saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (us)
Michael Dobbs' re-examination of the Cuban missile crisis gets beyond the mythology surrounding Kennedy and Krushchev's 1962 confrontation. chaos diplomacy )
saavedra77: Nero playing lyre while Rome burns ... (nero)
I keep thinking about how this week's terrorist assaults on Mumbai seemed to sum up and build upon the global jihadist movement's grievances, targets, and methods. Real care seems to have been taken to hit all of the movement's "Great Satans", to inflict spectacular violence in new ways, and attract more prolonged international attention: Mass Murder, Publicity, and Provocation )
saavedra77: Nero playing lyre while Rome burns ... (nero)
Every time I get my hopes up about the Middle East, it turns out to be "one step forward, two steps back": Going Backwards ... )

After the past week's violence, the region seems to be on the verge of reverting to where it was in the 1980s, when civil-war torn Lebanon became a proxy battlefield for Israel, Syria, and Iran.
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (senate)
In a major rebuke to the Bush Administration,the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Bush violated U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions in ordering military tribunals for Guantánamo Bay detainees.

Hamdan v Rumsfeld Decision )

X-posted to [livejournal.com profile] nikkinewsnet.
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (illogical!)

Ah, another wingnut who wants to cut and run! (Like Bill O'Reilly, who's decided that Iraq is just too full of "crazies" to ever be put right ....). [livejournal.com profile] attam forwarded the below rant, under the subject line "more from my right-wing uncle."

I think this tirade really illustrates how isolationism and unilateralism are just more and less confident versions of the same "America First" mentality. In this case, the global ambition seems to have pretty much withered. I guess that the declaration of victory and the long "fuck you, world" that follows are supposed to make up for the overall sense of frustration and defeat.

Read more... )
saavedra77: Nero playing lyre while Rome burns ... (nero)
Iraq's escalating sectarian violence has apparently persuaded conservative mandarin William F. Buckley to pronounce the U.S. effort to reshape that country a failure.  

In fact, the sad spectacle currently unfolding in Iraq seems to have shaken even Bill O'Reilly's nerves: a man who once likened advocates of a U.S. withdrawal to Nazi appeasers now says it's time for the U.S. to cut its losses and "hand everything over to the Iraqis as fast as humanly possible."  

The reason?  O'Reilly has recently been convinced that Iraq is full of "crazies" that the U.S. is never going to be able to "control."
saavedra77: Nero playing lyre while Rome burns ... (nero)
"In the wake of the Iraq war, it has become clear that official intelligence analysis was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized...'

'The administration used intelligence not to inform decision-making, but to justify a decision already made. It went to war without requesting -- and evidently without being influenced by -- any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq...'

'If the entire body of official intelligence analysis on Iraq had a policy implication, it was to avoid war -- or, if war was going to be launched, to prepare for a messy aftermath. What is most remarkable about prewar U.S. intelligence on Iraq is not that it got things wrong and thereby misled policymakers; it is that it played so small a role in one of the most important U.S. policy decisions in recent decades."

 -Former National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia Paul Pillar, in "Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq", in the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (springheeljack)

From last Friday's Washington Post: During the Hoover Administration, the U.S. developed a contingency plan to invade Canada.  Raiding the Icebox! )

Apparently, however, the Canadians were way ahead of us: Canadian Counter-Attack! )

Or, as the Toronto Globe and Mail put it on Saturday: "They'd Take Halifax--And Then We'd Kill Kenny!"

saavedra77: Nero playing lyre while Rome burns ... (nero)
"President Bush and his national security adviser have answered critics of the Iraq war in recent days with a two-pronged argument: that Congress saw the same intelligence the administration did before the war, and that independent commissions have determined that the administration did not misrepresent the intelligence.

'Neither assertion is wholly accurate."

When I heard Bush's speech, the other day, I wondered whether anyone in the mainstream media would have the cajones to actually call him on this crap.

But I guess that when 58% of the public already question the President's integrity, and only 37% approve of his job performance, it becomes a lot easier to say he's full of it ...
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (senate)

“I’m not a pacifist... I believe in the use of force. But there has to be a good reason for using force. And you have to know when to stop using force.”

“There may have come a time when we would have needed to take Saddam out ... But he wasn’t really a threat. His Army was weak, and the country hadn’t recovered from sanctions.”

“You encourage democracy over time, with assistance, and aid, the traditional way. Not how the neocons do it.”

-Brent Scowcroft, former National-Security Adviser to President George H.W. Bush, in an interveiw in last week's New Yorker magazine, regarding the differences between the 1991 and 2004 U.S. wars with Iraq.

The article also contains an interesting summary of the state of debate between so-called foreign policy "realists" like Scowcroft and neoconservative "tough idealists" like Robert Kagan, William Kristol, and Paul Wolfowitz.

Some questions that come to mind ... )

saavedra77: Nero playing lyre while Rome burns ... (nero)
Speaking to a conference on "A World Without Zionism," Iranian President Ahmadinejad today remarked that "There is no doubt that the new wave (of attacks) in Palestine will soon wipe off this disgraceful blot (Israel) from the face of the Islamic world... As the Iman (Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini) said, Israel must be wiped off the map." Ahmadinejad's remarks came on the same day that a suicide bomber killed at least five people in Northern Israel.

The Iranian President also had a warning for other Muslim states: "Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury; any (Islamic leader) who recognizes the Zionist regime is acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world."

