Friday, March 14, 2008

Bush Wanted War With Iraq

This article is from 2006 and I've been meaning to write about it for awhile now. I don't think enough people really know about some of this stuff.

Our wonderful President was determined to go to war with Iraq, no matter what the inspectors found.

But behind closed doors, the president was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair's top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times.

Neither Bush nor Tony Blair believed that building a post-Saddam would be very difficult.

The memo indicates the two leaders envisioned a quick victory and a transition to a new Iraqi government that would be complicated, but manageable. Mr. Bush predicted that it was "unlikely there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups." Mr. Blair agreed with that assessment.

Bush even talked about ways to provoke Saddam into a conflict in order to start a war.

The memo also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq. Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Mr. Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire, or assassinating Mr. Hussein.

Emphasis mine. I find it appalling that our President was exploring options that included provoking another nation into starting a war. This is completely unacceptable. It is painfully obvious that Bush was going to get his war with Iraq no matter what. He did not care about WMDs. He did not care about terrorism. Bush cared about getting his war.

So, let's see. Our President is a war junkie. He openly condones torture. He wants broad, unchecked executive power including the ability to declare anyone at anytime an "enemy combatant" thereby depriving them of all rights. He wants a domestic surveillance program that includes warrentless wiretapping.

How can he still have supporters after all of this crap?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Finding Terrorists...Playing Video Games?

The intelligence community is developing software to find terrorists that may be playing World of Warcraft or other MMOs. I almost want to laugh and say this sounds like an excuse for spies to play video games themselves, but then I think, "Wait a second. I'm paying for this." This seems a ridiculous way to find terrorists.

Maybe this is why so many people were so wrong about WMDs in Iraq. They were too busy playing Super Mario Bros. "Bowser seems like the kind of person who would help Saddam out. That fire he breathes has to be a chemical weapon. I better thoroughly explore all these worlds to see if there are any hidden stockpiles of WMDs. Maybe down this pipe here...hey, out of the way Goomba. Damn it, died again. Good thing I scored that 1-up."

Courtesy of Matt Yglesias.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Obama on Abortion

Jeromy over at Seeking Goliath has been critical of Obama for supporting abortion as has Rod Dreher. This is, of course, a completely understandable position. I find abortion abhorrent and wish it did not happen at all. How can I support Obama then? Well, I'm not a single-issue voter (not that Jeromy or Rod are) and Obama does not come off as fanatically devoted to the pro-choice position as so many do. Check out a post from Andrew Sullivan today highlighting a speech Obama gave on the issue some time back. Here's the end:

It is people like him who are looking for a deeper, fuller conversation about religion in this country. They may not change their positions, but they are willing to listen and learn from those who are willing to speak in fair-minded words. Those who know of the central and awesome place that God holds in the lives of so many, and who refuse to treat faith as simply another political issue with which to score points.

So I wrote back to the doctor, and I thanked him for his advice. The next day, I circulated the email to my staff and changed the language on my website to state in clear but simple terms my pro-choice position. And that night, before I went to bed, I said a prayer of my own - a prayer that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that the doctor had extended to me.

And that night, before I went to bed I said a prayer of my own. It's a prayer I think I share with a lot of Americans. A hope that we can live with one another in a way that reconciles the beliefs of each with the good of all. It's a prayer worth praying, and a conversation worth having in this country in the months and years to come. Thank you.

Obama comes across as a thoughtful, measured man. I can imagine him having a real debate with someone, not one of ad hominem attacks or straw man arguments, but a respectful dialogue. Can you imagine Clinton doing this? McCain? I can't. Obama certainly has principles, but they do not seem to be held onto blindly. He thinks about issues. Especially after the last seven years, this seems like one of the best traits our President could have.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What Causes PTSD?

A new study suggests that it is more likely having to kill other humans than just being in danger.

During World War II, Brigadier General S. L. A. Marshall interviewed troops that had seen action and collected data on firing rates. His results... were a shock to the American military establishment. Marshall found that among soldiers who were in combat situations, only 15-20% fired their weapons. The majority of soldiers, when it came right down to it, refused to kill; even to defend their own lives.

The non-firing majority were not cowards. They did not throw down their weapons and flee; they just refused to pull the trigger. Grossman offers data suggesting much of the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) seen in veterans derives not so much from having been in danger, but from having had to kill.

Fascinating, not to mention one more reason that the decision to take military action should not be done lightly.

The Non-Existant Link Between Saddam and al-Qaeda

A Pentagon study of "more than 600,000 documents" shows that there was no link between Saddam and al-Qaeda.

An exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist network.

Of course this is not the first study showing this.

A September 2006 report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that Saddam was "distrustful of al Qaida and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, refusing all requests from al Qaida to provide material or operational support."

The Senate report, citing an FBI debriefing of a senior Iraqi spy, Faruq Hijazi, said that Saddam turned down a request for assistance by bin Laden which he made at a 1995 meeting in Sudan with an Iraqi operative.

Andrew Sullivan makes a good point.

The current main goal of the war in Iraq is to defeat an enemy we didn't have in Iraq before we got there. It is a war that has generated its own rationale. How many more will it generate?

Why aren't more Americans up in arms about this?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Bill Maher Lambasts Conservatives

Check out this hilarious segment from his show a week ago.

So very funny, but oh, so sadly true in too many ways.

Weekly Music Video

Does 80s pop get much better than The Cars and "Shake it Up"?

Weekly Secret