Saturday, November 25, 2006

Late Night

Rock on.

Evening Thread


The Big Money

And Joe Lieberman's war continues:

BAGHDAD, Nov. 25 — The insurgency in Iraq is now self-sustaining financially, raising tens of millions of dollars a year from oil smuggling, kidnapping, counterfeiting, corrupt charities and other crimes that the Iraqi government and its American patrons have been largely unable to prevent, a classified United States government report has concluded.

The report, obtained by The New York Times, estimates that groups responsible for many of the insurgent and terrorist attacks are raising $70 million to $200 million a year from illegal activities. It says that $25 million to $100 million of the total comes from oil smuggling and other criminal activity involving the state-owned oil industry aided by “corrupt and complicit” Iraqi officials.

As much as $36 million a year comes from ransoms paid to save hundreds of kidnap victims in Iraq, the report said. It estimates that unnamed foreign governments — previously identified by senior American officials as including France and Italy — paid Iraqi kidnappers $30 million in ransom last year.

What was that you said, Joe? Oh yes, it was:

Does America have a good plan for doing this, a strategy for victory in Iraq? Yes we do.

Maybe Joe just didn't clap loudly enough.

Fresh Thread


The Straight Talk of St. John McCain

Says war is lost if his pony plan doesn't happy. Also says his pony plan is not going to happen. Says it's immoral to keep sending troops to Iraq if his pony plan doesn't happen. Also says his pony plan won't happen.

Truly bold, decisive, maverick leadership.

Wanker of the Day

Thomas Edsall.

And more here.

Zombie beliefs.

Checking Out

I'm not sure if Josh is right, but we do face a very real possibility that Bush will pretty much check out. He's always abandoned his failures to others. There's nothing left to campaign for. There's no agenda left to sell. He has no idea how to actually govern.

Gonna be a sad couple of years. Thanks oh wise men of Washington.


In Joe Lieberman's war:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi President Jalal Talabani postponed a trip to Iran set for Saturday as a wave of bloody sectarian reprisals swept through Iraq.

Talabani was slated to meet with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday to discuss ways that Iran could help stabilize Iraq but the trip was delayed when officials shut down Baghdad's airport and imposed a strict curfew.

There were also reports that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was to attend.

Overnight, Sunni gunmen with possible links to al Qaeda in Iraq stormed two Shiite homes and killed 21 men from two families north of the Iraqi capital in Diyala province, an official with the Diyala Joint Coordination Center said Saturday.



There will be no victory or defeat for the United States in Iraq. These terms do not reflect the reality of what is going to happen there. The future of Iraq was always going to be determined by the Iraqis -- not the Americans.

Iraq is not a prize to be won or lost. It is part of the ongoing global struggle against instability, brutality, intolerance, extremism and terrorism. There will be no military victory or military solution for Iraq. Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger made this point last weekend.

The time for more U.S. troops in Iraq has passed. We do not have more troops to send and, even if we did, they would not bring a resolution to Iraq. Militaries are built to fight and win wars, not bind together failing nations. We are once again learning a very hard lesson in foreign affairs: America cannot impose a democracy on any nation -- regardless of our noble purpose.

We have misunderstood, misread, misplanned and mismanaged our honorable intentions in Iraq with an arrogant self-delusion reminiscent of Vietnam. Honorable intentions are not policies and plans. Iraq belongs to the 25 million Iraqis who live there. They will decide their fate and form of government.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Late Night


Hated in Philly

Loved in San Francisco.

(ht reader d)

More Thread



Pony fails to appear. Sources say that the Last Honest Man was heard saying that the next six months in Iraq are critical.
Gunmen bent on revenge burned mosques and homes in a Sunni enclave of Baghdad on Friday as Iraq's leaders pleaded for calm, a day after the worst bomb attack since the U.S. invasion.

Some 30 people were killed, police said, as suspected Shi'ite militiamen rampaged for hours, untroubled by a curfew enforced in the capital by U.S. and Iraqi forces after bombs killed 202 people in the Shi'ite stronghold of Sadr City.

Four mosques and several houses were burned in a small Sunni part of the mainly Shi'ite Hurriya area in northwest Baghdad, Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Salem al-Zobaie told Reuters.

