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Showing posts from May 29, 2005

the good news just keeps pouring in...

“The Bush administration tried this week to counter the impression that Mr. Zarqawi and other insurgents were derailing the nascent Iraqi political process. Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday that American and Iraqi forces over the past few months had killed about 250 members of Mr. Zarqawi's network, including some top lieutenants, and captured more than 400. General Myers, appearing Wednesday with Mr. Rumsfeld, said the number of attacks against American forces was down 20 percent from peaks last November, during the battle of Falluja, and in January, before the elections. But he did not mention that attacks had doubled, to about 70 a day now, from early April.” NY Times Thirty members of the Army National Guard, Army Reserve and Marine Corps Reserve died in the Iraq war in May, matching the highest toll for any month of the war, according to Pentagon figures… The Guard and Reserve, which make up nearly half the force in Iraq, have gene

war, what is it good for -- let me count the ways

Harry has an interesting and almost irony free post here which makes the very good point that those who toss around the chickenhawk label when it comes to the pro-Iraq war set aren’t exactly besieging the military recruitment offices to serve in Afghanistan and Kosovo. The larger point is that chickenhawk-hood is a status that crosses the ideological line between liberal and conservative. That’s an important point. In fact, it was Clinton’s own shifty ways of getting out of fighting in Vietnam that made it hard to countenance his own use of military force in Kosovo. Clinton is a very clever man – he knew this was true. But to be president of the United States is to be president of a country that routinely spends about a trillion dollars every four or five years on the military. That spending is to war like the civit musk is to perfume – it is the pure essence. One simply has to find the right solution to dilute it in. Orwell was right: we live in a society that is perpetually at war
LI was planning on springing a grand sounding post on our readers entitled the Crisis of the Liberal Order – sweet, eh? Alas, our schedule is a bit too crowded today for the erecting of such monuments (or tombstones). We’ve been rather surprised by the commentary that followed the French no. The crowd at Crooked Timber became apoplectic about the whole thing. Ourselves, we think that the comment made by John Rentoul in the Independent is on the mark: “French voters have given all sorts of reasons for voting No, many of them contradictory, but there can be little doubt that in the longer perspective of history, it will be seen as a vote that said: 'So far and no farther.' I would not characterise the mood of European peoples as being satisfied with the state of the Union, but the French referendum suggests that the balance between the powers of the nation state and the centre is regarded as being about right. The expansion from 15 to 25 members last year was a huge change not ju

war for the fans

The month began with great, obsequious stories in the NYT about how the war is now over (except for getting the native guards armed and trained) in Iraq. It ends with more than twice the number of Americans killed than were killed in March, with the latest being the four that went down in a single engine plane – bizarrely, the U.S. has apparently decided to outfit the Iraqi airforce with planes that you can also rent for birthdays and holiday travel. Must mean, according to the wondrous pretzel logic of the Pentagon, that we are winning. This logic has two sides. When casualties go down, it is obvious that we are winning. And when casualties go up, it is obvious the other side is desperate. This logic is also used by six year olds to explain why they don’t want to eat the vegetables. In fact, this has penetrated the Times enough that they are starting to question their own ludicrous headlines of last week. Remember that 40,000 Iraqi troops were supposed to be sweeping Baghdad this wee

the national imaginary

LI wrote a friend last night that we were proud of France. And indeed, we are. From the U.S. perspective, it might seem that the oui vote was a sad necessity. Creating a counter-balance to the mad, bad power of the U.S. seems like a good idea, if you live in a place where they broadcast excerpts of speeches by Bush on the radio. I was vaguely of that opinion. But a less heated perspective is in order. The peculiar U.S. move for a harsher and more direct hegemony is meeting its natural limits already. It isn’t just the fact that the U.S. economy is fueled by an unsustainable explosion of private and public debt – there is also the very real regionalisation of America’s natural peripheral economy, Latin America, with its tendency to turn its back on the U.S. and its face towards China – it is the fatal overstretch of military power, rapidly coming to the point at which Bush will have to decide whether to pull back or destroy his popularity by asking for (gasp!) such sacrifices as a draft
Memorial Day H.R. 1815 SEC. 1223. WITHDRAWAL OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES FROM IRAQ. It is the sense of Congress that the President should-- (1) develop a plan as soon as practicable after the date of the enactment of this Act to provide for the withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq; and (2) transmit to the congressional defense committees a report that contains the plan described in paragraph LI got this from Scratchings. The resolution was defeated, 128 to 300. However, it is the first time this kind of resolution reached the floor. Plus, the Republican who is most famous for having French fried renamed Freedom Fries not only voted for it, but he spoke for it. This is from Truthout: Perhaps the most important speech in favor of an exit strategy came from Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). His district in North Carolina is one that is very supportive of the military. His opposition to the continuation of the war is of interest because he had been a supporter of the war, a point