Ibrahim Yazdi, a former Iranian Foreign Minister, responded to Ahmandinejad: "Such comments provoke the international community against us."

Ya think?! To judge from what I'm hearing and reading, the remark has been roundly denounced by the governments of Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Spain, the UK, and US. For starters.

The Beirut Daily Star concludes that Ahmadinejad's comments signalled the death knell of negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, and a new level of confrontation with the West.
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (sunspot)

According to The BBC, The New York Times, and NPR, a U.S. official has been briefing journalists "on background" about the contents of a captured letter from senior Al Qaeda figure Ayman al-Zawahiri to Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.  The text of the letter itself has not yet been released to the public, but its themes could be (without stretching things very much) satirically paraphrased as follows:

(I don't really need to warn you that it's utterly repellent crap, do I?)

Take ten pounds of rampant megalomania, five pounds of depraved indifference to human life, one teaspoon of crude poltical calculation, shake vigorously )

[Edit: [livejournal.com profile] feyandstrange points out that the text of the letter actually has been released. See her response for the link.]
saavedra77: Nero playing lyre while Rome burns ... (nero)

Talks on a proposed Iraqi constitution reached an impasse, Sunday.  Despite last-minute compromises offered at the urging of the Bush Administration, Sunni Arab leaders remain unsatisfied, rejecting provisions on  Iraqi national identity, federalism, the role of religion, and de-Ba'athification.  Unwilling to make further concessions to the former ruling minority, Shi'ite Arab leaders have cut off talks, saying that they will use their lopsided parliamentary majority to approve of the document as-is and forward it to an expected October referendum.*

Sunday's developments seem profoundly discouraging, as even the editors of the National Review have worried that "a Sunni rejection of the charter could tip the country further toward all-out civil war," that U.S. military planning and reconstruction efforts in Iraq are both somewhat lacking, and that the U.S. is "already on the downward slope of the curve when it comes to our influence in Iraq."

While the National Review editors focus their attention on Sunni opposition to the proposed constitution, it should also be noted that Shi'ite theocrat and militant Moqtada al Sadr has made common cause with the Sunnis in rejecting the document--seemingly on nationalist grounds.

*The first paragraph of this post will look familiar to readers of NikkiNewsNet, as this section is largely an X-post from there.  But the links and ensuing paragraphs are new, and seemed more appropriate to Kingdom of the Wicked's political thread ....

saavedra77: Nero playing lyre while Rome burns ... (nero)

Historians may conclude that the U.S. in 2003 invaded a dysfunctional, decaying, sanction-ridden Iraq over weapons of mass destruction that weren't there any more and that Hussein might never have been able to reconstitute, while helping establish the conditions for Iranian dominance of Persian Gulf:

Iranian hardliners cultivate influence in post-Baathist Iraq, aspire to nuclear weapons, and the U.S. may lack the means to curb the growth of Iran's regional power )

saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (sejanusambition)

Fred Kaplan has an interesting article in Slate analyzing the various British Iraq war planning memos that have been dribbling into the media, recently. You've no doubt heard of the infamous Downing Street Memo; in fact, several additional documents have been published in the Times of London and the Los Angeles Times during the past week.

Some excerpts from Kaplan's article, with my comments:

For those who're interested in such things ... )

saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (sejanusambition)

On Salon.com, today, Sidney Blumenthal tartly reviews the Bush Administration's recent attempts to shoot the messenger on prisoner abuse.  Just you never mind all those torture photos, torture memos, disputes with the FBI and JAG lawyers, reports of "extraordinary rendering" and "phantom prisoners," or the Supreme Court's ruling in Rasul v. Bush.  Cuz, y'see, the NGOs just hate America ...

(If you're not familiar with salon.com, you can read the entire article if you either subscribe or watch a brief ad.)

saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (not a game)
Talking to the handful of pro-Bush voters I know, and those I hear on call-in shows, I've been struck by how passionately so many of them believe in the so-called "Bush Doctrine"--the idea that the post-9/11 U.S. must go "on the offense," attacking potential enemies "over there" before we have to "fight them over here" (i.e., "play "defense").

The thing is, I keep wondering: why does anyone assume that "fighting them over there" and "fighting them over here" are mutually exclusive? Read more... )
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (sejanusambition)
I recently finished reading Bob Woodward's Plan of Attack. The book's main themes will be familiar to pretty much anyone who ever entertained doubts about the Bush administration's case for invading Iraq: senior figures hell-bent on invasion, casting about for anything that might suggest Saddam Hussein could be a 9/11-like threat to the U.S., & then in early 2004 struggling to deny mounting evidence that Hussein was no such thing--or to change the subject. In this sense, Woodward's book simply provides more & different perspectives on a narrative whose outlines we've already received from the likes of Hans Blix, Joseph Wilson, Richard Clarke, & other critics.

Beyond simple corroboration, though, what's particularly interesting about Plan of Attack are the things that the author gets members of the administration to say--in many cases on the record:

Read more... )
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (morons)
Minnesota's Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty, says that his constituents are increasingly worried about Iraq: "I think it's confusing to Americans because they don't understand why Iraqis don't like us. They don't get it."

(To be fair, it should be noted Pawlenty made this remark several weeks before the major media in the U.S. revealed that U.S. forces had been arresting Iraqi males in broad, indiscriminate sweeps, and that prisoner abuse was widespread. -saavedra, 05/10/04)

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saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (Default)
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