From humor to scary reality. Barack wants to be an even bigger War Hawk. So he's sending more troops to Afghanistan -- he'll announce it tomorrow. Senator Paul Kirk wrote a column for the Boston Globe yesterday:
So, let’s get our priorities in order. We should not send a single additional dollar in aid or add a single American serviceman or woman to the 68,000 already courageously deployed in Afghanistan until we see a meaningful move by the Karzai regime to root out its corruption, assemble a more representative coalition government, and demonstrate some measure of transparency and accountability under the rule of law.
The brave US and NATO troops currently there should accelerate training of local Afghan Army and police forces to prepare for gradual reduction and ultimate disengagement while our civilian forces help build responsive governance infrastructures at the province level.
Our national security goal has not changed. But to achieve it, we need not enlarge our military footprint in Afghanistan and risk even more violence in retaliation for our perceived “occupation.’’
Okay, let's talk Third. Here's who helped:
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Jess, and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.
What about Dallas? He was off this weekend. This was his first weekend off since he started helping out in March or so of 2005.
What did we come up with:
- Truest statement of the week
- This is Cindy Sheehan and it's a good choice for Truest.
- Truest statement of the week II
- And I love this one because Tom Hayden's getting held accountable and also because it pissed off that joke that is Carl Davidson.
- A note to our readers-- Jim breaks down the edition and forgets a few things. Including that Dallas took the weekend off.
- Editorial: Barack The Never Ending Liar-- This was a good editorial. I think it's really sad that we're the only ones hitting on this topic but then we never drank the Kool Aid. Barack promised that US forces would leave Iraq one brigade a month as soon as he was sworn in. It hasn't happened. And where's the outcry?
- TV: What's the return policy?-- This is probably my favorite piece in the entire edition. I love it. Ava and C.I. wrote something amazing here. And I was there while they were watching it and got to hear most of the phone calls (all the ones they put on speaker and their side of the calls on the rest). People could not believe -- I'm talking musical acts, musicians, producers, engineers -- that Beyonce did a special and was frequently moving her mouth to pre-recorded vocals. That was so dishonest and so telling about how little talent she really has.
- TV: Good As He's Been To You-- This is their review of Paul McCartney's special and this really was a good special.
- The Iraq War's British roots-- We worked forever and a day writing this. It really left us all wiped out. My mother helped on this and the editorial.
- Roundtable-- For a change the roundtable moved quickly. It was fun -- Elaine and I were at C.I.'s for the holidays -- to be able to see people face to face that I don't usually get to when we do the roundtable. We tackled big issues and small ones in this.
- The numbers and the outrage-- Ava, C.I. and Jess wrote this. The rest of us, except for Jim, had gone to bed. The four of them were trying to finish typing up everything and get it posted when they realized this article hadn't been written so they wrote it quickly.
- Don't Steal This Look!-- Remember I said Jim got some stuff wrong? Hello! Wally worked on this. This was the only one of two articles Wally worked on (he was in Florida with his family for the holidays). Jim didn't work on this article so he can be forgiven for forgetting but I did tell him Wally worked on it. Besides Wally, Rebecca, Ann, Marcia, Ruth, Kat, Betty, Stan, Cedric and I also worked on this.
- When Bully Met Poodle-- A short piece and a good read.
- Highlights-- Wally worked on this as well along with Betty, Kat, Rebecca, Ruth, Cedric, Ann, Stan, Marcia, Elaine and me.
My feelings of remorse are directed solely towards the victims, and towards the family of the victims, who I do not deny are victims themselves.
I am truly sorry for what I did in Iraq and I am sorry for the pain my actions, and the actions of my co-defendants, have caused you and your family. I imagine it is a pain that I cannot fully comprehend or appreciate. I helped to destroy a family and end the lives of four of my fellow human beings, and I wish that I could take it back, but I cannot. And, as inadequate as this apology is, it is all I can give you.
I know you wish I was dead, and I do not hold that against you. If I was in your place, I am convinced beyond any doubt that I would feel the same way. And, if I thought it would change anything, or if it would bring these people back to life, I would do everything I could to make them execute me. I also know that you think I am evil, and I understand that as well, and even though I do not think that you want to hear this, I have to tell you that despite the evil that I have done, I am not an evil person.
