April 18, 2008

What, in the name of all that’s holy, is anyone doing up at 5:28 am? At this ungodly hour, one can only be up to no good. Unless you’re over 50, like me, in which case it’s simply old age: with the sand in the hourglass moving rather too quickly, we oldsters simply want to experience as much of the time we have left in a state of wakefulness as possible. That’s one explanation: here‘s another. Well, then, be that as it may, let’s get on with the day’s news, and there sure is a lot of it:

Our quote of the day comes from Andrew Sullivan, commenting on the Obama-is-a-terrorist meme that was repeated over and over at Obama’s interrogation debate with Hillary on ABC the other night:

“€œThe Clintons began their career fighting Nixon. They ended up, in terms of political tactics, becoming him.”€

Actually, that’s not quite fair to Nixon, who believed in something, if only in the historic import of his own opportunism. The Clintons, for their part, believe in nothing but the exercise of power for its own sake.

Via Matt Yglesias, we have more evidence that John McCain is not only a hypocrite, but a shill for a Certain Country:

“First, John McCain says he’ll veto any bill that contains earmarks. Second, ThinkProgress notes that American aid to Israel is handled through earmarks and wonders if McCain plans on cutting that. McCain’s campaign responds, of course, that aid to Israel will keep flowing.”

Let it never be said that John McCain let principle get in the way of the one overriding Principle of all presidential campaigns in the good old US of A: kowtowing to Tel Aviv is obligatory. 

Lest anyone think Barack Obama is the exception, the indispensable Philip Weiss points out:

”[Daniel] Kurtzer is Obama’s surrogate, and here he is in the Philadelphia Jewish Voice, on the eve of the Pennsylvania primary, smearing Walt and Mearsheimer before a Jewish audience in order to advance Obama’s campaign:

“‘Now, we”€™ve seen in this country, specious, dangerous, venomous arguments couched in academic terms, couched in public policy terms, that seek to undermine the support of Americans for the state of Israel. I”€™m now something of an academic. I don”€™t think my academic colleagues quite see me that way, but I go to work with them everyday. And I see two professors, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, under the guise of an academic exercise, write such nonsense about the policy process in this country, about the pro-Israel community in this country, and about politics, it really just blows the mind. It’s amazing.

“‘And yet, it’s against that backdrop that we are blessed with three candidates in whom we can trust with respect to their support for the state of Israel. And Barack Obama is among those candidates.’

“Note the little air-kiss to McCain there. Disgusting. This is a smear campaign, designed to prove Obama’s bona fides.”

I guess that means we won’t be hearing from Obama on the Israeli campaign to undermine what’s left of the “peace process, which is summed up in the following headline:

“€œIsrael plans 100 new homes in W.Bank settlements“€ “€“ yes, we can always count on the Israelis doing their part for “€œpeace”€ in the Middle East. Reuters goes on to report:

“Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in keeping with the previous government’s policy, has vowed to keep West Bank settlement blocs—including Ariel and Elkana—under any future peace accord. The Olmert government argues that this warrants the continued building of homes within in the settlement blocs, though U.S. officials have consistently demanded a freeze.”

One can hardly blame the Israelis: after all, when their American surrogates and agents do such a good job of vetting and otherwise taming our presidential candidates, not to mention candidates for other offices, why should they listen to our tepid appeals—when they know we don’t mean, and, even if we did, no American politician in his right mind would even consider enforcing our demands pleas?

Yean, we’re surging in Iraq, alright—surging backwards:

“A company of government troops abandoned its positions in Sadr City when the forces came under attack from Shiite militiamen who took advantage of a sandstorm to attack, police said Friday.”

This might not seem like progress to you, but, alas—as I’ve pointed out on several occasions—it is progress, if you live in Bizarro World.

Remember that brouhaha over those British sailors captured by the Iranians and paraded around on Iranian television? According to the Brits, they were seized in Iraqi waters, and the whole thing was yet more evidence of Iran’s warlike intentions in the Gulf. At the time, I rather doubted this, and pointed to the indeterminate border as the probable cause of the incident, and, it turns out, I was right, according to the London Times, which has the documents to prove it:

“Fifteen British sailors and Marines were seized by Iran in internationally disputed waters and not in Iraq’s maritime territory as Parliament was told, according to new official documents released to The Times. The Britons were seized because the US-led coalition designated a sea boundary for Iran’s territorial waters without telling the Iranians where it was, internal Ministry of Defence briefing papers reveal. Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act detail for the first time the blunders last spring that led to what an all-party committee of MPs came to describe as a ‘national embarrassment.’

“Newly released Ministry of Defence documents state that:
“€” The arrests took place in waters that are not internationally agreed as Iraqi;
“€” The coalition unilaterally designated a dividing line between Iraqi and Iranian waters in the Gulf without telling Iran where it was;
“€” The Iranian Revolutionary Guards”€™ coastal protection vessels were crossing this invisible line at a rate of three times a week; It was the British who apparently raised their weapons first before the Iranian gunboats came alongside.”

Game, set, match ….

While we’re on the subject of national embarrassments, the

“The war in Iraq has become “a major debacle” and the outcome “is in doubt” despite improvements in security from the buildup in U.S. forces, according to a highly critical study published Thursday by the Pentagon’s premier military educational institute. The report released by the National Defense University … was published by the university’s National Institute for Strategic Studies , a Defense Department research center.‘“Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle,’ says the report’s opening line.”

“A major debacle”—as opposed to this relatively minor debacle, as reported by the New York Post:

“It’s a good thing Osama wasn’t walking through SoHo yesterday morning. Two sets of confidential blueprints for the planned Freedom Tower, which is set to rise at Ground Zero, were carelessly dumped in a city garbage can on the corner of West Houston and Sullivan streets, The Post has learned.

“Experts said the detailed, floor-by-floor schematics contain enough detail for terrorists to plot a devastating attack. ‘Secure Document – Confidential,’ warns the title page on each of the two copies of the 150-page schematic that a homeless, recovering drug addict discovered in the public trash can.”

Yead, it sure is a good thing Osama wasn’t walking through SoHo yesterday morning—or, was he …?


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