December 18, 2003

nobody home.

sorry for not posting anything this week. work is kicking my ass as i get ready to end one job at the end of a contract on christmas eve and start up a new job on the 26th. regular blogging will most definitely return at the beginning of the new year, but until then, my days are pretty much full of 12 hour days with a day for christmas thrown in somewhere between.

until then, though, unless some of the other folks who have access here decide to post stuff, we're gonna be quiet for a bit.

Posted by kilgore at 01:51 AM | Comments (220) | TrackBack

December 12, 2003

up is down, citizen

the one bad thing about working an odd shift is that my bedtime is normally between 6-8am. i like this schedule, but sadly, i miss the sunday morning talkshows. i usually get around to reading transcripts later in the week, but i'm kinda glad i didn't see this , since i probably would have hurled something heavy at my tv.

BLITZER: Was U.S. intelligence going into the war faulty?

CARD: Well, intelligence -- I think, first of all, there was plenty of justification to go to war. He had stiffed the United Nations many, many times. He was a threat to his own people and a threat to the region. He was a threat to our interests. And we had called for -- as a country, we had called for regime change under the previous administration.

But when you go there today and you see some of the mass graves that are there, where he murdered his own people, you just can't help but think that we are much better off with Saddam there. So, I think that's a moot point.

The good news is, Saddam is no longer a threat to his own people, and the people in Iraq are finding more hope and opportunity. It'll come through governance of their own country, and we're finding that all around the country.

oh yeah. that whole wmd reason doesn't matter anymore. saddam bad, you liberals. don't you see!?! war was the only answer.

i must be blinded by my 'bush derangement syndrome.'

Posted by kilgore at 12:46 AM | Comments (928) | TrackBack

December 11, 2003

bob novak, media whore

i don't like bob novak. yes, sometimes he gets some hot information, but when he puts out columns like this, is it even worth it to check?

In his Dec. 1 interview on NPR's "The Diane Rehm Show," Dean was asked about allegations that President Bush is suppressing information that he was warned about the 9/11 terrorist attacks. "The most interesting theory that I have heard so far . . . ," Dean responded, "is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis." This received scant media attention (except for Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer), but Democratic politicians shuddered.

hey, look. novak is doing us a public service by pointing out that dean believes in crazy conspiracy theories. and thank god that charles k. exposed it in his column. the thing is that novak left off the first three words of his answer, and those ellipses remove a giant clarifier. now, i guess it's okay in the right to do that when you're trying to make the case for wmds in iraq with intelligence documents (hello, dick!), but c'mon, bob. you didn't save much space by leaving this out:

Diane Rehm: "Why do you think he [Bush] is suppressing that [Sept. 11] report?" Howard Dean: "I don't know. There are many theories about it. The most interesting theory that I've heard so far -- which is nothing more than a theory, it can't be proved -- is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis. Now who knows what the real situation is?"

(of course, that krauthammer column about dean suffering from 'bush derangement syndrome' is horrid as well, and it uses some selective quoting from a hardball interview with dean where they joke about breaking up fox news but krauthammer plays it seriously.)

bob then goes on to say that dean is given a chance on fox news sunday to retract his statement where he says that he doesn't believe that conspiracy theory. well duh, bob. he said it the first time.

and then novak goes on and on about how democrats are worried that dean might actually get the nomination (especially with the endorsement of al gore), and all democrat insiders naturally would rather have hillary clinton run. and lo and behold, novak opines that on sunday's meet the press hillary clinton hesitated many times when asked if she would not make a run in 2004:

After an impressive performance answering Tim Russert's policy questions, the former first lady would not flatly promise to turn down a presidential draft. "The nomination -- it's not going to be offered to me," she insisted. "But if it did happen?" asked Russert. "You know, I have, I am -- ," she stammered. "I think the door is opening a bit, Senator," Russert concluded. "Oh, no, it's not," Clinton shot back. Finally, when pressed to say she would "never" accept the 2004 nomination, she said, "I am not accepting the nomination."

naturally, all of hillary's answers to tim russert are different ways of saying, 'no, i am not going to run for president.' here's the transcript with tim russert, and novak's selected quotations are highlighted in bold:

MR. RUSSERT: If one of the leading candidates falters or the convention becomes deadlocked, would you, under any circumstances, accept the Democratic nomination in 2004?

