what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard

I’m not an arms wonk, but this does make for an interesting break from politics as usual, China Criticized for Anti-Satellite Missile Test

The Chinese military used a ground-based missile to hit and destroy one of its aging satellites orbiting more than 500 miles in space last week — a high-stakes test demonstrating China’s ability to target regions of space that are home to U.S. spy satellites and space-based missile defense systems.

The test of anti-satellite technology is believed to be the first of its kind in two decades by any nation and raised concerns about the vulnerability of U.S. satellites and a possible arms race in space.

Seriously bad news especially considering what passes for leadership currently occupying the Whitehouse – they’re probably tie a 20 percent increase in defense spending with another round of tax cuts and call anyone that disagrees a Chinese sympathizer. That’s the problem with the neocons they only know one song and are singularly incapable of an appropriate response. The National Review gives credence reason number three million forty six why conservatives generally can’t be trusted to have anything approaching valuable input on issues of national security. First tip, they might want to read something else besides the puzzles on the back of serial boxes, China’s ASAT [John J. Miller] Thursday, January 18, 2007

The only way to make our satellites less vulnerable is to protect them through emerging technologies that permit defensive measures, redundancies that allow a system to survive a successful strike, and clear statements about American resolve.

As this debate evolves, you will hear a lot about how horrible it will be to “weaponize” space. With the Chinese blowing up satellites with ASATs, however, space is weaponized. Right now. We can accept this reality and deal with it as best we can, or we can pretend it doesn’t exist and deal with the consequences when it’s too late.

“space is weaponized”? Since the NR is an ever so elite intellectual publication of the Right you would think that they would know where of they speak. Mr. Miller suffers from day late dollar short disease as conservative intellectuals inevitably do, US ready to put weapons in space Defence expert says America is likely to ignore treaty ban, Mark Townsend, Sunday November 7, 2004

America has begun preparing its next military objective – space. Documents reveal that the US Air Force has for the first time adopted a doctrine to establish ‘space superiority’.

The new doctrine means that pre-emptive strikes against enemy satellites would become ‘crucial steps in any military operation’. This week defence experts will attend a conference in London amid warnings that President Bush’s re-election will pave the way to the arming of space.

Internal USAF documents reveal that seizing control of the ‘final frontier’ is deemed essential for modern warfare. Counterspace Operations reveals that destroying enemy satellites would improve the chance of victory. It states: ‘Space superiority provides freedom to attack as well as freedom from attack. Space and air superiority are crucial first steps in any military operation.’

Theresa Hitchens, vice-president of a Washington-based independent think-tank, the Centre for Defence Information, said: ‘These documents show that they are taking space control seriously.’

This week’s meeting, held by the British-American Security Information Council (Basic), will also discuss whether Britain can restrain a US administration intent on strategic control of space.

Or Mr. Miller might want to read this, U.S. Air Force Plans for Future War in Space 22 February 2004

Called the Transformation Flight Plan, the 176-page document offers a sweeping look at how best to expand Americas military space tool kit.

The use of space is highlighted throughout the report, with the document stating that space superiority combines the following three capabilities: protect space assets, deny adversaries access to space, and quickly launch vehicles and operate payloads into space to quickly replace space assets that fail or are damaged/destroyed.

From space global laser engagement, air launched anti-satellite missiles, to space-based radio frequency energy weapons and hypervelocity rod bundles heaved down to Earth from space the U.S. Air Force flight plan portrays how valued space operations has become for the warfighter and in protecting the nation from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high explosive attack.

That China, conservatives 2nd favorite place to send American jobs for the last thirty years has performed this test and not really considered the consequences is typical of authoritarian thinking, but one thing you can count on is that conservatives who think in most ways just like the Chinese will botch up the response. It will costs too much as they prepare for the far outside worse case scenario, Bush and Rice will talk tough outside both sides of their mouths and taxpayers will get stuck with the tab. Wal-Mart, Microsoft and Intel and other conservative businesses will meanwhile pump billions into China’s economy as they paint anyone that disagrees with them as appeasers. Its all just another tent in the on going circus of conservative foreign policy switcharoos, they do one trick with one hand while doing the opposite behind the scenes.

D’Souza knows as much about the history of the middle-east as the National Review does about the space arms-race, Shorter Dinesh D’Souza: How the left led us into 9/11 in which it is noted that D’Souza advocated appeasing the Saudis by getting out of Saudi Arabia and then turned around advocated invading Iraq and wink wink nudge nudge so maybe we could have permanent bases there – so that would make all the bull about spreading democracy just that. Right-wingers like D’Souza that are part of the pyramid scheme of wing-nut conspiracy theories build on other conspiracy theories. Which is just another mission accomplished. What matters to righties like D’Souza isn’t so much the truth as much as muddling up the waters and deflecting blame for the Right’s failures in the middle-east that reach all the way back to Eisenhower. More here, Dinesh D’Souza: Mediocre Tequila, Worse Pundit and here, Dinesh d’Souza Blames Liberals for 9/11. D’Souza must have a huge pair of blinders to manage the incredible feat of ignoring Reagan’s hand in events and how those events contributed to the current state of the middle-east.

Principal: Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
Billy Madison: Okay, a simple “wrong” would’ve done just fine.

from the movie Billy Madison(1995)

Lastly, Retired Generals Criticize Bush’s Plan for Iraq

A panel of retired generals told a United States Senate committee today that sending 21,500 additional troops to Iraq will do little to solve the underlying political problems in the country.

“Too little and too late,” is the way Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, a former chief of the Central Command, described the effort to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The additional troops are intended to help pacify Baghdad and a restive province, but General Hoar said American leaders had failed to understand the political forces at work in the country. “The solution is political, not military,” he said.

“A fool’s errand,” was the judgment of Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, who commanded troops in the first Gulf War. He said other countries had concluded that the effort in Iraq was not succeeding, noting that “our allies are leaving us and will be gone by summer.”

Describing the situation in Iraq as “desperate but not terminal,” he said Iraqis had to try to make political deals domestically and negotiate for stability with neighboring nations, particularly Syria and Iran.

The American effort in Iraq has gone badly because the United States did not understand the consequences of deposing Saddam Hussein, said Lt. Gen. William E. Odom, a former director of the National Security Agency. He said the principal beneficiary of the war was Iran and Al Qaeda, not the United States.

