Friday, March 24, 2006

News roundup 03.24.2006

The (very, very) long war in Iraq

Yet another story about our prolonged base occupation in Iraq. But first, a cartoon to set the tone. Then, Howie Kurtz:
Leaving aside whether President Bush intended this or not, all the headlines about "American troops to stay until 2009" seem almost to diminish his role in the war that he started.

If Bush didn't intend to send that signal at his news conference, by the way, it was a colossal misstep.
3/24/2006 Los Angeles Times: "Bush's Requests for Iraqi Base Funding Make Some Wary of Extended Stay"

3/20/2006 A.P.: "Iraqis think U.S. in their nation to stay"

2/4/2006 Washington Post: "Biggest Base in Iraq Has Small-Town Feel"

3/7/2006 Philadelphia Inquirer: "U.S. bases hold clue in Iraq"

Rumsfeld indicated yesterday that the U.S. combat role in Iraq will decrease. This is exactly what Seymour Hersh reported late last year: America will replace combat troops with airpower to bolster the Iraq army. The Washington Times: "Rumsfeld vows Iraq drawdown will continue"

Note the target. Xinhua:
BAGHDAD, March 24 (Xinhua) -- A roadside bomb exploded outside a Sunni mosque in northern Iraq on Friday, killing five and wounding 18, a local police source told Xinhua.
Mail and Guardian:
Drive-by shootings, roadside bombings and sectarian killings left 28 dead in Iraq on Friday. American and Iraqi troops swept the oil-rich region of Kirkuk for suspected insurgents and captured dozens.
Reuters: "Danish Soldier Killed in Roadside Blast Near Basra"

The Washington Post (via SF Gate):
Baghdad -- Iran is publicly professing its support for Iraq's stalemated political process while its military and intelligence services back outlawed militias and insurgent groups, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said Thursday.
The Philadelphia Inquirer: "Report: Military errors held up armor in Iraq"

The New York Times: "Challenge for U.S.: Iraq's Handling of Detainees"

Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post:
This whole debate about civil war is surreal. What is the insurgency if not a war supported by one (minority) part of Iraqi society fighting to prevent the birth of the new Iraqi state supported by another (majority) part of Iraqi society?

By definition that is civil war, and there's nothing new about it. As I noted here in November 2004: "People keep warning about the danger of civil war. This is absurd. There already is a civil war. It is raging before our eyes. Problem is, only one side" -- the Sunni insurgency -- "is fighting it."
Very interesting Op-Ed in the Asia Times:
The reality of the situation is that as Iraqi politicians bicker among themselves, people are dying every day. These politicians fail to grasp that their duty before history and the Iraqi people is to bring security to Iraq - at any cost. They need a strong man to do that, but they refuse to accept one because it would remind them of Saddam.

Yet sadly, this is probably what Iraqis need - not a Saddam, but a powerful man who has the will and ability to be forceful on all sects and bring everybody under the strict authority of the central government. This is a concept that must be accepted by Iraqi politicians and the US administration.

The Times of London: "Former hostage Terry Waite criticises Kember's Iraq trip"

The Des Moines Register:
Bill and Jean Basinger of Des Moines didn't fear being kidnapped when they were part of a peace activist mission in Iraq two years ago, but escalating violence has kept them from going back.
Afghan Christian

The Los Angeles Times:
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration stepped up pressure Thursday on Afghanistan's government to free a man who could be sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity, a case that is further heightening tensions between the West and the Islamic world.

The Los Angeles Times:
WASHINGTON — President Bush on Thursday urged all sides in the immigration debate to tone down their rhetoric and engage in civil, respectful discussion as Congress nears action on an issue that has sharply divided the nation and the Republican Party.
The Washington Post:
President Bush's effort to secure lawful employment opportunities for illegal immigrants is evolving into an early battle of the 2008 presidential campaign, as his would-be White House successors jockey for position ahead of next week's immigration showdown in the Senate.
The New York Times:
WASHINGTON, March 23 — In the days before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, immigration policy was going to be President Bush's signature issue. It was central to his thinking as the former governor of a border state, key to his relationship with President Vicente Fox of Mexico and essential in attracting new Hispanic voters to the Republican Party.
The super-executive

The Boston Globe:
WASHINGTON -- When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers.

