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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Lowered Expectations

“Marine commanders in Iraq learned within two days of the killings in Haditha last November that Iraqi civilians had died from gunfire, not a roadside bomb as initially reported, but the officers involved saw no reason to investigate further, according to a senior Marine officer.
The commanders have told investigators they had not viewed as unusual, in a combat environment, the discrepancies that emerged almost immediately in accounts about how the two dozen Iraqis died, and that they had no information at the time suggesting that any civilians had been killed deliberately.
But the handling of the matter by the senior Marine commanders in Haditha, and whether officers and enlisted personnel tried to cover up what happened or missed signs suggesting that the civilian killings were not accidental, has become a major element of the investigation by an Army general into the entire episode.
Officials have said that the investigation, while not yet complete, is likely to conclude that a small group of marines carried out the unprovoked killings of two dozen civilians in the hours after a makeshift bomb killed a marine.
A senior Marine general familiar with the investigation, which is being led by Maj. Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell of the Army, said in an interview that it had not yet established how high up the chain of command culpability for the killings extended. But he said there were strong suspicions that some officers knew that the Marine squad's version of events had enough holes and discrepancies that it should have been looked into more deeply.”
-New York Times, June 3, 2006

“A massacre of civilians is always terrible (and several of those killed were children, making it so very much worse), but to cover up this kind of thing makes it infinitely worse. These people should have been investigated immediately and publicly. If you really want to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the Iraqi population you need to make sure that they know that the American military will show them as much respect as we would want them to show us. Unfortunately there was a cover-up, and ‘responsibility’ seems to be a word missing from our government’s vocabulary at the moment.”

“Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Friday defended the training of the American troops in Iraq and insisted that the overwhelming majority respect the rights of Iraqi civilians.
‘We know that 99.9 percent of our forces conduct themselves in an exemplary manner,’ Rumsfeld said. ‘We also know that in conflicts things that shouldn't happen do happen.’
His comments followed charges by the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al- Maliki, on Thursday that American forces had regularly infringed on the rights of Iraqis.
He also said that his government would take this conduct into account in determining how long American troops should remain in Iraq.
‘They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion,’ Maliki said. ‘This is completely unacceptable.’"
-International Herald Tribune, June 3, 2006

“Yep, just so long as most of the military isn’t running people over or slaughtering them in their homes there is nothing to see here. Just a few bad apples (just like in Abu Ghraib). The Pentagon maintains only the highest standards, and anything that doesn’t meet their rigorous policy standards is unacceptable. In cases like this there is only one thing to do… Lower the standards.”

“I'm the master of low expectations.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, June 4, 2003

“The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Conventions that explicitly bans ‘humiliating and degrading treatment,’ according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.
The decision culminates a lengthy debate within the Defense Department but will not become final until the Pentagon makes new guidelines public, a step that has been delayed. However, the State Department opposes the military's decision to exclude Geneva Conventions protections and has been pushing for the Pentagon and White House to reconsider, the defense officials acknowledged.”
-Baltimore Sun, June 5, 2006

“Though these last few years have been tough on the Republican party.. I mean, how many scandals like this can you have before the entire party starts looking bad? It seems though that their biggest fan is sticking with them.”

“Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell offered a greeting to delegates to the Republican convention. ‘It's great to be back in the holy land,’ the Fort Worth native said to the cheers of the party faithful. For the 4,500 delegates at last week's biennial gathering, it was both an expression of conservative philosophy and religious faith, a melding of church and state.

At Saturday morning's prayer meeting, party leader Tina Benkiser assured them that God was watching over the two-day confab.
‘He is the chairman of this party,’ she said against a backdrop of flags and a GOP seal with its red, white and blue logo.
The party platform, adopted Saturday, declares ‘America is a Christian nation’ and affirms that ‘God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom.’"
-Dallas Morning News, June 4, 2006

“See? Its ok to kill the innocent and torture because God supports us, just like he supported His son when Herod ordered the slaughter of the innocents or when Jesus was beaten and nailed to a tree. Just remember, what so ever you do to the least of my brothers is okay as long as you have plausible deniability.”


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