We all heard the D’Souza crap before from what passes for intelligent punditry form conservatives like Coulter and Hannity. Its coming around again because they have to deflect from the fact that Bush’s action in Iraq and failures in Afghanistan have been a gift to Osama Bin laden and his followers.

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

Democracy forever teases us with the contrast between its ideals and its realities, between its heroic possibilities and its sorry achievements

Remember these sounds bites,

“We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.

“America’s vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one.” (G. W. Bush, CNN Thursday, January 20, 2005)

We welcome his initiative. Countries like Saudi Arabia and Jordan and Egypt have made clear they’re willing to contribute the diplomatic and financial assistance necessary to help these efforts succeed. I’m optimistic that by supporting the forces of democracy and moderation, we can help Israelis and Palestinians build a more hopeful future and achieve the peace in a Holy Land we all want.

Freedom, by its nature, cannot be imposed — it must be chosen. From Beirut to Baghdad, people are making the choice for freedom. And the nations gathered in this chamber must make a choice, as well: Will we support the moderates and reformers who are working for change across the Middle East — or will we yield the future to the terrorists and extremists? America has made its choice: We will stand with the moderates and reformers. (Bush, September 19, 2006)

“The chances of democratic progress in the broader Middle East have seemed frozen in place for decades,” Bush said at the National Defense University at Fort McNair. “Yet, at last, clearly and suddenly, the thaw has begun.” (Bush, WaPo Wednesday, March 9, 2005)

Waking Up to Reality – Condi makes nice in the Middle East

She snapped to in Cairo, one of the stops on her whirlwind tour through the Middle East. Back in February 2005, Rice canceled a trip to Egypt to protest President Hosni Mubarak’s arrest of opposition candidate Ayman Nour. In June of that year, she finally did go to Cairo, but mainly to deliver a speech at the American University demanding that Mubarak grant his people liberty. “We are all concerned for the future of Egypt’s reforms when peaceful supporters of democracy—men and women—are not free from violence,” she declared. “The day must come when the rule of law replaces emergency decrees—and when the independent judiciary replaces arbitrary justice.”

and now,

During this week’s trip, according to Michael Slackman in today’s New York Times, Secretary Rice was much more demure. “I especially want to thank President Mubarak for receiving me and for spending so much time with me to talk about the issues of common interest here in the Middle East,” she said at a press conference. “Obviously the relationship with Egypt is an important strategic relationship—one that we value greatly.”

As Slackman graphically points out, Egypt’s record on democracy and human rights hasn’t improved since Rice’s jeremiad a mere 19 months ago. What has changed? It’s become bracingly clear—to Mubarak, to the would-be reformers across the Middle East, even to Secretary Rice—that America no longer possesses the power or credibility to change the situation. And, at least Rice seems finally to realize, to continue pounding the moral point, simply for the sake of sounding noble and feeling good, would only diminish our standing further and possibly worsen the prospects for Egyptian reform.

To dream of a world that is border to border western style democracy is a noble a political dream. Democracy is liberalism’s blueprint made real. That conservative’s have tried to co-op it like just about every other liberal idea isn’t surprising there is just something about the conservative psyche that prevents it from having its own ideas and Bush’s signing statements are testament to their using democracy more as a propaganda gimmick then anything else. Yet as we can see from Secretary Rice’s reversals it is one thing to talk the talk and another to walk the walk. There is more then the hypocrisy of the usual political boiler plate cliches that plays well in Peoria. It is the juxtaposition of two realities. They are determined, so they keep saying to force western style democracy down Iraqi’s throat even if they have to kill tens of thousands of Billy Bob Mohammeds to do so, yet when it comes to Egypt they don’t even have the political backbone or moral consistency to challenge Egypt on the diplomatic front. Sure Bush is well versed in the art of the filp-flop, but that doesn’t really do justice to what Bush and his minions do. It is more the art of slithering like a desert snake. They ungulate from this to that grand sound bite cloaking their hypocrisies in smirking arrogance of their slefodecieving cleverness- Sure we’re letting Egypt, Jordan and others continue to make barbarism an everyday fact of life in those countries, but wait we’ll show you where we condemned those practices in the strongest terms – so you see we’re perfectly consistent. When liberals sound cynical about Bush spreading democracy its not that we don’t get all misty eyed at the idea of the world living under Jeffersonian ideals its that we know from the last six years that Bush and Company are talking out of both sides of their many faces.

The Right keeps claiming they’re not racists, On MLK Day, Savage called civil rights a “racket” designed to steal “white males’ birthright”

“Democracy forever teases us with the contrast between its ideals and its realities, between its heroic possibilities and its sorry achievements.” – Agnes Repplier

“The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint, but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colours breaking through.” – Alexis de Tocqueville

Bush and Cheney maybe insane and definitely out of control

Critics Wont Halt Iraq Surge, Bush Says

President Bush, facing opposition from both parties over his plan to send more troops to Iraq, said he has the authority to act no matter what Congress wants.

“I fully understand they could try to stop me from doing it. But I’ve made my decision. And we’re going forward,” Bush told CBS'”60 Minutes” in an interview to air Sunday night.

Vice President Dick Cheney asserted that lawmakers’ criticism will not influence Bush’s plans and he dismissed any effort to “run a war by committee.”

“The president is the commander in chief. He’s the one who has to make these tough decisions,” Cheney said.

The defiant White House stance comes as both the House and Senate, now controlled by Democrats, prepare to vote on resolutions that oppose additional U.S. troops in Iraq. Cheney said those nonbinding votes would not affect Bush’s ability to carry out his policies.

“He’s the guy who’s got to decide how to use the force and where to deploy the force,” Cheney said. “And Congress obviously has to support the effort through the power of the purse. So they’ve got a role to play, and we certainly recognize that. But you also cannot run a war by committee.”

