Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 24, 2006

OT 06-100

news & views ...

Posted by b on October 24, 2006 at 01:45 AM | Permalink

Comments

Apparently, Bush isn't actually so damn cocky that he's going to win.

I'll take my good news where I find it!

Posted by: citizen | Oct 24, 2006 2:17:39 AM | 1

Settlements growing, despite vow to U.S.

A secret, two year investigation by the defense establishment shows that there has been rampant illegal construction in dozens of settlements and in many cases involving privately owned Palestinian properties.

The information in the study was presented to two defense ministers, Amir Peretz and his predecessor Shaul Mofaz, but was not released in public and a number of people participating in the investigations were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements.
...
"Everyone is talking about the 107 outposts," said a source familiar with the data, "but that is small change. The really big picture is the older settlements, the 'legal' ones. The construction there has been ongoing for years, in blatant violation of the law and the regulations of proper governance."
...
In practice, the data shows that Israel failed to meet its commitments: many new neighborhoods were systematically built on the edge of areas of the settlement's jurisdiction, which is a much larger territory than the actual planning charts account for.

The data also shows that in many cases the construction was carried out on private Palestinian land. In the masterplans, more often than not, Palestinian properties were included in the construction planned for the future. These included Palestinian properties to which the state had promised access.

However, exploiting the intifada and arguing that the settlers should not be exposed to security risks, Palestinian farmers were prevented access to their properties that were annexed by Israeli settlements.

In many settlements, including Ofra and Mevo Horon, homes have been constructed on private Palestinian land.

Posted by: b | Oct 24, 2006 3:28:47 AM | 2

The New York Times is halfway to getting it about the Sudan.

Posted by: Rowan | Oct 24, 2006 4:17:44 AM | 3

New Yorker: Boeing sub organised CIA rendition flights: THE C.I.A.’S TRAVEL AGENT

Posted by: b | Oct 24, 2006 8:21:50 AM | 4

@Rowan - yes the NYT Sudan piece War in Sudan? Not Where the Oil Wealth Flows is relative good. It still has the usual bullshit, but at least they report is from the ground.

The NYT also had two other pieces yesterday that were going the same, i.e. a more realistic direction.

They finally stopped to put all blame on the government: Grim New Turn Likely to Harden Darfur Conflict

For the first time in more than two years, rebels fighting the government for more autonomy are making brazen, direct and successful attacks on soldiers, and are declaring that all previous cease-fires are no longer in effect.

The latest peace agreement, signed in May and heavily backed by the United States but approved by only one rebel faction and the Sudanese government, is in disarray.

(Guess who pays the rebels ...)

And they even got the facts right in this piece: Khartoum Expels U.N. Envoy Who Has Been Outspoken on Darfur Atrocities

Sudan’s government on Sunday ordered the chief United Nations envoy to leave, saying he was an enemy of the country and its armed forces.
...
Mr. Pronk is known as a forceful presence at the United Nations from his frequent appearances before the Security Council, where he often delivers unflinching accounts of the continuing mayhem and political breakdown in Sudan in a rhetorical style that includes finger jabbing and dramatic pauses for emphasis.

Sunday’s action against him was apparently provoked by an entry he made in his blog (www.janpronk.nl) last weekend that said the armed forces had suffered two major defeats with extensive casualties against rebels in Darfur in the past six weeks. He also reported that generals had been cashiered, morale had sunk and the government had collaborated with the feared janjaweed Arab militias, which are held responsible for pillaging villages and killing and raping their residents.

A UN diplomat is supposed to be neutral and should not feed one sided rumours through his personal. They were right to kick him out.

Posted by: b | Oct 24, 2006 8:42:25 AM | 5

ElBaradei warns on sanctions on N.Korea, Iran

Mohammed ElBaradei, executive director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he remained unconvinced Iran was developing nuclear weapons and "absolutely" believed a nuclear deal with Pyongyang was still possible.

Posted by: b | Oct 24, 2006 9:50:06 AM | 6

Interesting diary by LondonYank - Bush Iran War Plans - 4 Strike Groups in the Persian Gulf

He thinks Oct. 31 - I don't know - doing this before the election could really hit back like it did for Aznar

Posted by: b | Oct 24, 2006 1:06:43 PM | 7

And here's what really pisses me off about sanctions. Did a decade of sanctions against Iraq take a single meal off the table in the Hussein household? Do you really think Kim Jong-il himself is going to be getting any slimmer over this?

Why is it when nations decide to "get tough", the only ones who ever suffer are the people who had nothing to do with anything anyway? And why do people always feel so damned smug when all they are really doing is handing out a death sentence to poor country folk? "Starve some innocent bystanders... that'll teach 'em."

Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 24, 2006 1:28:22 PM | 8

I think we should just assume that >>THEY'RE GOING TO DO IT<<. And act accordingly.

Posted by: anna missed | Oct 24, 2006 1:39:07 PM | 9

And act accordingly

and how might that be?

Posted by: annie | Oct 24, 2006 1:51:05 PM | 10

@Monolycus - I agree with you on sanctions - useless and ruthless ...


@annie - and how might that be? Buy oil futures?

---
I have no, NO idea how to stop an attack on Iran. And its making me mad.

Posted by: b | Oct 24, 2006 2:12:30 PM | 11

Iran condemns US Gulf exercises

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 24, 2006 2:15:25 PM | 12

[And act accordingly ]

The US electorate could/should be in full panic mode over this -- the implications of which should scare the shit out of them. Think I'll call my rep's in washington to see how they're gonna stop WWIII today.

Posted by: anna missed | Oct 24, 2006 2:35:25 PM | 13

If it comes to a shooting war ... One could call this article a worst-case scenario for the new American century.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 24, 2006 2:36:27 PM | 14

lastest john stanton piece on the sibel edmonds case - Sibel Edmonds Vindicated? FBI Reveals Investigation Continues

Posted by: b real | Oct 24, 2006 2:55:19 PM | 15

Moves toward War with Iran: Part 2
Professor William R. Polk

In my first article , I set out why I think an American attack on Iran is likely. Now I will show what steps are being taken to prepare for that event.
The Air Force plans have been resisted by the senior generals of the Army, Navy and Marine corps. In rare public statements and frequently in private, they have said that the plans are fatally flawed and that even if an invasion begins with aerial attack it will soon require ground troops. Despite the misgivings of the military professionals, Joseph Cirincione wrote in the March issue of Foreign Policy that conversations with senior officials in the Pentagon and the White House had convinced him that the decision for war had already been made.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 24, 2006 2:56:45 PM | 16

Monolycus,

Kennon made the same point regarding the Soviets. He said that if we gave them anything, the leadership would keep it. But if we deprived them of something, they would pass the hardship down to the masses. That was in the context of warning that we couldn't get any PR leverage with the population of the USSR with carrots and sticks.

Posted by: Roger Bigod | Oct 24, 2006 3:34:16 PM | 17

Dear Senator...

It comes to my attention today, that a 4th U.S. aircraft carrier strike force has entered the persion gulf. With lttle more than a week before the election, it occurs to me that time for the neo-con republicans may be running out. And its no secret that they have long advocated a war with Iran. We could be on the verge of a "Gulf of Tonkin" pretext developing for a war with Iran, that may circumvent the usual UN and congressional approval necessary under normal circumstances. This could concievably happen BEFORE the upcomming elections and, if as one could imagine an Iranian retaliation upon one of our warships, which they have the capacity to carry out, may swing the electorate behind the president. And if not, the president, under the patriot act, has the power to declare a national emergency, cancel elections and even declare martial law. As unlikely as this scenario may sound, there is NOTHING in place to prevent such a sequence of events from unfolding. The American people must be made aware of this potential from developing. We need to hear from you immediatly.

thank you


I know a little tepid for MOA. feel free to copy & send

Posted by: anna missed | Oct 24, 2006 4:25:56 PM | 18

Thanks for the post at #18 anna missed

I enjoy templates, as sophmorish as they can be in an Microshit world, (not to denegrate yours at all) they do come in handy, as someone who is pressed for time in the meatgrinder of work. Yet, I'm afraid in my case this will do no good, as my representative, Conrad Con-man Burns, has stated to his opponent, Bush has a plan! but, it's a secret.