One witness said 14 people were killed in his mosque during Friday prayers: "It was attacked by rocket-propelled grenades," university teacher Imad al-Din al-Hashemi said. "When the gunmen moved on to attack another mosque, we evacuated the wounded."

Fresh Thread


Simple Answers to Simple Questions

Hilzoy asks:

I just have to ask: is there anything this administration does competently?


This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.


It was just about a year ago that Joe Lieberman wrote:

Does America have a good plan for doing this, a strategy for victory in Iraq? Yes we do. And it is important to make it clear to the American people that the plan has not remained stubbornly still but has changed over the years. Mistakes, some of them big, were made after Saddam was removed, and no one who supports the war should hesitate to admit that; but we have learned from those mistakes and, in characteristic American fashion, from what has worked and not worked on the ground. The administration's recent use of the banner "clear, hold and build" accurately describes the strategy as I saw it being implemented last week.

We are now embedding a core of coalition forces in every Iraqi fighting unit, which makes each unit more effective and acts as a multiplier of our forces. Progress in "clearing" and "holding" is being made. The Sixth Infantry Division of the Iraqi Security Forces now controls and polices more than one-third of Baghdad on its own. Coalition and Iraqi forces have together cleared the previously terrorist-controlled cities of Fallujah, Mosul and Tal Afar, and most of the border with Syria. Those areas are now being "held" secure by the Iraqi military themselves. Iraqi and coalition forces are jointly carrying out a mission to clear Ramadi, now the most dangerous city in Al-Anbar province at the west end of the Sunni Triangle.

Nationwide, American military leaders estimate that about one-third of the approximately 100,000 members of the Iraqi military are able to "lead the fight" themselves with logistical support from the U.S., and that that number should double by next year. If that happens, American military forces could begin a drawdown in numbers proportional to the increasing self-sufficiency of the Iraqi forces in 2006. If all goes well, I believe we can have a much smaller American military presence there by the end of 2006 or in 2007, but it is also likely that our presence will need to be significant in Iraq or nearby for years to come.

And Joe Klein almost six months ago.

What can the Democrats do? They can play politics or be responsible. The political option is to embrace "cut and run"; call for an immediate withdrawal, as Kerry did; and hope the public is so sick of Bush and sick of the war that it will punish the g.o.p. in the fall. But embracing defeat is a risky political strategy, especially for a party not known for its warrior ethic. In fact, the responsible path is the Democrats' only politically plausible choice: they will have to give yet another new Iraqi government one last shot to succeed. This time, U.S. military sources say, the measure of success is simple: Operation Forward Together, the massive joint military effort launched last week to finally try to secure Baghdad, has to work. If Baghdad isn't stabilized, the war is lost. "I know it's the cliche of the war," an Army counterinsurgency specialist told me last week. "But we'll know in the next six months—and this time, it'll be the last next six months we get."

I don't know how to break the endless cycle of Friedmans.


It is true. They lie, and they lie about things which should cause revulsion in decent people. They lie and people die, and St. McCain and the Last Honest Man and the rest of the Wise Old Men of Washington somehow manage to make it out of bed each day. I don't know what's wrong with their brains, but they don't seem to work as they should.

Taking Sides

I've long noticed a tendency of the American press to take the side of official US policy when covering foreign affairs. Basically, "our bastards" are given good press while other bastards are not.

I was struck by this little tidbit I just learned from CNN:

Most Shiite insurgents have given up violence and adapted to political process.

If by "political process" you mean "controlling the cops" there's a bit of truth to that, but only even barely. Well, not really at all.

We may be taking sides.

Something to be Thankful For


WASHINGTON, Nov. 23 — Seeking information about detention of terrorism suspects, abuse of detainees and government secrecy, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are reviving dozens of demands for classified documents that until now have been rebuffed or ignored by the Justice Department and other agencies.

“I expect real answers, or we’ll have testimony under oath until we get them,” Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, who will head the committee beginning in January, said in an interview this week. “We’re entitled to know these answers, and in many instances we don’t get them because people are hiding their mistakes. And that’s no excuse.”

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Late Night

Rock on.

Fresh Thread

Tryptophan edition.

