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04 October 2006


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Rice was under oath when she testified to the 9/11 commission, correct?



If I recall Ms. Rice's only claim to fame was being an expert on the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union had ceased to exist by the time she came to power. Therefore she had no better credentials or experience for the field she was entering than someone who was an expert on medieval England. That she's turned out to be a complete failure at her job should not surprise anyone. After all, her boss, a one term governor of Texas, aspired to be Baseball Commissioner.

The fact that the whole crowd turned out to be liars, felons and war criminals is somewhat of a surprise.


Miss America is a lapdog. And the point that there is nothing conservative about the neocons is worth repeating. The neocons have taken the worst parts of both sides of American politics: spend now, pay later from the left; and fire now, aim later from the right.

Watched Why We Fight last night. Ike was an interesting man.



All Hail Madame Supertanker! (Kudos to billmon for that)

Ditto, ditto ditto...has there ever been a weaker or less grounded National Security Adviser or Secretary of State? I'd add dishonest and downright mean-spirited to that list, but there's always Henry Kissinger. I've ranted here and elsewhere about her lack of real peer-reviwed academic qualifications even in her supposed area of scholarship, despite her degrees. Is there anyone in this crew who would not run a convenience store into the ground?


one of your best posts. wouldn't want to use confusion by employ a word in two different ways.

But you can't go around ripping up SOCIAL FABRIC that has taken centuries to self-weave.

And Condi is Bush's enabler, pure and simple. That's her job- to facilitate his fantasies

I never use the word neocon. I prefer neoKon, because there is no conservatism in it, and the letter K puts the emphasis that their followers are Kool Aid drinkers.

Best Wishes


"I am a Conservative. We Conservatives do not believe in revolution. We believe in evolution in social matters and a decent and prudent respect for the cumulative experience and habits of all peoples."

I'm a reasonably liberal guy, a life-long Democrat. I can't tell you how much I miss the Conservatives in charge of the Republican party. Conservatives may interpret the objective facts a little differently than I do, but at least they take them into account. Your bastard cousins think facts can't be separated from a person's political beliefs. It's all just bias to them, like facts don't matter. It's terrifying to think they're in charge of fighting a war when they shouldn't be in charge of a bowl of jello.


Condi? Whenever I see her speaking on tv she's lying through her teeth, delivering the talking points of the day.

This morning I read a great bit on John Robb's 'Global Guerrillas' blog, about Propaganda Wars, that little Miss Sunshine should take to heart:

"... the US government/military reached ... the conclusion that moral conflicts are won through propaganda ... These organizations are implementing this conclusion in this conflict.
However, this decision to build a propaganda machine isn't showing signs of working. The reason is that a propaganda campaign within the current complex, global and media/information saturated environment is not only foolish, it is downright dangerous. Why? Here are the reasons:
*It generates dissent faster than it solidifies support ...
*Propaganda efforts destroy effective decision making ...
*Natural allies are quickly turned into enemies. Since propaganda is central to the US war effort, any criticism (from any quarter) is seen as something that aids and abets the enemy ..."

Nevermind the distraction of wether you believe in 4GW or not, Robb's spot on there, but read yourself:


W. Patrick Lang


They are not my cousins. They are yours. pl

J. Ethan Jacobs

I agree with WPL, but what should one expect from an administration that appoints/promotes based on loyalty rather than competence? This is always the result of any policy/adventure by an entity built on totalitarianism or a cult of personality.

Just think of the economies of Cuba, North Korea, or the former USSR. Or the Cuban military excursions in Congo and Bolivia -- Che was a great friend of Fidel, but a piss poor comandante.

And don't tell me that this administration doesn't appoint/promote based on loyalty rather than competence. The name Harriet Meyers should ring a bell.


Bob Salsa

From one conservative to another, you have to read this cover story in this month's American Conservative --

"The Bright Promise of Failure in Iraq"



Conservative? So was George C. Marshall - and he served one of the most liberal of presidents.