Burns, at a debate Tuesday night with Democratic challenger Jon Tester, said he believes Bush has a plan to win _ but added: "we're not going to tell you what our plan is."

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 24, 2006 5:15:41 PM | 19

I've no idea how to post links, but I recommend a Google of 'Iraqi firefighters killed' for a quick progress report on how the infrastructure is being rebuilt...

Posted by: Tantalus | Oct 24, 2006 5:36:07 PM | 20

As most MOA's can imagine, my utter disgust at this alcohol soaked W.C. Fields simulacrum, is beyond loathing.

A holograph of an achohol addled sot...

A good ol boy.

Never Give a Sucker an Even Break~W. C. Fields

And that's what the sot heads think we are, 'suckers'.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 24, 2006 5:40:50 PM | 21

I've no idea how to post links

Tantalus, above the box where you post are a list of HTML tags..the last 2 lines, that start w/

now type in how you want it to read where it says Link to ACLU

end it w/ ........

then hit preview and test it.

Posted by: annie | Oct 24, 2006 6:05:18 PM | 22

that worked swimmingly

just ignore that last post

Posted by: annie | Oct 24, 2006 6:07:12 PM | 23

Annie, it worked!

I was talking about this bitter, bitter farce...

Posted by: Tantalus | Oct 24, 2006 6:42:58 PM | 24

B: I don't really think they would try to act too funny against Iran before the election. it's too close now to make that effective, I think.
On the other hand, they may try this shit after the election, in case of defeat. Either because it's their last attempt to cash in before they're thrown out, or because they fully intend to call for martial law and other extraordinary measures inside the US, allowing them to keep power beyond January, or just to be mean and completely fuck up the situation they'll leave the Dems.

Uncle:
Preventive war against China? Reminds me of some who thought WW1 was the last thing to prevent the rise of Germany; after that France and UK would be outweighed and it would be too late.
Beside, it's been widely suspected in informed circles that one of these days, a carrier battle group will hit rock bottom, taking US military pride and reputation with it.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Oct 24, 2006 6:49:28 PM | 25

anyone else hearing stuff about camp falcon. i received what i think was my fifth email today about it. not sure there is a credible source out there yet. anyone know?

anna missed, thanks for the template! they always inspire me to do take up the charge. not sure it will have much effect on hilary or chuck, but worth doing just to remind them they are wrong.

Posted by: conchita | Oct 24, 2006 9:00:22 PM | 26

A,

On this special day, I am thinking of you. Some wishful thinking:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3A_9nXoxGfE&mode=related&search=

~A

X

Posted by: Amurra | Oct 24, 2006 9:19:45 PM | 27

Clueless Joe :

Check out the "Dems" they'll be leaving it to : The Book of Rahm.

Rahm Emanuel is the Godfather of the Israeli mafia that runs the Demoplican party.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Oct 24, 2006 9:42:34 PM | 28

Caracas offers UN seat compromise

Venezuela says it will withdraw from a bitter contest to win a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council if its rival, Guatemala, does the same.

Venezuela's foreign minister also said the US must end its "crude blackmail" of other nations in trying to secure a seat for its favoured candidate.

Neither Guatemala, which Venezuela says is a US proxy, nor Venezuela have polled enough votes yet to gain a seat.

Guatemala has reportedly rejected Bolivia as a compromise candidate.

Bolivian President Evo Morales earlier said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had offered to let Bolivia take his country's place in the race.

Bolivia, like its ally, Venezuela, has strained relations with the US.

Mr Morales said he hoped there would be consensus over his country's candidacy.

"Our ambassadors should be moving now at the UN," he said.

Venezuela's ambassador to the UN, Francisco Arias Cardenas, said a Bolivian candidacy was one of several solutions to the impasse.

"Probably there will be other solutions," he told Reuters news agency. "But we are exploring solutions, we are exploring ways out."

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Madura has said his country still has a "sovereign and legitimate" right to remain in the race for a Council seat.

interesting to watch the different stories circulating on this. evidently evo gave an interview stating that "commandante chavez" informed him he was it, but venezuelan officials say that they have not thrown in the towell. meanwhile, many in the capitalist press are taking the opp to get some extra punches in.

Posted by: b real | Oct 24, 2006 10:40:15 PM | 29

A,
Forgot to mention: I hope this finds you and your family in good health!
~A
P. S. My beloved foghorn has a sister, 7lbs, 4 0z. She is even louder than her brother!

Posted by: Amurra | Oct 24, 2006 10:54:53 PM | 30

long time amurra..

happy eid everyone

Posted by: annie | Oct 24, 2006 10:58:46 PM | 31

Annie,

May every year find you in good health!

~A

Posted by: Amurra | Oct 24, 2006 11:38:12 PM | 32

Conchita@#26

About that ammo dump - Sy Hersch is on the case:

Seymour Hersh called to say that He is looking/Ammo Dump

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 25, 2006 2:08:56 AM | 33

Heards and minds:Link

In Falluja on Monday, American troops, responding to a report that a fire truck had been hijacked by insurgents, stopped a fire truck matching the description, the command reported. As the truck’s four occupants “exited quickly,” the statement said, the troops opened fire, killing them.

American troops later found that the men were actually firefighters responding to an emergency call and were not riding in the hijacked truck.

Posted by: b | Oct 25, 2006 2:54:07 AM | 34

Whites on Top of Katrina Insurance

A year later, Louisiana residents living in white neighborhoods have been three times as likely as those in black neighborhoods to seek and get help from the state agency in their disputes with insurers, an Associated Press computer analysis shows.

The analysis of Louisiana's insurance complaints settled in the first year after Katrina highlights a cold, hard truth exposed by the hurricane's winds and waters: People of color and modest means are often disconnected from the government institutions that can provide it, or distrustful of those in power.

Posted by: b | Oct 25, 2006 3:25:46 AM | 35

People of color and modest means are often ... distrustful of those in power.

Oh, what a shock! I mean, it's not like there's any reason why the poor and/or black would be suspicious of medical aid from the government...

Posted by: The Truth Gets Vicious When You Corner It | Oct 25, 2006 3:50:10 AM | 36

My beloved foghorn has a sister, 7lbs, 4 0z. She is even louder than her brother!

does this mean you had a baby? either way, congrats.

Posted by: annie | Oct 25, 2006 4:24:51 AM | 37

Saltspringnews, as usual picks up on impt. story overlooked by everyone else, fixated as they are on Iraq, it's all Bu$h, etc:

Most people won’t pay any attention to this week’s energy summit in Lahti, Finland, but they should. It is particularly instructive for anyone who is interested in the latest developments in the global resource war.

The purpose of the meeting was to work out the nettlesome issues of energy policy, but the hidden agenda was to pressure Russian President Putin into signing away the control of his country’s critical assets to the big-players in the world energy cartel. The proposed "Energy Charter Treaty" is designed to tie up Russia’s resources through legal obligations which serve the overall interests of the energy giants. The treaty is no different than the EU Constitution which was voted down last year when the "informed" European public realized that it was just another boondoggle set up by big business to override national sovereignty, environmental safety, and civil liberties. The Energy Charter Treaty and the EU Constitution focus on the very same objectives, that is, establishing the legal framework for placing the world and its dwindling resources in the hands of a small cadre of obscenely-wealthy western plutocrats.