There's a Lesson Here Somewhere

Afternoon Thread



Thanks St. McCain. Thanks Last Honest Man. Thanks Oh Wise Men Of Washington. Thanks Oh Keepers of the Flames of the Vital Ceter.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A series of car bombs killed 30 people and wounded 95 in a Shi'ite militia stronghold in Baghdad on Thursday and gunmen mounted an audacious daylight raid on a Shi'ite-run government ministry.

Three apparently coordinated car bombs and a mortar blast in different parts of Sadr City neighborhood destroyed whole streets, leaving bloodied remains amid mangled vehicle wrecks in one the worst bomb attacks in the capital this month.


BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- At least 100 people were killed and at least 125 wounded on Thursday in a string of bombing attacks in Baghdad's Sadr City, police said.

There were conflicting reports on the death toll. Iraq's Health Ministry said 100 were killed and 200 wounded. Police said 115 were killed and 125 were wounded.

Happy Thanksgiving

Cook. Drink. Eat.



Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Fresh Thread

Green Day - American Idiot

Philadelphia Weekly's Much Better Anyway

City Paper wankers.

(ht brendan)

Evening Thread

M. Ward - Right in the Head.

Uh, Terrorists?

You can stop trying to influence the elections now.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- More than 140 bodies have been found dumped across Baghdad over the past three days, police said Wednesday.

Police said 52 bullet-riddled bodies were found Wednesday, with 20 of them blindfolded, tied up and possibly tortured.

Police also discovered 29 bodies on Tuesday and 60 on Monday.

The dead are thought to be victims of Sunni-Shiite sectarian revenge killings.

Afternoon Thread

Norfolk & Western - A Gilded Age


Lawrence O'Donnell:

Advocating war is easier when you and your family are not endangered by it. I've reached a Rangel-like breaking point with my TV pundit colleagues who championed the Iraq war and now say we can't leave even if we went there for the wrong reasons. For every one of them, I have a simple question: Why aren't you in Iraq? Or why did you avoid combat in your generation's war? The one unifying characteristic that all of us men in make-up on political chat shows share is fear of combat. Every one of us has done everything we can to avoid combat or even being fitted for a military uniform. Just like George Bush, Bill Clinton, and Dick Cheney, we are all combat cowards. It takes a very special kind of combat coward to advocate combat for others. It's the kind of thing that can get you as angry as Charlie Rangel.

More Center

Aside from my general belief that the concept of the political center has become mostly meaningless in recent years, to the extent that there's any basis for it does anyone, including Joe Lieberman, really believe that "both parties are in danger of abandoning the political center."

I have a hard time even coming up with fantasy proposals which would reflect some crazy run-to-the-left action by the Democrats. Is Dennis Kucinich going to propose disbanding the army? Are marginal tax rates going to be raised to Eisenhower-era levels? It's difficult to imagine that anything other than a move towards Clinton-era status quo on most issues is on the table.

Lieberman's a lying politician, so the fact that he continues to lie to paint himself as the savior of the country is no surprise, but nobody else who expects to be taken seriously should help him propagate these myths.


I do not think that word means what Ed Kilgore thinks it means.


There's something cute about self-described libertarians being reliable conduits for government propaganda.


So, now St. John McCain says it would be immoral to ask soldiers to go to Iraq unless his magical pony plan is adopted.

They Write Letters

Michael Sokolove writes to Pool Boy:

Memo to Jim VandeHei: In a mere 48 hours you've gone from a guy doing an interesting thing to a guy I can't wait to see fail. Your victory lap before you've written a written a story or cashed a paycheck -- your boast that you'll be better than the New York Times and Washington Post -- your revelation that the Post came in with an "unprecedented" offer to induce you to stay but you told them to stick it -- and especially your gloating that big-name journalists have come "begging" for jobs (and the ones lucky enough to be hired will be on TV, too!) is really, uh, classless. It's bad out there if you hadn't noticed. Count your blessings on this Thanksgiving, and difficult as it may be, try not to enjoy all that groveling too much.

Lies and the Lying Liars

Robert Kaplan edition.

(ht reader l)

Wanker of the Day

Lawrence Kaplan.


Holiday schedule here.

Portastatic - Song for a Clock

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Fresh Thread


Afternoon Thread



Hilzoy and Greg Mitchell smack Cohen around some more.

Liberal Losers

Just thought I'd remind you that Bush. Was. Right.

