President Bush unveiled a new theory as to why we need to stay in Iraq. Innocent civilians will be killed if we leave, just like they were in Vietnam, where we got out too early.
"The price of America's withdrawal [in Vietnam]was paid by millions of innocent citizens," he told war veterans in Missouri.
..."Many argued that if we pulled out, there would be no consequences for the Vietnamese people," Mr Bush said. "The world would learn just how costly these misimpressions would be.
"Whatever your position in that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens," Mr Bush said, mentioning reprisals against US allies in Vietnam, the displacement of Vietnamese refugees and the massacres in Cambodia under Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge.
Crooks and Liars has the video of MSNBC's Neil Shuster on the report.
More... Logan at C&L says:
The president says that Americas departure sparked the Khmer Rouges murderous rule, but as Shuster points out, the killings started well before the U.S. pulled out and that it was a mistake to go into Cambodia in the first place as we only made the violence worse. As for Bushs claim that pulling out of South East Asia emboldened Americas enemies, Shuster had this to say:
....Shuster: But he wasnt talking about our enemies at the time, including communists and the Soviet Union during the cold war. Instead, President Bush spoke of Osama Bin Laden who mentioned Viet Nam a few years ago in declaring America would be weak in fighting al Qaeda. Bin Laden, however, is running al Qaeda from somewhere along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, not from inside Iraq.
We were in Vietnam for 10 years. We dropped more bombs on Vietnam than we did in all of World War II in every theater. We lost 58,700 American lives, the second-greatest loss of lives in a foreign conflict. And we couldnt work our will, he said.
What is Bush suggesting? That we didnt fight hard enough, stay long enough? Thats nonsense. Its a distortion, he continued. Weve been in Iraq longer than we fought in World War II. Its a disaster, and this is a political attempt to lay the blame for the disaster on his opponents. But the disaster is the consequence of going in, not getting out.
Part of the candidate blogger series for Obama I want to start this post by apologizing for being absent much of the last week. I've been visiting with a new niece who came into the world in June and has made this blogger into an uncle. For[...]
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Via The Raw Story:As if it wasn’t bad enough for the Bush Administration already, contempt charges are flying in Montana.The Administration’s top forestry official has been ordered to explain why the US Forest Service failed to analyze the environmental impact of dropping a fish-killing flame retardant on wildfires — or face contempt of court.Agriculture [...]
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In her first public comments since her husband’s death by friendly fire, Marie Tillman, wife of NFL athlete-turned-Army Ranger Pat Tillman, said that the nation needs real leaders. “We are in need of authentic leadership on many levels,” said Tillman.
However, if you've not had enough servings of Republican sexual hypocrite schadenfreude and you would like to read a letter of support sent to the embattled Florida State Representative Bob Allen by one of my readers, click here.
Today's news is that BJ Bob's continuing the downward spiral. First it was the mysterious menacing stocky black men (one in the stall and the rest outside in the park) that forced him to offer to pay to blow the undercover officer in a unique self-defense maneuver; now he says he's perhaps "the most misunderstood guy on Earth." Why? The Florida state rep was stripped of his committee appointments by House Speaker Marco Rubio yesterday -- Allen stuck his foot in his mouth again. Howie Klein:
Republicans, embarrassed, especially because Allen is a notorious and loudmouthed homophobe, are trying to pressure him to resign and disappear before the election so that their party won't be tarred with yet another hypocritical sex deviant.Lest you think Allen is a tad delusional, check out this -- he plans to run for the state Senate in 2010: "I'm waiting for the politics to say it's OK to hug Bob Allen again -- and they will," he said.
Instead of resigning, Allen lashed out at Rubio and seems to have attacked Cuban-Americans, a dominant force in the Florida GOP. "In Cuba, that's where you are charged by police, wrapped up and sent off as guilty without a trial. That's a Cuba thing, something Fidel Castro does." Rubio, "of course," is Cuban-American. But Allen said he meant any totalitarian regime, "Cuba is just the closest one."
