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Four Color Politics

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

Monday, April 30, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Heck of a Thing to Happen

“Deputy Secretary of State Randall L. Tobias submitted his resignation Friday, one day after confirming to ABC News that he had been a customer of a Washington, D.C. escort service whose owner has been charged by federal prosecutors with running a prostitution operation. Tobias, 65, director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), had previously served as the ambassador for the President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief.
A State Department press release late Friday afternoon said only he was leaving for ‘personal reasons.’
On Thursday, Tobias told ABC News he had several times called the ‘Pamela Martin and Associates’ escort service ‘to have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage.’ Tobias, who is married, said there had been ‘no sex,’ and that recently he had been using another service ‘with Central Americans’ to provide massages.”
-ABC News, April 27, 2007

“Ok.. The main reason I love this one is just because his name is Randy Tobias. It reminds me of ‘Arrested Development’, which was one of my favorite shows a while back. Still, like the man said, there was no sex, so I’m not really sure why this is such a big deal. Everyone loved this guy. Even the CWA (a far-right women’s organization which likes to fight hate-crimes legislation) liked him. I mean, listen to what they said…”

“Concerned Women for America (CWA), the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization, praised the Bush administration for its swift efforts to begin staffing the Global AIDS Initiative, beginning with a highly qualified manager, Randy Tobias, former Eli Lilly CEO, as the first director.
‘The American people have quickly joined in support of the President’s initiative to bring hope and healing to the people of Africa,’ said Michael Schwartz, CWA’s Vice President for Government Relations. ‘The President articulated a clear, bold vision in his State of the Union address to completely overhaul the U.S. approach to the AIDS epidemic in Africa. The plan has garnered broad support because it rejects the failed, condom-based methods of the past.
‘The ‘San Francisco’ model hasn’t worked here, and our President refuses to send a proven failure to the people of Africa and the Caribbean. His compassion requires real solutions for this crisis, and he is offering true hope through the ‘Uganda model’ known by the abbreviation ‘ABC’ – A, remaining abstinent, B, being faithful to one uninfected person, and C, condoms for high-risk populations such as prostitutes. Uganda is the only country in the world to significantly lower HIV/AIDS rates, from 21 percent to 6 percent since 1991.
‘CWA applauds the Mr. Tobias for sharing the philosophies of this President and accepting the nomination to carry out this historic initiative to implement the Ugandan model. Mr. Tobias has an impressive background in business. This new position presents a new challenge in a new field of endeavor in a new location. We are confident that, sharing the President’s vision, he will bring his talents to bear in addressing the AIDS crisis in Africa. CWA looks forward to working with Mr. Tobias, as it has with the administration in passing the AIDS initiative, and to sharing the knowledge and experience of our experts on abstinence, AIDS and other significant family issues.”
-Concerned Women of America, July 7, 2003

“See? I’m sure that Tobias was faithful, because the man’s entire job was pushing the ABC model in Africa. He couldn’t possibly have forgotten that stuff. A: Remain abstinent. B: Be faithful. C: Vote Conservative. I’m sure that with this little misunderstanding out of the way the Administration will have some nice things to say about him in parting.”

“Within minutes of McCormack's announcement, Tobias's biography was removed from the USAID Web site.

State Department officials declined to comment further on the reasons for Tobias's resignation.
‘I'm sad today,’ said one person close to Tobias. ‘The president loves him and Condi absolutely loves him.’”
-Washington Post, April 28, 2007

“Huh.. They’ve been so vocal in supporting him previously.”

“Ambassador Randy Tobias, who is the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, and has done a heck of a job.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, December 1, 2005

“I’m sorry.. I didn’t realize that Fearless Leader had given him the kiss of death. Had I known that I wouldn’t have been so surprised.”

“I'm proud to be traveling with the Speaker, Denny Hastert. He's a good, solid American. And he's doing a heck of a job as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, January 6, 2006

“It's good to be in old Tom Ridge's home town. He's a good friend, he's a good man, and he's doing a heck of a good job in reorganizing the Department of Homeland Security.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, September 4, 2005

“And of course.. the classic..”

“Brownie, you're doin' a heck of a job.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, September 2, 2005

Friday, April 27, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Who Counts

“Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said yesterday that he believes the military's operation to secure Baghdad is showing ‘positive’ early signs but that he is reluctant to use ‘happy talk’ to describe the situation in Iraq because it remains violent.”
-Washington Post, April 6, 2007

“It was Mr. Bush’s first in-depth interview since a round of television appearances he made after announcing in January that he would send more troops to Iraq. As the two men sat face to face in a room in the Waldorf-Astoria, Mr. Rose raised the issue of military buildup almost casually, saying, ‘How is what’s sometimes called ‘the surge’ going?’
Mr. Bush’s answer was mixed. ‘The good news is that sectarian death is down in Baghdad,’ he replied. ‘The bad news is that spectacular car bombs still go off, in a way that tends to shake the confidence of the Iraqi people that their government can protect them.’
Mr. Rose asked his guest about Senator John McCain’s admission that he had no ‘Plan B’ if the administration’s current strategy failed. Mr. Bush replied, somewhat grimly, ‘The Plan B is to make Plan A work.’ But he went on to assure Mr. Rose that his administration constantly reassessed its plans and decision-making.”
-New York Times, April 25, 2007

“See? You people didn’t believe that the surge would work, but it is! It is working I tell you!”

“Bush administration officials have pointed to a dramatic decline in one category of deaths -- the bodies dumped daily in Baghdad streets, which officials call sectarian murders -- as evidence that the security plan is working. Bush said this week that that number had declined by 50 percent, a number confirmed by statistics compiled by McClatchy Newspapers.”
-McClatchy Newspapers, April 26, 2007

“The violence is down! Peace is coming, and soon we will be back in control. Happy days are here again!”

“U.S. officials who say there has been a dramatic drop in sectarian violence in Iraq since President Bush began sending more American troops into Baghdad aren't counting one of the main killers of Iraqi civilians.
Car bombs and other explosive devices have killed thousands of Iraqis in the past three years, but the administration doesn't include them in the casualty counts it has been citing as evidence that the surge of additional U.S. forces is beginning to defuse tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.”
-McClatchy Newspapers, April 26, 2007

“Hmm. Well, it is getting better except for all of the bombings. Why wouldn’t we count the bombings?”

“Many parts of Iraq are stable now. But, uh, of course, what we see on television is the one bombing a day that discourages everyone.”
-Laura Bush, February 26, 2007

"If the standard of success is no car bombings or suicide bombings, we have just handed those who commit suicide bombings a huge victory."
-George “Dubya” Bush, April 24, 2007

“If we counted the people that died due to car bombings it would discourage people and the terrorists would win. By the same token, if we count ANY of the insurgent killings it will just encourage them to do it again (especially those that commit suicide. We don’t want them killing themselves again). Let’s ignore them.. Hey, look! We can leave Iraq now! It is peaceful again.
Ok, that may not be the right answer. We have a solution though. If Fearless Leader isn’t counting the dead, then we’ll just have to go to the Iraqi government to find out what is going on.”

“The United Nations is unable to determine how many Iraqi civilians have been killed so far this year because the Iraqi government won't share the information, a U.N. agency said in a Wednesday report.
An Iraqi government official denied that the information was withheld to cover up the number of civilian deaths, and the prime minister's office said the U.N. report ‘lacks accuracy.’
Even without the numbers, the report delivers a grim message: Iraq is facing ‘immense security challenges in the face of growing violence and armed opposition to its authority and the rapidly worsening humanitarian crisis.’
The report also contains a laundry list of human rights concerns.”
-CNN, April 25, 2007

“Huh.. The Iraqis aren’t even counting their own dead apparently. Still, it isn’t like the bombs are a big deal.”

“Two months into the U.S.-led Baghdad Security Plan, at least 289 people were killed and injured across Iraq on Saturday, including 36 dead in a car bomb attack in the holy Shiite city of Karbala. The carnage of a crowd teeming with women and children set off an angry mob of hundreds against the governor and police.”
-McClatchy Newspapers, April 15, 2007

“A series of car bomb blasts at a Baghdad market and a Shiite town north of the capital killed at least 100 people Thursday, police and hospital sources said.”
-MSNBC, March 29, 2007

“Those silly Iraqis. Their deaths don’t count. But it is getting better, right?”

“Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, depicted the situation there as ‘exceedingly complex and very tough’ Thursday and said the U.S. effort might become more difficult before it gets easier.”
-Associated Press, April 26, 2007

“Wow. That is going to be tough on the troops. I hope we can find some way to help them with the stress.”

“Extended overseas deployments affecting soldiers serving in Afghanistan and other locales overseen by U.S. Central Command should help to alleviate the stress on the Army, a senior U.S. officer in Afghanistan told Pentagon reporters today.”
-American Forces Press Service, April 24, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Suffering

“And believe me, no one suffers more than their President and I do when we watch this and certainly the Commander in Chief who has asked our military to go into harm’s way.”
-Laura Bush, Today Show interview, April 25, 2007

“You people out there should learn from the brave example of Fearless Leader and Mrs. Fearless Leader. They suffer horribly because of this war, but they do it without complaint. The rest of you should be so brave..”

“Following inquiries by ABC News, the Pentagon has dropped plans to force a severely wounded U.S. soldier to repay his enlistment bonus after injuries had forced him out of the service.
Army Spc. Tyson Johnson III of Mobile, Ala., who lost a kidney in a mortar attack last year in Iraq, was still recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center when he received notice from the Pentagon's own collection agency that he owed more than $2,700 because he could not fulfill his full 36-month tour of duty.”
-ABC News, October 14, 2004

“Sgt. David Thomas, a gunner with the Tennessee National Guard, spent his first three months at Walter Reed with no decent clothes; medics in Samarra had cut off his uniform. Heavily drugged, missing one leg and suffering from traumatic brain injury, David, 42, was finally told by a physical therapist to go to the Red Cross office, where he was given a T-shirt and sweat pants. He was awarded a Purple Heart but had no underwear.”
-Washington Post, February 19, 2007

“Master Sgt. Jenkins, 42, has a degenerative spine problem and a long scar down the back of his neck where three of his vertebrae were fused during surgery. He takes a cornucopia of potent pain pills. His medical records say he is ‘at significantly increased risk of re-injury during deployment where he will be wearing Kevlar, body armor and traveling through rough terrain.’ Late last year, those medical records show, a doctor recommended that Jenkins be referred to an Army board that handles retirements when injuries are permanent and severe.
A copy of Jenkins' profile written after that Feb. 15 meeting and signed by Capt. Starbuck, the brigade surgeon, shows a healthier soldier than the profile of Jenkins written by another doctor just late last year, though Jenkins says his condition is unchanged. Other soldiers' documents show the same pattern.
One female soldier with psychiatric issues and a spine problem has been in the Army for nearly 20 years. ‘My [health] is deteriorating,’ she said over dinner at a restaurant near Fort Benning. ‘My spine is separating. I can't carry gear.’ Her medical records include the note ‘unable to deploy overseas.’ Her status was also reviewed on Feb. 15. And she has been ordered to Iraq this week.”
-Salon.com, March 11, 2007

“Listen to their whining! These people (and the families of the 3,335 dead and over 10,000 injured American soldiers) think they know suffering, but Mrs. Fearless Leader shames them all. Despite the crippling burden of watching the war on television Mrs. Fearless Leader still bravely wakes up every morning and goes out to do whatever the heck she does without complaint. You should all be so courageous. Mrs. Fearless Leader, do you have a message for the American public in these troubling times?”

“Well I hope they know the burden of worry that is on his shoulders, um, every single day for our troops and I think they do.”
-Laura Bush, Today Show interview, April 25, 2007

“Yes Mrs. Fearless Leader. I think that we all understand your husband’s concern for the troops.”

"There are some who, uh, feel like that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is: Bring 'em on. We got the force necessary to deal with the security situation.“
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, July 2, 2003.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Political Objectives

“President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have aggressively challenged the motives of congressional Democrats as the House and Senate prepared to consider a war spending bill that would order troops to be withdrawn from Iraq beginning later this year.
In separate appearances Tuesday that served as a prelude to an inevitable veto showdown, Bush and Cheney accused Democrats of political opportunism in forging ahead with a $124 billion measure that sets a timetable for leaving Iraq.
‘Instead of fashioning a bill I could sign, the Democratic leaders chose to further delay funding our troops, and they chose to make a political statement,’ Bush said Tuesday morning before leaving for New York. ‘That's their right. But it is wrong for our troops, and it's wrong for our country.’"
-International Herald Tribune, April 25, 2007

“Of course it is political! The Democrats just want to hurt our troops by not giving them the money they need for the Glorious Triumph in Iraq. American soldiers will die if they don’t get the money that they need. This goes against everything that Fearless Leader believes in. Remember what he says..”

“You cannot tolerate in a society the ability of people to take innocent life to achieve political objectives.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 11, 2007

“Absolutely. Using the lives of innocents for political gain is a terrible, terrible thing, and the Democrats should be ashamed for even thinking of it.”

“The brother of Army Ranger Pat Tillman accused the Pentagon and the Bush administration at a congressional hearing yesterday of deliberately concealing the circumstances of the former football star's friendly-fire death in Afghanistan in an attempt to avoid embarrassment.
Speaking publicly for the first time since his brother was killed in Afghanistan three years ago, Kevin Tillman accused Army and administration officials of exploiting his brother's death to shift attention away from the detainee abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, which at the time was about to become a public relations nightmare for the military.
Investigations by the Army, including an inspector general's report late last month, have not established any conspiracy to cover up the cause of Tillman's April 2004 death. But top officers, including four generals, have been criticized for failing to tell his family the truth for more than a month afterward, and could face criminal charges.
Kevin Tillman, who gave up a minor-league baseball career to enlist with his older brother in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks and was nearby the day Pat Tillman was shot by fellow American soldiers, said the military's early, heroic depiction of his brother's death was "utter fiction" intended to deceive not just a grieving family, but the entire country.
‘To our family and friends, it was a devastating loss. To the nation, it was a moment of disorientation. To the military, it was a nightmare,’ Kevin Tillman said, his voice wavering with emotion.
‘But to others within the government, it appears to have been an opportunity.’
In his brother's case, he alleged, evidence had been destroyed, an autopsy did not conform to regulations, and eyewitness testimony ‘disappeared into thin air.’"
-LA Times, April 25, 2007

“For reasons that remain under investigation more than two years later, the Pentagon elected for almost five weeks after the incident not to disclose the fact Tillman had been gunned down by members of his own platoon. Yet some in Tillman's unit knew the night it happened. ESPN.com found that word of the fratricide had filtered through the ranks within a day or two of Tillman's death.
In some cases, it appears the Army has tried to discourage the soldiers who fought with Tillman from speaking about how he died. Some of the Rangers contacted by ESPN.com said they were told that a nondisclosure agreement they signed upon entering the regiment precludes them from talking about the incident. Others told ESPN.com that a confidentiality agreement they signed upon leaving the Rangers prohibits them from discussing classified information. Notices also have been posted around Fort Lewis advising soldiers not to talk about the Tillman incident with the media, according to a Ranger from Tillman's platoon who was stationed there.
O'Neal, the Ranger alongside Tillman when he was killed, told ESPN.com, ‘I've been advised not to talk by my superiors — people that control me.’"
-ESPN.com, April 25, 2007

“Hey! Not fair. By the time they lied about Tillman for political gain he was already dead. It isn’t like they took an innocent life to achieve political objectives. It’s more like they desecrated a corpse to achieve political objectives. Entirely different.”

“House Democrats burrowed into the histories of Pfc. Jessica D. Lynch and Cpl. Pat Tillman in a hearing today, holding up the episodes as egregious examples of officials’ twisting the truth for public relations in wartime.

