November 30, 2005

On May 2, 2003, President George W. Bush was flown onto an aircraft carrier which was moved further out to sea to make for better pictures and said:

[M]y fellow Americans, major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. . . . And tonight, I have a special word for Secretary Rumsfeld, for General Franks and for all the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States: America is grateful for a job well done.

. . . With new tactics and precision weapons, we can achieve military objectives without directing violence against civilians. No device of man can remove the tragedy from war, yet it is a great advance when the guilty have far more to fear from war than the innocent.

. . . We've begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons, and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated.

. . . The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11th, 2001 and still goes on. That terrible morning, 19 evil men, the shock troops of a hateful ideology, gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions. They imagined, in the words of one terrorist, that September the 11th would be the beginning of the end of America. By seeking to turn our cities into killing fields, terrorists and their allies believed that they could destroy this nation's resolve and force our retreat from the world.

They have failed.

America and our coalition will finish what we have begun.

From Pakistan to the Philippines to the Horn of Africa, we are hunting down Al Qaida killers.

Nineteen months ago I pledged that the terrorists would not escape the patient justice of the United States. And as of tonight nearly one half of Al Qaida's senior operatives have been captured or killed.

The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We have removed an ally of Al Qaida and cut off a source of terrorist funding.

And this much is certain: No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the regime is no more.

In these 19 months that changed the world, our actions have been focused and deliberate and proportionate to the offense. We have not forgotten the victims of September the 11th, the last phone calls, the cold murder of children, the searches in the rubble. With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States, and war is what they got.

Our war against terror is proceeding according to the principles that I have made clear to all.

Any person involved in committing or planning terrorist attacks against the American people becomes an enemy of this country and a target of American justice.

Any person, organization or government that supports, protects or harbors terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent and equally guilty of terrorist crimes. Any outlaw regime that has ties to terrorist groups and seeks or possesses weapons of mass destruction is a grave danger to the civilized world and will be confronted.

. . . The use of force has been and remains our last resort. Yet all can know, friend and foe alike, that our nation has a mission: We will answer threats to our security, and we will defend the peace.

Our mission continues. Al Qaida is wounded, not destroyed. The scattered cells of the terrorist network still operate in many nations and we know from daily intelligence that they continue to plot against free people. The proliferation of deadly weapons remains a serious danger.

Count the falsehoods. 31 months later, 160,000 American soldiers remain in Iraq and President Bush today will unveil a "victory strategy" for a "mission accomplished."

I'll consider the "victory strategy" on the flip.

Update [2005-11-30 9:4:17 by Armando]: Via Steve Clemons, the "Victory Strategy" itself.
Source: Daily Kos Blog
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(From the diaries -- Plutonium Page. Norway, Iceland, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Romania, Italy, and now the UK. Secret flights, secret prisons... this is a very important developing story.)

The Times Online is reporting today that as many as 11 UK airports have been used for torture flights.
I had guessed that Blair might have been smart enough to not allow the flights through England, but I guess his trust in Bush was too great. Foolish, foolish man.

Flight records show that at least 210 private jets carrying detainees apparently leased by shell companies attached to the CIA have stopped over in the UK since September 2001.

See more below

Source: Daily Kos Blog
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Columnist Mark Shields spoke with Rep. John Murtha before the congressman gave his now-famous Iraq speech, and...

I predicted that the speech he was about give would have the same impact on the debate over Iraq that former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite had on February 27, 1968, when he spoke of the near-certainty that "the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate."  President Lyndon Johnson said: "That's it. If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America."  Murtha did not believe me.

What made it all true was the venality and stupidity of the Republicans.  From the personality-challenged White House press secretary accusing him of "surrender" to the clueless, but venomous, Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, unaware of his combat record, accusing Murtha of being a " coward," Republicans made Jack Murtha the most prominent Democrat in town.

As one astute Senate Republican aide observed to David Rogers of The Wall Street Journal, "If the House Republicans want to make Jack Murtha the face of the Democratic Party, then Republicans will really be trounced next year."

