NY Times Editorial:
Abu Ghraib, unresolved. Lady Liberty should covering her face in shame, right about now.
NY Times International:
4 Iraqis Tell of Looting at Munitions Site in ‘03 ... days after the beginning of the US invasion. “‘The looting started after the collapse of the regime ...’ [snip] But once it had begun, he said, the booty streamed toward Baghdad.” Quack-quack, Mr Bush. Oh, and quack-quack, Mr Guiliani. Welcome to the lame-duck brigade.
As I mentioned yesterday, not securing the ammo dumps is not doing the job properly. I doubt there’s a general out there of WW II, Korea or Vietnam vintage who wouldn’t use a few choice expletives at a nincompoop who bypassed an ammo dump and left it unguarded. All of them understand that civilians, worthy people in the vacuum of a regime displaced, can be more deadly than a trained soldier.
Later: Quack-quack, Mr Cheney. The entire amount was there, verified by the IAEA.
Even later: Quack-quack, Mr Rumsfeld. A video purportedly confirms that the munitions disappeared after the war. Join the lame-duck posse, sir.
GOP criticizes student get-out-the-vote campaign. A pretty good way, in my view, to learn about citizenship (and citizen apathy) first-hand. Schools routinely excuse students from class for pep rallies and other fluff. But since the GOP believes more votes helps the Democrats, they naturally feel this is a partisan effort.
I hear the Economist
has flipped sides, and endorsed John Kerry. “... in the end we felt he has been too incompetent to deserve re-election.” If someone finds a copy of the whole item, forward it on.
Challenges at the polls.
What do you do if you’re challenged, on November 2? Each state seems to have a different procedure. Educate yourself about your state’s procedures! At the very least, have items with you that supply:
1. Proof of identity. Photo driver’s license, valid passport, other photo ID along with a utility bill, etc. Some states require another registered voter to swear to your identity! Make sure you have friends/family/neighbors available.
2. Proof of residence. Driver’s license, bank statement, utility bill, tax return, government check, etc.
3. Proof of age. Driver’s license or passport.
4. If applicable, a valid voter registration card.
It’s very interesting, looking at the differences in identification, challenge and provisional ballot eligibility from state to state. A real menagerie. Know your Social Security # or driver’s license #, if nothing else. I see some states will allow an oral recitation of your last few digits.
Poll workers are supposed to help you with any problems; they are there to ensure a full and fair vote. Some states require you to swear an affidavit on the spot, which will clear you to vote. Others will require you to visit a special court, open all day on the date of election. If there’s no other option, a provisional ballot is better than no ballot at all. You have a right to vote. Insist on it. Don’t take no for an answer.
If you can’t get any help from official sources, I see the AFL-CIO has special teams deployed to the ‘battleground’ states, to help insure this election goes off fairly. This is a great thing they’re doing. They include contact information for each of these states [scroll to the bottom of the page]. Keep this as a reference, even if you believe your registration is AOK. Be aware of what is going on at your polling place, and let ‘em know if you see any obstruction or suspicious slowdowns.
Start a meme, get the crowds chanting. “Quack-quack, Mr Bush.” Flap your arms, make it loud. “Quack-quack, Mr Cheney.” To be precise, al-QaQaa. But quack-quack is close enough, with a secondary payoff ...the sound of soon-to-be lame ducks.
This ‘scandal’ goes all the way back to the beginning of the war.
Remember, “Things have gotten so bad inside Iraq ... we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators”? Mr Cheney was wrong then, and remains wrong today. We now know there were no reconstruction plans worth their salt, when troops began piling into Iraq, because of this misperception.
Major General Blount, of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, admitted last year that “Looting wasn’t taken into military consideration ... [snip] ... It never came in the order process that it would be a major problem.”
Undersecretary of Defense, Mr Feith, a personage who will figure larger in the coming months as we continue to analyze Iraq, said that taking time to deploy more troops would give Mr Hussein “more chances to send a Scud missile into Kuwait or Israel, rig bridges to explode, or prepare to hide or use chemical weapons. [snip] But if we didn’t have a looting problem, but we had the oil fields blown, and refugees fleeing across the border, and mass starvation, and all other things we planned against ... would everybody now say that was a brilliant job of planning because you put an extra 100,000 forces in and a building didn’t get looted?”
Mr Feith seems to forget there was a very long run-up to this war; plenty of time for Mr Hussein to prepare. That’s not a valid excuse. Neither are concerns about winning ‘popularity contests.’ You didn’t consider what might be *in* those buildings, Mr Feith. Weapons, perhaps, not just works of art or governmental documents?
Don’t expect help from the head quacker. Mr Bush quacked this up in November of last year: “We could have less troops in Iraq. We could have the same number of troops in Iraq. We could have more troops in Iraq. Whatever is necessary to secure Iraq.”
Not guarding all the ammo dumps qualifies as not getting the job done properly, in any military handbook. Those individuals who have served in a wartime military can illustrate it for you. The evidence of this having been overlooked is on the front pages of our news media every day.
