Thursday, June 29, 2006


I'm going to make a prediction here. As I noted in the update to my previous post, President Bush will likely seek the authority from Congress to continue to try the detainees at Gitmo in military tribunals. Congress, being the rubber stampers that they are, will most likely give it to him (he is a "war prez" after all). But the Congress will try not to give Bush too much "latitude". They will insist that trials be conducted in a manner consistant with the just handed down ruling by the Judiciary. Bush will sign the bill, whose name will probably include the word "Justice" or some other nonsense. After the the big to-do of the ceremony, Bush will issue a signing statement saying he doesn't have to adhere to the provisions regarding how the trials are conducted.

And thus the Supreme Court's decision is completely negated.

Update: Andrew Cochran agrees that Bush and Congress will override the Supreme Court's decision, though he makes no mention of how signing statements will come into play.


From WaPo:
Supreme Court Rejects Guantanamo War Crimes Trials

The Supreme Court today delivered a stunning rebuke to the Bush administration over its plans to try Guantanamo detainees before military commissions, ruling that the commissions are unconstitutional.

In a 5-3 decision, the court said the trials were not authorized under U.S. law or the Geneva Conventions. Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the opinion in the case, called Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.

I am curious to see how Bush will respond. Obviously it is a blow to the theory that his role as Commander-in-Chief affords him unlimited authority. And he has painted himself into a rather precarious corner with his recent statements hinging the fate of Gitmo and the detainees on how the Supreme Court will rule on the commissions. Though, to me those statements were probably more for show. No doubt if he so chose, he could have his lawyers come up with some theory that the Courts do not have the authority to rule on the commissions because to do so would infringe on his Article II authority. They already tried to claim that Congress stripped the Court of jurisdiction when it passed the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, so why not try the Article II angle now? (Update: SCOTUS also laid a smackdown on Congress' attempt to strip it of the right to hear the case).

Update: Just saw Bush at his presser with the Japanese PM. He was asked about the ruling and mentioned the possibility of working with Congress on the issue of the commissions. Get your rubber stamps ready.

More on this decision from AMERICAblog, Left Coaster, A.L., and Kvatch.

The end of war

For one soldier.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Opening The Files: 6/28/06

Not too SWIFT, are ya?

Last week the NY Times along with several other major newspapers revealed that the Bush administration has been monitoring international financial transactions in their anti-terrorism efforts. Thousands of Americans may have had their financial records examined. No court issued warrants were apparently sought, which as we now know has become somewhat of a standard operation procedure for this administration.

The backlash was almost immediate. But the target was not the Bush administration who initiated the program, but rather the media for revealing the existence of it. Actually, most of the attacks have been leveled at the NY Times (perhaps because the same reporters who revealed this also reported on Bush's warrantless wiretapping program). Rep. Peter King called for the Times' reporters and editors to be thrown in jail. A peeved President Bush called the revelation "disgraceful". His mouthpiece Tony Snow went one step further, saying that the media (singling out the NYT) was undermining Americans' "right to live". Right wing talking heads also chimed in to address this expression of the First Amendment treasonous act committed by Bill Keller and his staff.

John Nichols and Jack Balkin discuss the double standard that the Bush administration has when it comes to leaks.

Larry Johnson wonders what President Bush's beef is with the NY Times.

Virt at Assimilated Press reports on the latest effort to protect the American people.

Glenn has the skinny on the anti-media lynch mob.

Kevin Drum is curious to know if there are any upsides to talking about these secret programs and gives some examples.

Robert Scheer notes what should be considered disgraceful: the attack on the Times. Greg Sargent calls it an episode in scapegoating.

Update: Keith thoroughly skewered the Bush administration and their surrogates in Congress for condemning the NY Times for revealing the (not so) "secret" program.

The Burning Issue.

For the second time this month, a vote to write discrimination into the US Constitution failed in the Senate. First it was a ban on gay marriage, and this week it was the ban on flag burning which was just one vote shy of passing.