Freedom in Afghanistan, say goodbye Taliban
Free elections in Iraq, Saddam Hussein locked up
Osama’s staying underground, Al Qaida now is finding out
America won’t turn and run once the fighting has begun
Libya turns over nukes, Lebanese want freedom, too
Syria is forced to leave, don’t you know that all this means

Bush was right!
Bush was right!
Bush was right!

Democracy is on the way, hitting like a tidal wave
All over the middle east, dictators walk with shaky knees
Don’t know what they’re gonna do,
their worst nightmare is coming true
They fear the domino effect, they’re all wondering who’s next

Repeat Chorus

Ted Kennedy – wrong!
Cindy Sheehan – wrong!
France – wrong!
Zell Miller – right!

Economy is on the rise kicking into overdrive
Angry liberals can't believe it's cause of W's policies
Unemployment's staying down, Democrats are wondering how
Revenue is going up, can you say "Tax Cuts"

Repeat Chorus

Cheney was right, Condi was right,
Rummy was right, Blair was right
You were right, we were right, “The Right” was right and
Bush was right
Bush was right

The Take This War And Shove It Act

The Editors have a tremendous idea.

Comedy Gold

Indeed. "Centrist" is just a word which has come to mean "someone who is smart and sensible like me."

Fresh Thread


Breaking Green Room Omerta

Robert Reich violates the rules:

I talked with John McCain Sunday morning in the green room just before “This Week.” I asked him why he continued to call for more troops for Iraq when he must know it's a political non-starter. He said he thought it important for the morale of the troops.

And that straight talk express keeps on going...

More on the Question Below

Judging from comments people are misunderstanding my question. I'm not wondering why Dick Cheney wanted to go to war with Iraq, or the neocons and the PNAC crowd (though, admittedly, years later I still don't actually know why they wanted to go to war with Iraq). I'm wondering about the support from people I think of as, while not necessarily entirely sharing my worldview, roughly occupying the same political space as I do. I'm talking about the people who bought into the "it's a noble mission to go topple a bad dictator and then rebuild the country as wonderful Democracy as a way of showing the world the power and rightness of American benevolence" line. I'm not sure how many people like that existed in the country at large, but there were certainly a lot of people like that in the world of elite liberal punditry.

And Then It All Went Wrong

There's one thing I've long given President Bush credit for. Unsurprisingly he later shit all over that, too, but at the time it was the right thing. Immediately after 9/11 the basic narrative which was in part encouraged by Bush's rhetoric was that Afghanistan had been taken over by some bad people who attacked us, we're going to go over there and rescue the poor people in Afghanistan from those bad people, then we're going rebuild that country and turn it into a tremendous place.

And then... axis of evil and Iraq.

One thing which has long puzzled me is why Afghanistan wasn't enough for all the "liberal hawks" and people like Richard Cohen who wanted "therapeutic violence" (Spank them! Spank them!). The Beinarts of the world wanted a war and a grand humanitarian mission. They had one. It was Afghanistan. It was justifiable. We went and kicked some ass. And then we abandoned the grand humanitarian mission and went chasing after a shiny new war.

Why wasn't Afghanistan enough? Why were people who tried to point out that maybe we should stick around and try to fix that country before we went and busted up another one considered to be unserious dirty fucking hippies?

We had a chance to do all the things the Quiet Americans wanted us to do. Invade a country, get rid of their bad leaders, pave the streets with gold, and create a wonderful paradise which could be an example for the world.

Why couldn't we do that in Afghanistan?

Shorter Richard Cohen

I would've opposed the war if it wasn't for those dirty fucking hippies.

As for the bit about oil, the president himself has recently been saying we have to stay in Iraq because of the oil.

Arab Winter

Big Media Matt keeps getting smarter.

