10.30.2004

The War On The Economy

Quoth the president: "The person that sits in the Oval Office will determine the outcome of the war on terror and the economy."

Apparently terror and the economy have some sort of axis of evil between them. I think Bush has handled the war on terror rather poorly, but his war on the economy has been top notch.

Didn't Bush used to say this war would take a generation or that it may in fact never end? Now that the election is near, he seems to be saying that he can finish it all off in four years. He couldn't even get legislation passed to perform background checks on foster parents in four years, now he's gonna whip this generation long conflict?

10.29.2004

Sellout

Bush now appears to be in favor of gay civil unions**. I personally don't care much about the issue, but it's kind of funny that Bush would come out for it 5 days from election. Is there anything he won't do? Remember in 2000 one of his big issues was privatizing Social Security, now he goes out of his way to promise he's not interested in that. It's all damned Kerry lies, he says. Heh.

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** Ok, this is his actual quote and I'm not even entirely sure he was speaking English during the interview, but people wiser than me have analyzed his gibberish and decided he's for civil unions.
"I view the definition of marriage difference from legal arrangements that enable people to have rights. And I strongly believe that marriage ought to be defined as between, a union between a man and a woman," Bush said. "Now, having said that, states ought to be able to have the right to pass … laws that enable people to you know, be able to have rights, like others."

It's pretty sad

that this guy sounds more intelligent, straightforward and honest than either of the two twerps we have running for president.


10.28.2004

Last word on the explosives

since it is more a political issue where lies are swapped back and forth instead of something anyone really wants to get to the truth of.

Of course the Pentagon and President Bush are sticking to the line that no one is at fault because the explosives went missing before troops arrived. Their proof is the fact that the troops which arrived on April 10, 2003 didn't find the explosives. As I have noted earlier this is totally beside the point. Oh, and it's also proven to be a lie because the troops only spent the night there and didn't search the complex.

And now it seems that a local Minneapolis news crew was with the 101st when they entered Al Qaqaa on April 18, 2003. Judging by GPS readings they think they may have been in the same area the explosives are missing from. They broke into bunker after bunker and found an huge amount of crap labeled "explosives." Then they left, and they left all the bunkers open. And oh yeah, Iraqis were coming and going freely around the area at the time. They have several photos on their site of what appears to be roughly a zillion pounds of explosives.

Let's review the timeline:

Explosives were inspected in Jan 2003 by UN inspectors.
Inspectors check them on March 15th 2003 and find the seals on the bunkers were not disturbed.
War begins 4-5 days later (depending on your timezone I guess)
April 4 2003, 3rd Infantry Engineer Brigade finds thousands of boxes of white powder that turns out to be explosives (no word on IAEA seals)
April 10 2003, 2nd Brigade (Strike) 101st Airborne was at the site. White House says they didn't find the explosives but the 2nd/101st commander Colonel Joseph Anderson, spokesman Lt. Col. Fred Wellman, and embedded journalists all say they just spent the night there and didn't do any searching and only heard about all this crap in the past week.
April 18, 2003, the news crew cited above went into Al Qaqaa with the 101st, looked around, found a bunch of (so far) unidentified explosives and left, leaving the place wide open while Iraqis were roaming around freely (not trying to blame the 101st, it wasn't their mission, but in hindsight, someone shoulda known better).

UPDATE: This makes me sick. I respected this man as mayor of New York and thought he was quite an inspiration during 9-11, but I've been a bit disturbed to watch him lie his ass off over and over again on TV. He's become nothing but a fucking partisan hack and this takes the cake.

Rudy Giuliani on the Today show: "The actual responsibility for it really would be for the troops that were there. Did they search carefully enough? Didn't they search carefully enough?"

Yep, blame the troops for it even though it was never their mission to search the fucking place to begin with, you wretched soldout little political twit.

ANOTHER UPDATE: KSTP shows that the IAEA seals were intact in their video from April 18, 2003.

