If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there

Commanding majority opposes more troops in Iraq

Asked about Bush’s recent announcement that he would dispatch another 21,500 troops to Iraq, three-fifths said they opposed the move, while just over one-third backed it.

Even Bush’s political base, a source of support throughout his presidency, showed signs of cracking: about one-fourth of Republicans said they do not believe the war was worth fighting and a roughly equal number opposed the troop increase.

“I want us to get out. I want us to leave,” said poll respondent Beth Anderson, a Republican from Belle Center, Ohio, who has a son in the Army.

Anderson, an X-ray technician, added: “I think I was one of the biggest, ‘Yes, we need to go over there.’…And then, little by little, it just got to be too long and too much and the cost is, wow, awful.”

This story What $1.2 Trillion Can Buy

The war in Iraq.

In the days before the war almost five years ago, the Pentagon estimated that it would cost about $50 billion. Democratic staff members in Congress largely agreed. Lawrence Lindsey, a White House economic adviser, was a bit more realistic, predicting that the cost could go as high as $200 billion, but President Bush fired him in part for saying so.

via Economist’s View who asks What Else Could We Do with $300 Million a Day?
How much would it have cost if we would have had another 9-11 was one Bush supporter’s response. That is just another way of making some connection between 9-11 and Iraq where there was/is none. One of the seldom mentioned or conveniently forgotten things about Iraq is that the U.S. enforced a no-fly zone over northern and southern Iraq for over ten years without a single fatality. That should tell a rational person that whatever Iraq was it was never much of a match for American military power. Our ability to lay waste to every major military facility was never in doubt. It was and still is as many warned us years ago a matter of winning a day in day out street fight with insurgents – just to clarify insurgents are native Iraqis that don’t want us there. Those Iraqis that the Right keeps shedding so many fake tears over try to kill American troops in between killing each other. Bush has had three years and over a trillion dollars to try and win over hearts and minds and failed. Bush has had over three years and over a trillion dollars to stop the sectarian violence and failed. Just twenty thousand more troops in harm’s way, that’s the ticket. Just a little bit more blood and treasure pleads Dick Deferment Cheney and we’ll have another “mission accomplished”. Accomplished what exactly? Iraq will still not be anything close to a liberal democracy. There is nothing that has occurred in Iraq or connected to the Iraq debacle that is a guarantee against another 9-11 or that lessens the likelihood of one. At the end of Bush’s eight years as president the Decider will have created exactly zero democracies, two debacles all in the name of 9-11, failed to capture Bin Laden, and all of that capped off by a handful of constitutional crisis’s at home. Those debacles will make another 9-11 more likely as the neocons created another generation of angry bitter radicals. What a great legacy, a mountain of debt for America’s middle-class, a middle-east in even more disarray then it was, a nuclear North Korea, a China that continues as a political tyranny as it gobbles down American jobs, and an Afghanistan that has fallen back into the rule of the warlords. Way to go George.

Besides the direct military spending, I’m including the gas tax that the war has effectively imposed on American families (to the benefit of oil-producing countries like Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia). At the start of 2003, a barrel of oil was selling for $30. Since then, the average price has been about $50. Attributing even $5 of this difference to the conflict adds another $150 billion to the war’s price tag, Ms. Bilmes and Mr. Stiglitz say.

The war has also guaranteed some big future expenses. Replacing the hardware used in Iraq and otherwise getting the United States military back into its prewar fighting shape could cost $100 billion. And if this war’s veterans receive disability payments and medical care at the same rate as veterans of the first gulf war, their health costs will add up to $250 billion. If the disability rate matches Vietnam’s, the number climbs higher. Either way, Ms. Bilmes says, “It’s like a miniature Medicare.”

WaPo rewrites history of warrantless surveillance, ignores Constitutional crisis, as Bush claims that finally he’ll obey the law

The key facts to remember—all of which Stenographer Eggen distorts or omits—are these: Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, in ACLU vs. NSA, ruled that Bush committed over thirty felonies in the course of his illegal and unconstitutional warrantless surveillance program. Under FISA, Bush should have gotten a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which very, very rarely turned requests. Instead, Bush, using sweeping claims for the power of the executive (that’s the unconstitutional part) ignored FISA and didn’t get warrants from the court (that’s the illegal part).

and more here which suggests that it is too early to celebrate, NSA Wiretaps Brought Under Law (Updated Again)

UPDATE 3:35 PM: Patrick Keefe, author of Chatter: Dispatches from the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping, is taking a wait-and-see approach to Gonzales’s announcement. “It’s just not clear what it means,” he tells Defense Tech.

There have already been proposals for the FISA court to grant blanket retroactive approval to the program, and if that’s what this is, then it’s not much of a concession from the administration. If, on the other hand, it’s actually case-by-case approval by FISA judges we’re talking about, I’m not sure how that’s going to square with the reported scope of the program. The ostensible grounds for circumventing the FISA in the first place were that this program didn’t fit in the FISA framework. And given that it reportedly does a kind of mile-wide-and-inch-deep network analysis that is antithetical to the personalized, legally sanctioned surveillance contemplated by the FISA, I’m not sure how you can make the two procedures fit. Unless what they’re really saying here is that they’re abandoning the program altogether, and returning to one-target-at-a-time, retail-rather-than-wholesale surveillance. Which somehow I doubt. ( emphasis mine)

One right-winger is claiming victory and I’ll paraphrase – because this validates Bush’s right to spy on foreign communications – well that was never the issue – nothing like putting a blue ribbon around your straw dog while simultaneously genuflecting for dear leader. The issue was treating each and every American like a terror suspect outside of the parameters set by Congress and administered by the FISA courts. Either we’re a nation of laws or a nation of rule by moody hypocrites.

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” – Lewis Carroll