They received help in making their case from witnesses who have mostly shied away from the spotlight, Ms. Lynch and Corporal Tillman’s mother, Mary, and brother, Kevin, who enlisted in the Army along with him after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
‘I am still confused as to why they chose to lie and tried to make me a legend when the real heroics of my fellow soldiers that day were, in fact, legendary,’ said Ms. Lynch, dressed in a brown pantsuit and speaking softly but firmly into the microphone as more than 12 photographers clicked away in front of her.
Accounts from officials of Ms. Lynch’s bravery held the nation in thrall in the early stages of the Iraq invasion in 2003 after her maintenance convoy went astray near Nasiriya and she was taken prisoner. After her rescue, which was made into a television movie, she disputed those who said she fought off Iraqi soldiers until she was captured. She never fired a shot, she reiterated today.
The ‘story of the little girl Rambo from the hills who went down fighting’ was untrue, she said.”
-New York Times, April 24, 2007

“Jessica isn’t even dead! That was just a little white lie meant to give this war a visible hero (until they found Tillman of course). No, it is the Democrats who are the true villains here. Look at how they keep trying to get our troops out of a war zone. Don’t they know that that can hurt the troops? Much better to leave them happily in Iraq where they will be safe and sound and where politics play no part in what is going on..”

“The strategy is to help the Iraqi people achieve the objectives and dreams which is a democratic society. That’s the strategy. The tactics — now — either you say yes it’s important we stay there and get it done or we leave. We’re not leaving so long as I’m the president. That would be a huge mistake. It would send an unbelievably you know terrible signal to reformers across the region. It would say we’ve abandoned our desire to change the conditions that create terror.”
-George “Dubya” Bush, August 21, 2006

“Nine US soldiers have been killed in a suicide bomb attack on a base north of Baghdad, military officials have said.
Some 20 troops and an Iraqi civilian were injured in the attack, which happened in the volatile province of Diyala, to the north-east of Baghdad.”
-BBC, April 24, 2007

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: All They Want to Do Is Have Some Fun

“Some people think that Alberto Gonzales’ testimony last week was, well, not so good..”

"To me, there has to be consequences to accepting responsibility. And I would just say, Mr. Attorney General, it's my considered opinion that the exact same standards should be applied to you in how this was handled. And it was handled incompetently. The communication was atrocious. It was inconsistent. It's generous to say that there were misstatements. That's a generous statement. And I believe you ought to suffer the consequences that these others have suffered. And I believe that the best way to put this behind us is your resignation."
-Sen. Tom Coburn, April 20, 2007

“But Fearless Leader has been all over the recent testimony and sees nothing wrong..”

“Q Was the President disappointed in the testimony?
MS. PERINO: Is the President? No.
Q But what about the fact that even Republicans now are coming out and calling for the Attorney General to resign?
MS. PERINO: There is no doubt that there were many members from both sides of the aisle who had expressed frustration over the confusing remarks from the initial responses on this matter. And that frustration had built up over many weeks. The President believes that the Attorney General answered all of their questions honestly and forthrightly. I can understand there are some people who still don't want to support the Attorney General; that is their right.
And I could go on and on, but I think that following the hearing and following the tension that was in the room, I think on this new day I think -- hopefully people will be able to take a step back, realize that there was no credible evidence of wrongdoing, that the Attorney General has apologized for how it was handled, and that he has a job to do, and he's been doing it very well. And the President has full confidence in him.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesperson Dana Perino, April 20, 2007

“Q But did the President actually see the testimony?
MS. PERINO: He got regular updates from us while we were on the road -- we were on the road that day, on the way to Ohio.
Q So how can he say he has increased confidence if he got updates from other people? So he didn't actually see the testimony, himself, because --
MS. PERINO: He got updates from us, and I think he saw some news coverage of it later that day.
Q But as Jim noted, I mean, Arlen Specter yesterday said that it was ‘very, very damaging to his own credibility.’ So what did the President see -- well, he didn't see the testimony, but what did he hear that he --
MS. PERINO: What the President knows is that the Attorney General answered honestly, truthfully and was as responsive to Congress as he could possibly be during hours of testimony and in turning over all the documents, and then making people that work for him available to the Congress in order to answer their questions.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesperson Dana Perino, April 23, 2007

“Ok, so he didn’t actually watch any of it. Still, he just KNOWS that Alberto did nothing wrong. Just like the whole Plame thing and Karl Rove.”

“Q All right. Let me just follow up. You said this morning, ‘The President knows’ that Karl Rove wasn't involved. How does he know that?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I've made it very clear that it was a ridiculous suggestion in the first place. I saw some comments this morning from the person who made that suggestion, backing away from that. And I said it is simply not true. So, I mean, it's public knowledge. I've said that it's not true. And I have spoken with Karl Rove --
Q But how does --
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not going to get into conversations that the President has with advisors or staff or anything of that nature; that's not my practice.
Q But the President has a factual basis for knowing that Karl Rove --
MR. McCLELLAN: I said it publicly. I said that --
Q But I'm not asking what you said, I'm asking if the President has a factual basis for saying -- for your statement that he knows Karl Rove --
MR. McCLELLAN: He's aware of what I've said, that there is simply no truth to that suggestion. And I have spoken with Karl about it.
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesperson Scott McClellan, September 29, 2003

“Of course it turns out that Karl was involved, but he wasn’t indicted, and that is good enough to keep your job in this Administration. Rove is having a rough time. He seems to be getting beaten up right and left.”

“Global warming was the talking point last night at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner when singer Sheryl Crow and ‘Inconvenient Truth’ producer Laurie David walked over to Table 92 at the Hilton Washington to chat with Karl Rove -- and the resulting exchange was suitably heated.
‘I am floored by what I just experienced with Karl Rove,’ David reports. ‘I went over to him and said, 'I urge you to take a new look at global warming.' He went zero to 100 with me… I've never had anyone be so rude.’
Rove's version: ‘She came over to insult me and she succeeded.’
Things got so hot that Crow stepped in to defuse the situation and then got into it with Rove herself. ‘You work for me,’ she told the presidential adviser, according to singed bystanders. ‘No,’ was his response. ‘I work for the American people.’
News of the dust-up filtered quickly through the room. Some witnesses said David was very aggressive with Rove; a shaken Crow later said that Rove was ‘combative and unresponsive.’"
-Washington Post, April 22, 2007

“Aw.. Rove is getting a little testy. Probably didn’t get his nap.”

“Q Dana, can I ask you, there's been a lot of chatter over the last couple days about this confrontation that Karl Rove allegedly had with a couple of celebrities about global warming, climate change. What was Karl Rove's reaction to being confronted at the dinner in this way?
MS. PERINO: I think Karl Rove just wanted to have some fun on Saturday night. And I think he wasn't the only one. “
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesperson Dana Perino, April 23, 2007

“Sing it Dana!”

“All I wanna do is have a little fun before I die,

Says the man next to me out of nowhere
Its apropos
Of nothing
He says his names William but Im sure,
He’s Bill or Billy or Mac or Buddy
And he’s plain ugly to me
And I wonder if he’s ever had a day of fun in his whole life
We are drinking beer at noon on Tuesday
In a bar that faces a giant car wash
They drive their shiny Datsuns and Buicks

Back to the phone company, the record store too
Well, they’re nothing like Billy and me, cause

All I wanna do is have some fun
I got a feeling I’m not the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
I got a feeling I’m not the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
Until the sun comes up over Santa Monica boulevard..”
-Sheryl Crow, “All I Wanna Do”

“Thanks to First Draft for several of today’s Quotes.”

Monday, April 23, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Keep 'Em Separated

“Well, listen, we’ve never been stay the course, George. We have been – we will complete the mission, we will do our job and complete the goal, but we’re constantly adjusting tactics, constantly.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush on “This Week”, October 22, 2006

‘It may seem that things are the same in Iraq as they have been for a while, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, we are constantly changing tactics! Like this one.. Remember back when our goal was to train the Iraqi troops to take over their country?”

“Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down. And when our commanders on the ground tell me that the Iraqi forces can defend their freedom, our troops will come home with the honor they have earned.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, November 14, 2005

“Well that wasn’t working, so now we have some new tactics.”

“Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces.

Training Iraqi troops, which had been the cornerstone of the Bush administration's Iraq policy since 2005, has dropped in priority, officials in Baghdad and Washington said.”
-McClatchy Newspapers, April 19, 2007

“You see, there was a little problem with the previous tactics: They weren’t working. Luckily we have someone in charge that is clear-headed and decisive. Someone that isn’t afraid to make the hard decisions.”