But still, something must be said. Indeed, the editors of The New Republic have convened a "special issue" dedicated to pondering that sad country. It features, among other things, an unsigned editorial observing that "at this point, it seems almost beside the point to say this: The New Republic deeply regrets its early support for this war." And, well, so do I regret my support for it. But what is one to do to make up for it? Mostly, nothing can be done. At least, however, when surveying a fiasco one can attempt to learn something about what went wrong and change one's thinking in the future. Such a change in thinking is precisely why I, at least, having fallen for the Iraq boondoggle one time, was not seduced by the siren song of the Arab Spring. Those of us who chose not to get fooled again were, of course, heartily condemned by a March 2005 TNR editorial that espied a "certain grudging quality" to liberal takes on events in Lebanon. "So far," they sniffed, Daily Kos "has featured only two short posts on Lebanon's equally stirring Cedar Revolution -- and both were notable mostly for their pessimism." This was, perhaps, the measured version of the April 11, 2005, take offered by the magazine's owner and editor-in-chief, Martin Peretz. He analyzed "The Politics of Churlishness" in a cover story dedicated to the proposition that "if George W. Bush were to discover a cure for cancer, his critics would denounce him for having done it unilaterally, without adequate consultation, with a crude disregard for the sensibilities of others." And, about sixteen months later, of course, these voices so eager to condemn liberals for not celebrating the new freedom of the Lebanese were the loudest in clamoring for Lebanese blood.

"As we pore over the lessons of this misadventure" in Iraq, explained the magazine in last week's reassessment, "we do not conclude that our past misjudgments warrant a rush into the cold arms of 'realism.'" Given what else is said in the editorial and in the special issue, it's fair to interpret this as meaning that, in surveying the scene, they conclude nothing in particular. For my part, at a minimum I've concluded that it's a mistake to entrust the cause of American idealism and Arab reform to a movement led by people who plainly loathe Arabs (Palestinians "behave like lemmings" wrote Peretz two weeks ago before observing last week that Iraqis now lack "even the bare rudiments of civilizations") and couldn't care less about their well-being except insofar as pretense to caring is a useful club with which to batter domestic political opponents.

The McCain Plan

Well, he's the prominent politician who was advocating we send 20,000 more troops. If that happens, it'll be his war. Hope he likes it.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 — Pentagon officials conducting a review of Iraq strategy are considering a substantial but temporary increase in American troop levels and the addition of several thousand more trainers to work with Iraqi forces, a senior Defense Department official said Monday.

The idea, dubbed the “surge option” by some officials, would involve increasing American forces by 20,000 troops or more for several months in the hope of improving security, especially in Baghdad. That would mark a sharp rise over the current baseline of 144,000 troops.

The Stupidest People on the Internets

Not my trolls after all. It's the people who run

Where else on else on the Internet do people of opposing views mix things up?

Yes, before our wise overlords at hotsoup came along there was no political debate on the internet.


They Say Go

So why don't we go?

More importantly, why the hell would we want to stay?


I know we're supposed to get upset about this stuff because of civil liberties issues, but frankly I get more upset about it because of the absurdity and what it suggests about the intelligence of our rulers:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 — An antiterrorist database used by the Defense Department in an effort to prevent attacks against military installations included intelligence tips about antiwar planning meetings held at churches, libraries, college campuses and other locations, newly disclosed documents show.

One tip in the database in February 2005, for instance, noted that “a church service for peace” would be held in the New York City area the next month. Another entry noted that antiwar protesters would be holding “nonviolence training” sessions at unidentified churches in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

The Defense Department tightened its procedures earlier this year to ensure that only material related to actual terrorist threats — and not peaceable First Amendment activity — was included in the database.

Someone at some level in this administration was embracing absurdly Nixonian levels of paranoia at a time when there was no justification for it. No, I'm not saying that Nixon's various abuses were justified, but during that time there was at least genuine social turmoil. Think of the time and money spent on monitoring elderly Quakers.

Monday, November 20, 2006


On the idiot.

Get Rid of the Dollar Bill

I don't care how many hot and sexy ex-presidents they put on the dollar coin, people will still think they're post office tokens until you get rid of the bill.

Oh, and what's up with the penny? Get rid of that, too.

And Dear Mr. President, There are too many states nowadays. Please eliminate three.

Even More Thread

I got nothin'.

Fresh Thread


But What Will You Say One F.U. From Now?


CHICAGO - Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, who is contemplating a run for the presidency, on Monday called for a "gradual and substantial" reduction of U.S. forces from
Iraq that would begin in four to six months.

