Sunday, June 19, 2005

Taliban Resurgence. Pro-Bush Downing Street Memo Spin. Red Sox Notes.

I'm back after a slight relapse of my flu-like symptoms with the following stories that piqued my interest:

The Taliban Is Back...But Did They Ever Really Go Away?

The latest news from Afghanistan is not good. The following Rueters excerpt explains why:

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Taliban guerrillas said they executed a district police chief and seven other policemen on Sunday out of 31 police they were holding prisoner in the troubled southern Afghan province of Kandahar.

The capture and killing of the men has created a fresh crisis for authorities in Kandahar, the province worst hit by a surge of violence in recent months that has raised fears for parliamentary elections on Sept. 18.

In separate violence in neighboring Helmand province, guerrillas killed a judge, an intelligence official and a guard in the district of Anad-i-Ali to the west of the provincial capital Lashkargah on Friday night, a provincial spokesman said.

Full story:

In light of attacks like this one, why on earth do President Bloodthirsty Moron and Vice President Potty Mouth keep insisting that they defeated the Taliban? Better yet, why does our "liberal press" continue to give these assholes a free pass every time they make such fake claims?

Pro-Bush Downing Street Memo Spin

Lisa Hoffman of the Scripps Howard news service has come up with what is probably the most brainlessly blatant excuse-mongering for President Bloodthirsty Moron and his cabal of neocon dirtbags.

Full story:

This one is long, so I've pasted the whole damned thing and interjected my comments where appropriate.

There's a mighty hoo-hah blowing across the ocean from Britain, one amplified by blasts from American bloggers about the timing of President Bush's decision to go to war with Iraq.
An unofficial Capitol Hill hearing Thursday, chaired by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., is likely to add spin to the swirling controversy that centers on what's come to be known as the "Downing Street Memo," a once-secret report on a meeting British Prime Minister Tony Blair held with aides in July 2002.
At it, they discussed what was characterized as Bush's "determination" to invade Iraq - even though the White House was publicly denying such a decision had been made. The threat of weapons of mass destruction was concocted to justify a war, the memo implied.

The memo didn't "imply" any such thing--it came right out and said that that was what the White House was doing.

To believe the bloggers, who have launched a coast-to-coast e-mail assault, the "mainstream news media" were snoozing at the time, either deaf to the war drums or uninterested in challenging Bush. The bloggers and Conyers also are outraged that little press attention is being paid now to the memo.
But a quick Google search of news stories at the time shows that the United States' steady military buildup and its possible intentions were in fact chronicled in great and continuous detail beginning in the spring of 2002. Perhaps the bloggers' misinformation about the earlier coverage dampened interest in the memo.

Could this buildup have had anything to do with the fact that President Bloodthirsty Moron, with the help of his good friend British Prime Minister Tony Blair, was, as we bloggers have always maintained, shuffling the deck to prepare for his precious invasion?

Was there a devious White House decision, even before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, to concoct a rationale for ousting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who had bedeviled America since the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War and who had plotted to assassinate President George H.W. Bush?

Yes. Ever hear of a group called the Project For the New American Century? This is a group that is made up of people who would make up most of the Bush cabinet like Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz. These clowns have been around since 1997 and ackshully urged President Clinton to invade and occupy Iraq at that time. Clinton told them to go piss up a rope.

If there was, it was hardly necessary. While it was the first for the George W. Bush administration, the 2002 military buildup was at least the fifth time the United States had massed fighting forces and materiel to confront Iraq since the end of Operation Desert Storm. Each time, the use of force was under full contemplation and, in several cases, used.
In President Bill Clinton's two terms alone, there were three such major mobilizations. Two came in response to Saddam's obstruction of international weapons inspectors. Hoisting a 5-pound bag of sugar to dramatize the amount of anthrax Saddam's regime was believed to have, then-Defense Secretary William Cohen traveled to Capitol Hill and TV news studios warning Saddam to relent - or else possibly face pre-emptive attack.
The last buildup - which in January 1999 brought U.S. forces in the Gulf to seven times their normal level and cost taxpayers more than $1 billion - was the Clinton administration's response to escalating Iraqi military provocations against American warplanes patrolling the "no-fly" zones over northern and southern Iraq.

Miss Hoffman's concern for US taxpayers is really touching, but she conveniently omits the fact that Bloodthirsty Moron has thrown $320 billion dollars at Iraq. Who the hell does she expect will pick up the tab for this effort?

It didn't work. In the first seven months of 1999 alone, U.S. pilots reported they had faced Iraqi antiaircraft artillery fire from Iraqi ground forces 91 times, had been targeted by enemy radar in preparation for attack another 54 times and had been shot at by surface-to-air missiles 24 times.
Saddam's response to U.S. demands that he cease? The strongman merely upped the reward he was offering to any Iraqi soldier who could bag a U.S. warplane and pilot.

Apparently Miss Hoffman is unaware that when fired upon our military aircraft show a remarkable tendency to return fire against their attackers.

The trajectory to crisis continued into the 2000 election year. No matter who won the presidential contest, it was clear that Saddam and Iraq would likely present the first major foreign-policy conundrum to whomever ascended to the Oval Office.
At the time, Saddam had the edge. He was gaining global sympathy with his complaints that U.N. economic sanctions - imposed after the Gulf War to keep Saddam from rebuilding his military and arming it with weapons of mass destruction - were causing the Iraqi people terrible suffering due to the food and medicine shortages that resulted.
While we know now that Saddam was siphoning off billions of dollars of "oil for food" aid that was intended for Iraqi families, at the time his plaint drew growing support from European nations, who were close to calling on the United Nations to lift sanctions.