Well, heck. I miss the European conservatism of my father's father, but that isn't going to put it in charge of the US.

How this makes Rice my cousin puzzles me, but I appreciate your apparent feeling of betrayal. My grandfather would have felt betrayed, too.


IMO, Condi did not have any ideology or beliefs. She was George Shultz's protege and promoted to the Bush team as a "strong on defense" cold warrior. Let's not forget the first thing the Bush foreign policy team did was to abrogate the ABM treaty. They were fighting yesterdays wars. The only vision they had was they were going to show the world who was boss and were going to use the might of the US military whenever they wanted.

The problem began when Cheney as head of the transition team packed the court with his team. I am not sure what happened to Cheney from GW I to 2000. Or maybe during GWI he was restrained by heavy weights James Baker and Scowcroft and Bush 41 had a strong compass himself and would not be railroaded. But in any case it is quite clear that Cheney with his coterie were easily able to swamp the "appeasers" - Powell & Condi and any rational alternative thought. Since Condi realized which side of the bread was buttered, she readily became a willing accomplice to the neo-con game. Cheney set the example through the use of fabrications and deception and the others followed suit. The root of the lunacy in this Administration in my mind is Cheney. Condi is just an example of a feckless individual at the height of incompetence as best stated by the Peter principle.

Bush was sold greatness. A Mt. Rushmore carving. He went hook, line & sinker for the Cheney cabal's destructive visions. Now he believes it and embodies it.


Whatever the ancestry of the neocons (and a surprising number worldwide were radical lefties -- Trotskyites, Maoists and such in the '60s and '70s and in the vilification business even then) their hands were placed on the levers of the superpower by a plurality of politically and socially conservative voters (some of whom serve/d on the Supreme Court of the United States and many of whom may well have been under-informed as to what precisely was on the agenda, including the spectacular death of civil debate, an apocalyptic foreign "policy" and any trace of political inclusiveness).

Did anyone else see the far-from-convincing, deer-caught-in-headlights performance David Frum gave on the Newshour yesterday "supporting" Hastert (and things must be pretty bad if Frum was the best they could get)? The elves seem to be quaking and incoherent when faced with the arguments of outraged genuine conservatives.

Perhaps it is time to strike a blow for liberty and stop (or, at least, think a bit before) defining individuals primarily by their politics and then reacting to the label.

However, wasn't it the genial arch-cynic FDR who said "they may be sons-of-bitches but they're OUR sons-of-bitches" and Justice Holmes said "philosophy is what we use to justify what we want to do anyway"?


Rice has supported and enabled such foolishness. She continues to do this. There will be a day of reckoning, and she will be remembered.

Good to hear. This is why I've used the term "Condivellian." (Actually coined the term. If you Google it you will see exactly one hit. Hard to believe someone hasn't used it on the internet before.) Her steady diet of bland, repeated betrayals is so egregious it's inspirational, a new kind of diplomacy, and indeed worth remembering.


From my perspective, I'm a little suspect about someone who refers to the first rank Russian composers and pianists as "too sentimental" - she misses the soul of Russia completely. Isn't that supposed to be an era of expertise for her? Dr. Rice, like many of her colleagues insists on checkers when the game is chess.
Excellent, Col. Lang. We had a pretty darned good Special Envoy to the ME in the 2000 administration - retired Gen. Anthony Zinni. Unfortunately the truth was not and isn't in demand with that crowd. If only your expertise would have been heeded. In the meantime, we're taking our country back and of course, I thank you for this oasis, sir.
Kindest Regards,
Robert Murray


Genuine conservatives seem to have become rather quiescent during the past 5 years. Those voices are seldom heard amid the cacophony of contemporary political discourse in the 24 hr corporate media gabfest.

What we have seen is radicalism promoted as conservative values.

Is it conservative to ditch centuries of precedence and legal practice in throwing out habeas corpus and legalizing indefinite detention with no recourse? Is it conservative to rack up trillions of dollars of debt and unfunded liabilities to future generations? Is it conservative to spy on citizens with no warrant contravening current law? Is it conservative to invade and occupy a sovereign country that posed no imminent threat to us? I think not.