I'd like to say that none of this indicates much of a mistake on the part of Bush. The blunder seems to be more on the Pentagon than anyone. However, I think that if I were president I would have a nagging suspicion in the back of my head that we might wanna tell someone to secure or destroy any weapons they run across, and I would take responsbility for any mistakes like this because "the buck stops here" rather than doing what Bush does best and try to blame any innocent people he can think of.

And this is the real issue in all this, so far as the president is concerned. When news of the missing explosives broke, instead of acting like adults about it they went into attack mode, lied their asses off and tried to blame other people when there was no reason to. Par for the course for this lot.

Can't say I look forward to four years of Kerry, but damn if I won't cry for this nation if we get four more years of these freaks.

"Truth will do well enough if left to shift for herself. She seldom has received much aid from the power of great men to whom she is rarely known and seldom welcome." --Thomas Jefferson

10.27.2004

Another update to the missing explosives

I haven't kept track of this very well, but I did happen to catch a snippet of NBC news last night in which they made clear that when their reporter was there in April 2003 they weren't looking for the explosives. They were looking for nuke-chem-bio weapons and, as NBC clarified, they never said those explosives weren't there.

And today the Iraqi government says it was impossible that the explosives went missing before the troops arrived.
"The officials that were inside this facility (Al-Qaqaa) beforehand confirm that not even a shred of paper left it before the fall and I spoke to them about it and they even issued certified statements to this effect which the US-led coalition was aware of." -- Mohammed al-Sharaa, who heads the science ministry's site monitoring department and previously worked with UN weapons inspectors under Saddam.
This all still misses the point. It is not relevant exactly when the stuff went missing. It would be nice to know, but it is not important. The fact is that it went missing when we should have known better. Either before of after the troops arrived we should have taken care of the problem. The government's line seems to be that it's all ok if it was missing before troops arrived, but in reality this excuse just means that we screwed up earlier rather than later.

The timeline of these explosives goes something like this: They were there before the war. They weren't going anywhere. Inspectors checked on the routinely. No doubt our spy sattelites would have known if a massive operation was underway to move them. The war starts. A year and a half later we realize they're missing. Somewhere in there these explosives went missing and their disappearance was facilitated by our actions.

How big of a deal is it that this stuff is missing? Well, it's pretty damn important. The stuff that is missing is available for purchase all over the world, however, it's not easy to get 380 tons of it and whoever has the stuff just walked up and got it for free. They didn't have to have operatives all over the world making small purchases while hoping none of it would be traced back to them, they just walked up and voila, they're three quarters of a million pounds richer in high explosives, and no one even knows they have them.

It's like a machine gun, you can get them all over the world so it's not a big deal if a terrorist gets ahold of one and it's hard for them to purchase a million without someone noticing, but if you know where there's a big pile of 760,000 of them and suddenly realize they're missing it's a bit different. Somebody was extremely lucky and we need to find out who and where they are. It doesn't matter when they went missing. What matters is finding them and finding out what else is missing. Unfortunately we won't even allow U.N. arms inspectors back in to help with that.

The problem now is that it's a political issue. The biggest part of this story is whether they went missing before the troops arrived or not, which as I have said is irrelevant. But, sadly, that's going to be the issue.

Let's look at how stupid the politicians are:

First, I don't have any Kerry quotes but I think he was wrong for blaming it all on Bush and, it seemed to me, making too many accusations without knowing very many facts. So I thinnk they're both being asshole politicians about it.

But I do have Bush quotes which are surreal to the max:

Bush: "If Senator Kerry had his way... Saddam Hussein would still be in power. He would control those all of those weapons and explosives and could share them with his terrorist friends."

Of course the reality is that under Bush, those weapons are likely in the hands of terrorists and we don't have the first clue where they have them. No leads, no nothing. They have a year and a half head start. It's doubtful that Saddam would have given them to terrorists for a couple reasons. One, the terrorists probably would have used them against him and two, we would have known he did it. If we hadn't have invaded Iraq, those explosives would still be under heavy monitoring and couldn't have gone anywhere. As it is, their disappearance is a direct result of the war. I'm not saying we should have avioded war for this single reason, believe me I have about 500 other reasons, I'm just showing the ignorance and hypocracy that is, unfortunately, Bush's calling card..