Dana Milbank clues us in on the alarming increase of flag burnings this year.

Carpetbagger says that Americans are indeed "aggrieved", but not about this.

WARNING: Shakespeare's Sister has a picture accompanying her post that some readers might find offensive. She, however, does not and neither should you.

And now that the amendment has been defeated, FleshPresser doesn't have to make good on his promise to never fly Old Glory again.


TDS: Miami Seven

Onegoodmove has your moment of Zen.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

FUI: Flying Under The Influence

LAGUNA BEACH (XF) - The Xsociate Files has learned that authorities in Laguna Beach, California, have arrested a pair of crows for allegedly supplying a flock of pelicans with alcohol. While it was initially believed that the birds had become "drunk" on sea algae, a copy of the toxicology report obtained by XF showed the blood alcohol levels of the pelicans to be well above the legal limit for water fowl.

When reached for comment, a spokesman for the Laguna Beach police department could not confirm whether the type of alcohol involved was in fact Wild Turkey.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Timetable? Who said anything about a timetable?

As Creature notes over at The Reaction, it would seem that Al-Maliki omitted the timetable for US troop withdrawals provision from his reconciliation plan. I wonder if he got a call from Dubya?

Update: Paul Reynolds of The BBC called out this plan for what it is: an election year stunt.
The "reconciliation" plan announced on Sunday by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki is part of a grand strategy by the Bush administration to stabilise Iraq - or to stabilise the perception of Iraq - in advance of the mid-term elections for Congress in November...

...The plan could not offer a timetable or deadline for withdrawal because the avoidance of such a deadline has become absolutely central to the selling of the Iraq strategy by the Bush administration in the gathering mid-term election campaign...

Iraqi Government to US: It's been fun but now it's time for you to go.

Maybe this time we'll actually take their advice.

From Newsweek:
A timetable for withdrawal of occupation troops from Iraq. Amnesty for all insurgents who attacked U.S. and Iraqi military targets. Release of all security detainees from U.S. and Iraqi prisons. Compensation for victims of coalition military operations.

Those sound like the demands of some of the insurgents themselves, and in fact they are. But they're also key clauses of a national reconciliation plan drafted by new Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who will unveil it Sunday. The provisions will spark sharp debate in Iraq - —but the fiercest opposition is likely to come from Washington, which has opposed any talk of timetables, or of amnesty for insurgents who have attacked American soldiers.

Man, this will be some spectacle. It's going to be entertaining to see how the GOP will finesse this, seeing as how they have spent the last few weeks deriding Democrats as "soft on terror" and "cut and runners". It would seem those labels may also be applied to our new allies in the "war on terror".

But what choice does Bush and the GOP really have? If we are asked to leave by the first permanent government of Iraq (something which was always claimed to be a prerequisite for our eventual exit), how can we say no? To do otherwise would give lie to Iraq's supposed sovereignty. And if they agree to this plan, they would just be handing the Dems fodder for the mid-terms.

More on this from TPM, Kevin Drum, Greg Sargent, The Heretik, BooMan, Shakes, and Billmon.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Curiousity: It's The New Crack!

From USC:
Neuroscientists have proposed a simple explanation for the pleasure of grasping a new concept: The brain is getting its fix.

The “click” of comprehension triggers a biochemical cascade that rewards the brain with a shot of natural opium-like substances, said Irving Biederman, professor of neuroscience in USC College, who presents his theory in an invited article in the latest issue of American Scientist.

“While you’re trying to understand a difficult theorem, it’s not fun,” Biederman said. “But once you get it, you just feel fabulous.”

The brain’s craving for a fix motivates humans to maximize the rate at which they absorb knowledge, he said.

“I think we’re exquisitely tuned to this as if we’re junkies, second by second."

Thanks for stopping by for your latest fix.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Opening The Files: 6/23/06

Of Percentages and Dark Sides.