SEN. CLINTON: You know, Tim, Iíve ruled it out. Iím going to continue to rule it out. You know, my view is that weíve got people who have been competing, they have put their ideas out in front of the American people, the process will finally, finally start next month in the primaries and the caucuses, and someoneís going to emerge from that and Iím going to work for whoever that nominee is.

MR. RUSSERT: So no matter what happens, absolutely, categorically, no?

SEN. CLINTON: You know, I am going to do everything I can to support this nominee, whoever that person might be.

MR. RUSSERT: But just say no. You would...

SEN. CLINTON: I have said no and no and Iím trying to think of different ways of saying no and no. And I hope that in í08, Iíll be supporting a Democratic president for re-election.

MR. RUSSERT: But you would never accept the nomination in 2004?

SEN. CLINTON: You know, I have said over and over againóand, you know, my view on all of this is that...

MR. RUSSERT: Youíve said over and over what?

SEN. CLINTON: That Iím not running, Iím not in this race.

MR. RUSSERT: But you wouldnít accept the nomination?

SEN. CLINTON: The nominationóitís not going to be offered to me, thatís one thing.

MR. RUSSERT: But if it is...

SEN. CLINTON: Oh, Tim, you know, Ióitís not going to happen. Itís not going to happen.

MR. RUSSERT: Well, but if it did happen?

SEN. CLINTON: You know, I haveóI am...

MR. RUSSERT: I think the door is opening a bit, Senator.

SEN. CLINTON: Oh, no, itís not. Now, donít you try to make something out of nothing.

MR. RUSSERT: Oh, no, no, no.

SEN. CLINTON: No, no. Iíve said, no. Iíve said no, no, no, no. And I...

MR. RUSSERT: OK, so the door is sealed.

SEN. CLINTON: The door is shut. The door is shut.

MR. RUSSERT: ďI will never accept the nomination in 2004Ē?

SEN. CLINTON: I am not accepting the nomination. I am going to work for whoever the nominee is.

yeah, that sounds to me like she's hedging her bets, bob. don't people check these things? anyway, novak did get one thing right: hillary did pretty well with tim russert.

and what's up with the whole plame thing? sure, the plame story gets no press after a few months, but i still have to hear about vince foster being murdered by the clintons. liberal media, my ass.

Posted by kilgore at 11:45 PM | Comments (251) | TrackBack

December 10, 2003

christmas is a time for forgiveness

i imagine that paul wolfowitz will be doing a bit of grovelling for forgiveness after this:

President Bush found himself in the awkward position on Wednesday of calling the leaders of France, Germany and Russia to ask them to forgive Iraq's debts, just a day after the Pentagon excluded those countries and others from $18 billion in American-financed Iraqi reconstruction projects. White House officials were fuming about the timing and the tone of the Pentagon's directive, even while conceding that they had approved the Pentagon policy of limiting contracts to 63 countries that have given the United States political or military aid in Iraq.

maybe when you try to screw your allies over, you should coordinate it so you do it after you get what you want from them. there's a fine art to the double-cross. especially when you are telling them that not only can they not make any money in iraq, but that they should give up any money owed to them as well.

maybe bush could have just given them the knife and let them stab themselves in the back.

naturally, the response was a bit unpleasant. canada doesn't seem likely to pledge more money for reconstruction, and russia immediately declined to let go of any debt. hell, the eu is checking to see if the us violated any wto commitments.

we are, truly, the great uniters.

Posted by kilgore at 10:35 PM | Comments (315) | TrackBack

it'll pay for itself

remember how, before the war, everybody was all, 'hey, iraq's oil will help pay for the war and rebuilding the country?' do you? well, then this probably isn't good news:

Iraq has imposed petrol rationing in an effort to cope with supply problems, according to the Agence France Presse (AFP) news agency.

and they're even talking about even importing oil to the country with the world's second-largest reserves. oops.

Posted by kilgore at 10:18 PM | Comments (122) | TrackBack

i'm not a name, i'm not even a number

wow. they must have numbers dealing with civilians in iraq. first, a census movement is derailed. now, those pesky civilian deaths are no longer to be counted:

Iraq's Health Ministry has ordered a halt to a count of civilians killed during the war and told its statistics department not to release figures compiled so far, the official who oversaw the count told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The order was relayed by the ministry's director of planning, Dr. Nazar Shabandar, but the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, which oversees the ministry, also wanted the counting to stop, said Dr. Nagham Mohsen, the head of the ministry's statistics department.