"I hear the voices. And I read the front page. And I know the speculation. But I'm the decider. And I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense."
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, April 18, 2006

“That’s right! The Decider! Right now though he seems to be maintaining his secret identity..”

“My job is a job to make decisions. I'm a decision -- if the job description were, what do you do -- it's decision-maker.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, April 19, 2007

“If we can’t train the Iraqis to take over the job of stopping the insurgents we’ll just have to do it ourselves. We aren’t going to rest until the insurgency and suicide bombings are gone.”

“Many parts of Iraq are stable now. But, uh, of course, what we see on television is the one bombing a day that discourages everyone.”
-Laura Bush, February 26, 2007

“If the definition of success in Iraq or anywhere is no suicide bombers, we'll never be successful.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, April 19, 2007

“Oops. I guess we aren’t going to get rid of the suicide bombings after all. Maybe we can just work it out so that they can deal with the problem. If we can get it to the point where the Iraqis can just deal with a few suicide bombings a week we can claim victory and leave. I seem to remember our military working on something to help keep the two religious factions apart..”

“U.S. soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division in a Baghdad district are ‘building a three-mile protective wall on the dividing line between a Sunni enclave and the surrounding Shiite neighborhood,’ according to a U.S. military press release issued Wednesday.
Troops with the 407th Brigade Support Battalion began constructing the wall on April 10 and will continue work ‘almost nightly until the wall is complete,’ the release read.
‘The area the wall will protect is the largest predominately Sunni neighborhood in East Baghdad. Majority-Shiite neighborhoods surround it on three sides. Like other religiously divided regions in the city, the area has been trapped in a spiral of sectarian violence and retaliation,’ according to the release.
In January, when the new Baghdad security plan and troop ‘surge’ were announced, the ‘gated community’ concept was reported by several news agencies as one tactic to be used.
According to Wednesday’s news release from Multi-National Corps-Iraq, ‘the wall [in Adhamiyah] is one of the centerpieces of a new strategy by coalition and Iraqi forces to break the cycle of sectarian violence. Planners hope the creation of the wall will help restore law and order by providing a way to screen people entering and exiting the neighborhood — allowing residents and people with legitimate business in, while keeping death squads and militia groups out.’
A similar effort by U.S. troops in south Baghdad was reported earlier this month by the Wall Street Journal.
‘That community [in Adhamiyah] will be completely gated and protected,’ Lt. Col. Thomas Rogers, 407th Brigade Support Battalion, was quoted as saying in the release. ‘It’s really for the security of all the people of Adhamiyah, not just one side or the other.’
According to military officials, the Adhamiyah wall should be completed in the next month.”
-Stars and Stripes, April 19, 2007

“Sure! A wall! We can separate Baghdad just like Berlin was during the Cold War! That would be a wonderful example of how to keep the peace.”

“Iraq's prime minister said Sunday that he has ordered a halt to the U.S. construction of a barrier separating a Sunni enclave from surrounding Shiite areas in Baghdad after fierce criticism over the project at home.
The challenge to the U.S. initiative came as Nouri al-Maliki began a regional tour to shore up support from mostly Sunni Arab nations for his Shiite-dominated government as sectarian violence persists despite a nearly 10-week-old security crackdown.
The U.S. military announced last week that it was building a five kilometer (three mile) long and 3.6 meter (12 foot) tall concrete wall in Azamiyah, a Sunni stronghold in northern Baghdad whose residents have often been the victims of retaliatory mortar attacks by Shiite militants following bombings usually blamed on insurgents.
U.S. and Iraqi officials defended plans for the barrier as an effort to protect the neighborhood, but residents and Sunni leaders complained it was a form of discrimination that would isolate the community and a large protest was scheduled for Monday in the area.”
-Associated Press, April 22, 2007

“Those darn Iraqis. They should know better. If you don’t stand up, you don’t get to tell us how to take control of your country.”

“By the time you hear the siren

It's already too late
One goes to the morgue and the other to jail
One guy's wasted and the other's a waste

It goes down the same as a thousand before
No one's getting smarter
No one's learning the score
Your never ending spree of death a violence and hate
Is gonna tie your own rope
Is gonna tie your own rope
Is gonna tie your own rope

Hey man you talkin' back to me?

Take him out
You gotta keep 'em separated
Hey man you disrespecting me?
Take him out
You gotta keep 'em separated
Hey they don't pay no mind
If you're under 18 you won't be doing any time
Hey come out and play”
-Offspring, “Come Out and Play”

Friday, April 20, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Go-Go Gonzales

“Yesterday the Senate heard testimony from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales regarding the seemingly political firings of eight U.S. attorneys. Despite all the hype the anticipation was running high for the event…”

“Q Dana, does Attorney General Gonzales's testimony on Capitol Hill have any bearing whatsoever on his job status?
MS. PERINO: As I've said many times, the President has full confidence in the Attorney General.
Q So is it fair to say that no matter what the testimony, no matter what the back-and-forth, that the President plans to stick with Attorney General Gonzales?
MS. PERINO: I think -- yes. I think the President has full confidence in the Attorney General and whenever that changes for any public servant, we'll let you know, and I see no indication of that. “
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesperson Dana Perino, April 19, 2007

“So you may be wondering how it went. Well… Not so good.”

“Seventy-one times Gonzales claimed a faulty memory when members of the Senate committee asked such questions as who decided on the ousted eight, and whether Gonzales was or was not involved in the evaluation process.”
-Associated Press, April 20, 2007

“Apparently Mr. Gonzales has been hitting the bong a little too much while in office. You usually don’t see short-term memory problems like that outside of a Cheech and Chong movie. Like always though, you can count on the Democrats to go on the offensive against Fearless Leader’s Administration.”

“Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, like Gonzales a close Bush ally, called the handling of the firings ‘deplorable.’
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called most of Gonzales' explanations ‘a stretch.’
‘It's clear to me that some of these people just had personality conflicts with people in your office or the White House and (they) just made up reasons to fire them,’ Graham said. ‘You have a tremendous credibility problem with the American people and the Congress.’"
-Associated Press, April 20, 2007

“Oops.. My bad. Those were both Republicans. Gonzales even drew fire from Sen. Tom Coburn.”

“’It is generous to say the attorney general's communications about this matter have been inconsistent,’ Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., told Gonzales in a packed hearing room Thursday. ‘The consequence should be the resignation of the attorney general.’
-Associated Press, April 20, 2007

‘Wow.. Most people may not understand what a big thing this is.. Tom Coburn is not one of your wishy-washy liberal Republicans. He is a real hard-core SOB for the GOB. I mean, look at some of the things he’s said in the past.”

“I don't believe that everything that should happen in Louisiana should be paid for by the rest of the country. I believe there are certain responsibilities that are due the people of Louisiana."
-Senator Tom Coburn, September 15, 2005

“This is the guy who after hurricane Katrina basically told New Orleans to go.. um.. fornicate itself.”

“Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), a new member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was at last week's meeting on a bill restricting class-action suits. ‘You know,’ he said, ‘I immediately thought about slicone breast implants and the legal wrangling and the class-action suits off that. And I thought I would just share with you what science says today about silicone breast implants. If you have them, you're healthier than if you don't. That is what the ultimate science shows...In fact, there's no science that shows that silicone breast implants are detrimental and, in fact, they make you healthier.’"
-Washington Post, February 7, 2004

"The gay community has infiltrated the very centers of power in every area across this country, and they wield extreme power. ... That agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today. Why do you think we see the rationalization for abortion and multiple sexual partners? That's a gay agenda.'"
–Tom Coburn, 2004

“If Coburn says it you can be sure that the far right of the party (the side that believes that building a wall the entire length of the Mexican border and outlawing homosexuality are ok ideas) believes it too.. It looks like support for the White House is falling on this one.”

