maxomai: dog (dog)
The bad news around the Twitterverse right now is that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has captured a former Iraqi chemical weapons site (Edit: Iraq has confirmed this), possibly loaded with useless artillery shells that used to contain mustard gas.

Of course, we know Iraq once had WMDs, and that the Hussein regime used them during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war and on the Kurdish population. We also know that the UN inspectors determined that those weapons were useless in 2003 before the US invaded. Today's reports are consistent with these data -- apparently this is more like a toxic waste dump than an arsenal. The real question is whether anything on that site can be turned into a practical weapon.

Stay tuned, kids.
maxomai: dog (dog)
If you've been following the news, you're probably aware that the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (or ISIS) has carved out a large part of Northwest Iraq and Eastern Syria to form a Sunni-dominated quasi-state. ISIS recently conquered substantial parts of Fallujah, Mosul and Tikrit, and are reportedly pushing towards Baghdad. Iran is pledging to fight back against ISIS (read: protect Shi'ite interests), and the Kurdish north has taken Kirkuk out of ISIS hands.

President Obama is, of course, weighing his options, including direct military assistance (sending in troops).

With that in mind, here's what I think we should do in Iraq:

Read more... )
maxomai: dog (dog)
Why look! It's the 10th anniversary of Mission Accomplished!

Aren't you glad that war ended so quickly, and that the subsequent occupation was so painless? That the Iraq we left behind is now a stable democracy free from violence and corruption? That the total effort won't cost anywhere near the one trilion dollars that naysayers like me thought it would?

(And aren't you glad that we aren't thinking about a similar venture in, say, Iran or Syria?)
maxomai: dog (Default)
Remember how Thomas Friedman helped lie us into the Iraq war? Who could forget?

Mr. Friedman has a new theory about the Iraq war. According to him, it's too early to judge what a fiasco the Iraq war was. In fact, according to Friedman, we should wait 20 years (or 40 Friedman units) to judge the war.

I would argue, on the contrary and considering how consistently wrong he and the other neocons have been about Iraq, that the smart thing to do is to go ahead and judge it - and him - right now.
maxomai: (typewriter guy wtf)
Sen. Lindsey Graham wants boots on the ground in Syria.

You know, because the good guys in the Syrian Civil War are so easy to spot.

And because invading a Middle Eastern nation has gone so well for us recently.

In fact, this idea is so stupid that it makes me think that it makes a perfect example of Dunning-Kruger-Madoff effect, where the incompetent are so incompetent that they don't realize how incompetent they are, and so are able to exude enough confidence to be taken seriously. It would certainly explain a lot that's happened since the 21st Century began.
maxomai: dog (dog)
Not sure whether to feel smug that history has proven me and other critics of the Iraq war right....

...or pissed that The Drunk and his overeducated idiot cohorts managed so blithely to fuck up so many people's lives.

In fact, there's still the none-too-insignificant problem that nobody in DC or the mainstream media wants to talk about how our foreign policy led to 9/11 in the first place....

maxomai: dog (Default)
Dear Republican Party,

Do you really want to run on the President engaging in "excessive celebration" of Obama bin Laden's death?

Seriously. Think about it. Remember this?

Mission Accomplished Pictures, Images and Photos

And that was for a war we didn't need to fight in the first place and that we wouldn't complete in any meaningful sense for nearly another decade.

You basically handed President Obama this media cycle. Far be it from me to discourage you from doing that, but sometimes, you just want to see the other team even try.

Love,
max
maxomai: dog (Default)
Dear Republican Party,

Do you really want to run on the President engaging in "excessive celebration" of Obama bin Laden's death?

Seriously. Think about it. Remember this?

Mission Accomplished Pictures, Images and Photos

And that was for a war we didn't need to fight in the first place and that we wouldn't complete in any meaningful sense for nearly another decade.

You basically handed President Obama this media cycle. Far be it from me to discourage you from doing that, but sometimes, you just want to see the other team even try.

