The Bush Administration’s and RNC’s Nonsensical PR Games: Lebanon and Iraq

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NEW YORK–I’ve just seen two reports about absolutely looney Bush administration steps in Iraq and Lebanon that have more to do with public relations management than they do, in either case, with “on the ground realities.”
First, check out this snippet from The American Prospect‘s Garance Franke-Ruta regarding “Why It’s Taking So Long” to evacuate Americans from Lebanon:

A reliable source tells me that the reason the United States has been so slow in evacuating its citizens from Lebanon is that the public diplomacy (i.e., P.R.) issues raised by evacuating under Israeli assault are so complicated.
Individuals within the State Department, I am told, have been reluctant to create an impression that the Israeli assault on Lebanon is as bad as it is or that civilian U.S. citizens are being threatened by U.S. ally Israel. If a conflict this severe had broken out in, say, Indonesia, the American embassy would have been shut down the next day and its personnel and families rapidly brought to safety. That’s how things normally work. (See Laura Rozen on the evacuation from Albania here.)
In this case, however, the diplomatic message sent by shutting down the U.S. embassy in the face of Israeli bombing would have contradicted the U.S. government message of support for the Israeli mission against Hezbollah terrorists, which, when added to the general concern within lower-level diplomatic circles about ever creating a Fall of Saigon-style visual for the news media, have led the Americans to be slower than they could have been about getting U.S. citizens out of harm’s way.

CNN’s Nic Robertson has been doing a very good job of field reporting on the tension inside Lebanon — and reporting the dramatic impact on the lives of innocent victims inside Lebanon from Israeli bombing campaigns. However, Robertson on more than one occasion has had to really scramble and duck for cover at times that they were warned of incoming attacks.
Innocent Lebanese — as well as innocent Israelis — are dying in this mess. And they all should be mourned for — but knock out someone like Nic Robertson in one of these flamboyant assaults and the dynamics of support for Israel’s actions in the power corridors of Washington will be turned immediately upside down. (Note to Nic: Keep ducking and running those bombs.)
But THEN, get this latest report from the Republican National Committee on bringing a “market economy” to Iraq after decades of state planning. As a friend of mine wrote, “you just can’t make this stuff up!”
iraqfacts.jpg
Here is the pdf of the RNC’s new report — Iraq Facts.
The first press accomplishment on the fact sheet is:

“Iraq And The United States Signed A Commercial Cooperation Agreement Monday To Move The Country Toward A Market Economy After Decades Of State Planning.” (Ryan Lenz, “Nations Sign Commercial Cooperation Deal,” The Associated Press, 7/17/06)

I can’t quite believe that anyone thinks that there are conditions in Iraq where a “market economy” is ready to displace a planned one — particularly when most Iraqis continue to live in darkness and inconsistent electric power provision and when the daily kill rate in Iraq is on average more than 100 people a day.
Figuring that Iraq has a little less than 10% of the U.S. population, the proportional death rate of something like 9/11 is ocurring ON AVERAGE every three days in Iraq.
Shame on the RNC for this report.
The only ones who benefit from the kinds of gushing free market and privatization schemes during times of such obvious calamity and systemic breakdowns are corrupt thugs, well-organized gangs, and robber barons among the elite power circles in that country.
If we turn over Iraq to these kinds of Chalabi-like self-dealers, then we will have even more to be ashamed of than we do now.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

40 comments on “The Bush Administration’s and RNC’s Nonsensical PR Games: Lebanon and Iraq

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  3. Kristine Thomas says:

    Here is an interesting article. “Democracy, or the Open Society, has no weapons capable of destroying Islam and its call for the destruction of the West. Israel’s war against the Hizbollah is just an example of this sure defeat. What will change in Lebanon that didn’t change when Israel “defeated” the PLO in 1982 and occupied Lebanon so disastrously for 20 years?” Read the rest of it here: http://www.saneworks.us/On-Israel%92s-War-Why-Democracies-are-Incapable-of-Winning-the-War-Against-Islam-Part-I-article-137-1.htm

    Reply

  4. btree says:

    Israel’s military stunned by the failure of its air war
    http://tinyurl.com/hgbsd
    Friday, July 21, 2006
    TEL AVIV — Israel’s new chief of staff, an air force general, believed that most of Israel’s future operations would be conducted from the air.
    Military leaders were convinced that with superior communications and air power they did not even need new U.S. “bunker buster” munitions to root out terror leaders in underground hideaways.
    Today, this vision of air power as a panacea has been shattered.
    Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz and his advisers have been stunned by the failure of Israel’s air war against Hizbullah, which has shrugged massive air bombings on its headquarters in Beirut to maintain the rocket war against the Jewish state.
    “Air power is not the answer here,” a senior officer said. ‘You have to go from one Hizbullah [weapons] bunker to another. Some of these bunkers are seven meters deep and can’t be destroyed by aircraft, even if you could find them.”
    The air force learned that lesson in Beirut as fighter-jets sought to destroy Hizbullah headquarters, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials acknowledged that 23 tons of munitions failed to penetrate the thick walls of the underground command headquarters constructed by Iran.
    Indeed, the air force did not even deem the purchase of deep penetration munitions a priority. Earlier this year, Israel decided against purchasing U.S.-origin bunker-buster weapons regarded as a requirement for any air strike against Iran or Syria.
    Military sources said Halutz was convinced that communications and air power rather than troops would rapidly win Israel’s wars. They said the air force was surprised by its failure to halt or even reduce Hizbullah rocket strikes.
    Only a month ago, Lt. Col. Itay Brun explained the concept of Israel’s military. The concept envisioned an army based largely on special operations units and backed by air power.
    As Brun described it, most of Israel’s operations would be conducted from the air. Fighter-jets would destroy guerrilla strongholds, helicopters would pick off enemy combatants while unmanned aerial vehicles would select and track targets. Most of the tactics would also be used in a conventional war.
    “The next challenge is to win the war against terrorism and guerrillas from the air,” Brun, adviser to Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, told a military conference.
    But he General Staff quickly learned that Hizbullah was not a Shi’ite version of the Palestinian insurgency in the Gaza Strip. For years, the air force boasted of its ability to kill Palestinian insurgency leaders while glossing over the failure to halt missile strikes from Gaza towns only three kilometers from Israel.
    “We are fighting a much more capable [Hizbullah] terror organization which practically holds a sword to our neck and has 12 percent of the Israeli population living in shelters and paralyzes the entire northern part of the country,” Brig. Gen. Ido Nehushtan said.
    “As aggressive and effective as the air war has been, there is still a need for ground operations,” Maj. Gen. Benny Ganz, chief of the Ground Forces Command, said.
    As a result, the General Staff has approved the entry of at least 5,000 troops in Lebanon in a limited search-and-destroy mission for Hizbullah rockets in villages near the Israeli border. So far, about 3,000 soldiers have been deployed in southern Lebanon, where attack aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles failed to detect and battle Hizbullah fighters in the thick hilly underbrush.
    On Friday, two AH-64A Apache attack helicopters crashed in northern Israel near the Lebanese border. The military said a pilot was killed and another four soldiers were injured as the helicopters sought to support troops in Lebanon.
    As the air force received 60 percent of the military budget, army training was cut to the bone and the armored corps was significantly reduced.
    Reservists forgot what the inside of a main battle tank looked like. Army supplies dwindled way past the danger point as military intelligence dismissed the prospect of a conventional war against Israel.
    Over the last two years, the Ground Forces Command has been administering the Digital Army Program, a nearly $1 billion effort to link ground forces assets to ensure situational awareness as well as coordination with the air force and navy.
    Today, Israel’s advanced technology has been unable to detect, let alone stop Hizbullah assaults. Military sources said Hizbullah quickly developed methods to penetrate Israel’s C4I [command, control, communications, computers and intelligence] border system, based on advanced sensors and heavy air surveillance.
    Hizbullah, the sources said, learned how to disable cameras and exploit blind spots to cut through the border fence and attack Israeli military positions. They said this was how a small Hizbullah force attacked an Israeli border post on July 12 and abducted two soldiers.
    The military acknowledged that for more than one hour commanders were unaware that soldiers had been taken to Lebanon. Commanders said they were caught off guard by Hizbullah’s mastery of anti-tank weapons, mortars and platoon-sized maneuvers.
    “It may be that we don’t have our priorities straight,” said [Res.] Maj. Gen. Yiftah Ron-Tal, who until 2005 headed the Ground Forces Command.
    To some strategists, the Israeli concept of air power was doomed to failure. In a lecture at Tel Aviv University in March, [Res.] Maj. Gen. Yaakov Amidror, a former head of military intelligence research, warned that ground forces and tanks have remained far more flexible and resilient than aircraft.
    “The policymakers must understand the limitations of the air force,” Amidror said. “My feeling is that the air force does not sufficiently stress its weaknesses.”
    In a report released on July 19 by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Amidror and co-author Dan Diker argued that Israel could be forced to convert its air war to a ground war in Lebanon. The report, entitled “A Strategic Assessment of the Hizbullah War: Defeating the Iranian-Syrian Axis in Lebanon,” asserted that Israel underestimated the Iranian-sponsored Shi’ite militia, trained and equipped by Damascus and Teheran.
    “This is a war in which Israel is acting primarily through its air force, which is a new approach,” the report said. “However, if Israel’s air force fails to stop Hizbullah rocket assaults, Israel may be forced to send in substantial ground forces to control the areas from which rockets are being launched. This real possibility would have far-reaching implications in terms of potential losses for the IDF and for the citizens of Lebanon.”