What I am curious about is what happened to all the conservatives in our country and specially in the Republican party? Why have they acquiesced and enabled this radicalism? Are we so adrift from our moorings that a small trans-national group of jihadists can cause the repeal of the very essence of our constitutional system and the well accepted ideals of our society?


I am conservative in the sense that 'I don't like to rock the boat' I'm in. The 'democratic revolution' in the Greater Middle East is something that has right from the beginning deeply disturbed me. I didn't believe it would work, and that destabilisation would be inevitable. Well, it took somewhat longer than I guessed.

Being conservative I also believe in sticking to your word, for instance staying true to treaties. I was taken aback most by the Bushies assault on international law - be it on the environment, missile defense, the very basic principles of non-agression and most recently, humanitarian principles like the prohibition of torture. The domestic assault on the constitution only underlines this impression, and suggests it is rather a question of principle than mere incoherent blundering. Unilateral and unitary all the way.

Where I get back to Robb: If your main effort at politics is defined by propaganda, you push yourself into the trap Robb has lined out: Since propaganda is central to the US (foreign) policy effort, any criticism is seen as something that aids and abets the enemy (Al Quaeda, still friendly nation, critical Republican or Democrat, it makes no difference).

You end up incapable of communicating effectively when polarisation becomes your primary goal.

It has internationally led to the isolation the US are now in. The international community has voted with their feet, and has decided that unconditional friendship with US is atm not worth the trouble, especially if 'being on the team' means submitting. They have interests, too.

"A good rule of thumb is that the best people don't work for you. However, it also follows that they aren't necessarily working against you either, and they could provide you substantial benefit to you if properly enticed (this is something that has become a central aspect of most organizations in our heavily cross connected world). Propaganda alienates this group since they aren't seen as being on the "team"." Doh.

For the Bushies that applies both domestically and internationally. They can't have dissent because it undermines the foundation of their domestic and international policy, propaganda. Their arrogance only adds to this problem.

On all this Condi was with the pack right from the start. It never dawned her that it's what you do and not what you say that counts (especially when you're consistently contradicting yourself, or are caught lying or delivering spin). That alone is reason enough to discredit her completely. As Talleyrand said: "It's worse than a crime, it's a blunder." Rice's loyalty offsets her substantial lack of competence. In fact, I believe that her utter mediocrity is what inspires Bush's trust in her.


Col: I was crushingly disappointed a couple of years ago when I was reluctantly forced to come to the conclusion that Colin Powell's story to the UN was a lemon. Now you tell me that Condi is a banana.

I still cannot bring myself to believe that this whole administration crowd, plus Blair, are just a bunch of fruitcakes. There have always been immensely sane and sensible people in and around US government, and hopefully they will surface one day to work on sorting out our problems in the MidEast.

Maybe the reference given above by Bob Salsa has some useful clues as to where to start. Or maybe we just announce a tactical withdrawal from Iraq and wait in Kuwait (plus maybe around Basra) with a small number of troops and equipment reserves until the Iraqi civil war has largely burnt itself out. This would retain an option to return north to mop up if it still looked like a good idea, and if problems with Iran or elsewhere had not overtaken events in Iraq.

In the meantime, there's plenty to finish off in Afghanistan if we had a sensible strategy there, but I'm not sure we do at present, and because of indecision the Brits seem to be taking a pounding in Helman province, but to what end.

Abu Sinan

The whole propaganda thing makes me laugh. Things like al-Hura TV?

One of the ways these people go wrong is to think that the reason the people in the Middle East, Islamic world, or even the wider world, do not like the US because they dont understand us.

So they spend hundreds of millions on things like al-Hura and paying Arab journalists to print pro-US pieces. They all fail.

The FACT is, that the world, and especially the Middle East understand us just fine. They dont need to be explained US policy, they know it better than the average American citizen.

The fact is that they HATE American foreign policy, so explaining it to them isnt going to do anything but waste money.

