Staying in Iraq So Conservatism Can Save face

I don’t know that this is the last word on the whys and why nows of the current flare up of violence in Iraq ( as I write this there are reports that things are going from boil to simmer – Moqtada al-Sadr has ordereFd a cease fire) Five Things You Need to Know to Understand the Latest Violence in Iraq, but a few things that much of the press and of course the wingnuttery is missing,

The real source of conflict in Iraq — and the reason political reconciliation has been so difficult — is a fundamental disagreement over what the future of Iraq will look like. Loosely defined, it is a clash of Iraqi nationalists — with Muqtada al-Sadr as their most influential voice — who desire a unified Iraqi state and public-sector management of the country’s vast oil reserves and who forcefully reject foreign influence on Iraq’s political process, be it from the United States, Iran or other outside forces.

When Bush, McCain and their right-wing echo keep pounding their little fists on the table claiming the right to stay in Iraq and micro-manage their government that simply adds fuel to the nationalist’s rhetoric and unnecessarily endangers the lives of American forces and those Iraqis that are keeping their heads down just trying to survive. Another instance where insecure Conservatives, anxious to show off the size of their codpiece could care less about the consequences of their words.

Muqtada al-Sadr as a “renegade,” “radical” or “militant” cleric, despite the fact that he is the only leader of significance in the country who has ordered his followers to stand down. His ostensible militancy appears to arise primarily from his opposition to the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq.

You don’t have to like al-Sadr to acknowledge the realities of the political dynamic. He isn’t popular because he is saying the wrong thing. Since we’re occupying a country where every side is guilty of some reprehensible behavior at some point and Bush has been happy to supply arms and money at one point to Sunnis that had associations with al-Qaeda, the argument that al-Sadr can’t be included in the political process doesn’t fly. Well except the government that Bush put in place seems tolerant of an American presence even if the majority of the population wants America out (pdf). All those purple fingers seemed to mean was that the Iraqi people had one option, the right, much like us Americans to go along with what the Bush cabal wants. In short, until Bush manipulated America into Iraq they had nothing like the low level genocide that has taken place the last five years. Leaving would be better for Iraq and us. The right-wing cry that Iraq will tumble into chaos if we leave after creating the conditions for that chaos is Big Brother speak at its most tragic. Bush  and McBush only seem to be determined to waste more American lives and tax dollars for one reason and it has nothing to do with America’s security, its to save the Conservative movement from yet another in a long series of screw-ups from another failure; the kind of foolish false pride one would expect from a petulant six year old.  The Smart Way Out of a Foolish War

Ending the U.S. war effort entails some risks, of course, but they are inescapable at this late date. Parts of Iraq are already self-governing, including Kurdistan, part of the Shiite south and some tribal areas in the Sunni center. U.S. military disengagement will accelerate Iraqi competition to more effectively control their territory, which may produce a phase of intensified inter-Iraqi conflicts. But that hazard is the unavoidable consequence of the prolonged U.S. occupation. The longer it lasts, the more difficult it will be for a viable Iraqi state ever to reemerge.

It is also important to recognize that most of the anti-U.S. insurgency in Iraq has not been inspired by al-Qaeda. Locally based jihadist groups have gained strength only insofar as they have been able to identify themselves with the fight against a hated foreign occupier. As the occupation winds down and Iraqis take responsibility for internal security, al-Qaeda in Iraq will be left more isolated and less able to sustain itself. The end of the occupation will thus be a boon for the war on al-Qaeda, bringing to an end a misguided adventure that not only precipitated the appearance of al-Qaeda in Iraq but also diverted the United States from Afghanistan, where the original al-Qaeda threat grew and still persists

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Double standards and Doublespeak

There is no scientific instrument capable of measuring the depths of right-wing Republican hypocrisy and double-standards:

Isn’t It Funny How Hannity And FOX News Never Cared About Giuliani’s Criminal Partners?