    Reply

  5. anon says:

    Reports this morning were that an Israeli missile killed a UN official stationed in south Lebanon.
    Israel said it was a Hezbollah rocket, but apparently UN sources are saying it was an Israeli missile. Of course, it will be easy to tell once they look at the ordinance.

    Reply

  6. Pissed Off American says:

    Can someone explain to me the logic of US taxpayers paying for Israeli weapons, and then again having to pay to be evacuated when these weapons are used to put American citizens in danger>
    Posted by erichwwk
    Logic???? In Bushworld??? Surely you jest.

    Reply

  7. erichwwk says:

    Can someone explain to me the logic of US taxpayers paying for Israeli weapons, and then again having to pay to be evacuated when these weapons are used to put American citizens in danger>

    Reply

  8. Chesire11 says:

    In addition to my concern and outrage over what I can’t help but call the Rape of Lebanon, I am becoming very worried about the potential for all of this to spill over and escalate through the region.
    The Israelis have been surprised by the resilience and capabilities of Hezbollah forces in Southern Lebanon and their ability to strike (mostly ineffectively) deep into Israel proper. Having been given only the rest of this week, by the White house, to finish the job I’m afraid that they will blame Hezbollah’s continued resistance on Syria and rather than reining things in, will expand the war with air strikes against Syria.
    The BBC reported this morning that Ethiopian forces have crossed the border into Somalia in support of the transitional government against the Islamic Courts which recently seized control over Mogadishu. Can there be any doubt that this incursion, if not actually planned in Washington, enjoys at least the tacit backing of the Bush Administration?
    The situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate with no response from an administration that seems to have lost interest in favor of beating the drums for a coming war with Iran (“Real men want to go to Teheran.”)
    Perhaps I’m an alarmist, but things are spinning out of control and are starting to look like the prelude to a general war in the Mideast.

    Reply

  9. pauline says:

    Third of Lebanon casualties are children, says UN
    http://www.irishexaminer.com/breaking/story.asp?j=189629482&p=189630188&n=189630242
    seems like both the devil and the Lord are creating special places in hell for those responsible for this madness.

    Reply

  10. CroP says:

    Here’s what is really ironic. Lebanon has a democratic government, as does Israel. Officially, Israel says that Lebanon is responsible for Hezzbollah and that Israel “is now reacting to an act of war by a neighboring sovereign state.” So technically, a democracy is attacking another one, which Bush says doesn’t happen.
    And why is it that the Bush folks, who so dearly believe in liberty and democracy, are letting Lebanon’s government go down the tubes? There aren’t many democracies in the region, you would think we would nurture and support each one.
    Our inaction and lack of support is a major black eye for the US govt. and the concept of democracy in the Middle East. Basically, if you are Lebanese, your democratic government had failed to protect you; a democratic nation is attacking your infrastructure and killing your soldiers and civilians; and the top dog of democracy, the US, is letting all of this happen.
    This is not good PR for democracy or the US.

