Category Archives: Iraq

The Sassy Sundries: My Week in Review

Ah, Summer. Hours, minutes, drift by, and it seems as though we have all the time in the world. I’m rather surprised to discover that Friday is already upon us.

It is, I guess, and so here are the Sassy Sundries, my weekly tally of things political, personal, and nonsensical:

About a quarter-mile up the street from me, people wake up to find a dead body wrapped in a sheet. Police have revealed few details. Freaky. Minus Three

Summer weather. The really hot stuff didn’t last that long, but it’s still been lovely. Plus Two

Sometimes I find myself envying W’s rose-colored glasses. If he has not had someone enchant them for him, I want the address of the company that makes them. How else can he stand up and say that the damning progress report on his surge means that things are looking up? It’s got to be the glasses. I don’t think Congress has the wherewithal to rip them off him, but the House did pass a bill calling for troops to be out of Iraq by April 2008. Minus Five

Speaking of envy, I want me some executive privilege (actually, what I’d really like is some vice presidential privilege—that’s some amazing stuff). I want to be able to defy Congress, break the law (not backing up official e-mails), and get away with it. Bush tells former White House aide Sara Taylor not to testify, and Harriet Miers doesn’t even show up. Congress might hold Miers in contempt, but they don’t seem to have the follow-through to stop the White House. Minus Five

I had a number of adventures this week, with friends and alone. I’m really enjoying this whole urban experiment. Plus Ten

Oh. I have a new roommate. She’s a friend of mine, and she’ll be moving in at the end of the month. I’m a little nervous about living with someone again after so many years on my own, but mostly I’m excited. I think it will be fun. Plus Five

Testimony from the former US Surgeon General reveals the extent of White House tampering with scientific judgment for political purposes. Ted Kennedy introduces a bill to make the position more independent. The new nominee once wrote a paper calling male homosexuality a pathology and unnatural. He might toe the line a bit more. This whole country is going down the tubes. Minus Five

Lady Bird Johnson died. Her husband’s disastrous involvement in Vietnam has all but obscured his domestic achievements (Voting Rights Act, anyone?), but I’d like to say that I admire her stance against segregation and her work to get the country to give a hoot and not pollute. Even

Total Plus: 17
Total Minus: 18

TOTAL FOR THE WEEK: -1

Last Week’s Total: +6

UPDATE: I knew I should have done this later. Two Buck Chuck, the crappy Chardonnay available at Trader Joe’s won a prize for best California Chardonnay. Wine snobs everywhere are groaning. I think the week is now in positive territory, don’t you?

Week from Hell: Gun Control, War, the Attorney General, the World Bank, and Abortion Rights

What a week to be in a self-absorbed cocoon. While I was getting beaten, bruised, and strained in the act of moving, quite a week was going on out there. I don’t know how to rank this stuff, most of it is so bad, so the Sassy Sundries will be back next week.

Thanks to the militancy of the National Rifle Association, an insane young man was able to purchase guns and ammunition and shoot up his school. Somehow I don’t think that the Founders envisioned the kinds of arms we have available today when they introduced the right for states to raise militias into the Constitution. It angers me beyond belief that this tragedy could have been averted, if only our society would take both mental health and gun control more seriously.

While media outlets have been airing poignant portraits of the individuals killed in the Virginia Tech shooting, some two hundred Iraqis died in suicide bombings this week. This surge simply isn’t working. As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said, we can’t win this war militarily. But our Decider-in-Chief insists that surging will win the Global War on Terror. Guess we better trust him then.

The Decider steadfastly stood by his man in the hall of justice, despite his demonstrated incompetence and deceitfulness. Even his Republican allies castigated Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s performance at his hearing yesterday. How can a guy who graduated from Harvard Law forget so much? Let’s hope Gonzales, who argues that the Constitution does not actually contain the right to Habeas Corpus and that the Geneva Conventions rules outlawing torture are “quaint” and outdated, will soon be left to the dustbin of history.

One of the chief architects of the Iraq War and pal of the Decider Paul Wolfowitz vowed as head of the World Bank to go after corruption. Guess he never thought that anyone would find out that he stashed his girlfriend in the State Department and arranged for her to get sweet promotions and even sweeter paychecks. It must be nice to have the head of the World Bank as your sugar daddy.

The Bush-packed Supreme Court decided this week that women don’t have rights over their own bodies. Roberts and Alito ruled with Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy that despite expert medical opinion, that banning the so-called “partial birth abortion” was just fine. The dilation and extraction procedure (and potentially, due to the bill’s vague language, some second-trimester abortion procedures) is never, ever necessary, even if the mother’s life is at stake, because these guys said so.

I think I’ll try to repair my self-absorbed cocoon and see if I can’t get back in it. This is just too much.

