Absolutely fireproof

We just had a report published by the LA Times about the foreign fighters in Iraq – Saudis’ role in Iraq insurgency outlined Sunni extremists from Saudi Arabia make up half the foreign fighters. Professor Juan Cole reports that its is even more complicated or better less simplistic then we’ve been told by the administration, Egyptian, Sudanese Jihadi Volunteers Suspected by Iraq?

Although they briefly detained some 461 Iranians, they let all of them go. Presumably these were pilgrims to the Shiite shrines who for one reason or another fell under suspicion. The LA Times reported yesterday that nearly half of the detainees in US military custody are Saudis. Not so for the suspected jihadis held by the Iraqis. They have only 9 Saudis. About half of their detainees are Egyptian, and a fifth are Sudanese. The Iraqi security services clearly think their biggest problem is jihadi volunteers from the Nile Valley. But the picture emerging from the two sets of detainees is that the publics of the two main US allies in the Middle East, Saudia and Egypt, are the most likely to fall under suspicion of supporting the insurgency. While suspicion falls on some Iranians, they appear to be cleared quickly and released. (emphasis mine)

If Dick Cheney among others on the Right have an itch to attack Iran and use the supposed pretense of Iranian fighters in Iraq then it looks as though we have another aluminum tubes/yellow cake moment. Or at least using one standard for countries the Bushies have a grudge against and another standard for authoritarian governments like Saudi Arabia and Egypt that are sympathetic to administration interests. Another way of looking at the situation is that Bush and Cheney are turning a blind eye, at least publicly to foreign fighters from anywhere but Iran and Syria. It even looks as though most of the Iranians to not seem like a threat to the Iraqi government. Can this administration ever learn its lesson. They have fooled many of the people much of the time, but like all con games the the truth eventually wins out. Political writers over the years, such as Maureen Dowd have pointed out how most modern presidents eventually become isolated from the people and the realities of the world. Bush and Cheney  have either entered into the deepest most insulated part of the executive bubble and closed off any facts that disturb their own echo or they are as delusional as the pundits that help spread their next wave of spin, Bill Kristol: On the Train to Delusionville

It isn’t pretty. In fact, the Washington Post should have put some kind of warning on the piece for pregnant women, heart patients, and anyone with an allergy to bullshit. And if the pipeline from Kristol to the White House works the same for this piece as for “precipitous withdrawal,” the country is in even worse shape than we thought.

So what did he say? I’ll take it in order, and focus on national security.

After allowing that the war has been “difficult,” he writes that “we now seem to be on course to a successful outcome.”

Really? Not only does he give no evidence for this, not only does he ignore all the overwhelmingly contradictory evidence; he also conveniently neglects to even define what a “successful outcome” would be.

Then comes an onslaught of lies:

“The war in Afghanistan has gone reasonably well.”

Afghanistan is in fact teetering on the precipice of chaos. Indeed, 2006 saw the highest number of coalition deaths since the war began. The next highest before that? 2005. The Taliban is making a comeback and unrest among Afghans is growing. Obviously, Kristol’s definition of “reasonably well” is very different than the experts’.

Then he’s onto Pakistan, where, according to Kristol, “al-Qaeda may once again have a place where it can plan, organize and train.” But, according to the National Intelligence estimate, there is no “may” about it, and this is not a future possibility, but a current reality. And, in what is unequivocally one of the greatest failures of the Bush administration, the NIE report concludes that al-Qaeda is “better positioned” to “strike the West” than at any time since 9/11.

The Bushies and their lackies such as Kristol remind me of the Iroquois Theater Fire of 1903. The theatre assured the public that it was “absolutely fireproof ” in its advertisements. The theatre caught on fire and claimed 602 lives. The right-wing dead enders keep advertising their schemes as fireproof using something other than the truth much less the facts and people are dying as a direct result. They’re not as serious about terrorism and political solutions as they are irresponsible and inept. Via Attytood Pakistan’s big problem

No, the essential question remains dismally unchanging. Where is Osama? And the ritual CIA answer (“Somewhere on the Pakistan-Afghan border”) sounds more dismal than ever. Let’s take that once again, more slowly. The might of the west, and much of Islam, has been pursuing Osama bin Laden for more than a decade now – and with cash-rich intensity since 9/11. Catching him, of course, might be only a symbolic victory, as al-Qaida morphs leaders and legends on a regular basis. But some symbols do matter. This one, for instance, would show an intelligence effort making strides. It would at least soften the US’s most recent bleak official assessment, of an al-Qaida back to pre-2001 levels of potency. Yet observe why it doesn’t happen.

How Bush Uses His Generals

President Bush says that he should be trusted on military issues because he listens to his commanders. But he has a tendency to celebrate his generals when they’re providing him political cover — then stick a knife in their backs when they’re no longer of any use to him.

Last week, Bush rejected any blame for the chaos that ensued in Iraq after the March 2003 invasion. So whose fault was it? Bush pointed the finger at Gen. Tommy Franks, the Central Command chief at the time. “My primary question to General Franks was, do you have what it takes to succeed? And do you have what it takes to succeed after you succeed in removing Saddam Hussein? And his answer was, yes,” Bush said.

That’s the same Tommy Franks to whom Bush awarded a Medal of Freedom in 2004.

And when virtually all of Bush military line of command, including the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff, opposed his “surge” proposal late last year, Bush responded not by listening, but by removing the top two commanders responsible for Iraq and replacing them with more amenable leaders, including Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus.

Petraeus, as it happens, wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post just five weeks before the 2004 election describing what he called “reasons for optimism” in Iraq. Now Petraeus is Bush’s “main man.” Maybe he should be watching his back.

If Petraeus starts to hear rumors about being awarded the Medal of Freedom he might want to start shopping for some golf clubs.