This is nothing but a distraction from the main argument. Besides, 60 percent of this money ended up in the hands of US-based contractors like Halliburton.

U.S. allies in the Middle East, who had backed the no-fly enforcement and America's military buildups as a proper response to Saddam's aggression, were similarly peeling back their support. Saddam had lately taken up the Palestinian cause, funding the families of suicide bombers and otherwise inserting himself in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
His anti-U.S. tirades were well received in the region, and his stature was growing around the globe for his success in yanking America to the brink of war over and over for years.
At the same time, the Pentagon had growing worries about the no-fly patrols, which were designed to stifle any Iraqi military moves against its neighbors and to protect the Iraqi Kurds and Shiites, who were victims of the alleged war crimes for which Saddam now stands accused.

Yes, crimes that we helped him to commit by selling him the very biological weapons he used against these people.

After 10 years of daily flights, the patrols, which reached a total of more than 216,000 sorties, were costing some $1 billion a year and wearing out warplanes and pilots. The escalation of Iraqi attacks meant the missions would only cost the military more and be even more dangerous. Many Pentagon brass grumbled that something had to be done.
But what? Periodic pinprick cruise-missile attacks, such as those launched against Iraqi military targets in 1998's Operation Desert Thunder, Round II, had little effect, except on the Pentagon's budget.
Relax economic sanctions? The Clinton administration denounced any such move as a misguided capitulation that would allow Saddam to re-arm, including with chemical and biological toxins.

Again, does Miss Hoffman mean the biological toxins that we sold Saddam in 1984 with Donald Rumsfeld as the main salesman?

Abandon the no-fly patrols? That would break America's belated pledge to protect Saddam's victims, thousands of whom died after U.S. forces left them vulnerable after the Gulf War. No more overflights would also give Saddam a free shot if he wanted to repeat his 1990 invasion of Kuwait or any other neighbor.
Clinton left the festering crisis to his successor. But even before Bush was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2001, Saddam demonstrated his own resolve to continue to force the issue.

Jesus Christ, first this dizzy bitch claims Clinton was asleep by pretending that our aircraft were as defenseless as clay pigeons, then she claims he was too tough by continuing economic sanctions, then she claims again that he was asleep by implying he wanted to abandon the defenseless aircraft flying patrols? She can't seem to make up her mind. Then again, what can we expect from a representative of the media that was fed the lie that Clinton's military moves against Iraq were a "wag the dog" distraction from the Minica Lewinsky mess?

In early January, Iraq's aggressive targeting of U.S. no-fly patrols increased. By the end of January, more than 60 such incidents had been recorded - far more than in previous months. The newly minted Bush administration said the nation's Iraq policy was under review, and that a new approach clearly was called for.

Here she goes again by implying that our Air Force was a useless, defenseless organization. Please note that she gives no casualty figures. Draw your own conclusions about that. In addition, during the debates with Vice President Gore, Governor Bush claimed the opposite of what becmae an eventuality in Iraq--namely that he WOULD NOT BE INCLINED TO ENGAGE IN NATION BUILDING. The next paragraph shows how serious he was about this promise. It also indicates that, in this matter as well as many others, he was not a man of his word.

On Feb. 16, 2001, less than a month after Bush took office, he issued his first military order: permitting U.S. warplanes, in retaliation, to attack Iraqi surveillance radar and communications sites located outside the no-fly zones.
And what did Saddam do? He turned that bombing into fodder for his anti-U.S. campaign, and received a sympathetic response from many U.N. member nations.

Well, that's the end of this mysterious article. Sort of a weak ending if you ask me, but then again the article is filled with justifications that are easily explained for anyone who was alive and awake at the time these events took place. This is the type of reporting one would expect from Fox News. It is this type of reporting that allowed Bush, Cheney et al to do what they have done, not only in Iraq, but here at home regarding economic policy, energy policy and almost every other policy upon which they've laid their filty paws. To ignore this is to either be a true believer in what these madmen are doing, or it is simply the reporting of a bought and paid for hack.

Red Sox Somewhat Hot...

The Red Sox shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates today 8-0 for their fifth win in their last six games. Starter Matt Clement pitched seven strong innings with nine strikeouts to earn the win. David Ortiz hit a two-run triple and Jay Payton hit a two-run homer to pace the offense.

A potential problem is that Manny Ramirez was hit by a pitch above the left ankle on Saturday night. He came out of that came, and sat out today's game. His defensive replacement was Kevin Millar, normally the everyday first-baseman. Millar is a barely adequate defender at his normal position. He is well below adequate in the outfield where his lack of foot speed and weak throwing arm are a double liability. A better alternative is to play Payton, who is swinging a hot bat, in left field and to put Millar back at first base. Ackshully, it would be better to sit Millar down in favor of John Olerud who, despite his sporadic playing time, is hitting well. Of course, Millar has also hit well of late, and since he is a favorite of Manager Terry Francona, he will likely continue to see the majority of the first base action when and if the Manny situation settles down.

On the positive side, most of the regular position players seem to be hitting well. Likewise, the starting pitching is in good shape, and the bullpen was given a boost when Alan Embree, who has been pounded lately, pitched the final two innings without giving up a run.

Next up is a trip to Cleveland to play the suddenly red-hot Indians, winners of eight straight. The Tribe is averaging over seven runs of offense per game during their hot streak, so the Sox pitchers will have their work cut out for them as the week begins.

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