Later On

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Archive for May 1st, 2007

Incompetence ok; dishonesty ok; massages: beyond the pale

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McClatchy Washington Bureau’s Matt Stearns:

Apparently, a penchant for massages is the one thing that President Bush cannot abide in an underling.

Arranging a massive pay raise and promotion for a girlfriend? World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz “ought to stay,” Bush said. “He ought to be given a fair hearing.”

Admittedly muffing management of the Justice Department, then forgetting key details when a miffed Congress demands answers? Attorney General Alberto Gonzales “increased my confidence in his ability to do the job,” the president said.

The planning and execution of the Iraq war and its aftermath? Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, former Coalition Provisional Authority administrator L. Paul Bremer and former CIA Director George Tenet kept their jobs long after their foul-ups became apparent. Bush awarded all three the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

But Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias, who quit the day he admitted to getting massages – and only massages – from an escort service?

“He resigned, and it was the proper thing to do,” White House spokesman Tony Snow said Monday.

Thus is revealed the management philosophy of the CEO presidency. Favoritism, ineffectiveness and misleading Congress: OK. Massages: Not OK.

“Bush just doesn’t like to make these hard decisions,” said Paul Light, a professor of public service at New York University. “In order to get fired in the Bush administration, you need to have hatchet in hand, the corpse in front of you, your fingerprints all over the handle and a photograph of the act in progress.”

Speaking of acts: It’s possible that Tobias is more culpable than he’s letting on. The service from which he ordered his massages is run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who’s facing prostitution charges in Washington. She released phone records to buttress her defense that her escort service was a legitimate business. (That’s how Tobias was pinched, metaphorically speaking).

Snow wouldn’t say whether he believed that Tobias got only massages. But others seemed to get far more leeway. Even the administration’s most infamous public flameout, former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown, resigned only after the president told him he was doing “a heckuva job” in the devastating wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

1 May 2007 at 3:50 pm

Man, the rats are really jumping overboard!

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How many resignations does this make in the past week? Three? Four?

ThinkProgress:

“An Interior Department official accused of pressuring government scientists to make their research fit her policy goals has resigned.” Julie MacDonald, deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks, submitted her resignation letter “a week before a House congressional oversight committee was to hold a hearing on accusations that she violated the Endangered Species Act, censored science and mistreated staff of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

UPDATE: Josh Marshall highlights some other amusing memories from MacDonald’s tenure.

Written by Leisureguy

1 May 2007 at 3:42 pm

A soldier in Baghdad right after “Mission Accomplished”

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A very strong post, from someone who was there. It begins:

When President Bush landed on the USS Abraham Lincoln four years ago tomorrow, my soldiers and I were preparing ourselves to deploy into Baghdad. We listened intently to the speech he gave because he was our Commander in Chief and we were preparing to go into battle under his command.

My soldiers and I watched as our comrades blitzed their way to Baghdad and in a few short weeks toppled Saddam’s regime, even tearing down the dictators statues along the way.

I was honored to be leading my platoon into a battle which I believed would both defend our nation and bring freedom to an oppressed people.

As the president stood in front of the now infamous Mission Accomplished banner and announced, “my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed,” a tremendous sense of pride filled my soul.

Our leader, the man standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier half way around the world, exuded so much confidence that my soldiers and I mentally prepared ourselves for a short six month stint in Iraq’s capital. I was a believer!

“Now,” the president said, “our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.” I understood this, but I began to question why only days before convoying to Baghdad we still did not have any idea what our mission was going to be. I searched out an infantry platoon sergeant to train my artillery men on basic tactics such as raiding houses or patrolling down streets. I still expected that our leader had a plan for us to execute. I may have questioned, but I was a believer.

As we crossed the Kuwaiti border into the desert of Iraq in the dead night my platoon sergeant and I removed the back plates from our body armor to share with the soldiers in our vehicle who had no protection. We were nearly sickened to think that we would be sent to battle without the proper equipment, but we had faith that our leader was seeing a bigger picture and understood the risk. I was a believer.

When my soldiers and I took over our section of Baghdad from the battled hardened 3rd Infantry Division we were preparing to execute the plan for “securing and reconstructing” that our leader talked about. Driving around the streets of Baghdad it became quickly evident that the Iraqi people were desperate for some basic social and economic needs. Sewage, waste, jobs and other basic needs were not being met.