Western elites have been waging an intensive public relations campaign against Putin since he nationalized Yukos Oil and put it under control of Gazprom. Gazprom is quickly growing into the world’s largest oil corporation and will probably achieve that goal within the decade.

Putin’s move to nationalize the industry has been popular at home (his personal approval rating is consistently over 70%) and has had a profound effect on stabilizing the ruble and raising the standard of living. Most Russians still remember the country’s bleak experiment with "free market" capitalism during the 1990s when the ruble fell through the floor and Russia’s national assets were raffled off by the chronically-inebriated Yeltsin (under the supervision of western advisors). "The Oligarchs", as they were known, contributed significantly to Russia’s economic decline as well as its loss of prestige in the world. Putin has restored national pride, fueled the new prosperity, and is quickly rebuilding Russia into a world power. If energy prices continue to soar, as they undoubtedly will, Russia will be a force to reckon with throughout the 21st century.

American politicians and corporatists are concerned about Russia’s meteoric rise and are developing strategies to undermine its progress. Putin Gets Mugged in Finland

Posted by: jj | Oct 25, 2006 4:33:19 AM | 38

Where to from here? There is only blood and horror all the way down

And you didn't believe there was such a think as hell.

Posted by: DM | Oct 25, 2006 8:38:35 AM | 39

Watch out Iran and NK; next war the Pentagon isn't going to go to the great lengths to avoid civilian casualties that they went to in Iraq and Afghanistan, says dipshit general Pete Pace.

Posted by: ran | Oct 25, 2006 10:06:23 AM | 40

But he said that would not affect the capacity of the US military to defeat any enemy.

"It would not be as clean as we would like it to be. But it would certainly be sure. And the outcome would not be in doubt," he said.

This quote from Pace in the article that ran linked to in #40 strikes me as delusionary blather. If with all the benefit of the "precision" weapons (a 1984 turn of phrase if there ever was one), we can't even get Iraq under control, and Israel can't overcome Hizbullah, then why would it be even the slightest bit credible that we could do any better against bigger, more militarily sophisticated countries such as Iran?

These folks are seriously sick.

Posted by: Bea | Oct 25, 2006 10:29:49 AM | 41

I read it as simple thuggish threats of Dresden-style indiscriminate mass murder if certain countries don't get with the program.

It's about Mafia-style intimidation, not about any sort of workable strategy for doing anything besides making alot more enemies.

Posted by: ran | Oct 25, 2006 10:45:29 AM | 42

I watched part of the summit in Finland. Putin was stressed, angry and frustrated, but he held his own remarkably well. I don’t understand Russian hardly at all, but the gist was: lets be reasonable here, energy needs cooperation, why bash Russia, responsible people can get along, etc. No doubt he said more pointed things, that was the tone.

Here is Engdahl on Russia in early October (discusses Paris summit, see Cheney speech as well..)

http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net/Geopolitics___Eurasia/Russian_Giant/russian_giant.html>link

These American generals and others keep hinting at their superior power, which can only refer to nukes, as everything else has been shown to be useless.

I’m not up on the latest nu-ku-lear comparisons between the US and Russia, but aren’t they about at parity or close enough so as to not make any difference? That is, their show of strength and bargaining power should be about equal, a sort of Cold War stasis; when the first nuke is blasted, everyone loses, including the US.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 25, 2006 11:07:16 AM | 43

As Presidential candidate Bill Clinton was muscled onto the nation's ballot in order to ditch the rapidly increasing power & popularity of the health system reform movement, so Bush was muscled onto the ballot to maneuver the U.S. into war to enrich the nation's war profiteers while giving a helping hand to Israel.
The powers that do the muscling(?) may have guessed that any enterprise headed by a Bush would be a PR disaster. Most of the public is learning to hate them.
No matter. Cheney/bush friends, the people who count, have fattened their Swiss bank accounts. And both Cheney & Bush will retire to their acres in the faraway mountains of Wyoming and Paraguay with staff, and fat pensions paid for by American taxpayers.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED and the public be damned.

Posted by: Marjie | Oct 25, 2006 11:23:55 AM | 44

@Noirette - I’m not up on the latest nu-ku-lear comparisons between the US and Russia, but aren’t they about at parity or close enough so as to not make any difference?

The US has more nuke capacity, but not enough to matter yet. The problem with "sort of Cold war stasi" is what people believe. If people in the US believe they can "survive" an attack on Russia, then it doesn't matter how much capacity Russia really has.

Posted by: b | Oct 25, 2006 11:54:19 AM | 45

Okay, I'm throwing this story on the "random-as-hell" pile. I've no idea what to make of it... is it getting any coverage anywhere else? Bernhard?

Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 25, 2006 1:34:00 PM | 46

Senior Mod official claims Iran duped UK intelligence
By Neil Mackay, Investigations Editor
Sunday Herald, UK

ONE of the highest-ranking officials in the British Ministry of Defence has launched a devastating attack on the Blair government over lies told publicly about Iraq, the UK’s subservient relationship to America and the disastrous results of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The assault on Blair’s military, foreign and security policies has been made by an MoD official at the heart of war planning, intelligence, operational decision-making and policy. The defence chief – who has demanded anonymity – is one of the most senior members of staff in the ministry.

One of the most sensational revelations by the source is that Iranian intelligence helped manipulate Britain and America into removing Saddam Hussein – the sworn enemy of the Iranian regime. The claim has been supported on both sides of the Atlantic by former US and UK intelligence officials.

It has been made clear, however, that the Iranian disinformation operation in no way allows Britain and America off the hook for massaging intelligence and lying to the UK and US public about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The Sunday Herald has previously revealed the existence of two secret “spin units” operating within British and American intelligence and designed to concoct a false premise for war....

The MoD initially hoped that an attack on Iraq would also destabilise Iran. Officials now know that this was misguided. Instead of destabilising Tehran, the MoD now believes it was the Iranians who were pulling the strings behind the scenes and covertly providing the bogus intelligence that Britain and America needed to help convince the public Saddam had to go.

According to the MoD chief, the Iraqi National Congress (INC) was used by Iranian intelligence to pass false claims about Saddam’s WMD capability to the West. The INC was led by Ahmed Chalabi, a convicted embezzler who was very close to Washington in the run-up to war because of his exiled organisation’s desire to have Saddam “regime-changed”. Chalabi’s organisation is known to have passed discredited intelligence to Britain and America which helped Bush and Blair exaggerate the threat from Saddam.

Chalabi was later accused by the US of giving American secrets to Iran after the invasion of Iraq, and his Baghdad HQ was raided by Iraqi and US forces in May 2004. He denied the allegations, but his relationship with the US was permanently soured by the spying claim.

The MoD now believes that Chalabi’s organisation was also feeding Iranian-inspired disinformation on Iraqi WMD back to the intelligence services in London and Washington. “We have come to see that Iran carried out one of the biggest intelligence coups of the century,” the MoD source said. “It got the US and UK to go to war against Iraq by infiltrating our intelligence services in the most subtle of ways. The operation was quite brilliant....”

The MoD is worried that the manipulation of intelligence designed to get the UK into the Iraq war will have a detrimental effect on British national security. The source is clear that there can be no more wars fought by the UK for some considerable time.

Overstretch in the armed forces means the UK could not handle another conflict, and the scepticism of parliament and the public towards government means there would be no support for further wars. The MoD now favours diplomacy as a route to global stability....

