Monday, October 24, 2005

Scowcroft, Iraq, Indictments & Swallowing

Good evening, as always, Elaine and I are covering the same two things from Democracy Now! so be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's take.

Brent Scowcroft Slams Bush Administration
Last week, Colin Powell's former chief of staff Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson accused Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld of running a cabal that is undermining the country's democracy. And now former national security advisor Brent Scowcroft has slammed the Bush administration in an interview with the New Yorker magazine. He directed much of his criticism to the neoconservatives and their handling of Iraq. He said, "This was said to be part of the war on terror, but Iraq feeds terrorism." Scowcroft, who is close friends with George H.W. Bush, admitted it was difficult to criticize the sitting president. When New Yorker reporter Jeffrey Goldberg asked Scowcroft if the son was different from the father, he said, "I don't want to go there." When Goldberg asked him to name issues on which he agrees with the younger Bush, Scowcroft said, "Afghanistan." He then paused for twelve seconds. Finally, he said, "I think we're doing well on Europe." Scowcroft went on to say "The real anomaly in the Administration is Cheney. I consider Cheney a good friend - I've known him for thirty years. But Dick Cheney I don't know anymore."

Cheney, you're dead to me. That's what Sowcroft seems to be saying. Like when Paulie turns his back on Mike in Goodfellas. Like if Cheney got indicted by Patrick Fitzgerald and Cheney called Sowcroft saying, "Brent, buddy, dude, you gotta help me out. We partners, dude, we partners" Sowcroft would just hang up on him. Just hang the phone up without saying anything. And if his wife saw it going down and asked him why, he's day, "He's dead to me."
Then we see Cheney shaking his fist at the sky and screaming, "I will be back!" as the cop cars surround him to take him off to jail.

White House Prepares for Possible Indictments
Reuters is reporting White House officials will learn today whether special prosecutor Patrick FItzgerald will seek indictments over the Bush administration's outing of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame. Reports indicate that the grand jury could indict both President Bush's chief advisor Karl Rove and VIce President Dick Cheney's chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby for perjury or conspiracy. Both Rove and Libby failed to disclose key information about their role in the leak to the grand jury. Late last week Fitzgerald launched a website prompting speculation that he set it up to post the indictments. Fitzgerald has already posted documents that reveal the Justice Department gave him authority two years ago to expand his inquiry to include any criminal attempts to interfere with the investigation.

Fitzgerald has the documents up here. In my home, the betting is that Karl Rove gets indicted, 3 to 1. My sister's the holdout. She thinks Fitzgerald doesn't have "the guts" to indict Rove. We've also got a bet going on whether or not Libby will be indicted. My oldest brother's in that pool and he thinks Libby won't be indicted. He thinks no one will be. I hope he's wrong. I feel like after all this time, Fitzgerald's got to planning some indictment. Especially since there won't be a report issued on this. Makes me feel that the reasons are Fitzgerald's hunting the big game.

This weekend at The Third Estate Sunday Review, me and Elaine paired up again to address Iraq. I was surprised, good surprise, to learn that readers of The Third Estate Sunday Review enjoyed our exchange. I have fun doing it with her and with C.I. So here's our section from the news review:

C.I.: Cedric, thank you for that perspective piece. With more news on Iraq, we now go to Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz and Mike of Mikey Likes It! All week long, they pair up to select information from Democracy Now! to spotlight at their respective sites. Readers of The Third Estate Sunday Review prefer them paired up for the news review. We started with Elaine last week, so let's start with Mike.

Mike: C.I., despite the AP's best attempts at spinning, if milestones are coming out of Iraq, one may be the secret poll that England commissioned. Australia's Herald Sun reports that in the poll, "up to 65 per cent of Iraqi citizens support attacks and fewer than one percent think allied military involvement is helping to improve security in their country."

Elaine: The poll had several findings of interest. As reported by The Telgraph of London:

• 82 per cent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops;
• less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security;
• 67 per cent of Iraqis feel less secure because of the occupation;
• 43 per cent of Iraqis believe conditions for peace and stability have worsened;
• 72 per cent do not have confidence in the multi-national forces.
The opinion poll, carried out in August, also debunks claims by both the US and British governments that the general well-being of the average Iraqi is improving in post-Saddam Iraq.

Elaine (con't): Despite the fact that results on the full audit will not be known until Monday at the earliest, the Associated Press is already running a nothing-to-see-here-no-fraud-here-move-along story. As Aljazeera notes, this is a partial return and does not include two provinces with high Sunni population. Aljazeera also notes the death of four more US soldiers on Saturday.

Mike: Which would be another real milestone as we close in on the 2,000 figure, official figure, for US troops who have died on the ground in Iraq. As Democracy Now! noted Friday:

UFPJ Plans Day of Actions Over 2,000 Military Deaths in Iraq
The antiwar group United for Peace and Justice has announced that it is organizing a national day of action planned for the day after the US military death toll in Iraq reaches 2,000. As of October 20, the total was 1,988. UFPJ is calling the action "2000 Too Many." Demonstrations are already scheduled in cities around the country. Military family members and veterans will be at the forefront of many planned protests.

Mike (con't): Elaine and I both believe that the count was 1996 via Iraq Coalition Casualties but at present, the site is down. However, an Associated Press report places the total at 1996 and it was filed before the four deaths that Aljazeera has reported.

Elaine: As United for Peace & Justice has noted:

So far, more than 1950 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq, and more than 15,000 have been wounded. U.S. soldiers are at grave risk in Iraq, and continue to suffer even after they come home. Troops returning to the U.S. are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and are even turning up in homeless shelters in cities through the country. The risk for Iraqis is even more severe: Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed in the war, and hundreds of thousands of lives have been devastated, even according to the most conservative estimates.

Elaine (con't): Instead of dealing with that, the Associated Press wants to launch a new wave of Operation Happy Talk which isn't limited to what we've noted and Cedric's noted but also includes a "US troops' morale high!" piece. "US Troops Maintain High Morale" screams the headline which is a rather dubious claim if you read the actual article where one soliders airs his grievance that his tour of duty was extended by Donald Rumsfeld.

Mike: Half-way into the article you begin to hear from voices like the one Elaine noted. This occurs after the piece notes that: "Others say the toll of two and even three tours in Iraq in as many years has dwindled the number of those who will remain in the military and drained confidence that their work was making the United States safer." That's hardly "High Morale" so our best guess is that the Associated Press is counting on the fact that most people will read only the headline and the first few paragraphs.

C.I.: Thank you for that commentary, Elaine and Mike. We'll continue to attempt to access Iraq Coalition Count. For now we go to Betty, of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, with the news from the world of entertainment.

Laura e-mails me about the relationship she has with her boyfriend and this may be graphic, so that's your warning. Laura enjoys a lot of things but one thing she doesn't enjoy at all is swallowing. She says he makes a big deal of it. Not just in the shooting stage but after if she wants to spit it out.

My first advice is dump him but she writes about she's in love with him and they're engaged and she just got her ring so I guess she's really into him. In which case, I bet he's complaining to his friends that she won't swallow. I don't know what to tell Laura.

It sounds like it's something they're going to have to work out together. If she's ready to spend her life with this guy and he's ready to spend his life with her, if this is an issue, then they're going to have to solve it together.

I can tell you that if I knew something I wanted was making a woman I wanted to marry uncomfortable, I would want to talk it over with her and figure out a compromise. This is something that seems big to me but Laura doesn't seem to think so, she seems to think it will just go away.

I don't think it's going away. If someone's got something else add, feel free.