Thursday, June 23, 2005

It All Depends On What the Definition Of "Last Throes" Is

Cheney defends Iraq insurgency last throes remark - Yahoo! News
  WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday defended saying the Iraqi insurgency was in its 'last throes,' a comment that sparked criticism the White House was being too optimistic about when the violence will end.
  Cheney said he was not backing down from his remark. 'If you look at what the dictionary says about throes, it can still be a violent period, the throes of a revolution,' Cheney said in an interview with CNN.

  Umm, I'm not sure it was the "throes" part that critics found absurd. You may want to check out what the dictionary says about "last", Dick.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Whose Enemies?

With his polls down, Bush takes flak on Iraq from a host of critics--including a key moderate Republican (6/27/05)
  Two Republicans, including the congressman who brought 'freedom fries' to the Capitol, even joined a pair of Democratic colleagues in sponsoring a bill calling for a troop withdrawal plan to be drawn up by year's end.
  For now, most Republicans remain publicly loyal to the White House. 'Why would you give your enemies a timetable?' asks House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

DeLay has an interesting way of framing the issue. By "your enemies", does he refer to enemies of the United States? It's Iraq that's being attacked - or at least, if the mainstream media can be trusted, there are many more suicide bombings every day in Iraq than in the United States.

According to President Bush's own assessment of the progress of democracy in Iraq, it is a sovereign nation, controlling its own destiny, and calling all the shots in the conflict with the resistance, and the U.S. and coalition military are there in a support and training capacity only. Presumably, if the United States were fighting its own enemies, it would not be doing so under the authority of the Iraqi government.

The legitimate work of the U.S. military in Iraq is largely complete: Saddam Hussein has been removed from power, and such weapons of mass destruction as are expected to be found (none, as even the U.S. now admits) have been found. The Iraq military may, as President Bush still insists, require additional training, but it now seems the U.S. military devotes more resources to scouring the borders for foreign fighters (who, according to U.S. estimates, account for about 25% of the resistance) than to training.

The timetable would not be for "our enemies'" benefit; it would be for the benefit of the Iraqi and American citizens, government, and armed forces, as an affirmation of Iraq's sovereignty; as a sober acknowledgment that the United States can no longer reasonably be expected to support the new democratic government of Iraq with the sacrifice of American lives; and as a reassurance that the sacrifices will not continue indefinitely.

This is now Iraq's struggle; the time to acknowledge that fact, and move forward, has arrived. May the withdrawal-deadline resolution, and other such pressures to hasten an end to this folly of foreign occupation, succeed.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Missing Weapons No Biggie

White House Downplays Missing Arms Report
  Since the war, U.S. teams took over the weapons search. Former chief arms hunter Charles Duelfer and his Iraq Survey Group found no weapons of mass destruction in the country, discrediting President Bush's stated rationale for invading Iraq.
  McClellan referred to findings by Duelfer, saying that 'any looting was the work of uncoordinated elements rather than directed at an effort to try to export equipment to a country that might obtain or have a weapons of mass destruction program.'
  He also noted that Duelfer had concluded that, since the looted materials are easily obtained elsewhere, 'other governments are not likely to look to Iraq to buy used versions of it.'

So, any weapons-related materials or equipment that have gone missing since the US-led invasion are not a concern, even though any weapons-realted materials or equipment found by the "coalition" upon invasion were immediately hyped as confirmation of a grave threat. Is this merely a logical inconsistency, or is McClellan confirming there was never actually any threat-related rationale for invading Iraq?

Friday, June 03, 2005

Clearing Brush Again?

Flight Lands Safely After Hijack Alarm
  WASHINGTON -- A New York-bound passenger jet was diverted to Canada on Friday after sending out a false hijacking alarm. It landed safely in Nova Scotia and resumed its flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport.
  White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the president was briefed about the plane incident while clearing brush on his Texas ranch and was being kept apprised of the situation.
[emphasis added]

How much brush can one ranch have? Maybe the previous tenants were brush farmers.