On two occasions this past week, we were given a peek into the inner workings of the Bush administration. The first was the release of Ron Suskind's The One Percent Doctrine (review here). The book reveals, among other things, the role played by the Vice President in shaping the post-9/11 doctrine adopted by the administration.

The second chance we had was Frontline's The Dark Side (available online here). The documentary chronicles Cheney's push to expand presidential powers and institute a new type of foreign policy. But there was one obstacle that he and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld had to overcome: the CIA.

Mary wonders who is worse, the Puppet or his master?

Steve Soto examines the escape of Bin Laden at Tora Bora and what is revealed in Suskind's novel.

Carpetbagger discusses some of the more damning aspects from the book, and a possible (though unlikely) remedy.

Ivan Eland calls out the fallacy of the one percentage doctrine.

The Boston Globe and The Seattle Times have their take on this glimpse into the "dark side".

Taylor Marsh also weighed in on the Cheney/Rumsfeld tag team.

The Magnificent Seven? Not So Much.

Seven men were arrested Thursday in Miami in connection with an undercover anti-terrorism operation. The men, mostly Americans of Haitian decent, reportedly had no links to Al-Qaeda (though they were seeking out an alliance but the closest they got was a government informant). The FBI claims that the were plotting to blow up several targets, including the Sear's Tower in Chicago and the FBI building in Miami.

Josh noticed something strange in the indictment handed down on Friday: Boots and uniforms? Shakes' put in her two cents on those "boots of terror" and the need for supervillians, even made up ones.

Blogenfreude notes that the capture of these wannabe terrorists didn't involve invading any Muslim nations nor did it require trampling all over our civil liberties.

A. Alexander has a few things to say about this latest Bush-Rove Terror-Scare.

The Heretik warns us to be leary of little chicks and falling skies. Or something.

Bush Bites says its time we set our sights on the real threat to the American Homeland: Florida.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Old Rationales Die Hard

Yesterday, Sen. Rick Santorum made a startling proclamation: We found WMD's in Iraq! Santorum, along with Rep. Pete Hoekstra, held a presser where they stated that coalition forces had uncovered some 500 shells containing degraded sarin and mustard gas. Santorum also had a comment for all those who said there weren't any WMD's: In your face, Democrats! Ok, so those weren't his exact words but they pretty much sum up the reason for this "critically important" announcement.

Unfortunately for Ricky, he had the air let out of his little balloon. And on national television no less. Ouch.

More on this from Anonymous Liberal, Martini Republic, and TBogg.

Update: Hilarious post from Bob Cesca.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Penny Pitching to Avoid a Purse Snatching

David Goldstein had a post up yesterday which is related to something I blogged about last month. Remember how Sen. Arlen Specter was all huffing and puffing about the NSA program, going so far as to threaten to withhold funding for it if he didn't get some answers?

Well four House Representatives made good on the threat the other day.

From Goldstein:
Reps. Jay Inslee (D-WA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Bob Inglis (R-SC) will offer the following one-sentence amendment to the pending Defense Appropriations bill (H.R.5631):

None of the funds made available in this Act may be expended to conduct electronic surveillance (as defined in section 101(f) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801(f)) of any United States person (as defined in section 101(i) of such Act (50 U.S.C. 1801(i)) in contravention of the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.

As David said, this should be one of those "duh-uh" votes, since all it really says is that electronic surveillance should be done within the law. Kind of a no brainer. The amendment failed of course, which should really come as to no surprise.

But it would have been interesting to see how this would have played out if the amendment made it before Bush. Would he have added a signing statement saying he was not bound by the funding restriction placed on the program? Most likely, given that he has used these statements to assert his predominance over all things national security (and not).

How would Congress have reacted? Because the President did not veto the bill, it would theoretically not be subject to an override. So what could they have done to ensure their will was being adhered to? My guess is not much, short of impeachment.

We will probably never know how Congress would have handled the situation. Perhaps the predictability of this President is what ultimately lead to amendment's failure. Congress knows that Bush would most likely have asserted his authority over the matter, so rather than take the chance of having to possibly challenge this "war president", they chose to let the amendment die.