Love,
max
maxomai: dog (Default)
One step forward:

"A senior Obama administration official in Washington confirmed Saturday that all American troops will leave Iraq except for about 160 active-duty soldiers attached to the U.S. Embassy," reports that AP.


Which, if correct, means that Iraq is going to be over after this year. Good.

Unfortunately, we're back to repeating our old mistakes:


Sending 100 combat troops to Uganda, Obama is fighting a routine fight: unnecessary war, support for dictatorship, and blowback as an afterthought.


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the real "truth about 9/11" is that 9/11 was a consequence of a foreign policy that supports corrupt leaders and encourages massive human rights violations, purportedly in the name of "democracy." Our failure, as a nation, to learn this lesson, or even to have an adult discussion about it, makes another 9/11 inevitable. We don't know where or when the next 9/11 will happen. After this stunt, it wouldn't exactly stun me to hear that "the terrorists" hatched the plot in Uganda.
maxomai: dog (Default)
One step forward:

"A senior Obama administration official in Washington confirmed Saturday that all American troops will leave Iraq except for about 160 active-duty soldiers attached to the U.S. Embassy," reports that AP.


Which, if correct, means that Iraq is going to be over after this year. Good.

Unfortunately, we're back to repeating our old mistakes:


Sending 100 combat troops to Uganda, Obama is fighting a routine fight: unnecessary war, support for dictatorship, and blowback as an afterthought.


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the real "truth about 9/11" is that 9/11 was a consequence of a foreign policy that supports corrupt leaders and encourages massive human rights violations, purportedly in the name of "democracy." Our failure, as a nation, to learn this lesson, or even to have an adult discussion about it, makes another 9/11 inevitable. We don't know where or when the next 9/11 will happen. After this stunt, it wouldn't exactly stun me to hear that "the terrorists" hatched the plot in Uganda.
maxomai: (President Barack Hussein Obama)
Read about it here. Just one small part of the winding down of a fiasco that should never have started to begin with.
maxomai: (President Barack Hussein Obama)
Read about it here. Just one small part of the winding down of a fiasco that should never have started to begin with.
maxomai: dog (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] keith418 posted an interesting link (here) about the neoconservative hypocrisy about democracy in the Middle East. Simply put, the neocons - Bolton, Condi Rice, and the rest of them - were very gung-ho to invade Iraq, depose an anti-American dictator, install a puppet government, and call it democracy. They are less gung-ho to support a peaceful revolt against a staunch American ally in the name of democracy. This, at least, is understandable on their parts - they don't know what would come after Mubarak, and they had fears (IMO somewhat unrealistically elevated) that the Muslim Brotherhood would take power; and no matter what, even a legitimately democratically elected government with guaranteed constitutional protections of liberties would take a hard line against Israel, because that's what the people want.

This goes along with a core principle, not often stated, of the neoconservative ideology: what they really desire is not democracy, but governments who will go along with America. In this mindset, democracy is good as long as they like the results. In Iraq, the results are good because we pick the results. In Palestine, the results (Hamas in control of the Gaza strip) don't favor our policies and are thus bad. In Egypt, it is not clear that the results would be worse in the long run for America, but they would be worse for Israel, and that makes the neocons itchy.

But we now have a much different phenomenon going on: a revolution in Libya against Muhamar Kaddafi, similar in character to the one that overthrew Mubarak, but much more bloody because Kaddafi is that much more ruthless. Here is a movement to overthrow a staunchly anti-American dictator, one who sponsored terrorism against the UK and US, one whose exit and replacement with a democratic government would most likely benefit the West.

And the neoconservatives are absolutely silent about it. No support, no condemnations. Silence.

Why?

I have a hypothesis that I submit for your consideration. That hypothesis is this: the neoconservatives want Kaddafi to stay in power. They hate him, but they have him contained. He's the devil they know. Once he and his sons are gone, we have to roll the dice on free and fair elections and see what we get, and that makes them antsy.

