for shoplifting incidents. “Former White House adviser Claude Allen tearfully pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge Friday, telling a Montgomery County judge that he lost his bearings after working 14-hour days and getting little sleep in the “tumultuous time” after Hurricane Katrina.” TPMmuckraker has the details.
Two weeks ago, Harper’s reported that National Intelligence Director John Negroponte was stonewalling the creation of a new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq because he knew the findings would be even more pessimistic than the 2004 version. Today, the Senate today passed an amendment, proposed by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), that requires Negroponte to produce the new NIE.
on Monday to raise the maximum age for military recruits to 42 for all branches of the service.”
Before the Iraq war, Bush officials repeatedly heralded the transformative effect that a liberated Iraq would have both for the U.S. and the Middle East:
BUSH: Acting against the danger will also contribute greatly to the long-term safety and stability of our world. “¦ A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform this vital region by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions. [2/26/03]
CHENEY: Should all [Saddam's] ambitions be realized, the implications would be enormous for the Middle East, for the United States, and for the peace of the world. [8/26/02]
WOLFOWITZ: The stakes of building a peaceful, prosperous Iraq that treats its own people decently and is at peace with its neighbors, the stakes are enormous. “¦ That kind of an Iraq, I think, could be a real force for peace and prosperity and progress throughout the Middle East. [12/4/02]
Your new Iraq:
Hundreds of thousands of Shiites chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” marched through the streets of Baghdad’s biggest Shiite district Friday in a show of support for Hezbollah militants battling Israeli troops in Lebanon.
“Mahdi Army and Hezbollah are one. Let them confront us if they dare,” the predominantly male crowd shouted, waving the flags of Hezbollah, Lebanon and Iraq.
Protesters set fire to American and Israeli flags, as well as effigies of President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, showing the men with Dracula teeth. “Saddam and Bush, Two Faces of One Coin” was scrawled on Bush’s effigy.
Tony Blair’s top priority: Ending a war.
Tony Blair today decided to delay his summer holiday for a few days to help secure a United Nations resolution that would call for an immediate cessation of hostilities in the Israel-Lebanon conflict. …
No 10 said the prime minister, who had been expected to leave today, believed the next few days were “crucial” in the efforts to agree a United Nations security council resolution on a ceasefire.
George W. Bush’s priority: Clearing brush.
President Bush arrived here Thursday evening to begin a 10-day stretch at his Prairie Chapel ranch, his longest planned period away from Washington during this summer vacation season. [...]
[Bush] plans to spend most of the coming month out of town. He has planned long weekends at Camp David and the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, for August, before returning to Texas before the Labor Day weekend.
“The report, which is some 350 pages in length and is supported by more than 1,400 footnotes, compiles the accumulated evidence that the Bush Administration has thumbed its nose at our nation’s laws, and the Constitution itself.”
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) continued to resist calls for a straight vote on the minimum wage. “These issues must be addressed as a package, all or nothing,” he said. Unsurprisingly, conservative Senate leaders pushing hardest for further cuts in the estate tax are multimillionaires themselves.
For example, Frist boasts assets between $10,584,000 and $39,260,000 in blind trusts. If one were to work a normal 40-hour week for 52 weeks a year for minimum wage, it would take between 988 and 3,665 years to amass Frist’s fortune. While Frist has stringently supported large tax cuts for fellow multimillionaire trust babies and annual $3,300 pay raises for himself and his Senate colleagues, he has thus far refused to give a small raise to the nearly 8 million Americans who live on $5.15 an hour.
Read our new report on the Senate millionaires who are fighting against a straightforward vote on the minimum wage.
In June, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) voted against the Levin amendment, a “nonbinding proposal [that] did not set a withdrawal deadline, but urged President Bush to start pulling U.S. forces out of Iraq this year.” At the time, Hagel explained his vote:
We should not limit the Commander in Chief’s options in Iraq. That is why I will vote against the Levin amendment.
Just two months later, Hagel’s views have shifted considerably. His position now appears consistent with the Levin amendment. From the Lincoln Journal Star:
The United States needs to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq within the next six months, Sen. Chuck Hagel said Thursday, rather than ratcheting up its military commitment now.
With Iraq exploding in sectarian violence and “moving closer and closer to a straight-out civil war,” Hagel said, the Bush administration’s decision to transfer nearly 5,000 additional U.S. troops into Baghdad is “only going to make it worse for us.”
In the end, he said, “feed(ing) more American troop fodder into the fight” could result in “even a worse defeat.”
A diverse group of 12 Democrats recently sent a letter to President Bush expressing their support for the principles of the Levin amendment. Hagel should think about backing up his words with actions and signing on to this effort.
A federal judge “lashed out” at Bush’s EPA yesterday “for pursuing industry-friendly regulations at the same time it missed statutory deadlines to control toxic air pollution from small industrial plants.” The judge ordered to EPA to finish its clean air rules by 2009.
A Gallup poll released yesterday “revealed another upward bump in the number of Amercians (55 percent) who now want a complete U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq in the next 12 months.”
Condoleezza Rice expressed support Thursday “for an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon as the first phase in ending the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah,” the “most concrete signal yet that the U.S. may be willing to compromise on the stalemate over how to end the fighting.”
Three Senate Judiciary Committee members will block the confirmation of Steven Bradbury, acting head of the Justice Department’s office of legal counsel, to protest President Bush’s move to squash a probe into the NSA wiretapping program by denying investigators security clearances.
For two-and-a-half years, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has been arguing that that we need to give the Bush administration’s “stay the course” approach six more months. Some examples from FAIR:
“What we’re gonna find out, Bob, in the next six to nine months is whether we have liberated a country or uncorked a civil war.” [CBS's Face the Nation, 10/3/04]
“I think we’re in the end game now”¦. I think we’re in a six-month window here where it’s going to become very clear and this is all going to pre-empt I think the next congressional election””that’s my own feeling”” let alone the presidential one.” [NBC's Meet the Press, 9/25/05]
“We’ve teed up this situation for Iraqis, and I think the next six months really are going to determine whether this country is going to collapse into three parts or more or whether it’s going to come together.” [CBS's Face the Nation, 12/18/05]
Now, Friedman has finally run out of patience. In today’s New York Times, Friedman writes “It is now obvious that we are not midwifing democracy in Iraq. We are baby-sitting a civil war” and it’s time to “disengage.” An excerpt:
[T]hree years of efforts to democratize Iraq are not working. That means “staying the course” is pointless, and it’s time to start thinking about Plan B “” how we might disengage with the least damage possible.
…But the administration now has to admit what anyone “” including myself “” who believed in the importance of getting Iraq right has to admit: Whether for Bush reasons or Arab reasons, it is not happening, and we can’t throw more good lives after good lives.
Finally, the war in Iraq has so divided us at home and abroad that leaving, while bringing other problems, might also make it easier to build coalitions to deal with post-U.S. Iraq, Iran, Hezbollah and Syria. All these problems are connected. We need to deal with Iran and Syria, but from a position of strength “” and that requires a broad coalition.
The longer we maintain a unilateral failing strategy in Iraq, the harder it will be to build such a coalition, and the stronger the enemies of freedom will become.
Welcome to the club Tom.