The basic content of what Obama is saying, divorced from the larger debate, is fine, but as to how it plays in the current debate it's not fine. It allows us to wait around one more Friedman... and then something will happen. Except it won't happen. Troops will not start coming home 4-6 months from now. And, most likely, 4-6 months from now Obama won't be saying "bring them home now," though I've put him on my little calendar and will make sure to check back then and let you know.

The thing is that "bring them home now" doesn't really mean now. It doesn't mean that thousands of troops start boarding transport planes for the trip home. It just means that the focus shifts from staying to leaving, and the latter slowly begins to happen. Every time someone punts that action for yet another Friedman, it helps to ensure that the end of the war will always be a Friedman away.


AJ writes:

I honestly have no idea how people can get away with saying things like "the United States and Britain have never attempted a truly comprehensive policy on Iraq," "We have to help Iraq's politicians put the country's unity above their sectarian priorities," "The problems of the federal constitution, the distribution of Iraq's resources and the role of the unofficial militias have to be resolved in the direction of preserving the unity of the nation," and the like -- all of which are included in the above article. I will now light myself on fire.

Any time you read something that talks about what Iraqis "must" do, without following it up with, "here's how," you're getting one of the Sensible Centrist Arguments, which are, of course, part of the Magical Plans Never To Be Implemented genre. Experts in this genre are often "liberals" who advocated the war and cannot quite bring themselves to admit that it's a crippling strategic blunder, therefore feeling obligated to propose solutions that have no chance of being tried, much less actually working.

If people want to spend their time writing wankery think pieces about fantasy pony plans for Iraq they're free to do so, but they should understand that such things have one very real impact on the Iraq debate. Their implicit (and often explicit) criticism is that people who want to get out of Iraq are unserious, because if they were serious they'd sign on to the fantasy pony plan. But the choice will never be between fantasy pony plan and getting out, the choice is between starting to get out or letting George W. Bush continue to fuck things up with HIS fantasy pony plan for Iraq. You know, the current mess. Every person who writes an op-ed with yet another fantasy pony plan for Iraq, no matter how wonderful a pony plan it is, helps to ensure that George W. Bush gets to continue fucking things up for just a little bit longer.

Unless you think that's a tremendously lovely idea, please STFU.


Josh Marshall:

And yet here we have President Bush, stepping on to Vietnamese soil to further our rapprochement with Vietnam, and arguing, in so many words, that the lesson of Vietnam is that we should still be there blowing the place up thirty years later.

We're really deep into the primitive brainstem phase of our long national nightmare of presidential denial and mendacity on Iraq. Poetically, politically and intellectually it's appropriate that Henry Kissinger is now along for the ride.

Fresh Thread

If you're thinking about heading over to the Reading Terminal Market for some Thanksgiving related shopping, don't.


What's with St. John McCain, The Really Serious Foreign Policy Guy who has fringe views about Iraq, having to consult his notes ever time Stephy asks him a question?

It's weird.


I, for one, have long been rather annoyed at the incomprehensible alliance of "people of faith" versus the rest of us. "People of faith" believe in very different things, and this includes rather vast differences within the major faiths as well as between them.

So, yes, lots of religious people believe that they've found the one true path to eternal salvation and everyone who doesn't share that view is going to hell forever. This might seem like a rather abhorrent and morally vacuous view of the universe, but it isn't a fringe view. Lots of people believe it. According to this poll, 24% of Americans who believe in the existence of Heaven think that only Christians can get to Heaven.

Bye Tom

Noe goes to jail for 18+.

Feel the Joementum!

Yes, ignore all presidential polls.

IIRC, John Kerry was in single digits in December of '03.

Going Long

Well, of course we are. Bush equates leaving with losing. We're staying. Everyone who reads this blog knows this.

Many more dead people so George Bush, St. McCain, The Last Honest Man, and the Quiet Americans can feel good about the fact that they aren't dirty fucking hippies.

...atta j. turk provides the graphic to accompany this post.

Not So Simple Answers to Not So Simple Questions

To answer Tom's question, I think there are various reasons which apply to different actors. One is a high degree of regional tribalism - there are of course many progressive Southerners and they are wedded to the idea of turning their own tribe Blue. One is the influence of BoboBrooksian thinking on many people - the South is real America. One is an understandable unwillingness to abandon a region to the forces of darkness. And, of course, one is the need to both brand and shift the Democratic party to a mythical center which is whatever those arguing for that center claim it is - it's easier to cherry pick that if you have more ideological and regional variety in the caucus.