    Reply

  11. joe says:

    the state department has a no ‘double standard’ rule. essentially what this means is that if there is an emergent situation that the dept. knows about, it needs to, in fact MUST, inform american citizens about it and take steps to help them out/get the word out. So for instance, if the embassy becomes aware that there is a dangerous situation developing it cannot evacuate its own employees unless it also informs u.s. citizens in the country that they are at risk and notifies them…i believe that this also takes into account taking steps to assure their safety. When i say that it is a rule, it is in fact U.S. Law. So if the embassy was aware of the developement and insured that its employees were covered, it was also required to notify AMCITS of the dangers and help provide for their own evacuation or put out the message for AMCITS to leave the country.
    On the matter of what to bring and what not, if the U.S. gov’t is paying for the evacuation of AMCITS, it is imperative that they limit the baggage that the evacuated people are allowed to carry, in order to get the most amount of people out. So the ordering of personal effects to be left behind is standard…though i believe that everyone is entitled to bring at least a suitcase of goods. In my mind it shouldn’t matter if someone wants to choose between their laptop/camera or a weeks worth of clothes/toothpaste etc.

    Reply

  12. Jon Stopa says:

    “privatization of iraq’s oil industryt has been the real aim of our WOT there. Piratization is more accurate terminology.
    Posted by: Kathleen”
    Its been my dirty suspicion that this is the real reason we are stuck in Iraq, and has been so from the instant I heard of this bit of “nation building.” Isn’t this why all those young GOP types were in Iraq from the beginning?
    Jon Stopa

    Reply

  13. formerDoDlogmgr says:

    Up to this point, when Israel has attacked another country there have not been large numbers of Americans in it like there are in Lebanon now. Even worse from Israel’s perspective, these aren’t just any Americans but educated, tech savvy, activist students. They have seen Beirut blossom and reemerge as as destination city and very likely have made many and varied Lebanese friends. These students are seeing the wanton destruction with their own eyes and they will be bringing what they saw and their stories and the stories of their friends back to American and around the world with them. I suspect it will not be good “PR” for the Israeli cause.

    Reply

  14. brendan says:

    Steve Clemons:
    Do you know anything about our ambassador, Jeffrey Feltman, in all this? The name caught my eye (why isn’t some Lebanese Pioneer for Bush there), so I looked him up on the State Dept. site. He’s a career official with previous stints in Jerusalem and…Irbil for the CPA. He does speak Arabic (not Hebrew, surprisingly, given the Jerusalem post). Israeli intelligence has been intensely active in Kurdistan for over a decade, so can you provide me any information that leads me away from my hasty conclusion that he’s an asset for a certain intelligence agency that will go unnamed?

    Reply

  15. km4 says:

    Letter from Rasha ( a young women ) in Beirut; and the Israeli Siege Notes
    http://www.juancole.com/2006/07/letter-from-rasha-in-beirut-and.html
    Excerpt:
    The experience of the peace process is telling: it is clear that Israelis cannot cannot cannot accept Palestinians as human beings whose humanity is of equal value as their own. This is the bottom line. And until that bottom line is changed, there is nothing that a member of a society that builds walls around itself to shut itself off from the world and shut the world from itself can tell me. Punto final. One of my impromptu (Israeli) commentators, warned of my candor, despaired at my position vis-a-vis Israel, and took generous time and space to explain to me that Hezbollah must be crushed because if they were to win, they would destroy Israel and me, because of my values and lifestyle. This view, along with other views salient in western media (particularly American) of Hezbollah betrays ignorance. It is fatal ignorance. The most gross miscalculation Israeli strategists are making is based on the assumption that Hezbollah is a) not a legitimate political entity in this country, b) its base is made up of extremists and c) its “elimination” would leave the Lebanese construct unscathed. In point of fact, pushing the Lebanese population to “rise up” against Hezbollah, or the scenario of a Lebanese implosion, is the worst case scenario for all regional “parties”, because the country would then become the jungle of violence and killing that Iraq is today. Because I am a staunch secular democrat, I have never endorsed Hezbollah, but I do not question their legitimacy as a political actor on the Lebanese scene, I believe they are just as much a product of Lebanon’s contemporary history, its war and postwar, as are all other parties. If one were to evaluate the situation in vulgar sectarian terms, when it comes to representing the interests of their constituency they certainly do a better job than all the political representatives presently and in the past. It would be utter folly (in fact it would be murderous folly) to regard Hezbollah as another radical Islamist terrorist organization, at least in the ideological and idiomatic vein of the American intelligentsia and punditry. (There is something about a stubborness to misunderstand that betrays an intent in the US to see a crisis linger or even escalate. If Americans feel better being misguided idiots, Israelis should know better.

