Random Notes on a Runaway World

Here are a few choice items that deserve far more attention than I can give them at the moment.

The Unbearable Sanctimonious of Obama
John Caruso watches Barack Obama in action at the recent Summit of the Americas, and discerns in the Progressive Paladin's incredibly condescening, history-maiming speech something which most Americans thought had vanished from the Oval Office forever: a smirk. Read it -- and see it -- at A Tiny Revolution.

Sons Setting in Iraq
Surely no one could have predicted that the US would dump its dubious "allies" in the Iraq War once they had served their purpose: i.e., bringing the death count down during the "surge," so Washington's bipartisan political class could get the war off the front pages, and declare it a "success beyond our wildest dreams" and an "extraordinary achievement." No one, that is, except anyone who had even casually observed the imperial MO in action over the past several decades.

Yes, now that the war is practically "over" (except for the rising violence, the continuing chaos, and the ever-deepening entrenchment of tens of thousands of American troops in permanent bases, etc.), the Americans and their Iraqi clients are discarding the "Sons of Iraq," the Sunni militants and former insurgents who were paid to switch sides and quit killing Americans for awhile, on the promise of their future inclusion in a "sovereign" Iraqi government.

But now, they are being cast aside, cut off from funding, and arrested by the new "strongman" regime of Nouri al-Maliki, whose armed sectarian faction (once dubbed terrorists by Washington) have been put in charge of the country. The result: more violence on every side, as the government cracks down on the ousted "Sons," the "Sons" strike back, and sectarian blowback and revenge attacks escalate on every side -- "endangering" plans for the US "withdrawal".

Why, it's almost as if someone has given the client government in Baghdad a green light to take actions that are guaranteed to increase the level of violence and instability -- therefore "requiring" a longer, stronger US presence in the conquered land! Who would benefit from such an action? War profiteers, maybe? Fanatical militarists? Neocons and "liberal interventionists" committed to "projecting" American power (for the good of the world, of course)? Good thing we don't have anyone like that running loose in the corridors of power.

Continuity Continues in Arbitrary Powers

Andy Worthington explains how the plea bargain in the case of Ali al-Marri -- who pled guilty to "association with terrorism" charges after being declared an "enemy combatant" and subjected to year of brutal torture and exquisitely devised psychological torments -- shows that Barack Obama is committed to "continuity" with George W. Bush's outrageous claims of dictatorial powers. The main upshot, as Worthington and legal experts demonstrate, is that Obama is keen to preserve the power to detain people indefinitely without charges.

Damn Yankees
Bernard Chazelle takes a look at the statistics on the racial imbalance in America's prisons and makes the surprising discovery that the black/white incarceration ratio is far higher in the most enlightened Northern states, outstripping the injustices in the still race-haunted South.