New Developments III

Sabin
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Postby Sabin » Sat May 26, 2007 3:55 pm

AMERICA HAS A HERO PUPPY. NAMED HERO.

(this story is everything wrong with America.)

Puppy From Iraq Ties Family to Slain Soldier

CONCORD, N.H. (May 25) - The family of Army Spc. Justin Rollins feels a little better thanks to a puppy, fresh from a nearly 6,000-mile journey from Iraq , that connects them to one of the soldier's last happy moments.

Seeing photos of the 22-year-old nuzzling a puppy from a newborn litter the night before his death in a roadside bombing in Iraq prompted Rollins' family and girlfriend to start pushing to adopt Hero, who arrived in New Hampshire on Friday.

"It was the last bit of happiness Justin had," said Rollins' girlfriend, Brittney Murray.

Rollins and some other soldiers from the 82nd Airborne found the puppies outside an Iraqi police station March 4 but weren't allowed to bring them back into their barracks. Rollins was killed the next day in Samarra.

After Murray saw the photos, she sought help finding the short-haired dog.(1) U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes contacted the U.S. Central Command, which ordered the 82nd to retrieve the pup and turn it over to delivery company DHL.(2)

Hero was named as a reminder of the man who planned to propose to Murray on his next visit home, she and Rollins' mother said.(3)

The female pup arrived Thursday night at Kennedy International Airport in New York, visited a veterinarian and arrived in New Hampshire overnight. The floppy-eared pooch - mostly white, with brown spots along the right side of its muzzle and paws still too big for its 15-pound body - was a hit Friday as she sniffed around Hodes' office, pausing to piddle on the carpet.(4)

Whether the mixed-breed puppy is definitely the one in the photo didn't matter.(5) Several people claimed credit for the dog's name (6), but everyone agreed it was a fitting tribute to Rollins, whose parents said he was always an animal lover.

"We have a dog and three cats at home. When he was little, they all were on his bed," said his mother, Rhonda.

Rollins was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with a baseball signed by Red Sox player David Ortiz, who met him last summer shortly before Rollins' unit was deployed.

"He really did believe in what he was fighting for," Rhonda Rollins said of her paratrooper son. "I think he'd be thrilled there was a positive story from the negative thing that happened to us. ... He was such a happy-go-lucky guy."(7)

Let's break this down:
1) If you're a major PR person for any political party, this sad little request from this sad little person is as close to gold as you can get. "Find me the puppy my hero boyfriend was holding!" - If they had to assemble a puppy from similar-looking puppy bits and pieces they themselves had to personally remove from other living puppies with chopsticks and butter knife to make this Frankenstein's puppy, they would do it. This is gold.
2) To which the 82nd replied: "Uh, we're kinda busy."
3) Yay, Hero the Hero Puppy! Long Live Hero the Hero Puppy!
4) How delightful! Somebody tell me if there's been a news article in decades that's used the term 'piddle' in lieu of 'urinate'.
5) True story whether it's been reported or not: The Real Hero the Hero Puppy is dead now. It does not need to be reported. He was eaten for food or destroyed by shrapnel or killed in any twenty of the worst ways you can die on the planet. This Hero the Hero Puppy is an imposter. He never met the guy and these families have a lot of therapy ahead of them and will doubtlessly use Hero the Hero Puppy as a Conch for whose turn it is to speak in the circle.
6) NO! I'M THE GENIUS WHO NAMED HIM HERO!
7) Am I the only one who thinks this is an incredibly sad and pathetic story? WE COULDN'T FIND THE REAL HERO, SO WE FOUND A PUPPY WHO LOOKS JUST LIKE HIM AND NAMED HIM HERO! THE, UH, THE REAL HERO IS STILL OUT THERE. WE DON'T KNOW IF HE'S ALIVE OR DEAD. KINDA LIKE OSAMA BIN LADEN. I fucking hate Hero the Hero Puppy and all he represents in this country. Can't find the real terrorist? Find one who's just as brown. Find a substitute war. Whatever you need to keep yourself happy and believing that your son is in heaven and God is giving him a handjob for fighting on the side of George W. Bush, just let it into your house and make sure you use the word piddle when it torpedo piss-shits your house into a tar pit.

Your son died in the desert and this isn't the puppy he was holding.


That is all.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Postby OscarGuy » Sat May 26, 2007 12:42 pm

And Bush is always saying "we need to listen to the commanders in the field". You didn't listen to them before, why start now?
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"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

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Damien
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Postby Damien » Sat May 26, 2007 12:26 pm

From the Miami Herald:

WHITE HOUSE REJECTED WARNINGS ON IRAQ WAR
Declassified reports released by the Senate intelligence panel show that President Bush was warned that sectarian strife was likely.
By JONATHAN S. LANDAY


WASHINGTON -- U.S. intelligence agencies warned the Bush administration before the invasion of Iraq that ousting Saddam Hussein would create a ''significant risk'' of sectarian strife, encourage al Qaeda attacks and open the way for Iranian interference.

The Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday released declassified prewar intelligence reports and summaries of others that cautioned that establishing democracy in Iraq would be ''long, difficult and probably turbulent'' and said that while most Iraqis would welcome elections, the country's ethnic and religious leaders would be unwilling to share power.

Nevertheless, President Bush, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other top aides decided not to deploy the major occupation that force military planners had recommended, planned to reduce U.S. troops rapidly after the invasion and believed that ousting Saddam would ignite a democratic revolution across the Middle East.

The administration also instituted a massive purge of members of Saddam's Baath Party and disbanded the Iraqi army -- moves that helped spark the country's Sunni Muslim insurgency -- even though the newly declassified reports had recommended against doing so.


The committee released two newly declassified January 2003 analyses by the National Intelligence Council -- whose work reflects the consensus of the nation's intelligence agencies -- and summaries of reports by individual agencies as part of a four-year investigation into the administration's use of prewar intelligence on Iraq.

Committee members voted 10-5 to release the documents, with Republican members Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Olympia Snowe of Maine joining majority Democrats in approving the decision.

Democrats said the documents showed that the administration had failed despite adequate warnings to prepare for the Sunni insurgency, al Qaeda terrorism and other problems that the United States has encountered since the March 2003 invasion.

''These dire warnings were widely distributed at the highest levels of government, and it's clear that the administration didn't plan for any of them,'' said the committee's chairman, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va....

President Bush said at a news conference Thursday that his administration was ``warned about a lot of things, some of which happened, some of which didn't happen.''

But, he added, ``The world's better off without Saddam Hussein in power. I know the Iraqis are better off without Saddam Hussein in power. I think America is safer without Saddam Hussein in power. As to al Qaeda in Iraq, al Qaeda's going to fight us wherever we are.''

One January 2003 report, titled Principal Challenges in Post-Saddam Iraq, cautioned that whoever assumed control of Iraq ``would face a country with societal fractures and significant potential for violent conflict among domestic groups if not prevented by an occupation force.''

It said ousting Hussein would lead to ``heightened competition for power among the different groups and new suspicions about what grabs for power other groups were making.''

Another January 2003 analysis, titled Regional Consequences of Regime Change in Iraq, warned that a U.S.-led war and occupation would encourage the spread of Islamic radicalism in the Muslim world and support for anti-American terrorism.
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

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Damien
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Postby Damien » Fri May 25, 2007 1:23 am

This morning, Bush was a litttle more full of shit than usual.

From the Washington Post:

Is there no safe haven for President Bush?

It happened midway through his news conference in the Rose Garden yesterday morning, in between his 10th and 11th mentions of al-Qaeda: A bird flew over the president and deposited a wet, white dropping on the upper left sleeve of his jacket. Bush wiped the mess off with his bare hand.

==========================

Richard Woolf of Newsweek joked, "Clearly that bird hates our freedoms."
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

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Postby Sonic Youth » Wed May 23, 2007 4:39 pm

More on the surge's remarkable progress:



<span style='font-size:17pt;line-height:100%'>3,431</span>


Iraq Attacks Kill 9 U.S. Troops
By RAVI NESSMAN, Associated Press Writer



Roadside bombings and gunbattles across Iraq killed nine U.S. servicemen, and U.S. authorities were examining a body found in a river that Iraqi police believe is a U.S. soldier seized in an ambush nearly two weeks ago, officials said Wednesday.

U.S. authorities have not determined if the body found in the Euphrates River was one of three missing American soldiers from the May 12 ambush of their patrol near Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad. Four Americans and one Iraqi soldier were killed in that attack.

The military said seven soldiers and two Marines were killed in separate attacks Tuesday, bringing the U.S. death toll for the month to at least 80. Last month, 104 U.S. troops were killed in Iraq.

U.S. officials have warned that American casualties were likely to increase as troops made more frequent patrols during the three-month-old U.S.-led security crackdown in Baghdad.

Six of the soldiers were killed by roadside bombs and the seventh was killed by small arms fire. The military said only that the two Marines were killed in combat operations in Anbar province.

In the town of Mandali, on the Iranian border 60 miles east of Baghdad, meanwhile, a suicide bomber walked into a packed market cafe and blew himself up Wednesday, killing 22 people and wounding 13 others, police said.

The cafe in the mixed Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish city, was usually frequented by police, but no police officers were there at the time, police said. Police said a man in his 30s wearing a heavy jacket despite the searing heat was seen walking into the cafe just seconds before the blast.

In another devastating attack, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the house of two brothers who were supporting a Sunni alliance opposed to al-Qaida in the Anbar province, killing 10 people, including the men, their wives and their children, police Lt. Col. Jabar Rasheed Nayef, said Wednesday.