    Reply

  16. Irish_Mark says:

    It’s shameful that Bush and Blair are willing to play with the lives of innocent Lebanese and Israeli citizens by not demanding a ceasefire.
    Not to mention the destruction of a country which recently had a democratic election hailed by Bush as a new “Cedar revolution”.
    And for the final ironies, the US has to pay the insurance for the Palestinian power plant destroyed by Isreali F16s (supplied by the US) and US citizens who are fleeing Lebabon (bombed back 50 years by US supplied weaponry) will have to pay for their own evacuation.
    The free market at work.

    Reply

  17. anon says:

    It is very sad, marky, if your friends attitude is typical of the average Israeli citizen. It it that mindset that leads to crimes like My Lai and Haditha . I wonder how many Israelis think about their own persectution in Europe, prior to the Holocaust, and the similarities to their treatment of Palestinians today.

    Reply

  18. Philippe says:

    Heard on France inter (French public service radio) saw on TF1 (French private TV). That among the evacuees from lebanon aboard a ferry chartered by the French governement, were 80 Americans among a few hundreds EU members states nationals.
    Can’t remember where, heard that “the US military is overstreched and could not react fast enough”.
    The evacuation had to be done by ferry by day from beyrouth, because the IDF would not allow any other method…..
    Not everyone could be evacuated because of IDF refusal to allow the ferry to leave by night.
    Philippe

    Reply

  19. elmo says:

    HNT: ChickenHawk X-Ray

    Reply

  20. Pissed Off American says:

    “today, we are all Israelis.”
    Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman punctuated the day with a speech to Christians United for Israel last night, declaring that “today, we are all Israelis.”
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article14062.htm
    Geez, now I gotta wonder of Lieberman can swim with Dershowitz AND Mehlman strapped to his back.

    Reply

  21. shinypenny says:

    Voinovich says he’ll vote for Bolton when the President renominates him.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/19/AR2006071901788.html

    Reply

  22. shinypenny says:

    Voinovich says he’ll vote for Bolton when the President renominates him.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/19/AR2006071901788.html

    Reply

  23. marky says:

    Interesting comment, anon.
    Last night I was discussing politics with a young Jewish American who is home for the summer from Tel Aviv. I would say his politics are quite moderate, but when I mentioned humanitarian concerns of the Palestinians, his attitude was either ” It’s not Israel’s problem”, and once he even said that he doesn’t care if they don’t have food or water, because Hamas and Hezbollah want to destroy Israel.
    In terms of the general situation of the Palestinians for the last 60 years, he has about the same attitude. He repeatedly said that other countries should have taken care of the Palestinians—taken them in, or that Arab countries should foot the bill for their aid today.
    He denied that Israel has any legal obligation to provide for the Palestinians whatsoever, which I’m sure is not the case.
    Anyway, I can’t see any explanation except for rank racism for this young man’s attitude.
    If he is typical of the moderate Israeli, believing that Israeli has no fault and no responsbility with respect to the Palestinians, it is no wonder there is no chance for peace.

    Reply

  24. anon says:

    Thanks for the link, ahem.
    I saw part of the NewsHour tonight and one of their guests was an IDF BG Herzog. I happened to turn the sound off and the captioning on just to watch the
    body language. Interestingly, there was a lot of shoulder shrugging which to me showed absolutely no empathy at all for civilian deaths or the least care Israel was wrecking the entire country. All very cold and calculated and very scary.

    Reply

  25. bob mcmanus says:

    I liked the partition logo.

    Reply

  26. JL says:

    Punchy, what a great comment. I think Steve should have a contest and we could all guess the tipping point. Somehow I don’t think that it would be the pig, YO, definitely not shit, or the shoulder rub. I would guess the tipping point would be the bike ride during the G8 summit while the mid-east burned. It’s always been about the bike ride.

    Reply

  27. vachon says:

    Sometimes I just want to shake Nic Robertson and yell “Put your goddam flak jacket on!”
    Thank you. I needed to say that.

    Reply

  28. Carroll says:

    Thanks Steve ..save all your “Notes” for “Orwell 2006″…you have a future book in the making here.
    The spin not only in this adm, but in the MSM is overwhelming. Absolutely, overwhelmingly, mindboggling. None of this will not stop until someone “makes” them stop. That’s all I can say.
    And I hope Nic has a rabbits foot, because the last thing the US goverment or Israel cares about is American lives or anyone else’s. That should be crystal clear by now.