As a commander on the ground, I expected those leading me to provide me the guidance and systems for my soldiers to implement. I expected there to be a Phase IV for us to execute so we could become “engaged in securing and reconstructing” that our leader talked about in front of the Mission Accomplished banner.

I was a believer, but I was betrayed.

More at the link.

Written by Leisureguy

1 May 2007 at 11:09 am

When Bush vetoes the bill…

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This will go out:

Written by Leisureguy

1 May 2007 at 10:30 am

Oh, that George. So inconsistent

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ThinkProgress:

President Bush will soon ignore the will of the American people and veto a bill that would set a timeline for ending U.S. involvement in Iraq’s civil war.

For the last several weeks, Bush and members of his administration have attacked proponents of a timeline, saying they were undermining U.S. generals and legislating defeat:

I believe artificial timetables of withdrawal would be a mistake. … I will strongly reject an artificial timetable withdrawal and/or Washington politicians trying to tell those who wear the uniform how to do their job. [President Bush, 4/23/07]

“The…attempt to micromanage our commanders is an unwise and perilous endeavor. It is impossible to argue that an unconditional timetable for retreat could serve the security interests of the United States or our friends in the region.” [Vice President Cheney, 4/13/07]

“He’s also in denial that a surrender date he thinks is a good idea. It is not a good idea. It is defeat. It is a death sentence for the millions of Iraqis who voted for a constitution, who voted for a government, who voted for a free and democratic society.” [Dana Perino, 4/23/07]

Flashback to 1999, when George W. Bush was governor of Texas. Then, Bush criticized President Clinton for not setting a timetable for exiting Kosovo.

George W. Bush, 4/9/99, Houston Chronicle:

“Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”

And on the specific need for a timetable:

George W. Bush, 6/5/99, Scripps Howard/Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

“I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.”

Despite his past statements, Bush now refuses to apply the same standard to his war and smears those who want a similar timetable for Iraq.

UPDATE: We’ve placed the full text of the 1999 articles online HERE.

Written by Leisureguy

1 May 2007 at 10:28 am

Not half a trillion dollars—$2 trillion (and counting)

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From Dan Froomkin’s column:

Scholars Linda Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz wrote on NiemanWatchdog.org last November that if you consider not only the current and future budgetary costs, but the economic impact of lives lost, jobs interrupted and oil prices driven higher by political uncertainty in the Middle East, the cost of the war is easily going to be over $2 trillion.

I do not believe the country has received any benefit remotely worth $2 trillion. What a terrible waste of lives and treasure.

Written by Leisureguy

1 May 2007 at 10:11 am

Still lying…

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You’d think that, lying not having worked very well, that they would try telling the truth just to see how that would go. Dan Froomkin:

This may be a small thing, but I think it’s telling that the White House still won’t cop to its role in commissioning the banner — or admit that Bush’s words betrayed a profound cluelessness about what was to come.

As recently as Jan. 9 of this year, press secretary Tony Snow tried to make it sound like the White House had nothing to do with the sign. “You know that the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner was put up by members of the USS Abraham Lincoln,” he said.

That is indeed what Bush himself said at an October 28, 2003 press conference: “The ‘Mission Accomplished’ sign, of course, was put up by the members of the USS Abraham Lincoln, saying that their mission was accomplished,” he said. “I know it was attributed somehow to some ingenious advance man from my staff — they weren’t that ingenious, by the way.”

But as Dana Milbank and Mike Allen wrote in the October 29, 2003, Washington Post, White House staffers were indeed that ingenious: “White House press secretary Scott McClellan later acknowledged that the sign was produced by the White House. He said the warship’s crew, at sea for 10 months, had requested it.”

Similarly, deputy press secretary Dana Perino just last week argued that critics had misconstrued the carrier appearance. ABC News’s Martha Raddatz challenged her, but to no avail. From the transcript of the April 26 briefing:

“Q I don’t know how they’ve misconstrued it. The President said, ‘Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.’

“MS. PERINO: And he specifically also said, and this is a quote, ‘We still have difficult work to do in a dangerous country, which needed [sic] to be rebuilt.’ He also said, ‘The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time.’ And he has also said — let me remind you what he said on January 10th —

“Q But he said major combat operations are over. I mean, I don’t even know why you’re still arguing about that.”

The subject came up again in this morning’s gaggle, where Perino called the Democrats’ timing “a trumped-up political stunt that is the height of cynicism.”

“Q Does the President — does the President regret the ‘mission accomplished’ speech?