The attacker, a 17-year-old neighbor, broke into the house of the two men, Sheik Mohammed Ali and police Lt. Col. Abed Ali, and detonated his bomb belt about 11 p.m. Tuesday in Albo Obaid, about 60 miles west of Baghdad.

The targeted men were part of the Anbar Salvation Council, a group of local Sunni tribal leaders who had banded together with government support to fight al-Qaida, Nayef said.

More than 4,000 U.S. soldiers, backed by Iraqi forces have been searching for more than a week and a half for the missing Americans. U.S. and Iraqi troops endured temperatures of 115 degrees Tuesday as they trudged through canals waist-deep in sewage, searching for the missing soldiers.

A senior Iraqi army officer in the Babil area told The Associated Press that the body found Wednesday was that of an American soldier. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

But the U.S. military said no determination had been made.

"Iraqi police did find the body of a man whom they believe may be one of our missing soldiers," Maj. Gen. William C. Caldwell told reporters. "We have received the body and we will work diligently to determine if he is in fact one of our missing soldiers."

He said that if the body proves to be one of the missing soldiers, his family will be notified first.

Iraqi police said the man had a tattoo on his left hand.

The father of missing soldier Army Spc. Alex Jimenez, of Lawrence, Mass., said he did not believe the body was that of his son. Ramon Jimenez said his son, 25, did not have a tattoo on his left hand, the Eagle-Tribune reported on its Web site.

"For now, he is relieved," said Wendy Luzon, a close family friend who spoke with Ramon Jimenez.

An al-Qaida front group claimed it was behind the May 12 attack. But the Islamic State of Iraq posted no pictures of them on the Internet or offered other evidence to support the claim.

In an interview with the Army Times newspaper last week, Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said he believed at least two of the missing soldiers were alive.

"As of this morning, we thought there were at least two that were probably still alive," he said in the interview, which was posted Saturday on the newspaper's Web site. "At one point in time there was a sense that one of them might have died, but again we just don't know."

U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, meanwhile, provided the latest evidence that Washington has put Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government on notice that it must meet several policy benchmarks to guarantee continued U.S. support.

Crocker said the government needs to tackle in several issues in "the weeks ahead", including adoption of a law for the equitable distribution of the country's oil wealth, approving another to integrate members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party in government, amending the constitution to satisfy Sunni Arab demands and holding local elections.

"These are tasks that must be completed, and completed soon, to achieve the national reconciliation that the vast majority of Iraqis desire," said Crocker said in a statement marking the first anniversary of al-Maliki's government.

But Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabhagh rejected suggestions that al-Maliki's coalition had been put on notice. He said the government recognized the importance of legislation meant to bolster national reconciliation but argued that restoring security must come first.

"The Iraqi government is answerable to the Council of Representatives (parliament) that elected it," he said. "Presenting timetables to the Iraqi government from other parties is out of the question."

Also Wednesday, a parked car bomb exploded in a parking lot south of Baghdad, killing three civilians and wounding 15 others, police said. The attack took place in the town of Jbala, about 45 miles south of Baghdad.

In other violence, gunmen drove into a commercial area in central Baghdad and opened fire on shops, killing four civilians and injuring 14 others, police said. The attack broke out in the Khulani neighborhood near a historic Shiite mosque. A joint patrol of U.S. troops and Iraqi security officers drove off the attackers, police said.

A day earlier, a car bomb exploded at an outdoor market in a Shiite area of Baghdad, killing 25 people and wounding at least 60. At least 100 Iraqis were killed or found dead nationwide Tuesday, according to police. They included 33 people found shot execution-style — presumably by sectarian death squads — and their bodies scattered across Baghdad.
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Eric
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Postby Eric » Wed May 23, 2007 8:59 am

Ah yes, what a paragon of sleaze and bile that Jimmy Carter was/is.

Excuse me while I go vomit.

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Postby criddic3 » Tue May 22, 2007 10:11 pm

Penelope wrote:
I know he's supposed to be this great diplomat who won a Nobel, but this guy just doesn't like tough foreign policies. You know what that got us during his presidency? Yeah, you know.


Yeah, I do know. This is the guy who relentlessly managed to broker an accord between Egypt and Israel. I should say that gives him all the right in the world to criticize another president's tragically inept and murderous foreign policy.

Look Who's Talking
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Monday, May 21, 2007 4:20 PM PT

Leadership: So Jimmy Carter calls the Bush administration "the worst in history." This from the man who wrecked the world's greatest economy and made a nuclear Iran and North Korea possible.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Profile In Incompetence: First In A Series
More on this series


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


We didn't think we'd see the day when a president-elect of France would be more appreciative of America's role in the world than one of our own former presidents.

But here is Carter telling the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that President Bush's "administration has been the worst in history," one that has "endorsed the concept of pre-emptive war even when our own security is not directly threatened."