    Reply

  29. km4 says:

    Bushco, perpetual war, and the elite class
    It’s simply the golden shower for everyone else.
    These bastards need to get their comeuppance !

    Reply

  30. ahem says:

    anon: this Newsweek report may be out of date, but it confirms the ban on cameras and laptops:
    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/13903377/

    Reply

  31. GQ says:

    According to free market fundamentalists, completely privatizing Iraq should necessarily end all of the problems. Security should necessarily improved if left to the whims of the market, more people will be working, electricity will be restored, etc.
    Either complete privatization in Iraq will solve all the problems, or free market fundamentalism is flawed.

    Reply

  32. anon says:

    That’s countered, though, by reports that evacuees would not be permitted to take cameras or laptops with them.
    ———————————————
    That, if true, is very, very telling.

    Reply

  33. Matthew says:

    If Iraq is a success, what is a failure?

    Reply

  34. LondonYank says:

    The most frightening phone call I ever received was someone who called my cellphone and started the conversation with, “I have your number from our good friend, Ahmad Chalabi.” I damn near crashed the car I was driving.
    My contracting career in post-war Iraq was brief but informative. It was the most kleptocratic environment on Earth. I am not up to such things, so delivered on time, on budget and got out.

    Reply

  35. Punchy says:

    Mr. Clemons…your cynicism concerning, and petulance towards, this Administration has really ratcheted up in the past week or so. Cannot say I’ve ever seen you this irate, flummoxed, and irascible before.
    Apparently, Bush has tripped your tipping point. Now you can join the rest of us in Furiousville.

    Reply

  36. ahem says:

    “knock out someone like Nic Robertson in one of these flamboyant assaults and the dynamics of support for Israel’s actions in the power corridors of Washington will be turned immediately upside down.”
    You really think so? Perhaps the power corridors are less prone to kneejerkery than the right-wing bloggers who essentially call Americans in Lebanon traitors and terrorist sympathisers.
    Why no comment on CNN about how reporting from Haifa is subject to military censorship? There are plenty of caveats when Robertson gets shown around bombed apartments in south Beirut by a Hezbollah official. If he were to be caught up in a strike, chances are that a smooth-talking Israeli spokesman would have Wolf Blitzer gravely nodding that yes, he deserved it.
    That said, one might also posit the argument that State’s tardy evacuation might be to prevent Israel ‘taking off the gloves’ in Lebanon until Condi Rice finally meanders over to the region. That’s countered, though, by reports that evacuees would not be permitted to take cameras or laptops with them.
    Now I see that Dan Gillerman is even using Bush’s turn of phrase: it is, apparently, ‘impossible to distinguish between Hezbollah and Lebanon’ just as it was impossible to distinguish between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Which belies all the crap about targetted strikes. This is indiscriminate, petulant destruction, couched in the moralistic bullshit of a serial abuser.

    Reply

  37. steve duncan says:

    “The only ones who benefit from the kinds of gushing free market and privatization schemes during times of such obvious calamity and systemic breakdowns are corrupt thugs, well-organized gangs, and robber barons among the elite power circles in that country.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “that country”? Would you be referring to Iraq or the U.S. with that statement? I’d say there are numerous thugs, gangs and barons in the U.S. poised to plunder Iraq with the help of the RNC. Friends of Bush have already looted billions in art, oil, cash and arms. They probably don’t need any more assistance but I’m sure they’ll take it all the same.

    Reply

  38. Den Valdron says:

    Wow. That Iraq fact sheet was stunningly delusional in its application to the big picture.
    It’s like adding a new slipcover to a broken chair while the house is burning down around you.
    I’m sort of laughing at the Lebanon thing. I mean, its tragic. But its weirdly, blackly humourous that the Bush administration is willing to trade American lives if they get in the way of its spin. It’s Katrina all over again.

    Reply

  39. bp32 says:

    Was there any doubt that concerns about how a civilain evacuation by the US would be viewed were at play? Of course they were worried about the visual–leaders are always worried about the visual especially in a situation involving an ally like Israel for precisely the reasons laid out. It doesn’t mean that it’s always a bad thing, but you can bet it will be part of the equation.

    Reply

  40. Kathleen says:

    privatization of iraq’s oil industryt has been the real aim of our WOT there. Piratization is more accurate terminology.

    Reply

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