It makes sense. How does explaining American support for dictators like those in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, make people like you more? How does explaining US missile shipments to Israel during the recent Lebanese conflict make them like you?

It is the facts that they know, and hate. Change those facts and their might be a softening in opinion towards America, but explaining those facts wont change a thing.

larry whalen

After three decades the Khmer Rouge, particularly nasty band of Higher Lawyers, are getting their day in court. I'd like not to wait so long for our assclown Higher Lawyers: impeachment, trial for treason (oath sworn to the Constitution?), quite ordinary rendition to the Hague. They seem to be scrambling to try on various legal rubber suits against the shit storm they know is coming. Didn't think I'd ever pray for Democratic control of anything. Let the healing and subpoenas begin.

Byron Raum

Keeping in mind the old age, "never mistake for evil what can be attributed to incompetence", I would still like to present an argument for the other side. Everyone has been arguing on the side of incompetence. Here's one voice for evil.

As anyone who spends more than a minute thinking about the issue realizes, an American-democracy-style Iraq will be immensely hostile to the US and to our interests. I see no reason why any tolerably intelligent neocon (or neoKon) would not realize this, either. Keeping this in mind, the goal is not democratizing Iraq, but maintaining an immoveable presence. Far from having no sense of history, their intent is to wait out the insurgency. From this perspective, the population of Iraq is mostly a nuisance, and the intent is to infantalize it, vis-a-vis what Israel has managed to do with the Palestinians. As the treasures of Iraq get more precious, we will eventually start mining them, but it is still several decades before that starts becoming necessary.

For now, we build a bunch of fortresses, a bit of home away from home, and enjoy life, mostly ignoring the population outside. The army's role, then, is not to do anything with or to the population, but provide cover for this building.

Jon Stopa

"Dr. Rice, like many of her colleagues insists on checkers when the game is chess.

Robert Murray"

I vigorously disagree. Rice plays chess, when the game is checkers. Witness her inane statement, "We are seeing the birthpangs of a new Middle East." This is a vast vision of history, that is only half vast. She has studied too many great political manipulators of nations, and imagines herself to be one of them.

John Howley

The Bush Administration spouts ideology and propaganda that is misleading and contradictory. True, but not exactly news.

Mobilizing supporters for war (send me your first born) is often that way.

My question is what is the underlying strategy all of this nonsense is in aid of?

Unless I am mistaken, the Carter Doctrine remains in effect, to wit, leaders of both political parties are committed to using the U.S. military to ensure the free flow of oil from the Persian Gulf.

Bush (that is, Cheney) just got a little carried away. Went a little too far.

If we are lucky, the U.S. administration will learn to trim its sails a bit (perhaps with advice from the Baker Commission).

The Carter Doctrine remains in effect. The United States military will not be withdrawn from the region.

In her crude and ineffective way, this is the "Long War" Condi is trying keep the (increasingly weary) American people excited about.


As we are talking about partition in Iraq now let's look at a little history:


War weary Imperial power faced with the fearing a massive civil war facilitates ethnic division, then legs at quickly as possible. Maybe a million die. On the plus side modern India emerged out of it. On the negative side so did Pakistan, the land of the pure, with its embittered Muhajirs, insane genocide friendly military, Jihad fixated intelligence service and nuclear arsenal. Unbalanced, unstable: Pakistan is the best demonstration of the awful consequences that ethno-religious self determination can have in the world. A traumatic terrible mess that the British are decent enough to still feel ashamed of.

It may be inevitable but I doubt partition will be as successful in Iraq. Imperial India had geographic barriers that protected it from predatory powers. Nor was it a broken basket case buffer state with tempting energy reserves. Not insignificantly the colonial administrators that ran the Raj were far more able than the inexperienced inhabitants of the green zone and had far more affection for the place. The mission in Iraq has always been marred by an obsessive need to maintain the GOP's dominance of US domestic politics, I'm afraid they'll be focused on the 08 primaries while Iraq implodes around them.

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