Worst President in American history.
Later, Carter called his comments "careless or misinterpreted." But given a chance to retract, he didn't. Apparently the man whose idea of leadership was to sit in front of a fireplace and blame everything on America's "malaise" does not consider Islamofascists turning passenger jets into manned cruise missiles and flying them into skyscrapers a direct threat.

Nor does he consider himself responsible for the chain of events that gave us not only 9/11, but al-Qaida, the Taliban, Hezbollah and a nuclear Iran and North Korea.

Iran

On taking office in 1977, Carter declared that advancing "human rights" was among his highest priorities. America's ally, the Shah of Iran, was one of his first targets, with Carter chastising him for his human rights record and withdrawing America's support.

One of the charges was that the Shah had been torturing about 3,000 prisoners, many of them accused of being Soviet agents. Carter sent a clear message to the Islamic fundamentalists that America would not come to the Shah's aid. His anti-Shah speeches blared from public address systems in downtown Tehran.

The irony, as noted by Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute in his book, "The Real Jimmy Carter," is that the regime of Ayatollah Khomeini "executed more people in its first year in power than the Shah's SAVAK had allegedly killed in the previous 25 years." Khomeini's regime was a human rights nightmare.

When Khomeini, a former Muslim exile in Paris, overthrew the Shah in 1979, he established the first modern Islamic regime, a role model for the Taliban and the jihadists to follow. And when the U.S. embassy was stormed that November and 52 American hostages were held for 444 days, America's lack of resolve was confirmed in the jihadist mind.

The wreckage of Carter's foreign policy was seen in the Iranian desert, where a plan to rescue the hostages, a plan never formally presented to the Joint Chiefs, resulted in the loss of eight aircraft, five airmen and three Marines. The rest, as they say, is history.

Hezbollah

As we have noted, it was the Ayatollah Khomeini who introduced the idea of suicide bombers to the Palestine Liberation Organization and who paid $35,000 to PLO families who would offer up their children as human bombs to kill as many Israelis as possible.

It was Khomeini who would give the world Hezbollah to make war on Israel and destroy the multicultural democracy that was Lebanon. And perhaps Jimmy has forgotten that Hezbollah, which he helped make possible, killed 241 U.S. Marines in their Beirut barracks in 1982.

The Soviet Union, seeing us so willingly abandon a staunch ally, invaded Afghanistan, and it was the resistance to the Soviet invasion that helped give birth to the Taliban. The Iranian revolution led to the Iraq-Iran War that took a million lives and encouraged Hussein to invade Kuwait to strengthen his position.

That led to Operation Desert Storm and bases in Saudi Arabia that fueled Islamist resentment, one of the reasons given by Osama bin Laden for striking at America, the Great Satan. Now we're about to face a nuclear Iran as we are embroiled in a war on terror.

If we'd stuck by the Shah and his successors, the history of the last 25 years in the Middle East and here at home would have been very different. As Hayward observes, the fruits of Carter's Iran disaster are with us still, spawning the rise of radical Islam, terrorism, the Taliban and al-Qaida.

North Korea

When President Clinton first learned of the North Korean nuclear program in 1994, a surgical strike against its Yongbyong reactor might have sufficed to send Pyongyang a message that a nuclear North Korea was unacceptable.

Instead, Clinton allowed Jimmy Carter to engage in some private foreign policy and jet off to the last Stalinist regime on earth to broker a deal whereby North Korea would promise to forgo a nuclear weapons program in exchange for a basket of goodies that included oil, fool and, amazingly, nuclear technology.

Along the way, Carter praised North Korea's mass-murdering dictator as a "vigorous and intelligent man." And of North Korea itself, Carter said of this habitat for inhumanity: "I don't see they are an outlaw nation."

Cold War

Jimmy Carter also once challenged Ronald Reagan's "aggressive" and successful strategy for winning the Cold War. Perhaps he'd like to send one of his Habitat for Humanity crews to rebuild the Berlin Wall brick by tyrannical brick. The fact is that Jimmy Carter could not have done more to damage our national security had he been a hand-picked mole planted in the White House by the KGB.

When Carter left office, the Soviet Union was on the march from Grenada to Afghanistan, control of the strategic Panama Canal had been given away, our military had planes that couldn't fly and ships that couldn't sail for lack of trained crews and spare parts, production of the B-1 strategic bomber had been canceled and our economy was in no shape to resist Soviet expansion.

Jimmy Carter, the man who makes Neville Chamberlain look like Dirty Harry, made his remarks about President Bush while promoting his audiobook series of Bible lessons for children. Jimmy, thou shalt not bear false witness against your president and country. Haven't you done enough damage? If you want to see our worst ex-president, look in the mirror.