It was another night of Obama-bashing on Hannity & Colmes tonight. All that hammy outrage from Sean Hannity about how Barack Obama’s pastor reflected poor judgment on Obama’s part got me thinking about Rudy Giuliani. He didn’t just associate with Bernard Kerik, he appointed Kerik to a high spot in the Giuliani administration, later became partners with him and even recommended him to be head of the Department of Homeland Security. Kerik was also a cad in addition to be being a crook. And then there’s another Giuliani partner, Monsignor Alan Placa, accused of sexually abusing children and helping to cover up other abuses by priests. Yet not only was Giuliani given a pass on FOX about that “poor judgment,” Kerik was repeatedly welcomed on the “fair and balanced” network, even after he pleaded guilty to accepting illegal gifts from a company associated with the Mob.

Republicans are simply never responsible for their associations no matter how entangled. Yet if a Democrat bought a slurpee at the same convenience store as some scoundrel back in 1994 that means they’re joined at the hip.

Whatever Hillary Clinton’s faults only the kool-aid drinking Vince Foster was murdered crowd would believe that she has some illegal act of thuggery cooked up to somehow take Obama out of the race, but the media likes the sound of it so why let ethics hold them back, Media run with anonymous claim that Clinton win “will require exercising the ‘Tonya Harding’ option”

Following a March 25 report by ABC News senior national correspondent Jake Tapper on his ABCNews.com blog, Political Punch, that an anonymous Democratic Party official claimed, regarding Sen. Hillary Clinton, “Her securing the nomination is certainly possible — but it will require exercising the ‘Tonya Harding option,’ ” numerous media figures have repeated the reference — some going so far as to assert that the purported “Tonya Harding option” is a specific strategy adopted by the Clinton campaign.

Who knows maybe someone that runs the copy machine had a few beers at lunch and thought it sounded like something kool to say, but did it come from a top Clinton adviser and is that in fact the name the Senator has given to a specfic strategy. The networks have produced no proof to that effect, but it grabs viewers attention who will in turn be more eyeballs for the commercials that pay these hacks six figure salaries.

Chris Heavy Duty Spin Cycle Wallace echoes the right-wing noise machine, Fox’s Chris Wallace Echoes White House Spin, Claims Basra Violence Is ‘Good News’

On Thursday, President Bush declared that the violence currently engulfing the southern Iraqi city of Basra is “very positive” because it shows that the Iraqi government “is willing to take on elements that believe they are beyond the law.” On the same day, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said that clashes in Basra are “a credit not only to the Iraqis, but to the success of the surge.”

Violence is down, the surge is working. Violence is up, the surge is working. The Ministry of Truth has that gold leaf embossed certificate for accomplishments above and beyond for the successful use of doublespeak on its way.

Cherry Blossoms wallpaper. The cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. around the Thomas Jefferson Memorial were a gift from Japan in 1912.

Total manipulation. I suppose you could say they wanted to subvert the Constitution, but they don’t think along philosophical lines

There are, depending on one’s POV reasons to vote for or against Barack Obama, but to suggest that he will somehow hurl us back to the days of Rosa Parks is in the top twenty of the most absurd thing I’ve read. Of course it came from one of the neocon’s favorite historical revisionists Victor David Hanson, Obama’s election will cause,

disastrous regression in race relations.

Should America start a fund drive and buy Righties like Hanson a mirror. They can’t seem to see themselves for what they are – RNC Chief to Say It Was ‘Wrong’ to Exploit Racial Conflict for Votes

It was called “the southern strategy,” started under Richard M. Nixon in 1968, and described Republican efforts to use race as a wedge issue — on matters such as desegregation and busing — to appeal to white southern voters.

Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman, this morning will tell the NAACP national convention in Milwaukee that it was “wrong.”

“By the ’70s and into the ’80s and ’90s, the Democratic Party solidified its gains in the African American community, and we Republicans did not effectively reach out,” Mehlman says in his prepared text. “Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong.”