22 October 2006

Sunday Herald

Posted by: Bea | Oct 25, 2006 3:53:59 PM | 47

@bea - and now we blame Iran and after we have bombed Teheran's not existing nuclear capabilities, we will bomb North Korea for deciving us on that, and after we have bombed North Korea, we will bomb ...

Posted by: b | Oct 25, 2006 4:32:52 PM | 48

@Monoycus - the incident is real. The Tagesspiegel is a serious, well connected paper.

The Israeli are playing games with the French troops in Lebanon and the Germans at see. I think they may be overplaying their cards here, but I'm not sure yet. One incident and they may see some very serious backslash for that ...

Posted by: b | Oct 25, 2006 4:37:35 PM | 49

Report: Pinochet gold deposit discovered

A Hong Kong bank has a multimillion-dollar gold deposit registered to Augusto Pinochet, the government said Wednesday. Newspapers put the total at some $160 million, but a lawyer and spokesman for the former Chilean dictator denied it.

..

El Mercurio, one of the newspapers that first published the reports, quoted a representative for HSBC, Garet Hewett, as saying he cannot confirm or deny the report.

El Mercurio and the government-owned daily La Nacion said the gold deposit allegedly owned by Pinochet was worth some $160 million.

The discovery was part of an investigation into Pinochet's fortune abroad that began in 2004 after a U.S. Senate investigative committee disclosed that the 90-year-old former ruler held millions of dollars at the Riggs Bank in Washington.

Since then, Pinochet's fortune at several foreign banks had been estimated at $28 million. He allegedly used false passports to open some of the accounts.

Posted by: b real | Oct 25, 2006 5:37:51 PM | 50

The puppet is uptidy ...

Iraq’s Leader Jabs at U.S. On Timetables and Militias

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki put himself at odds on Wednesday with the American government that backs him, distancing himself from the American notion of a timetable for stabilizing Iraq and criticizing an American-backed raid on a Shiite militia enclave.
...
His comments stood in stark contrast to the message given Tuesday by the top two United States officials in Iraq, Gen. George W. Casey Jr. and Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who said the timetable for political measures had been accepted by the Iraqi government.

“I want to stress that this is a government of the people’s will, and no one has the right to set a timetable for it,” Mr. Maliki said at a news conference broadcast on national television.

“This is an elected government, and only the people who elected the government have the right to make time limitations or amendments,” he said, stabbing the air with his hand.

Posted by: b | Oct 25, 2006 10:53:52 PM | 51

Germany in radical shake-up of military

Germany will on Wednesday adopt the most radical restructuring of its military since 1945, turning the Bundeswehr into an international intervention force, according to an internal cabinet strategy paper obtained by the Financial Times.

The paper, which will be endorsed at a special cabinet meeting in the defence ministry, is the product of a review – the first of its kind since 1994 – begun by Angela Merkel, chancellor, after she won office last November. It will see Germany’s military officially abandon its primary postwar task of defending the country’s borders in favour of a more robust role for German troops on international missions.
...
The 133-page strategy paper argues that the capacity of the Bundeswehr must be expanded to allow for the deployment of a total of 14,000 troops to five international missions simultaneously.

This will be achieved by drawing troops previously deployed on national defence into units involved in staffing or supporting overseas missions.

The Bundeswehr has about 250,000 military personnel, including about 50,000 conscripts. About 9,000 troops are currently overseas in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Congo and elsewhere.


Stupid and dangerous ...

Posted by: b | Oct 25, 2006 11:43:37 PM | 52

was reading an article anna missed linked to last week, principles, imperatives, and paradoxes of counterinsurgency and the very first principle of COIN that the authors list is

Legitimacy as the main objective
A legitimate government derives its just powers from the governed and competently manages collective security and political, economic, and social development. Legitimate governments are inherently stable. They engender the popular support required to manage internal problems, change, and conflict. Illegitimate governments are inherently unstable. Misguided, corrupt, and incompetent governance inevitably fosters instability. Thus, illegitimate governance is the root cause of and the central strategic problem in today's unstable global-security environment.

Five actions that are indicators of legitimacy and that any political actor facing threats to stability should implement are--

  • Free, fair, and frequent selection of leaders
  • A high level of popular participation in and support for the political process
  • A low level of corruption
  • A culturally acceptable level or rate of political, economic, and social development
  • A high level of regime support from major social institutions
  • well, the united states w/o question misses the mark on the first three. the fourth is up for grabs, depending on what definitions we use for development or being "culturally acceptable." the fifth is arguable as well. but it's not the state of the unstable states of america that i'm focusing on tonite, but its ongoing actions in destabilizing another american government, that of venezuela.

    zogby & the univ of miami this week released the results of a poll on the upcoming presidential elections in venezuela

    Blowout! Chávez Holds Huge Lead in Venezuela Reelection Bid
    Support is more than double that of nearest challenger—U.S. Gov’t held in very low esteem by Venezuelans

    Venezuelan President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frias enjoys a huge lead in his effort to win reelection to another six-year term as president, a new University of Miami School of Communication/Zogby International poll shows.

    Chávez, representing the Fifth Republic Movement, wins 59% support from Venezuelan voters, compared to 24% for Manuel Rosales – the governor of Zulia, representing A New Time party -- and just 2% for Benjamin Rausseo, a Venezuelan comedian endorsed by the “piedra” party, the survey shows.

    ...

    Chávez’s lead in the race stems at least in part from his popularity and job performance – 59% said they have a favorable opinion of him and the same percentage give him positive job performance marks, while 40% had a negative review of his work on behalf of the nation.

    In addition, 59% said he deserves to be reelected, compared to 33% who said he does not.

    No matter the controversy Chávez engenders on the world stage, 58% of likely voters in his homeland said their nation is headed in the right direction, while 28% said things are off on the wrong track. Another 15% said they were unsure.

    for fun, we could look at the number of u.s.a. citizens who support their leadershipt & say that their nation is headed in the right direction and make a comparison of the two nations against the metrics outlined in the COIN document, but that's probably a bit too obvious, right?

    as obvious as the u.s.a. interfering w/ the upcoming elections, i reckon.

    Chavez and Supporters Condemn Destabilization Plans for Venezuelan Elections

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan officials, politicians and others denounced over the past week, what they believe are plans to destabilize the Venezuelan Presidential Elections, which is set to be held in less than six weeks, on December 3rd.

    Last Sunday, President Chavez once again warned of destabilization activities and an assassination plot against him. Chavez further pointed out that the opposition has attempted to fix opinion polls to make it appear as though opposition candidate Manuel Rosales was gaining ground.

    While the most reliable polls, including a recent survey from the University of Miami, consistently show Chavez with a 30% advantage over opposition candidate Manuel Rosales, other polls have been released over the last couple of weeks, which suggest that Rosales is actually tied or ahead of Chavez in the race for President.

    over at the blog oilwars, they've been following the polls and election campaigns in detail (in addition to a lot of other interesting posts on venezuela - lotsa pix of the new rail line & infrastructure). rosales is essentially all the opposition has to work with in an overt fashion. just so happens that he's also the governor of zulia, which is the top oil-producing state. but, continuing from the above article, here's an example of one alleged plot outside of the normal political process for fostering instability.

    Last Wednesday in an interview with Panorama, Maracaibo mayor, Giancarlo Di Martino, also condemned and outlined a destabilization plan that he had been made aware of, “with the goal of attacking the National Government and causing violence before the elections.” Di Martino acknowledged that the plan was brought to his attention by people at the University of Zulia (LUZ) and informants from Venezuelan Armed Forces at the Colombian border.

    According Di Martino, “a student would be assassinated by paramilitaries” during one of a number of opposition marches that would be held at the University of Zulia a few days before the close of the electoral campaign in late November..