You never have to worry about being called a wimp if you avoid the fight.

Update: Glenn says that the fact that the amendment came close to passing is a good sign that Congress may slowly be coming around.

Monday, June 19, 2006


The lapdogs of the mainstream media sure do love it when Bush yanks on their leash.

Via Media Matters:
On CNN's Reliable Sources, CBS News contributor Gloria Borger acknowledged that the media "are suckers" because of their coverage of President Bush's surprise June 13 trip to Iraq. Borger concluded: "[Y]ou know you're being used, but in a way you kind of like it because it's good pictures."

Y'know, that lapdog label has always been a bit of a unfair moniker. Even lapdogs will eventually bite back if you abuse them enough.

Your TV Speaks, Google Listens

From the BBC:
A system that lets your computer “listen” to your television to create targeted web adverts has been designed and tested by researchers at Google.

The “mass personalization” system can identify a programme from as little as five seconds of sound.

It then presents related information or adverts in the web browser.

Suggested Google Ads...

TV: Ann Coulter appearing on Fox News.

Ad: Ear Plugs.


TV: President Bush discusses progress in Iraq amid reports of renewed violence.

Ad: Overcoming Denial.


TV: President Bush holds an unscripted Q & A in the Rose Garden.

Ad: Grammar for Dummies.

Add your own suggested ads in the comment section. Have fun.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Opening The Files: 6/16/06

Baghdad Bush, Amnesty and the 2500.

Man, it's been a heck of a week. After the timely death of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi last week, the Bush administration made plans to hold a two-day summit to discuss a post-Zarqawi Iraq. The summit was suppose to show President Bush as being on top of things, in charge, strategerizing a plan for victory. So what does Bush do? He bails after the first day to go play in his new sand box for a few hours (aka Operation Photo-op). The trip included a daring six-minute daylight flight from the Baghdad airport to the US embassy in the Green Zone in which, depending on who you talk to, our War Prez bravely went without protective gear. But hey, at least he didn't bring a plastic turkey this time.

Upon returning home from that bastion of democracy in the Middle East, Bush held a presser (aka Victory Lap) where he touted the steady progress being made there. During the conference, he also admitted that Gitmo damages our image around the world (ya think?).

But Bush's little visit might not have been such a good idea since we learned yesterday that the new Iraqi government was considering amnesty for members of the insurgency (though at this point, it's hard to say what the official stance is given that the aide who blabbed to media has since resigned).

We also reached a grim milestone with the news of the 2500th soldier killed. One wonders how many of those 2500 were killed by insurgents who may or may not be given a free pass because they choice not to shed the "wrong blood".

Oh, and the increasingly irrelevant Congress held a PR stunt debate on the war too.

Christy is curious to know, since Iraq is now a sovereign nation, how come Bush doesn't extend the same courtesy that is extended to other sovereign nations. You know, like asking if he can come for a visit instead of just showing up like he owes the place? Oh wait, in his mind, he does.

Peter Daou notes how this trip is being heralded as part of a "recovery" narrative for the beleaguered War Prez.

Shakespeare's Sister discusses a new National Geographic documentary about an endangered species.

Georgia10 dares the Republicans to have a real debate on the war, and lists some things they might want to talk about.

AMERICAblog has the Republican and Democrat response to this call for "amnesty".

And on a somber note, Desi tells us a story from this war that just keeps on giving.

Update: Very interesting. Steve caught WaPo doing a scrub job on their article about the aide resignation. Seems they deleted a paragraph that suggested it was US Embassy officials who first brought up the idea of amnesty.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Spin's So Glaring...

...even a blind man's gotta wear shades.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Preemptive Apology

WASHINGTON (XF) - The Xsociate Files has learned that in the wake of being cleared in the Plame leak investigation, White House political strategist Karl Rove has issued what is being called a "preemptive apology" statement. The letter is thought to be in response to the announcement of a celebratory hunting trip by Vice President Cheney that Rove is slated to attend.