To Hanson and other neocons of that ilk it is not Barack Obama that might cause a “regression” in race relations it is any U.S. President of color. This is the soft stinking underbelly of Republican racism. It’s not, they’ll claim that they have anything against African-Americans only now is not the time for school integration, now is not the time for voting rights and now is not the time for a black president. Its all about the timing you see, its not about how the Hansons have used race to scare and polarize American voters. Where was Hanson and The National Review when Bush was exploiting every last ounce of prejudice he could at Bob Jones University

7. “This is a Catholic Voter Alert. Governor George Bush has campaigned against Senator John McCain by seeking the support of Southern fundamentalists who have expressed anti-Catholic views. Several weeks ago, Governor Bush spoke at Bob Jones University in South Carolina. Bob Jones has made strong anti-Catholic statements, including calling the Pope the anti-Christ, the Catholic Church a satanic cult! John McCain, a pro-life senator, has strongly criticized this anti-Catholic bigotry, while Governor Bush has stayed silent while seeking the support of Bob Jones University. Because of this, one Catholic pro-life congressman has switched his support from Bush to McCain, and many Michigan Catholics support John McCain for president.”

This was a John McCain for president campaign robo-call in 2000. Today, as we pointed out, he hangs with the Rev. Hagee who thinks Catholicism is a “cult” and the “Antichrist.” How romantic.

It is not simply about race with Republicans it is their repugnant and dependable habit of falling back on any kind of eliminationism they can exploit to electoral advantage. That snip comes from this article, The Top Ten Craziest Things John McCain Has Said While You Weren’t Watching

9. John McCain is “very proud to have Pastor John Hagee’s support.”

Just FYI, John Hagee makes Jeremiah Wright seem like Richard Simmons. Hagee has called the Catholic Church the “Great Whore,” an “apostate church,” the “Antichrist,” and a “false cult system.” And let’s not even get into what he has said about Jews.

In the insular world of The National Review Obama’s mere election will cause no end of tensions, but McCain and his cavalcade of anti-Catholic/anti-Semitic nut jobs are no cause for concern. Republicans practically invented identity politics.

WOODWARD
Why did they do all this for
Chrissakes?–what were they after?

DEEP THROAT
Total manipulation. I suppose you
could say they wanted to subvert the
Constitution, but they don’t think
along philosophical lines.

WOODWARD
Talk about Segretti–

DEEP THROAT
–don’t concentrate on Segretti or
you’ll miss the overall scheme too.

WOODWARD
There were more then.

DEEP THROAT
Follow every lead–every lead goes
somewhere–

WOODWARD
–the Canuck letter–was that a White
House operation–

DEEP THROAT
(nods, bigger)
–don’t you miss the grand scheme
too.

WOODWARD
How grand?

DEEP THROAT
Nationwide–my God, they were
frightened of Muskie and look who
got destroyed–they wanted to run
against McGovern, and look who they’re
running against. They bugged, they
followed people, false press leaks,
fake letters, they canceled Democratic
campaign rallies, they investigated
Democratic private lives, they planted
spies, stole documents, on and on–
don’t tell me you think this was all
the work of little Don Segretti.

WOODWARD
And Justice and FBI know all this?

DEEP THROAT
Yes, yes, everything. There were
over fifty people employed by the
White House and CREEP to ratfuck–
some of what they did is beyond
belief.

WOODWARD
(stunned)
Fifty ratfuckers directed by the
White House to destroy the Democrats?

from “ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN”, screenplay by William Goldman
Based on the novel “All The President’s Men” by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward

Coastal Inlet Cloudscape wallpaper

Coastal Inlet Cloudscape wallpaper 

Woman Says TSA Forced Piercings Removal 

A Texas woman who said she was forced to remove a nipple ring with pliers in order to board an airplane called Thursday for an apology by federal security agents and a civil rights investigation.

“I wouldn’t wish this experience upon anyone,” Mandi Hamlin said at a news conference. “My experience with TSA was a nightmare I had to endure. No one deserves to be treated this way.”

Several Republican wet creams all packed into one incidedent. A government that doesn’t work, that doesn’t respect citizens whose job it is for them to protect not treat like a criminal and a total failure of common sense. Throw is some sadistic insensitive behavior to top it all off and you have the George Bush/Grover Norquist fantasy governance in action.

Its is not just the cover-up, its the actual crime, Tapes’ Destruction Hovers Over Detainee Cases

When officers from the Central Intelligence Agency destroyed hundreds of hours of videotapes documenting harsh interrogations in 2005, they may have believed they were freeing the government and themselves from potentially serious legal trouble.

