Daily Archives: October 13, 2003

A Piece of Good News from Iraq (Credit Where Credit Is Due Dept)

Despite many expectations to the contrary expressed from this side of the fence, the Bush Admin has NOT (–yet) planted WMD’s in Iraq for Kay to find, and it’s unlikely that they’ll do so at this point. They may have lied to get us into this imperial entanglement, but they haven’t been willing to go so far as to commit fraud. I find that, in an odd way, comforting. It might mean that even they have lines they will not cross.

Of course, to be honest I have to admit that I never really expected them to bogus up a find. Not because they’re above that sort of thing–they’ve proved over and over again that they’re not–but because I’ve been saying all along that they wholeheartedly believed what they’ve been saying all these months.

***They believed that the UN was a toothless debating society, that their inspectors were gullible patsies, and that Saddam was successfully jerking their chains in order to prevent their discovery of his WMD cache(s).

***They believed that Ahmad Chalabi was an Iraqi patriot who would never lie to them and that if he said the Iraqi people would strew flowers in the path of invading American troops, then that’s what they’d do. Probably daisies.

***They believed that the post-war period would last a few weeks at most, that the reconstruction would be paid for by Iraqi oil despite their own experts trying to tell them otherwise, and that once American troops overthrew Saddam there would be no significant backlash, no guerilla fighting, and very few American deaths.

They believed all this because they wanted to believe it. Because they believed it, they didn’t need to plant false evidence–they fully expected that real evidence would exist and be found and that they would be vindicated when everyone else in the world was proved to be wrong.

Unfortunately, the fact that they didn’t plant any evidence when no WMD turned up in the first few weeks tends to strengthen their contention that they weren’t lying: in their minds, they were telling the truth–a truth nobody else happened to know yet, that’s all. They were in full corporate-style happy-talk denial, optimism2. It was going to be OK because they believed it was going to be OK.

You gotta remember, these are people who have never had to struggle all that much. Things were given to them and they assumed they’d earned them; they got bailed out of any trouble they got into and they assumed that they deserved it. They’ve gotten pretty much everything they’ve ever wanted without working up enough of a sweat to put a small stain on one of their $1000 suits. When people told them that what they wanted to do couldn’t be done or shouldn’t be done or would have unintended consequences, they did it anyway, usually by turning a blind eye to the damage they were doing (after all, it didn’t affect them) and insulating themselves from the consequences of their acts–other people paid those prices. These are people whom denial has served well; why would they think that govt would be any different? Ignore the Cassandras and plough right on ahead.

Of course, now it’s different. Reality is smacking them upside the head and no matter how tight they close their eyes, this time nobody’s running to their rescue. Their denial is breaking down in the face of what is, and they’re not going to be able to keep it up forever. Desperation is setting in, and desperation is a hell of a motivator. They’re under seige from all sides, Junior–as predicted–doesn’t have a clue and isn’t running the ship, the crew is breaking into sections and engaging in some deadly tribal warfare, and their continued hold on power is looking very shaky indeed as the passengers begin to realize that the ship is wandering aimlessly in waters filled with icebergs and mines.

When people who think they are chosen by God, who believe thay are the only possible hope of mankind in the face of mortal dangers threatening the very existence of the human race, when such people begin to feel power slipping away from them, then all bets are off and you better save yourself a seat in one of the sturdier lifeboats.

Plant WMD’s? We should be so lucky if that’s all it is. Find another enemy to sell would be more like it. Harder this time, but not impossible. All they need is a little help. Another attack on the Homeland would do the trick. Of course, Osama may not be so obliging, and anyway, the timing has to be just right and you can’t trust terrorists for that. They got lucky the first time; the second time they’ll need to be careful and a little more hands-on.

I don’t think, despite some tantalizing indications, that the Bushies arranged 9/11. If they knew and didn’t do anything about it (which they did and didn’t), it was more likely because they were already in denial and couldn’t believe it would happen here. But if it happens again….

Well, suspicion better raise its ugly little head because it will have A LOT to look at.

Bremer of Iraqis: “Let ‘Em Eat Sand”

From Suzanne Goldenburg of The Guardian (via Tom Engelhardt):

A more substantial assault on Saddam’s legacy is under way in the Republican Palace, where the occupation authority is making preparations to dismantle the food distribution system which gave free rations of flour, rice, cooking oil and other staples to every Iraqi.Described by the UN as the world’s most efficient food network, the system still keeps Iraqis from going hungry. But the US civilian administrator of Iraq, Paul Bremer, views it as a dangerous socialist anachronism. The coalition provisional authority (CPA) is planning to abolish it in January, despite warnings from its own technical experts that this could lead to hunger and riots. (emphasis added)

This is clinical insanity. Bremer is nuts, gonzo, round-the-bend, off his chump. What in god’s name is he doing? Trying to provoke riots? Distributing food to a starving, jobless population is “a dangerous social anachronism?” Certifiable, absolutely.

