P.S. I Love You!

Condi's note to Bush about Iraq's 'early' sovereignty. His response? Advertising copy, to be sure.

I'll need the full transcript before I can even begin discuss this

Why are people fuming about having an exact transcript of Moore's F9/11? And are these the same people who scoured the microscopic, decontextualized atoms of WH speeches so they could argue that since Bush never literally exactly said that Iraq was responsible for 9/11, he can't be blamed for the fact that almost half of Americans seem to think he'd been saying that for about 1.5 years?

(Sully recommends the 101st Airborne Keyboarders make a trip to their local theater with a recorder)

Secondly, why is the dominant discussion of the movie (which I haven't seen) more about the minutiae of Moore's fact-checking, instead of the broader concepts of what specific actions imply? I'm less concerned about what day our 20-odd Saudi pals headed back to the kingdom, and more about why they were given special, preferential treatment. Or whether Bush had anything to do with it at all.

Author Craig Unger appears, claiming that bin Laden family members were never interviewed by the FBI. Not true, according to a recent report from the 9/11 panel. The report confirms that six chartered airplanes flew 142 mostly Saudi nationals out of the country, including one carrying members of the bin Laden family. But the flights didn't begin until Sept. 14—after airspace reopened. Moreover, the report states the Saudi flights were screened by the FBI, and 22 of the 26 people on the bin Laden flight were interviewed. None had any links to terrorism.

Has anyone run a check on them again? Seems like it took more than a few days after 9/11 to figure out who had ties to what terror.

Newsweek's correction is pretty telling:
'...the FBI took other steps to screen the departing Saudis—including running their names through federal databases—and that "nobody of interest to the FBI with regard to the 9-11 investigation was allowed to leave the country." '


God, God, God

Not particularly surprised about the Supreme Court's wimpy decision on the Newdow case ("since he didn't have custody of his daughter, he had no right to bring the case" = wimpy), but I'm even less suprised to see the tired old 'mentioning God isn't a religious exercise' chestnut. Even from the SCOTUS, I mean. Perhaps if we just substitute 'Allah' for 'God' on our money, we could see how the righty Xtians feel? Surely they'd see the point then.

I'm confused by the assertions (below, but also elsewhere) that the mention of God is "patriotic." If our money said "In Our Nation We Trust" it'd be more patriotic. And if it's not an explicitly Christian religious mention, why are Christians so eager to keep it (below)? I feel like we're back in Alabama arguing about the fucking 10 Commandments.

Terre Haute Tribune Star:
"Without [the principles] in place ... today, this form of government will not function," he said. "There has to be a benchmark of morals, ethics and principles, and God's the one who set them down."

From the National Review:

Chief Justice Rehnquist, Justice O'Connor, and Justice Thomas would have found the recitation of the pledge constitutional, including the words under God. As the chief correctly observes, the mere presence of the words "under God" is not a religious exercise.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly said that mere mentions of God in a patriotic context, such as "In God We Trust" on the currency or "God Save the United States and this Honorable Court," differ from prayer and Bible reading — quintessential religious exercises.



Alterman gets it exactly right:

As a matter of historical record, Reagan campaigned on government discipline but vastly expanded its size and scope, along with the deficits it created; he provided weapons to terrorists and misled the country about it; he helped engender genocide in Central America—according to the terms employed, for instance, by Guatemala’s own truth commission, and misled the country about that too-- and showed no compassion to those who were stricken with AIDS, owing to a personal prejudice or (more likely) political calculations that homosexuals were not worthy of presidential attention.

I’m not surprised that Reagan’s supporters do not want to hear about any of this. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt after all. Nor am I surprised that the media wish to ignore it and blow Reagan up into a kind of fuzzy-wuzzy doll who just smiled a lot and made everybody feel good about themselves, while slaying communism with his bare hands.


Whose policy?

Sorry to cite the same article twice, but it's so wildly glaringly ridiculous that it needs addressing: Chalabi's the one whose continued pie-in-the-sky policies cost a lot of lives, not Tenet's.

Chalabit criticizes Tenet (USA Today).

Speaking to reporters, Chalabi lashed out at Tenet, saying the effects of his policies toward Iraq over the past years "have been not helpful to say the least."

"He continued attempting to make a coup d'etat against Saddam in the face of all possible evidence that this would be unsuccessful," Chalabi said. "His policies caused the death of hundreds of Iraqis in this futile efforts."

New Yorker:
In 1995, Chalabi began spending some of his C.I.A. funding to create an armed militia in Kurdistan. With Washington’s approval, he hatched a quixotic plan to use his militia, along with tribal leaders he had bribed, to mount a simultaneous three-city strike against Saddam’s forces. Just before the attack began, it became clear that Baathist officials had learned of the plot. Baer was told to tell Chalabi that “any decision to proceed will be on your own.” Chalabi, who had no military experience, refused to abort the operation. By then, many of the insurgents had deserted, and the revolt quickly foundered. The C.I.A. was furious that it had funded such a folly.

A year later, in August, 1996, a second disaster befell Chalabi. One of the Kurdish factions within the I.N.C. invited Saddam Hussein into Kurdistan, to crush a rival faction that was allied with Chalabi. Forty thousand Iraqi soldiers and three hundred tanks crossed into Kurdish territory—a flagrant violation of U.S. strictures against Saddam’s entering Kurdistan. The Clinton Administration failed to react immediately, and Saddam’s forces captured, tortured, and slaughtered hundreds of Chalabi’s supporters. The U.S. government eventually evacuated seven thousand supporters

Timing is Everything

Well, I guess now that Tenet's stepped down, all problems are solved!

Chalabi Accuses Tenet of Being Behind Allegations

NAJAF, Iraq (AP) — Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi accused CIA director George Tenet on Thursday of being responsible for allegations that the former exile leader passed intelligence information to Iran.

Chalabi, a former member of the Iraqi Governing Council, made the accusation after President Bush announced that Tenet was stepping down as CIA director for personal reasons.

Goes up quick, comes back down slowly

Can anyone explain the economic rationale for this phenomenon? Other than "gouging," I mean?

"The peak retail price for regular unleaded gas was $2.05 on May 26," Mr. Verleger said. "Today it is $2.04. But spot gasoline prices have fallen from $1.45 a gallon to $1.21. It will be months before the retail gasoline price reflects the decline in the spot gasoline price, because the transition process takes a long time."

Also: gee, it's nice of the Saudis to broker a 2mm/day barrel boost in OPEC production. Especially since the current price escalation is in part due to their decision to cut their output by 1mm barrels/day just a few months ago. Must be an election coming, huh?

NYT piece here.

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