“MS. PERINO: Look, I’ve never heard him describe it that way, absolutely not. Let me just remind everybody, in case you need it, that speech there, I encourage people to read it. The President never said ‘mission accomplished.'”

But that depends on how you define “never.” About a month after his appearance on the flight deck, Bush traveled to Qatar, where he told troops: “America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished.”

Written by Leisureguy

1 May 2007 at 10:04 am

PBS: 3-part series on atheism

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Interesting:

Conservative Christians are criticizing a plan by Public Broadcasting Service stations to begin showing later this week a three-part television documentary series on atheism [big surprise – LG], calling it “demagogic and propagandistic.”

“This series is about the disappearance of something: religious faith,” British producer and narrator Jonathan Miller says at the start of “A Brief History of Disbelief,” which was originally shown by the BBC in 2005. “It’s the story of what is often referred to as atheism, the history of the growing conviction that God doesn’t exist.”

During the first hour-long episode, Miller visits the site in New York City where the Twin Towers stood before terrorists destroyed them on 9/11.

“The spectacle of September 11 is a forceful reminder of the potentially destructive power of the three great monotheistic religions [Christianity, Judaism and Islam] that have dominated the world one way or another for nearly 2,000 years,” the author asserts.

“You only have to travel a few miles from New York City to find yourself in the middle of a country which is – far from being the secular world which was deplored and attacked by the Islamic fundamentalists – is in fact intensely Christian and therefore in its own way, of course, is just as religious as the Muslim world that attacked it,” he adds.

Miller interviews several leading atheists and examines “theories regarding the psychology of religious belief,” according to a description of the episode provided by the American Humanist Association (AHA).

More at the link.

Written by Leisureguy

1 May 2007 at 9:09 am

Posted in Media, Religion

Today is “Mission Accomplished” day

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 UPDATE: More “Mission Accomplished” statements—including some howlers from Chris Matthews.
Editor & Publisher takes a look at how the mainstream media covered the famous “Mission Accomplished” photo opportunity and speech four years ago today:

Today marks the fourth anniversary of President Bush’s jet landing on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and his speech declaring major fighting in Iraq over, all in front of a giant “Mission Accomplished” banner.

At the time, it was heralded by the mainstream media as a fitting moment of triumph. “He won the war,” boomed MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. “He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics.”

Since then, it has become — during four more years of death and war — a symbol of American hubris and setbacks in Iraq. Today it is often lampooned as a tragic “photo op.” Rock singer Neil Young, in a song referencing the event, sings, “History is a cruel judge of overconfidence.”

When Bush spoke, the U.S. had 150,000 troops in Iraq; the number now stands at 160,000 or more. American casualties at the time were 139 killed and 542 wounded. A year ago they stood at 2,400 killed and now it’s 3,300 dead.

With that in mind, here are excerpts revealing how one newspaper, The New York Times, covered the event and aftermath four years ago. They include this nugget: “The Bush administration is planning to withdraw most United States combat forces from Iraq over the next several months and wants to shrink the American military presence to less than two divisions by the fall, senior allied officials said today.”
*

By Elisabeth Bumiller

WASHINGTON, May 1 — President Bush’s made-for-television address tonight on the carrier Abraham Lincoln was a powerful, Reaganesque finale to a six-week war. But beneath the golden images of a president steaming home with his troops toward the California coast lay the cold political and military realities that drove Mr. Bush’s advisers to create the moment.

The president declared an end to major combat operations, White House, Pentagon and State Department officials said, for three crucial reasons: to signify the shift of American soldiers from the role of conquerors to police, to open the way for aid from countries that refused to help militarily and — above all — to signal to voters that Mr. Bush is shifting his focus from Baghdad to concerns at home….

”This is the formalization that tells everybody we’re not engaged in combat anymore, we’re prepared for getting out,” a senior administration official said….
*

From published transcript of President Bush’s speech on aircraft carrier, May 1:

“The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We have removed an ally of Al Qaeda, and cut off a source of terrorist funding.

“And this much is certain: No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because that regime is no more.

“In these 19 months that changed the world, our actions have been focused, and deliberate, and proportionate to the offense. We have not forgotten the victims of September 11th — the last phone calls, the cold murder of children, the searches in the rubble. With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States. And war is what they got.”

*
By Judith Miller

BAGHDAD, May 1 — Ahmad Chalabi, an Iraqi opposition leader favored by the Pentagon, says he has raised with President Bush’s envoy to Iraq his concern that the United States appears ready to admit senior officials from Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party in a transitional government here.