But nearly four months after the disclosure that the tapes were destroyed, the list of legal entanglements for the C.I.A., the Defense Department and other agencies is only growing longer. In addition to criminal and Congressional investigations of the tapes’ destruction, the government is fighting off challenges in several major terrorism cases and a raft of prisoners’ legal claims that it may have destroyed evidence.

“They thought they were saving themselves from legal scrutiny, as well as possible danger from Al Qaeda if the tapes became public,” said Frederick P. Hitz, a former C.I.A. officer and the agency’s inspector general from 1990 to 1998, speaking of agency officials who favored eliminating the tapes. “Unknowingly, perhaps, they may have created even more problems for themselves.”

Like many other issues many people tend to take the view that they all must have done something or they wouldn’t be arrested. This phenomenon is odd since most people in America, by the time they’ve finished high school and gotten some life experience will be happy to relate  a few stories about how they were unjustly accused of something they didn’t do. Justice isn’t about be a bleeding heart its about some basic tenets of fairness and not letting heightened emotions interfere with doing the right thing.

Maturity begins to grow when you can sense your concern for others outweighing your concern for yourself

We need new pundits and talking heads, 5 Years Later: Pundits Who Were Wrong on Iraq Are Silent

You can probably name your favorite candidate. Let’s take David Brooks of The New York Times, for example, and what he wrote exactly five years ago. He hasn’t bothered to revisit his errors in judgement lately. At least Richard Cohen, another favorite whipping boy of antiwar critics, has accepted responsibility for some of his lapses.

Brooks is among those who have long argued that they actually got the war right, but Donald Rumsfeld made it wrong. In other words, war good, Rummy bad. He has emphasized that he and many of his fellow pundits had it right at the time in urging more boots on the ground. They were “prescient,” he relates. But Rumsfeld and his crowd “got things wrong, and the pundits often got things right.”

He never cites any of his own views at the time, obviously hoping that readers will place him among those pundits that “got things right.” And also: please forget that he was a strong supporter of the invasion to start with.

In fact, he bears special blame — or shame, if you will — not only for his writing, but for serving as senior editor of the most influential (inside the White House) pro-war publication, The Weekly Standard, headed by Bill Kristol, who has been even more consistently wrong on the war, yet rewarded with a prestigious New York Times slot.

Come to think of it, Brooks got the same reward — two for the price of two!

It doesn’t seem to matter how wrong the Right is they’re rewarded. When they preach the gospel of meritocracy like so much else claims to wisdom about foreign policy only resonates with those people that have drunk deeply of the Conservative kool-aid. There seems to be a predictable cycle of wrongness followed by changing definitions of what they meant and yea buts. Childishness is Ok in adults that are playing on the floor with children though not only unbecoming, but dangerous in adults that own such large soapboxes in the media.

John McBush McCain is over seventy years old. He has been on this earth long enough to put on a good pretense of maturity. he thought and said that King George was incompetent before he said the King’s new clothes were dandy,

  I’m offering them the record of having objected strenuously to a failed strategy for nearly four years. That I argued against and fought against and said that the secretary of defense of my own party, and my own president, I had no confidence in. That’s how far I went in advocating the new strategy that is succeeding.

McCain’s statement stretches the truth. As late as August 2006, McCain declared that he did have “confidence” in Bush’s leadership in Iraq:

    Q: Do you, do you have confidence in the president and his national security team to lead the war at this stage?
McCAIN: I do. I do. I have confidence in the President and I believe that he is well aware of the severity of the situation. [Meet The Press, 8/20/06]

The answer to any question put to McCain, and the pattern is pretty consistent, is what will get the base fired up and get him elected.

While not a big fan of riddles, what is going great when the violence is down and going great when the violence is up. The “surge” as seen through the eyes of the Rightie moral relativists. When the metrics you’re using to measure something keep giving you the same reading regardless of events then there is something wrong with your metrics or your cognitive abilities.

They really should change The Weekly Standard to The Weekly Tripe, editor Michael Goldfarb can always be relied upon to do just as much research ( usually none) that supports his tiresome never ending role as concern rtoll for whatever Democrat is doing well in the polls. The Company Obama Keeps, Posted by Michael Goldfarb on March 26, 2008 08:03 PM  

Marc Ambinder wrote today of Obama’s troubles with McPeak and Rev. Wright:

    The problem with guilt by association arguments is that they tend to render insignificant the degree or quality of the association that allegedly tarnishes one participant.