The Sassy Sundries: My Week in Review

Is it really Friday again? Holy crap. Well I guess that means it’s time for the Sassy Sundries, an idea I’ve ripped off from Boston’s Weekly Dig. Here I assign numerical values to things political, personal, and nonsensical from the past week. Enjoy!

Once again, Dick Cheney is not having a great time of it. First his aide, Scooter Libby, gets convicted of four of the five counts against him. From the court proceedings, it’s obvious that Cheney was involved in the leak. Then the guy gets just one more reminder that he’s a walking corpse. As a human being, I wish him no harm, but wouldn’t it be nice if Satan stepped down? Plus Three

Scooter Libby might have gotten convicted, but Rove and Cheney escape unscathed. Minus Two

In local politics, our new Governor is making misstep after misstep; the latest one has generated an ethics complaint. Still, he handled the immigration situation nicely. Minus Two

I was still a bit confused by McIntriguing this week, but things really are great now. Goofy grin has returned. Sorry. Plus Ten

Hedged bets in the romantic department after confusing McIntriguing activity and replied to an e-mail from another interesting fellow. Am now feeling a bit conflicted about it, but am pleased with myself for treating dating as dating until it becomes something else. Plus Two

Redid iPod this week. I haven’t listened to the Jesus and Mary Chain in ages. Also obtained the latest Arcade Fire release on iTunes. Am moving up in technology world. Plus One

Evidence comes out that the FBI is taking major league advantage of the Patriot Act. Shock, Shock. Minus Two

General Petraeus, the general in charge of the Iraq “surge,” says that there isn’t a military solution to the war. The general is a rocket scientist. Bush doesn’t listen to scientists. Minus Two

U2’s Joshua Tree album came out twenty years ago today. I remember the day clearly—Smokestack and I sat around discussing the merits of the band’s new approach, and she was swinging her head and torso around in time to “With or Without You.” We were in the eighth grade. I feel older than dirt. Even

Total Plus: 16
Total Minus: 8
TOTAL FOR THE WEEK: Plus 8
LAST WEEK’S TOTAL: Plus 35

The Sassy Sundries: My Week in Review

Here’s yet another mathematical accounting of things personal, political, and sundry in my life. I’ve stolen the idea from Boston’s Weekly Dig’s Bean Counter column. They don’t seem to have much by way of mathematical skills, either. Thanks to Before Girl for pointing out the error of my simple arithmetic last week. At least she doesn’t pick on my pre-coffee comments.

I have a date with McIntriguing tomorrow evening. Plus Ten

According to Salon.com’s War Room, a recent Pew Research Center, the words most commonly volunteered to describe W are “incompetent” and “arrogant.” “Ass” comes in at number 13. Here’s to the Ass-in-Chief, our leader. Minus Three

I got to see Dear Prudence for the first time in ages. It was a good, if not nearly long enough, visit. Plus Five

Unlike the US Senate, the House has a spine. This week’s debate on the non-binding Iraq War resolution gives me some hope that Congress might start standing up to the Administration. Plus Two

Meanwhile, the war rages on, and the Democrats are scared about being called weak on defense. Minus Five

V-Day passed without incident. Even

Winter weather finally decided to show up. Even though it was mostly freezing rain, I still got that snowed-in feeling. Plus Two

I had a nasty case of the flu. Minus Three

“Raspberry Beret” just came on my iPod. One. Two. One, two, three, uh! Plus One

Plus Total: 20
Minus Total: 11
Total for the Week: Plus 9
Last Week’s Total: Bad Math

The Sassy Sundries: My Week in Review

Here I consider matters personal, political, and nonsensical from my week and assign a numerical value. I’ve stolen this idea from the Boston’s Weekly Dig’s Bean Counter column.

Spineless Republicans supposedly in favor of a non-binding resolution criticizing the president’s ill-conceived surge vote against debating the measure. Minus Five

I reconnected with a friend, and it was good. Plus Four

RIP, Anna Nicole Smith, victim of stereotype and the media. She had nary a brain cell in her head, but that makes it all the more reprehensible that people reveled in her exploitation. Minus Two

A most interesting e-mail exchange with McIntriguing has me smiling a lot. Plus Five

I had to resort to platitudes to calm myself down while I waited for the e-mail to ring. Minus One

Bush’s foreign “policy” of late has me even more worried than usual. This article lays out the sheer idiocy of the Administration’s posturing on Iran. And although this article James sent me doesn’t have a lot of new information, it lays out a very convincing case for the real motivations behind our Middle East policy. Minus Five

I got to knit with Grey’s when the show was actually on. Thanks, Carissa! (If you haven’t checked out her critique of the show’s location issues and other crimes against Seattle, you should. It’s a scream.) Plus Four

I’m going to New Hampshire tonight, and I’m going to see my favorite dog. Oh, and my parents. That will be nice too. Plus Three

Plus Total: 16
Minus Total: 16

Verdict: Even
Last Week’s Total: Minus 1

And the Word of the Day is Spineless

I knew it. Just when I began to hope that a few Republicans had seen the light on Iraq, they showed me once again why that party is not to be trusted. Led by the nose by Mitch McConnell and Trent Lott (remember him—the guy who praised Strom Thurmond’s run for the presidency on a blatantly racist platform?), Senators Chuck Hegel and John Warner voted against debate on the non-binding resolutions criticizing the president’s ill-conceived surge. Spineless. And hypocritical—what happened to all the high-handed talk about the “nuclear option” if the Democrats used such procedural maneuvers when the Republicans had all the power?