Over there:

BAGHDAD - The body of an Iraqi actor was found with three bullet wounds in the head in al-Yarmouk district in western Baghdad, police and al-Sharkiya channel said. Waleed Hassan was known for his popular sketch show "Charicature".


FALLUJA - A U.S. Marine died on Sunday from wounds suffered in combat in the western province of Anbar, the U.S. military said.

NEAR BAGHDAD - The bodies of 14 people, with gunshot wounds and bearing signs of torture, were found dumped south of Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.

Still, all was not well in the City of Brotherly Love either, so I guess it's a wash.

Morning Thread

Rock on.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Late Night

Paranoid Ideas


I wonder if it occurs to any of these people that maybe, just maybe, the repeated calls for regime change and bombing campaigns by prominent pundits and senior administration officials might you know, be perceived as a genuine threat by people in and around the Middle East.


At least 112 people killed across Iraq.

Still not quite as bad as Philadelphia.

Fresh Thread


One Last Shot

Yglesias wonders just what the One Last Push crowd actually wants. More importantly, what happens after this Yet Another One More Try fails?

I'm looking forward to December 18th, when I'm hoping (though not optimistic) that we might get an answer. Joe Klein was in the "one last shot" camp before it was the cool position. He wrote:

What can the Democrats do? They can play politics or be responsible. The political option is to embrace "cut and run"; call for an immediate withdrawal, as Kerry did; and hope the public is so sick of Bush and sick of the war that it will punish the g.o.p. in the fall. But embracing defeat is a risky political strategy, especially for a party not known for its warrior ethic. In fact, the responsible path is the Democrats' only politically plausible choice: they will have to give yet another new Iraqi government one last shot to succeed. This time, U.S. military sources say, the measure of success is simple: Operation Forward Together, the massive joint military effort launched last week to finally try to secure Baghdad, has to work. If Baghdad isn't stabilized, the war is lost. "I know it's the cliche of the war," an Army counterinsurgency specialist told me last week. "But we'll know in the next six months—and this time, it'll be the last next six months we get."

Well, our last six months has just one month left. Then, maybe, we'll find out what the new "responsible path" is. Approx. 350 American troops died since Joe Klein told us what the responsible path was. What will his next responsible path lead to?

The People We Listened To

Kevin Drum pulls up a Ken Pollack flashback:

Just to be clear about this: in 1990, Iraq built a workable nuclear weapon. All it lacked was the fissile material.

Anyone with a wee bit of sense reading those two sentences would know that the person who wrote them is either a shameless propagandist or quite possibly the stupidest fucking person on the face of the planet.

In the early 1990s I built a workable time machine. All it lacked was the flux capacitor and 1.21 gigawatts of electricity.

Two F.U.s From Now

Two F.U.s from now we'll still be in Iraq. The Last Honest Man and Saint John McCain will continue to say we just need to send a few more troops in to find the ponies. The Quiet Americans at TNR will still be seeing the Iraq conflict as little more than their own personal intellectual struggle, instead of as a genuine conflict with lots of dead people.

It's all very depressing. Will any reporter ask the Last Honest Man about this statement?

So I am confident that the situation is improving enough on the ground that by the end of this year, we will begin to draw down significant numbers of American troops, and by the end of the next year more than half of the troops who are there now will be home.

"Willing More American Deaths"

I'll just outsource all my blogging to Think Progress today.

Saint McCain and the Last Honest Man and the Quiet Americans at TNR want this to continue so they can feel better about themselves. I don't know what's wrong with these people.

Wanker of the Day

St. John McCain.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

Meet the Press" Guests: Sens.-elect Jim Webb, D-Va., and Jon Tester, D-Mont.

• "This Week" Guests: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; House Majority Leader-elect Steny Hoyer, D-Md.; NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson.

• "Face the Nation" Guests: Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.; Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

• "CNN Late Edition" Guests: Iraqi Ambassador to the U.S. Samir Sumaidaie; Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas; House Majority Whip-elect James Clyburn, D-S.C.; House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

• "Fox News Sunday" . Guests: Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.

Late Night

Pretty Girls Make Graves - Speakers Push the Air