Saturday, May 01, 2004
That was the headline from the British tabloid The Mirror . These are some photos of British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners:
If you think the above is Vile, you should read the accompanying article .
And to conservative readers out there: don't fret. Tomorrow, your friends at Free Republic and Little Green Football and Lucianne.com will tell you that these are all just isolated incidents. Rest your beautiful little minds.
posted by Green Voicemail 5/01/2004 11:23:00 PM
Not a Dime's Worth of Difference
This is in answer to a blog entry from Wanda on "Words on a Page" fame:
Wow! Where to even begin?
The average SAT score TODAY is about 1000. Bush's combined SATs were about 1206 -- 566 verbal and 640 mathematical. So you really can't call Bush "dumb" in the sense of an inability to understand what he reads or say that he's innumerate or make fairly complex calculations.
However, what you CAN say is that Bush, from what we've seen, is definitely intellectually lazy. There's a significant difference -- one can clearly have a high capacity for genius and simply decide not to apply it. We've seen this a lot in Bush's dichotomous world view -- even when he was a party animal he believed in laissez-faire capitalism and that the poor were poor because they were essentially worthless and lazy. His fundamentalist worldview strengthened his own tendency to think in black and white. Bush, quite simply, is a man who CAN think, but just doesn't want to exert himself.
It's long know that Bush's process of decision making does not involve intellectual argument -- his aides have been told to condense issues into five minute "this side/that side" arguments and Bush decides by picking a side. Bush, from what I understand, certainly doesn't call on his aides to expound on difficult issues.
From what we know, he doesn't really read anything but position papers, and only because the job requires it. He doesn't read books -- remember the debacle when they asked Bush what books he had been reading, and he got the facts wrong on the book he was SUPPOSED to have been reading. He doesn't watch TV, or read the newspapers. He's completely isolated, his minions bring him what news he gets of the outside world, and he likes it that way. He's more like a Chinese emperor than a president.
Someone once said that Bush would get a better view of the Iraq situation from a conversation with an Iraqi taxi driver than he ever got from any of his handlers. I definitely believe that's true; he seems to not be handed any thing that isn't "cooked" by Rice/Cheney/Wolfowitz/Perle. And Bush, even though he's smart enough to do things for himself, LIKES it that way, as I said above.
What Bush has going for him is an uncanny capacity to determine what's important for a president to SEEM to know, and what isn't. He definitely learned a lot from his run against Kent Hance for a Congressional seat in Texas. He knew that the "what's the name of the Prime Minister of Tongo" game the press liked to play was a big loser, because Bush knew that most people didn't know the answer themselves, or didn't care. Bush presents himself as caring about only the things that the average Joe or Jane seems to care about -- which seem to be "I don't want to pay taxes" and "I don't really want to hear about the war on Iraq if it's going bad". All he has to do is look resolute, firm, and quiver his jaw once in a while. In a lot of ways, he's a better actor than Reagan.
But even though he's smarter than Reagan, I think it's entirely fair to call Bush a stupid man. If he picked bad handlers, it's his fault in the end for picking them or letting them be picked for him on his behalf by Daddy Bush.
Think of it this way. It doesn't matter if the boss is a dimbulb, or if the boss is really a smart man but too slothful to apply his own intelligence to the company's problems and prefers to listen to his ass-kissing aides. If the company's going down in smoke, is there a dime's worth of difference in either choice? And remember: "there are none so blind as they that will not see".
posted by Green Voicemail 5/01/2004 11:01:00 PM
Houston was kind enough to bring up the "Boondocks" strip by Aaron McGruder. I don't want to post the strip here and steal McGruder's content, but there's no way I'm not going to link to it:
We have Boondocks and Doonesbury. They have Mallard Fillmore. Game, set, match.
posted by Green Voicemail 5/01/2004 10:25:00 AM
Friday, April 30, 2004
There's some dispute about the last picture -- but there isn't any dispute about the first three.
posted by Green Voicemail 4/30/2004 12:56:00 PM
Thursday, April 29, 2004
Fourth Generation Warfare
Here's an idea for John Kerry, free of charge, courtesy of Green Voicemail.