Repeat after me: Quack-quack.
Later: Then again, the Hispanic ‘caca’ might be even better ... this situation epitomizes that word. Our troops are in it up to their eyeballs.
here come the phone calls. One an hour, on multiple lines. Both Republican and Democrat. It’s gonna be hard to run a business over the next week. If I start to receive faxes ...
Bush Says His Party Is Wrong to Oppose Gay Civil Unions. Yes, you read that correctly. The election must be a squeaker ...
How Bush blew it in Tora Bora. “So it was a major Pentagon blunder. It was a major Rumsfeld-Franks blunder. It was a major White House blunder. And there were two reasons for it: 1) The Pentagon outsourced the war in eastern Afghanistan to the wrong warlords, who were collecting suitcases full of cash with one hand and spreading disinformation with the other. 2) The White House’s and the Pentagon’s attention were already directed toward toppling Saddam.”
Allawi blames US for massacre of Iraqi army recruits. “He told the Iraqi national assembly: ‘I think it was because of gross negligence by some elements within the multinational forces. The killings represent the epitome of what could be done to hurt Iraq and the Iraqi people.’ He did not elaborate. But Taufiq Al-Yasseri, the head of the interim parliament’s security committee, today told The Times: ‘I think it is very clear that this was a misjudgement by the US. They did not provide sufficient measures to protect these people. It is their responsibility, they are in charge of that camp and that area.’”
Increase in war funding sought. Mr Bush is going to ask for another $70 billion.
Buttonwood, The parable of the cats. “Foreign-exchange traders seem to have discovered what everyone else already knew: that America’s huge and growing current-account deficit is unsustainable, and that two things are required to correct it. First, Americans must save more (which will slow growth, perhaps sharply); and second, the dollar needs to fall more than it has done already—perhaps a lot more.”
NY Times Editorial:
Making things worse. Much as I delineated yesterday.
NY Times Editorial:
Election Day misdeeds. Take advantage of absentee and early voting, if possible. Do not allow yourself to be silenced.
Educate yourself about provisional ballot eligibility in your state, if necessary.
An interview in 2000 (before 9/11 and Iraq II), on the subject of Vietnam. A few senators, including John Kerry. Much of it talking overall strategy. Quite consistent, wouldn’t you say?
The Art Newspaper:
Controlled explosions threaten World Heritage site in Iraq. Now here’s a good reason why art should depict, and discourage, the prosecution of war. Self-preservation.
NY Times Letters to the Editor:
Catholic Voters, Faith and Policy. It does seem that the conservative Catholic clergy seem to be suspiciously narrowly focused in this campaign season. Widening the view, even the conservative Catholic, it seems, should be putting a check next to Mr Kerry.
Rocky Mountain Politics. Don’t worry, Ms. Norton isn’t fooling New Mexico. Not one damned bit.
The Governor of Illinois goes toe-to-toe with the FDA, over flu vaccines ... over importation of drugs.
Huge cache of explosives disappear from Iraq. Of those missing compounds, 194 metric tons of HMX; less than a pound of this brought down Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie. As one interviewee said, and I can only agree with, this is ‘stunning incompetence’ on the part of the Bush Administration’s prosecution of war. By not using enough troops, not locking down the borders, not securing the stockpiles, the Bush Administration has seemingly opened Pandora’s Box. The insurgency may be making use of this material; no confirmation on that, however.
To compound that, the Bush Administration may have crossed the line into real war crimes ... not just internationally recognized, but federally recognized [MSNBC] ... eliminating the opportunity to soft-soap the Geneva Convention by association with the UN (and it shames me that some of my countrymen are idiotic enough to buy such an argument). “It is not clear why the CIA would feel the need to remove detainees from Iraq for interrogation.” Oh, no? Read the last paragraph of this.
Later: Slate had a good article on the ill-advised use of torture by America, back in May of this year. “But if CIA officials continue to use tactics that will get evidence thrown out of federal court, there will increasingly be no other option.” We should never have opened this door.
CJR Campaign Desk:
The RNC begins attacking fact-checking journalists. If you can’t attack the facts, attack the messenger. Reagan was a Democrat once. Should we discount his Presidency? OK. Glad to.
NY Times Letters to the Editor:
No Time for Blind Faith, Freedom Has Meaning. It’s Not Just a Slogan, and Problems with Polls. On that last one, pay particular attention to the final letter. War does not guarantee an election for a sitting President.
Security screening for pilot training extended to smaller planes. You would have thought this ‘rule’ would have been put in place weeks after September 11; given the nature of attacks, this is a wise bit of prevention. Pilot training is well beyond driver training for automobiles, in responsibility and technical know-how. I can’t believe we had all those ‘cropduster’ scares, and the government has only been screening trainees for large airplanes all this time.
However: “The new security checks do not apply to foreign students already in training or enrolled in flight schools ...” My italics. So it seems the Justice Department is assuming there are no sleepers in the system right now.
The Bush Administration, making us marginally safer, three years on ...