Before I was in the Army, I never thought I would kill anyone, and even after I was in the Army, but before I went to Iraq, I never thought I would intentionally kill a civilian. When I was in Iraq, something happened to me that I can only explain by saying that I lost my mind. At some point while I was in Iraq, I stopped seeing Iraqis as good and bad, as men, women, and children. I started seeing them all as one, and evil, and less than human. When that happened, any natural, learned, or religious morality, that normally would have stopped this, was gone.
But I see now that I was wrong, and that Iraqis are human beings, and that despite differences of race, religion, culture, and language, they are still human. And that at their core, they have the same feelings, emotions, and needs as Americans. It was wrong to kill Iraqis, just like it was wrong to kill Americans, just like it is wrong to kill anyone, and I am very sorry.
Most of all I am sorry for the deceased, but aside from them, I am the most sorry for the boys whose family are gone. I know what we did left a hole in their lives, and scars on their minds, and that there is no making up for that. I only hope for them that they can somehow, and I don't know how, move forward, and have a good future despite the nightmare in their past that I helped create. They have my apologies and my prayers, as meaningless as they must seem.
The Government is not going to execute me, as I am sure you wish they would, but there is really no chance that I will step foot outside of prison for as long as I live. I know that if I live one more year or fifty more years that they will be years that Fahkriya, Kassem, Abeer, and Hadeel won't have not matter where I am. And even though I did not learn their names until long after their deaths, they are never far from my mind. But in the end, whether in one year or fifty, I will die, and when I die I will be in God's hands. In the Kingdom of God where there will be justice, and whatever I deserve, I will get. On the day of judgment, God will repay everyone according to his works, and affliction and distress will come upon every human being who does evil. I know that I have done evil, and I fear that the wrath of the Lord will come upon me on that day. But, I hope that you and your family at least can find some comfort in God's justice.
I see now that war is intrinsically evil, because killing is intrinsically evil. And, I am sorry I ever had anything to do with either.
And, I cannot say this enough times, whether or not you can ever forgive me, and I don't see how you could, I am and will always be sorry for what I did.
Lord Goldsmith, then attorney general, issued the warning in an uncompromising letter in July 2002, eight months before the invasion. It was becoming clear in government circles that Blair had had secret meetings with George Bush at which the US president was pressing Britain hard to join him in a war to change the regime in Baghdad." John Bingham and Jon Swaine (Telegraph of London) add, "The existence of the letter, disclosed in a Sunday newspaper, emerged after a week in which the inquiry heard that Tony Blair and George Bush, the former US President, 'signed in blood' a deal to invade Iraq as early as April 2002. [. . .] Tony Blair is due to appear before the inquiry next year when the Goldsmith letter is expected to form a centrepiece of the questioning." Jim Pickard (Financial Times of London) recaps on the July 2002 memo: "Lord Goldsmith, former attorney-general, wrote to the then prime minister on July 29, six days after Mr Blair first told his cabinet about plans for regime change in Iraq." As Bob Roberts (Daily Mirror) notes, "Lord Goldsmith's letter contradicts Mr Blair's repeated statements before, during and after the war on its legality." George Pitcher (Telegraph of London) offers his take on the developments and the impact they may have on the Inquiry: "Lord Goldsmith's letter doesn't just expose the invalidity of the endorsement of the war that Number 10 practically beat out of him. It makes a mockery of the Blairs' long and consistent claims to righteousness. There was Cherie, in her role as Lady Macbeth, oh-so-tastefully exploiting the suicide of weapons inspector Dr David Kelly to promote her sickly book, when she revealed that she whispered in her man's ear at a photo opportunity in Beijing just after he had heard the news of Dr Kelly: 'You're a good man. And God knows your motives were pure.' Then there was Blair himself at his 2007 resignation, just before he went commercial: 'Hand on heart, I did what I thought was right'."
The first was written in March 2002 and the full text is available on the Downing Street memo website. Manning wrote it after a dinner with Condoleezza Rice, George Bush's national security adviser at the time, and it shows that Blair was declaring his support for regime even before he met Bush at Crawford in April. This is the key quote:
I said that you would not budge in your support for regime change but you had to manage a press, a Parliament and a public opinion that was very different than anything in the States. And you would not budge either in your insistence that, if we pursued regime change, it must be very carefully done and produce the right result.