State Rep. Bob Allen wanted to lure an undercover Titusville police officer to a Kennedy Space Center security gate, according to new court records released today.Related:
The new court document filed in the case is a two-page report from Titusville Assistant Police Chief John Lau, who interviewed Allen after his July 11 arrest on a solicitation of prostitution charge. That interview was recorded and has previously been released.
Police say Allen, while in a Space View Park restroom, agreed to pay the undercover officer $20 for oral sex.
According to the report, Allen said he went to the bathroom to avoid a lightning storm that was about to start.
Via Digby, NSA head Michael McConnell explains why living in a democracy can sometimes be such a bummer.
Q. So you're saying that the reporting and the debate in Congress means that some Americans are going to die?Gosh, I can't figure why that global democracy agenda hasn't worked out so well, with minds of this caliber behind it. Weird.
A. That's what I mean. Because we have made it so public.
Every once in a great while, I get letters from people who are either in Iraq or claim to be serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. My regular readership may recall the letter that I'd gotten near New Year's from a 20 year-old Marine in Iraq who'd received my CARE Xmas package.
I didn't know what to say to the kid. I couldn't in good conscience laud his efforts nor his participation in an illegal and unjustified war nor could I risk angering him or waking him up to the realities that we can see with the objectivity of stateside civilians.
But in my inbox tonight I found the following screed from someone who'd written me with a Marine Corp email client so I'm assuming that this is legit (although it could just be someone just using a terminal on a Marine base. Who knows?). It's in response to a post I'd written last February about Jennifer Parcells, the young lady who was killed in a suicide bomb attack, a girl who just wanted to follow her big brother into the Marine Corps.
The letter starts off with the word "Ungrateful", an ugly salutation that immediately made me see red. Now I'm no longer so concerned about possibly subverting the mission by speaking truth to someone caught up in the massive web of lies and deception that is Iraq. I no longer care about incurring the wrath of someone who still believes in the legitimacy and righteousness of his mission. Since he now claims to be back stateside, I have no compunctions about letting him have it, Cheney-style, with both barrels. I no longer care about insulting even someone who's served in Iraq who remains so blatantly and willfully ignorant, someone who assumes that I'm disrespecting the USMC and hate Iraqis in general. Obviously, this person (whose name and email address will be withheld) knows nothing about what I write here in Pottersville or what my stance is on this war.
I trust once he reads this, he'll be better educated.
Here's his letter, followed by my rejoinder:
Sorry I didn't get to tell you this sooner. I am a marine that was out In Iraq the same time as Jennifer Parcell as a matter of fact I knew her before we went out to Iraq we were in the same Bn in Japan and I can promise you all you thought on the war is what pisses all of us in the military off we are there for a reason and it's not oil. Not all Iraqi people are bad in-fact some of them are very nice people so if you don't know shut your mouth and stop causing more pain for those who knew and loved her. She was doing her job and saved the live of at least two other marine's.
Respectfully etc etc etc."
"Ungrateful"? Yeah, that's respectful.
OK, Sparky, listen up. I don't know if you're just some Republican flack writing this from Mommy's basement, your pajamas smeared orange from last night's Cheetos or if you are who and what you claim you are but either way I'll try to type this in small words so you can keep up:
In my two posts about Jennifer Parcell, I never said that she was anything less than a hero. It's not the nobility of the mission that defines heroism. Jessica Lynch proved that. It's how honorably one conducts oneself regardless of the legitimacy of their circumstances.
And never did I say that all Iraqis were bad. Far from it. They are a constantly occupied, brutalized people who have had enough of Anglo-American brutality and oppression, not to mention homegrown dictators who usurp power.