Tomorrow: How Carter ran the world's greatest economy into the ground.
"If you can't stand the nut on the left and you can't stand the nut on the right, go for the Johnson,” Jonathan S. Bush (10/21/2016)

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Postby criddic3 » Tue May 22, 2007 9:32 pm

Why? Why was Clinton, who was never as unpopular as Bush, impeached for lying about sex, while Bush faces no sanction for the far more serious offense of lying about war?


Don't you just love when writers present opinion as fact? It has never been proven, nor is it really plausible to say that President lied to go to war. I read another article recently that outlines why this premise just doesn't fit into any real logic. I didn't think he did anyway, but some really desperate people write entire articles about impeaching a President who has not done what he has been accused of.

The reason he's not going to be impeached for the NSA thing is because the case is still in appeal in courts and future Presidents may see an advantage to the program.

The torture claim was put to rest somewhat by a compromise bill in Congress.

Signing statements are merely the President's way of sending a message that he still wants the Line-Item Veto, which President Clinton also wanted during his tenure. Bush is just more defensive about it.

The Katrina mess was not entirely his fault, although he took responsibility for it as the President. He put all the necessary actions into place, but because he chose some of the people who ran some of the agencies poorly, we saw a bad management of the event. Partly to blame, but certainly not fully to blame. There was plenty of blame to go around.

Impeaching him for the politically ill-advised actions of Attorney Gen. Gonzales would be just silly. As it would also be for the numerous other unfortunate mistakes other administration officials have made. Nor would it be a good idea to impeach him over things that are not unlawful, like his handling of the Iraq war. That cannot be considered treason, a misdemeanor or a high crime.

No the real reason he isn't going to be impeached is because the Democrats wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

The thing that got Bill Clinton was that he lied under oath and got caught, while an investigation into other activities was already under way. It was one of the dumbest thing that a very intelligent man made, and he was a lawyer to boot.

President Bush's reasons for going to war with Iraq were actually quite sound. I just recently watched a replay of Prime Minister Tony Blair "Minister's Questions" from March of 2003, in which Blair recounted in good detail some of Saddam Hussein's behavior. Instead of focusing on just the atrocities Hussein commited, he listed the numerous times that inspectors were halted and the U.N. made resolutions demanding his compliance. It was really a great argument at the time. Much of what Blair said was what Bush was also saying, but not as concisely. The case for action was quite plausible. There was no lie needed.

By posting an opinion piece on impeaching Bush, it is obvious that some here wish it would happen. Indeed, perhaps a lot of people think that Congress could impeach him. But they are also going on that tired, and false, argument that "he lied, they died" mantra." Justifying their anger by clinging to a falsehood is rather pathetic I think. Thank goodness our system allows for the elected President to do his job until his term expires. And good thing, too, that the Democrats are showing some restraint in not beginning the process known as Impeachment.
"If you can't stand the nut on the left and you can't stand the nut on the right, go for the Johnson,” Jonathan S. Bush (10/21/2016)

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Postby Penelope » Tue May 22, 2007 8:30 pm

From Salon:

Why Bush hasn't been impeached

Congress, the media and most of the American people have yet to turn decisively against Bush because to do so would be to turn against some part of themselves.

By Gary Kamiya

May. 22, 2007 | The Bush presidency is a lot of things. It's a secretive cabal, a cavalcade of incompetence, a blood-stained Church Militant, a bad rerun of "The Godfather" in which scary men in suits pay ominous visits to hospital rooms. But seen from the point of view of the American people, what it increasingly resembles is a bad marriage. America finds itself married to a guy who has turned out to be a complete dud. Divorce -- which in our nonparliamentary system means impeachment -- is the logical solution. But even though Bush cheated on us, lied, besmirched our family's name and spent all our money, we the people, not to mention our elected representatives and the media, seem content to stick it out to the bitter end.

There is a strange disconnect in the way Americans think about George W. Bush. He is extraordinarily unpopular. His approval ratings, which have been abysmal for about 18 months, have now sunk to their lowest ever, making him the most unpopular president in a generation. His 28 percent approval rating in a May 5 Newsweek poll ties that of Jimmy Carter in 1979 after the failed Iran rescue mission. Bush's unpopularity has emboldened congressional Democrats, who now have no qualms about attacking him directly and flatly asserting that his Iraq war is lost.

Some of them have also been willing to invoke the I-word -- joining a large number of Americans. Several polls taken in the last two years have shown that large numbers of Americans support impeachment. An Angus Reid poll taken in May 2007 found that a remarkable 39 percent of Americans favored the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. An earlier poll, framed in a more hypothetical way, found that 50 percent of Americans supported impeaching Bush if he lied about the war -- which most of that 50 percent presumably now believe he did. Vermont has gone on record in calling for his impeachment, and a number of cities, including Detroit and San Francisco, have passed impeachment resolutions. Reps. John Murtha and John Conyers and a few other politicians have floated the idea. And there is a significant grassroots movement to impeach Bush, spearheaded by organizations like After Downing Street. Even some Republicans, outraged by Bush's failure to uphold right-wing positions (his immigration policy, in particular), have begun muttering about impeachment.