Congressional Democrats, a large majority of whom need vertebrae transplants and are terrified of taking any position on Iraq, mostly kept their distance from Murtha until they realized that public reaction had swung his way.  They then embraced him.  The gentleman from Pennsylvania has changed the terms of the national debate, and Democrats should be so lucky as to have Jack Murtha as their party's 2006 face.

Read the rest here.  It's quite good.  

Bush lost Murtha.  And if he's lost Murtha, he's lost middle America.

Cheers and Jeers starts in There's Moreville... [Swoosh!!]  RIGHTNOW!  [Gong!!]

Source: Daily Kos Blog
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Tonight's installment of the Fighting Dems features David Harris, running in the Texas 6th Congressional District. The Fighting Dems series is meant to highlight men and women who worn the uniform and have chosen to run on the Democratic ticket. Turns out there's tons more on our side than theirs.

Harris is running against Joe Barton. Lots of good information available in this post from the District Sizer Blog, which is closely tracking the race:

First and foremost, David has been involved in building the Democratic party for many years. He shows up at county headquarters and gives his time and money to the party. This is not some guy who just popped up out of the blue and decided to run. This is someone with a long history of helping build the party.

David Harris served as a delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. He served his country honorably as a member of the Army and Army Reserves. He completed a tour of duty in Iraq, so we believe David is uniquely qualified to offer advice to his (future) fellow Representatives on how to achieve victory or an honorable withdrawal from Iraq.

That blog post has all sorts of info on where Harris stands on the issues. So head on over if you want to know where he stands on healthcare or energy or education.

The segment will run at around 9:20 p.m. ET, though your local Air America affiliates may have it at different times. Here's Harris' ActBlue page, if you're so moved to donate. Led by Anna of Annatopia, they're trying to raise $3K today. Here's his official campaign site.

Previous Fighting Dems:

Andrew Duck (MD-06)
Patrick Murphy (PA-08)
Paul Hackett (OH-Sen)
Bryan Lentz (PA-07)
David Ashe (VA-02)

You can get streams of these segments on Air America's Fighting Dems site.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
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SUSA's monthly tracking poll of all 50 governors is out. I don't have time to pore over the numbers right now. But you guys can.
Source: Daily Kos Blog
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Courtesy of Atrios:

Time magazine Baghdad bureau chief Michael Ware on Morning Sedition this morning:

I and some other journalists had lunch with Senator Joe Lieberman the other day and we listened to him talking about Iraq. Either Senator Lieberman is so divorced from reality that he's completely lost the plot or he knows he's spinning a line. Because one of my colleagues turned to me in the middle of this lunch and said he's not talking about any country I've ever been to and yet he was talking about Iraq, the very country where we were sitting.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
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Source: Daily Kos Blog
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One of our own guys is in the crosshairs of the Abramoff probe:

New evidence is emerging that the top Democrat on the Senate committee currently investigating Jack Abramoff got political money arranged by the lobbyist back in 2002 shortly after the lawmaker took action favorable to Abramoff's tribal clients.

A lawyer for the Louisiana Coushatta Indians told The Associated Press that Abramoff instructed the tribe to send $5,000 to Sen. Byron Dorgan's political group just three weeks after the North Dakota Democrat urged fellow senators to fund a tribal school program Abramoff's clients wanted to use.

The check was one of about five dozen the Coushattas listed in a tribal ledger as being issued on March 6, 2002, to various lawmakers' campaigns and political causes at the instruction of Abramoff, tribal attorney Jimmy Fairchild said Monday [...]

The revelation came as Dorgan took to the offensive Monday, saying there was no connection between the $20,000 in donations he got from Abramoff's firm and tribal clients in spring 2002 and a February 2002 letter he wrote urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to fund the tribal school building program [...]