    “The conspiracy is coordinated by the candidate Manuel Rosales together with the North American Government, in the figure of the CIA and the Dean Leonardo Atencio,” said Di Martino.

    According to Di Martino, “the paramilitaries would follow the orders of Rosales and would be dressed as students. The death of the student would be blamed on the national guard or a metropolitan police official.”

    “This would be an ideal scenario in order [for Rosales] to convoke his follows to civil disobedience and unleash a wave of undetainable violence from the University,” said Di Martino.

    eva golinger, of venezuelafoia fame for exposing documents linking the u.s.a. to the short-lived 2002 coup, outlines another

    Golinger told us that the US is building a new military base on Curacao, the Dutch colony off Venezuela's coast and near the oil state of Zulia. She speculated that one outcome of the December election would be for the US to refuse to recognize Chavez' election and for Rosales to go back to Zulia and refuse to recognize the central government. There is already a secession movement in Zulia. With US forces in Colombia, on Curacao, and nearly constant navy war games in the Caribbean, it is possible that Venezuela could be stripped of its major oil producing state.
    [source: US Works to Delegitimize Venezuela's December Presidential Election]

    chomsky has mentioned several times that he see this as a very real possibility in a few regions in latin america. the oil-military complex will get as crude as it takes to get at that crude. as a recent column at foreign policy in focus points out

    Hunting Hugo

    In late June, U.S. Southern Command, the arm of the U.S. military in Latin America, concluded that efforts by Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia to extend state control over their oil and gas reserves posed a threat to U.S. oil supplies. While Latin America produces only 8.4% of the world's oil output, it supplies 30% of the oil consumed in the United States.

    “A re-emergence of state control of the energy sector will likely increase inefficiencies and, beyond an increase in short-term profits, will hamper efforts to increase long-term supplies and production,” the study concludes. In an interview with the Financial Times, Col. Joe Nunez, a professor of strategy at the U.S. Army War College, added an observation that ought to send a collective chill down the backs of the three countries named: “It is incumbent upon the Command to contemplate beyond strictly military matters.”

    That one of the U.S. military's most powerful arms should find itself deep in the energy business should hardly come as a surprise. Four months after Bush took office, Vice President Dick Cheney's National Energy Policy Development Group recommended that the administration “make energy security policy a priority of our trade and foreign policy.” The Administration has faithfully followed that blueprint, using war and muscular diplomacy to corner U.S. energy supplies in the Middle East and Central Asia.

    What most Americans don't know is that Venezuela's reserves are enormous. According to a department of energy estimate, they are considerably greater than Saudi Arabia's, and may be as high as 1.3 trillion barrels. Most Venezuelan oil is heavy and expensive to refine, but as long as oil stays above $50 a barrel—and few doubt it will go lower—it is an almost endless gold mine.

    The bone the U.S. is picking with Hugo is not about bombast. It's about oil.

    in another interview, golinger reminds us of who was behind the attempt to cripple the oil economy in venezuela after chavez was restored to power as the 2002 coup failed.

    Once the coup failed and Carmona was turned out, opposition political parties and groups, flush with US funds, planned and carried out an "economic sabotage," as Golinger describes it, that nearly crippled Venezuela's oil industry. In the Venezuelan and US press, they claimed that workers were protesting President Chávez by refusing to go to work. Venezuela's right-wing opposition, with the support of US taxpayer money, Bush strategists, and a little-known corporation with strong ties to the Pentagon, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), ironically labeled their action a "strike."

    In truth, the managers who ran Venezuela's oil industry closed down the plants and refineries, locked the workers out, and even destroyed or damaged vital equipment. SAIC technicians, who, according to Golinger, provided and operated the information technology used by Venezuela's state-owned oil company, PDVSA, aided the sabotage by shutting down computer systems that operated the plants or changing the code to disable them.

    "That was actually the area the sabotage took place," Golinger reports. "It was a US company which forms part of the military industrial complex – anyone can look it up – they were the ones leading the sabotage efforts."

    The sabotage failed as ordinary workers stood up for the government they had chosen and forced the plants to re-open. In both cases – the coup and the sabotage – the main leaders were only in rare cases held to account for their crimes. Many fled the country, some to the US where they were welcomed by their patrons in the Bush administration.

    [btw, watch that great documentary the revolution will not be televised online, if you've never seen it. and pay attention to the role that the citizens' knowledge of their constitution played in reversing the coup.]

    again, golinger, from the same article

    Aside from tens of millions of US taxpayer dollars financing Chávez's opponents, Golinger also points out that this time around the US role in the campaign amounts to "psychological warfare within Venezuela, but also in the international arena, and in the United States." The goal is "to make people think that Venezuela is a failed or failing state with a dictator, which is how the US government refers to him."

    failing state with a dictator....
    now why does that sound familiar?

    Posted by: b real | Oct 26, 2006 12:31:09 AM | 53

    ...and just to recapture that passage from the COIN doc

    Illegitimate governments are inherently unstable. Misguided, corrupt, and incompetent governance inevitably fosters instability. Thus, illegitimate governance is the root cause of and the central strategic problem in today's unstable global-security environment.

    well, they sure got that part right!

    Posted by: b real | Oct 26, 2006 12:43:22 AM | 54

    @b #52

    Did someone leave a copy of the PNAC manifesto lying around Merkel's office...?

    I'm trying to work out the significant difference between "...the capacity of the Bundeswehr must be expanded to allow for the deployment of a total of 14,000 troops to five international missions simultaneously" and "...we must fight and decisively win multiple major theatre wars".

    I'm just not skilled at decoding euphemisms, I guess. Sounds like everybody is saying that "The best defense is a good interventionalist force." What a relief... I was worried that they meant "carrying out unprovoked aggressive wars" or something.


    Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 26, 2006 12:45:59 AM | 55

    I'm so glad that United States Drug Enforcement Agency personnel are trained to recognise classified nuclear documents, or this could have been a real slip-up.

    Um. Yeah. Anyone else buying this?

    Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 26, 2006 12:57:09 AM | 56

    Mono and others:

    What, the Bundeswehr should tool up to take on the mighty armed forces of the Netherlands - or Austria? Aren't you guys in favour of peacekeeping missions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Congo, East Timor etc?

    Posted by: Leinad | Oct 26, 2006 1:04:23 AM | 57

    Link to Principles, Imperatives, and Paradoxes of Counterinsurgency b real mentions.
    ---
    @Leinad - I probably would support one international mission for the Bundeswehr right now: Providing air defense for Lebanon

    Posted by: b | Oct 26, 2006 1:22:55 AM | 58

    @Leinad (#57)

    Actually, for my part, no I am not in favor of expanding any country's military offensive capabilities... even if you want to use the euphemism of "peacekeeping missions" to describe it. Certainly, the US intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo could be argued to have "restored the peace", insofar as it killed or starved many Serbs who might otherwise, as far as anyone can prove, do something terrible... but the reductio ad absurdism of this line of thinking is that we are obligated to nuke the planet. Then we can all "rest in peace".

    Although I understood the snark behind suggesting that the Netherlands and Austria are not mighty military forces to be reckoned with, I'll hasten to remind you that Germany's neighbours haven't always been such fluffy bunnies (and it goes without saying that neither has Germany itself).

    I'm not sure why it is that, in the absence of any other problems, the a priori assumption seems to be that the Bundeswehr needs to "take on" anyone. If a nation's army is not occupied by protecting its borders, I don't see any obligation to be doing anything at all. That's akin to saying that since I bought a guard dog to protect my home, and since he isn't currently eating any invaders of my home, I am obligated to take him down to the park to eat some children who might one day invade my home. It simply doesn't follow.