When asked about the statement, a spokesman for Mr. Rove stated that while they do not expect anything to happen, the letter is being issued as a precaution.

"They will be hunting wild pig on the trip. And if the Vice President can mistake a 78 year old Texas lawyer for a quail, surely there's the off chance that he might mistakenly fire on Mr. Rove who as we all know has an uncanny resemblance to Porky Pig," the spokesman said.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Suicide: Act of War?

Let me see if I follow the logic here. We learned over the weekend that three detainees at Guantanamo Bay killed themselves. The commander of the base called the suicides "an act of asymmetric warfare against us", which is a fansy way of saying "an act of war".

So by this logic, does that mean that if I commit suicide it would be an act of war? According to the Bush Doctrine, the US is considered part of the battlefield. And since Bush's role as Commander-in-Chief gives him the authority to not only spy on us without warrants and to detain us indefinitely as "enemy combatants", would it not also follow that he has the authority to determine what constitutes an "act of war"? So if the US is part of the battlefield and any act which "aids" the enemy is considered "an act of war", my suicide would almost certainly fall under that category. Because not only would I be depriving the enemy of someone whose freedoms we are told they hate but I would also be depriving my government of a revenue source as well as a potential soldier should they ever decide to reinstate the draft.

And since my suicide would be considered "an act of war", would it not also be true that simply contemplating suicide would also be a crime? If I were to tell a therapist that I was suicidal, would they then be obliged to inform the government that I was contemplating committing an act of war against the US? Would my suicidal thoughts be enough for the government to hold me indefinitely as a "terrorism appeaser"?

Suffice it to say that when you declare war on something as abstract as terror, logic is usually the first casualty.

For more commentary on this see Califlander, David Luban, Georgia10, Katherine, Karena, Marjorie Cohn, The Heretik, and The Rude Pundit.

Future Headlines

War Crimes Trial Begins

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Better Late Then Never

Well Zarqawi is still dead. Good riddance and all but so far I have yet to read anywhere in the MSM about how Zarqawi could have been taken out years ago (before the invasion in fact). The Washington Post had a piece yesterday showing how Zarqawi helped to bolster the Bush administration's claim of a link between Saddam and Al-Qaeda. But nowhere does it mention that President Bush turned down repeated opportunities to take out Zarqawi when they had the chance because doing so would undermine his justifications for why we had to invade Iraq.

Something else not mentioned was the number of people who died as a direct or indirect result of Zarqawi being left alive. Of course this is something that will never be discussed by the media. Because to do so would mean to implicate Bush, who's inaction meant that hundreds (possibly thousands) who could have been spared instead met a gruesome fate, such as Nick Berg. Their blood will forever stain Bush's hands.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Opening The Files: 6/10/06

Countering Coulter

In what was undoubtedly intended to be a play on the title of her new book "Godless", uber-conservative Ann Coulter's latest hate filled tome came out on 6/6/06. The Today Show had her on to discuss some of the things she wrote, such as how the widows of the 9/11 victims are "millionaire broads" who are "lionized on TV and in articles about them", "revel" in their status as "celebrities" stalked by "grief-arazzis", who enjoy their husband's death "so much."

Keith Olbermann thought it would be hard to top Bill O'Reilly's Malmedy malfeasance but this could be a contender. He took Ann to the woodshed for, among other things, claiming that she is not allowed to respond to or criticize 9/11 victims when she has been making a pretty good living doing just that in her books and TV appearances. Both of which always seem to be forthcoming regardless of how radioactive she may seem to become every time she dares to form words into sentences.

Margaret Nagle thinks there is only one reason why Coulter is allowed to get away with these kinds of remarks. Let's just say that every time one goes missing, Fox News is all over it.

Russell Shaw would like to invite Ann to be a fly on the wall to witness just how much the widows of 9/11 are reveling in their husbands' deaths. Keep the fly swatter handy.