Don't offer to debate George Bush.
You might think that my comment is nothing but madness. However, I think there's some validity in it.
Here's how it goes. We all know that Boy George is absolutely helpless whenever he's away from a prepared text. He's an absolutely hopeless public speeker. Right now, one would be suckered into the belief that George can be taken in a debate.
However, here's what hurt Gore. Gore went after Bush to debate him. Bush, obviously, had no great passion for a debate. Finally, Bush was compelled to debate Gore and when the tally was over, Bush was considered the "winner"!
Why? Because the "Liberal" Press set up a two-part meme to kill Gore. The first part of the meme was that George was pathetic and hopeless and that a "fighter" like Gore would mop the floor with him. After the debate, when it was proved that, yes, Boy George could speak without wiping his nose on the American flag or passing out in terror, the second part of the meme killed Gore. Boy George was seen as the "winner", because the Press gave George a free pass and any performance above "wet pants on stage" was marked as a clear cut victory for Bush.
The Press has been giving George that free pass ever since.
However, think of this. Kerry says nothing about a debate. Let the REPUBLICANS be the first ones to bring up the debate. This puts Boy George in a corner. If Bush comes on with "aggression", then there will be an expectation that he can deliver at the debate. The people will see "Bush the Fighter" give his usually crappy performance, and conclude that yes, this is one messed up choad serving as our President.
I can see Bush right now, demanding to debate Kerry. I'd read the conservative boards for weeks before the debate...and after, to watch the expectations shatter like glass after the debacle.
posted by Green Voicemail 4/29/2004 06:22:00 PM
The King Has Arrived
Regarding today's "testimony" before the 911 Commission -- from The New York Times :
""Let's keep in mind that it is extraordinary for a sitting president of the United States to sit down with a legislatively created commission," Mr. McClellan said.
An adviser to Mr. Bush said a larger consideration was the concern that an official transcript would set a precedent for appearances by presidents before other commissions and create legal problems down the road.
Mr. Bush will not be under oath, and the White House has been adamant that what he says should not be considered official testimony.
"He is not testifying, he is talking to them," the adviser said. "A transcript implies testimony. This would open a Pandora's box of all sorts of precedent-setting and legal issues. We were reluctant for the president to do this, anyway."
Legal scholars said the lack of an official transcript would give the White House some deniability and make it more difficult to use the president's words as evidence in a future suit against the government.
"It gives them more maneuverability in case someone slips up or says something he regrets," Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University, said. "
The only way it could be made softer for Boy George is for him to not show up at all. Kerry should be all over this. He won't be, of course.
posted by Green Voicemail 4/29/2004 08:08:00 AM
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Understanding Beyond Measure
Questions and Answers about Foreign Policy (and the U.S. Invasion of Iraq)
Q: Daddy, why did we have to attack Iraq?
A: Because they had weapons of mass destruction.
Q: But the inspectors didn't find any weapons of mass destruction.
A: That's because the Iraqis were hiding them.
Q: And that's why we invaded Iraq?
A: Yep. Invasions always work better than inspections.
Q: But after we invaded them, we STILL didn't find any weapons of mass destruction, did we?
A: That's because the weapons are so well hidden. Don't worry, we'll find something, probably right before the 2004 election.
Q: Why did Iraq want all those weapons of mass destruction?
A: To use them in a war, silly.
Q: I'm confused. If they had all those weapons that they planned to use in a war, then why didn't they use any of those weapons when we went to war with them?
A: Well, obviously they didn't want anyone to know they had those weapons, so they chose to die by the thousands rather than defend themselves.
Q: That doesn't make sense. Why would they choose to die if they had all those big weapons with which they could have fought back?
A: It's a different culture. It's not supposed to make sense.
Q: I don't know about you, but I don't think they had any of those weapons our government said they did.
A: Well, you know, it doesn't matter whether or not they had those weapons. We had another good reason to invade them anyway.
Q: And what was that?