"We have stopped the collection of this information because our minister didn't agree with it,'' she said, adding: "The CPA doesn't want this to be done.''

of course, this shouldn't be surprising since we don't even have a record of the number of civilian deaths from the first iraq war. we don't count the number of civilians we kill, after all, but we do try to keep them low.

sure, when we uncover mass graves, we're quick to say how many bodies of people saddam killed. when we need a pr boost, we're quick to say that we killed 54 or 46 soldiers (oops, that might have been 8 civilians). but when we do it, well, we're doing god's work, so that's not really important.

once again, the way you win is just as important, and if we are killing a larger number of civilians than previously thought, then something needs to be done to prevent that from happening.

hey, look a veiled threat! yay!

Many hospitals responded with statistics, Mohsen said, but last month Shabinder summoned her and told her that the [health] minister, Dr. Khodeir Abbas, wanted the count halted. He also told her not to release the partial information she had already collected, she said.

``He told me, `You should move far away from this subject,''' Mohsen said. ``I don't know why.''

i don't know why, either.

Posted by kilgore at 10:09 PM | Comments (151) | TrackBack

December 09, 2003

joe made a funny

excuse my while i go crack some ribs from laughing:

"I was surprised about the decision. I was surprised that Al Gore didn't notify me before I learned about it from the media -- that would have been the right thing to do. I was surprised that Al Gore would endorse a candidate who stands for so many things that Al Gore has not stood for."

Lieberman also said political endorsements "don't pick presidents," and he vowed to fight to give the nation "the fresh start it needs, so help me God."

He added that it's "less likely now" that Gore could play a key role in any future Lieberman administration.

'future lieberman administration.' that's prime. i'm sure gore feels really threatened and uncertain about his decision now. rowr.

Posted by kilgore at 09:38 PM | Comments (133) | TrackBack

christmas is a time for sharing

...except if you opposed the war, that is. no rebuilding contracts for you:

Companies from countries opposed to the conflict in Iraq will be barred from bidding for new rebuilding contracts worth $18.6bn, the Pentagon has said.

US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said the policy was necessary to protect America's "essential security interests".

obviously, if france and germany got rebuilding contracts, then we'd basically be putting saddam lovers back into prime positions. if you were opposed to the war, remember, then you were in favor of saddam's secret police raping women with broken bottles.

as for 'essential security interests,' i think that must be some sly reference to large corporations who have donated generously to bush's coffers.

Mr Wolfowitz said he hoped that excluded firms would pressure their governments to join the post-war effort.

"Limiting competition for prime contracts will encourage the expansion of international co-operation in Iraq and future efforts," he wrote in a notice on the website

these guys really have no clue about what it means to actually have a coalition, do they? you don't get people on your side by constantly bullying them. we need their help in iraq, but it appears that they're doing everything they can to prevent that from happening.

Posted by kilgore at 09:23 PM | Comments (325) | TrackBack

December 08, 2003

republican conservation

yeah, so bush wants to save our forests by building logging roads and cutting down prime trees in his 'healthy forests' initiative. but when it comes to voting records, well, all of a sudden trees become sacred, and now florida isn't going to require a paper trail for their touch screen voting machines:

As manufacturers develop ballot printers to accompany touch screens, Florida will be "very open-minded" in reviewing any printers submitted to the state for certification, Secretary of State Glenda Hood said this week. If printers are certified, Hood said, counties would have the option of using them.

But Hood said making a paper trail a statewide requirement is not necessary because Florida has multiple safeguards to assure the accuracy and security of touch screens, which are used in Palm Beach County and 14 other counties.

look, if i can get a damn receipt everytime i fill up my car with gas or go to the atm, then i think it wouldn't be too hard to imagine that this might be a good idea. if i can doublecheck my credit card receipt, then maybe i'd like to be able to later say, 'no, look, the computer screwed up, and i've got proof.'

is that too much to ask? and are we really going to have to go through another 'jews for buchanan' phase before people realize that a paper trail is not a bad thing? is $500 bucks extra a machine too much to insure that not only is everyone's vote being counted, but that everyone actually knows that it's being counted?

but why should i expect any different? after all, the majority of cosponsors of the voter confidence and increased accessibility act of 2003 (hr 2239) were democrats.

this shouldn't be a partisan issue.