But, they can't admit this. Kaddafi is the enemy. He has been the enemy for as long as I can remember. To admit that they would prefer the enemy they know in Kaddafi to the uncertainty of Libyan democracy would expose them, completely and irretrievably, for what they are: not small-d democratic idealists, but imperialists, through and through. And the one thing they cannot afford is for this to happen. They would lose any legitimacy they have left, even in DC.

Here's the test of my hypothesis. If there is one nation that the neocons would love to bomb right now, it's Iran. John Bolton, molestache and all, has been screaming for this for years. Right now the Tunisian-Egyptian revolution is just getting started in earnest in Iran as the elections approach. I think there's a good chance that it will catch fire and that we will see the same chaos in Iran within six months that we saw last week in Egypt and are seeing now in Libya.

If my hypothesis is right, the neocons will keep their mouths shut then, too.
maxomai: dog (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] keith418 posted an interesting link (here) about the neoconservative hypocrisy about democracy in the Middle East. Simply put, the neocons - Bolton, Condi Rice, and the rest of them - were very gung-ho to invade Iraq, depose an anti-American dictator, install a puppet government, and call it democracy. They are less gung-ho to support a peaceful revolt against a staunch American ally in the name of democracy. This, at least, is understandable on their parts - they don't know what would come after Mubarak, and they had fears (IMO somewhat unrealistically elevated) that the Muslim Brotherhood would take power; and no matter what, even a legitimately democratically elected government with guaranteed constitutional protections of liberties would take a hard line against Israel, because that's what the people want.

This goes along with a core principle, not often stated, of the neoconservative ideology: what they really desire is not democracy, but governments who will go along with America. In this mindset, democracy is good as long as they like the results. In Iraq, the results are good because we pick the results. In Palestine, the results (Hamas in control of the Gaza strip) don't favor our policies and are thus bad. In Egypt, it is not clear that the results would be worse in the long run for America, but they would be worse for Israel, and that makes the neocons itchy.

But we now have a much different phenomenon going on: a revolution in Libya against Muhamar Kaddafi, similar in character to the one that overthrew Mubarak, but much more bloody because Kaddafi is that much more ruthless. Here is a movement to overthrow a staunchly anti-American dictator, one who sponsored terrorism against the UK and US, one whose exit and replacement with a democratic government would most likely benefit the West.

And the neoconservatives are absolutely silent about it. No support, no condemnations. Silence.

Why?

I have a hypothesis that I submit for your consideration. That hypothesis is this: the neoconservatives want Kaddafi to stay in power. They hate him, but they have him contained. He's the devil they know. Once he and his sons are gone, we have to roll the dice on free and fair elections and see what we get, and that makes them antsy.

But, they can't admit this. Kaddafi is the enemy. He has been the enemy for as long as I can remember. To admit that they would prefer the enemy they know in Kaddafi to the uncertainty of Libyan democracy would expose them, completely and irretrievably, for what they are: not small-d democratic idealists, but imperialists, through and through. And the one thing they cannot afford is for this to happen. They would lose any legitimacy they have left, even in DC.

Here's the test of my hypothesis. If there is one nation that the neocons would love to bomb right now, it's Iran. John Bolton, molestache and all, has been screaming for this for years. Right now the Tunisian-Egyptian revolution is just getting started in earnest in Iran as the elections approach. I think there's a good chance that it will catch fire and that we will see the same chaos in Iran within six months that we saw last week in Egypt and are seeing now in Libya.

If my hypothesis is right, the neocons will keep their mouths shut then, too.
maxomai: dog (Default)
So far this week, we have not one, not two, but seven different revolts taking place that are drawing inspiration from the events of last week in Egypt.

  • In Bahrain, thousands of pro-democracy protesters were cleared out of a public square through brutal police action while many of them slept. Police are also attacking ambulances helping the injured. The protesters have since re-gathered; the Army is reportedly rolling in now. The King regrets the violence but whatever legitimacy he had is pretty much gone.

  • In Iran, the government is basically things up as they go along. They even went so far as to stage a funeral for an anti-regime protester killed by the government, and claim that he was actually a government agent attacked by anti-regime protesters.