A: Even if Iraq didn't have weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein was a cruel dictator, which is another good reason to invade another country.
Q: Why? What does a cruel dictator do that makes it OK to invade his country?
A: Well, for one thing, he tortured his own people.
Q: Kind of like what they do in China?
A: Don't go comparing China to Iraq. China is a good economic competitor, where millions of people work for slave wages in sweatshops to make U.S. corporations richer.
Q: So if a country lets its people be exploited for American corporate gain, it's a good country, even if that country tortures people?
Q: Why were people in Iraq being tortured?
A: For political crimes, mostly, like criticizing the government. People who criticized the government in Iraq were sent to prison and tortured.
Q: Isn't that exactly what happens in China?
A: I told you, China is different.
Q: What's the difference between China and Iraq?
A: Well, for one thing, Iraq was ruled by the Ba'ath party, while China is Communist.
Q: Didn't you once tell me Communists were bad?
A: No, just Cuban Communists are bad.
Q: How are the Cuban Communists bad?
A: Well, for one thing, people who criticize the government in Cuba are sent to prison and tortured.
Q: Like in Iraq?
Q: And like in China, too?
A: I told you, China's a good economic competitor. Cuba, on the other hand, is not.
Q: How come Cuba isn't a good economic competitor?
A: Well, you see, back in the early 1960s, our government passed some laws that made it illegal for Americans to trade or do any business with Cuba until they stopped being Communists and started being capitalists like us.
Q: But if we got rid of those laws, opened up trade with Cuba, and started doing business with them, wouldn't that help the Cubans become capitalists?
A: Don't be a smart-ass.
Q: I didn't think I was being one.
A: Well, anyway, they also don't have freedom of religion in Cuba.
Q: Kind of like China and the Falun Gong movement?
A: I told you, stop saying bad things about China. Anyway, Saddam Hussein came to power through a military coup, so he's not really a legitimate leader anyway.
Q: What's a military coup?
A: That's when a military general takes over the government of a country by force, instead of holding free elections like we do in the United States.
Q: Didn't the ruler of Pakistan come to power by a military coup?
A: You mean General Pervez Musharraf? Uh, yeah, he did, but Pakistan is our friend.
Q: Why is Pakistan our friend if their leader is illegitimate?
A: I never said Pervez Musharraf was illegitimate.
Q: Didn't you just say a military general who comes to power by forcibly overthrowing the legitimate government of a nation is an illegitimate leader?
A: Only Saddam Hussein. Pervez Musharraf is our friend, because he helped us invade Afghanistan.
Q: Why did we invade Afghanistan?
A: Because of what they did to us on September 11th.
Q: What did Afghanistan do to us on September 11th?
A: Well, on September 11th, nineteen men - fifteen of them Saudi Arabians - hijacked four airplanes and flew three of them into buildings in New York and Washington, killing 3,000 innocent people.
Q: So how did Afghanistan figure into all that?
A: Afghanistan was where those bad men trained, under the oppressive rule of the Taliban.
Q: Aren't the Taliban those bad radical Islamics who chopped off people's heads and hands?
A: Yes, that's exactly who they were. Not only did they chop off people's heads and hands, but they oppressed women, too.
Q: Didn't the Bush administration give the Taliban 43 million dollars back in May of 2001?
A: Yes, but that money was a reward because they did such a good job fighting drugs.
Q: Fighting drugs?
A: Yes, the Taliban were very helpful in stopping people from growing opium poppies.
Q: How did they do such a good job?
A: Simple. If people were caught growing opium poppies, the Taliban would have their hands and heads cut off.
Q: So, when the Taliban cut off people's heads and hands for growing flowers, that was OK, but not if they cut people's heads and hands off for other reasons?
A: Yes. It's OK with us if radical Islamic fundamentalists cut off people's hands for growing flowers, but it's cruel if they cut off people's hands for stealing bread.
Q: Don't they also cut off people's hands and heads in Saudi Arabia?
A: That's different. Afghanistan was ruled by a tyrannical patriarchy that oppressed women and forced them to wear burqas whenever they were in public, with death by stoning as the penalty for women who did not comply.
