"What hopes can we attach to American and British plans of 'reconstruction' that are being hatched even as this destruction is going on? The precedent of Afghanistan's reconstruction is not too reassuring. The White House forgot to ask for any money in this year's annual budget for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. It was only after a fuss was raised in Congress by some representatives that $300 million were set aside, with no commitments for later years."
* miguel sent through this NPR report on Hastert
* i used to occasionally do a thing where i'd demonstrate some weird google responses - usually a curious twist which perversely includes me ranking really high on a particular search-term. today's exhibit is "Kaiser Soze" - somehow i'm in the top ten.
" First, the daily carnage against Iraqis has been enormous in the past two weeks. There were several deadly car bombings again early Sunday in Baghdad itself. Second, the violence is not most "al-Qaeda"-driven. People in the Sunni district of Adhamiyah in Baghdad are mostly Baathists, not al-Qaeda, and some of them are surely planning out these bombings. Adhamiyah is now under actual attack by US and Iraqi forces, though there is some kind of news blackout on the operation. But the violence is going on anyway."
"But if the point of the amnesty is to bring the guerrilla leadership in from the cold, this amnesty is useless. What Sunni Arab guerrillas worth their salt have killed no Iraqis and no US troops? As for the rest, why would Sunnis who had not killed anyone need to be amnestied? And wouldn't they be rather pitiful guerrillas?
It appears that the main point of the "reconciliation" is not in fact to reconcile with the guerrilla movement. It is an attempt to draw off support from it by rehabilitating the Sunni Arabs who had been Baath party members. Those who had not actively killed anyone would now be brought back into public life and deep debaathification would be reversed, as I read it."
* a couple of weeks ago, i argued that OBL, Zawahiri and zarqawi have all been long-dead - becuase they apparently always send fake letters to each other, but none of them ever seem to mention it, even when the USG is caught out. now this from juancole:
"Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number 2 man in al-Qaeda, released a video Friday in which he pledged that the organization would take revenge on the United States for the killing of Zarqawi. He quoted Bin Laden as saying that the Americans would never rest easy until the Palestinians have their rights."