“Cheney said he and President Bush continue to have ‘every confidence' in Gonzales and looked forward to hearing his testimony. Lawmakers also are questioning what role White House officials, including chief political strategist Karl Rove, played in the firings.
‘This took place inside the Justice Department,’ Cheney said on ‘Face the Nation’ on CBS. ‘The one who needs to answer to that and lay out on the record the specifics of what transpired is the attorney general, and he'll do so.’''
-Associated Press, April 16, 2007

“Oh.. Sorry. I forgot that this problem began and ends with the Justice Department and that the White House had nothing to do with it.”

“At the end, Gonzales shook hands with the senators remaining in the room and strode out, ignoring reporters' questions. Protesters at the back of the room sang a rock tune popular with sports fans when a rival basketball player fouls out of a game: ‘Hey, hey, hey, goodbye.’"
-Associated Press, April 20, 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Values

“Suspected Sunni insurgents penetrated the Baghdad security net Wednesday, hitting Shiite targets with four bomb attacks that killed at least 183 people — the bloodiest day since the U.S. troop surge began nine weeks ago.
Nationwide, the number of people killed or found dead on Wednesday was 233, which equaled the highest death toll since The Associated Press began recording daily nationwide deaths in May 2005.”
-Associated Press, April 18, 2007

“Those weren’t American deaths. Those were ‘just’ Iraqis, but they were human beings. Each had a mother and a father. Most, if not all, of them were civilians. They were not involved in fighting the United States. They were just trying to get through their day. They failed.”

“Late Wednesday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the arrest of the Iraqi army colonel who was in charge of security in the area around the Sadriyah market where at least 127 people died and 148 were wounded in one of the Baghdad bombings.
Among the dead were several construction workers who had been rebuilding the mostly Shiite marketplace after a bombing destroyed many shops and killed 137 people there in February, the police official said.”
-Associated Press, April 18, 2007

“Let me get this straight.. In one market, in the last three months, there have been 264 people killed.. What was it you said about the market in Iraq you saw Representative Pence?”

“At a news conference shortly after their outing, McCain, a Republican, and his three congressional colleagues described Shorja as a safe, bustling place full of hopeful and warmly welcoming Iraqis – ‘like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime,’ offered Representative Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana, who was a member of the delegation.”
-New York Times, April 3, 2007

“Ah.. Indiana must be a little rougher than I remember it from my days there in college. Iraq will be safe though. We’re going to build walls around neighborhoods to keep the ‘bad’ people from getting in.”

“U.S. soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division in a Baghdad district are ‘building a three-mile protective wall on the dividing line between a Sunni enclave and the surrounding Shiite neighborhood,’ according to a U.S. military press release issued Wednesday.
Troops with the 407th Brigade Support Battalion began constructing the wall on April 10 and will continue work ‘almost nightly until the wall is complete,’ the release read.
‘The area the wall will protect is the largest predominately Sunni neighborhood in East Baghdad. Majority-Shiite neighborhoods surround it on three sides. Like other religiously divided regions in the city, the area has been trapped in a spiral of sectarian violence and retaliation,’ according to the release.
In January, when the new Baghdad security plan and troop ‘surge’ were announced, the ‘gated community’ concept was reported by several news agencies as one tactic to be used.
According to Wednesday’s news release from Multi-National Corps-Iraq, ‘the wall [in Adhamiyah] is one of the centerpieces of a new strategy by coalition and Iraqi forces to break the cycle of sectarian violence. Planners hope the creation of the wall will help restore law and order by providing a way to screen people entering and exiting the neighborhood — allowing residents and people with legitimate business in, while keeping death squads and militia groups out.’
A similar effort by U.S. troops in south Baghdad was reported earlier this month by the Wall Street Journal.
‘That community [in Adhamiyah] will be completely gated and protected,’ Lt. Col. Thomas Rogers, 407th Brigade Support Battalion, was quoted as saying in the release. ‘It’s really for the security of all the people of Adhamiyah, not just one side or the other.’
According to military officials, the Adhamiyah wall should be completed in the next month.”
-Stars and Stripes, April 19, 2007

“With only limited ways in and out of neighborhoods it will be easier to separate the different communities. We’ve already started to try to control access to some of the markets in order to make them more secure. Kind of a ‘divide and conquer’ method of dealing with the country. What could go wrong?”

“Abdullah, whose shop was damaged by flying shrapnel, said he took part in 18 funerals Thursday morning. ‘I cried a lot,’ he said.
The car bombing appeared meticulously planned. It took place at a pedestrian entrance where tall concrete barriers had been erected after the earlier attack. It was the only way out of the compound, and the construction workers were widely known to leave at about 4 p.m. — the time of the bombing.”
-Associated Press, April 18, 2007

“They’re Iraqis though, not Americans. Most Americans count more.”

“And tonight, a disturbing question about us. We mourn, appropriately, genuinely, compassionately as as many as 30 American kids are dead, violently, senselessly, pointlessly. Yet 30 American kids dead, violently, senselessly, pointlessly, is the story of the last 10 days of the war in Iraq.
Why is our national mourning so profound in the one case, but so muted in the other?
It is an unspeakable and overwhelming tragedy, up to 30 young Americans killed violently, pointlessly, and the rest of us left with an urgent and almost helpless feeling that somebody could have done something to prevent it, and that everybody must do something to protect the next potential victims.
Yet, the same number of young Americans of approximately the same age have died in Iraq in the last 10 days. Clearly, while one might take issue with the comparison, one can not ignore the similarities. Moreover, in a practical sense, the deaths in Iraq could have been much more readily prevented, and the desire much more easily fulfilled, to protect the next potential victims there.”
-Countdown with Keith Olbermann, April 17, 2007

“The math is simple. 30 college students > 30 American soldiers > 233 Iraqi civilians.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Safety in Numbers

“Virginia Tech became the scene of the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history — one that left 33 people dead, at least 15 others injured and some shaken students questioning whether school officials could have done more to stop the carnage.”
-USA Today, April 18, 2007

“The shootings at the Virginia Tech campus were a terrible, terrible tragedy, and I do not want to make light of them at all, but some of the coverage has been a little.. extreme.”

"It is an act of evil on a scale that we've never seen in this country before."
-ABC on the Virginia Tech shootings, April 16, 2007

“Really? I seem to remember that 9/11 was a little bit of competition. You know, thousands dead.. That kind of thing. It was big in the news at the time. Maybe this kind of thing is shocking because we don’t hear about it a lot. America is a pretty darn safe place to be overall. When life is safe the shocks seem much worse.”

“At a news conference shortly after their outing, McCain, a Republican, and his three congressional colleagues described Shorja as a safe, bustling place full of hopeful and warmly welcoming Iraqis – ‘like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime,’ offered Representative Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana, who was a member of the delegation.”
-New York Times, April 3, 2007

“Huh.. I guess Iraq is just as safe as the United States. Let’s look at how their week has been going.”

“The latest massacre of Iraqi children came as 21 Shia market workers were ambushed, bound and shot dead north of the capital.
The victims came from the Baghdad market visited the previous day by John McCain, the US presidential candidate, who said that an American security plan in the capital was starting to show signs of progress.”
-London Times, April 3, 2007

“Hey… Wrong week! We’re trying to compare this week here to there.”

“Police in Ramadi uncovered 17 decomposing corpses buried beneath two schoolyards in a district that until recently was under the control of al-Qaida fighters. At least 85 people were killed or found dead across the country Tuesday.”
-Associated Press, April 17, 2007

“Not fair. You can’t compare the murders in an entire country to the Virginia Tech shootings. If you looked at the entire U.S. there might have been 85 murders the other day. No comparing apples to oranges.”

“In a sign that Shiite death squads are on the move again after more than two months of quiescence, 25 bodies, most tortured, were found dumped in Baghdad on Tuesday.”
-Associated Press, April 17, 2007

“Ok, so that is just one city, but still, that is only 25 people tortured and murdered. Not as big a deal as Virginia Tech.”

“Six bombs exploded in predominantly Shiite Muslim sections of the capital Sunday, killing at least 45 people in a renewal of sectarian carnage that set back the U.S. push to pacify Baghdad.”
-Associated Press, April 16, 2007

“Six bombs! That isn’t the same as a single shooter at all, and that was across the city. To be fair you would have to look at a single incident.”