Posted by kilgore at 09:32 PM | Comments (321) | TrackBack

dean gets gored. joe pouts.

hrm, looks like the man who invented the internet is going to endorse the man who used the internet to propel himself to frontrunner status:

Former Vice President Al Gore will endorse Howard Dean for the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday, Democratic sources said Monday, a move that could cement Dean's position in the fight for the party's nod.

GORE, WHO LOST to President Bush in the disputed 2000 election, will endorse Dean, the former governor of Vermont, in New York City on Tuesday and then travel with him to Iowa, the site of the Jan. 19 caucuses that kick off the nominating process.

well, that's big news. everybody knew clinton wouldn't endorse anybody until after the nomination was all but sealed up. but gore, the slain democratic martyr in 2000, has been acting very edgy in the past couple of years, so it's not at all surprising that he endorsed somebody other than his former running mate. what is surprising is how early the endorsement came.

we're still a little over a month away from the first primary, after all.

there's been a lot of talk about how this is either gore's powerplay move within the dnc to rebuke clinton (ala clark is the clinton's darkhorse candidate) or a setup move for a run in 2008 (he supports the crazy frontrunner who will lose to the bush juggernaut, which garners him ideological support in the base but doesn't hurt him politically since he's not giving into an established political figure such as kerry, which would cause people to say he's a two-time loser when kerry loses).

i don't really buy either of these theories. if gore wanted to be president, he would be running right now. he won the popular vote, remember? and from all of his appearances since 2000, his tone has gone from one of 'let's all get along and the logic of my policy is sound, so it will prevail in the end' to a very righteous anger. it's very apparent that he's learned from the way that he faltered during the 2000 campaign, and i'm pretty sure he could pull it off this time.

my thinking: he doesn't really want to be president now. and frankly, after going through the horrid media machine that distorted nearly everything he said and played nice with bush, i wouldn't blame him.

i also think al gore understands how imperative it is to get bush out of the white house now.

but why not lieberman? well, lieberman can't win, for one, and nobody likes a loser. and lieberman isn't exactly all that thrilled with this, either, even though he's being very polite:

Lieberman issued a statement saying, "I have a lot of respect for Al Gore - that is why I kept my promise not to run if he did. Ultimately, the voters will make the determination and I will continue to make my case about taking our party and nation forward."

'b-b-but i did it for you, al. i waited.' etc, etc. we're counting the days until joe drops out.

what does this mean for dean? well, this is pretty much the biggest single endorsement you can get besides that of the two clintons. many of gore's supporters, still feeling jilted from 2000, are now a bit more likely to jump on the dean bandwagon. and with al gore making this announcement this early, he's going to have a bit of behind the scenes push if dean gets the nomination (and the cw is starting to turn around to not if but when). i don't think this is a gore/clinton inside baseball fight, but i do think it's gore's way of trying to push the dlc back a bit and let the left have a shot this time.

the appeasement bandwagon didn't work out too well in 2002, after all. and with gore endorsing this soon, he's sending a message that the democrats need to play a hard and uncompromising game, and the only one that's been doing that since the beginning is howard dean.

Posted by kilgore at 09:01 PM | Comments (247) | TrackBack

December 05, 2003

everywhere i go, he goes.

ah, reagan. the man, the myth, the godhead of the republican party. he could do no wrong. how do you immortalize his legacy? by replacing franklin delano roosevelt on the dime with his immaculate image:

Congressional Republicans are pushing a bill to honor former President Reagan by putting his profile on the dime.

But Democrats intent on keeping the existing image of former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt oppose the idea.

he's not even dead yet. and why is there a bill running around in the halls of congress? apparently it's in response to that reagan miniseries that finally aired on showtime. obviously, a tv movie you don't agree with requires a change in the currency.

but why the dime? it's so tiny. one republican senator from indiana offered his thoughts about why the ten cents piece was the perfect place to showcase ronnie's face:

And Souder said, "It is particularly fitting to honor the freedom president on this particular piece of coinage" because he was "wounded under the left arm by a bullet that had ricocheted and flattened to the size of a dime."

in washington, there's a technical term for a statement like this. it's called 'pulling a reason out of your ass.' it would seem more apt to put his face on bullets so that the evildoers can be cleansed with the steel visage of st. ronald from the inside.

i find all of this reagan worship very creepy. and it's not just the dime they're going after. there's the ronald reagan legacy project, a mission of americans for tax reform, that wants to put reagan everywhere. and that's not hyperbole, either.

