24 September 2007

No more dirty tricks

A perspective on a ballot inititiative in California, funded by the Republicans who brought you the "Swift Boat" smear campaign against another presidential candidate.

20 September 2007

U.S. military cemetery: "We are full"

From Reuters, 11:57am EDT. "OVERLAND PARK, Kansas (Reuters) - A Kansas military cemetery has run out of space after the burial of another casualty of the Iraq war, officials said on Thursday. "We are full," said Alison Kohler, spokeswoman for the Fort Riley U.S. Army post, home of the 1st Infantry Division. U.S. Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, both Kansas Republicans, on Thursday sent a letter to William Tuerk, the under secretary for memorial affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs, urging for full funding for a new cemetery for Fort Riley. "While a new cemetery would not be completed in time to alleviate this situation immediately, it is vitally important," Roberts and Brownback, a Republican presidential candidate, said in their letter. "We truly owe our military members a debt of gratitude and the least we can do is provide them with an honorable burial ground," the senators wrote."

18 September 2007

12 September 2007

In memoriam, Yance T. Gray and Omar Mora

"War As We Saw It," a powerful and deeply skeptical Op-Ed about the Iraq occupation, written by seven soldiers in the field—Buddhika Jayamaha, Wesley D. Smith, Jeremy Roebuck, Edward Sandmeier, Jeremy A. Murphy, Yance T. Gray and Omar Mora—was published in the August 19, 2007, New York Times. "In a lawless environment where men with guns rule the streets, engaging in the banalities of life has become a death-defying act," the soldiers wrote. "Four years into our occupation, we have failed on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence. When the primary preoccupation of average Iraqis is when and how they are likely to be killed, we can hardly feel smug as we hand out care packages. As an Iraqi man told us a few days ago with deep resignation, ”We need security, not free food. In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are—an army of occupation—and force our withdrawal." Yance Gray, 26, and Omar Mora, 28, were killed in action Monday. [The art is by Wesley Kimler.]

01 September 2007

Times on Bush: Just to replenish the ol’ coffers

The New York Times has Bush biographer Robert Draper on the line to talk about post-2008 for the genial, affectionate, articulate conversationalist. "When President Bush is asked what he plans to do when he leaves office, he often replies curtly: “I don’t have that much time to think beyond my presidency” or “I’m going to sprint to the finish.” But in an interview with a book author in the Oval Office one day last December, he daydreamed about the next phase of his life, when his time will be his own. First, Mr. Bush said, “I’ll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol’ coffers.” With assets that have been estimated as high as nearly $21 million, Mr. Bush added, “I don’t know what my dad gets — it’s more than 50-75” thousand dollars a speech, and “Clinton’s making a lot of money.”

Then he said, “We’ll have a nice place in Dallas,” where he will be running what he called “a fantastic Freedom Institute” promoting democracy around the world. But he added, “I can just envision getting in the car, getting bored, going down to the ranch.” [More, and less, at the link]

Will America irradiate, demolish, destroy Iran in 72 hours, as theMurdoch-owned Times of London suggests?

THE PENTAGON HAS DRAWN UP PLANS for massive airstrikes against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days, according to a national security expert.

Alexis Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center, said last week that US military planners were not preparing for “pinprick strikes” against Iran’s nuclear facilities. “They’re about taking out the entire Iranian military,” he said.

Debat was speaking at a meeting organised by The National Interest, a conservative foreign policy journal. He told The Sunday Times that the US military had concluded: “Whether you go for pinprick strikes or all-out military action, the reaction from the Iranians will be the same.” It was, he added, a “very legitimate strategic calculus." [More at the link.]