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Four Color Politics

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

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Improvement

“Iraq is obviously not doing all that well. Violence is still rampant, and it doesn’t seem to show signs of stopping. Therefore it is really good to see that we are at least getting the guns off the street.”

“First, the number of weapons caches captured -- last year, in all of 2006, the number is 2,726. Already to this point in the year it's nearly 3,700 -- 3,698. As you can see, General Petraeus referred to this as staggering, the improvement in the seizures. Just a couple of examples from recent weeks. First, a coalition raid on July 23rd found 21 rifles and pistols in multiple locations, 28 grenades, 252 rockets, 391 mortar rounds, 475 gallons of nitric acid, and 5,000 pounds of fertilizer. Those who have studied Oklahoma City know how devastating the last two can be. And in an Iraqi raid in An Nasiriyah on the 24th, they found 11 heavy machine guns; 42 IEDs; 70 mortar rounds; and approximately 400 rockets of various calibers.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Tony Snow, July 31, 2007

“Fantastic! Just a few less guns to be taking aim at our soldiers.”

“Thus, DOD and MNF-I cannot fully account for about 110,000 AK-47 rifles, 80,000 pistols, 135,000 items of body armor, and 115,000 helmets reported as issued to Iraqi forces as of September 22, 2005. Our analysis of the MNSTC-I property book records found that DOD and MNF-I cannot fully account for at least 190,000 weapons reported as issued to Iraqi forces as of September 22, 2005.”
-“Stabilizing Iraq: DOD Cannot Ensure That U.S.-Funded Equipment Has Reached Iraqi Security Forces”, General Accounting Office, July 2007

“Ok.. So there might be a few guns left.
Another problem in Iraq is corruption in the new government.”

“The report, written by U.S. advisers to Iraq's anti-corruption agency, analyzes corruption in 12 ministries and finds devastating and grim problems: ‘Corruption protected by senior members of the Iraqi government,’ the report said, ‘remains untouchable.’
The draft report cited an incident at the Ministry of Oil that implicated the Shiite minister and four other officials. One of the four was a Sunni. The rest were reportedly Shiites, who were ‘the only ones capable of giving testimony against the minister.’
The minister, the report said, then used a technicality in Iraqi law to exempt the three Shiites from prosecution so that only the Sunni went to prison.
That technicality he allegedly used is a Saddam Hussein-era law known as Article 136B that was lifted when Americans first occupied the country. It was reinstated by the Iraqi government.
The law allows the prime minister to exempt Cabinet ministers from prosecution and allows ministers to exempt their employees from prosecution.
‘This is tantamount to a get out of jail free card,’ Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, told NBC. He pointed to the oil ministry case involving the three Shiites as a stark example of the problem. ‘It exposes the arbitrariness of Article 136B.’
Bowen said the provision ‘essentially acts as a bulwark against effective enforcement. If a minister wants to protect an employee from corruption charges, simply by fiat that minister can do so.’"
-NBC News, July 30, 2007

“My God! No wonder we’re having such a problem with corruption there. When high officials can simply make their subordinates immune to prosecution it removes all incentive for their subordinates to help in the judicial process, the backbone of the rule of law. It could cause the downfall of their fledgling democracy!”

“The president had initially said he would fire anyone in his administration found to have publicly disclosed the identity of Valerie Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and a CIA operative. Ten days ago, Bush commuted the 30-month sentence given to I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby by a federal judge in connection with the case.”
-Associated Press, July 12, 2007

"As it considers the contempt resolutions, we think it is important that the Committee appreciate fully the longstanding Department of Justice position, articulated during Administrations of both parties, that ‘the criminal contempt of Congress statute does not apply to the President or presidential subordinates who assert executive privilege.’
-Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski, July 24, 2007

“So we aren’t having much luck with the government or the insurgency in Iraq. Do we have any real good news to report?”

“Vice President Dick Cheney said Tuesday a pivotal September report on the war in Iraq is likely to show ‘significant progress’ — putting himself ahead of President Bush, who has refused to speculate on what the report will say.
Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker are required to report to Congress by Sept. 15 on progress in Iraq. Their evaluation is expected to shape the administration’s next move on the war, including decisions on how many U.S. troops will stay in Iraq, and for how long.
‘The reports I’m hearing from people whose views I respect indicate that the Petraeus plan is in fact producing results,’ Cheney told CNN’s Larry King in an interview to be telecast Tuesday night. ‘Now, admittedly, I’ve been on one side of this argument from the beginning.’”
-Associated Press, August 1, 2007

“Hey, if Big Dick says that the report will be favorable, then things must be going well. Our government would never lie to us..”

“A year ago, I did give the speech from the carrier, saying that we had achieved an important objective, that we'd accomplished a mission, which was the removal of Saddam Hussein. And as a
result, there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq."
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, April 30, 2004



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