Gitmo Contraband Scandal Exposed

September 27, 2007 at 6:36 pm | Posted in Bush Administration, Lawyers | 2 Comments

Don’t ask me how I found The Guantánamo Blog From the Law Office of H. Candace Gorman (there is such a thing as too much information). Satisfy yourself with being grateful that I did find it, and was inspired to bring you the vitally important information contained therein. (“Therein” is lawyer talk for “there.”) The information is in two pieces of correspondence. One is a letter from a member of the Judge Advocate General’s office who is concerned about contraband found on two Guantánamo prisoners; the other is from a lawyer in H. Candace Gorman’s office assisting, as best he can, in the investigation.

You must read the correspondence, which is at http://gtmoblog.blogspot.com/2007/09/underwear-alert.html to properly appreciate the dedication shown by both the JAG’s office and the lawyers who represent the fiends incarcerated in this, our second most notorious prison. (Yeah, the list is topped by Abu Graib, but we won’t go into that now. Read it; I shall not comment further.

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The Senate, the art of politics, and the DOD appropriations bill

September 19, 2007 at 10:21 am | Posted in Congress, Iraq, Politics | Leave a comment

This week the Senate will consider the Department of Defense appropriations bill, H.R. 3222. As a practical matter, the Democrats will probably try to change the mission in Iraq to allow some troops to be withdrawn quickly without pulling out entirely. If they take the hard line I prefer, there will probably be a Republican filibuster and eventually a presidential veto, which the Democrats don’t have the votes to override.


OK. Politics is the art of compromise, so this is probably the right way to go. But they should also insist on including Senator Jim Webb’s amendment (the one that failed in July) to require that troops stay home for specific periods of time before being redeployed.

Tell your Senators. Who knows, they might have the sense to do the right thing!

Here we go again

September 16, 2007 at 7:30 am | Posted in Bush Administration, Congress, Iraq | Leave a comment

“All we need,” says the administration, “is a little more time. We’re making progress. Things are better now. Violence is down. Just be patient a little while longer”

If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard the administration say these things I could run for president, and probably win because I’d out-spend everybody else. (Don’t worry, I don’t have those dimes and I wouldn’t have the job anyway.)

The thing is, nobody except the administration and a few of its apologists even pretends to believe those talking points. In fact there are quite a few people in the administration who don’t believe them either. But hey, ya gotta make a living, right?

Last week the president, showing his disconnect from reality and his contempt for the American people, said that things were so good we were bringing troops home. The fact is, Mr. President, that almost everybody knows that we’re out of troops, and the troops you’re bringing home have been there so long they must return.

And, again showing his contempt for the American people, the president announced that he was going to keep us in Iraq, dying and getting wounded, past the end of his presidency. That way he won’t have to take the blame for what happens when we leave. He thinks.

But I have news for you, Mr. President. The American people, and the historians who will document your presidency, know that you invaded Iraq without reason, that you mulishly insisted that we stay there until we gained some undefined “victory,” and that you have now decided that we must stay there until you leave office.

The fact is that we have already lost the war we should not have started. The surge is a failure, the Iraqi army is a laugh, the Iraqi police are as sectarian as the population, and even more Anti-American, the government has made no measurable progress in bridging the sectarian political divide.

American casualties have increased every month since before the surge, and the number of attacks on Iraqi civilians has remained flat. Sectarian violence hasn’t really decreased, unless you use the definition General Petraeus apparently uses, and if you do that, criminal violence has increased as sectarian violence has decreased.

The president boasts about success in Al Anbar province, where the local sheiks have joined American forces in fighting Al Qaeda groups. But these sheiks are Sunnis, and they don’t get along with the Iraqi national government or the Iraqi army. In fact US troops have had to physically intervene to prevent attacks on our Sunni allies by our Iraqi army allies. The national government, with reason, worries that the Sunni militias we are arming in Al Anbar will turn into insurgents if and when Al Qaeda is suppressed. But that may be a while: last week Al Qaeda killed the most important Sheik in Al Anbar.

If we stay in Iraq we’re going to find U.S. forces under attack by Al Anbar Sunni militias using weapons we furnished them.

The Government Accountability Office (the non-partisan investigative agency of the Congress) says the Iraqis have failed to meet 11 of its 18 benchmarks for political progress and security. (Under administration pressure, the GAO upgraded its grade for two of the benchmarks from “did not meet” to “partially met.”) The report points out that “the constitutional review process is not complete, and laws on de-Ba’athification, oil revenue sharing, provincial elections, and amnesty have not passed.” It says that “violence remains high, the number of Iraqi security forces capable of conducting independent operations has declined, and militias are not disarmed.” And it adds that “funding for reconstruction has been allocated but is unlikely to be spent.”

Well. We’re not getting anywhere militarily (and everybody admits that there’s no military solution for Iraq). We’re not getting anywhere politically. We’re there only because Bush wants us to be there. And the sad thing is we’re likely to stay there until we get a new president. Because the Democrats don’t have the guts, or the confidence in the good sense of the American people, to do what they ought to do: cut off funding for the war and force the administration to bring our troops home.

Write your senators. Write your congressman. Write the Democratic leadership in congress. Tell them to stop the funding for this awful, unnecessary war.

There’s a link on the right that makes it easy.


 

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