“And in the holy Shiite city of Karbala, health officials raised the toll from a bombing Saturday close to one of the sect's most sacred shrines, saying 47 people were killed and 224 wounded.”
-Associated Press, April 16, 2007

“Ok.. You might have a point. Still, Virginia Tech was probably the worst thing to ever happen at a University.”

“Bombings and shootings in Baghdad on Tuesday killed 107 people and wounded more than 285, most of them in neighborhoods where the militia of a powerful anti-American Shiite cleric holds sway.
A suicide bomber and a car bomb killed at least 70 people and wounded 170 more at entrances to a once-prestigious university in Baghdad. “
-CNN, January 17, 2007

“This isn’t to make light of the tragedy in Virginia. No one should ever have to go through what the survivors and the families of the victims are going through. This is just to point out that what happened there is happening just about every single day in Iraq, a country with about a tenth of the population of the U.S., and there we set it all in motion.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Parliament

“A coalition of Sunni insurgent groups loyal to Al Qaeda claimed responsibility Friday for a bomb blast that killed a member of Iraq's parliament, as legislators, many bearing wounds from the attack, gathered for a special session in the damaged building and vowed to stand firm.”
-LA Times, April 14, 2007

“And now, as a special tribute to the brave Iraqi Parliament, I give you…. Parliament.”

“On guard!

Defend yourself!
Movin' right around, (hey baby)”
-“Bop Gun”, Parliament

"’All of us face a savage and determined enemy,’ U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell told a news briefing in Baghdad, blaming Sunni Islamist al Qaeda for ‘trying to ignite a cycle of tit-for-tat violence’.
The overall number of deaths in Baghdad was down since the start of the security crackdown, but continued car bombings and attacks by suicide bombers wearing explosives vests means there has not been a ‘significant decrease,’ he said.
The surge in violence outside the capital also meant there was no large reduction in casualties across the country.”
-Reuters, April 4, 2007

“We got to get over the hump
We got to get over the hump
We got to get over the hump
We got to get over the hump
On guard!
Defend yourself!
Bound to get down, baby (hey!)”
-“Bop Gun”, Parliament

“Two months into the U.S.-led Baghdad Security Plan, at least 289 people were killed and injured across Iraq on Saturday, including 36 dead in a car bomb attack in the holy Shiite city of Karbala. The carnage of a crowd teeming with women and children set off an angry mob of hundreds against the governor and police.”
-McClatchy Newspapers, April 15, 2007

“When the syndrome is around (on guard!)

Don't let your guard down
All you've got to do is
Call on the funk, ohhh”
-“Bop Gun”, Parliament

“Six cabinet members loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr resigned Monday, potentially weakening Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government in the midst of efforts to bolster security in the country.
But it was unclear what impact the resignations would have on Maliki's government, which has struggled as sectarian and ethnic divisions have paralyzed parliament. Maliki has promised to realign his cabinet, and his aides have said he intends to replace several Sadr loyalists in charge of key ministries.”
-Washington Post, April 16, 2007

“Only by coming together, opting for national dialogue and reconciliation, and collectively renouncing all forms of violence, can the Iraqi people overcome the scourge of the unbridled violence that threatens their very existence.”
-U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative Ashraf Qazi, April 16, 2007

“On guard!

Defend yourself!
We shall overcome
Where did you get that funk from?
-“Bop Gun”, Parliament

“Vice President Dick Cheney says President Bush's upcoming meeting with U.S. congressional members about funding the Iraq war will be ‘to work out procedures.’
Cheney, during an exclusive interview on CBS' ‘Face the Nation’ hosted by Bob Schieffer, discussed military funding, the stepped-up violence in the Middle East and the credibility of the Bush administration.”
-UPI, April 16, 2007

“They're spoiling the fun
Shoot them with the bop gun
Ohh, hey baby
On guard!
Protect yourself!
Movin' in on you, baby”
-“Bop Gun”, Parliament

“Retired Iraqi teacher Abu Ali used to live with his family in a Sunni Muslim district in the mixed northwestern town of Tal Afar.
But after reprisal shootings in late March by Shi'ite gunmen and police killed his son and daughter and wounded his wife, Abu Ali fled along with 2,000 others to the nearby city of Mosul, taking shelter in a spartan camp set up for the refugees.”
-Reuters, April 16, 2007

“I don't think you hear me
I said they're spoiling the fun
We shall overcome
We got to shoot them with the bop gun
Hey, babe
Bound to get down
Closing in on you”
-“Bop Gun”, Parliament

“(Saddam) says he doesn’t have weapons of mass destruction. He’s got ’em. He’s not only got ’em he’s used them. The choice is his. And if he does not disarm, the United States of America will lead a coalition and disarm him, in the name of peace.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, December 3, 2002

Monday, April 16, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Wolfie

“North of Baghdad, two British helicopters crashed after an apparent mid-air collision, killing two service members, U.K. officials said.
And in the holy Shiite city of Karbala, health officials raised the toll from a bombing Saturday close to one of the sect's most sacred shrines, saying 47 people were killed and 224 wounded.
Twin car bombs exploded minutes apart in the busy market in the Shurta Rabia neighborhood, a mostly Shiite area of western Baghdad. The first blast went off midmorning in front of a kebab restaurant. Five minutes later, another car exploded nearby as rescuers were evacuating victims. Many women and children were among the casualties, police said.
Shortly after noon, a suicide bomber blew himself up on a minibus near a courthouse in the mainly Shiite northwest Baghdad neighborhood of al-Utafiyah, killing at least eight people and wounding 11, officials said.”
-Associated Press, April 15, 2007
“You know.. I’m tired of reading about our great victory in Iraq. By now everyone knows how wonderfully everything is going there, so there really isn’t any use in going over it all again. Let’s talk about the true champions: those brave men and Condi who pushed so hard for this war, making it the success that it is today. We can start off with that great American hero: Paul Wolfowitz.”

“Disarming Iraq of its chemical and biological weapons and dismantling its nuclear weapons program is a crucial part of winning the War on Terror.”
-Paul Wolfowitz, January 23, 2003

“There are other differences that suggest that peacekeeping requirements in Iraq might be much lower than our historical experience in the Balkans suggest. There has been none of the record in Iraq of ethnic militias fighting one another that produced so much bloodshed and permanent scars in Bosnia.”
-Paul Wolfowitz, February 27, 2003

“Wolfowitz has been all over the Iraq situation since day one. He saw the problem with Saddam and his insane quest for weapons of mass destruction and saw that there was a simple solution. Take out Saddam and everything will work itself out.”

"There's definitely a rule in the Convention against humiliating prisoners and I'd have to see exactly the interview to see whether that in itself violated the Convention, but the Convention is very clear that prisoners have got to be treated properly. We are treating the Iraqi prisoners extremely well. In fact I think they get good food and shelter and they're free from the horrible commanders they used to work for. I think most of them are much happier, frankly."
-Paul Wolfowitz, March 23,2003

‘See? Heck, Iraqis will probably be fighting it out to get into American-run prisons like Abu Ghraib. So much nicer than what they used to deal with.”

"There's a lot of money to pay for this. It doesn't have to be U.S. taxpayer money. We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon."
-Paul Wolfowitz, March 27, 2003

“Yep, and it will all be free! Whoo hoo.. In a way I guess that we are just lucky that Saddam was after those weapons of mass destruction. Without them we never would have been able to justify our invasion on Iraq and we wouldn’t have our current successes.”

“For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction [as justification for invading Iraq] because it was the one reason everyone could agree on.”
-Paul Wolfowitz in Vanity Fair interview, May 28, 2003

“I'm not concerned about weapons of mass destruction.”
-Paul Wolfowitz, July 21, 2003

“Um, I guess we just used WMDs as a foot in the door to invasion. I guess Wolfie is just saying that we needed a theme to work behind politically. That’s fine.. Screwing around with the American public about wars is what politicians do. It isn’t like they would get involved in actually screwing up the way the war works.”

“Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz criticized the Army's chief of staff, Gen. Eric Shinseki, after Shinseki told Congress in February that the occupation could require ‘several hundred thousand troops.’ Wolfowitz called Shinseki's estimate ‘wildly off the mark.’
Rumsfeld was furious with White when the Army secretary agreed with Shinseki.”
-USA Today, June 2, 2003

“The number two Pentagon official said reducing American casualties in Iraq was more important than bringing US troops back home -- and pointed to the rising Iraqi death toll as evidence this strategy was working.
‘I'm more concerned about bringing down our casualties than bringing down our numbers,’ Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said in an interview with PBS television's ‘The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer’ program. ‘And it is worth saying that since June 1, there have been more Iraqi police and military killed in action than Americans.’
Wolfowitz said he was encouraged by the fact that Iraqis continued to volunteer to join the country's fledgling security forces, despite their losses at the hands of Islamist insurgents.
The number of Iraqi troops and police officers being trained by the US military has now reached 120,000, according to the deputy defense secretary.
But he acknowledged ‘there are problems in the quality’ of the Iraqi recruits, who he said have a tendency to disappear from their units without permission.”
-AFP, January 20, 2005

“See? Success! Lots of Iraqis had died a few years ago, clearly proving that our victory in Iraq is inevitable.”

“An Army general who has been criticized for his role in the treatment of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention center and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has contradicted his sworn congressional testimony about contacts with senior Pentagon officials.
Gen. Geoffrey Miller told the Senate Armed Services Committee in May 2004 that he had only filed a report on a recent visit to Abu Ghraib, and did not talk to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld or his top aides about the fact-finding trip.
But in a recorded statement to attorneys three months later, Miller said he gave two of Rumfeld's most senior aides-- then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary for Intelligence Steve Cambone--a briefing on his visit and his subsequent recommendations.”
-Chicago Tribune, July 15, 2005

“Wolfie was probably just making sure that the prisoners were having their pillows fluffed properly. Enough of old history though. Wolfie left his old job years ago to go work for the World Bank, and, as you can imagine, success is following in his footsteps.”

“World Bank President Paul D. Wolfowitz publicly apologized yesterday for the ‘mistake’ of personally orchestrating a high-paying job and guaranteed promotions for a bank employee with whom he is romantically involved, as new details of his role in the arrangement emerged and staff members angrily demanded his resignation.
Wolfowitz attempted to address about 200 staffers gathered in the bank's central atrium but left after some began hissing, booing, and chanting ‘Resign. . . . Resign.’ He had approached the gathering after holding a news conference in which he said, ‘I made a mistake for which I am sorry.’
Bank insiders confirmed reports from the bank's staff association that Wolfowitz directed personnel officials to give Shaha Riza, his longtime companion, an automatic ‘outstanding’ rating and the highest possible pay raises during an indefinite posting at the State Department, as well as a promotion upon her return to the bank.”
-Washington Post, April 13, 2007

“His staff in open revolt, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz apologized Thursday for his role in landing his romantic partner a job at the U.S. State Department that gave her more than $60,000 a year in raises and a total salary greater than that of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.”
-LA Times, April 13, 2007

“See? He’s happy and his girlfriend has a nice, high-paying job. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Friday, April 13, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Battening the Hatches

“Alberto Gonzales, who is now what is known politically as a ‘dead man walking’, is still in a bit of a pickle. He is testifying in front of Congress soon, and apparently his practice testimonies haven’t been going well. He apparently can’t remember which version of the truth is needed when asked under pressure. That, and that Congress wants to take a peek at his records…”

“The House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena Tuesday to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, demanding that the Justice Department turn over hundreds of pages of new or uncensored records related to the firings last year of eight U.S. attorneys.

The subpoena is the first served in connection with the dismissals, and it escalates the legal confrontation between Democrats and the Bush administration, which has resisted demands for more documents and for public testimony from White House aides. It comes just a week before the embattled attorney general is scheduled to testify before the Senate, a hearing widely considered crucial to his attempt to keep his job.”
-Washington Post, April 12, 2007

“They want to look at uncensored documents? It will destroy the Executive branch! Luckily, purely by accident, a happy coincidence happened the other day.”

“A lawyer for the Republican National Committee told congressional staff members yesterday that the RNC is missing at least four years' worth of e-mail from White House senior adviser Karl Rove that is being sought as part of investigations into the Bush administration, according to the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.”
-Washington Post, April 13, 2006

“You may be wondering why White House staff members are using Republican National Committee e-mail. Maybe I should let the White House answer…”

“In an afternoon conference call with reporters, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel spread the blame all around. ‘White House policy did not give clear enough guidance,’ he said. ‘The oversight of that wasn't aggressive enough.’ And individual White House staffers ‘did not do a good enough job of following existing preservation policy -- or seeking guidance.’
Said Stanzel: ‘I guess the bottom line is that our policy at the White House was not clear enough for employees.’
But when I asked Stanzel to read out loud the White House e-mail policy, it seemed clear enough to me: "Federal law requires the preservation of electronic communications sent or received by White House staff," says the handbook that all staffers are given and expected to read and comply with.
‘As a result, personnel working on behalf of the EOP [Executive Office of the President] are expected to only use government-provided e-mail services for all official communication.’
The handbook further explains: ‘The official EOP e-mail system is designed to automatically comply with records management requirements.’"
-Dan Froomkin, Washingtonpost.com, April 12, 2007

“It just kind of slipped through the cracks. They meant well. Even geniuses like Karl Rove make mistakes sometimes.”

“Countless e-mails to and from many key White House staffers have been deleted -- lost to history and placed out of reach of congressional subpoenas -- due to a brazen violation of internal White House policy that was allowed to continue for more than six years, the White House acknowledged yesterday.

The leading culprit appears to be President Bush's enormously influential political adviser Karl Rove, who reportedly used his Republican National Committee-provided Blackberry and e-mail accounts for most of his electronic communication.”
-Dan Froomkin, Washingtonpost.com, April 12, 2007

“And they were just being too cautious.”

“Stanzel said that ‘some people’ may have used their non-government accounts for official business due to ‘an abundance of caution’ in order to avoid violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits the use of government e-mail for overtly political purposes, such as fundraising -- and due to ‘logistical convenience.’"
-Dan Froomkin, Washingtonpost.com, April 12, 2007

“They were just trying to avoid violating the Hatch Act! The Hatch Act is meant to make sure that politicians separate their work for their political party from their professional work. So what they are trying to say is that the White House staff wasn’t entirely sure if what they were doing was political or in the public interest, so they decided to use the RNC system just to be safe. It is really good to see people like Rove to go the extra mile to ensure that their offices avoid scandal.”

“Witnesses have told congressional investigators that the chief of the General Services Administration and a deputy in Karl Rove's political affairs office at the White House joined in a videoconference earlier this year with top GSA political appointees, who discussed ways to help Republican candidates.
With GSA Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan and up to 40 regional administrators on hand, J. Scott Jennings, the White House's deputy director of political affairs, gave a PowerPoint presentation on Jan. 26 of polling data about the 2006 elections.
On Wednesday, Doan is scheduled to appear before Waxman's committee to answer questions about the videoconference and other issues. The committee is investigating whether remarks made during the videoconference violated the Hatch Act, a federal law that restricts executive-branch employees from using their positions for political purposes.”
-Washington Post, March 26, 2007

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Goodbye From the Monkey House

“Another sad day… Yet another of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut, has died. Kurt loved humanity like a parent loves their six-year old child when they appear in a kindergarten play. You know, deep down, that they may not be very good at it, and they will probably screw up, but dang it, they’re your kid, and being in a play is tough, so you love their off-tempo singing and their shuffling dancing and you cheer and you cheer.
Vonnegut loved people that way. He loved them despite their flaws, or maybe because of them. Someday I hope to be as understanding.
Here are some quotes that first appeared in the Quotes back in June of 2004.”

