It’s a rare day when you eat goat for lunch and dinner, but it’s tasty!
On Friday, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow dismissed concerns of the Iraqi parliament’s August recess, even though President Bush promised in May that Vice President Cheney would persuade them to skip it. Steve Benen notes that several conservative senators, who initially criticized the Iraqi lawmakers, are now silent: “Are the stay-the-course Republicans going to do anything about it? If the past week is any indication, they’ll bluster a bit before doing what they always do — acceding to the president’s demands.”
Number of Americans who consider President Bush’s escalation in Iraq a “failure.” Additionally 68 percent “disapprove of the way the president is handling the war in Iraq,” according to the latest Newsweek poll.
Spencer Ackerman locates an al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia leader who wants the US to stay in Iraq and help fight the “real enemy,” Iran. Joe Lieberman needs to give this guy a call.
Thanks to the good offices of Rob Goodspeed I’m now a Late Night Shots member, and it really is hilarious. I’m reading through a thread on whether or not it’s acceptable to go out in Adams-Morgan. Many of the early posts center on the question of whether or not it’s a dangerous neighborhood. Then one poster chimes in:
With me (and I assume this is the case with others), the question is whether I would go to Adams Morgan and hang out with a bunch of thugs and poorly bred, unattractive girls, or go to Georgetown, where it is safe, people are more courteous and the bars are nicer.
I don’t know. I saw a lot of poorly bred, unattractive girls this pas Thursday in Georgetown.
If you want hot girls, go to the suburbs where they don’t have happy hour. My recently graduated brother is doing 45 min of cardio 4x a week – just because there’s nothing else to do when he gets out of work at 5:30.
I actually totally agree with this anti-AM sentiment, though mostly that’s because the neighborhood is too LNS-ey for my taste. At any rate, I just hope these guys don’t make it any further east than Adams-Morgan or else I might run into them somewhere.
President Bush attempted to convince the nation that Saddam Hussein had WMD as justification for invading Iraq in 2003. In Oct. 2002, for example, he stated, “If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today — and we do — does it make any sense for the world to wait to confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more dangerous weapons?”
But today on the progressive radio program The Cappy McGarr Show, host Cappy McGarr reveals through a conversation with former Sen. Majority Leader Tom Daschle that in private, Bush’s real motivation was a personal vendetta:
Of all the reasons used to justify this awful war, the one that stunned me the most…and will shock you…was the one I heard from a close friend of mine former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Senator Daschle was Majority Leader at the time.
The Senate and The House Leadership were meeting with President Bush for a weekly breakfast back then, and as our country was leading up to the Iraq war. … Bush got to talking about why we needed this war, and here’s what he said to Senator Daschle “We need to get Saddam Hussein…that Mother _______ tried to take out my Dad.”
Listen to the audio:
Bush’s feelings for Saddam have long been intensely personal. In 2002, he said to CNN, “Oh, yes, I hate Saddam Hussein. I don’t hate a lot of people. I don’t hate easily.” Six days later at a fundraiser in Texas, Bush said, “There’s no doubt he [Saddam] can’t stand us. After all, this is the guy that tried to kill my dad at one time.” Bush was referring to an “alleged plot by Iraqi intelligence to assassinate Bush’s father.”
It’s troubling that Bush believed he could use U.S. troops as personal hitmen to avenge a grudge.
A hallmark of President Bush’s Iraq policy is “as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down,” referring to the training of Iraqi security forces. But a progress report on Iraq earlier this week showed that “despite stepped-up training, the readiness of the Iraqi military to operate independently of U.S. forces has decreased” since the escalation began.
Nevertheless, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appeared on NBC’s Today Show yesterday and attempted to deny these reports, giving false portrayals of progress in training the Iraqi security forces:
[I]f you look at the way that they are fighting now, in a less sectarian fashion…I think they’re fighting on behalf of all Iraqis, where they showed up in the numbers that they are supposed to.
In fact, sectarianism is as strong as ever in the security forces. Just last month, Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, in charge of transitioning the Iraqi forces, observed that the military is “riddled with sectarianism and corruption.” For example, Shiite militias allied with the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, have extensively infiltrated the National Police, units of which are perpetrating violence and forming death squads against Sunnis. Many ally with insurgents to kill U.S. soldiers.
Furthermore, at least one-third of the Iraqi Army is on leave at any one time. Desertion and other problems bring the total to over half in some units. Dempsey reported an annual attrition rate of 15 to 18 percent; in many cases, he said, Iraqi army commanders overreport attendance “so that he gets a payroll share more than he deserves and thereby pocket it.”
Ultimately, “the United States is arming different sides in multiple civil wars that could turn even more vicious in the coming years,” observes Center for American Progress fellows Brian Katulis and Lawrence Korb, who advocate a redeployment for U.S. troops and an end to the unconditional training of Iraqi security forces.
Transcript: Read more
Matt Stoller takes a trip down memory lane to explain why Hillary Clinton can be so popular without apologizing for her vote to authorize the Iraq War:
There are a good number of Democrats that straight up opposed the invasion, but many of us were what I’ll call ‘antiwar but’. In March, right before the invasion, a CBS/NYT poll asked whether the US should take military action against Hussein even if the UN voted against it. 42% said yes, 55% said no. An antiwar majority, sure, but hardly overwhelming. In February, according to a Time/CNN poll, Democrats opposed the invasion by a 42% to 50% margin. Once again, an antiwar majority but not overwhelming. In early February, an LA Times poll found a 42% to 50% margin among Democrats. I’m struck by how the Democratic base had around 30% composition at that time that trusted Bush’s instincts. So while being antiwar made you slightly more popular within the Democratic Party at the time, both antiwar and prowar positions were mainstream Democratic positions.
Interesting stuff. Similarly, I recall that just after the war — late march and April 2003 — the war polled well enough that it was pretty popular among Democrats.
The other thing about paying for health insurance with cigarette taxes is, of course, than in the case of a tobacco tax you’re actually trying to move over time to the right hand side of the laffer curve, where your tobacco tax and other public health measures reduce smoking to a level where tax revenues decline. Health care expenditures, meanwhile, are more-or-less destined to go up over time. If you’re going to earmark cigarette tax revenues for anything, it should be to fund some kind of anti-smoking efforts (Nicorette subsidies? hire people to enforce the rules against selling tobacco to under-18s?) or else just don’t earmark the money.
Health care needs a sustainable revenue stream.