If you ever read the rest of my blog beyond my posts about Jennifer, you'd know that I have an unending reservoir of compassion for the Iraqis, people who have sacrificed much more during this fucking illegitimate war than we can ever imagine (and have). We're the type of people who sigh and drum our fingertips on our Escalade steering wheels if we sit in the drivethrough at McDonalds for more than three minutes.
You say that we're not there for the oil but for other reasons, reasons that you tellingly don't specify in your barely legible message.
So let's take stock of what those reasons could possibly be, shall we?
Uh, WMD? Just because we haven't found them after four and a half years, 3700 lives and half a trillion dollars doesn't mean they're not there. Maybe you should try digging in Syria. Perhaps Curt Weldon and Peter Hoekstra can lend a hand.
Ongoing revenge for Saddam's complicity in 9/11? Sorry. Not a single shred of evidence for that exists, nor did it ever, that such a complicity ever existed. You want to know who was involved with 9/11? Our friends the Saudis. Our friends the Pakistanis.
Ongoing revenge for Saddam's complicity with al Qaida? Sorry, that was a bogus story, too. You want to know who is supportive of al Qaida? Our friends the Saudis. Our friends the Pakistanis. See a trend here, leatherneck?
Uh, reshaping the Middle East? Democracy for Iraq? Yeah, that template's working out real well:
Bomb the shit out of the country for eight months just as we're gearing up to fight terrorism in Afghanistan, even as Dear Leader is telling us after the Downing Street Minutes meeting with Tony Blair that he hasn't given up on diplomacy and committed to military action. Then bomb the shit of them some more before sending in 100,000 more troops. Smash then disband the military, creating a ready-made insurgency for you guys to fight, making the borders porous for terrorist infiltration. Not bomb the terrorist training camps (the only places, it seems, in Iraq that we haven't bombed the shit out of) that are springing up faster than Starbucks franchises, allow those proud graduates to cross the border so they can import their newfound skills to other countries.
Inflame places like Fallujah by slaughtering innocents, close down their newspapers, have Blackwater joyride all over the fucking place in unarmored SUVs like the stereotypical ugly Americans that we are, get them killed through reckless greed, kill some more of them, solidify and motivate the insurgency outraged over our needless and blatantly illegal occupation, kill more of them.
Then, once we've established this safe and stable haven for democracy, set up "free" elections by having local elections officials withhold food ration cards until the people vote. Forget the fact that most of the candidates had to campaign in secret for fear of their lives so that when election day came on January 31, 2005, no one knew who the candidates were, what their names were or where they stood on the issues.
Take the ballots out of the country into Jordan in plastic Wal-Mart containers so the coerced votes can be counted in relative security and make the people wait anxiously in an uneasy state of anarchy for months before the results are announced. It's free democracy, after all, and soon will be the template for democracy all over the Middle East, a region in the world where Islam is hostile to democracy in general, especially our so-called tenets of separation of church and state.
Hold more elections later on, propping up a puppet like al-Maliki, a guy so universally hated outside his Shiite allies that even Republicans are calling for his ouster and Sunni lawmakers boycott the government, leaving their constituents without political representation. Ensure that every cabinet official is in control of his own death squad, such as al-Jabr, head of the Finance Ministry who oversees disbursements to over 100,000 government workers.
Meanwhile, our diplomatic corps stands idly by while Sunnis and Shiites and Kurds kill eachother while you guys are too busy ducking mortar shells, bullets, IED's and flying body parts to try to instill any semblance of order.
Then when one of those flying body parts turns out to be yours, you can get sent to Walter Reed and be made to live in filthy conditions, have your mail undelivered for a year at a time since that, too, was outsourced to Halliburtoin clones and then be told when the story breaks to shut up and suffer.
Then send Dick Cheney abroad in a business suit so he can then browbeat these exasperated, ignored and likely targeted Iraqi officials and say, "Don't go on vacation until you hand over all your fucking oil", not that that's the primary reason for our presence in Iraq any more than it was the Great British's during their own occupation almost 90 years ago. I'm sure we'd still be there if Iraq had bean fields instead of oil and natural gas fields.