“Many years ago, I was so innocent I still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable America so many members of my generation used to dream of. We dreamed of such an America during the Great Depression, when there were no jobs. And then we fought and often died for that dream during the Second World War, when there was no peace.
But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America’s becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas.”
-Kurt Vonnegut

“There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don’t know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.
But, when you stop to think about it, only a nut case would want to be a human being, if he or she had a choice. Such treacherous, untrustworthy, lying and greedy animals we are!
I was born a human being in 1922 A.D. What does ‘A.D.’ signify? That commemorates an inmate of this lunatic asylum we call Earth who was nailed to a wooden cross by a bunch of other inmates. With him still conscious, they hammered spikes through his wrists and insteps, and into the wood. Then they set the cross upright, so he dangled up there where even the shortest person in the crowd could see him writhing this way and that.
Can you imagine people doing such a thing to a person?
No problem. That’s entertainment. Ask the devout Roman Catholic Mel Gibson, who, as an act of piety, has just made a fortune with a movie about how Jesus was tortured. Never mind what Jesus said.
During the reign of King Henry the Eighth, founder of the Church of England, he had a counterfeiter boiled alive in public. Show biz again.
Mel Gibson’s next movie should be The Counterfeiter. Box office records will again be broken.
One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us.”
-Kurt Vonnegut

“My government’s got a war on drugs. But get this: The two most widely abused and addictive and destructive of all substances are both perfectly legal.
One, of course, is ethyl alcohol. And President George W. Bush, no less, and by his own admission, was smashed or tiddley-poo or four sheets to the wind a good deal of the time from when he was 16 until he was 41. When he was 41, he says, Jesus appeared to him and made him knock off the sauce, stop gargling nose paint.
Other drunks have seen pink elephants.
And do you know why I think he is so pissed off at Arabs? They invented algebra. Arabs also invented the numbers we use, including a symbol for nothing, which nobody else had ever had before. You think Arabs are dumb? Try doing long division with Roman numerals.
We’re spreading democracy, are we? Same way European explorers brought Christianity to the Indians, what we now call “Native Americans.”
How ungrateful they were! How ungrateful are the people of Baghdad today.
So let’s give another big tax cut to the super-rich. That’ll teach bin Laden a lesson he won’t soon forget. Hail to the Chief.
That chief and his cohorts have as little to do with Democracy as the Europeans had to do with Christianity. We the people have absolutely no say in whatever they choose to do next. In case you haven’t noticed, they’ve already cleaned out the treasury, passing it out to pals in the war and national security rackets, leaving your generation and the next one with a perfectly enormous debt that you’ll be asked to repay.
Nobody let out a peep when they did that to you, because they have disconnected every burglar alarm in the Constitution: The House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the FBI, the free press (which, having been embedded, has forsaken the First Amendment) and We the People.
About my own history of foreign substance abuse. I’ve been a coward about heroin and cocaine and LSD and so on, afraid they might put me over the edge. I did smoke a joint of marijuana one time with Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, just to be sociable. It didn’t seem to do anything to me, one way or the other, so I never did it again. And by the grace of God, or whatever, I am not an alcoholic, largely a matter of genes. I take a couple of drinks now and then, and will do it again tonight. But two is my limit. No problem.
I am of course notoriously hooked on cigarettes. I keep hoping the things will kill me. A fire at one end and a fool at the other.
But I’ll tell you one thing: I once had a high that not even crack cocaine could match. That was when I got my first driver’s license! Look out, world, here comes Kurt Vonnegut.
And my car back then, a Studebaker, as I recall, was powered, as are almost all means of transportation and other machinery today, and electric power plants and furnaces, by the most abused and addictive and destructive drugs of all: fossil fuels.
When you got here, even when I got here, the industrialized world was already hopelessly hooked on fossil fuels, and very soon now there won’t be any more of those. Cold turkey.
Can I tell you the truth? I mean this isn’t like TV news, is it?
Here’s what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial, about to face cold turkey.
And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we’re hooked on.”
-Kurt Vonnegut

“And one last one from November of 2002.”

“What happens on the ground is never spoken of, the number of people we kill with our unmanned kamikazes. The hawks would like to say we're cowards, and can't take casualties and all that, but it's the inflicting of casualties that's horrifying.
But this has become quite acceptable in modern warfare apparently — to kill a hell of a lot of innocent people in the process of getting one bad guy. And also I think this war is a very bad idea because it will never stop.”
-Kurt Vonnegut, November 10, 2002

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: General Malaise

“The White House wants to appoint a high-powered czar to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with authority to issue directions to the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies, but it has had trouble finding anyone able and willing to take the job, according to people close to the situation.
At least three retired four-star generals approached by the White House in recent weeks have declined to be considered for the position, the sources said, underscoring the administration's difficulty in enlisting its top recruits to join the team after five years of warfare that have taxed the United States and its military.”
-Washington Post, April 11, 2007

“Wow! Four-star generals are refusing to take responsibility for Iraq and Afghanistan? Why would anyone turn down a chance to run two wonderful places like that?”

“The Bush administration is split over the idea of a surge in troops to Iraq, with White House officials aggressively promoting the concept over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate.”
-Washington Post, December 19, 2006

“Oh yeah.. I forgot, he stopped listening to the military a while ago...”

“We're making progress on all fronts. But as to how many troops we have there will depend upon the generals and their commanders saying, this is what we need to do the job, Mr. President, and that's the way it's going to be so long as I'm standing here as the Commander-in-Chief, which is two-and-a-half more years.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, May 25, 2006

“All three generals who declined the job have been to varying degrees administration insiders. Keane, a former Army vice chief of staff, was one of the primary proponents of sending more troops to Iraq and presented Bush with his plan for a major force increase during an Oval Office meeting in December. The president adopted the concept in January, although he did not dispatch as many troops as Keane proposed.”
-Washington Post, April 11, 2007

“…up to, and including, the very people he is asking to take over the job, and while he is really good at responsibility when things are going well…”

"History has called America and our allies to action, and it is both our responsibility and our privilege to fight freedom’s fight.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, Jan. 29, 2002

“…he isn’t as good when things start going bad…”

“There's only one person who hugs the mothers and the widows, the wives and the kids upon the death of their loved one. Others hug, but having committed the troops, I've got an additional responsibility to hug and that's me and I know what it's like.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, Washington, D.C., Dec. 11, 2002

“…and when things go bad someone will have to be blamed…”

“Obviously, we have a verdict from the jury in the Scooter Libby trial. Let me start off by saying that the President was informed by -- he was in the Oval Office. He saw the verdict read on television. Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and Counselor Dan Bartlett were with him.
He said that he respected the jury's verdict, that he was saddened for Scooter Libby and his family, and that the White House direction from here on out -- and I know that there's going to be a lot of disappointment with this, but there is an ongoing criminal proceeding.”
-White House Press Briefing with Dana Perino, February 6, 2007

“…so I can’t imagine why retired generals wouldn’t be willing to step up to the job.”

“Bush administration officials have claimed that they were unaware of problems with veterans' care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center until a flurry of media reports earlier this year brought the hospital's shortcomings to their attention. But Salon has obtained written proof -- a report prepared for a Department of Veterans Affairs task force -- that officials should have been aware of the situation as long ago as August 2004. President Bush, meanwhile, having promised to improve care at the hospital, has just announce plans to nominate the co-chair of that task force to run all of the VA's health services.
Two years and a half years after the task force's report, officials expressed surprise when the Washington Post reported on some of those bureaucratic failures in February. In a visit to Walter Reed March 30, President Bush blamed the problems at the hospital on ‘bureaucratic and administrative failures’ and told patients that their transition from the embrace of one government agency to another would, at last, become seamless. ‘We want to make sure,’ Bush told patients there, ‘that any transfer from the Defense Department to the Veterans Affairs Department is smooth, and that there's not bureaucratic delay or obstacles in the way of making sure that we can report to our fellow citizens that people are getting the best possible health care.’

‘The system failed you,’ Bush told the patients and staff, ‘and it failed our troops. And we're going to fix it. We're not going to be satisfied until everybody gets the kind of care that their folks and families expect.’"
-Salon, April 11, 2007

“It’s like they don’t trust what the Fearless Leader and His loyal Administration are doing.”

"’The very fundamental issue is, they don't know where the hell they're going,’ said retired Marine Gen. John J. ‘Jack’ Sheehan, a former top NATO commander who was among those rejecting the job. Sheehan said he believes that Vice President Cheney and his hawkish allies remain more powerful within the administration than pragmatists looking for a way out of Iraq. ‘So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, 'No, thanks,'’ he said.”
-Washington Post, April 11, 2007

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