Bush's unpopularity is mostly a result of Iraq, which most Americans now believe was a colossal mistake and a war we cannot win. But his problems go far beyond Iraq. His administration has been dogged by one massive scandal after the other, from the Katrina debacle, to Bush's approval of illegal wiretapping and torture, to his unparalleled use of "signing statements" to disobey laws he disagrees with, to the outrageous Gonzales and U.S. attorneys affair.

In response to these outrages, a growing literature of pro-impeachment books, from "The Case for Impeachment" by Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky to "The Impeachment of George W. Bush" by Elizabeth Holtzman to "U.S. v. Bush" by Elizabeth de la Vega, argue not only that Bush's misdeeds are clearly impeachable, but also that a failure to impeach a rogue president bent on amassing unprecedented power will threaten our most cherished traditions. As Lindorff and Olshansky conclude, "If we fail to stand up for the Constitution now, it may be only a piece of paper by the end of President Bush's second term. Then it will be time to be afraid."

Yet the public's dislike of Bush has not translated into any real move to get rid of him. The impeach-Bush movement has not really taken off yet, and barring some unforeseen dramatic development, it seems unlikely that it will. Even if there were a mass popular movement to impeach Bush, it's far from clear that Congress, which alone has the power to initiate impeachment proceedings, would do anything. The Democratic congressional majority has been at best lukewarm to the idea. In any case, their constituents have not demanded it forcefully or in such numbers that politicians feel they must respond. Democrats, and for that matter Americans of all political persuasions, seem content to watch Bush slowly bleed to death.

Why? Why was Clinton, who was never as unpopular as Bush, impeached for lying about sex, while Bush faces no sanction for the far more serious offense of lying about war?

The main reason is obvious: The Democrats think it's bad politics. Bush is dying politically and taking the GOP down with him, and impeachment is risky. It could, so the cautious Beltway wisdom has it, provoke a backlash, especially while the war is still going on. Why should the Democrats gamble on hitting the political jackpot when they're likely to walk away from the table big winners anyway?

These realpolitik considerations might be sufficient by themselves to prevent Congress from impeaching Bush. Impeachment is a strange phenomenon -- a murky combination of the legal, the political and the emotional. The Constitution offers no explicit guidance on what constitutes an impeachable offense, stating only that a president can be impeached and, if convicted, removed from office for treason, bribery "or other high crimes and misdemeanors." As a result, politicians contemplating impeachment take their cues from a number of disparate factors -- not just a president's misdeeds, but a cost-benefit analysis. And Congress tends to follow the cost-benefit analysis. If you're going to kill the king, you have to make sure you succeed -- and there's just enough doubt in Democrats' minds to keep their swords sheathed.

But there's a deeper reason why the popular impeachment movement has never taken off -- and it has to do not with Bush but with the American people. Bush's warmongering spoke to something deep in our national psyche. The emotional force behind America's support for the Iraq war, the molten core of an angry, resentful patriotism, is still too hot for Congress, the media and even many Americans who oppose the war, to confront directly. It's a national myth. It's John Wayne. To impeach Bush would force us to directly confront our national core of violent self-righteousness -- come to terms with it, understand it and reject it. And we're not ready to do that.

The truth is that Bush's high crimes and misdemeanors, far from being too small, are too great. What has saved Bush is the fact that his lies were, literally, a matter of life and death. They were about war. And they were sanctified by 9/11. Bush tapped into a deep American strain of fearful, reflexive bellicosity, which Congress and the media went along with for a long time and which has remained largely unexamined to this day. Congress, the media and most of the American people have yet to turn decisively against Bush because to do so would be to turn against some part of themselves. This doesn't mean we support Bush, simply that at some dim, half-conscious level we're too confused -- not least by our own complicity -- to work up the cold, final anger we'd need to go through impeachment. We haven't done the necessary work to separate ourselves from our abusive spouse. We need therapy -- not to save this disastrous marriage, but to end it.

At first glance it seems odd that Bush's fraudulent case for war has saved him. War is the most serious action a nation can undertake, and lying to Congress and the American people about the need for war is arguably the most serious offense a public official can commit, short of treason. But the unique gravity of war surrounds it with a kind of patriotic force field. There is an ancient human deference to The Strong Man Who Will Defend Us, an atavistic surrender to authority that goes back through Milosevic, to Henry V, to Beowulf and the ring givers, and ultimately to Cro-Magnon tribesmen huddled around the campfire at the feet of the biggest, strongest warrior. Even when it is unequivocally shown that a leader lied about war, as is the case with Bush, he or she is still protected by this aura. Going to war is the best thing a rogue president can do. It's like taking refuge in a church: No one can come and get you there. There's a reason Bush kept repeating, "I'm a war president. I'm a war president." It worked, literally, like a charm.