The mission of the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project is to honor the legacy of our 40th president, Ronald Reagan. The Reagan Legacy Project aims to fulfill its mission by naming significant public landmarks after President Reagan in the 50 states and over 3,000 counties of the United States, as well as in formerly communist countries across the world.

they, naturally, are all for this dime idea.

and who runs americans for tax reform? why, our good friend grover norquist. you know, the guy who once said, 'my goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.' he's also the guy who compared the estate tax to the holocaust in an interview with terry gross on npr's fresh air:

I think it speaks very much to the health of the nation that 70-plus percent of Americans want to abolish the death tax, because they see it as fundamentally unjust. The argument that some who played at the politics of hate and envy and class division will say, 'Yes, well, that's only 2 percent,' or as people get richer 5 percent in the near future of Americans likely to have to pay that tax.

I mean, that's the morality of the Holocaust. 'Well, it's only a small percentage,' you know. 'I mean, it's not you, it's somebody else.'

yes, grover, because a progressive tax scheme = killing jews. i guess godwin's law never made it to the radio.

it's no accident that they want to take fdr's image of the dime. forget that wwii business. it's the evil of the new deal. yeah, it got us out of the depression, but it also began the evil welfare state. and the only way to kill the welfare state is to cut taxes and drive up the deficit so that programs actually have to be cut because we can't afford them anymore. and what gets cut? certainly not pork to big business. just all of those nasty, social services that churches should be providing.

reagan's already got an airport in dc, a turnpike in florida, a naval aircraft carrier, and they're trying for tons more. do we really want to have him jingling in our pants?

Posted by kilgore at 11:26 PM | Comments (155) | TrackBack

December 04, 2003

can't have a census without first redistricting. duh.

it seems viceroy bremer still hasn't nailed down that contract with diebold to make sure that the elections go his way:

Iraqi census officials devised a detailed plan to count the country's entire population next summer and prepare a voter roll that would open the way to national elections in September. But American officials say they rejected the idea, and the Iraqi Governing Council members say they never saw the plan to consider it.

The practicality of national elections is now the subject of intense debate among Iraqi and American officials, who are trying to move forward on a plan to give Iraqis sovereignty next summer. As the American occupation officials rejected the plan to compile a voter roll rapidly, they also argued to the Governing Council that the lack of a voter roll meant national elections were impractical.

The American plan for Iraqi sovereignty proposes instead a series of caucus-style, indirect elections.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most influential Shiite cleric, is calling for national elections next June, not the indirect balloting specified in the American plan for turning over control of the country. But American officials, and some Iraqis say the nation is not ready for national elections, in part because the logistics are too daunting.

so, let me get this straight. you can't have elections because you don't have a voter roll, but you don't have a voter roll because the us said that you couldn't do it? way to go, occupying power! flexing those tentacles, i see.

it's all about the timetable. you can hold caucuses in june, but this voter roll wouldn't be ready until next september. that's cutting right into the republican national convention. gotta have something to campaign on with regards to iraq, because by next year, all of this 'b-b-but the schools' bluster is going to be played out completely. and you'd think they'd want to have a census anyway. that might be, oh, useful.

but if there's one thing i ask of this administration, it's this: please don't go pissing off the shia. please. because if you do, it's going to be really, really bad.

Posted by kilgore at 10:30 PM | Comments (217) | TrackBack

nicer legs than hitler and bigger tits than cher

sooner or later, the secrets start to come out. no matter how much you believe in your realpolitik games, the ends do not justify the means. it still matters how you play the game, and a dirty win isn't much of a victory at all:

At the height of the Argentine military junta's bloody ''dirty war'' against leftists in the 1970s, then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told the Argentine foreign minister that ''we would like you to succeed,'' a newly declassified U.S. document reveals.

The transcript of the meeting between Kissinger and Navy Adm. Cťsar Augusto Guzzetti in New York on Oct. 7, 1976, is the first documentary evidence that the Gerald Ford administration approved of the junta's harsh tactics, which led to the deaths or ''disappearance'' of some 30,000 people from 1975 to 1983.

The document is also certain to further complicate Kissinger's legacy, which has been questioned in recent years as new evidence has emerged on his connection to human-rights violations around the world -- including in Chile, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

hopefully some of those complications will involve a trial. but i guess back in the seventies, with bellbottoms, led zeppelin, disco, and domino theories still in effect, it's okay to allow people to 'disappear' when you're fighting the red menace.

