You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘America’ category.

It is one thing to know that your country is making a mistake going to war, on the gut feeling that it wrong. It is quite another thing to see just how wrong it can go.

Even The Army Times weighs in with a damning editorial — A failure of leadership at the highest levels :

How tragically ironic that the American military, which was welcomed to Baghdad by the euphoric Iraqi people a year ago as a liberating force that ended 30 years of tyranny, would today stand guilty of dehumanizing torture in the same Abu Ghraib prison used by Saddam Hussein’s henchmen.

Meanwhile, the folly of the Administration seems surreal. Bush says that Rumsfeld is doing a great job, but meanwhile, some top Army brass seem to be itching to get fired. Maj. Gen. Swannack of the 82nd airborne is on record saying that we are losing the war. Note to Rummy: If your generals are talking to the press saying things like that, its probably because they think that you weren’t listening to them when they told you the same thing over and over for the past three months.

The administration is saying that abuse of Iraqi prisoners is limited to a handful of soldiers, and yet it is clear that responsibility runs clear to the top. For example, the man who oversaw the reopening (“under new management”) of Abu Ghraib was himself under investigation by the Justice Department following a prisoner cruelty episode in one of his jails in Utah. According to the New York Times, he was part of a team chosen by John Ashcroft to rebuild the Iraqi justice system. Note to John: I’d start by trying to rebuild the American justice system that you have been dismantling for the past two years.

Paul Wolfowitz, meanwhile shows every indication of being out-of-the-loop. The Boston Globe writes :

Wolfowitz said he does not think the United States is losing in Iraq, and said no senior officer has expressed that thought to him either.

Meanwhile, the verb ‘Shinseki’ has been catching airtime. As in this quote from John McCain:

Now, look, one of the reasons why I think many of these Army guys may not have been—and I emphasize may not have been—as forthcoming as they should, because perhaps they didn‘t want to be Shinsekied.  General Shinseki testified before the Armed Services Committee that we needed several hundred thousand.  He left his job.  Not one single civilian in the Department of Defense attended his retirement.  That was a signal to others in the Army.

Speaking of which, Ret. Gen. Eric Shinseki would make a great running mate for John Kerry.

This is astroturf politics at its truest. Bush Cheney 2004 have tried using the internet to help ‘grassroots’ organizations make their own custom Bush/Cheney posters — you know like Howard Dean did. When folks figured out how easy it is to subvert the process, we get this:

C26EE0F1-B8BD-4FB5-BA51-91C7F496887F.jpg

And when they say that BUSH-CHENEY paid for it, you know it’s true. See this slideshow for more. Its going to be a fun year watching all the ways the Bush campaign can demonstrate cluelessness.

Calpundit has a great interview with Paul Krugman. In short, Bush has lied. Bush is probably lying right now. Bush will lie again.

There are a number of stories these days about getting displays of the Ten Commandments removed from public property because of Establishment Clause violations, like this one from St. Petersburg, and this one, from Alabama.

It’s pretty hard to argue that such displays aren’t infringements of First Amendment rights, as “You shall have no other gods before me” is pretty unambiguous as an endorsement of a particular religious point of view.

The best argument made by defenders of the Ten Commandments monuments is that such displays promote morality in the community, and that apart from any religious content, the government is justified in spending public money on the promotion of civil order. It’s an argument that holds water until you think about it.

1) You would think that the Constitution would provide the basis for the kind of civil order that should be promoted (that’s what its there for). Politicians and judges who try to subvert the Constitution are actually promoting civil disorder.

2) There is really no need to use the exact Biblical text if the only goal is to promote civil morality. Of course, proponents of the monuments would say that they wouldn’t be the same if the texts read like “Hey, let’s not kill each other”. To me that sounds exactly the same, minus the religious arrogance.

3) Proponents are so fixated on these engraved-in-stone monuments that they would prefer to antagonize the public by displaying them on public property than using their energies to praise God. Thus, they are violating the Second Commandment: “You shall not make for yourself a graven image … you shall not bow down to them and serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God”. One might argue that the Second Commandment is simply a prohibition of idol worship, in the literal sense of bowing down before a pagan image. But this is a short-sighted viewpoint. The Second Commandment is a warning against placing any importance in physical objects. When Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore refuses to remove the commandments from his courtroom, he is not only being un-American, and not only abusing the power of the Judiciary, he is transgressing the very commandments he is trying to promulgate.

Just when I thought that my comment that Bush’s foreign policy is based on the National Hockey League Enforcer’s Guidebook had lost its currency, Antipixel notes the headline from Bloomberg:

N. Korea Readies 200 Missiles to Strike Japan, Paper Says

and observes:

I believe our official response is supposed to be “Bring ’em on!”

This story shows just how much Senator Hatch needs to be introduced to a clue-by-four.

Senator Hatch endorsed technology that would twice warn a computer user about illegal online behavior, “then destroy their computer.”

Hatch is also interested in legislation to force the auto industry to install explosives in automobiles which would destroy cars which violate the speed limit. He stopped short of endorsing new technology which would drain the bank accounts of politicians who accept illegal contributions, saying “I think people should be allowed to spend their money as they see fit”.

Disclaimer — no, Hatch didn’t actually do those other things, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he did.

Lisa Rein has the Bush v. Bush debate from The Daily Show on her site. Laugh until it hurts funny.

Not much to say in reply to Sen Santorum’s recent AP interview, except that it makes me ashamed to say I’m from Pennsylvania. Essentially, he says “I have nothing against gay people, but the Government shouldn’t allow them to do that”

No doubt next week he’ll say “I have nothing against women, but they shouldn’t be allowed to have periods” or perhaps “I have nothing against black people, but I wish they would speak regular”. Or perhaps he doesn’t really mean it, that its all just a facade to wrap up the endorsement of the right wing of the republican party.

Lisa Rein has a great blog. I’ve got to start watching the Daily Show.

No I don’t mean Wall Street. I’m thinking about the close-to-home counterpart of the phrase “The Arab Street” which we hear too much on the news recently. Trying to figure out what is meant by “The Arab Street” I try to imagine who the American Street would be and how they are reacting to the war.

Of course, the phrase “Arab street” is misleading, as if the mood of hundreds of millions of people in all parts of the globe could be captured in a single sentence, but those people on CNN must think it means something — generally the prevailing mood of the population of a few middle eastern countries — Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Syria, the mood that is present but over-amplified in all those shots of Arab cities where anti-American or anti-Israeli demonstrations are filling the streets. Most Arabs aren’t as thoughtless and hotheaded as the demonstrators, but they share the same sympathies (Israelis have driven us from our homeland, Americans are bullies).

So where is the “American street”? I saw it the other night as my local news filled a 5-second fade-to-commercial bit with a scene from “American Idol”, where the contestants and the audience are all singing some “proud to be an American” song, seemingly with the subtext of “proud to be dropping bombs on the less-privileged”. Of course, most Americans aren’t as thoughtless and hotheaded as shown on “American Idol”, but the same sympathies are there ( Hope that the coalition troops to come home safe, Saddam Hussein is a thug).

Interestingly, I seem to agree with all the sympathies. Yes, Saddam Hussein is a thug, but that doesn’t mean war is the answer. Yes, I’d like to see all the Coalition Troops come home safely, but I’d also like to see the Iraqis escape injury in the conflict. Yes, American’s are bullies, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a noble vision for the world, and yes, Israel did displace many people when the country was founded, but that doesn’t mean unfounding the country will do any good. The challenge for us all is to look past the street, past the flag waving and posturing, and into the hearts and homes of people around the world.