And since Ann probably thought it was cute to have her book bemoaning liberals as "godless" come out on the day of the devil, maybe she should change her phone number to all 6's. She should be prepared for a lot of "googoo gaagaa" calls, though, since it's apparently pretty easy for a baby to incessantly press the same button over and over. Not unlike Republicans repeating the same talking points. And now that I think about it, perhaps those toddlers are actually just future conservatives trying to contact Ms. Coulter to tell her she is full of it.

Update: Keith revisited the Coulter controversy, this time with a round of commentary from apologists for poor Lil' Annie. Blogenfreude also weighed in with his take on some of the right wing blogger's defense.

Another One Bites the Dust.

This week saw the death of the most wanted terrorist in Iraq, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. And it's for real this time, unlike the last few times he has been reported "killed". Many are happy to see him gone, chief among them President Bush who probably hopes this will give him a much needed bounce in the polls (though at this point they would trot out Osama in chains and it still wouldn't help much).

Then there is still the reality that Zarqawi's death will probably have very little impact on the insurgency. As if to drive that point home, a series of bombings killed nearly 40 people after his death was reported.

At least Cenk Uygur can rest easy knowing that his prediction of the eventual fall of "the slaughtering sheik" wasn't far off the mark.

Billmon reports about the finale of this long-running reality show.

Eric Boehlert highlights a Washington Times article that claims that some Democrats were calling the Zarqawi killing a "stunt" (it has since been scrubbed clean of the allegation). Of course this didn't stop the GOP from latching on to this latest meme, as noted by Melanie at News Hounds. But as I have said before, no one ever said talking points had to be true.

Update: Here is Riverbend's take on the death of this American creation.


A couple of interesting guest blogs at Unclaimed Territory discussing Haditha. In the first one, Barbara O'Brien from Mahablog talks about how the incident fits into the grand objective for the Middle East set forth by the folks at the Project for a New America Century. Meanwhile, Anonymous Liberal notes the pro-war right is once again back to that old canard of blaming the messenger for the troubles in Iraq.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Time to rethink that MySpace profile

From the New Scientist:
New Scientist has discovered that Pentagon's National Security Agency, which specialises in eavesdropping and code-breaking, is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks. And it could harness advances in internet technology - specifically the forthcoming "semantic web" championed by the web standards organisation W3C - to combine data from social networking websites with details such as banking, retail and property records, allowing the NSA to build extensive, all-embracing personal profiles of individuals.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Right Shoes, Wrong Feet

Borrowed shoes lead to false ID.

BAGHDAD (XF) - The Xsociate Files has learned that the latest claim of the death of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi may have been premature. The error was blamed on the part of Army investigators sent to identify the remains of the Ansar Al-Islam leader after the air strike that was reported to have killed him and several of his aides.

One soldier, who asked not to be named, said that Zarqawi had been initially listed as dead because one of the corpses in the targeted safehouse had been wearing a pair of New Balance tennis shoes, the same type worn by Zarqawi in recent footage released by the US Army.

"There wasn't much left of the bodies after the airstrike," the soldier said. "They were pretty much hamburger after we got through with them. The only clue we had was the tennis shoes, which oddly enough didn't have a scratch on them."

A Pentagon official who also spoke to XF on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media claims that faulty intelligence is to blame for the initial misidentification.

"We had reason to believe that Zarqawi was still in possession of those New Balance shoes. However, we subsequently learned that he had given them to a subordinate because they gave him blisters," the official said. "We also have not been able to confirm whether or not Zarqawi has in fact purchased a new pair of Nike's."


Zarqawi Dead

We've heard this claim many times before so I don't know if we should really be getting our hopes up. But from the look of it, it might be legit this time.

From Reuters:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed in a joint attack by U.S. helicopters and Iraqi forces, ABC news reported on Thursday.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Future Headlines

Bush Abrogates 3rd Amendment, Just to Complete the Set

Sunday, June 04, 2006

"Patrolling" the border

From the BBC:
A US state is to enlist web users in its fight against illegal immigration by offering live surveillance footage of the Mexican border on the internet.