''Look, our basic attitude is that we would like you to succeed,'' Kissinger reassured Guzzetti in the seven-page transcript, marked SECRET. ``I have an old-fashioned view that friends ought to be supported. What is not understood in the United States is that you have a civil war. We read about human rights problems but not the context. The quicker you succeed, the better.''

so it's only a human rights problem based on the context. oh, okay. gotcha, henry. i really can't top that.

and this is the guy bush wanted to run the 9/11 investigation? christ.

Posted by kilgore at 09:28 PM | Comments (167) | TrackBack

December 03, 2003

reforming medicare for yourself

oh, how shocking:

Thomas Scully, the Bush administration official deeply involved in writing the Medicare bill, said Wednesday that he would resign once President George W. Bush signed the bill into law.

Scully said he probably would take a job at one of five law or investment firms that want him to advise clients affected by the sweeping legislation.

White House officials said Bush would sign the bill on Monday. Scully said he would step down on Dec. 15 as administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

man, if i didn't have any scruples, i'd be a fat cat bastard by now. can you actually do this without wondering if there's a conflict of interest here? let's see, i help craft a bill reforming the agency i run, wait until the president signs it, and then immediately quit to do consulting. yeah, i'd say that's a big horking problem there.

perhaps scully should learn the virtue of patience and wait at least a couple of months. be discrete, dude.

oh, but there's no ethical violation because he received a waiver:

In an interview on Tuesday, Scully said that his discussions with potential employers conformed with federal ethics regulations and that he had seen no reason to recuse himself from work on the legislation.

He said he had consulted with the top ethics officer for the Department of Health and Human Services and that he had received a waiver allowing him to continue work on the bill. The department confirmed the waiver.

see? he's got a piece of paper. and as for scully, well, he was going to leave last may, but bush asked him to help out with the medicare bill, and his job negotiations then weren't very serious. so he was just doing bush a favor. and now he's going to go work for a law firm or investment company that can now rake in the cash consulting for pharmaceutical companies who don't have to worry about lowering their prices for bulk purchases by the government because that's not even an option in the bill. yay.

Posted by kilgore at 09:49 PM | Comments (152) | TrackBack

we found wmds!

unfortunately, it wasn't in iraq. it was in tyler, texas:

Federal authorities this year mounted one of the most extensive investigations of domestic terrorism since the Oklahoma City bombing, CBS 11 has learned.

Three people linked to white supremacist and anti-government groups are in custody. At least one weapon of mass destruction - a sodium cyanide bomb capable of delivering a deadly gas cloud - has been seized in the Tyler area.

Investigators have seized at least 100 other bombs, bomb components, machine guns, 500,000 rounds of ammunition and chemical agents. But the government also found some chilling personal documents indicating that unknown co-conspirators may still be free to carry out what appeared to be an advanced plot. And, authorities familiar with the case say more potentially deadly cyanide bombs may be in circulation.

this story is from the 26th, and these folks were arrested back in may. i'm in austin, and i certainly don't remember hearing anything about this. i'm guessing it's because they weren't evil brown men, and besides, john doe #2 from the oklahoma city bombing was probably al-qaeda, so it's always them, anyway. right? blah. but at least we got them all.

All three have steadfastly maintained their silence, even though talking could reduce their prison sentences, and the investigation has stalled for now. Evidence seized and the fact that none of the defendants will talk has given rise to speculation that unknown conspirators may be still be involved in a broader plot to use Krarís home-built chemical weapons, government officials say.

ďOne would certainly have to question why an individual would feel compelled to stockpile sodium cyanide, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, acetic acid, unless they had some bad intent,Ē said Assistant U.S. Attorney Wes Rivers, who is prosecuting the case. ďThey certainly had the capacity to be extremely dangerous.Ē

thank you, captain obvious. doesn't that make you feel good? but at least the department of homeland security is on top of matters, right?

Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, counter-terrorism agencies have been consumed by national efforts to ferret out U.S.-based foreign terrorist cells whose members hail from the Middle East. Federal investigators were not looking for white supremacist groups when they stumbled across Krar by accident.

now, maybe i just happened to miss this story, but you would think this would be big, big news. it was a thwarted terror attack, after all. but i guess that militias and white supremicists are so last century. we're fighting a new enemy now. let's just forget about the old enemy, because they never did anything spectacular like 9/11. okc was peanuts compared to that. the atlanta olympics bombing, pshaw. killing abortion doctors and blowing up clinics, big deal.

i guess when bush came into office, everybody thought that they would just go away since the evil pagan demon spectre of clinton had been vanquished from the white house, and we were once again safe from the new world order. sooner or later one of these groups is going to pull another okc, and for all of the government's talk about pre-emptive defense, maybe it's time to start looking in our own backyard. especially since it seems they've got more wmds than iraq.

when a diner waitress in florida overheard three muslim men talking earlier this year, the whole pullover was broadcast on national tv for hours while we all waited with baited breath to learn if we had found some terrorists. i guess that's a good thing, though. can't have people going to the malls worried that they might have to deal with a poison gas cloud.

