Friday, September 24, 2004

Iraq on "Righter" Track Than US (and your point is?)

Bush Shrugs Off Bad Polls on Iraq Outlook
WASHINGTON - President Bush on Thursday shrugged off polls that suggest most Iraqis see Americans as occupiers not liberators. "I saw a poll that said the 'right track-wrong track' in Iraq was better than here in America," he told reporters.

Iraq's right-track/wrong-track numbers may, as Bush suggests, be better than those for the United States, but, as the graph indicates, this isn't necessarily any great claim. The percent dissatisfied in the US is nearly as high as at any time since Sep-11, 2001. It's also higher than it was on Sep-10, 2001, at which time it was higher than at any time in the preceding four years.
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Bush Says Kerry Criticisms on Iraq Threaten Effort

Bush Says Kerry Criticisms on Iraq Threaten Effort

Dan says Bush, opening US to such criticisms as Kerry's, threatens effort.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Political or Anarchist?

Yahoo! News - Powell Suggests Iraq Critics Are Defeatist, Rattled : "Asked whether the administration was being candid on Iraq, U.S. national security advisor Condoleezza Rice said the assessment was an attempt to look at the big picture. '[There] is no evidence that the Iraqis are falling into civil war. Quite the opposite. Kurds and Shia and Sunnis are working together to build a new Iraq,' she told NBC's 'Today' show. 'This insurgency has no political program. This is an anarchist insurgency. They simply either want to take Iraq back to the old days of Saddam Hussein or to turn Iraq into the Taliban,' she added."

I suppose if by 'has no political program' she means they have no prime minister, she's technically correct. But wanting to "take Iraq back to the days of Saddam", and "to turn it into the Taliban" sure sound like political objectives to me.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Senators Ask for Bush Rethink of Iraq Policies as Elections Loom

Senators Ask for Bush Rethink of Iraq Policies as Elections Loom: "The fact is a crisp, sharp analysis of our policies is required. We didn't do that in Vietnam, and we saw 11 years of casualties mount to the point where we finally lost," said Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran who is co-chairman of President Bush's re-election committee in Nebraska. "We can't lose this. It is too important."

It's a little late to start thinking about what's important in Iraq if what's important is "not losing". I think Bush has already lost it for us, by insisting on going it alone, or on going it with a "coalition of the willing", which seems to be practically indistinguishable from going it alone.

What is truly important is not asking more troops to risk their lives for nothing. The US has already paid far too great a price for Bush's folly of ridding Iraq of WMDs that weren't. The idea of more US boots on the ground in Fallujah is simply unacceptable at this juncture, given that Bush has thus far done everything in his power to alienate much-needed potential allies.


U.N. Chief Ignites Firestorm by Calling Iraq War 'Illegal'

Bush, allies defend Iraq war UN's Annan called 'illegal'

The Bush administration has repeatedly invoked the UN Security Council's Resolution 1441 as justification for its war on Iraq, and likes to quote, in particular, the phrase "the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations" from Paragraph 13. However, equally binding is Paragraph 12, stating the Security Council shall "convene immediately upon receipt of a report in accordance with paragraphs 4 or 11 above, in order consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of the relevant Council resolutions in order to secure international peace and security".

The President cannot have it both ways: he cannot logically assert the authority of the Council, as expressed in 1441, to prescribe "serious consequences" for Iraq, while at the same time refuting the authority of the same body to reserve for itself, as it does in the same Resolution, the responsibility to determine what actions merit the serious consequences, as well as of what the serious consequences, even if merited, shall consist.

Apart from special measures for maintaining peace, the only uses of force allowable under the UN Charter are for purposes of responding to an actual attack (Iraq didn't attack) and defending against a threat of imminent attack (the US had no knowledge of an imminent attack). So it would seem the US invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq was and is quite clearly "illegal", whether or not the Secretary General makes use of that specific terminology.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Cheney suggests a Kerry victory could invite a terrorist attack

Cheney suggests a Kerry victory could invite a terrorist attack: printer friendly version

If Kerry were elected, Cheney said, the country might return to a ‘‘pre-9/11 mind-set’’ that relied on a reactive approach, rather than Bush’s preemptive approach to attacking terrorists where they plan and train, and pressuring those countries that harbor them.

Nice try, Mr. Cheney... but, even assuming the "preemptive approach" has any merit in efforts to fight terrorism, Bush applied it applied to Iraq, not to terrorists. And with Iraq, to make matters worse, that which the US military action was supposed to have preempted turns out to have been a fiction concocted and promulgated by Bush & Cheney.

I have no doubt that Kerry would try to preempt (i.e., prevent) any terrorist attack -- by non-military means, if possible -- given actual evidence of a threat. But Bush's use of military means to "preempt" a threat which he knew to be neither imminent nor real is inexcusable.