The plan will allow web users worldwide to watch Texas' border with Mexico and phone the authorities if they spot any apparently illegal crossings.

Wonder when they will be utilizing this neat little innovation in the effort.

Misplaced Vengeance

In light of the recent reports of possible killings of innocent civilians in Iraq, I felt it prudent to revisit a Zogby poll conducted among US forces back in February. While the poll found that 72% thought the war should end this year, a startling 90% felt that the war in Iraq was retaliation for Saddam's role in 9/11. So it would seem that the propaganda campaign by the Bush administration not only persuaded a majority of Americans to back the invasion but has also meant that almost four years into the conflict (and with ample evidence to the contrary) the soldiers involved still consider their actions to be "payback".

Given that this "revenge mentality" is still pervasive among our troops, is it little wonder that incidents such as those in Haditha and Ishaqi have occurred. Because these soldiers feel that they are seeking revenge for what happened on 9/11 (or in the case of Haditha, avenging a fallen comrade) they most likely believe their actions are justified, regardless if those who suffer are guilty or not. Those who are blinded by revenge often do not think with a rational mind.

The Bush administration for its part has only made things worse, forever blurring the distinction of who it is we are fighting. Our soldiers, some barely out of their teens, are given the impossible task of making this distinction on their own, often times when mere seconds is all that separates them or their fellow soldiers from a gruesome death. They must remain hyper-vigilant, always alert to the next possible threat. Add to this the stress of enduring multiple deployments into this violence ridden environment. They are being overwhelmed, stretched to their breaking point. And we now see the consequences when they finally do "snap".

Now I am in no way trying to justify what took place. Certainly not. All those involved should be held accountable. My point is that responsibility should not be restricted to just those few "bad apples". Those who put them there, and the lies they told, deserve equal blame.

Update: Marc McDonald has more.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Opening The Files: 6/02/06

GWOT or no GWOT?

Early this week, Pachacutec touched off a bit of a debate about the concept of the "War on Terror" by saying that there isn't one.

Digby reminds us that it actually started out as the "War on Terrorism" but that even that idea, that you can declare war on a type of warfare, is absurd. Good point. Declaring war on terrorism, a tactic, would have been like declaring war on "sneak attacks" after Pearl Harbor. Sounds silly but that's essentially what our government has been doing for the last five years. Or not doing, depending on who you talk to.

Like John, who says that he is all for the War on Terror whenever the hell they decide to get started on it again. We did get kinda sidetracked in Iraq, which according to Andrew Sullivan, Bush didn't seem to take as seriously has he should have even though it was deemed the central front in this "war".

And now that the funding has been cut for the two cities that were attacked on 9/11 because of a lack of sites worth protecting, how serious do you suppose the Bush administration really is about their "War on Terror"?

Or is this just another case of them playing politics with terror?


Thursday, June 01, 2006

What's in a name?

WASHINGTON (XF) - The Xsociate Files has uncovered a secret executive order issued recently by President Bush that sought to change the names of two of the three branches of the US government. In the order, the Executive Branch would now be referred to as the Excusive Branch. The reason for the change, according to a White House official who asked not to be named, was because of policy changes made during the Bush administration's tenure.

Previous administrations have always sought authority from Congress, who as the principal writers of laws, would either grant or deny that authority. As documented on this site and elsewhere, that practice changed under Bush. Now the president simply proceeds with whatever action he wishes to take, even if those actions are prohibited by existing laws (see warrantless wiretapping). Whenever these actions have been revealed to the public, excuses are made for why the President has the authority to do them.

In what was also said to be a reflection of the work ethic of the current Congress, the executive order also sought to change the Legislative Branch to the Lethargic Branch.

(h/t Kvatch for inspiration)


The Incredible Shrinking President

OK, who's the wise guy who took my box?