Something that has been lurking around the edges of the Right and has taken center stage since the “surge” is that 9-11 has no real meaning anymore and the actual perpetrators aren’t very important to the grand scheme of things. The enemy to the Right has become “them”. Who exactly are “them”? Muslims, which most of your common garden variety ethnocentrics on the Right think are a few million “Arabs” in the middle-east, but it also especially means any Muslim within shooting range of where Bush has sent troops – so of course they’re for any military action that gets any Muslim dead. So the Right has decided that all Muslims are Arabs and that if any or all of those Muslims can be killed then we’re one step closer to victory. Which I take to mean saving western civilization not from another 9-11, but from Islam. 9-11 and the potential of that kind of terrorism has ceased to mean anything to the Right except as a symbol to duck behind. You could say that all that is fine except that it sounds too much like putting together a lot of circumstantial evidence. It rings true, but where’s the substance. If 9-11 doesn’t mean anything to the Right and their dear leader Bush how could we possibly prove that. Well what if the administration was in fact directly helping Sunni radicals (though let’s remember not all Sunni Muslims are radicals). One group of Sunni radicals is called al-Queda. You know that loosely organized transnational group of terrorists that flew in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. THE REDIRECTION – Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
One contradictory aspect of the new strategy is that, in Iraq, most of the insurgent violence directed at the American military has come from Sunni forces, and not from Shiites. But, from the Administration’s perspective, the most profound—and unintended—strategic consequence of the Iraq war is the empowerment of Iran. Its President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has made defiant pronouncements about the destruction of Israel and his country’s right to pursue its nuclear program, and last week its supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on state television that “realities in the region show that the arrogant front, headed by the U.S. and its allies, will be the principal loser in the region.”
So Bush opens a can of worms in the middle-east that as General Odom and others have pointed out made it inevitable that Iran and Shia sympathizers would have greater influence. Now to counter that influence Bush is backing Sunni’s many of whom are ideological sympathizers to the people that attacked us on 9-11 and using funding that is secretly channeled through the Saudis. I’m not much for predictions, but the only way conservatives can make this “rube goldberg” upside down series of events make sense is to claim that it was part of Bush’s clever plan all along – to carry out Glenn Reynolds dreamed of genocidal culling of Muslims by setting Muslim against Muslim. If a seasoned right-wing player like John Negroponte thinks all of this is so out of the reach of presidential powers that he felt he had to resign you know its bad,
I was subsequently told by the two government consultants and the former senior intelligence official that the echoes of Iran-Contra were a factor in Negroponte’s decision to resign from the National Intelligence directorship and accept a sub-Cabinet position of Deputy Secretary of State. (Negroponte declined to comment.)
The former senior intelligence official also told me that Negroponte did not want a repeat of his experience in the Reagan Administration, when he served as Ambassador to Honduras. “Negroponte said, ‘No way. I’m not going down that road again, with the N.S.C. running operations off the books, with no finding.’ ” (In the case of covert C.I.A. operations, the President must issue a written finding and inform Congress.) Negroponte stayed on as Deputy Secretary of State, he added, because “he believes he can influence the government in a positive way.”
The government consultant said that Negroponte shared the White House’s policy goals but “wanted to do it by the book.” The Pentagon consultant also told me that “there was a sense at the senior-ranks level that he wasn’t fully on board with the more adventurous clandestine initiatives.” It was also true, he said, that Negroponte “had problems with this Rube Goldberg policy contraption for fixing the Middle East.”
Digby gets it about right when it comes to Republicans in power. They’re like addicts that can’t resist shooting up as much as they can, damn the consequences for America much less anyone in their way, Rube Goldberg Policy Contraption
And now the Bush administration has spawned untold numbers of future war criminals who will claw their way back into power so they can “prove” they were right the first time. This pattern is repeating itself over and over again and we simply have to figure out a way to put an end to it.Today we have the DOD equivalent of Brownie running around with boatload of cash making deals with Muslim extremists and Saudi princes, whom the administration has divided up into completely useless designations of “reformer” and extremist.” Nobody knows who’s talking to who or what agenda they really have. Liberals think up complex plots like this and make them into movies. Republicans steal billions from the taxpayers and actually try to implement their hare-brained schemes.
Why didn’t the party of family values that hearts the U.S. military investigate the shoddy conditions at Walter Reed while they were in power and building bridges to nowhere? Levin: Last Congress Didn’t Investigate Walter Reed Because ‘They Did Not Want To Embarrass’ Bush
Speaking of money. Conservatives are always waving their little arms and shouting about how they know about the hard realities of economics and liberals don’t have a clue. I don’t know I think we have at the very least a clue, Maybe We Deserve to Be Ripped Off By Bush’s Billionaires
Not only does it make many of Bush’s tax cuts permanent, but it envisions a complete repeal of the Estate Tax, which mainly affects only those who are in the top two-tenths of the top one percent of the richest people in this country. The proposed savings from the cuts over the next decade are about $442 billion, or just slightly less than the amount of the annual defense budget (minus Iraq war expenses). But what’s interesting about these cuts are how Bush plans to pay for them.
Sanders’s office came up with some interesting numbers here. If the Estate Tax were to be repealed completely, the estimated savings to just one family — the Walton family, the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune — would be about $32.7 billion dollars over the next ten years.
The proposed reductions to Medicaid over the same time frame? $28 billion.
Or how about this: if the Estate Tax goes, the heirs to the Mars candy corporation — some of the world’s evilest scumbags, incidentally, routinely ripped by human rights organizations for trafficking in child labor to work cocoa farms in places like Cote D’Ivoire — if the estate tax goes, those assholes will receive about $11.7 billion in tax breaks. That’s more than three times the amount Bush wants to cut from the VA budget ($3.4 billion) over the same time period.
Some other notable estimate estate tax breaks, versus corresponding cuts:
* Cox family (Cox cable TV) receives $9.7 billion tax break while education would get $1.5 billion in cuts
* Nordstrom family (Nordstrom dept. stores) receives $826.5 million tax break while Community Service Block Grants would be eliminated, a $630 million cut
* Ernest Gallo family (shitty wines) receives a $468.4 million cut while LIHEAP (heating oil to poor) would get a $420 million cut
And so on and so on. Sanders additionally pointed out that the family of former Exxon/Mobil CEO Lee Raymond, who received a $400 million retirement package, would receive about $164 million in tax breaks.
Compare that to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which Bush proposes be completely eliminated, at a savings of $108 million over ten years. The program sent one bag of groceries per month to 480,000 seniors, mothers and newborn children.
Bush just has the kind of priorities that we have all come to expect from Republicans, help the rich at the expense of the poor and middle-class and help the people that attacked America on 9-11.I’m not going to try it myself, but I’m sure that if you drink enough of the kool-aid this will all make sense. If this is what passes for values no wonder more and more Americans are rejecting the Conservative movement.
Roger Rabbit: P-p-please, Eddie! Don’t throw me out. Don’t you realize you’re making a big mistake? I didn’t kill anybody. I swear! The whole thing’s a set up. A scam, a frame job. Ow! Eddie, I could never hurt anybody. Oow! My whole purpose in life is to make… people… laugh! – from the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)