Q: Don't Saudi women have to wear burqas in public, too?
A: No, Saudi women merely wear a traditional Islamic body covering.
Q: What's the difference?
A: The traditional Islamic covering worn by Saudi women is a modest yet fashionable garment that covers all of a woman's body except for her eyes and fingers. The burqa, on the other hand, is an evil tool of patriarchal oppression that covers all of a woman's body except for her eyes and fingers.
Q: It sounds like the same thing with a different name.
A: Now, don't go comparing Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are our friends.
Q: But I thought you said 15 of the 19 hijackers on September 11th were from Saudi Arabia.
A: Yes, but they trained in Afghanistan.
Q: Who trained them?
A: A very bad man named Osama bin Laden.
Q: Was he from Afghanistan?
A: Uh, no, he was from Saudi Arabia too. But he was a bad man, a very bad man.
Q: I seem to recall he was our friend once.
A: Only when we helped him and the mujahadeen repel the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan back in the 1980s.
Q: Who are the Soviets? Was that the Evil Communist Empire Ronald Reagan talked about?
A: There are no more Soviets. The Soviet Union broke up in 1990 or thereabouts, and now they have elections and capitalism like us. We call them Russians now.
Q: So the Soviets - I mean, the Russians - are now our friends?
A: Well, not really. You see, they were our friends for many years after they stopped being Soviets, but then they decided not to support our invasion of Iraq, so we're mad at them now. We're also mad at the French and the Germans because they didn't help us invade Iraq either.
Q: So the French and Germans are evil, too?
A: Not exactly evil, but just bad enough that we had to rename French fries and French toast to Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast.
Q: Do we always rename foods whenever another country doesn't do what we want them to do?
A: No, we just do that to our friends. Our enemies, we invade.
Q: But wasn't Iraq one of our friends back in the 1980s?
A: Well, yeah. For a while.
Q: Was Saddam Hussein ruler of Iraq back then?
A: Yes, but at the time he was fighting against Iran, which made him our friend, temporarily.
Q: Why did that make him our friend?
A: Because at that time, Iran was our enemy.
Q: Isn't that when he gassed the Kurds?
A: Yeah, but since he was fighting against Iran at the time, we looked the other way, to show him we were his friend.
Q: So anyone who fights against one of our enemies automatically becomes our friend?
A: Most of the time, yes.
Q: And anyone who fights against one of our friends is automatically an enemy?
A: Sometimes that's true, too. However, if American corporations can profit by selling weapons to both sides at the same time, all the better.
A: Because war is good for the economy, which means war is good for America. Also, since God is on America's side, anyone who opposes war is a godless unAmerican Communist. Do you understand now why we attacked Iraq?
Q: I think so. We attacked them because God wanted us to, right?
Q: But how did we know God wanted us to attack Iraq?
A: Well, you see, God personally speaks to George W. Bush and tells him what to do.
Q: So basically, what you're saying is that we attacked Iraq because George W. Bush hears voices in his head?
A: Yes! You finally understand how the world works. Now close your eyes, make yourself comfortable, and go to sleep. Good night.
Q: Good night, Daddy.
(c) 2003 anarchie bunker
posted by Green Voicemail 4/28/2004 09:03:00 PM
Siege of Fallujah Provokes Second Mutiny
From the link here
A second unit of the Iraqi armed forces has mutinied at Fallujah after being involved in heavy fighting with insurgents Ali Allawi, the Iraqi Defence Minister, said yesterday.
Wha-wha-WHAT? Didn't the new flag inspire them to fight harder?
posted by Green Voicemail 4/28/2004 07:18:00 PM
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Found! The New Iraq Flag!
Got the idea from a poster at Eschaton:
posted by Green Voicemail 4/27/2004 11:43:00 AM
Monday, April 26, 2004
New Iraqi Flag Goes Over Big, Not
The CPA in Iraq has their priorities straight. The same priorities as the Republican Party: "symbolism over sanity".