So to summarize, they lied us into Iraq, they screwed up and let the country turn into a quagmire of civil strife, let outside fighters in and now they say they’re the only ones that can be trusted to run things. These are not men much less leaders they’re arrogant cretins. Just think after they finish screwing over the Iraqi people and America they get a pension, free health-care and Secret Service protection for life courtesy the American taxpayer. I would like to see Cheney’s copy of the Constitution where it says, “And Congress obviously has to support the effort through the power of the purse.” Congress has to continue to finance the president’s betrayal of America? Interesting take on presidential powers. Congress has already put money in the pipe-line for Iraq, but they are under no Constitutional obligation to continue to finance Bush’s Iraq debacle. Staying in Iraq has little to nothing to do with America’s national security. It’s all about arrogance and false pride. They just can’t admit they were wrong and redeploy the troops . Jim Webb (D-VA) wrapped it nicely, Webb And The Armed Services Committee

I also want to say something about my longtime friend, Senator McCain’s comments when he was talking about the consequences of pulling out of Iraq and in your statement, Secretary Gates, you list some of these as an emboldened and strengthened Iran, a base of operations for jihadist networks in the heart of the Middle East, an undermining of the credibility of the United States. In many ways, quite frankly, those have been the results of the invasion and occupation. There’s really nothing that’s occurred since the invasion and occupation that was not predictable and in fact, most of it was predicted. It was predicted in many cases by people with long backgrounds in national security…and in many cases there were people who saw their military careers destroyed and who were personally demeaned by people who opposed them on the issues, including members of this administration. And they are people in my judgement, who will be remembered in history as having had a moral conscience. (emphasis mine)

We have a president and vice-president without a conscience. No matter how strategically wrong or morally wrong they are determined to have things their way and they are willing to lie for the umpteenth time to get their way. Administration leaving out important details on Iraq

“They blew up one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam – the Golden Mosque of Samarra – in a calculated effort to provoke Iraq’s Shia population to retaliate,” Bush said. “Their strategy worked. Radical Shia elements, some supported by Iran, formed death squads. And the result was a vicious cycle of sectarian violence that continues today.”

That version of events helps to justify Bush’s “new way forward” in Iraq, in which U.S. forces will largely target Sunni insurgents and leave it to Iraq’s U.S.-backed Shiite government to – perhaps – disarm its allies in Shiite militias and death squads.

But the president’s account understates by at least 15 months when Shiite death squads began targeting Sunni politicians and clerics. It also ignores the role that Iranian-backed Shiite groups had in death squad activities prior to the Samarra bombing.

Blaming the start of sectarian violence in Iraq on the Golden Dome bombing risks policy errors because it underestimates the depth of sectarian hatred in Iraq and overlooks the conflict’s root causes. The Bush account also fails to acknowledge that Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite groups stoked the conflict.

President Bush met at the White House in November with the head of one of those groups: Abdul Aziz al-Hakim of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. SCIRI’s Badr Organization militia is widely reported to have infiltrated Iraq’s security forces and to be involved in death squad activities.

They seem to think lying is always justified because they see their grand cause as worthy of the Big Lie or they are psychologically incapable of distinguishing reality from their delusional perceptions

The administration has continued to offer inaccurate information to Congress, the American people and sometimes to itself. The Iraq Study Group, in its December report, concluded, for example, that the U.S. military was systematically under-reporting the violence in Iraq in an effort to disguise policy failings. The group recommended that the military change its reporting system.

Whether many of the administration’s statements about Iraq for nearly five years have been deliberately misleading or honest but gullible mistakes hasn’t been determined. The Senate Intelligence Committee has yet to complete an investigation into the issue that was begun but stalled when Republicans controlled the committee. .

Newspapers…and After?

Especially at the local and state levels, where the fundamental fights for control of a nation less red and blue than complexly purple play out, daily newspapers remain essential arbiters of what passes for news and what Americans think about it. For all the talk about television’s dominant role in campaigns (less and less because of its importance as a source of news for most Americans, more and more because of campaign commercials) and all the new attention to the Internet, newspapers for the most part continue to establish the parameters of what gets covered and how. Moreover, neither broadcast nor digital media have developed the reporting infrastructure or the level of credibility that newspapers enjoy. So candidates for the House, the Senate and even the White House still troop into old gray buildings in Denver and Omaha, Louisville and Boston, Concord and Des Moines in search of a forum where they can talk with reporters and editors about issues and where those conversations will, they hope, be distilled into articles and editorials that set so much of the agenda for the political debate at the local, state and national levels.

For all their faults newspapers do still remain the best sources for news. The broadcast media despite a huge viewership has been horrible at covering the issues much less analyzing them.

Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson: you find the present tense, but the past perfect

According to some folks there was a time ( my best guess is between 1776 and before John F. Kennedy became president) when America was as pure as mythical snow. Everyone during this time did nothing but work, read the Bible and whip their kids into responsible adults the likes of which we’ll never see again because the wicked liberals spoiled everything. Those times never existed except in a few prurient imaginations that were and still are in denial. Mary Ann Hall’s High-Class Brothel and Prostitution in Antebellum Washington

Mary Ann Hall built her brothel in a convenient location near the U.S. Capitol Building in a city known for its large population of transient men who came from all over the country, usually unaccompanied by women, to transact business in the national capital. 5 Tax records show that Mary Hall prospered during her first decade in business, the value of her property doubling between 1840 and 1850 and her personal property increasing by more than thirty percent. 6

Although little published information survives about Mary Ann Hall’s brothel or about prostitution in general in nineteenth-century Washington, Hall probably operated her establishment in a manner similar to the high-class “parlor houses” common in New York City at the time. The typical parlor house served men of wealth and distinction in a discreet and elegant environment, each transaction beginning with a shared bottle of champagne provided, at an exorbitant price, by the house. The prostitutes who worked in these houses were noted for their youth, beauty, and social refinement. 7 In a rare nineteenth-century publication entitled Mysteries and Miseries of America’s Great Cities, a full chapter is devoted to illicit activities in Washington, D.C. In the book, the author implies that the nature of Washington as the national capital offered high-class prostitutes additional business opportunities, because they could be hired to use their charms to influence the passage of particular laws on the floors of Congress. If they succeeded, they were rewarded handsomely by the corporate interests who derived benefits from the legislation

Officials: Pentagon Probed Finances

The military’s expanded use of the records authority was first reported yesterday on the Web site of the New York Times, which said that military officials had made more than 500 such requests since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Quoting unnamed military intelligence officials, the Times said that the actual number of letters was probably well into the thousands, because a single investigation often resulted in requests to multiple institutions.

By law, the FBI is charged with conducting investigations of U.S. citizens and with counterterrorism activities in this country.

Domestic intelligence-gathering by the CIA and the military is sharply restricted. In the military’s case, such activities have generally involved investigations of direct threats to military installations and personnel in the United States, as well as inquiries into possible criminal activities by uniformed or civilian Defense Department employees.

Under then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, the Pentagon expanded its collection of intelligence within the borders of the United States — a development that stirred concern among members of Congress and prompted stern criticism and lawsuits from civil liberties advocates.

