Monday, May 14, 2007

The Surge That Ain't Surging

A militant group tied to Al Qaeda claimed Sunday to be holding three American soldiers missing since an ambush that left four U.S. troops and an Iraqi interpreter dead. Across Iraq, bombs, mortar shells and gunfire killed more than 50 people Sunday, including 16 in a market that has been a frequent target of bombings and other attacks. The statement from the Islamic State of Iraq came as thousands of U.S. and Iraqi security forces combed the "triangle of death," an area southwest of Baghdad that is a stronghold of Sunni Muslim insurgents. Three U.S. soldiers disappeared after the Saturday morning ambush 12 miles west of Mahmoudiya. The military did not identify the U.S. troops, and did not reveal their combat unit, but some new details of the incident emerged.At least one victim suffered gunshot wounds, though it was unclear whether he was shot before or after blasts enveloped the soldiers' two vehicles in flames, said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a military spokesman.An Army Quick Reaction Force, deployed about 15 minutes after the 4:44 a.m. attack, had to avoid a roadside bomb in its path as it headed toward the scene in the darkness, Garver said.The force arrived about 40 minutes later, he said. "This is not like responding to a two-alarm fire on Sunset Boulevard. They can't just drive up. You have to be wary along the way. "There was no way to verify the militant group's claim, which appeared on its website. Islamic State of Iraq, a coalition of Sunni groups loyal to Al Qaeda, offered no photographic evidence to back it up.

Looks like George W. Bush's "surge" ain't working!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bush Begging Now

President Bush pleaded for time over Iraq yesterday after being warned that the war was destroying the Republican Party and that allies on Capitol Hill were poised to defect.
Mr Bush used a hastily arranged appearance at the Pentagon to urge sceptics of the troop “surge” to “give this plan a chance to work — let’s stop playing politics”.
His appeal came after he received a blunt warning from moderate Republicans that they were on the verge of joining Democrats to demand a troop withdrawal.
Details of the extraordinary White House encounter emerged as the impasse between Democrats and the White House over funding the war deepened.
Robert Gates, the Defence Secretary, said that the failure of congress to provide the $95 billion (£48 billion) asked for by Mr Bush was already delaying military operations and that money for Iraq will run out in July.
The delegation of 11 moderate House Republicans told Mr Bush on Tuesday that unless significant progress is made in Iraq by September — when General David Petraeus, the ground commander, delivers a progress report to Congress — they would desert him. Their warning was the clearest sign yet that although most conservatives still back the President’s surge plan, patience inside the Republican Party over Iraq is wearing thin.
One of the congressman, Mark Kirk from Illinois, told Mr Bush that anger and frustration among his constituents had reached such levels that voters in his district were ready for a pullout of troops, even if it meant conceding defeat.
“We will hang with him until September,” said Ray LaHood, a House veteran who attended the meeting. “The American people are war-fatigued. They want to know there’s a way out. The way forward after September, if the report is not good, is going to be very, very difficult.”
The September deadline is starkly at odds with recent assertions by ground commanders in Iraq that President Bush’s troop escalation plan needs up to year for a chance to succeed. But it reflects deep concerns among Republicans that the party faces more losses in Congress in November — and the loss of the White House — if the war continues its current bloody course.
The delegation also told Mr Bush that his credibility over Iraq was all but destroyed among the public. The meeting occurred as a new poll put his approval rating at 28 per cent

Even the his Republican allies are abandoning Bush now!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Iraq War & GOP

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) condemned the Iraqi government for its failure to resolve security and political problems more expeditiously and predicted that, unless the current troop surge succeeds, U.S. policy will be changed by year's end either by President Bush or congressional action.
McConnell, in an interview for's PostTalk program today, offered a harsh assessment of the Iraqi government's performance and made clear that neither the American people nor elected officials have unlimited patience for the U.S. commitment there.
"The Iraqi government hasn't done anything it said it would," McConnell said, pointing to lack of progress on oil revenue sharing and reducing sectarian violence. He added, "I don't think there are many Republican senators who are happy with what happened."
The Republican leader said the GOP's poor performance in the 2006 midterms elections resulted almost entirely from public dissatisfaction with the lack of progress in Iraq and implied that his party would suffer again in 2008 if that election becomes another referendum on Iraq.

The Republican Party should pay the price for lying us into an unnecessary war!