The talks came amid reports of tension between Mr. Chalabi and the American military here. When Mr. Chalabi tried earlier this week to enter a political meeting organized by American officials, ”it took an hour to find the right door,” his press secretary, Zaab Sethna said. …

However, it appears that officials in Washington have not resolved what position, if any, Mr. Chalabi should occupy. Mr. Chalabi has strong support from Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz and from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. However, the State Department and other American officials have reservations.

*
By Michael R. Gordon and Eric Schmitt

BAGHDAD, May 2 — The Bush administration is planning to withdraw most United States combat forces from Iraq over the next several months and wants to shrink the American military presence to less than two divisions by the fall, senior allied officials said today.

The United States currently has more than five divisions in Iraq, troops that fought their way into the country and units that were added in an attempt to stabilize it. But the Bush administration is trying to establish a new military structure in which American troops would continue to secure Baghdad while the majority of the forces in Iraq would be from other nations.

Under current planning, there would be three sectors in postwar Iraq. The Americans would keep a division in and around Baghdad; Britain would command a multinational division in the south near Basra; and Poland would command a third division of troops from a variety of nations.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

1 May 2007 at 8:55 am

Good rundown on Schlozman

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TPMmuckraker brings us up to date on a sleazy and unsavory character:

The Justice Department has a longstanding policy regarding the prosecution of election law or voter fraud cases: the closer to the election it gets, the more cautious prosecutors should be about bringing indictments. The reason is simple. Bringing an indictment close to the election can intimidate minority voters, affect voter turnout and potentially even influence the result of the election.

But Bradley Schlozman — the former U.S. Attorney for Kansas City and controversial deputy head at the Civil Rights Division — broke with the policy. Not only that, but there’s evidence that he rushed four indictments to land just before last November’s election.

Indeed, timing aside, even Schlozman’s decision to pursue the cases at all is questionable in light of established Justice Department practice. Although trumpeted as cases of voter fraud, the cases alleged only registration fraud, and there’s no evidence that those registrations were intended to result in actual fraudulent votes. For that reason, other U.S. attorneys have passed on pursuing similar prosecutions. But Schlozman, who’d worked to push voter I.D. laws while in the Civil Rights Division, leapt at the opportunity.

The more you learn about Schlozman’s decision to indict four voter registration recruiters for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) five days before last year’s election — Missouri’s Jim Talent was battling Claire McCaskill in one of the closest Senate races in the country –, the worse it looks.

Continue reading—there’s lots more. Looks as though he’s definitely one of the Mayberry Machiavellis.

Written by Leisureguy

1 May 2007 at 8:41 am

The Mayberry Machiavellis really are in charge

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Remember Ron Suskind’s long article that appeared in Esquire in January 2003? Its description of how the White House works and how powerful Karl Rove is were obviously accurate—based in large part on the observations of a White House insider, John DiIulio. Now that things are being revealed, we see that DiIulio was right. From the article:

One senior White House official told me that he’d be summarily fired if it were known we were talking. “But many of us feel it’s our duty—our obligation as Americans—to get the word out that, certainly in domestic policy, there has been almost no meaningful consideration of any real issues. It’s just kids on Big Wheels who talk politics and know nothing. It’s depressing. Domestic Policy Council meetings are a farce. This leaves shoot-from-the-hip political calculations—mostly from Karl’s shop—to triumph by default. No one balances Karl. Forget it. That was Andy’s cry for help.” …

The issue of how the administration decides what to do with its mandate—and where political calculation figures in that mix—has never been so important to consider. This White House will now be able to do precisely what it wants. To understand the implications of this, you must understand Karl Rove.

“It’s an amazing moment,” said one senior White House official early on the morning after. “Karl just went from prime minister to king. Amazing . . . and a little scary. Now no one will speak candidly about him or take him on or contradict him. Pure power, no real accountability. It’s just ‘listen to Karl and everything will work out.’. . . That may go for the president, too.” …

President George W. Bush called John DiIulio “one of the most influential social entrepreneurs in America” when he appointed the University of Pennsylvania professor, author, historian, and domestic-affairs expert to head the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. He was the Bush administration’s big brain, controversial but deeply respected by Republicans and Democrats, academicians and policy players. The appointment was rightfully hailed: DiIulio provided gravity to national policy debates and launched the most innovative of President Bush’s campaign ideas—the faith-based initiative, which he managed until this past February, the last four months from Philadelphia.

