“Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has arrived in Iraq on a surprise trip to thank US troops for their service just days before he steps down from his post, a Defense Department spokesman said.”
Looks like Allen Iverson is going to be traded. Of course, the Sixers tried to put him on the market last June/July and couldn’t find a deal they were happy with and offers are only going to be less generous now, with Philly obviously under the gun and less cap money around.
The problem, at the end of the day, is that Iverson, for all his superstar status, is a pretty unattractive trade commodity and I can’t imagine the Sixers getting anything in return that their fans are going to be happy with. People are talking about Minnesota, but they could only offer Philly crap in return. So let’s open it up to the floor — who on the team you root for would you want to trade for Iverson? It seems very hard to put an attractive offer together once you take the need to match salaries into account . . . presumably Philly’s not looking for a bunch of bad contracts. Maybe the Knicks think they don’t have enough shoot-first point guards yet. You could play Jamal Crawford at center, with Steve Francis at the four, Marbury at three, Iverson at two, and little Nate Robinson running the point.
Well, that could be a positive development. After all, if black market weapons were getting cheaper and cheaper, that’d mean it was getting easier for sundry militia groups and so forth to arm themselves. Sadly, read the article and it’s clear that prices are going up because of surging demand for small arms, rather than falling supply. “Rising prices, in turn, have encouraged an insidious form of Iraqi corruption — the migration of army and police weapons from Iraqi state armories to black-market sales . . . three types of American-issued weapons are now readily visible in shops and bazaars here as well: Glock and Walther 9-millimeter pistols, and pristine, unused Kalashnikovs from post-Soviet Eastern European countries. These are three of the principal types of the 370,000 weapons purchased by the United States for Iraq’s security forces.”
Under the circumstances, I think it should be obvious that trying to intensify our efforts to “stand up” Iraqi security forces aren’t going to achieve the intended effects. We’re just pumping more and more weapons into a society that’s hardly suffering from a dearth of armed groups. Were we to start making more progress with Iraqi security forces, the problems would really only grow more intense because the next step would be to start giving them heavier equipment.
Number of Americans who support “allowing the government to negotiate prescription drug prices for the Medicare program, suggesting there will be considerable political pressure on the next Congress to do so.” The Kaiser Family Foundation poll found “substantial majorities of Democrats (92%), Independents (85%), and Republicans (74%)” support such negotiations.
As the 109th Congress drew to a close, Sen. Gordon Smith took to the Senate floor and delivered a scathing indictment of President Bush’s policy in Iraq. Gordon said, “I, for one, am at the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way being blown up by the same bombs day after day.”
Smith added, “That is absurd. It may even be criminal.” Watch it:
Transcript: Read more
McClatchy describes Friday’s meeting between Bush and congressional leaders:
Bush began his talk by comparing himself to President Harry S Truman, who launched the Truman Doctrine to fight communism, got bogged down in the Korean War and left office unpopular.
Bush said that “in years to come they realized he was right and then his doctrine became the standard for America,” recalled Senate Majority Whip-elect Richard Durbin, D-Ill. “He’s trying to position himself in history and to justify those who continue to stand by him, saying sometimes if you’re right you’re unpopular, and be prepared for criticism.”
Durbin said he challenged Bush’s analogy, reminding him that Truman had the NATO alliance behind him and negotiated with his enemies at the United Nations. Durbin said that’s what the Iraq Study Group is recommending that Bush do now – work more with allies and negotiate with adversaries on Iraq.
Bush, Durbin said, “reacted very strongly. He got very animated in his response” and emphasized that he is “the commander in chief.”
(Via Washington Monthly)
Oh, man, this is ridiculous. You may recall a little while back that CQ‘s Jeff Stein asked a couple of GOP members of the Intelligence Committee about the difference between Shiites and Sunnis and they, like various FBI counterterrorism officials, didn’t know anything about it. Now Silvestre Reyes turns out not to know that al-Qaeda is Sunni and Hezbollah is Shiite. Shockingly, this woeful ignorance is an improvement over those dudes he’d asked earlier.
This is very, very pathetic.
Congressional Democrats go to meet with the president about the Iraq Study Group get lecture about Harry Truman: “Instead, Bush began his talk by comparing himself to President Harry S Truman, who launched the Truman Doctrine to fight communism, got bogged down in the Korean War and left office unpopular.”
This would seem to explain a lot. Rather than learning any specific lessons about Truman’s policies, Bush obviously decided that the ticket to being admired by history is becoming very unpopular. And nothing will make you unpopular like get mired in a losing war. Hence, Bush had to find a war for us to lose. And that finally provides the answer to the question of why he was so eager to invade Iraq and why he’s been so loathe to defining our goals there in any sort of remotely achievable goals. It was the only way to guarantee failure.
Went to see it last night; visually interesting, but …
Tyler Cowen says “The film is about theology; virtually frame-by-frame it is commentary on Passion of the Christ, the Bible, or both. Call it mishnah, if you wish; the reviews I read didn’t get this at all. The movie’s central question is what the idea of a miracle, or salvation, can mean in a non-Christian world.”
… it seemed to me that the the film was taking the point of view that the destruction of Native American civilizations and the near-genocide of Native American population groups was neither a criminal act of colonialism, nor a world-historical accident, nor merely one of those tragic things that couldn’t have been prevented, but the divine act of a just God eager to punish them for their sins.
“Republicans dumped an unfinished budget on the Democrats about to take power, with the Senate barely meeting a midnight deadline to pass a stopgap spending bill putting the government on autopilot until Feb. 15. Bush quickly signed the bill on Saturday. The failure to pass budget bills for domestic agencies, said Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., amounted to ‘a blatant admission of abject failure by the most useless Congress in modern times.’”