Tragedy, fanatics and ethical challenges

In Iraq Severed fingers of 5 hostages delivered to U.S. officials in Iraq and 8 U.S. troops, 14 Iraqis die in wave of insurgent bombings

But don’t spend too much time contemplating these events because as Republican bloggers remind us everyday there were more casualties then WW II and the skins of oranges aren’t smooth. To be a modern Conservative one must be capable of these kinds of mental convolutions  necessary to rationalize away all mendacity, all atrocity, and all facts.

McCain’s Spiritual Guide: Destroy Islam 

Senator John McCain hailed as a spiritual adviser an Ohio megachurch pastor (Televangelist Rod Parsley) who has called upon Christians to wage a “war” against the “false religion” of Islam with the aim of destroying it.

McCain hasn’t denounced the anti-Catholic/anti-Semitic Rev. Hagee so someone that hates one billion plus Muslims will hardly make McCain wince. Parsley, one hopes, knows enough about the history of religion to realize that Muslims and Christians worship the same big guy in the sky. He probably does and has decided it doesn’t matter.

 House approves ethics measure 

The resolution would change House rules to create an independent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). The OCE would be comprised of six board members, none of whom could be sitting lawmakers. It would be able to conduct investigations against members based on allegations from outside groups and individuals, and decide whether to forward them on to the full ethics committee for further review. From 1997 until now, only members could file complaints against other members.

Maybe its too early to tell whether this is as toothless as some people are saying. Yes the House Ethics Committee gets to decide if anything like punitive action should be taken against an accused member, but the evidence that goes to the Ethics Committee will be a huge potential embarrassment for anyone that has acted in a way to bring about an investigation in the first place. Since outside groups can start the process rolling there is even the potential for abuse. Again we’ll have to wait and see whether this new wrinkle in imposing ethics will cause partisan groups to start wildly pointing fingers to score political points at the OCE’s expense.

Found this the other day- priceless,



Executive Summary: Iraqi Perspective: Project Saddam and Terrorism, Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents

Talking Points Memo linked to this report from ABC about the Bush administration is trying to deflect attention away from a new report that directly contradicts administration claims and the ensuing right-wing echo pre-Iraq occupation that there were operational links between Saddam and al-Qaeda.

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl Reports: The Bush Administration apparently does not want a U.S. military study that found no direct connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda to get any attention.  This morning, the Pentagon cancelled plans to send out a press release announcing the report’s release and will no longer make the report available online.

The report was to be posted on the Joint Forces Command website this afternoon, followed by a background briefing with the authors.  No more.  The report will be made available only to those who ask for it, and it will be sent via U.S. mail from Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia.

It won’t be emailed to reporters and it won’t be posted online.

Asked why the report would not be posted online and could not be emailed, the spokesman for Joint Forces Command said: “We’re making the report available to anyone who wishes to have it, and we’ll send it out via CD in the mail.”

Another Pentagon official said initial press reports on the study made it “too politically sensitive.”

Some people said they were having problems downloading the Executive Summary so I thought I’d post it. If you try and get it from ABC it does take a minute or so to start even on a quick connection. I imagine that eventually the full report will find its way on-line. Saddam did use terrorism, but the report concluded that his primary targets were Iraqis in Iraq and living outside the country, not Americans or Israelis. ABC brings up what should be embarrassing quotes,

On June 18, 2004 the Washington Post quoted President George W. Bush as saying: “The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda: because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda,” Bush said.

“We know he’s out trying once again to produce nuclear weapons and we know that he has a long-standing relationship with various terrorist groups, including the al-Qaeda organization,” Vice President Dick Cheney said on NBC’s Meet The Press March 16, 2003.

Whether people that have been so shameless in their selling of a counter productive war will actually feel embarrassed is another matter.