Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Try to do something nice for an asshole . . .






We'll start with war and politics and games. Last Friday, Scott Horton (Antiwar Radio) interviewed Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan. For the excerpt, they're discussing Cindy Sheehan's Al Jazeera column "US: Myth of the two party system:"
Scott Horton: Right and it asks the question in the subheadline: "Would America look much different if Republican John McCain had beaten Democrat Barack Obama to become president?" And so what do you think? How do you measure that?
Cindy Sheehan: Well I don't think it would look that much different because it sure doesn't look much different when we have a Democrat Barack Obama then when George Bush was president except that many things have gotten worse. Unemployment's gotten worse, the foreclosure crisis has become worse, the wars have gotten worse, he's tripled troop strength to Afghanistan, the drone bombings in Pakistan have gone up 300% in real numbers in the less than 2 years that Barack Obama's been president, he's declared himself judge, juror and excutioner over any American citizen without a fair trial. I mean, it's just -- I can't really think how things could be much worse if McCain was president. And then you have to think, too, if McCain had won the presidency, which of course he wasn't supposed to win, but if he had won the presidency, there theoretically would have been an opposition Congress and there theoretically would have been an opposition in the grassroots movement. We might have been able to rekindle some kind of antiwar movement if John McCain had won. But now, Barack Obama and the Democrats, their purpose, I think, is to kill these social, antiwar movements, to co-opt them and to just render them irrelevant and ineffective and they've been very good at doing that.
Scott Horton: Well, you know, if you look at the recent past and how, say, the Democrats took the House in the first place in 2006, it seems like the principle of endless warfare always outranks even the interests of the Democratic Party itself. John V. Walsh, at CounterPunch, did excellent work on the fact that Rahm Emanuel from his position in the House of Representatives worked to undermine every anti-war Democrat in the primaries in 2006 and support the pro-war Democrat. And in every case where he succeeded in doing so, the pro-war Democrat lost the general against the Republican and the anti-war Democrats that he failed to defeat in the primaries all won. But they wanted as few anti-war voices in the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives as they could possibly get. They're determined from the get-go to betray what they promise their constitutents which is that, "Oh yeah, it'll look like Daily Kos or something around here once we're in power."
Cindy Sheehan: Well and the thing is too with these recent elections is that there were still a few people who were very outspoken and openly anti-war in Congress and two of those people were defeated. Alan Grayson -- whom we both know is not perfect but he was a voice -- an anti-war voice -- and Russ Feingold. And they were both defeated. And I just think it is the plan of the regime to, more and more, the parties become almost indistinguishable from each other. But they still serve a purpose -- they serve a purpose where the Republicans might be able to come in now and extend the tax cuts which, you know, we can argue about that, but they could be able to invade Iran now, could be able to just push harsher austerity measures here in the United States where the Democratic Congress would have gotten more flack for that but now there's Republicans and that's what their Republican base put them in to do and now Barack Obama can say, "I didn't want to do it but the Republicans made me." And then the Republicans can conversely also say, "Well we wanted to reform the health care legislation but the president vetoed it." So they just play, they play this game to support each other, support the establishment, support the elites, while they keep robbing us because most of the people in our class, they believe that there is a difference between the parties, that Barack Obama really would do good if he could. But for the last two years, he had a super majority and they didn't end the wars or pass any progressive legislation. But they still blamed the Republicans even though the Republicans were in a distinct minority for the last two years.
Playing games? Anne Gearan (AP) breaks the news this morning that US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated publicly today in Kuala Lumpur that the US military may stay in Iraq beyond 2011. She quotes him stating, "We're ready to have that discussion if and when they want to raise it with us." Donna Miles (Defense Dept's press department) adds, "But Gates said he wouldn't expect such a request, at least until the Iraqis have selected a president, prime minister and speaker of the council of representatives and made ministerial-level appointments." You can put that with the remarks made by US State Dept spokesperson Philip J. Crowley said October 25th:
Well, we have a Status of Forces Agreement and a strategic framework. The Status of Forces Agreement expires at the end of next year, and we are working towards complete fulfillment of that Status of Forces Agreement, which would include the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of next year. The nature of our partnership beyond next year will have to be negotiated. On the civilian side, we are committed to Iraq over the long term. We will have civilians there continuing to work with the government on a range of areas -- economic development, rule of law, civil society, and so forth. But to the extent that Iraq desires to have an ongoing military-to-military relationship with the United States in the future, that would have to be negotiated. And that would be something that I would expect a new government to consider. [. . .] Should Iraq wish to continue the kind of military partnership that we currently have with Iraq, we're open to have that discussion."
And with public remarks made by US Vice President Joe Biden and former US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and . . . October 27th the Christian Science Monitor's editorial board urged Barack to prepare the Congress for the possibility that the US may remain in Iraq and the editorial board noted that "many experts predict Iraq will soon ask Mr. Obama to extend the time for US forces to stay, not only to protect the nation's fledgling democracy but to help Iraq survive as a nation in a hostile neighborhood. Iraq is far behind the schedule set in the 2008 security pact with the United States to bolster its military and police. Its ability to defend its borders and its oil fields -- both of which are critical to US interests -- is years away. And there is much doubt in Washington about the US State Department's ability to take over the American military's role in managing key security aspects of Iraq, such as Kurdish-Arab friction or forming new police forces." Better question: Are the people prepapred?
The SOFA may be followed to the "t" and not renegotiated. It may also be extended. US forces may remain in Iraq past 2011 -- something Gates, Crowley and Biden have all voiced this year -- all serving in the current administration. Something Barack alluded to as candidate but few have been listening apparently. Jason Ditz (Antiwar.com) has been noting the various statements and sleights of hand and points out today, "Though President Obama made much of the fake ends to the Iraq War in August, some 50,000 US troops remain on the ground, and despite being formally renamed 'non-combat' troops they continue to engage in combat missions and receive combat pay."
Again, Saturday we noted: "Matt Chittumm (Roanoke Times) reports members of the Virginia National Guard will deploy to Iraq in the new year. Cindy Clayton (Virginian-Pilot) explains that it will be approximately 850 members of the state's National Guard who will be active June 1st and 'The order calls for 240-day tours of duty, but the mobilization could be adjusted, the release says.' Wow. Even if the mobilization isn't adjusted, that would put them in Iraq past the alleged end of 2011 departure. If you don't do math and are extremely gullible, you to can pretend like the White House is invested in getting all troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011." Yesterday Andrew Tilghman (Army Times) reported that second in charge of US forces in Iraq, Lt Gen Robert Cone declared today, "The current brigade roation of one-year sets will continue. We have analyzed it, and what we're telling all units is to plan on a 12-month rotation over there and I think that's prudent." He thinks that's prudent. Who will ask why?
No extension is possible without a government in Iraq to ask it of. Ben Birnbaum (Washington Times) reminds, "Meanwhile, in the northern Kurdish city of Irbil, top figures from Iraq's major parties met behind closed doors Monday in a bid to break the political deadlock that has gripped the country for eight months. The three-day talks begin as the Iraqi Parliament prepares to resume work Thursday, following an order by the country's Supreme Court."

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Well look what Bobby Gates is saying"
"The assault on Iraqi Christians"
"That fool Latoya Peterson"
"The economy"
"stop me before i watch it again"
"Another cave"
"Fleetwood Mac"
"What could have been"
"Idiots like Walter Mosley"
"Mount Merapi says 'LEAVE!'"


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