Posted by kilgore at 08:59 PM | Comments (103) | TrackBack

December 02, 2003

rights are so old school

it looks like the dod is finally allowing yaser esam hamdi to see a lawyer. you remember him, don't you? he's been held in south carolina since 2001 as an 'enemy combatant' after capture in afghanistan without access to anyone even though he's a us citizen. i guess they thought they might lose a court case or something if it went that way, and they definitely wouldn't want to set that as a legal precedent.

DoD is allowing Hamdi access to counsel as a matter of discretion and military policy; such access is not required by domestic or international law and should not be treated as a precedent.

DoD decided to allow Hamdi access to counsel because Hamdi is a U.S. citizen detained by DoD in the United States, because DoD has completed its intelligence collection with Hamdi, and because DoD has determined that the access will not compromise the national security of the United States.

so their argument is basically, 'we're being nice this time. don't count on it again.' they never brought any charges against him, but after a lengthy detention and interrogation period, now he can see a lawyer, especially since that lawyer was gonna take it to the supreme court.

DoD policy is that it will permit access to counsel by an enemy combatant who is a U. S. citizen and who is detained by DoD in the United States after DoD has determined that such access will not compromise the national security of the U. S.; and after DoD has completed intelligence collection from that enemy combatant or after DoD has determined that such access will not interfere with intelligence collection from that enemy combatant.

well, that's a giant list of caveats. i especially like the fact that they've got to be held on us soil. hamdi was brought out of gitmo once it was determined that he was a us citizen. i imagine that if they don't want to let you see a lawyer, they won't let you out of gitmo period, us citizen or not.

once again, three cheers for high moral standards, where we treat everybody else differently! legal limbos, huzzah!

Posted by kilgore at 10:51 PM | Comments (170) | TrackBack

stuffing the turkey

yes, we all know now that the president loves the troops since he snuck into baghdad to eat with the soldiers for a couple of hours. of course, luckily for the troops that the press was allowed to come:

On his way home, Bush tells reporters that he would not have made the trip if the press had not been able to accompany him, but he says he had been ready to cancel the journey if the story leaked and security was threatened.

geez, george, you're not supposed to tell everybody that's it was a pr stunt. duh.

Posted by kilgore at 08:50 PM | Comments (275) | TrackBack

December 01, 2003

ai goes off on military

sorry, that's the best haley joel osment link i could make.

anyway, looks like amnesty international isn't too pleased with the military. remember those two afghan prisoners who mysteriously died while in custody, and it looked like foul play was involved but the military always said that wasn't the case? yeah, well, now they aren't commenting at all:

A leading human rights group criticized the United States military on Monday for not disclosing the status of an investigation into the deaths of two prisoners at an American base in Afghanistan last year. Initial inquiries by military investigators deemed the deaths homicides that involved "blunt force injuries," according to the group.

yup, sounds like they were being treated fairly to me.

"When apparent homicides occur in secret prisons, and promised investigations saw no results," Dr. Schulz said, "the country's cherished values of humane treatment and respect for the law are dishonored." He accused the military of showing "a chilling disregard for the value of human life."

but we're fighting a war on terrorism. these things will happen. just look at iraq, with cases of soldiers pointing guns at detainees, firing bullets into the ground near them, beating up prisoners in 'self defense.' this is islamofacism we're dealing with! it's a war of civilization vs. the barbarians! the only way to win is deal with them through force, natch.

crap like this gives the military a bad name, and when they try to keep it inhouse like this, it just makes everybody look bad. we're supposed to be the good guys, etc. i know we're all into that whole game of 'diminished expectations make the results we do get that much better,' but in this area, if we don't set the bar high, it's gonna cause a lot of problems way down the road.

give the impression that you'll act just like the former despots you depose, and you can kiss your happy occupied people's smiles goodbye. not to mention what the enemy might start doing to our soldiers in a tit for tat situation, but i think we've already stomped on the geneva convention quite a bit.

