Bush, Hitchens and Democracy in Iraq
This is the democracy that Bush has bestowed upon Iraq: Armed thugs from the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq -- a fundamentalist group nurtured and suckled in Iran by the Ayatollah Khomeini -- entered the office of Baghdad's mayor, Alaa al-Tamimi, yesterday and summarily removed him, at gunpoint, from his post. Then they replaced them with their own man. Now the Iraqi capital can look forward to the same kind of harsh, fundamentalist rule now gracing the streets of Basra, where death squads and religious enforcers prowl the streets, enforcing Taliban-like repression.
The new "democratic" government has acquiesced in the armed removal of Baghdad's mayor -- and why not? The government is largely controlled by fundamentalists of the same kidney. This is the government that has the full backing of George W. Bush. This is what tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians -- and more than 1,800 American soldiers -- have died for: the installation of Khomeini's disciples as the overlords of Iran.
Of course, the removed mayor was himself installed at the point of gun: appointed by American viceroy Jerry Bremer in the aftermath of the illegal invasion. Thus the SCIRI gunmen were merely emulating the Dear Leader's own unique understanding of the democratic process.Add a comment
Blood and Gravy: Dick Cheney at the Jackal's Feast
It's easy to forget sometimes – amidst all the lofty talk of geopolitics, of apocalyptic clashes between good and evil, of terror, liberty, security and God – that the war on
Yes, it's once more into the breach with Halliburton, the gargantuan government contractor that still pays Cheney, its former CEO, enormous annual sums in "deferred compensation" and stock options – even while, as "the most powerful vice president in American history," he presides over a White House war council that has steered more than $10 billion in no-bid Iraqi war contracts back to his corporate paymaster. This is rainmaking of monsoon proportions. Indeed, the company's military servicing wing, KBR, announced a second-quarter profit spike of 284 percent last week – a feast of blood and gravy that will send Cheney's stock options soaring into the stratosphere.
But although Halliburton has already entered the American lexicon as a by-word for rampant cronyism – the butt of a thousand late-night TV jokes and water-cooler witticisms – the true extent of its dense and deadly web of graft is only now emerging, most recently in a remarkable public hearing that revealed some of the corporation's standard business practices in Iraq: fraud, extortion, brutality, pilferage, theft – even serving rotten food to American soldiers in the battle zone.
By piecing together bits from the fiercely-suppressed and censored reports of a few honest
One tale is particularly instructive: Halliburton's strenuous efforts to prevent a company hired by the Iraqis, Lloyd-Owen International, from delivering gasoline into the conquered land from
Endless Nightmare, Ever Darker
White House threatens veto on detainee policies. Excerpt from AP:
"The White House on Thursday threatened to veto a massive Senate bill for $442 billion in next year's defense programs if it moves to regulate the Pentagon's treatment of detainees or sets up a commission to investigate operations at Guantanamo Bay prison and elsewhere. The Bush administration, under fire for the indefinite detention of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and questions over whether its policies led to horrendous abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, put lawmakers on notice it did not want them legislating on the matter. Add a comment
Live From London -- or Rather, Dead From London
Eyewitnesses say undercover security officers have just shot a man dead at a London Underground station, apparently a suspected suicide bomber. Reports are still sketchy at the moment, but from eyewitness accounts, it looks like the UK police are now applying "Bush rules" when it comes to handling suspects. From the BBC:
"...[Underground passenger Mark] Whitby told BBC News: "I was sitting on the train reading my paper. I heard a load of noise, people saying, 'Get out, get down!' I saw an Asian guy run onto the train hotly pursued by three plain-clothes police officers. One of them was carrying a black handgun - it looked like an automatic - they pushed him to the floor, bundled on top of him and unloaded five shots into him. "I saw the gun being fired five times into the guy - he is dead," he said."Add a comment
Them Belly Full
Dog Days: Frisky Pups and Frozen Scandals
From the Washington Post (via Steve Gilliard):
Puppy Love, at a Price: Affluent Owners Find More Ways to Pamper Their Pets
Excerpt: "Last year, pet owners across the country spent...$34.4 billion caring for their pets, more than double the $17 billion a year spent a decade earlier, according to American Pet Product Manufacturing Association Inc., a Greenwich, Conn.-based trade association. Much of that cash went for routine veterinary visits and over-the-counter food, but more owners are paying for toys, gourmet biscuits and a nice haircut, as well. Cats outnumber dogs, but more of the money is going to the dogs."
I love dogs. Dogs are wonderful creatures: intelligent, empathetic, capable of genuine friendship up to a point. (Some dogs, anyway; not those nasty tiny little yappy ones.) I take a backseat to no one in my regard for dogs.
Shell Game: Iraqi Oil Fields Offered Up to Foreign Investors
Hey, look over there! Terrorists in London! Meanwhile, back at the ranch....
Eleven Iraqi Oil Fields Go Up to Go Up for Tender
"Eleven oil fields in southern Iraq, capable of boosting the country's production to three million barrels a day will soon be tendered to international investors, the Iraqi oil ministry announced Friday...."
This is the real game, this is what it's all about, this is why Bush and Blair diverted all those resources away from tracking down real terrorists into their terrorist-manufacturing war of aggression -- this is why those dozens of people were blown to bits in London on Thursday.
The Hour of the Inevitable
Hard truths from the Guardian:
Blair Put Us in the Firing Line: The war on Iraq made the London attack inevitable
Excerpt: "The fury generated by Tony Blair's decision to coat-tail George Bush into what only the blind still call a justified war has put us all in the firing line. When Blair led us into the war on terror, he knew that a country with which Islamist networks had no immediate axe to grind would be drawn into their sphere of hate as a consequence.
The Hollow, Hateful, Harmful Compassion of the Great and Good G8
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Right-Wing Court-Packing in Action
Bush judges to decide Guantánamo case
"When the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit takes up the question of the rights of foreign nationals being held at Guantánamo Bay, two of the three judges who decide the case will be just-confirmed nominees of George W. Bush.
"Robbing the cradle of civilization"
Wise man Chalmers Johnson is on the case -- the forgotten case -- of the dagger Bush has driven into the very heart of the common heritage of human civilization: "These events were, according to Paul Zimansky, a Boston University archaeologist, 'the greatest cultural disaster of the last 500 years.' Eleanor Robson of All Souls College, Oxford, said, 'You'd have to go back centuries, to the Mongol invasion of Baghdad in 1258, to find looting on this scale.'"
(From TomDispatch, via The Smirking Chimp.)