    We've discussed interventionism on this site, and my position, taking into account the Law of Unintended Consequences, is that in almost no circumstances is there an organised body of people with the moral and intellectual clarity to determine when intervention is a wise course of action. The doctrine of "pre-emptive war" is no more than a logical extension of interventionism, and I think we are seeing how well "peacekeeping missions" in Iraq and Afghanistan are playing themselves out.

    Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 26, 2006 1:41:00 AM | 59

    Actually, for my part, no I am not in favor of expanding any country's military offensive capabilities... even if you want to use the euphemism of "peacekeeping missions" to describe it. Certainly, the US intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo could be argued to have "restored the peace", insofar as it killed or starved many Serbs who might otherwise, as far as anyone can prove, do something terrible... but the reductio ad absurdism of this line of thinking is that we are obligated to nuke the planet. Then we can all "rest in peace".

    I think you'll find the Serbs were doing some pretty terrible things. I'm not hardline either way, but I think your arguments against international intervention in crisis are fairly weak. Your own reductio ad absurdum would prevent you from even replying to this post becuase you can't foretell that it might not spur me to grab an AK and mow down innocents at my local supermarket.

    I'm not sure why it is that, in the absence of any other problems, the a priori assumption seems to be that the Bundeswehr needs to "take on" anyone. If a nation's army is not occupied by protecting its borders, I don't see any obligation to be doing anything at all. That's akin to saying that since I bought a guard dog to protect my home, and since he isn't currently eating any invaders of my home, I am obligated to take him down to the park to eat some children who might one day invade my home. It simply doesn't follow.
    Your conception of what is involved in a peacekeeping mission is sorely lacking. It is not some kind of cover for an invasion, or 'taking someone out' - the majority of peacekeeping missions have been geared to maintaining a peaceful situation post-hostilities, where national armed forces are unwilling or unable to do so (see - East Timor, Cyprus, Lebanon, Bosnia and Kosovo). Your imputation that Merkel's decision to expand the Bundeswehr's peacekeeping capabilities is some kind of covert invasion plan (to be mentioned in the same breath as _PNAC_, no less) smacks of
    Although I understood the snark behind suggesting that the Netherlands and Austria are not mighty military forces to be reckoned with, I'll hasten to remind you that Germany's neighbours haven't always been such fluffy bunnies (and it goes without saying that neither has Germany itself).
    I was half-snarking - you can never trust those perfidious Austrians ;-). In either case, a few hundred years of history have interceeded since the 30YW, and the Bundeswehr, thank god, isn't likely to be called up to defend its territory any time soon.

    Regardless of how neocons have described their campaigns, humanitarian intervention shouldn't be tarred with the same brush - they aren't perfect, but often they're better than standing around in the middle of a genocide.

    Posted by: Leinad | Oct 26, 2006 2:12:58 AM | 60

    @Leinad

    Interesting take on things. Not persuasive, but interesting.

    What's more interesting to me is why, when the news story was originally provided by Bernhard and he responded to your first rebuttal as well as myself, you've addressed me specifically twice now. Just to be completely clear, are we in disagreement about interventionist policy or is there something personal going on?

    Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 26, 2006 2:24:10 AM | 61

    http://www.andnetwork.com/index?service=direct/0/Home/older.fullStory&sp=l54562>This recent poll shows that:

     

    An overwhelming majority, 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the year. Among Reserves 90% favor withdrawal compared to 83% of the National Guard, 70% of the Army, and 58% of the Marines. Moreover, about three-quarters of National Guard and Reserve units favor withdrawal within 6 months.

    While only 60% of the american public think we should withdrawl within a year.

    Posted by: anna missed | Oct 26, 2006 3:09:28 AM | 62

    Thanks b real and Monolycus, very good to hear your voices.

    For what it's worth I am also a fan of Hugo Chavez. Not the cult of personality but things like printing enough copies of the Venezuela constitution, and communicating its importance that every citizen of Venzuela has one. Not to mention giving each citizen the right to claim land as their own.

    As for you, Mono, I agree. I hold fast to my conviction that any war is wrong. Any killing is wrong.

    Those that may be inclined to think that I occupy a weak position as a pacifist must understand that I do not.

    Killing is wrong.

    Any killing must be investigated, any potential killing must be stopped. Upon this fundamental idea, the sixth commandment in the old testament, stands a basic truth. From it flows the idea that if we must not kill our brothers and sisters, we should not deprive them of other important things once we understand that they have a right to live.

    I always think that the worst thing you can do to someone is lie to them, so I have a basic respect for the truth.

    Interesting, Monolycus and friends, that two out of the three recent times you've spoken out you have been opposed here.

    Might be that you are making sense!

    Posted by: jonku | Oct 26, 2006 3:31:53 AM | 63

    seems offtopic but then this is an openthread.

    How to steal an election by hacking the vote

    Posted by: holy | Oct 26, 2006 3:35:57 AM | 64

    holy, check out the 'some like it hot' thread

    Posted by: | Oct 26, 2006 3:46:39 AM | 65

    Leinad, I've read again what you have to say.

    It makes sense, but your self-admitted snark led me to think I disagreed with you ... but you are making sense. A quote from your recent post,

    "Your conception of what is involved in a peacekeeping mission is sorely lacking."

    Unnecessary.

    This comment shows better your point of view,

    "It is not some kind of cover for an invasion, or 'taking someone out' - the majority of peacekeeping missions have been geared to maintaining a peaceful situation post-hostilities, where national armed forces are unwilling or unable to do so (see - East Timor, Cyprus, Lebanon, Bosnia and Kosovo)."

    Although I don't know you well, your point of view also makes sense to me.

    What do you think about the difference between "Peacekeeping" and "Peacemaking." These are descriptions of the more aggressive role Canada is playing in Afghanistan ("Peacemaking") versus Canada's decades-old role in a UN role doing things like patrolling the ceasefire between Cyprus and Greece ("Peacekeeping").

    If you have time to respond, I am interested in your take on other recent humanitarian interventions and the future of these type of actions.

    Do you think they need the umbrella or figleaf of a treaty organization such as NATO, UN or perhaps ASEAN or SEATO.

    Posted by: jonku | Oct 26, 2006 3:50:30 AM | 66

    Interesting, Monolycus and friends, that two out of the three recent times you've spoken out you have been opposed here.

    Might be that you are making sense!

    my perceptions exactly jonku. perhaps that sense is threatening to someone who chooses to remain anon ? interesting. it is easy enough around here speaking your peace w/out directly challenging another poster. yet the tone is unmistakeable. so is the target. why? hmm.

    Posted by: | Oct 26, 2006 4:06:47 AM | 67

    and you are?

    Posted by: jonku | Oct 26, 2006 4:15:07 AM | 68

    oh, sorry. when i refresh safari it disappears my name. that was me.

    Posted by: annie robbins | Oct 26, 2006 4:33:16 AM | 69

    whoop-s again

    Posted by: annie | Oct 26, 2006 4:34:56 AM | 70

    hi annie!

    Posted by: jonku | Oct 26, 2006 4:49:12 AM | 71

    Here's a tale of duplicity, torture and selfish mendacity on the part of a chunk of whitefella run Northern nations. It seems that amerika adopted a bit of favour for favour strategy when rendering suspects, a sort of a "we won't torture your citizens if you let us torture other nations' suspects"

    From the Guardian:

    CIA tried to silence EU on torture flights

    Germany offered access to prisoner in Morocco if it quelled opposition

    The CIA tried to persuade Germany to silence EU protests about the human rights record of one of America's key allies in its clandestine torture flights programme, the Guardian can reveal.

    According to a secret intelligence report, the CIA offered to let Germany have access to one of its citizens, an al-Qaida suspect being held in a Moroccan cell. But the US secret agents demanded that in return, Berlin should cooperate and "avert pressure from EU" over human rights abuses in the north African country. The report describes Morocco as a "valuable partner in the fight against terrorism".