This doesn’t matter if you don’t mind your country slipping yet another inch toward being a banana republic.

Mahablog has this confessional from a conservative, Betrayal

In Iraq, this Republican President for whom I voted twice has shamed our country with weakness and incompetence, and the consequences of his failure will be far, far worse than anything Carter did.

The fraud, the mendacity, the utter haplessness of our government’s conduct of the Iraq war have been shattering to me.

It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this. Not under a Republican President.

I find it difficult to give a damn that some die hard air head conservative finally had a single clear thought. The question is what is Rod Dreher going to do the rest of his life for being part of the movement that has worked everyday for the last fifty years to betray every value that can be called American. He’s just one of millions that have more in common with the worse draconian political movements in human history then Thomas Jefferson or James Madison. Conservatism is a dangerous farce. Think of everything that conservatives say they stand for: fiscal responsibility, ethics, family values, love of country, small government, cautious prudent foreign policy. Whenever they have been given any opportunity, certainly since Richard Nixon they turned their back on everyone of those principles. The conservative movement, like any garden variety authoritarianism has been about power and and the arrogant exercise of authority ( I didn’t mention religion because the real powers of the conservatism used it as part of the big con). So Rod is forty. He and his age cohorts don’t have much time so they better get to work making amends and stop wasting my time at least, with the too late epiphanies.

Now this next part is very very secret. You see the right-wing blogs want you believe that the constant violence in Iraq is just a big conspiracy all made up by the Associated Press and Jamil (Jamail) Hussein. So don’t tell anyone you read this it’ll spoil the illusion.

01/13/07 Reuters: Mortar fire kills 2 in Baghdad’s Zaafaraniya district
Mortars landed in the Baghdad district of Zaafaraniya on Saturday, killing one woman and wounding 10 people, police said.
01/13/07 Reuters: 31 bodies found in Baghdad
Police in Baghdad found 31 bodies, many shot dead and tortured, in the 24 hours to Saturday night, an interior ministry source said.
01/13/07 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Cpl. Stephen J. Raderstorf, 21, of Peoria, Ariz., died Jan. 7 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained during combat operations. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
01/13/07 BBC: Two British troops die overseas
One British soldier has been killed in Iraq and a British marine has been killed in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence has said. The soldier died while on duty in Basra and the marine was killed during operations in the southern province of Helmand
01/13/07 Reuters: Gunmenkill three civilians on in Ishaqi
Gunmen shot dead three civilians on Friday night in the town of Ishaqi, 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
01/13/07 Reuters: Two civilians killed in Baiji
Gunmen killed two civilians and stole their vehicle in Baiji, 180 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
01/13/07 Reuters: Two bodies found in Iskandariya
Police found two bodies, tortured, blindfolded and shot dead, in Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. One victim was a policeman.

“Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson: you find the present tense, but the past perfect!” – Owens Lee Pomeroy

Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity

Are we burned out on the escalation surge yet? Its not that the “surge” has done Bush’s poll numbers much good (“the lowest level of approval ever measured by Rasmussen Reports”), but poll numbers even as abysmal as those are not really the issue. You could say that G.W. Bush is taking one for the team. The Right has pushed the sonic barriers of shrillness to sell the war that Bush-Cheney lied us into as a win-lose proposition. There was never the chance for the kind of traditional victory that one expects in a war because of the political-religious and ethnic tensions at work in Iraq. Heresy of heresies internal conflict was inevitable with the U.S. trying to shove western style democracy down Iraqi throats at the point of a gun. So knowing damn well they will not see any white flags from the various insurgents all Bush wants to do now is pull a Nixon with the slim hope that he can pass off the conservative baton to an ideological clone. How Republicans Win if We Lose in Iraq – Bush and the GOP are shifting tactics just like Nixon did with Vietnam — to win the next election, not the war.

During the first years of the Iraq war, any resemblance to Vietnam was the result of the Bush administration’s disastrous miscalculations. But today, the Iraq war is looking more and more like the Vietnam War because that’s exactly what suits the White House.

Writing on this page Thursday, Jonah Goldberg praised President Bush for telling Americans that “he will settle for nothing less than winning” in Iraq. Sure, Goldberg acknowledged, Bush “may be deluding himself,” but at least he’s “trying to win.” No, he’s not.

It’s clear that Bush knows perfectly well there’s no possibility of “winning” anymore, so apparently he’s seeking in Iraq exactly what Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger sought in Vietnam before the 1972 election: a face-saving “decent interval” before the virtually inevitable collapse of the U.S.-backed government.

By 1971, Nixon and Kissinger understood that “winning” in Vietnam was no longer in the cards — so they shifted from trying to win the war to trying to win the next election. As Nixon put it in March 1971: “We can’t have [the South Vietnamese] knocked over brutally … ” Kissinger finished the thought ” … before the election.” So Nixon and Kissinger pushed the South Vietnamese to “stand on their own,” promising we’d support them if necessary. But at the same time, Kissinger assured the North Vietnamese — through China — that the U.S. wouldn’t intervene to prevent a North Vietnamese victory — as long as that victory didn’t come with embarrassing speed.

As historian Jeffrey Kimball has documented, Kissinger’s talking points for his first meeting with Chinese Premier Chou En-lai on the topic of Vietnam included a promise that the U.S. would withdraw all troops and “leave the political evolution of Vietnam to the Vietnamese.” The U.S. would “let objective realities” — North Vietnamese military superiority — “shape the political future.” In the margins of his briefing book, Kissinger scrawled a handwritten elaboration for Chou: “We want a decent interval. You have our assurance.”

The “decent interval” strategy worked. By declaring that “peace was at hand,” Kissinger took the wind out of antiwar Democrat George McGovern’s sails, and Nixon won reelection. And though Nixon himself later fell to the Watergate scandal, the Republican Party successfully used the “decent interval” to cast the Democratic Party in the role of spoiler.

To M’s Brooks’ credit she has a limited parameter for her analogy to Nam. The observation that Bush is playing politics with Iraq isn’t gaining traction, its that it is too obvious to ignore Five Flaws in the Presidents Plan

The commitment of 21,500 more troops is a political gimmick of limited tactical significance and of no strategic benefit. It is insufficient to win the war militarily. It will engage U.S. forces in bloody street fighting that will not resolve with finality the ongoing turmoil and the sectarian and ethnic strife, not to mention the anti-American insurgency.

