Thursday, December 28, 2006

menace-exuders are not innocent

* from a NYT article about the problem with people in Kurdish jails without trial in Northern Iraq:
"Many of the detained men exude menace. But others claim they are innocent. And Kurdish officials say they have a limited capacity to disentangle the groups."
apparently menace-exuders are not innocent.

* clemons:
"In my view, Hussein has committed outrageous crimes for which he should be held to account. However, I can just as well think of many others who have evaded responsibility on our side of the equation for errors in judgment combined with duplicity that have resulted in the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis.

But Hussein was a monster -- no doubt. But he was at times "our monster." He was also a "controllable monster," and a classic kind of thug whom we could have dealt with in ways far smarter and less crippling to this nation and its military.

But we need to be clear-eyed about the possibility that Saddam Hussein's execution at the instruction of Iraq's highest courts and judges -- which many Iraqis see as puppets under American control -- may actually have an enormous negative impact on the survivability of the current government and could ignite a much higher octane of nasty civil war inside Iraq.

The track has been laid. I don't see any way that Hussein can escape execution -- but everyone involved needs to realize that Hussein is no longer just a criminal, thuggish, murderous tyrant in the eyes of most Iraqi citizens.

To many, he has become a defiant leader fighting American oppression and someone who portrays himself as a proud and ferocious Sunni force. Many Sunnis want him back -- and we need to prepare for something big, very big, when he dies."

* amy:
"At 2,974, US Death Toll in Iraq Exceeds 9/11
The US death toll in Iraq has now exceeded the known number of deaths in the September 11th attacks. According to the Associated Press, the US toll has reached 2,974 ---- one more than the official count of those who died in the World Trade Center, Washington and Pennsylvania. "
in other news, the US death toll in Iraq now exceeds the number of calories in 42 eggs.

* amy:
“My Name is Rachel Corrie” Cancelled at Canadian Theatre
A play featuring the writings of the late American peace activist Rachel Corrie has been silenced --- for the second time. The Canadian theatre company CanStage has announced its canceling plans to present the play “My Name is Rachel Corrie” in Toronto. Corrie was twenty-three years old when she was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in March 2003. Earlier this year, the New York Theatre Workshop drew international headlines when it backed out of an agreement to stage the play. The Theatre Workshop cited complaints about the play’s criticism of Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories. It appears similar concerns have led to the CanStage decision. In an interview with Variety magazine, CanStage boardmember Jack Rose admitted he had neither read nor seen the play but said: "My view was it would provoke a negative reaction in the Jewish community."

* this i didnt know:
"the Director of CIA, cannot after his term of DCIA subsequently run for Vice President or President, which is what happened with George Herbert Walker Bush, that rule was bent for him. He went on from being the DCIA to running for Vice President. That’s a no-no."

* laura:
"With holiday travel, it's taken a while to give this the attention it deserves. But the NYT report excerpted below on Iranians detained by the US military in Iraq raises as many questions as it answers. For instance, one wonders, where is (outgoing) US ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad in all of this? He has reportedly supported US-Iranian-Iraqi talks on Iraq under the auspices of the Iraqi government. Such tentative talk of talks was reportedly scuttled by Cheney's office. Now those talks appear to have been happening - between Iraq and Iran at least -- and the US has reportedly arrested some of the Iranians invited by the Iraqi government to participate in them. Was Khalilzad in the background, an observer, etc. in these Iraq-Iran discussions before they were interrupted? Who precisely in the US demanded that the military arrest some of the Iranians involved, and for what reasons? Who are the Iranians arrested? And why has the Iranian reaction seemed at least from afar somewhat muted? And what's Hakim's role in all of this? What's his role as a seemingly close associate of both Washington and Tehran? What does it mean that some of the Iranians were arrested in his compound?"

* jorge hirsch:
"If Bush had any intention of reaching a negotiated agreement with Iran, he had plenty of opportunities to pursue such options, as recently detailed by Flynt Leverett ( complete article here [.pdf]). In the absence of any concession by the U.S., Iran will not submit to U.S. demands, and weak sanctions resolutions do not exert any real pressure on Iran. This has been clear to many observers, including this author, for many months. The only rational explanation to understand the U.S. push to pass resolutions against Iran, no matter how weak, is that its purpose is to lay the ground for planned military action.

If the intention is to attack Iran, it was important for Bush to have this UNSC resolution (and the preceding one of July 31), which makes a demand that Iran will not meet, approved unanimously to provide a fig-leaf argument that "the world" demands action, as UNSC 1441 did in the case of Iraq."

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