Iraq War & National Guard

The Greensburg tornado has turned into a political storm.
It started when Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, said a lack of National Guard equipment would slow recovery efforts, because much of it is in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Given the political black eye that President Bush still wears over his administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina, Sebelius’ comments about Greensburg struck a nerve.
The Republican White House was snappish. Spokesman Tony Snow said Tuesday morning that Sebelius had asked only for “FM radios.”
He also appeared to lecture the governor about how to seek help from the government: “If you don’t request it, you’re not going to get it.”
It didn’t take long for an anti-war group, Senate Democrats and presidential hopeful Barack Obama to weigh in on Sebelius’ side.
Defending the White House were conservatives who accused Sebelius of grandstanding, and the state’s two Republican senators, who attempted to distance themselves from her remarks.
Snow later lengthened the list of items sought by Kansas beyond FM radios. And Sebelius wasn’t about to back down.
“Let me be clear: With the equipment we have, the men and women of the Kansas National Guard have the initial response to the Greensburg tornado under control,” she said Tuesday.
“I have said for nearly two years and will continue to say that we have a looming crisis on our hands when it comes to National Guard equipment in Iraq and our needs here at home.”
About half the state’s National Guard trucks are in Iraq, equipment that would be useful in clearing debris, she said.
Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, the state’s adjutant general, said the Kansas National Guard’s equipment had been reduced about one-third from prewar levels, which were already low.

Bush can keep denying, but he can't hide the truth from the American people.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The End Of The Road For Wolfowitz

World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz wants the world to believe that he is the blameless victim of a "smear campaign" orchestrated by his political enemies. But in light of the resignation from the bank, reported today by the Wall Street Journal, of one of his top aides, Kevin Kellems, one could come to another conclusion. The neocon chickens are coming home to roost.
Kellems has a long and undistinguished history as a flack, first for Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, then for Wolfowitz at the Pentagon, then as spokesman for Vice President Dick Cheney, and until yesterday, at the World Bank, where his job title was director of strategy of the World Bank's External Affairs Department.
As flack for Cheney, Kellems was responsible for doing his best to push the line that the U.S. was justified in invading Iraq because Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and supporting al-Qaida -- two of the most damaging falsehoods ever promulgated by the U.S. government.
My favorite line from Kellems, at the Public Relations Student Society of America Midwest Regional Partners Conference: "The United States did not seek this conflict."

That's the most blatant lie of the century!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

GOP Conscience Attack?

The House Republican leader said Sunday that GOP support could waver if President Bush's Iraq war policy does not succeed by the fall.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Bush's troop increase deserves a chance and should be funded even if benchmarks for success are not met. Last week, Bush vetoed a $124 billion bill to pay for Iraq and Afghanistan operations in part because it required troops to begin returning home by Oct. 1.
A senior House Democrat said it would be ``ridiculous'' not to condition war money on progress in Iraq. Bush and his supporters say a fixed date is unworkable.
``We don't even have all of the 30,000 additional troops in Iraq yet, so we're supporting the president. We want this plan to have a chance of succeeding,'' Boehner said.
``Over the course of the next three to four months, we'll have some idea how well the plan's working. Early signs are indicating there is clearly some success on a number of fronts,'' he said.
But, he added, ``By the time we get to September or October, members are going to want to know how well this is working, and if it isn't, what's Plan B.''

Plan B? How bout bring the troops home...

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Wolf That Lied

Paul Wolfowitz, World Bank president, on Thursday made a last-ditch attempt to avert a hostile finding by the panel investigating his role in arranging a generous secondment package for a colleague with whom he was romantically involved.
In a letter to the panel, Mr Wolfowitz said he was “deeply troubled and dismayed” by testimony by the bank’s former legal counsel and ethics committee chair.
The two former officials told the panel the bank president went far beyond the advice of the ethics committee in awarding his partner, Shaha Riza, pay rises and other benefits.
Mr Wolfowitz said: “I vehemently deny that I went beyond what I understood to be the guidance I received from the committee.”
However, Mr Wolfowitz backed away from earlier claims that the ethics committee was aware of the terms and conditions offered to Ms Riza.

He lied about it then, that's why he backed down now.

Alberto Gonzales Caught Lying

One of the eight U.S. attorneys fired last year says he was told his dismissal was necessary to let a Republican lawyer get experience to qualify for a federal judgeship.
In written answers to supplement his congressional testimony, ex-U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden of Nevada said William Mercer, acting associate attorney general, gave him that rationale for his firing. Bodgen's firing angered Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada, who joined bipartisan criticism of the way Attorney General Alberto Gonzales handled the dismissals.
Mercer explained that ``the administration had a two-year window of opportunity'' to give someone ``the experience of serving as United States attorney'' so ``the Republican Party would have more future candidates to the federal bench'' and political positions, Bogden wrote.
The disclosure came as the Justice Department said its inspector general is investigating an allegation that former Gonzales aide Monica Goodling used political affiliation as criteria for screening applicants for career-level prosecutor positions. The agency said in a statement that federal law prohibits such considerations in hiring career prosecutors.
``Whether or not the allegation is true is currently the subject'' of the investigation by the inspector general and the agency's Office of Professional Responsibility, Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said in a statement.
Jeffrey King, one of Goodling's lawyers, declined to comment.
Rove Documents
Also, the Senate Judiciary Committee today subpoenaed the Justice Department for e-mails that agency officials traded with Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's top political adviser. In a statement, the panel cited testimony by fired U.S. attorneys that they believed ``political influence was a factor in their firings.''

This proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the White House is behind it.