· The decision to escalate the level of the U.S. military involvement while imposing “benchmarks” on the “sovereign” Iraqi regime, and to emphasize the external threat posed by Syria and Iran, leaves the administration with two options once it becomes clear — as it almost certainly will — that the benchmarks are not being met. One option is to adopt the policy of “blame and run”: i.e., to withdraw because the Iraqi government failed to deliver. That would not provide a remedy for the dubious “falling dominoes” scenario, which the president so often has outlined as the inevitable, horrific consequence of U.S. withdrawal. The other alternative, perhaps already lurking in the back of Bush’s mind, is to widen the conflict by taking military action against Syria or Iran.

As crazy as the idea of spreading the war to Iran and Syria is to anyone, but the right-wing dead enders the spread does remain an option. The Bush crew has exploited American’s loyalty and patriotism to the most cynical ends in Iraq so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they would try and pull the same trick again. Its really the only trick the Right knows, proping up their lack of ideas and morality on a thin veneer of gung-hoism.

No sir don’t you dare be critical of the Secretary of State when he/she appears before the Senate. That’s what they do in them there democracies, White House Made No Casualty Estimates for ‘Surge’ Plan According to Rice Admission!

We’ve been asking since last Sunday — and then again just after Bush’s Wednesday night speech when he said, “We must expect more Iraqi and American casualties” — what the White House’s estimates are for the increased (or decreased) body count that we can expect vis a vis his new plan for a troop “augmentation” (nee “surge”) in Iraq.

Surely due-diligence when creating such a plan requires such estimates be made by the military for the cost expected in blood for our U.S. troops before such a plan is actually te>implemented.

But good golly, what’s important to Fox and the Right is that Senator Boxer(D) brought up the issue of family and sacrifice. What was Boxer thinking,

SEN. BARBARA BOXER: Do you have an estimate of the number of casualties we expect from this surge?

SEC. CONDOLEEZA RICE: No, uh, Senator…I don’t think there’s any way to give you such an estimate.

BOXER: Has the President, because he said ‘expect more sacrifice’, he must know…

RICE: Senator, I don’t think that any of us, uh, have a number. That, of expected casualties. I think that people understand there is going to be violence for some time in Iraq. And that there will be more casualties and…Let me just say, you know, I fully understand the sacrifice that the American people are making and especially the sacrifice that our soldiers are making. Men and women in uniform. I…I visit them. I know what they’re going through. I talk to their families. I see it. (pause) I could never…and I can never do anything to replace any of those, uh, lost, uh, men and women in uniform. Or the diplomats…

BOXER: Madame Secretary, if you please…I know you feel terrible about it. That’s not the point. I was making the point as to who pays the price for your decisions. And the fact that this administration would move forward with this escalation with no clue as to the further price that we’re gonna pay militarily. We certainly know the numbers. Billions of dollars that we can’t spend here in this country. I find really appalling that there’s not even enough time taken to figure out what the casualties would be. Thank you very much.

RICE: Senator, I think it would be highly unlikely for the military to tell the President ‘We expect X number of casualties because of this augmentation of the forces’ …and again, let me just say, the President sees this as an effort to help the Iraqis with an urgent task, so that the sectarian violence in Baghdad does not outrun the political process and make it impossible to have the kind of national reconciliation that we all want to see there.

I clipped out the text of the pertinent part of the exchange because it is important to understand the point the Senator was trying to make. Yet again the military, the individuals that will be doing the dying are this administration’s last consideration in any policy decision. Has the right-wing noise machine said anything about Republicans Hagel, Smith, Voinovich, or Collins? No. Because when conservatives voice almost the exactly same objections they’re being deeply thoughtful, but when Democrats speak out they’re crazy lefty loons. You have to be dead for two days not to notice a blister of hypocrisy so large you can see it from Mars. Lieberman blasts Senator Chuck Hagel as rancorous, partisan

No doubt Lieberman is referring to the harsh words coming from his colleagues across the aisle, including Republican senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, who told Condoleezza Rice today that escalating the conflict represents “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it’s carried out;” Gordon Smith of Oregon, who calls the president’s policy absurd and possibly criminal; Sam Brownback of Kansas, who wants to partition Iraq and says the US “should not increase its involvement” until Sunnis and Shiites stop shooting at each other; Susan Collins of Maine, who says “I don’t think more troops is the answer to the violence;” and Ohio’s George Voinovich, who says “I’ve bought into [Bush’s] dream and at this stage of the game I just don’t think its going to happen.”

More analysis at the link.

“Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.” – Lord Acton

Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need

In news of the strange, U.S. Warns About Canadian Spy Coins

The U.S. report doesn’t suggest who might be tracking American defense contractors or why. It also doesn’t describe how the Pentagon discovered the ruse, how the transmitters might function or even which Canadian currency contained them.

Further details were secret, according to the U.S. Defense Security Service, which issued the warning to the Pentagon’s classified contractors. The government insists the incidents happened, and the risk was genuine.

“What’s in the report is true,” said Martha Deutscher, a spokeswoman for the security service. “This is indeed a sanitized version, which leaves a lot of questions.”

Top suspects, according to outside experts: China, Russia or even France – all said to actively run espionage operations inside Canada with enough sophistication to produce such technology.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service said it knew nothing about the coins.

And no this is not from some right-wing paranoid web site it is from Physorg.com.

Credit where it is do, Devastating Criticism on Iraq by Both Parties

Perhaps surprisingly, the language changed little when it was the Republicans’ turn. “You’ve clearly heard the skepticism that has been expressed this morning by so many of my colleagues, and for good reason,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Senator George V. Voinovich of Ohio, noting that he previously went along with the president and “bought into his dream,” demanded the administration “do a much better job” of explaining its strategy. A smattering of applause erupted when Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska warned that Mr. Bush’s new plan would be “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it’s carried out.”

The only thing about Republicans, including Chuck Hagel is that talk is cheap. If it comes to a showdown will Murkowski, Voinovich, Hagel and other what passes for moderate conservatives put their votes where their mouths are.

The Real Disaster

President Bush told Americans last night that failure in Iraq would be a disaster. The disaster is Mr. Bush’s war, and he has already failed. Last night was his chance to stop offering more fog and be honest with the nation, and he did not take it.

Americans needed to hear a clear plan to extricate United States troops from the disaster that Mr. Bush created. What they got was more gauzy talk of victory in the war on terrorism and of creating a “young democracy” in Iraq. In other words, a way for this president to run out the clock and leave his mess for the next one.

