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April 30, 2007

Judge this Administration on its own priorities
Posted by Heather Hurlburt

It wasn't even one pm today -- officially I was on mommy duty and not even working -- and I'd already heard US credibility in three high-priority policy areas utterly demolished.

First, Europe's first terrorism czar, Gijs de Vries, discoursing on why the EU has found it so difficult to make effective information-sharing and policy-toughening on terrorism a priority.  Bureaucracy and a large community are important causes, but also there's this:

De Vries says America's current image makes the job of fighting terrorism difficult in Europe.

"The United States used to be known as a country of the rule of law and of liberty," he says.

Today, those associations are with the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, detainees at Guantanamo Bay and CIA renditions, de Vries says.

"That is sapping support for the United States, and also indirectly for Europe worldwide," he says.

Again, folks, that's not some lefty radical or weenie think-tanker.  That's the senior EU counter-terrorism official.

Then NPR got to the resignation ofUSAID Administrator and former Global AIDS czar Randall "have some abstinence education with your anti-retrovirals" Tobias.

For the record, I don't care what the guy did with escorts.  I care that he was working for an Administration that tries to deny that sex workers exist, that makes public health researchers take the words out of their funding proposals, that has had to be talked into supporting funds for condoms, and that, as I mentioned, tells young adults that they should just ignore their own sexual drives -- and that lays claim to a superior morality in this area.

Then I heard a very well-regarded Middle East expert say that reformers in the region say that just using the word "democracy" to talk about their aspirations now gets them dismissed as American stooges.

So let's see:  terrorism, democracy, global AIDS -- three things this Administration says are its highest priorities.  A trifecta of foolishness and fecklessness.

But wait, there's more -- because it seems there always is -- Steve Clemons quotes an unnamed World Bank source as suggesting Wolfowitz is trying to hang on to collect a June 1 performance bonus (??) in the neighborhood of $400,000.


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re: US credibility

President Bush, May 1, 2003, on board the USS Abraham Lincoln: "In the images of falling statues, we have witnessed the arrival of a new era. For a hundred of years of war, culminating in the nuclear age, military technology was designed and deployed to inflict casualties on an ever-growing scale. In defeating Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, Allied forces destroyed entire cities, while enemy leaders who started the conflict were safe until the final days. Military power was used to end a regime by breaking a nation.

"Today, we have the greater power to free a nation by breaking a dangerous and aggressive regime. With new tactics and precision weapons, we can achieve military objectives without directing violence against civilians. No device of man can remove the tragedy from war; yet it is a great moral advance when the guilty have far more to fear from war than the innocent." (Applause.)

We don't target civilians?

BAGHDAD, April 29, 2007 (Reuters) - The U.S. military in Iraq launched an artillery barrage in southern Baghdad on Sunday against suspected insurgent targets, with two dozen loud explosions shaking the southern outskirts of the capital.

U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Garver said the morning blasts, which were heard across the city, were caused by U.S. artillery but declined to say what the target was.

Tens of thousands of U.S. and Iraqi troops have been deployed in Baghdad as part of a 10-week-old security crackdown to combat sectarian militias and insurgents.

The Iraqi police said the artillery was being fired from the U.S. Forward Operating Base Falcon in southern Baghdad into the al-Buaitha neighborhood of Dora, a volatile district that is a Sunni insurgent stronghold.


An artillery barrage doesn't discriminate. The now-dead women and children who lived in al-Buaitha have been liberated. From life. Cannon fodder--oops--collateral damage. A Noble Cause by the City On The Hill. Advancing US strategic objectives! How nice!

An artillery barrage doesn't discriminate

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I would like to say Wolfie's audacity is quite remarkable. But it is also this audacity that has gotten him to the higher echelons he has achieved. It is a pity that his impending fall is of such embarrassment. Or perhaps it's too immature to say "fall". I wouldn't be surprised if Wolfie went on to a much more lucrative deal-people like do seem to land on their feet.

I would like to say Wolfie's audacity is quite remarkable. But it is also this audacity that has gotten him to the higher echelons he has achieved. It is a pity that his impending fall is of such embarrassment.

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