Bush follows up with this scathing criticism of Kerry: "And a political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander in chief." (repeated in both Pennsylvania and Ohio today, and probably every other speech he gives between now and Nov 2)

A valid criticism, but, ahem, isn't that precisely what the hell Bush did when he invaded Iraq and drained out armed forces because of phantom weapons? I agree it's wrong to criticize someone without knowing all the facts, but if simple criticism is so wrong, imagine how wrong it must be to go to war without all the facts!

Another bad week for Bush

Poor Dubya, call it bad luck, call it 20 years of alcoholism catching up with him, call it whatever you like, but the poor sucker just can't keep from being the victim of stupid screw ups. First he gets caught on video Flipping a bird (caveat: this site is down and I have yet to actually see the video) and now someone decided to make W's website block almost all foreign visitors

10.26.2004

update to the missing explosives

Ok, there's very little new information of substance to comment on except how it's being spun. Again, Drudge, who is obviously in close contact with the white house spinsters, is working hard to make this a nonstory. Apparently 60 minutes originally planned to report this on Oct 31 which according to Drudge is "24 hours before election day." Looks like he's using some sort of new math.

Well, it might seem a little fishy to run the story two days before the election except for two things. One, the story doesn't really implicate Bush in any way and two, that is a reasonable time table for the story to evolve and make it onto a news show. I don't think 60 Minutes was trying to influence the election, but I do think that if the story was going to be shown that day they should have stepped back and thought about it first, which they apparently did several days ago, to their credit.

Drudge is also calling it a "repackaged 2003 story" but it's not. It does appear that the Army searched the complex rather well after all in 2003 and found no HMX, RDX and PETN, however it also appears that they either didn't know there was supposed to be any there or simply forgot to tell anyone because it wasn't reported until now and now it is geniunely news to everyone involved.

The timetable is this; the Iraqi government contacted the IAEA a couple weeks ago and alerted them that the stuff was missing. The IAEA looked into it and five days later alerted U.S. officials which investigated it on their own and confirmed that, yes indeed, the stuff was missing.

If this is in any way an October surprise meant to influence the election, the blame lies squarely on the Iraqi interim government. All the IAEA did was pass the information along, and, again, the US government launched an investigation when they heard it so it's obviously not something they were aware of.

It sort of feels to me like the Army took an inventory of what was there in 2003, but no one thought to compare that to what was supposed to be there.

At any rate, this story has become so political that it will only devolve into nonsense. Kerry is right that there should have been a plan to deal with these sites better, but he's hammering Bush over it with too little information and the White House is just spinning it away as if it's all a load of crap since the explosives were gone when the troops got there, which is totally not the point.

murder statistics

According to the FBI, the number of murders has risen for the fourth year straight to 16,500 in 2003 — or, as the A.P. puts it, "almost six murders for every 100,000 U.S. residents." Or, as I figure it, one out every 16,666 people were murdered last year. That's cool because 16,500 and 16,666 are so close.

So, based on a population of an even 293,000,000 (I think the A.P. is using old pop. figures), if we have 17117 murders this year, that means everyone also has a 1 in 17117 chance of being murdered. I love it when things come out even like that. It's uhh.. something to shoot for, I guess.

Thank you thank you. I'm here all week, don't forget to tip your waitress.

10.25.2004

the world slowly catches up to me

Hoo boy, seems a whole lotta HMX and RDX have been missing from the Al Qaqaa weapons site in Iskandariya (named after Alexander the Great) Iraq for many many months. To which I say, no shit! People were looting the country before we won the war. Nuclear materials were looted from Al-Tuwaitha. Kids were playing with radioactive materials in the street, for crying out loud.

Was allowing things to be looted a mistake?

Deffinately. I was saying the day the war started that every minute we spent fighting was time for things to fall into the hands of terrorists. The chaos of war is the perfect time for things like that to happen and I saw the invasion as the perfect opportunity for terrorists to get ahold of things that Saddam would never have allowed them to have.

I watched as the first reports came in from Tuwaitha claiming some materials had been opened and I watched as the Army moved on to fight in another area. Big mistake, I thought. Then they came back and, lo and behold, things had gone missing. Duh.