With the place going to hell in a handbasket, we have a new flag for the Iraqi people! Yay!!! Their appointed representatives -- we appointed them, you know, but I don't want to spoil your beautiful mind -- have chose the following flag:
The crescent symbolises Islam, the white stands for peace, the yellow stripe is a Kurdish color, and the two blue stripes celebrate the Tigris and the Euphrates.
And by the way, what was wrong with the old flag? Well, the red, green, and three stars celebrated pan-Arab nationalism. And the "God is Great" Arabic script is a direct appeal to Islam. Although I will say that the last thing Iraq needs right now is Islamic fervor and pan-Arab nationalism. Of course, I think the Iraqis ought to have some say in that.
All I can say is the new flags beats the hell out of the flag drafted by Chalabi's group:
posted by Green Voicemail 4/26/2004 08:38:00 PM
Back in the Saddle, Again
All right, a renewed effort to keep blogging.
The haloscan problems seem okay -- for the most part. It just seems to strike in the weirdest of places. I can read my own Haloscan comments, and occasionally read NTodd's comments. I can neither read nor comment on Wanda's Words on a Page blog, nor on Steve Gilliard's blog. I can read Atrios's comments with some careful parsing, but it's just annoying.
However, one of the big things that has me down is the war in Iraq and how it's going. I suspect that we are not leaving Iraq any time soon. For that, read "we'll be there for YEARS". I've been reading the book "The Sorrows of Empire", which states that the two pillars of American Middle-Eastern policy for years were Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The Iranians threw us out.
We left before the Saudis could throw us out.
And that is why were are in Iraq. America must extend its arms to the world, and failing that, extend its upraised middle finger. I fully believe that the neocons are going to spend 30,000 American lives if it takes that to establish their Pax Americana. I fully believe they will remain there until sanity breaks in like a rock cracks a window and everyone suddenly understands that they have to get out and get out now.
I believe that John Kerry will not do anything about this. He's looking for a sane solution. Steve Gilliard mocks his efforts, and rightly so. The UN isn't going to show up. NATO isn't going to show up. There is no Arab country that is going to provide troops. There is no South Vietnamese government that we can just give the keys to. There never will be one, either.
I believe that George Bush is so insulated from the media, or even from the public, that he can't see any solution other than "more bombs". Harder, and deeper. I believe that if he COULD see beyond his self-imposed mental ten-gallon hat, he honestly wouldn't give a fuck. He's like his father.
His father saw the world as a series of concentric circles. Bush Senior saw a circle of anti-American foreigners, then pro-American foreigners, then American outsiders, then American Democrats, then Republicans, then male Republicans, then financially well off male Republicans, then financially well off male Republicans who belong to the right country clubs and attended the right schools, which was the circle he belonged to. He didn't hate anyone outside his circle -- but he felt more comfortable with you the closer you got to his circle.
Bush Junior lives in the same circular world -- you can throw Christian fundamentalists in there somewhere -- but whereas Daddy just felt discomfort, Bush feels contempt for those not belonging in his universe. You'll change Boy George's mind when you vote him out of office, and not even then.
I remember Pat Tillman, the Army Ranger killed in Afghanistan. Pat Tillman had been a safety with the NFL's Arizona Cardinals. Six months after 911, he walked away from his contract, from millions of dollars to join the Rangers and serve his country. He wanted no interviews. He desired no fame and no glory. He did not feel that his act made him better than any of those that he served with.
He was much like his brother, also an Army Ranger. Their younger brother didn't walk on his own until fifteen months old. Why? Because Pat and his brother CARRIED their younger sibling everywhere. It was nothing they were asked to do. They just did it. It was the way Pat lived his life. He was a man generous of spirit.
When I think of the loss of Pat Tillman -- and it is a loss, mind you -- I think of how many Pat Tillmans we are throwing away in Iraq. How many Pat Tillmans, George Bush? How many Pat Tillmans?
It breaks my heart. And it makes it very, very hard to blog. Onward to Najaf. Onward to Fallujah. And for what?
posted by Green Voicemail 4/26/2004 08:26:00 PM