And many of the American people shared Bush's views. A large percentage of the American people, and their elected representatives, accepted Bush's unlimited authority to do whatever he wanted in the name of "national security." And they reaffirmed this acceptance when, long after his fraudulent case for war had been exposed as such, they reelected him. Lindorff and Olshansky quote former Republican Sen. Lowell Weicker, who justifies his opposition to impeachment by saying, "Bush obviously lied to the country and the Congress about the war, but we have a system of elections in this country. Everyone knew about the lying before the 2004 elections, and they didn't do anything about it ... Bush got elected. The horse is out of the barn now."

To be sure, the war card works better under some circumstances than others. It is arguable that if there had been no 9/11, Bush's fraudulent case for war really would have resulted in his impeachment -- though this is far from certain. But 9/11 did happen, and as a result, large numbers of Americans did not just give Bush carte blanche but actively wanted him to attack someone. They were driven not by policy concerns but by primordial retribution, reflexive and self-righteous rage. And it wasn't just the masses who were calling for the United States to reach out and smash someone. Pundits like Henry Kissinger and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman also called for America to attack the Arab world. Kissinger, according to Bob Woodward's "State of Denial," said that "we need to humiliate them"; Friedman said we needed to "go right into the heart of the Arab world and smash something." As Friedman's statement indicates, who we smashed was basically unimportant. Friedman and Kissinger argued that attacking the Arab world would serve as a deterrent, but that was a detail. For many Americans, who Bush attacked or the reasons he gave, didn't matter -- what mattered was that we were fighting back.

To this day, the primitive feeling that in response to 9/11 we had to hit hard at "the enemy," whoever that might be, is a sacred cow. America's deference to the shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later approach is profound: It's the gut belief that still drives Bush supporters and leads them to regard war critics as contemptible appeasers. This is why Bush endlessly repeats his mantra "We're staying on the attack."

The unpleasant truth is that Bush did what a lot of Americans wanted him to. And when it became clear after the fact that Bush had lied about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, it made no sense for those Americans to turn on him. Truth was never their major concern anyway -- revenge was. And if we took revenge on the wrong person, well, better a misplaced revenge than none at all.

For those who did not completely succumb to the desire for primitive vengeance but were convinced by Bush's fraudulent arguments about the threat posed by Saddam, the situation is more ambiguous. Now that his arguments have been exposed and the war has become a disaster, they feel let down, even betrayed -- but not enough to motivate them to call for Bush's impeachment. This is because they cannot exorcise the still-mainstream view that Bush's lies were justifiable and even noble, Straussian untruths told in support of what Bush believed to be a good cause. According to this line of thinking, since Bush and his neocon brain trust really believed that Saddam Hussein was a dangerous tyrant, the lies they told in whipping up support for war were, while reprehensible, somewhat forgivable.

In Elizabeth de la Vega's book on impeachment, framed as a fictitious indictment of Bush for conspiring to defraud the United States, she argues that from a legal standpoint it doesn't matter that Bush may have believed his lies were in the service of a higher good -- he's still guilty of fraud. In a brilliant stroke, de la Vega compares the Bush administration's lies to those told by Enron executives -- who were, of course, rightfully convicted.

The problem is that the American people are not judging Bush by the standards of law. The Bush years have further weakened America's once-proud status as a nation of laws, not of men. The law, for Bush, is like language for Humpty Dumpty: it means just what he chooses it to mean, neither more nor less. This attitude has become disturbingly widespread -- which may explain why Bush's illegal wiretapping, his approval of torture, and his administration's partisan purge of U.S. district attorneys have not resulted in wider outrage.

This society-wide diminution of respect for law has helped Bush immeasurably. It is not just the law that America has turned away from, but what the law stands for -- accountability, memory, history and logic itself. That anonymous senior Bush advisor who spoke with surreal condescension of "the reality-based community" may have summed up our cultural moment more acutely than anyone else in years. A society without memory, driven by ephemeral emotions, which demands no consistency from its leaders but only gusty patriotism, is a society that is not about to engage in the painful self-examination that impeachment would mean.

A corollary to the decline of logic is our acceptance of the universality of spin. It no longer seems odd to us that a president should lie to get what he wants. In this regard, Bush, the most sanctimonious of presidents, must be seen as having degraded traditional American values more than the most relativist, Nietzsche-spouting postmodernist.

All of these factors -- the sacrosanct status of war, the public's complicity in an irrational demonstration of raw power, the loss of respect for law, logic and memory, the bland acceptance of spin and lies, the public unconcern about the fraudulence of Bush's actions -- have created a situation in which it is widely accepted that Bush's lies about Iraq were not impeachable or even that scandalous, but merely a matter of policy. Just as conservatives lamely charged that the Scooter Libby case represented the "criminalization of politics," so the conventional wisdom holds that distorting evidence to justify a war may be slightly reprehensible, but is not worth making much of a fuss about, and is certainly not impeachable.

