Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Republicans Behaving Badly

You know your country's in trouble when:

- The Attorney General has to be subpoenaed in order to force him to cooperate in an investigation.

- White House officials are using secret e-mail accounts to hide what, exactly?

- The Theater of the Imperially Absurd runs your country's affairs (badly) while Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are still considered your friends. (Forget the fact that they're literally letting terrorists get away with murder.)

- 61% of your countrymen believe their safety at home does not depend on the outcome of the Iraq war, 51% want the troops to come home gradually within one year (poll link) while your president is busy pushing the Democrats to get their war funding bill to him as quickly as possible so he can just veto it and keep whining while people keep dying.

- Hunger-strikers are being force-fed at Gitmo, again.

- Cheney's former gold mine, Halliburton, is finally pulling out of Iran. Yes, Iran.

- Fill-in WH press sockpuppet Dana Perino tries to invoke 9/11 (video), spars with Helen Thomas and loses, predictably.

- The Bush administration is interrogating so-called terrorism suspects in Ethiopia (including at least one Canadian) while no one is really paying attention. (Keep an eye on AFRICOM developments. The Middle East isn't the only region that the Bush administration is trying to manipulate and control.)

One American intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, said that the interviews in Ethiopia had produced "valuable information." It would have been "irresponsible" for the United States to give up the opportunity to interrogate suspects who could have information about Al Qaeda in the Horn of Africa, the official added.

Paul Gimigliano, a CIA spokesman, declined to give details about the agency's activities in the region, but said that the "CIA acts boldly yet legally, alone and with partners, just as our government and people expect us to."

And people might actually believe that if congress hadn't given CIA agents immunity from prosecution for torture last year.

- This is indicative of "celebrating" the fall of Baghdad 4 years ago:

- The Republicans just can't admit they've completely run out of ideas.

Robert Fisk:

Faced with an ever-more ruthless insurgency in Baghdad - despite President George Bush's "surge" in troops - US forces in the city are now planning a massive and highly controversial counter-insurgency operation that will seal off vast areas of the city, enclosing whole neighbourhoods with barricades and allowing only Iraqis with newly issued ID cards to enter.

The campaign of "gated communities" - whose genesis was in the Vietnam War - will involve up to 30 of the city's 89 official districts and will be the most ambitious counter-insurgency programme yet mounted by the US in Iraq.

The system has been used - and has spectacularly failed - in the past, and its inauguration in Iraq is as much a sign of American desperation at the country's continued descent into civil conflict as it is of US determination to "win" the war against an Iraqi insurgency that has cost the lives of more than 3,200 American troops. The system of "gating" areas under foreign occupation failed during the French war against FLN insurgents in Algeria and again during the American war in Vietnam. Israel has employed similar practices during its occupation of Palestinian territory - again, with little success.

Any questions? Surge on.

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