fire” (on record they are paying him for port access) and to sustain it, all the while al-Sadr dances to a wholly different beat.   That’s right, al Sadr along with clerics in Tehran, not Bush or Maliki, seem to be calling the shots these days.  Not quite what we are hearing, is it? and yet, Gates and the rest at Bushco are suggesting things are on track. 

This new dynamic became obvious during the violence of the past week.   Maliki– not al Sadr–waved the white flag in Basra.  Since al-Sadr (not al-quaeda) has very close ties with Iranian revolutionary guard, and since Iran– not Maliki/US– brokered/ forced this latest cease fire (to the extent one exists), one is left wondering about  Bush’s boneheaded legacy.

The neo-cons can’t even grasp the real-politik bromide that the enemy of our enemy is our friend. Rather, as Bushco has it, the friend of my enemy is my friend.  huh?  The US and Iran are providing support for the same side–al Sadr militia in Iraq.  

In conclusion, McSame has no truck with the fact that al-Sadr and Iran– not the US and its puppet regime– are controlling events in Iraq.   al-Sadr’s demands for a cease fire, which Maliki apparently accepted, give him (al Sadr) control in Basra, which is the opposite of what Bushco/ Gates suggested this morning.

Again, quite a boneheaded legacy. (and this for one hundred years?)  

The Nixon in Dick Cheney

When Dick Cheney analogized the Iraq War the other day to Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon, the Gordian knot unraveled around the perpetual War in Iraq.  Now Cheney was suggesting that Iraq, like the pardon, was politically unpopular, but the right thing to do. The merits of this argument notwithstanding, the statement revealed the origins of the current predicament in Iraq.

 More than anything else, the Iraq war is about power, or as Cheney once told Rolling Stone, it is about pushing that ball up the hill and not letting anyone else push it back down.  Cheney is a fan of unitary executive power because his office is in the executive branch (though when it serves his purposes, his lawyers argue the VP office is a legislative office). When he was Wyoming’s lone congressman, he authored a book about unmitigated legislative power.  As it happens, the most damning sort of power is minority tyranny, and so it is that Cheney’s consumption of personal political power is wreaking havoc on the constitution and this country’s democracy.   

 Back to the Ford analogy.  Cheney’s start came in the Nixon administration, and while there, Cheney became enraptured with the trappings of Dick’s imperial palace. Although Cheney’s personal lot rose dramatically under Ford, becoming chief of staff, he saw the trappings of power disappear.  By many accounts, the Ford Presidency was one of the weakest in history.    Dick experienced political impotence and didn’t like it. When his boss lost to Jimmy Carter, Dick vowed to mount his efforts against any force that would ever militate against the powers of the presidency.  Once again, Cheney’s stock rose after the demise of a powerful president.  

 Clinton, like Nixon, came a hair’s breath away from being removed from power by the senate.  Cheney would do everything in his personal power to make sure that Bush 43 was no Gerald Ford.  So, messy imagery aside, Dick, was Bush’s Viagra. He was there to keep the man and the office erect and potent for as long as possible. Along came 911, which for Cheney was the tragedy of a lifetime.  It would provide him cover for wish fulfillment and all virtually the executive branch resources at his disposal. In his coterie, Rumsfeld shared his Nixon/Bush experiences and his desire not to relive the humiliation of those years.

 With Rumsfeld at the Pentagon, and Cheney being given all the president’s powers by an incurious slacker of a president, the neo-con strategy became a reality faster than any of them had ever actually thought possible.  They simply never bothered to plan what would follow their assumption of power, and their commitment to turn much of it over to private business partners.  Once in Iraq, they had no plans other than turning back attempts by congress or the courts to limit their power, and then turn things over to Halliburton and Blackwater. They are still trying to figure it out, but at this point, their objectives have been achieved, and they no longer really care.