Dorgan told a news conference in North Dakota he had never met Abramoff, did not know about the donations from the lobbyist's clients around the time of his letter and saw no reason to step aside from the Senate Indian Affairs committee investigation of Abramoff.

On first blush, Dorgan's explanations seem reasonable, that is unless someone can show a quid pro quo between Abramoff and Dorgan. But I'm not interested in nuance on this issue. If Dorgan becomes collateral damage, then so be it. If nothing else, it's yet another example of how corrosive money can be in the political process.

Update: Kagro X warns against partisan tipsters and makes great points.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
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I was going to compile a list like this later today, but Hotline on Call spared me the trouble:

Bayh: find realistic way to define success, then set benchmarks

Edwards: was "wrong". Wants "significant" reduction of troops after elections early next year. He'd tie the proportion of troops withdrawn to benchmarks set for Iraqi soldier performance.

Biden: no withdrawals until political situation improves, but sees 100K troops back home by '07. Does not rule out more troops if necessary. Wants admin to come clean about targets for Iraqi troop training. More civillian staff in Iraq.

Clark: add civillian component; consider adding troops; adjust the mix on the ground; establish clear benchmarks for training

Clinton: No immed. withdrawal, no troop increase, set specific benchmarks for training Iraqi forces and make it clear to Iraq that the US's military committment is limited.

Feingold: 12/31/06 is a "target date" for troops to come home. But he's flexible.

Kerry: begin drawn down of 20K troops after elections in Dec and continue if successful.

Richardson: "It is now time for the military commanders to design a phased, definitive withdrawal plan."

Warner: No immed. withdrawal, no troop increase, set specific benchmarks for Iraqi forces. Eschews "debating the past."

Of these, Richardson's actually makes most sense. The book will be done today (at least my part in it), so this is something that I definitely plan on exploring with my newfound time starting tomorrow.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
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Zogby. 11/10-14. Online poll. MoE 4.2% (No trend lines)

Effect of the Bush campaign help for Kilgore

More Likely 12
Less Likely 26
Made no difference 63

Effect of the Warner campaign help for Kaine

More Likely 33
Less Likely 14
Made no difference 53

In New Jersey, Zogby's polling found similar trends:

n fact, a full third (34%) of New Jerseyans said that Forrester's support of George W. Bush--which was far from full-throated--made them less likely to support the candidate, while half as many (16%) were more energized to support Forrester--although half (50%) said it made no difference.

Zogby also analyzed the Ohio and California initiative results. However, this is one of his internet polls, so tread carefully.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
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Something tells me it'll be Pace who finds himself up for early retirement, not Rumsfeld.

Our leaders are truly scum.
Source: Atrios Blog
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The title is quite appropriate. In Groundhog Day, Bill Murray's character first tries to make the most of his lot by changing how he seemed to be. Eventually he began to change how he actually was.

Bush will of course never understand that.
Source: Atrios Blog
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Today, two and a half years after sending our troops into battle in Iraq, the President gave a speech at the US Naval Academy to defend the progress of the war. He also released a 35-page plan for victory in Iraq.

Yet, he once again failed to lay out a real strategy for success and a plan to bring our troops home safely. Instead, he offered up the same old rhetoric. We hope the next time the President decides to send our best Americans into battle and spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars that are needed here at home, he will consider coming up with a plan for victory BEFORE taking such an action.

The decision to commit troops into battle is the most sacred responsibility of any commander-in-chief. The fact that President Bush is only now unveiling his plan for victory today -- two and a half years after committing our forces into battle -- shows how incompetent, dishonest and frivolous his approach was toward this war in the first place.

The President is no longer entitled to our trust when it comes to discussing the execution of the War in Iraq because he continuously refuses to provide a real exit strategy. As a country, we need to take responsibility over this war by urging our leaders to support a responsible and coherent exit plan so we can bring our troops home and reallocate our resources toward an effective war on terror and our needs here at home.