These are the questions that every American should be asking; after three years of turning corners where some ill defined victory was around every one of those corners why didn’t he acknowledge then he didn’t have things under control and why should the American people trust him to suddenly turn a civil war around. A civil war that he let spiral out of control with his first plan. The advertising campaign was very successful – Iraq, al-Queda, 9-11 and national security were all tied together, if you questioned any part of it you were pro-terrorists. There was and still is no room for honest disagreement over policy, you’re either pro whatever new and improved snake oil Bush is selling this week or you’re pro failure. How many times does Bush have to fail before American says no more.

Baghdad, Bush Policy Is Met With Resentment

“The plan can be developed according to the needs,” Mr. Dabbagh said. Then he added tartly, “What is suitable for our conditions in Iraq is what we decide, not what others decide for us.”

The spokesman’s remarks, and a similarly dyspeptic tone that was adopted by Shiite politicians with close ties to Mr. Maliki, pointed to the double-bind Mr. Bush finds himself in. Faced with low levels of public support for his new military push and a Democratic leadership in Congress that has said it will fight him over it, he also confronts the uncomfortable prospect of foot-dragging in Baghdad over the troop increases and the benchmarks he has set for the Iraqis.

While senior officials in Washington have presented the new war plan as an American adaptation of proposals that were first put to Mr. Bush by Mr. Maliki when the two men met in the Jordanian capital of Amman in November, the picture that is emerging in Baghdad is quite different. What Mr. Maliki wanted, his officials say, was in at least one crucial respect the opposite of what Mr. Bush decided: a lowering of the American profile in the war, not the increase Mr. Bush has ordered.

Bush and the warbloggers are always telling us what the Iraqis want and nothing has changed the Iraqis never want what the Right says they do.

New China. New crisis

China is the new factor in global politics and economics, and its rulers and people know it. It now has more than $1 trillion of foreign exchange reserves, the world’s largest. It is the single most important financier of the United States’ enormous trade deficit. It is the world’s second largest importer of oil. Before 2010, it will be the world’s largest exporter of goods. It is, comfortably, the world’s second largest military power. Last year, the Pentagon’s four-yearly defence review stated that China is the power most likely to ‘field disruptive military technologies that could over time offset traditional US military advantages’. A new great power is in the making, but one whose pursuit of its self-interest takes the amorality of power to a new plane. It is not just the Chinese who should be concerned about its institutional and moral failings; all of us should be.

This same warning could be applied to the neocons of the American Right, “but one whose pursuit of its self-interest takes the amorality of power to a new plane.”

“Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need” – Will Rogers

Victorious warriors win first and then go to war

Bush’s new plan in which we’re bound to keep turning corners and having turning points,

We’re moving forward with a five-point plan for Iraqi self-government. We’re handing over authority to a sovereign Iraqi government; we’re encouraging more international support for the Iraqi transition; we’re helping the Iraqis take responsibility for their own security; we’re continuing to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure; and we are moving toward free elections. A turning point will come in less than two weeks. On June the 30th, full sovereignty will be transferred to the interim government. The Coalition Provisional Authority will cease to exist, an American embassy will open in the capital of a free Iraq. (Applause.) Bush – June 18, 2004

And that paragon of insight and wisdom Dick “Bunker” Cheney has also reassured us,

And so I think all of that is measurable progress. And while the level of violence has continued, I do believe that when we look back on this period of time, 2005 will have been the turning point when, in fact, we made sufficient progress both on the political front and the security front so that we’ll see that as the watershed year. Office of the Vice President
December 18, 2005

They’re like a car salesman stuck in a loop they just keep repeating the same sales pitch over and over,

It’s a remarkable transformation for a country that has virtually no experience with democracy, and which is struggling to overcome the legacy of one of the worst tyrannies the world has known. And Iraqis achieved all this while determined enemies use violence and destruction to stop the progress. There’s still a lot of difficult work to be done in Iraq, but thanks to the courage of the Iraqi people, the year 2005 will be recorded as a turning point in the history of Iraq, the history of the Middle East, and the history of freedom. Bush, December 12, 2005

Well, I think we’re making progress against the insurgency. I think we have been now — I think we’ll look back several years from now and see that 2005 was really a turning point, in the sense the progress we made both in terms of training Iraqi forces, because we’ve now got a large number of Iraqis taking the lead various places around the country from a security and military standpoint, but also because of the political milestones that were achieved that — from the elections in January of ’05, the writing of the constitution, the ratification of that constitution in October, the national elections in December under the new constitution, I think those political milestones, if you will, every single one of which has been met, are vital in terms of our ultimate success in Iraq of establishing a democratically elected government, and a security situation that the Iraqis themselves can handle. Office of the Vice President, February 7, 2006

But wait a minute BushCo admits that those turning points were really never turned. The lemon he sold the American public and the Iraqis was a lemon then and it sounds like its still a lemon, Bush will add more than 20,000 troops to Iraq

Linking the fight in Iraq with the greater war on terror, President Bush told the nation there is “no magic formula for success in Iraq” but that failure there “would be a disaster for the United States.”

Bush recognized that the progress of the war is “unacceptable to the American people — and it is unacceptable to me,” adding, “Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me.”

Bush said that if the situation in Iraq does not turn for the better, “Radical Islamic extremists would grow in strength and gain new recruits.” ( the domino theory applied to Iraq. Hey it worked forty years ago)

Got that. Bush invaded Iraq and opened the door to extremists, ignored religious and tribal factions and allowed things to spiral out of control, but he’s pretty darn sure he’s learned his lesson and with more troops for the insurgents to shoot at we’ll soon be turning more corners. A Change in Tactics, Not Strategy

As Washington journalists debate whether to call President Bush’s plan to send 20,000 more American troops into Iraq a “surge” or an “escalation,” they are letting the White House get away with a much more momentous semantic scam.

The White House would have you believe that Bush tonight will be announcing a new strategy. But from all indications, all Bush will be talking about — yet again — is changing tactics.

A relatively minor increase in troops, a promise of greater cooperation from the Iraqi prime minister, a small infusion of reconstruction money — not only have we heard all this before, but it doesn’t amount to much.

Bush’s overall strategy seems likely to remain wholly unchanged: To keep U.S. troops in Iraq as long as it takes for the Iraqi government to start functioning effectively. That means using American bodies and firepower, pretty much indefinitely, to prop up a country racked by civil war and chafing under occupation. That means the American death count ticks on, with no end in sight.