The National Journal:
For all of the talk about "lobbying reform," no one knows how many lobbyists are actually doing business in the nation's capital. Counting how many angels can dance on the head of a pin is probably easier than counting the lobbyists on K Street.
Top 25 lobbying firms (.pdf)

Top clients for some of those firms (.pdf)


The New York Times (skip over the condescending lede):
Democratic women are running major campaigns in nearly half of the two dozen most competitive House races where their party hopes to pick up enough Republican seats to regain control of the House. Democratic strategists are betting that the voters' unrest and hunger for change — reflected consistently in public opinion polls — create the perfect conditions for their party's female candidates this year.
The Philadelphia Inquirer: "Santorum gets Bush aid, quietly"

Bloomberg News:
March 24 (Bloomberg) -- Democratic Representative Leonard Boswell has two messages for the senior citizens living in his eastern Iowa district: The Republican Medicare prescription drug benefit is a disaster -- and they should sign up for it.
The Hartford Courant:
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman dropped his usual air of imperturbability during a drive-time radio appearance Wednesday, snapping at the host over a column criticizing the senator and backing his challenger, Ned Lamont.

Six years ago, when Lieberman last ran for re-election, his comments would have had the shelf life of an ice-cream cone. But on Thursday, they only grew louder, amplified by Internet bloggers.
Paris Riots 2.0

The Times of London: "Protests erupt into firebombings"

The Guardian:
For would-be revolutionaries reduced to living vicariously through those who still have the energy to mobilise a proper protest, ie the French, comes welcome news, writes Laura Smith.

A blog created by a group of concerned individuals and hosted by a libertarian community website is claiming to offer "the most comprehensive English language coverage" of the ongoing battle between the French government and angry students and trade unionists.
Indian Nukes

The Christian Science Monitor:
WASHINGTON – The Bush administration's landmark nuclear deal with India could alter the world's nonproliferation regime, and rewrite the geopolitical rules of South Asia.

If it passes Congress in its current form, that is. And that is far from a foregone conclusion.
Chinese PCs

The New York Times:
HONG KONG, March 23 — A State Department purchase of more than 15,000 computers built by the Lenovo Group of China is starting to draw criticism in the latest sign of American unease about the role of foreign companies in the American economy.


Blogger JasonSpalding said...

Our military does that which our country requires and has since our countries inception. You require electricity in which you use it to post your blog. Since 81.2% of energy is derived from oil you support the war and those companies that reap tremendous financial rewards. Sure you may say otherwise but your use of energy that like it or not requires our military to insure its delivery. So you are not happy that things are this way. Neither am I but facts are facts and I bet you don't like Nuclear power either. Hmmm how can we as a nation survive without using the good men and women that are willing to insure our national interests. Maybe next you will say well we could have put the money into science to find a better way to pro0duce energy! Since we are currently spending billions to research energy and our nation hasn't built a Nuclear power station in 20 years what solution do you have for now! Now means today not in 12 years as we seem to have that covered with our future plans. Let me know if you need a link.

12:05 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

I'd like us to grow flowers and drop tabs of acid pretending that it will make us better people.

Actually, I'd like Bush to resign. Or, at the least Rumsfeld.

Then go to ethanol like Brazil.

And I'm promilitary. Buddy.

1:51 PM  
Blogger JasonSpalding said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:00 PM  
Blogger JasonSpalding said...

Interesting point. What will be the cost of retrofitting the vehicles in the U.S. to use a higher source of ethanol than our wehicles use now? But till then I guess we have to buy more oil!

2:02 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Thanks for coming back. I'd encourage development of alternatives with tax breaks, spenidng. More than Bush does.

60 Minutes had an interesting story on Brazil last weekend.

I read recently that the US military is spending 6 - 8 billion a year fueling vehicles. The more ethanol on the road, the cheaper gas would be.

A quick change is not practicable, but some change is needed.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cost to retrofit domestic cars to run on higher ethanol percentage fuel? zero- ethanol and standard gasoline are already mixed in varying percentages in different states and regions. Have you ever heard of "gasanol"?

One reason we send so much money to the middle east for their oil is that other sources of oil are slightly more expensive. As prices rise, supply will actually increase as new sources of oil will now be feasible to import at the higher prices.

PS- Copydude, nice work today.

5:00 PM  

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