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Four Color Politics

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

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: This is Your Brain on Bush

“Remember the egg, the frying pan and the message? ‘This is your brain,’ the ominous narrator told us before cracking an egg over the sizzling skillet. ‘This is your brain on drugs.’ Public service announcements have changed a lot since that foreboding culinary lesson. They now include exploding cars, flying Matrix-style stuntmen and exceedingly dire messages like ‘Don't Suicide Bomb.’ A new, American-made PSA aimed at discouraging these deadly attacks is currently in production. The ad is slated to air as a 60-second spot on Iraqi television this summer.”
-Newsweek, June 20, 2006

“Yep, because PSAs have that power. Remember that whole ‘this is your brain’ thing? Can’t you just see the results? No more drug problems. It will be just like that. The Iraqi people probably just don’t realize that suicide bombing attacks are bad for them. Once they see on TV that there won’t be any more problems. I guess that really only leaves a couple of little problems.”

“With the heat soaring and the overtaxed and dilapidated power grid squeezing out barely a few hours of electricity a day in parts of the capital, sweaty Iraqis will remember this as the fourth simmering summer of their discontent.

It is more than 120 degrees outside and relief is nowhere in sight.
‘We don't know how to deal with the electricity cuts,’ said Shama Adib, 37, a graphic designer and mother of three. ‘We don't know what to do.’

Curfews keep her and other Baghdad residents from wandering the streets and parks in search of ice cream and cool drinks, the pastime of choice during hot summer nights in other Persian Gulf countries. Instead, she and her kids sit at home all day and all night and sweat.
‘We just stare at each other,’ she said.
This puts psychological pressure on us. It aggravates us. Most of the people in my neighborhood tend to explode over the littlest things. Even me, I think I'm going insane.’ According to the U.S. State Department, Iraq this month met its electricity production goals for the first time since last summer.
But the power supply still falls about 33% short of demand, largely because of the influx of electrical appliances after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
Overtaxed and crumbling lines in the capital have meant Baghdad often gets less power than the provinces.
According to a cable from U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad to the State Department, a copy of which was printed by the Washington Post, one Baghdad neighborhood recently went a whole month without any electricity.”
-LA Times, June 26, 2006

“Doh! Dang it, with no electricity the people can’t watch television, and without television we can’t tell them not to commit suicide bombings, and, as the woman said, ‘people tend to explode over the littlest things’. We must stop these people from exploding! Thankfully they won’t be exploding at us soon. The White House is happy to announce that the Iraqis are stepping up so that we can step down.”

“Meanwhile, the U.S. military says that, in fact, it will meet its training goal for Iraqi security forces by the end of the year.”
-White House Spokesman Tony Snow, June 28, 2006

“See? The Iraqis will just be blowing up other Iraqis soon, not our troops, so everything will end happily. I mean, sure, the Iraqis were better off under that murderous bastich Saddam when they didn’t have these power problems and, you know, people blowing up and things like that. Back when people could at least walk the streets safely and a couple of hundred thousand of them weren’t dead as part of the war and the ongoing civil war that is following, but at least it will all be over soon (for us) and we can get back to our normal lives.”

“Q Tony, I was at the briefing at the Pentagon yesterday by General Dempsey, and it was actually a very sobering briefing, because when he talked about the Iraqi troops, he talked about their lack of equipment, the problems with attrition, and in response to my question, the biggest problem, leadership, not being able to find good leaders to lead the Iraqi troops that we train. And when he talked about them being equipped and ready for the end of the year, wasn't ready to do anything independently -- he said independent is not a word that applies now or anytime soon to these Iraqi forces.
MR. SNOW: That is correct.
Q Is the President concerned about the lack of progress, even more than three years into this?
MR. SNOW: Well, you are defining it as a lack of progress. I think what you're talking about is basic training levels. But the President is perfectly aware of the need for developing leadership cadres. As you know, we have embedded teams working with training mid-level officers to, in fact, become capable of serving as unit commanders in Iraq.
Q How quickly is a case of progress --
MR. SNOW: Well, you do it as quickly as you can. And there is certainly no foot-dragging on the part of our guys, or I think of the Iraqis. And, again, I think you get an interesting new dynamic with the new government, because it becomes something more tangible also for Iraqi forces. They know that they've got a Minister of Defense to whom they answer. They know that they have a civilian chain of command that ends up with the Prime Minister. All those -- who knows what kind of impact they're going to have. The answer is, we are still determined to do everything as quickly, but as thoroughly and effectively as possible to enable Iraqi military forces to take full control of securing Iraq. This also includes the police forces, as you know, and that's also been part of the ongoing dialogue.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, June 28, 2006

“Oh… Well the PSA messages might help (except for the electricity issue). We just need to find some better way to communicate with the insurgents in order to reach a peaceful conclusion.”

“In a sign of the e-times, Iraq's prime minister has set up an e-mail account to communicate with insurgents.
Nouri al-Maliki had the address flashed during a broadcast Sunday night on state-run al-Iraqiya television. It was advertised as an address to which insurgents could write and be assured confidentiality.
Al-Maliki unveiled his national reconciliation plan earlier in the day, calling on insurgents to lay down their arms and offering a limited amnesty for fighters who had not committed terrorist acts or killings.
Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish lawmaker and close associate of President Jalal Talabani, confirmed al-Maliki set up an e-mail account but did not have details about how many electronic messages had been received.
But Iraqi presidential security adviser Wafiq al-Samaraie said the response so far had been low, with just two messages reportedly arriving Wednesday. The government did not repeat the address after the initial broadcast to prevent it from being flooded with junk mail.”
-Associated Press, June 28, 2006

“Yep. They insure confidentiality for the insurgents. I trust that a little more than I trust the Bush Administration with our online confidentiality at the moment, but that isn’t saying much.”


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