Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Post-Labor Day Roundup

Quote of the Day: "We're one bomb away from getting rid of that obnoxious [FISA] court." From Jack Goldsmith's upcoming book, The Terror Presidency, as described in the New York Times preview of "Conscience of a Conservative," to be published in the Sept. 9 issue of the New York Times Magazine.

Runner-up for Quote of the Day:

When Goldsmith presented his analysis of the Geneva Conventions at the White House, Addington, according to Goldsmith, became livid. “The president has already decided that terrorists do not receive Geneva Convention protections,” Addington replied angrily, according to Goldsmith. “You cannot question his decision.”

They've gone and washed that law right off of their site:
Two weeks ago, CREW documented how the White House website conflicted with the Bush administration's claim that the Office of Administration was not subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. On August 23, 2007, the Washington Post took note of the conflict between the White House website and the White House position:
The claim, made in a motion filed Tuesday by the Justice Department, is at odds with a depiction of the office on the White House's own Web site. As of yesterday, the site listed the Office of Administration as one of six presidential entities subject to the open-records law, which is commonly known by its abbreviation, FOIA.

The White House website has been scrubbed -- and a new message indicates that the Office of Administration is now exempt from FOIA requests.

Jerry Bremer comes to the rescue of Pres. Bush's memory:
A previously undisclosed exchange of letters shows that President Bush was told in advance by his top Iraq envoy in May 2003 of a plan to “dissolve Saddam’s military and intelligence structures,” a plan that the envoy, L. Paul Bremer, said referred to dismantling the Iraqi Army.

Mr. Bremer provided the letters to The New York Times on Monday after reading that Mr. Bush was quoted in a new book as saying that American policy had been “to keep the army intact” but that it “didn’t happen.”

Pay no attention to those unmet benchmarks:
Today's Los Angeles Times points out that the objective of the surge -- reducing violence to provide "breathing room" for sectarian reconciliation -- has failed. Iraqi politics, as even Michael O'Hanlon concedes, is a shambles, with Sunnis boycotting an increasingly insular Maliki government and a "parliamentary coup" led by Ayad Allawi waiting in the wings. But in the middle of the LAT's piece, Crocker is quoted urging people to pay attention to the indicators that truly matter -- not the ones where the administration and the war effort fall short.
"There are . . . if you will, mini-benchmarks where things are happening," U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker said Aug. 21. Crocker cited Anbar province, west of Baghdad, where violence has dropped substantially since Sunni Arab leaders there began working with U.S. and Iraqi security forces.

"We've seen that phenomenon in different forms move through different parts of the country," Crocker said. "It's the steps these tribes, communities, individuals are taking. . . . You've got to keep an eye on that too."

I have come to recognize that phrase, "if you will," as a warning sign: Whenever you see it, prepare yourself for bullshit ahead.

Say what you will about Larry Craig -- the man has the loyalty and support of his children. Eh, Rudy?

And speaking of Larry Craig, take a look at this piece by Greg Sargent (someone whose writing I usually admire), and then read the comments section. Keep in mind, as you are reading about whether Craig flushed the toilet or didn't flush the toilet; whether the support Craig is getting from his children is legitimate given that they are not his "natural" children; and the troubling question of why Craig was using a bathroom anyone could use, instead of using the much more respectable high-class lounge for business travelers, that while these issues are being seriously discussed, thousands of Iraqis are threatened by deadly cholera attacks because they have no clean water to drink; 83 American families and four British families are grieving the deaths of their loved ones, all of whom were killed in Iraq during the month of August; 47 million Americans lack health insurance; and in Delaware County, Indiana, plant closings, increasing poverty, and lack of job opportunities are being mentioned as possible explanations for escalating suicide rates.

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