Bush is not wavering on that fundamental strategy, despite all the indications that it’s not working and despite the dramatic loss of public support.

What the public, the Democrats running Congress, some Republicans and the bipartisan Iraq Study Group have been calling for is an actual change in strategy.

They don’t want American soldiers held hostage to sectarian violence and the Iraqis’ inability to form themselves into a peaceful, Western-style democracy. They want the troops to start coming home. Their preferred strategy is to make it clear to the Iraqis that they’ll soon be on their own — and that they have to solve their problems themselves.

For the White House to call Bush’s speech tonight a change in strategy is understandable spin. For journalists, however, there’s no excuse.
And Furthermore

Two other quick observations before I dive into the coverage:

1) It’s not just, as The Washington Post points out today, that Bush is breaking with his generals; it’s that he seems to me to be channeling Vice President Cheney. Unwilling to change course, Bush has apparently adopted Cheney’s overheated arguments that failure would set off a domino effect of geo-political disasters.

2) The White House simply cannot answer the seminal question: Why should we think things will be different this time? (emphasis mine)

With the help of the broadcast media and the usual suspects on the Right this has been sold as a revolutionary new rethinking and some new insights which will inform what really amounts to the same old thing with more boots on the ground. Whatever these guys are it is not hard nosed realists, they see facing reality the same way someone with vertigo sees standing on the edge of a cliff they’re just not going to do it. Bush and assorted keyboard warriors would rather send more troops, more targets for the factions engaged to an fight to the death in a low level civil war. Bush and Cheney tacitly admit that the clunker they sold us isn’t working so they’re going to put on a new coat of paint after which it should run just fine. Promises, Promises What happens if the Iraqis fail again?

As Bush said, the whole point of this surge is to help assure the survival, durability, and legitimacy of a central Iraqi government. If the government founders on these sorts of issues, an influx of American troops—whether they number 20,000 or 200,000—won’t matter.

This leads to the cynical interpretation of tonight’s speech: The benchmarks place such an overwhelming burden on Maliki’s government, he’ll unavoidably fail to meet them; when this failure becomes clear, and the American surge does little to improve matters, Bush—or, better still, his successor—will pull out with a shrug and the patina of good conscience, absolving himself of blame for the deluge that follows. Whether or not the leaders of the White House devised the new plan with this scenario in mind (and I don’t think they did), it offers a tempting way out if worse comes to dead worst.

But here we come to this speech’s most dreadful shortcoming: Bush’s failure to outline any backup plan at all if his plan comes to naught. Worse still, he strongly suggested that he will resist such a plan. A realistic backup plan would rely on region-wide diplomacy to keep the conflagration of all-out civil war from spreading across the Middle East.

Kaplan nails the bottom line on Bush’s new plan it will delay the pull out of American forces until he is in no longer in office. His successor, most likely a Democrat will be left being the one to devise an orderly withdraw and/or dealing with a middle-east scared with pockets of conflicts with Iraq in the center. If there are Iraqis who want democracy and peace then leave them to it – send food and medical supplies and get American troops out of the way sooner rather then later.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”  Sun-tzu (~400 BC), The Art of War. Strategic Assessments

Be very very quiet, I’m hunting wabbits

Its good to know that once in a great while some conservatives stop drinking the kool-aid and think of what is good for the United States before what is good for the Republican party, 68 Republicans break ranks, vote with Democrats on first bill of 110th Congress

A House bill (H. Res. 1) to implement recommendations suggested by the September 11th Commission passed by a vote of 299 to 128, with eight members of Congress not voting.

Just after 7:15 PM Eastern, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the bill had passed, and gaveled the end of the vote. Joining 231 Democrats were 68 Republican members of Congress.

As everyone has heard by now Senator Ted Kennedy (D) and many of his fellow Americans for that matter thinks that Escalation? It’s Not His (Bush’s) Decision to Make . It may not be as simple as that or maybe it is. Talkleft thinks that Congress would have to repeal the original Authority to Use Military Force in Iraq ( which some people interpret as a war resolution) –


(a) AUTHORIZATION. The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to

(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq.

I think that Big Tent Democrat might be mistaken in relying too much on the Federalists Papers as justification for allowing Bush or any president unlimited powers to conduct military force against foreign powers even after a resolution like the AUMF. For one, while the Fed Papers have been used as a tool by judges to help define implicit meaning in the Constitution the Papers themselves are not law. Big Tent is most probably off the mark when he argues that Congress cannot micromanage a war. Congress has done so in the past and the Supreme Court has ruled that their actions have been in keeping with the explicit and implicit powers given to it in the Constitution, The Congress As Surge Protector

Congress Can Forbid the President from Escalating the Iraq War without Renewed Authorization

Even if the President does not submit his plan for congressional approval, Congress is constitutionally empowered to require him to do so.

The Constitution grants Congress extensive war powers – so extensive, in fact, that Chief Justice John Marshall once wrote that “The whole powers of war being, by the Constitution of the United States, vested in Congress, the Acts of that body can alone be resorted to as our guides ….” (Talbot v. Seeman (1801).) These powers include the power to declare war; grant letters of marque and reprisal; raise and support an army and navy; make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces; provide for the calling forth of the militia; and to lay taxes and appropriate funds to provide for the common defense, with the proviso that no appropriation for such a purpose can be for more than two years. The President is made the commander in chief and is authorized to appoint, with Senate confirmation, such military officers as Congress may by statute create.

This structure is an intentional departure from the British approach. The King was set up, in Blackstone’s phrase, as the “generalissimo”; he was authorized to initiate and to prosecute war of any scope on his own authority. Under the U.S. Constitution, by contrast, it is Congress that has the power to initiate and regulate war, while the President is authorized to command the resulting war effort.


In the naval war with France, Congress had authorized the U.S. navy to intercept vessels bound to, but not from, French ports. In Little a U.S. navy ship, acting pursuant to a presidential order to intercept ships bound to or from French ports, intercepted a commercial vessel suspected of coming from a French port. The Supreme Court ruled the action illegal because it went beyond the military force authorized by statute.

The Supreme Court has continued to adhere to this view of the war power. In Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (the famous Steel Seizure case), the Supreme Court struck down President Truman’s order that the nation’s steel mills continue operating in order to keep the troops in the Korean War armed. Justice Jackson’s famous concurring opinion (which the Supreme Court has since held to set forth the proper view of presidential power) emphasized that the Constitution does not set forth exclusive power, but overlapping or shared power. Where Congress and the President share power, as in the area of war power, the President is bound to comply with the statutes that Congress enacts.