    The classified documents prepared for the German parliament last February make clear that Berlin did eventually get to see the detained suspect, who was arrested in Morocco in 2002 as an alleged organiser of the September 11 strikes.

    He was flown from Morocco to Syria on another rendition flight. Syria offered access to the prisoner on the condition that charges were dropped against Syrian intelligence agents in Germany accused of threatening Syrian dissidents. Germany dropped the charges, but denied any link.

    After the CIA offered a deal to Germany, EU countries adopted an almost universal policy of downplaying criticism of human rights records in countries where terrorist suspects have been held. They have also sidestepped questions about secret CIA flights partly because of growing evidence of their complicity.

    The disclosure is among fresh revelations about how the CIA flew terrorist suspects to locations where they were tortured, and Britain's knowledge of the practice known as "secret rendition". They are contained in Ghost Plane, by Stephen Grey, the journalist who first revealed details of secret CIA flights in the Guardian a year ago. More than 200 CIA flights have passed through Britain, records show.

    He describes how one CIA pilot told him that Prestwick airport, near Glasgow, was a popular destination for refuelling stops and layovers. "It's an 'ask-no-questions' type of place and you don't need to give them any advance warning you're coming," the pilot said.

    The CIA used planes of Air America, a group of private companies it secretly owned, and a second company, Aero Contractors. A CIA Gulfstream V jet, frequently used for the secret rendition of prisoners, flew to Diego Garcia, the British Indian Ocean territory where the US has a large base, the book says. Grey plans to publish more than 3,000 logs of the CIA flights on the internet this week.

    CIA pilots, sometimes using false identities and whose planes regularly passed through Britain, ran up huge bills in luxury hotels after flying terrorist suspects to secret locations where they were tortured. But they revealed their whereabouts and identities by indiscreet use of mobile phones and allowed outsiders to track their aircraft's flights.

    On one occasion, CIA pilots and crew lived it up in Majorca after rendering Benyam Mohammed, an Ethiopian brought up in Notting Hill, west London, to Afghanistan where he was tortured. Benyam was detained in Pakistan early in 2002, and then flown to Morocco, where he says he suffered appalling torture. He is being held at Guantánamo Bay.

    Benyam has said in a statement to his lawyer that he was tortured for more than two years after being questioned by US and British officials. He says that while in Morocco he was shown photos of people he knew from a west London mosque, and was asked about information he was told was supplied by MI5.

    The government has consistently denied it has ever actively cooperated in the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" programme". The Foreign Office said yesterday that the government had "not approved and will not approve a policy of facilitating transfer of individuals through the UK to places where there are substantial grounds to believe they face a real risk of torture".

    Yeah right. Go the poms, "It wasn't me yer Worship! It was the other fellas, I tried to stop them I said people won't like this business you mark my words."

    "Er yes your worship. It was my pliers found with fingernails caught in them. They promised me they just wanted to strip some insulation off wire...oops no I mean they said they needed to fix the radio."

    "You'd have to ask Doug and Dinsdale about that your worship, although I did notice that the bloke carrying the thermo-nuclear device was a sheriff."

    Just as well all of this rendition stuff has been made legal eh. Otherwise that Fitzy he would have been collecting up all the information so no one else can get it. Then sitting on it for a few years until most people forgot, which would be time to announce that there was insufficient evidence to show anyone broke the law.

    Posted by: Debs is dead | Oct 26, 2006 5:17:35 AM | 72

    yep - and Gonzales is touring Europe to explain why torture isn't torture: In Germany, U.S. Official Addresses Rift With Allies

    “There has been a lot of friction” in the trans-Atlantic relationship, he said. “We are partly to blame for that. We didn’t do as good a job as we should have from the outset in explaining ourselves.”

    Mr. Gonzales, the legal architect of some of the Bush administration’s toughest policies toward suspected terrorists, said he was deeply disappointed that many people overseas did not believe that the United States, or Mr. Bush himself, were committed to protecting the rule of law.

    He defended American policies on the detention of “enemy combatants,” the rights afforded them by military commissions, and the role of the Geneva Conventions in the treatment of prisoners.

    Mr. Gonzales’s European tour, which includes stops in Spain and the Netherlands, coincides with a growing concern here that Germany has compromised its own principles in helping the United States in its worldwide effort against terrorism. It also comes at a time when Germany published a proposed new defense policy that would pave the way for the country to play a bigger role in international peacekeeping missions.

    There are no fewer than five formal investigations under way here relating to terrorism and the German military.

    Somehow I missed the announcement of that visit - I certainly would have greeted him.

    Posted by: b | Oct 26, 2006 6:07:03 AM | 73

    Okay, guys... I'm going to have to take some time to work out whether I'm being singled out or being accused of singling out others. I'll get back here in about two and a half hours and try to unwind this. Meanwhile... who, precisely, are Monolycus' "friends"?

    Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 26, 2006 7:54:35 AM | 74

    Da $cam has your back, Monolycus. Of course you knew that though...

    Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 26, 2006 8:59:11 AM | 75

    Put me in the "friend" column too.

    Posted by: beq | Oct 26, 2006 9:06:34 AM | 76

    LOL! Guys, I appreciate the sentiments, I really do, but I wasn't trying to build a coalition. I was trying to work out what jonku and annie (#63 and #67 ) meant by "Monolycus and friends". I was also trying to catch up with what had been said during five minute breaks between classes and couldn't work out who was being accused of what precisely.

    Of course, I'm re-reading it now that I have some time to sit down, and I'm still not entirely sure about a lot of the above... except that it doesn't sound like anyone here is advocating the use of a military for offensive purposes... we're just fine-tuning what would constitute an appropriate deployment (my position was somewhere along the lines of "there is none", but I'm also not very inclined to ponder hypothetical "ticking bombs" starring Bruce Willis or make attempts to determine which genocides are worthy of being halted by military force and which ones aren't).

    No worries.

    Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 26, 2006 10:32:11 AM | 77

    anna missed @62 - that poll was actually conducted Jan. 18 through Feb. 14, 2006 and posted shortly thereafter. here's the zogby link, dated feb 28.

    Posted by: b real | Oct 26, 2006 10:57:36 AM | 78

    OCTOBER SURPRISE?

    5:15 pm CET, Oct 26

    I just caught the CNNI running text: Rumsfeld to hold presser at 5pm EDT.

    Stepping down "for the good of the country"?

    Anybody hear anything?

    Posted by: Hamburger | Oct 26, 2006 11:30:48 AM | 79

    hi jonku! actually i somehow missed your #66 comment in the posting process. much more helpful (then mine) in furthering discussion.

    we're just fine-tuning what would constitute an appropriate deployment

    a worthy endeavor. i like jonku's contribution of defining the difference between peacekeeping and peacemaking (the latter being our position in iraq, no?)

    the CIA offered to let Germany have access to one of its citizens, an al-Qaida suspect being held in a Moroccan cell.

    is this peacekeeping, or making?

    Posted by: annie | Oct 26, 2006 11:51:38 AM | 80

    hamburger, bush said just yesterday rummy had his 'unwavering support'. maybe he is getting the hatchet

    Posted by: annie | Oct 26, 2006 11:57:41 AM | 81

    holy shit

    Bush signs Mexico fence into law

    US President George W Bush has signed into law a plan for 700 miles (1,125km) of new fencing along the US-Mexico border, to curb illegal immigration.

    ...

    Part of the funding for the fence is likely to come from the $1.2bn (£0.6bn) set aside for it in a recent homeland security

    at least it's not a wall. homeland security? we'll be protected from immigrant terrorists.