  • In Libya, Gaddafi's government is responding to protests with bullets first. Not tear gas, not water cannons, not rubber bullets; live ammo first. This apparently has not deterred the protesters.

  • In Jordan protests have been relatively quiet. The demonstrators are asking the King to give up some of his powers. The King has not acquiesced but has not tried to trample them down, either.

  • In Yemen, reports aired earlier on Al Jazeera that the people were too conservative to revolt appear to have been exaggerated. Not much details right now except that the regime is responding by killing its people.

  • In Iraq, the actions of yesterday have unleashed 31 more protests across that nation. More here.

  • And last but not least, state workers in Wisconsin are drawing their own parallels between their own fight against Gov. Walker's union busting and the the Egypt revolution. See here, here and here.


2011 is promising to be a very interesting year. And just as in the 1960s when the only way to get the truth was through underground newspapers, in this decade the best first hand information is from Twitter.

Stay tuned!
maxomai: dog (Default)
So far this week, we have not one, not two, but seven different revolts taking place that are drawing inspiration from the events of last week in Egypt.

  • In Bahrain, thousands of pro-democracy protesters were cleared out of a public square through brutal police action while many of them slept. Police are also attacking ambulances helping the injured. The protesters have since re-gathered; the Army is reportedly rolling in now. The King regrets the violence but whatever legitimacy he had is pretty much gone.

  • In Iran, the government is basically things up as they go along. They even went so far as to stage a funeral for an anti-regime protester killed by the government, and claim that he was actually a government agent attacked by anti-regime protesters.

  • In Libya, Gaddafi's government is responding to protests with bullets first. Not tear gas, not water cannons, not rubber bullets; live ammo first. This apparently has not deterred the protesters.

  • In Jordan protests have been relatively quiet. The demonstrators are asking the King to give up some of his powers. The King has not acquiesced but has not tried to trample them down, either.

  • In Yemen, reports aired earlier on Al Jazeera that the people were too conservative to revolt appear to have been exaggerated. Not much details right now except that the regime is responding by killing its people.

  • In Iraq, the actions of yesterday have unleashed 31 more protests across that nation. More here.

  • And last but not least, state workers in Wisconsin are drawing their own parallels between their own fight against Gov. Walker's union busting and the the Egypt revolution. See here, here and here.


2011 is promising to be a very interesting year. And just as in the 1960s when the only way to get the truth was through underground newspapers, in this decade the best first hand information is from Twitter.

Stay tuned!
maxomai: dog (Default)

Just go here. And try not to let the stupid drive you to suicide.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

Just go here. And try not to let the stupid drive you to suicide.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

Obama Approval/Disapproval:


Approve: 50

Disapprove: 49

Source: CNN


According to CNN, it’s almost all due to the President’s speech from the Oval Office declaring an end to the Iraq war. Certainly he has the public convinced. Isn’t that nice?


Let’s get something straight, kids. For my money, the war in Iraq ended when the United States established control of Baghdad in May 2003. What we’ve been calling the “war” since then has been, in actuality, an occupation, and a very bloody one; and the occupation continues, even if combat troops are formally out. Lest we forget, there are still 50,000 troops in Iraq, carrying out training and support missions. Support missions include, for example, US forces hunting down terrorists. Thus the occupation isn’t over — and neither, I’m afraid, is the bloodshed.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

Obama Approval/Disapproval:


Approve: 50

Disapprove: 49

Source: CNN


According to CNN, it’s almost all due to the President’s speech from the Oval Office declaring an end to the Iraq war. Certainly he has the public convinced. Isn’t that nice?


Let’s get something straight, kids. For my money, the war in Iraq ended when the United States established control of Baghdad in May 2003. What we’ve been calling the “war” since then has been, in actuality, an occupation, and a very bloody one; and the occupation continues, even if combat troops are formally out. Lest we forget, there are still 50,000 troops in Iraq, carrying out training and support missions. Support missions include, for example, US forces hunting down terrorists. Thus the occupation isn’t over — and neither, I’m afraid, is the bloodshed.








Originally published at maxomai.org

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