Bush had to have the original AUMF passed by Congress to begin to take action against Iraq. If Congress amends that action the president would be bound by that too. As Think Progress points out there is ample precedent for Congress placing limits on presidential prerogatives to expand troop levels and has used Congressional powers of the purse to end or restrict military actions undertaken by the president, FACT CHECK: Congress Has Repeatedly Placed Limits On Military Deployments And Funding

December 1970. P.L. 91-652 — Supplemental Foreign Assistance Law. The Church-Cooper amendment prohibited the use of any funds for the introduction of U.S. troops to Cambodia or provide military advisors to Cambodian forces.

December 1974. P.L. 93-559 — Foreign Assistance Act of 1974. The Congress established a personnel ceiling of 4000 Americans in Vietnam within six months of enactment and 3000 Americans within one year.

June 1983. P.L. 98-43 — The Lebanon Emergency Assistance Act of 1983. The Congress required the president to return to seek statutory authorization if he sought to expand the size of the U.S. contingent of the Multinational Force in Lebanon.

June 1984. P.L. 98-525 — The Defense Authorization Act. The Congress capped the end strength level of United States forces assigned to permanent duty in European NATO countries at 324,400.

November 1993. P.L. 103-139. The Congress limited the use of funding in Somalia for operations of U.S. military personnel only until March 31, 1994, permitting expenditure of funds for the mission thereafter only if the president sought and Congress provided specific authorization.

Think Progress points to this full report by The Center for American Progress, Congressional Limitations and Requirements for Military Deployments and Funding

The escalation of troops in Iraq is counter productive on its own, but especially so in light of events in Afghanistan, Afghan war needs troops – Taliban expected to push against thin U.S., NATO forces

U.S. Army Gen. Dan K. McNeill, who takes over as the top allied officer in Afghanistan next month, will command the NATO troops and roughly 17,000 U.S. troops in the field with about 36,000 Afghan soldiers. But they are stretched too thin across this nation of jagged peaks and wind-scoured desert to occupy the roads and towns cleared of Taliban, American officers said.

“You leave and they return,” said the intelligence officer. “The thing is to be able to stop that from happening, and that is why General McNeill has asked for more forces here, particularly in Helmand and Kandahar provinces” in the south.

Now for the comedy portion of our show some rabid rants from Republican dead enders. Conservative site Wake up America Posted by spree at 6:29 PM makes it convenient by gathering up snips of the right-wing echo from various blogs,

NewsFlash Teddy Boy, you can’t. Troops will be marching into Iraq on Jan. 31 and as Stop the ACLU says so elequently:

Whether you think this is the right strategy or not, its gonna happen so you might as well get behind our troops and start cheering for victory.


Someone buy Teddy another drink, but this time, please take the keys to his car away from him!!!!!

Note how Bush’s policy is the same thing as supporting the troops. The ultimate way to support the troops that Wake up America and Stop the ACLU would like to see used as simply as another “comma” would be to get them a courageous and intelligent commander-in-chief. Now as always the Right sees the troops as future martyrs, sacrifices for the Conservative Cause. They have always seen the military as simply pawns in the grand political game, in a choice between saving the troops and saving bad conservative policy they have and will always side with saving their asses policies. You have to love the aside to Senator Kennedy’s past drinking problems when they support a president that was an alcoholic and cocaine user. If Ted would just put the holy “R” after his name all would whitewashed by the Right. Riehl probably got spittle all over his official 101st Fighting Keyboarders monitor when he wrote this unhinged tirade,

Dan Riehl is a tad pissed off at Teddy and personally I cannot blame him. The man is a disgrace to that name.

Video via Hot Air of fat, drunk and dumb with a last name, but who has never accomplished anything on his own, Teddy, the drunken, rapist, murdering, Kennedy calling Iraq Vietnam. How would he know? He was probably stoned throughout the Vietnam era.

Kennedy embodies everything that’s wrong with politics today. He’s unaccomplished, a failed man who never lived up to half of what his Brothers “might” have been … and Massachusetts can’t stop getting hard for a last name that hasn’t meant anything to American history for decades. Grrr… how I loath that fat drunken dirt bag.

Come on Dan…tell us how you REALLY feel!!!!!!!!!!!

Cheney couldn’t be bothered to fight in Nam, while Bush ducked into the Guard and still hasn’t accounted for his missed duty. What does all this have to do with Bush escalating a war that has taken longer to close the books on then it took FDR to defeat the entire German Army. Nothing. They couldn’t be bothered to come up with even the slightest Constitutional or moral argument so they did what all great Conservative bloggers do, substitute insults for depth. It is another day of right-wing chain links. They just link to other right-wing blogger’s knee jerk response. IN one of the most important decisions facing the nation they couldn’t be bothered with either the legal or moral issues, that would just get in the way of the circle jerk.

A Disputed A.P. Source Turns Up, but Bloggers Are Not Appeased

After weathering six weeks of criticism for quoting an Iraqi police captain whose existence had been called into question, The Associated Press had some relief last week when Iraq changed its story and acknowledged that, yes, Jamil Hussein did work there.

Iraq’s interior ministry confirmed Thursday that Mr. Hussein was an active member of the police force, assigned to the Khadra station, according to The A.P. Mr. Hussein had been a source for an article in November about six Sunnis being doused in kerosene and burned alive by Shiite attackers — a report that the ministry, among others, had denied.

The confirmation did not halt the mud fight between conservative bloggers and the wire service. Bloggers had accused the news agency of gullibly quoting a dubious source, or even fabricating one, to exaggerate the violence in Iraq. This week, unmollified, they shifted their criticism to the fact that The A.P. itself was the source of the article acknowledging Mr. Hussein.

Linda Wagner, an A.P. spokeswoman, said that the confirmation from the interior ministry vindicated the reporting methods and standards of traditional news organizations. In a reference to a memorable swipe that Jonathan Klein, CNN’s head of domestic operations, once took at bloggers who work from their living rooms, Ms. Wagner wrote in an e-mail message: “Our reporters are not ‘pajamas media.’ ”

…[ ] The good news for The A.P. was bad news for Mr. Hussein: a warrant for his arrest has been issued, since he had not been authorized to speak to a news organization.

“Be very very quiet, I’m hunting wabbits” – Elmer Fudd