Yeah, that sounds like a good plan for the nation building that Donald Rumsfeld would've fired anyone four years ago for even mentioning.
Oh, and the only thing the Bush administration has succeeded in doing from the outset was in enriching Dick Cheney's "former" company Halliburton, not to mention over 400 other contractors like Blackwater at taxpayer expense.
So what do I have to be grateful for?
Now, I don't know how many websites or which ones you're allowed to visit on military servers but I imagine that if you're allowed to see my blog, then you're allowed to go to other sites that also give the facts. Maybe you guys are just in a bubble like President Bubble Boy. Maybe you don't know that over half the United States is now against this war.
But it may hearten you to know that even Democratic presidential candidates such as Hillary Clinton are essentially saying that the party will continue for at least a couple of more years because, well, we just can't gracefully exit right now (read: We're all jockeying for position to be the savior of this war and whoever gets to pull us out without leaving too much more flesh behind gets to be a hero. Better to be perceived as a chickenhawk than a dove and who cares about the troops?).
And I hate to have to be the one to break this to you, Sparky, but everyone who has ever died in Iraq, whether American, Iraqi or Coalition, died for no reason. Their lives were wasted just as surely as we've wasted half a trillion dollars to get our hands on oil reserves that the Iraqis still don't want to hand over to us.
We don't blame you for making the world and our nation a less safe place from the reach of Muslim terrorists. The Bush crime syndicate must assume the blame for that. You in uniform were merely the instrument for the will of a spoiled, petulant, ill-bred, uneducated little sociopathic rube with a messianic complex who had the audacity to think that he could reshape the entire Middle East because God told him to.
Where I blame you, Lance Corporal, is in remaining willfully ignorant, stupid and hostile toward the truth of the matter, a truth that is out there if you but seek it. Yes, I may be the first person to come right and say it in plain words: Those who have died in Iraq since George W. Bush, that smirking, shiftless jackal, loped through the back door of the Oval Office died in vain. Your lives were completely wasted. You left friends, loved ones and body parts behind so Halliburton's stock could rise to $64 a share. So Blackwater could make a killing on the killing of countless Iraqi civilians and the killing of their own kind.
You are helping to perpetuate a dialogue firmly rooted in falsehoods, fabrications, half-truths and outright lies that have looooong since been proven bankrupt of truth and reason.
And the only reason, and I mean the ONLY reason why so many families of war veterans are still supporting Bush's selfish folly that is not paid for by any personal sacrifice is because this truth is intolerable to them, the truth that their loved ones died in vain, that they were maimed so others could profit beyond the wildest dreams of avarice.
You did your duty as a Marine and, I assume, did so honorably. Now it's time to do your duty as an American and to wake the fuck up and smell the bullshit.
Las Vegas, Nevada – Senator John Edwards today released the following statement in response to the Culinary Unionís tentative agreement with MGM Mirage.
I am excited by the announcement of a tentative settlement reached today between the Culinary Local 226 and MGM Mirage.
This tentative agreement addresses many of the issues that workers here in Las Vegas and across America both care about and deserve- living wages, family health care, a secure retirement package, a pathway to a better job, and a deal that provides for union representation for future workers.
This pact further strengthens a collective bargaining model with card check neutrality as its foundation, serving workers and employers alike. The Vegas model for labor has spurred strong corporate growth, a vibrant local union, smart training programs, and a workforce that brings value and enjoys real rights, dignity, and security.
I salute the strength and determination of the Culinary membership. I've met many of them while fighting for a higher minimum wage in Nevada, and more recently in this contract battle. Their solidarity and conviction brought this negotiation to resolution. They have once again proven to be excellent leaders for the Vegas Dream in which hospitality and service sector workers can be part of the middle class.
I celebrate the hard work they do every day to make Las Vegas a destination city, andfor the example of leadership and courage they provide to workers across our great nation.