    Posted by: annie | Oct 26, 2006 12:23:17 PM | 82

    annie 81

    yes - but the cnn anchor here on cnni this morning pointed out that Bush's "support" of rummy sounded rather weak, which surprised me, as I hadn't formed that impression - a foreshadowing?

    surely they are desperate with the poll numbers and tossing rummy might help with the indy vote - of course rummy will appear to fall on his sword and bush will "regret" to accept his resignation. even so - it will look like the desperate move that it is. unlike billmon, i fully believe hacking the vote is likely and will occur in various degrees in enough races to muddy the waters/outcome. terrible times we live in.

    Posted by: Hamburger | Oct 26, 2006 12:25:44 PM | 83

    mono - as usual - you offer a great deal - here

    & b real - wonderful film - that i had heard of but not seen - the chavez film - reccomend strongly

    there is a film to which it owes some of its force - that of my translator - thomas harlan's film of the portugese revolution - filmed on the ground -- called 'torra bella'

    Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 26, 2006 12:29:43 PM | 84

    @annie 81 - Bush did not say "unwavering support" - far from it!!!

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, let's start with Rumsfeld, Secretary Rumsfeld. I've asked him to do some difficult tasks as the Secretary of Defense -- one, wage war in two different theaters of this war on terror, Afghanistan and Iraq, and at the same time, asked him to transform our military posture around the world and our military readiness here at home. In other words, the transformation effort into itself is a big project for any Secretary to handle. But to compound the job he has, he's got to do that and, at the same time, wage war. And I'm satisfied of how he's done all his jobs.

    He is a smart, tough, capable administrator. As importantly, he understands that the best way to fight this war, whether it be in Iraq or anywhere else around the world, is to make sure our troops are ready, that morale is high, that we transform the nature of our military to meet the threats, and that we give our commanders on the ground the flexibility necessary to make the tactical changes to achieve victory.

    This is a tough war in Iraq. I mean, it's a hard fight, no question about it. All you've got to do is turn on your TV. But I believe that the military strategy we have is going to work. That's what I believe, Peter. And so we've made changes throughout the war, we'll continue to make changes throughout the war. But the important thing is whether or not we have the right strategy and the tactics necessary to achieve that goal. And I believe we do.

    link

    Rumsfeld will understand that all the things Bush lists in second paragraph are not happening. -moral high? -troops read? -transformation? -happy commanders?

    He might well be gone ...

    Who gets the job? How about "the dumbest guy on earth" Feidth or how about Lieberman after he has won that Senate seat for the Republicans.

    Posted by: b | Oct 26, 2006 1:29:02 PM | 85

    Just watched part of rummy's presser aired on cnni - same old arrogant, patronizing-to-reporters bullsh*t. sickening. what? 90 american troops dead this month and he chides them. sick to my stomach. no falling on his sword today.

    Posted by: Hamburger | Oct 26, 2006 1:37:09 PM | 86

    b

    it's such a caravan & carnaval of cannibals, this administration of jackalls

    perhaps they'll do the full redemptive bit & offer the job to ollie north after hs good work in nicaragua this week playing the bogey-man

    Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 26, 2006 1:38:25 PM | 87

    b #85, you're right!

    Bush expressed unwavering confidence in Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld

    Posted by: annie | Oct 26, 2006 2:07:34 PM | 88

    a little post for conchita

    i know i am the melancholy man but i cannot see how the democrats could win tennessee or virginia

    i am not optimisitic at all about this election - not at all - they will not give up their power so easily as a 'democratic' vote - i cannot see it happening

    because if a conyers really has teeth, if a pelosi really has teeth then - we're going to be watching indictment after indictement, trial after trial

    i cannot see this happening

    Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 26, 2006 3:16:50 PM | 89

    Guthman (all is fine) might have a reply to this:
    Home Prices Drop Sharply in September

    Housing developers are drastically cutting prices to move a backlog of unsold homes off the market, new statistics from the Commerce Department suggest. The median sale price of a new home in September 2006 was $217,000, 9.7 percent lower than in September 2005, the report said — the steepest year-to-year drop in more than three decades.
    ...

    It will be interesting to see the labor market reaction to this. A lot of new jobs in the last years were due to housing construction and real estate service jobs. Those are -at least- endangered.

    Posted by: b | Oct 26, 2006 3:20:39 PM | 90

    The Fault Lies in Ourselves


    What the Bush administration has done is to institutionalize elements of a police state as protections against terrorists so that it doesn't have to change its policy in the Middle East.

    In a nutshell.

    Posted by: John Francis Lee | Oct 26, 2006 9:47:11 PM | 91

    Annie @82,

    I would love to see Mexico start erecting catapults along the border just to show how medieval US thinking is.

    Posted by: biklett | Oct 26, 2006 10:46:37 PM | 92

    Following up on #46...">http://www.moonofalabama.org/2006/10/ot_06100.html#c24367123">#46...

    We have just been informed by minitru that it <"A HREF="http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3319641,00.html">never happened. We would express regrets for any suggestions that we might have made to the contrary, but minitru insists that those comments also never occured. Now get back to work.

    Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 26, 2006 11:58:47 PM | 93

    Note to self: Close your tags. And stop making notes to yourself.

    Never Happened

    Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 27, 2006 12:00:12 AM | 94

    Incidentally, I'm glad it's not just American soldiers who behave like idiots in front of cameras.

    Is there a special training session in boot camp in which soldiers learn how to deeply offend a host nation with a minimum of effort?

    Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 27, 2006 12:07:29 AM | 95

    Hi, Monolycus.

    I think that my comments last night did not add to the discussion.

    Today I'd like to support your statement:

    "... my position, taking into account the Law of Unintended Consequences, is that in almost no circumstances is there an organised body of people with the moral and intellectual clarity to determine when intervention is a wise course of action."

    I fully agree. I said, "As for you, Mono, I agree. I hold fast to my conviction that any war is wrong. Any killing is wrong." I was also trying to make clear that a non-interventionist [you] and a pacifist [me] are not easily attacked as weak.

    Monlycus, the position you take can be defended strongly, that's why I had questions for Leinad about the relative value of interventions.

    As Leinad said, "...the majority of peacekeeping missions have been geared to maintaining a peaceful situation post-hostilities, where national armed forces are unwilling or unable to do so (see - East Timor, Cyprus, Lebanon, Bosnia and Kosovo)."

    I followed up with a request for Leinad to comment about some of the nuances of peacekeeping/peacemaking.

    Cyprus was a success for UN intervention, and I know Canadian reservists who served there. We look at that one as a success -- not a lot of "action" and a successful resolution. As for Kosovo, Lebanon etc. I'm not too sure.

    He also didn't mention Haiti.

    This supports your idea that intervention is an act with uncertain motives and outcomes.

    Posted by: jonku | Oct 27, 2006 2:47:21 AM | 96

    @jonku

    Thanks for your clarification... that's essentially what I had gathered myself after I had some time to sit down and do more than just glance at the comments. Any misconstruction was on my end, and you needn't be too worried if something isn't picked up and debated in an open thread. The OT's seem primarily to be a place for newsdumps, but most of the dialogue seems to occur in the themed threads (my interpretation, anyway). I complained once because I had dumped some news stories in an open thread and nobody commented (I interpreted that as "didn't care"), and as a result of that complaint, I was told to write up a post on the issue. I did, the issue was discussed, and the whole thing served as a learning experience for me on the finer points of blog etiquette.

    I was just pretty confused by this exchange because my feelers are out a little far at the moment. There's no worry... and I'm tipping my hat to you for having the moral clarity to be a pacifist.

    Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 27, 2006 1:45:46 PM | 97

    The comments to this entry are closed.