Fair enough. But there comes a point when one looks at the people Obama has surrounded himself with and begins to wonder. On Israel, Obama has no real track record, so voters can judge him only by his words and the words of those who advise him.

Michael being one of those deeply serious people might want to read The Jerusalem Post occasionally, Obama is a strong friend of Israel

If you’re Jewish and spend any time on the Internet, you’ve read some outlandish things about the Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. But the facts are clear: Senator Obama is a strong friend of the American Jewish Community and Israel, and will make ensuring Israel’s security a high priority of his presidency.

Barack Obama’s record speaks for itself. He has longstanding support among the Jewish community in Illinois, who know first hand his unshakable commitment to Israel’s security. In the US Senate, he has established himself as a strong friend of Israel. As a candidate, he has made clear his commitment to deepen the US-Israel relationship and to defend Israel’s security as a Jewish state.

Yet Senator Obama is still the target of poorly sourced smears and innuendo, often anonymously circulated in mass e-mails. Sadly, these baseless attacks have been transformed into official Republican talking points. In his February 21, 2008 JPost.com op-ed (“Obama and the Jews”) Marc Zell, the Co-Chairman of Republicans Abroad in Israel, compiled a greatest hits of fiction and distortion about Barack Obama culled from one false email after another. To begin with, Zell abandons the tradition of bipartisan support for Israel, and completely ignores Senator Obama’s strong record of support for Israel:

Iran divestment: Senator Obama introduced priority legislation strongly supported by the pro-Israel community to make it easier for states to divest their pension funds from Iran, as a means of increasing economic pressure to dissuade Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons. The divestment idea grew out of a meeting between Senator Obama and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year.

Hamas: Senator Obama has been steadfast in taking a hard line against Hamas until it recognizes Israel, renounces violence, and abides by past agreements. He has been clear that the Palestinians’ suffering is a result of their own failed leadership. He was a cosponsor of the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act.

Travel to Israel: Barack Obama traveled to Israel in 2006 and visited the home of an Israeli family that had been destroyed by a Katyusha rocket. Months later, when Hizbullah attacked Israel, he spoke out strongly for Israel’s right to defend itself.

Israel’s defense: Senator Obama has called for deepening US-Israel defense cooperation, especially in the area of missile defense, to ensure that Israel has the qualitative military edge it needs to defend itself.

Ignoring Senator Obama’s record, Zell travels a low road filled with lies and distortions. In a sense, he has done us a service by demonstrating the total disregard for facts that Republicans will use to try to win this election. But these falsehoods cannot stand, so I will rebut each of them in turn. (emphasis mine)

The truth has never stopped the Right from manufacturing a good smear, on the contrary the more their smeras are proven untrue the louder and shriller they get.

Some equal time,  Book Review – Creating a World Without Poverty (Why HRC Should be President)

When she was first lady of Arkansas, Hillary Clinton did not just organize tea parties (contrary to what passes now for “common knowledge”). She had heard of a Bangladeshi economist who had introduced a great idea to help people out of poverty in Bangladesh and she thought his ideas might help the poor in Arkansas. The economist was Muhammad Yunus and the idea was microcredit. She was instrumental in introducing Yunus to Bill Clinton and they developed a program of microcredit in Arkansas. Yunus mentions her in every one of his books (with photos).

This is why I want Hillary to be president. Because I want a president with intellectual curiosity, looking around the world for the next good idea to solve problems.

Wonkish and about economics which just about guarantees no click throughs. Even though longer then most blog posts it only took me a minute to read and took care of my learning something new everyday quota.

“Maturity begins to grow when you can sense your concern for others outweighing your concern for yourself.” ~ John MacNaughton

Philadelphia Skyline wallpaper

Philadelphia Skyline

The tragedy continues Iraqi Troops, Militias Clash in Basra, but pay no heed John McBush says he don’t give a damn this is the bestest darn war since Vietnam. The media including CNN or the Conservative news Network  continues to give McBush a free ride,  Kurtz continues to cover Wright comments while giving short shrift to McCain’s crazy endorsers Hagee and Parsley. Kevin Drum  looks at McBush’s record and policy positions and there ain’t a whole lot there that is rational. Nothing that will turn around the most massive debt in our history or get us out of Iraq.