I also want to recognize the leadership at MGM Mirage, who have joined Harrah's in coming to a common sense agreement with the Culinary. This agreement is yet another illustration that collective bargaining works, not only for workers and companies, but also for the best interest of our economy and for America.
Let me be clear- as these major settlements are announced, I remain steadfast in my support of the Culinary members still seeking fair contracts on the rest of the strip, downtown, and in Reno. I will continue to stand with them, and walk with them if necessary, should they be forced to take action to protect their standards, their families, and their future.
Tom Matzzie, the Washington Director of MoveOn.org PAC, sends a love note to Ari Fleischer:
Dear Ari Fleischer,
Thank you. The news today about a $15 million TV ad campaign targeting Republicans in the name of a group called "Freedom Watch" is probably the best thing we could want right now. It is a gift.
The revival of your role as salesman-in-chief for the White House’s failed war policy is also welcome. We were looking for a way to connect this mysterious “Freedom Watch” outfit to the White House Iraq PR machine. And then it turned out that you made our job very simple—you are in charge. This is the “White House Ad campaign.”
Our researchers tell us your ads are targeting 90% Republicans (37 out of 41). We’ve had strong fundraising but we never thought a $15 million TV buy was in the works. Every extra minute of TV time talking about Iraq is another drip, drip, drip of bad news for politicians who won’t break with Bush. So, thanks.
I hope we can meet in person. Perhaps your schedule is clear now that you are no longer a witness in the Libby trial or a spokesperson for the White House. (Have you thought about writing a fiction novel about yellowcake and Niger?)
Also, how do you define “progress” in Iraq? This is now the bloodiest summer since the war began. Already 243 Americans have been killed in June, July and August. Last year 169. In 2005, 217 were killed. 162 in in 2003 and 113 in 2003. The Iraqi parliament is on vacation. Nearly half the Iraqi cabinet is boycotting the government. The surge has failed.
Now, for the first time, we’re not the only campaign on Iraq making Susan Collins, Norm Coleman, Mitch McConnell and others look over their shoulders. If I were you I wouldn’t answer phone calls from the NRSC, the NRCC or the RNC. I don’t think they’re too happy about these ads.
Washington Director, MoveOn.org Political Action
campaign manager, Americans Against Escalation in Iraq
Tom also includes a more complete chart of targets than what I listed earlier, which includes three more Democrats -- Brad Ellsworth in IN-08, John Barrow in GA-12, and Stephanie Herseth in SD-AL. The ad also targets South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune, but curiously avoids mentioning Tim Johnson. Apparently, that's their attempt at staying "classy".
A total of 37 Republicans are joining the four Democrats targeted by the ads.
Yesterday I ran SUSA presidential matchups in Alabama, Kentucky, and Virginia that generally showed Hillary ahead of Romney and Grandpa Fred, while competitive with Giuliani.
Today I have more matchups. These are all SurveyUSA polls, 8/10-12. Registered voters. MoE 4.4% (7/16 results)
Clinton (D) 46 (44)
Giuliani (R) 47 (48)
Clinton (D) 48 (46)
Thompson (R) 46 (49)
Clinton (D) 49 (50)
Romney (R) 43 (43)
Clinton (D) 49 (48)
Giuliani (R) 43 (45)
Clinton (D) 52 (51)
Thompson (R) 40 (42)
Clinton (D) 53 (50)
Romney (R) 38 (41)
Clinton (D) 48 (52)
Giuliani (R) 45 (41)
Clinton (D) 50 (56)
Thompson (R) 43 (37)
Clinton (D) 51 (56)
Romney (R) 40 (36)
Actually, these polls are in great part a sign that name ID still means a great deal -- Giuliani has the best GOP numbers and also happens to be the best-known Republican in the field. Nobody knows who Romney is right now. You'd expect all of this to tighten up considerably by November 2008.