Sunday, November 20, 2005

Insta-Hoglets Sunday 20th Nov.

It's Sunday and the Newshog files are full of links I didn't get a chance to write more about. Time for a purge.

  • In Britain, two people have been charged for leaking a Foreign Office study that referred to "heavy handed" American tactics in Iraq. An ex- Cabinet level civil servant and a former researcher for an MP are being charged under the Official Secrets Act for leaking secrets about a foreign power that embarassed Blair to the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times. You can bet that MI5 are still trying to track down the people who leaked the Downing Street Memos to the Times too.

  • Noah at DefenseTech talks about Pentagon plans to withdraw US troops from Iraq - plans drafted by the two top generals on the front line, Casey and Abizaid. Damn, but they look a lot like Murtha's plan. It seems that Murtha is encouraging terrorist enemies in a treasonous and cowardly way while Abizaid and Casey are proposing a withdrawal plan that's GOOD news because it means we've won...what a way to expose the moral and logical bankruptcy of the Right. Joe Gandelman has more and puts it perfectly.

  • Utterly unreported, 16 Republicans in the House refused to go along with the GOP's shameful twisting of John Murtha's proposal for withdrawal from Iraq. The roll call shows the Republicans who abstained.

  • "House Republicans, after weeks of negotiations, narrowly passed a budget bill early Friday to cut $50 billion from Medicaid, food stamps, student loans and other programs over the complaints of Democrats that Congress is squeezing students, the elderly and the poor to pay for tax cuts for the rich."

    Fifteen Republicans voted against the bill, as did every single Democrat. Welcome to Republican America - tired, hungry, sick and uneducated unless you happen to be rich.

  • In the aftermath of the US raid on an Iraqi Interior Ministry building that yeilded 169 tortured and starving captives, the Independent looks in depth at this much more shadowy conflict - one in which the US and Britain seem unable to stop death squads and disappearances. A civil war by any other name is just as terrible.

  • Plame-gate heats up as the Sunday Times repeats the claim that National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley was the leaker to Bob Woodward. If so, then all Hadley's claims about the Bush administration not fixing intelligence around the policy just the other week look kind of empty, don't they. They really are running on empty here, folks.

  • The Defense Department's inspector general's office said Friday it had begun investigating a Pentagon team that former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith used to build the U.S. case against Saddam Hussein and plan the Iraq war.

    Shelton Young, the Pentagon's acting deputy inspector general for intelligence, told senior Pentagon officials Wednesday that his office would investigate whether Feith's operation "conducted unauthorized, unlawful or inappropriate intelligence activities."

    Just don't hold your breath, ok?

  • The Washington Post has a "duh" says the war in Iraq has eclipsed all other issues. Well, no sh*t, Sherlock! Now could you go the extra yard and say that this is despite the feeble attempts of Bush and his sycophants to squelch every part of the subject - torture, fixed intelligence, the crappy progress and descent into civil war, contractor corruption and graft, the effect on the deficit, the lack of equipment, recruitment, the fact that Osama is still not found, the Plame leakers, the lot - as being unworthy of debate because "if we debate it, we are hurting the troops and aiding the terrorists"? I'm just asking.

  • Idiots and bigots unite, you have nothing to lose but your money!

    Jerry Falwell is promoting a drive to fund over 1,500 lawyers, who will sue anyone Falwell thinks is subverting Christmas. He's supported by other zealot morons like American Family Association President Tim Wildmon and Bill O'Reilly. Sorry guys, but I have to inform you that just about everything about Christmas, from trees to presents to the baby in the manger was stolen from the pagans - just like everything else about Christianity. Have a cool Yule, Jerry.

  • Done with all that? Good. Now GO READ THIS - a post by Hilzoy of Obsidian Wings entitled "Failures of Will". I guarantee you will agree with me that this is one of the finest bits of commentary ever posted on the web. Here's a small taster:

    Suppose that George W. Bush had sent our troops into battle unarmed, because he thought that if you point your finger at someone and say "BANG!", the other person dies. The American people would rightly refuse to let their sons and daughters go off to fight, and support for the war would vanish. This would not show that the American people were weak, or lacked resolve, or failed to appreciate the disastrous consequences of losing in Iraq. It would show that people do not generally let Presidents throw their children's lives away when they are manifestly incompetent, as any President who thought that pointing your finger at the enemy and saying "BANG!" would kill him would have to be.

    To my mind, our prosecution of the war in Iraq has been only slightly less incompetent than that. George W. Bush is not so childish that he thinks that you can kill people by pointing your finger at them and saying "BANG!" But he is childish enough to think that looking tough is a substitute for serious thought and careful planning; that striking an attitude is all you need to do to get what you want.

    Awesomely well written and well thought out stuff.

    Update One more excellent post for you. Shamanic at Simianbrain hits it out of the park as she discusses how prewar intelligence on mobile Iraqi chemical factories was provided by a source, codenemed "Curveball", who everyone knew was a nutcase but the Bush administration deliberately ignored that fact in their rush to war.
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