I am not a genius, so why the hell am I the only person to think of these things? Why have I never heard anyone ask if these things are making their way to the black market? A few months after the war an Iranian official said in an interview that Iraqi weapons had been showing up on the black market in the region, but he said nothing more than small arms had shown up at the time. He expressed concern that other things would begin appearing. So it's like me and one Iranian who are worried about these things. That seems to be all. Why?

Ok, so John Kerry has latched onto it as a crib against Bush. No surprise there and though his motivations are purely political, it's still a valid criticism.

Drudge is making a big deal of it, calling it an "October surprise" though that's obviously not the case since the story came to light via the Iraqi interim government.

You can tell the Bush administration has already gotten to Drudge for he's trying to spin it as a "liberal media" conspiracy, pointing out that the news organizations keep repeating the story (um, hello, they repeat all stories over and over and over) and that the explosives were gone when troops arrived on April 10, 2003, "one day after liberation".

That's probably questionable because the site itself is immense and it's hard to say they deffinately weren't there unless you've combed the whole place. Inventories on places like this take months, not hours and we never stayed at most of these complexes. Instead, we "secured" most of them for a few hours and left. I cringed every time this happened and it happened a lot. Since Al Qaqaa was listed as "medium priority", I'd say we almost certainly left it unguarded after "securing" it.

But the main point is that we started the war on March 22, 2003. We knew the explosives were there and we had 19 days to do something about it and didn't. Sites such as this should have been a number one priority for the "shock and awe" bombing campaign. Instead, we focused on political targets. Hey, what was our goal here? Weapons that terrorists might get ahold of or Baathists? It should have been the former, but we all know it was the latter.

Somehow in our rush to fight the war against weapon proliferation, we did the one thing that guaranteed we would fail. I don't know if this is "Bush's fault" or not. I'm one of those people who don't think the president, any president, is responsible for every little thing, but I do think this is a very amateur screw up. I mean, I saw it coming and I'm an amateur. I have a hard time imagining that if I were president that I wouldn't demand the weapons complexes be wiped out with extreme prejudice, first. Before they could either be used or moved (I did not forsee the looting, but I did forsee unsecured sites being scoured by anyone from local Iraqis to terrorists. If I were a terrorist, I'd have been in Iraq during the war to get my hands on anything I could)

We were watching these facilities and should have known that if the area was going to erupt in chaos, the buildings need to be destroyed first. If Kennedy had invaded Cuba during the missile crisis, do you think he would have left the missiles alone until the ground troops could get to them? If you were going to launch a military campaign against Tennessee to disable whatever weapons programs are present, how could you possibly think you could leave the Oak Ridge facilities alone for three weeks while the infantry fought their way to it? No, you bomb that shit and bomb it hard.

You can trust that they'll still be left unmolested by the time you get there, but by taking out the complexes you take out the whole problem altogether. I saw this a couple days after the war started, why has it taken a year and a half for everyone else to catch up?

Another Bush joke

Q: What's the difference between the Vietnam War and the Iraq War?
A: George W. Bush had a plan to get out of the Vietnam War.

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Sorry for the double dose of Bush jokes, but after all he is a man who once mocked a woman on death row, so I figure he can take it.

(...gotta go pack for my one way trip to Gitmo)

10.24.2004

What to name Iraq...?

(with apolagies to an unnamed British comedian whom I am ripping off and paraphrasing-- his joke was about a politician in the UK and Australia)

In the summer of 2003, after Baghdad fell to U.S. forces, George Bush called the State Department and told them he wanted to rename it "the Kingdom of Iraq".

"Sir, I'm sorry. That just won't do because you're not king."

"Oh, yeah. Well, how about the Principality of Iraq?"

"Well, sir, you're not a prince either."

"Oh yeah that's right. Ok, how a about the Empire of Iraq?"

"Again, sir, you're not an emperor."

"Gal-darn, I want to call it something that reflects my own personality in some way."

"I know precisely what you mean, sir and I think the best name for it is a country."

---click---

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