I had 15 e-mails. They were your reactions to Chuck. Everyone agrees they don't like Morgan having powers or Chuck not having them. Some of you (5) mentioned Sarah's hair. 3 of you felt I was making too much of you, 2 of you agreed that when her hair starts out poorly, it's usually a slow season. Belinda had a really good point.
If you didn't see the episode, last year ended with Chuck being left all the Volkoff money by the man's daughter. He was using that to fund their business. This episode, they were spending a lot of it and they also put $40 million into a bad guy's bank account as part of a scam. The CIA grabbed that money and, in the process, all the other millions and millions.
Belinda asks: "How? We're supposed to believe that Chuck & company kept all of that in cash other than buying Castle and the Buy More? Something like a hundred million in cash? And that the CIA grabbed it from their bank accounts? Let's pretend that they did keep it all in cash -- very stupid on their part -- in which case, they didn't use the US. We have a limit, $400,000 or $500,000, on FDIC insurance. Meaning if the bank gets robbed or goes belly up, your account insured for that amount, will be replaced for that amount. Do you know how many US accounts they'd have to have to keep $100 million in accounts no greater than $500,000? And if they put it all in one account, $100 million in one US account, if the bank had been robbed, all they would have gotten from FDIC was $500,000. It makes no sense at all."
Rodney e-mailed, "I would love the show so much more if they'd get rid of Jeff and Lester."
Okay, the Iraq War continues and this is from Larry Everest's "US Troop Withdrawal:"
For all this violence, the U.S. has not been able to achieve its grand strategic objectives in Iraq, or even its scaled-back objectives. When George W. Bush signed the status of forces agreement in 2008 calling for an end to the U.S. presence in Iraq by the end of 2011, it was assumed (perhaps even directly agreed upon) that U.S. forces would remain in Iraq for sometime after that "withdrawal date."
For over a year under Obama, the U.S. has been trying to negotiate a treaty with Iraq under which as many as 18,000 U.S. military forces could remain in Iraq. This summer, the U.S. scaled down its demand to some 5,000 military personnel. But when the U.S. insisted its military forces be given immunity from prosecution by Iraqi authorities for crimes under Iraqi law, the negotiations broke down. This breakdown reflects, and is a product of, the many complex, shifting contradictions the U.S. faces in attempting to more forcefully assert its domination in the Middle East—and how its "war on terror" to forcibly reshape and more directly control Iraq, Afghanistan, and the region has ended up exacerbating the very contradictions and obstacles the war was designed to resolve. All this has also intersected with new, unanticipated developments across the region and globally.
So it was this breakdown (and ultimately these deeper difficulties)—not a deliberate plan—that forced Obama's hand (even as he had strategically aimed to scale back U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, in an attempt to better deal with the deep stresses and strains on the empire).
This is but the latest chapter of U.S. ambitions in Iraq being thwarted, then scaled back, and then thwarted some more. It is important to recall what exactly the Bush regime dreamed of in Iraq. A March 21, 2003 Wall Street Journal piece spelled some of it out:
"[Bush's] dream is to make the entire Middle East a different place, and one safer for American interests. The vision is appealing: a region that, after a regime change in Baghdad, has pro-American governments in the Arab world's three most important countries, Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. In the long run, that changes the dynamic of the region, making it more friendly to Washington and spreading democracy. Reducing the influence of radicals helps make Palestinians more amenable to an agreement with Israel."
But the U.S. began to encounter big problems within a few months of invading Iraq. The Bush regime thought it could quickly and totally remake Iraqi society and start "fresh"—creating a fully subservient neocolony, designed to fit the global needs of U.S. capital and the regional needs of U.S. power. The U.S. disbanded the Iraqi Army, barred most Sunnis from holding government positions, and attempted to install a hand-picked U.S. puppet council to rule. It even tried, under Paul Bremer, the U.S. "Administrator" of Iraq, to ram through drastic "free market" capitalist economic restructuring.
Now let's talk Third. Along with Dallas, the following worked on the edition:
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, 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),
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.
And new content?
Gareth Porter disgraced himself. If I hadn't been covering Chuck, I would have done a post Saturday (probably Friday night) awarding Gareth Idiot of the Week.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"