Let’s recap. Foreign policy cred lets him get away with wild howlers on foreign policy. Fiscal integrity cred lets him get away with outlandishly irresponsible economic plans. Anti-lobbyist cred lets him get away with pandering to lobbyists. Campaign finance reform cred lets him get away with gaming the campaign finance system. Straight talking cred lets him get away with brutally slandering Mitt Romney in the closing days of the Republican primary. Maverick uprightness cred allows him to get away with begging for endorsements from extremist religious leaders like John Hagee. “Man of conviction” cred allows him to get away with transparent flip-flopping so egregious it would make any other politician a laughingstock. Anti-torture cred allows him to get away with supporting torture as long as only the CIA does it.

an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear

3995 U.s. military deaths in Iraq with 4 pending confirmation as of today. Those that are wounded are rewarded with the Purple Heart and a mountain of paperwork and bureaucracy.

“It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear.” ~ General Douglas MacArthur, 1951

“Talk of imminent threat to our national security through the application of external force is pure nonsense. Our threat is from the insidious forces working from within which have already so drastically altered the character of our free institutions — those institutions we proudly called the American way of life.” ~ General Douglas MacArthur, 1951

Depend on the Right, that 29% of dead-ender Bush supporters to minimize and rationalize and other wise frail about in obnoxious canards about winning and losing. Iraq isn’t about winning and losing a battle so little Johnny can sleep safely in his bed at night as much as it is about stiff backed false pride. War as the flagship agenda of a failed political movement who would rather throw away lives and tax dollars then admit they got things terribly tragically wrong. Those that make it back the U.S. and vice a little dissent can rely on Republicans to be tolerant or maybe not, War Supporters “Spit” on Iraq War Vets in DC

IVAW marched as in a military company, in formation, with a 7 man honor guard front and center, all in their military uniforms. They carried the US flag, as did many of the vets and citizens, in the position of “distress.”

ALL of them were called “cowards,” “traitors” or “disgraces”… there were hundreds of “fuck you’s” screamed at them, and there were even screams of “we’ll kill YOU later” coming from the pathetic group of 1,000 pro war citizens that formed a thin line in a few small areas along the route of the march, and the pro-war group ALL claimed that they “supported the troops.”

Is ‘success’ of U.S. surge in Iraq about to unravel?

As Shiite violence rises, U.S. troop deaths also appear to be rising in places such as Baghdad, where the American military is thinning out its presence as part of its drawdown of five brigades. Attacks against civilians in the capital are rising, according to statistics compiled by McClatchy. Next week, the U.S. will finish pulling out the second of five surge brigades. As part of the drawdown, the military has moved battalions out of Baghdad toward more violent areas such as the northern city of Mosul and Iraq’s northeastern Diyala province.

A pathetic commentary on this grime anniversary is according to a poll graph at the McClatchy link the number of Americans who can accurately quote the number of fatalities has gone down every year since 2004. Four Deferment Cheney just throws up his arms and says hey they volunteered and George Draft Avoider Bush carries the biggest burden anyway. One of the reason that there can’t be a national debate about Iraq is that both sides have to be marginally capable of being rational. Cheney and Bush in their bizarre visions of themselves as courageous war heroes shows which side is completely unable to to snap out of a mental state that renders them incapable of being rationalism.

The CIA is at least capable of producing evidence that torture is not the holy grail of intelligence extraction from captives. Educing Information: Interrogation: Science and Art -Intelligence in Recent Public Literature,
Intelligence Science Board. Washington, DC: National Defense Intelligence College Press, 2006. 339 pages.

That conclusion: pain, coercion, and threats are unlikely to elicit good information from a subject. (Got that, Jack Bauer?) As one writer puts it, “The scientific community has never established that coercive interrogation methods are an effective means of obtaining reliable intelligence information.” (130) The authors hedge their bets, however, by suggesting repeatedly that more research needs to be done on this question. (Any volunteers for these experiments?)

The full report is available at the CIA web site.