I’d say this was unbelievable, but the thing is, I completely believe it.

Nightmare Scenario and Showing Him the Way: Thoughts on the State of the Union

I cannot say enough how relieved I am that W can no longer claim a majority in Congress to support his disastrous leadership. Listening to him plead with lawmakers and the American people to give his war a chance was far more heartening than hearing him gloat about the “successes.” The most common word I’ve used to cover the response to his State of the Union address was “tepid.” W knows that the American people do not support him or his war, and he knows that he can be defeated.

Still, his words about Iran make me very nervous. If he broadens this “war on terror” to include a fight against Iran, I fear for the future of my country, and I fear for the safety of the entire world. We are not winning in Iraq—what makes him think that we can take on Iran? “Nightmare scenario” indeed.

Senator Jim Webb’s succinct and cogent response for the Democrats demonstrated why he won his seat as a Democrat in the red state of Virginia. Here was a voice who knows war himself. His father served in the military, he served in the military, and now his son is serving in Iraq. He said that this war was misguided from the beginning and that it is time to extricate ourselves from it now. Alluding to the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, he said that Congress would be “showing him the way” if W refused to listen to reason about this war. The American people have placed their trust in the Democrats to do just that.

What New Strategy?

So, at long last, an admission. The situation in Iraq is “unacceptable.” It only took throwing his party out of Congress to make him see the light. This illegal war, waged under false pretenses and bungled from the beginning (OK, he didn’t say that), isn’t working out so well. Tonight, President George W. Bush told the American people that he knew the way forward, the way to fix this horrifying mess. The way to fix it, according to our president, is more of the same, only with some 22,000 more troops from our overextended military and a “we really mean it this time” to the Iraqi government.

The president talked about September 11, 2001, and he talked about al Qaeda. It would have been great to hear him say that the only connection that this date and this group have to Iraq is that we attacked Iraq and made it vulnerable to al Qaeda’s infiltration. It would have been wonderful if instead of paying lip service to the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, he announced his plans to act on them.

He didn’t. I listened to this speech, and I listened closely. I didn’t hear a new strategy. I didn’t hear a way forward. All I heard was more delusional babble that “victory in Iraq” is possible if we only up our staying of the course. Victory is not possible. Iraq is in the midst of a civil war, and our continued participation in it is folly. It’s time for him to realize that. It’s time for him to admit that we need help. Negotiation is required. Financial commitment to fix what we have broken is demanded.

The American people elected a Democratic majority to Congress because the situation in Iraq is unacceptable. I only hope that they are strong enough to make the tough decision required. Sending over yet more troops is a horrible mistake. We voted for a new Congress because we don’t want that to happen. It’s up to them to pave a new way forward. Let’s hope they can do it.

Why I Vote for Ted Kennedy: Resisting the "Surge"

In answer to the question posed by a few people I know, this is why I vote for Ted Kennedy. As W is preparing to send yet more troops into Iraq in an attempt to salvage his disastrous war, Ted Kennedy is saying no. He’s saying that the people voted for change, and a “surge” is not change. While Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have indicated that they will resist the attempt to escalate the war, Ted Kennedy introduced legislation to block the funding for it and to reinsert the rightful role of Congress in this war. In an interview with the New York Times, quoted in the Nation blog linked above, Kennedy said the following:

It seems to me that we are at a time of a major escalation into a civil war, that’s what the proposal of a surge is really about. This president is going to escalate the American presence and escalate the whole Iraqi war. This is a major mistake and a major blunder. If there’s one thing that the election was about last fall was sending a very clear message to Congress and to the president that the American people want accountability. They want a change in direction on Iraq, they want accountability, and they want people to stand up and be counted.

“Surging” will only make this war worse. This is Bush’s attempt to save face from the dope slap he got from the Iraq Study Group, headed up by the man who helped get him selected, James Baker. W keeps saying that this quagmire is an “essential front in the war on terror.” Kennedy is asking why. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein was a bastard, but he was not bin Laden. The solution to this mess can only be found through political means, not a misguided “surge.” Thank you, Ted Kennedy, for having the courage to stand up and resist it. This is why I vote for you.