Saturday, May 08, 2004

In discussing the worst of the Abu Ghraib torture revelations, Kevin Drum, the former Calpundit blogger (now on Washington Monthly) notes Mark Shields' comments on the NewsHour the other night, and summarizes, "...the stuff we saw in the pictures was obviously carefully designed to inflict the greatest possible humiliation on the prisoners. It wasn't the kind of thing a bunch of noncoms dreamed up on their own, it was part of a carefully designed effort to soften up the prisoners and get information from them. The plan was put together by Army officers and intelligence officials and was pretty clearly encouraged and condoned by their superiors.

How high does it go? And how explicit was the policy? I don't know, but based on what we've seen so far I'd guess (a) pretty high and (b) pretty explicit. The only question is whether the investigation itself will go that high, or content itself with a few low ranking scapegoats."

A question we hope is not answered with a whitewash. Link to: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/
for more details..

A warning from Donald Rumsfeld-

"Be on notice," he told the Senate committee. "There are a lot more photographs and videos that exist. If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse."

...worse for him, certainly.

I realize I'm writing a lot about Iraq, which may seem obsessive for a New Yorker, but what's happening there seems perhaps more appropriate for New Yorkers to care about than it would have been before 9-11.

We had death rain down on our city from across the world, unasked for, changing the lives of many civilians in an instant. People in Baghdad, it strikes me, have had the same sad experience, mutiplied many times in it's severity. Another cosmopolitian city, another tragedy.

The latest revelation, that the ICRC has been protesting to "high officials" in the Bush Administration about prisoner abuse in Iraq since last fall, apparently to no avail, once again exposes the mendacity of Rumsfeld and company. That Rumsfeld can now turn around and attempt, as he apparently did yesterday in front of a Senate committee, and attempt to make an issue of whether journalists should be shining a light on the abuse, highlights his brass balls. The only issue at this point should be his fitness for office.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

A soldier back from Iraq yesterday said troops think, "it smells bad when you read that Vice President Cheney headed Halliburton before the war and then you see Halliburton is bringing you your lunch" in Baghdad.

Does anyone think the average GI hasn't noticed the money being spread around to Administration cronies in the "privatized" sector of the Iraq occupation?

Speaking of money, the Administration has done an about-face on additional funding for Iraq this year. What's another $25 billion between friends? Even without funding next year in the 2005 budget before the election...

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Bush will go on TV in Arab countries to "limit the damage" caused by the reports and footage released recently of torture and mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners. A more fortright and effective method of regaining some semblance of credibility might be to demand accountability from his Defense Department, which apparently has made humane treatment of prisoners a low priority.

For a war that was supposed to show the Arab world the wonders of democracy it's not exactly a shining example of the best America has to offer the world. One wonders if this President CAN regain credibility with the world, much less the Arab world. Regime change...

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


For all of you who want to catch up on Africa news and politics, the above site is a good blog to check out. At a moment when Africa is afflicted with an AIDS epidemic that makes the war in Iraq look small, you might want to broaden horizons on this blog with links to Africa news and commentary sources.

Monday, May 03, 2004

The law of averages kicks in-- the Yankees' Cadillac offense is hitting, just like their payroll said they would. Fortunately, they've wasted the month of April getting around to it. I'd worry more about Sox' stall if it weren't for-- look, Schilling pitches tonight!

Even with a sweep of Sox in Arlington, a weekend of baseball beats a week of lying from the White House. By the way, did anyone in the US notice the EU grew by 10 over the weekend?

Interestingly, even the Europeans weren't paying TOO close attention... one in ten answered yes when asked if a country called "Loovannia" had been added.

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