Posted by kilgore at 11:35 PM | Comments (102) | TrackBack

i see dead people. or not.

so first we had bush's little thanksgiving jaunt to the fertile crescent on thursday, because you just can't let hillary clinton go over there and upstage you. at dinner on thursday, my family all thought she did it because they're all convinced she's going to run in 2004. argh. nevermind the fact that she's a member of the senate armed services committee. oh, no, she's gonna try to be president in 2004 because no one would rake her over burning hot coals for breaking a promise to complete her first term.

bush loves pr stunts like this, and make no mistake -- this was a pr stunt. hanging around for 2 hours dishing out turkey is nothing like spending 10 hours on the ground actually seeing the situation for yourself like hillary did. she even went to the forgotten land, afghanistan. must be why laura now wants to go there.

but hey, after the president comes to town, you've got to show that his trip had a good effect, right? after all, november has been the bloodiest month since 'major combat operations' stopped, so why not end the month with a giant battle where you hand it to the enemy? sounds like a plan to me.

American military officials said today that a pair of ambushes of American forces in central Iraq on Sunday reflected a level of planning, scale and coordination not seen among guerrilla forces since the regime of Saddam Hussein was ousted last spring.

"Are we looking at this one closely? Yes." Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said today. "Is this something larger than we have seen over the past couple of months? Yes. Are we concerned about it? Yeah, we will look at it and we will take the appropriate measures."

American forces killed 54 people in the intense firefight in the town of Samarra after soldiers delivering Iraqi currency to two banks were bombarded with small-arms and antitank-grenade fire, General Kimmitt, a senior military spokesman, said. He added that 22 attackers had been wounded and that one had been detained. On Sunday, the military put the number of Iraqis killed at 46.

well, i dunno if they're really happy about all of that enemy planning and coordination stuff, but at least we kicked their ass. bush shows his face in a mess hall, and, bam, dead enemy soldiers. and not just any soldiers but fedayeen.

Afterward, large shell casings, rocket-propelled grenades and Kalashnikov rifles were strewn across the field of battle. So were dozens of bodies, apparently all Iraqi, many clad in the ninja-like black uniforms of fedayeen paramilitary fighters loyal to the overthrown Hussein government, according to Sergeant Cargie. Five American soldiers and one civilian traveling with one of the convoys were wounded.

yes, that's right. ninjas. we're fighting ninjas in iraq. it's almost like laser mission, where brandon lee is fighting some goofy banana republic troops in latin america and then, out of nowhere, he has to fight a ninja. (no, it wasn't a plot point -- it was more of a 'hey, it'd be cool to fight a ninja here' type of thing.) masks do not equal ninjas, folks.

that's great, though. we nailed the enemy. or did we? because there's this from agence france-presse:

THE US military has said it believes 54 insurgents were killed in intense exchanges in the northern Iraqi town of Samarra on Sunday but commanders admitted they had no bodies.

The only corpses at the city's hospital were those of ordinary civilians, including two elderly Iranian pilgrims and a child.

US Brigadier General Mark Kimmit told a Baghdad press conference 54 militants were killed, 22 wounded and one arrested.

Challenged about what had happened to the bodies, Gen Kimmitt said: "I would suspect that the enemy would have carried them away and brought them back to where their initial base was."

Asked about reports from senior police and hospital officials in the town of eight civilians killed and dozens more wounded, the US general insisted: "We have no such reports whether from medical authorities or police.

A few hours earlier, Colonel Fredrick Rudesheim, who heads the 3rd Combat Brigades that was involved in Sunday's bloody clashes, told reporters his troops had killed 46 and captured another 11.

"Are you asking me to produce (them)?" he asked, when asked by reporters about the absence of any militants' bodies at Samarra's single hospital or on the city's streets.

okay. so that's a bit odd. 54 (or 46) people dead, but no bodies. but the general says that they were just carried away by the enemy. our troops aren't going to stick around to tote dead bodies around in the middle of a firefight, because that would be stupid. but no bodies at all? not anywhere? if the 46 number is correct (with 11 captured soldiers), the article points out that there would have been 3 people to carry all of those bodies.

the only bodies at the hospital were civilians, and nobody else is saying that they saw folks in fedayeen uniforms. so my question is this: what the hell happened here?

Posted by kilgore at 08:58 PM | Comments (208) | TrackBack