“There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus,” says DiIulio. “What you’ve got is everything—and I mean everything—being run by the political arm. It’s the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

1 May 2007 at 8:27 am

The Pentagon misinformation unit still active?

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Remember when the Pentagon formed a unit to feed misinformation (aka “lies,” “propaganda”) to the press? They said the foreign press, but few were fooled—and in any event, with the Internet foreign news is quickly part of domestic consumption and reportage.

Well, that unit still seems to be active. ThinkProgress:

According to ABC News, reports that al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri has been killed are “unconfirmed and part of a misinformation campaign.” ABC has not posted its full story yet, and details are unclear, but it’s worth reviewing the last time the media reported major news about al-Masri.

On February 15, CNN reported al-Masri had been injured in a clash with Iraqi forces:

The leader of al Qaeda in Iraq has been wounded and his top aide killed in a clash with police, an Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman told CNN Thursday.

Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf said Iraqi police got into a firefight with insurgents on the road between Falluja, west of Baghdad, and Samarra, north of Baghdad, and wounded Abu Ayyub al-Masri.

Every major media outlet picked up on the news. The next day, however, the U.S. military announced that the report was false. No such event occurred.

Nevertheless, the false report came at an opportune time for the President Bush and his congressional allies.

– February 15 was the day before the House of Representatives voted on its resolution opposing Bush’s Iraq escalation strategy, marking the first time in four years that Congress voted decisively against Bush’s Iraq policy.

– Also that week, the Bush administration was aggressively attempting to contain the fall-out from its botched intelligence briefing in Baghdad, which attempted to link the deadly explosives in Iraq to senior Iranian officials. After repeatedly defending the accuracy of the intelligence, the Bush administration chose February 15 to quietly acknowledge that their intelligence was wrong.

Today’s news converage of Masri’s death may shift attention away from stories that are damaging to Bush: the four year anniversary of “Mission Accomplished,” and the official signing of Congress’s Iraq timeline legislation.

Written by Leisureguy

1 May 2007 at 7:52 am

Fred Hiatt, another idiot

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Though I would bet (a small amount) that Fred Hiatt is a better speller than James Inhofe. Still…

Glenn Greenwald:

As the Four Year Anniversary of “Mission Accomplished Day” approaches, and we fondly recall the inspiring media swooning over George Bush’s glorious Declaration of Victory while prancing around in his fighter pilot costume, there are few commentaries as revealing as the Bush-worshipping Editorial in The Washington Post authored by Fred Hiatt on May 11, 2003.

The Editorial Hiatt churned out that day (via Lexis) — devoted to mocking Democrats for criticizing the Leader’s Mission Accomplished Festival — by itself could serve as a time capsule conveying to future generations all that went wrong in our country during this period. First is the Editorial’s headline:

Misfiring at ‘Top Gun’

George Bush shows off his powerful “top gun.” Democrats who criticize him “misfire.” The Editorial begins, right in its headline, with drooling adoration for the Leader’s faux masculinity so transparent and cringe-inducing that it actually rivals the incomparable Chris Matthews-G. Gordon Liddy session that included admiration for the size of the President’s genitalia (literally) so candid and frank that it was virtually pornographic. These are our serious pundits and foreign policy analysts. This is the first paragraph of Hiatt’s Editorial:

DID PRESIDENT BUSH arrive by fighter jet when he could have taken a helicopter — for $ 7 less per hour? Did the USS Abraham Lincoln delay its return by a day so that Mr. Bush could make his dramatic tailhook landing? Did White House press secretary Ari Fleischer lie when he said that Mr. Bush had to arrive by jet and then switched his story to say that the president chose to land that way? Are the Democrats who are raising these questions secretly working for Karl Rove?

Democrats who question the Leader’s conduct or challenge the veracity of his statements are foolish and are inviting their own political doom. War Leaders are endowed with the prerogative of telling us Glorious Lies. It continues:

Presidential staffs — and we know this is a shocking concept — worry quite a bit about the way their visits will look on TV — and they work to get the most picturesque backdrop! And a president who wins a war — whether you agreed with that war or not — pretty much gets to greet returning troops wherever he wants.

