"So long as President Bush believes that the US is winning in Iraq, there will be no rapprochement with Syria. Syria's price will be too high. Syria is asking the US to make a clear statement about leaving Iraq. In other words, Syria is saying that if Bush will admit defeat in Iraq, Syria will help. And, by the way, Syria wants an expanded Lebanese cabinet, an end to the Hariri investigation, the Golan up to the water, and an independent Palestinian state in all the occupied territories. Thank You. "unfortunately he is travelling at the moment, so i'm not sure when we'll see his thoughts on the latest atrocities. (FTR, I presume that the Syrians are being set up again.)
* gilliard has LowerManhattanite's take on kramer. worth a read.
"We live in an ugly world, so I'm not making an argument in favor of confrontation. But the final truth about Washington's enthusiasm for diplomacy and dialogue with Iran and Syria is that it is a way of pretending that Iraq is not hopeless, that it is all a misunderstanding, that our problems rest in the implementation and clumsiness of the Bush administration, not that we are indeed fighting people who truly hate us and what we stand for.
Perhaps when Baker, Obama, and Clark get their way, we can open a national dialogue to ask ourselves just what kind of world we live in and what we should do about it. In the meantime, though, we are reduced to hoping that two countries that the Bush administration has labeled as the enemy are going to help us out. I know hands will be shaken, but I don't see it happening in any meaningful way."
* mizgin has a great post about mercenaries:
"It's hypocritical to complain about the proliferation of private militias in Iraq when these corporate mercenaries are private militias too. They also run around like cowboys in the Wild, Wild West, firing up everything in sight, with no thought for accountability nor a worry about war crimes tribunals. Why bother to have a plan for reconstruction when you can have private companies overcharging for the privilege of trying to force reconstruction in an unorganized, half-assed manner, thus driving up profits?
The conflict of interest inherent in the fact that former government and military officials are behind these companies, or that they hold positions in governments making the decisions that boost the profit margins of these companies is very worrying. In light of the conflict of interest, claims of desire for democratic change, on the part of these same officials, appear as nothing more than high-priced advertising for the benefit of these outsourcing whores. How convenient instead to manipulate the lives of millions and change the dynamics on the ground to favor the defense industry and private military contractors.
This amounts to more than simply outsourcing war; it's outsourcing of the shaping of foreign policy. It's not accountable to anyone, not to the citizens of the countries engaged in the outsourcing nor to those citizens of the target countries . . . all in the interests of big business, naturally."