The signs that Bremer is another neocon fruitcake whose belief system is unhindered by the thought process or any contact with reality on the ground have been building for some time now, though for the most part, you could put them down to good-soldier-loyally-following-his-orders-and-backing-his-commanders behavior if you were feeling generous. OK, so he cut Iraqi businesses out of the loop in their own country so the gigs could go to loyal Publican firms at 10X the price the same job could be done by the home-grown faction; that’s Admin policy to reward big contributors, and maybe he doesn’t have a choice. OK, so he ignored the need for a cel-phone contract for months even though the Iraqi communications people had one ready to sign that would have had the system up and running in a few weeks, and then when he did get around to it, he picked the wrong format, the wrong company, and will probably pay 5X what the Iraqi contract would have cost for cel-phones that the Iraqis won’t be able to use; hey, American troops and Iraqi diplomats were being shot down in the streets of Baghdad every day, and he had more important things to worry about.

But his statements since arriving here have been largely untouched by any reference to the real problems he’s (supposedly) been facing every day. In Bremer’s world, everything in Iraq is just dandy–“Better than we could have hoped.”

Uh-huh. Our hopes must have been mighty low-down, then, considering how badly everything has been going: increasing tension, increasing attacks, increasing disenchantment, decreasing electricity production, oil production, zero jobs, demonstrations in the streets by the jobless, a restive army let loose with nothing to sustain it but anger–the list is longer than I can print.

But does he mention any of this when he comes? Does he include it in his Congressional testimony or acknowledge it on tv?

Nope. Everything is “better than we could have hoped.”

And now he wants to stop the food from getting to the people because in the not-so-brightly-lit closet-thinking of the rabid right, food programs are nothing but welfare programs, and welfare programs, as we all know, are passe: “dangerous social anacronisms” that are probably commie conspiracies to boot.

I don’t have to tell you that this is an extremely dangerous decision practically guaranteed to provoke food riots, anti-American hatred, more attacks on our troops, and possibly famine in the Iraqi population.

If anybody in this Admin was still sane, Bremer would be removed tomorrow. But they aren’t and he won’t be. The best we can hope for is that somebody who has a few brain cells that still talk to each other will put the kibosh on this foolishness before Bremer has a chance to initiate it.

But I’m trying to think of somebody like that in BushCo at this point, and I’m coming up empty. It don’t look good.

Our Environment–For Sale To The Highest Bidder

One of the better Clinton Admin environmental decisions was the one that kept the amount of land that could be used for the dumping of mining waste to a minimum. Besides cutting down the amount of waste and therefore the damage it could do, strictly limiting the amount of dumping-land virtually put an end to strip mining, which needs voluminous areas for dumping grounds seeing that, as a mining technique, mostly what it produces is waste.

Well, BushCo has put an end to all that nonsense:

The Interior Department yesterday overturned a policy that had strictly limited the amount of public land that can be used for dumping mining waste, which federal reports say is the largest volume of toxic material unleashed annually in this country.The Clinton-era interpretation of the General Mining Law of 1872 had helped torpedo plans to open the first major open-pit mine in Washington state. That style of mining, which grew in recent decades as mining companies went after less-rich deposits, sometimes creates craters large enough to be seen from outer space and deep enough to hide the Space Needle.

“It’s pretty outrageous,” said John Leshy, a mining law expert who, as head lawyer in Clinton’s Interior Department, wrote the ruling that was overturned. “My (legal) opinion was out there for six years. Nobody took it to court. Why not? Because they were afraid they would lose.

“So they went to their friends in the administration and had them change it.”

Republican campaign ad due to appear soon, starting in Idaho:

“Hello. friends. Are you sick and tired of seeing the riches underground go to waste because tree-huggers and enviro-terrorists and *gasp* secular humanists have used the ‘liberal media’ (TradeMark Term–American Enterprise Institute) and ‘radical left-wing judges’ (TM Term–Conservative Law Foundation) to stop YOUR business from profiting handsomely through a simple environmental rape, no big deal, really?

“Then call 1-800-Georgie today. He’s ready to help. For a mere few dollars’ in tax-deductible donations, George and his friendly associates will arrange to have the rules and even the laws changed with a single swipe of his powerful pen. No Congressional purchase necessary–you go right to the TOP. We take the legal muss-and-fuss out of your scorched-earth policy.

“Prices start at a LOW LOW LOW $100K for a simple rule change. If that’s not enough, $500K will get you an Executive Order personally autographed by George himself, and for only a $1M donation to the Bush for National CEO Committee, we can guarantee that the EPA will NOT prosecute–or even notice–when your company breaks environmental laws that we haven’t gotten around to gutting yet.

“Yes, you heard right: For only $1MILLION$, we GUARANTEE that you will be immune from prosecution NO MATTER WHAT LAWS YOU BREAK! Try getting a deal like that from the Democrats!

“So call 1-800-Georgie today and start strip-mining tomorrow.

“We’re on YOUR side.”

Democrats responded to the potential ad by claiming that the implication that they don’t have a competetive price structure is a flat-out falsehood and typically outrageous Repuiblican demogoguery.

“We will too make a deal,” Tom Daschle whined. “We’re flexible.”

Informed of the Democratic statement, Interior Secretary Gale Norton laughed ’til her sides hurt.