The Leader won the War in Iraq in May, 2003. Let’s repeat that: Fred Hiatt declared, in May, 2003, that George Bush had won the Iraq War. And the triumphant Commander-in-Chief is entitled to engage in whatever Victory Rituals he wants without having to be questioned or challenged. Then:

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

1 May 2007 at 7:45 am

Bad wars: A contrast between Israel and the US

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Glenn Greenwald’s column is, as always, great. Let me get you started:

Almost from the start of the Israeli war in Lebanon, Israelis were aggressively critical of their government’s prosecution of the war. While most (though by no means all) Israelis were originally supportive of the decision to commence the war, public anger towards the government’s ineptitude and refusal to recognize transparent realities intensified seemingly on a daily basis, until Israel finally agreed to end the war and withdraw from Lebanon — a mere four weeks after the war began — with almost every one of its proclaimed objectives unfulfilled.

In response to widespread public anger over the Israeli government’s conduct of the war, a Commission was formed to investigate what went wrong, and yesterday it issued a scathing report eviscerating “the decisions of senior political and military decision-makers concerning the decision to go to war.” In sum, the Commission “determined that there are very serious failings in these decisions and the way they were made,” and it “impose[d] the primary responsibility for these failures on the Prime Minister, the minister of defence and the (outgoing) Chief of Staff.”

Among the “main failures” in the decision to go to war, the Commission identified the government’s failure to determine if alternatives short of war (namely, containment and diplomacy) could have achieved the Israelis’ objectives; the failure to understand that military strikes would not achieve the desired objectives; a refusal to recognize the risks and costs of the war (including missile strikes at Israel); and the fact that “support in the cabinet for this move was gained in part through ambiguity in the presentation of goals and modes of operation, so that ministers with different or even contradictory attitudes could support it.”

And once the war began, the Commission documented that “even after these facts became known to the political leaders, they failed to adapt the military way of operation and its goals to the reality on the ground.” Finally, the Commission concluded that “the Prime Minister bears supreme and comprehensive responsibility for the decisions of ‘his’ government and the operations of the army.”

There are several important points highlighted by the Commission’s report:

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

1 May 2007 at 7:39 am

Pentagon readies itself for Peak Oil

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Peak Oil is truly just around the corner, if we’re not already there, and the Pentagon’s getting ready:

A new study ordered by the Pentagon warns that the rising cost and dwindling supply of oil — the lifeblood of fighter jets, warships, and tanks — will make the US military’s ability to respond to hot spots around the world “unsustainable in the long term.”

The study, produced by a defense consulting firm, concludes that all four branches of the military must “fundamentally transform” their assumptions about energy, including taking immediate steps toward fielding weapons systems and aircraft that run on alternative and renewable fuels. It is “imperative” that the Department of Defense “apply new energy technologies that address alternative supply sources and efficient consumption across all aspects of military operations,” according to the report, which was provided to the Globe.

Weaning the military from fossil fuels quickly, however, would be a herculean task — especially because the bulk of the US arsenal, the world’s most advanced, is dependent on fossil fuels and many of those military systems have been designed to remain in service for at least several decades.

Moving to alternative energy sources on a large scale would “challenge some of the department’s most deeply held assumptions, interests, and processes,” the report acknowledges.

But Pentagon advisers believe the military’s growing consumption of fossil fuels — an increasingly expensive and scarce commodity — leaves Pentagon leaders with little choice but to break with the past as soon as possible. Compared with World War II, according to the report, the military in Iraq and Afghanistan is using 16 times more fuel per soldier.

“We have to wake up,” said Milton R. Copulos , National Defense Council Foundation president and an authority on the military’s energy needs. “We are at the edge of a precipice and we have one foot over the edge. The only way to avoid going over is to move forward and move forward aggressively with initiatives to develop alternative fuels. Just cutting back won’t work.”

More at the link.

Written by Leisureguy

1 May 2007 at 6:41 am

Truefitt & Hill week

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I just happened to look at my stash of T&H shaving creams and noted that I have 5: exactly as many shaving days as remain in the week. So this will be T&H week.

This morning: Truefitt & Hill West Indian Limes, which someone said smelled as if it should be spooned into a graham-cracker crust. Very nice, and made a superb lather with my Edwin Jagger Silvertip. Then I used the Gillette Aristocrat (shown in cover photo at right—the very razor) with the Feather blade. Truly smooth, truly effortless, truly wonderful shave.

Finished with alum bar and Taylor of Old Bond Street Bay Rum.

Written by Leisureguy

1 May 2007 at 6:39 am

Posted in Shaving

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