Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bipartisan Legislation

There seems to be a new wave washing over Washington today. As hard as it may seem to some, it would appear that the Democrats controlling Congress are about to allow the Republicans to pass a 100 billion dollar war funding bill that they will use in the next election against Democrats.
One can only wonder why.
What do congressional Democrats have against the Democratic Party?
Mind you I'm not totally stupid. I don't buy the argument that being a Democrat means opposing the Iraq War. This Keith Olbermann commentary seems to be assuming a lot more than what is the reality of the Washington Democrats.
But the test will be today's vote. If the Democrat leaders in Congress bring to a vote a bill that wins the overwhelming support of Republicans who will go on next year to use this vote against Democrats who oppose the never-ending funding of this war, against Democrats who have already voted to fund a sane approach to funding but oppose this insanity, then what is there left to say about these so-called leaders? How this isn't betrayal is a mystery to me.
But yeah, this is bipartisan legislation. If enough Democrats favor open-ended funding of the war along with an overwhelming majority of Republicans, then yeah, let's have a vote on it. Let's see who the Bush faithful really are in Washington. Then let's let the American voters decide next year who stays and who goes.

Friday, May 11, 2007

French Alibi

Richard Perle who was chairman of the Pentagon Defense Policy Board from July 2001 to March 2003, writes in a Washington Post column today that he couldn't possibly have said what former CIA chief George Tenet claims in his new book that he said on September 12, 2001. Perle couldn't have said it because he wasn't in Washington on September 12, 2001 as Tenet claims in his book. He was, according to William Kristol, stuck in France until the 15th. He couldn't get a flight to the US.
So Perle had an alibi, a French alibi no less, on 9/11.
Now I don't know about you. Everyone's entitled to his or her own opinion about things. But I couldn't understand why President Bush just sat in that Florida classroom while terrorists crashed airplanes into New York. I can't understand why the chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board would sit in France for three or four days after the attack.
Of course if you think about it without giving it any thought, you'd probably remember that there weren't any commercial flights in the US for several days after the attack. But that's commercial flights. Perle isn't an average Joe like you and me, nor is he a simple millionaire who vacations in the South of France. He's a Pentagon insider. The US government was still flying. I have no doubt that the government was still flying government and military executives wherever they needed to go. The very idea that nobody in the Pentagon could have flown Perle from France to Washington if he had actually wanted to get to Washington seems ludicrous to me.
But that's Perle's alibi and he's sticking to it.
But France of all places?
Perle chalet in the South of France:
Seymour Hersh March 17, 2003 The New Yorker
This 2003 Hersh article brings up a fascinating facet of Perle's position as head of the Defense Policy Board. It would appear that by 2003, Perle had found a way to capitalize from the (still in the future) Iraq War.
No conflict of interest there:
Trireme Partners LLP - Perle's Homeland Security technology company
Wikipedia (Boeing $20 million invested)
Boeing? Is that the same Boeing that contracts with the Pentagon for billions upon billions of dollars?
Nope, no conflict of interest there.
Does the term "Military Industrial Complex" ring any bells here?
French alibi indeed...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

More Clearly Muddled

Yesterday George Bush vetoed the supplemental war spending bill. Immediately after, he gave a speech about that veto in the White House. In that speech, he made this comment:
It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing. All the terrorists would have to do is mark their calendars and gather their strength -- and begin plotting how to overthrow the government and take control of the country of Iraq. I believe setting a deadline for withdrawal would demoralize the Iraqi people, would encourage killers across the broader Middle East, and send a signal that America will not keep its commitments. Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure -- and that would be irresponsible.
A Republican hearing or reading this part of the speech might think that Bush is making a lot of sense here. If you're already inside the frame, the picture seems complete.
But a more independent thinker might not think this picture is a sensible one to frame the debate with. Let's just look at a few of the points Bush made.
1. Setting a deadline is telling the "enemy" how close they are to winning the war.
Since we are mainly fighting the Iraqi people themselves, and the majority of the Iraqi people want the United States to withdraw, the Iraqi people themselves are the enemy of the United States.
2. It is the terrorists who want to overthrow the Iraqi government.
Calling the majority of the people of Iraq "terrorists" makes no sense at all to me. That word may trigger fear in America's Republicans, but it demonizes the people in Iraq who want America to leave them alone. It is a destructive and divisive way to refer to what is going on in Iraq.
3. Setting a withdrawal timetable would demoralize the Iraqi people.
While that may be true of a certain small percentage of Iraqis who depend on the US for their control of Iraqi politics and while it is certainly true of Iraqi profiteers, the majority of Iraqis are demoralized by the current situation. That's why they want us gone. They're sick and tired of the United States using their country as a battlefield for our "War on Terror."
4. Ending the occupation and withdrawing from Iraq "would encourage killers across the broader Middle East."
This is pure delusional thinking. The idea that America's military presence in Iraq is the source of Middle East stability is pure delusion.
5. Withdrawing from Iraq would, "send a signal that America will not keep its commitments."
The thing is that if we stay in Iraq, everything that we promised the Iraqi people when we began this war will have gone down the drain. Imposing a pro-American government on the people of Iraq by breaking down doors, torturing, indiscriminately shooting, strafing and bombing from the air, and declaring a larger and larger percentage of the population to be the "enemy" "terrorists" is not what we promised the people of Iraq. The only way we can now keep our word is if we get out of Iraq and leave it to others - the Iraqi people, Middle East neighbors, the UN - to broker the peace.
6. Withdrawing represents failure.
To the Republican Party which was hijacked back in 2000 by the neocons, this is true. The vision of the Project for the New American Century has the United States setting up a long-term control center in Iraq. If we withdraw, that strategy will clearly fail.
How better can we show the world that the United States is irresponsible than to keep on doing what we have been doing in Iraq since 2003? The whole world knows why we're doing it. It's only we here in the US who aren't aware of the real reasons.
You see, what's really at stake here and what President Bush is really saying is that if we set a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, those in Iraqi politics who oppose the Oil Law which essentially privatizes Iraq's oil just need to maintain their opposition for a few more months. If they manage to do that, everything Bush and Cheney have been fighting for in Iraq will be lost.
That's the real framework of this muddled mess.


Last night there was a 2-way debate on the PBS News Hour between Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson from Texas and Democrat Senator Patty Murray from Washington State. Yesterday was the day that President Bush vetoed the Iraq War supplemental spending bill. Senator Murray held her ground well. Senator Hutchinson, though, was like Deja Vu all over again. I don't recall seeing her on TV very much but I was amazed at how much she spoke and presented herself like Maine's veteran Senator Olympia Snowe. She didn't have to think even a single creative or individual thought for this debate. All she seemed to do was parrot Republican talking points. Not only that but just like Maine's Senator Snowe, she did it in a droning voice. The working temperature of her personality was absolute zero.
However, her cluelessness really came through at one point when she said it is 30,000 miles from the US to Iraq. I'm serious! Check out the transcript on PBS. Honey I hate to be the one to tell you this but it isn't 30,000 miles to anywhere on earth unless you first circle the entire planet and then head to your destination.
That reminded me of something on YouTube that I watched last week, about how geographically savvy Americans can be. I can't imagine, though, that this video isn't staged. But 30,000 miles to Iraq? From where, Senator?