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Via Catch, Joe Dante discusses his Showtime show:

"This is a horror story because most of the characters are Republicans," director Joe Dante announced before the November 13 world premiere of his latest movie, Homecoming, at the Turin Film Festival. Republicans, as it happens, will be the ones who find Homecoming's agitprop premise scariest: In an election year, dead veterans of the current conflict crawl out of their graves and stagger single-mindedly to voting booths so they can eject the president who sent them to fight a war sold on "horseshit and elbow grease."
The dizzying high point of Showtime's new Masters of Horror series, the hour-long Homecoming (which premieres December 2) is easily one of the most important political films of the Bush II era. With its only slightly caricatured right-wingers, the film nails the casual fraudulence and contortionist rhetoric that are the signatures of the Bush-Cheney administration. Its dutiful hero, presidential consultant David Murch (Jon Tenney), reports to a Karl Rove–like guru named Kurt Rand (Robert Picardo) and engages in kinky power fucks with attack-bitch pundit Jane Cleaver (Thea Gill), a blonde, leggy Ann Coulter proxy with a "No Sex for All" tank top and "BSH BABE" license plates. Murch's glib, duplicitous condescension is apparently what triggers the zombie uprising: Confronting an angry mother of a dead soldier on a news talk show, he tells this Cindy Sheehan figure, "If I had one wish . . . I would wish for your son to come back," so he could assure the country of the importance of the war. The boy does return, along with legions of fallen combatants, and they all beg to differ. [...]

Dante and writer Sam Hamm (Batman) adapted Homecoming from Dale Bailey's "Death and Suffrage," a 2002 short story that puts a morbidly literal spin on the idea of the dead being used to pad the Chicago voting roll. (The film also owes something to the low-budget 'Nam-era Dead of Night, in which a "Monkey's Paw" wish brings an undead veteran back to his family home.) Though Bush is never named, Homecoming tailors its provocative scenario to accommodate a devastatingly specific checklist of accusations, from the underreporting of war casualties to last November's dubious Ohio count. As if in defiance of the Pentagon's policy to ban photographs of dead soldiers' coffins, Dante's film shows not just the flag-draped caskets at Dover Air Force Base but their irate occupants bursting out of them. "There's a lot of powerful imagery in this movie that has nothing to do with me," Dante says. "When you see those coffins, which is a sight that's generally been withheld from us, there's a gravity to it. Even though there's comedy in the movie, there's something basically so serious and depressing about the subject that it never gets overwhelmed by satire." [...]

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see what a fucking mess we're in," he continues. "It's been happening steadily for the past four years, and nobody said peep. The New York Times and all these people that abetted the lies and crap that went into making and selling this war—now that they see the guy is a little weak, they're kicking him with their toe to make sure he doesn't bite back. It's cowardly. This pitiful zombie movie, this fucking B movie, is the only thing anybody's done about this issue that's killed 2,000 Americans and untold numbers of Iraqis? It's fucking sick." While gratified by the warm reception to Homecoming in Turin, Dante says he's eager for the right-wing punditocracy back home to see it: "I hope this movie bothers a lot of people that disagree with it—and that it makes them really pissed off, as pissed off as the rest of us are."

The actress Dante found to play NotAnnCoulter eerily resembles the real thing.

Source: Atrios Blog
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Yglesias's take is about right. Contrary to all the recent chitchat Bush didn't lay the groundwork for any withdrawal from Iraq. It ain't gonna happen on his watch.

As Yglesias says, this adminsitration doesn't know how to do any of the things they want to do.

Matthews is wetting himself over Bush's masterful proposal for $3.9 billion in reconstruction funds Bush is proposing. I guess Halliburton needs another day of pay. We'd be better served if Matthews spent some time telling us what happened to all of the previous monies which were allocated for Iraq reconstruction.
Source: Atrios Blog
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Make sure to have all your right wing friends turn on Showtime on Friday.
Source: Atrios Blog
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The infantalization of America continues.

Well, at least Chris Matthews will be able to undertand it.
Source: Atrios Blog
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