The establishment media, which has tended to treat impeachment talk as if it were the unseemly rantings of half-crazed hordes, has clearly bought this paradigm. In this view, those who want to impeach Bush, or who are simply vehemently critical of him, are partisan extremists outside the mainstream of American discourse. This decorous approach has begun to weaken. A recent U.S. News and World Report cover read, "Bush's last stand: He's plagued by a hostile Congress, sinking polls, and an unending war. Is he resolute or delusional?" When centrist newsweeklies begin using words drawn from psychiatric manuals, it may be time for Karl Rove to get worried. But it takes time to turn the Titanic. The years of deference to the War Leader cannot be overcome that quickly.

For all these reasons, impeachment, however justified or salutary it would be -- and I believe it would be both justified and salutary -- remains a long shot. Bush will probably escape the fate of Andrew Johnson and the disgrace of Richard Nixon. But he's not home free yet. The culture of spin is also the culture of spectacle, and a sudden, theatrical event -- a lurid accusation made by a former official, a colorful revelation of a very specific and memorable Bush lie -- could start the scandal machine going full speed. Even the war card cannot be played indefinitely. If Bush were to withdraw the troops from Iraq, and the full dimensions of America's defeat were to become apparent, all of his war-president potency would backfire and he would be in much greater danger of being impeached. Congress and the media both gain courage as the polls sink, and if Bush's numbers continue to hit historic lows, they will turn on him with increasing savagery. If everything happens just so, the downfall of the House of Bush could be shocking in its swiftness.
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston

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Postby Sonic Youth » Sun May 20, 2007 9:23 pm

WHITE HOUSE: CARTER IRRELEVANT

CRAWFORD, Texas - In a biting rebuke, the White House on Sunday dismissed former President Jimmy Carter as "increasingly irrelevant" after his harsh criticism of President Bush.

Carter was quoted Saturday as saying "I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history."

The Georgia Democrat said Bush had overseen an "overt reversal of America's basic values" as expressed by previous administrations, including that of his own farther, former President George H.W. Bush.

"I think it's sad that President Carter's reckless personal criticism is out there," White House spokesman Tony Fratto responded Sunday from Crawford, where Bush spent the weekend.

"I think it's unfortunate," Fratto said. "And I think he is proving to be increasingly irrelevant with these kinds of comments."

The Associated Press
"What the hell?"

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Postby criddic3 » Sun May 20, 2007 3:54 pm

Penelope wrote:
I know he's supposed to be this great diplomat who won a Nobel, but this guy just doesn't like tough foreign policies. You know what that got us during his presidency? Yeah, you know.


Yeah, I do know. This is the guy who relentlessly managed to broker an accord between Egypt and Israel. I should say that gives him all the right in the world to criticize another president's tragically inept and murderous foreign policy.

And his deal with North Korea? and his handling of the Iranian Hostage Crisis?

Your accusations of murder are also ridiculous.
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Postby Damien » Sat May 19, 2007 9:58 pm

criddic3 wrote:Blah blah blah . . .

Oh, the predictability.
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

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Postby Penelope » Sat May 19, 2007 9:42 pm

I know he's supposed to be this great diplomat who won a Nobel, but this guy just doesn't like tough foreign policies. You know what that got us during his presidency? Yeah, you know.


Yeah, I do know. This is the guy who relentlessly managed to broker an accord between Egypt and Israel. I should say that gives him all the right in the world to criticize another president's tragically inept and murderous foreign policy.
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston



"Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it's not acceptable." - Jodie Foster

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Postby criddic3 » Sat May 19, 2007 8:10 pm

I'm not terribly surprised. Mr. Carter has denounced the foriegn policy of every Republican since he left office. Since that means all, except for Clinton's (that I know of), he's really just soft on foreign affairs. I know he's supposed to be this great diplomat who won a Nobel, but this guy just doesn't like tough foreign policies. You know what that got us during his presidency? Yeah, you know.

Apparently Carter also has used his influence in the past to try to get other nations to back away from our policies. In the run up to the Gulf War, he tried his tactics against the first President Bush, which hurt the cordial relationship between the two (according to Bush, in a documentary show I watched -- wish I could remember the program, something about U.S. Presidents I think). Anyway, he's not exactly revered as a stand-up ex-president among some.

I applaud his charitable works, yes, but his failed attempts at dilpomacy aren't exactly worth comparing favorably. Especially to President Reagan's Cold War policies, which worked beautifully. Carter's new statements would have much more credibility if he hadn't also ranted against two former Republican administrations.

At least Damien gets some kind of boost from a former President calling Bush "the Worst." :p
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Postby Sonic Youth » Sat May 19, 2007 4:11 pm

Carter Blasts Bush


Wups. Damien posted this almost simultaneously. ???
"What the hell?"

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