• Iraq War Blessing For Al Qaeda

    A report issued this past Wedensday from the United Nations bolstered the conclusions of a U.S. intelligence study concluding that the Iraq War has brought about a surge in Al Qaeda membership. Recruits are flooding to Al Qaeda in Iraq and in Afganistan. Support for Al Qaeda in Iraq may wane, since some recruits expressed dismay that they would have to kill fellow Muslims. Nevertheless, Al Qaeda is seeing its numbers growing elsewhere.

    Parts of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate leaked out this week, concluding that Al Qaeda numbers were “increasing in both number and geographic dispersion” due to the Iraq war. The study, prepared in April, said that the war had become a “cause celebre for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.”

    U.S. Ambassador John Bolton made a curious remark in the wake of the release of this information. “If you said after the attack on Pearl Harbor that the American response had increased the violence in the Pacific, you would be right, wouldn’t you? Because violence did increase after the attack and after our response,” he told reporters. “We are in conflict with international terrorism and the nature of that conflict is playing out in Iraq,” he said.

    So is Bolton comparing America to Japan in his comments? After all, Iraq never attacked the United States, and the claims from the administration that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, or were somehow involved in the plot of September 11, 2001, evaporated with the President’s own words on August 21, 2006:

    THE PRESIDENT: You know, I’ve heard this theory about everything was just fine until we arrived, and kind of “we’re going to stir up the hornet’s nest” theory. It just doesn’t hold water, as far as I’m concerned. The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.

    Q What did Iraq have to do with that?

    THE PRESIDENT: What did Iraq have to do with what?

    Q The attack on the World Trade Center?

    THE PRESIDENT: Nothing.

    Okay. So there must be more. After all, the President must be able to explain himself. Well, there was an explanation. There is a comma, not a period, in the White House transcripts from the news conference. Here’s the explanation:

    THE PRESIDENT: Nothing, except for it’s part of — and nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a — the lesson of September the 11th is, take threats before they fully materialize, Ken. Nobody has ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq. I have suggested, however, that resentment and the lack of hope create the breeding grounds for terrorists who are willing to use suiciders to kill to achieve an objective. I have made that case.

    So, in the President’s own words, “resentment and the lack of hope create the breeding grounds for terrorists who are willing to use suiciders to kill to achieve an objective.” That seems to be the conclusion of the U.N. That seems to be the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence study. Except they don’t blame Saddam Hussein for the growing number of terrorists.

    They seem to blame someone else.


  • Another Bad Republican – Turn The Page

    Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla.Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., resigned from Congress today, after questions arose about emails he sent to a former teenage male page. Foley issued a simple apology, “I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent.” His re-election bid all but certain, this revelation is simply astounding. ABC News reported that Foley also exchanged bizarre and inappropriate instant messages with current and former teenage male pages. “Do I make you a little horny?” he apparently asked one.

    How will the Republicans spin this? How will the far right withstand the storm on this one? Has Karl Rove weighed in yet? Foley was the great protector of our youth. The Foley Child Safety Legislation passed the Senate this past July, strengthening sex offender penalties. β€œFor too long our nation has tracked library books better than it has sex offenders. That day is coming to an end,” said Foley. America’s Most Wanted John Walsh praised Foley when the legislation passed the House of Representatives in November of 2005:

    Rather than sitting and waiting for the laws to change, I went to Capitol Hill, along with representatives of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. We marched through the halls of Congress, bringing our message straight to the hearts of those who can fix the problem.

    I have some great news to report. They listened.

    Members of Congress have worked together to close the loopholes and to fill in the cracks of the current sex offender registration system.

    Representative Mark Foley of Florida and his staff worked for a year writing a comprehensive bill with some important conditions.

    Bully for Foley.

    Look, let’s say Folay is gay.? His behavior does not mean that he is gay.? He is a sexaul predator.? And let’s not tear down the good he did while in Congress. Walsh is right. This legislation was incredibly important. The issue is that, once again, we discover the hypocrisy of the right wing. Democrats are far from perfect, but we already know that. It’s the Republican Party that has claimed moral superiority.

    You guessed it. Yet another reason to vote Democratic. The country needs a rest.


  • Congratulations, Barack Obama

    Congratulations at last to U.S. Senator Barack Obama. The first bill bearing his name passed the Senate, and was signed into law by President Bush. Obama, while appreciative of the notoriety he has received before and since being elected to the Senate, has joked in his Gridiron speech, “Thanks. When I actually do something, we’ll let you know.”

    Well, aside from raise mountains of money for other democrats and, with his wife Michelle, pull in a whopping $1.67 million for his family, today he’s done something for America.

    The “Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act”, will create a Web-based searchable database of federal government spending. It looked for a while that the bill would suffer defeat, but bloggers from the left and the right united in protest, and the bill passed.

    Good work, Senator!


  • Coling Powell Continues to Enlighten

    More and more generals are critical of our international policy.

    Powell wrote to Senator John McCain expressing his belief that redefining Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention would be a grave mistake.? “I do not support such a step and believe it would be inconsistent? with the McCain amendment on torture which I supported last year,” Powell wrote.
    And then, this:

    The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism.” Colin Powell, September 14, 2006.

    The world has been in doubt for a long time.


  • 65-34: Freedom is Going, Going, GONG!

    They did it.

    By a vote of 63-34, the United States Senate approved the detainee bill sought by the Bush Administration.

    Take a look at the sky tonight, this morning, this afternoon, this evening. Wherever, whenever you are. Take a look at the sky.

    It’s different, somehow.

    Think about all of the things this country is going through right now. Check out the stats on health insurance in the United States. Over 45 million people in this country have no health coverage at all.

    45 million. Many of them are children. At least one child for every three children in the United States has no health insurance at all.

    Look at schools in Ford Heights, IL, compared to schools in Naperville, IL. Or, pick two towns where you live.

    But at least we wrote universal health care into the Iraqi constitution. At least we’re building schools in Iraq.

    Of course we should be building in Iraq. We destroyed Iraq. But look at our national priorities. What are we really spending on housing for our poor? What are we doing to eradicate poverty? How many of our young people can really afford college? How many parents can afford to work and put their children in day care?

    Republicans rushed this bill through the Senate. “There is no question that the rush to pass this bill β€” which is the product of secret negotiations with the White House β€” is about serving a political agenda,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.
    Yet another chunk of our Constitution has been taken away. Habeas corpus, gone. Look at the sky today. It covers the same land it did yesterday, but it’s all somehow different.


  • America Embraces Torture

    What is going on in Washington? Just a week ago, prominent Republican congressional leaders were condemning the proposed legislation that would allow the Bush Administration to disregard the l Geneva Convention. The detainee treatment bill would deny the fundamental right of habeas corpus to detainees held abroad. The most frightening aspect of this legislation is that it would forbid detainees from challenging the legality of their detention or their treatment, even if they were tortured, by recourse to habeas corpus actions. This confounds and astounds me.

    There is nothing in the United States Constitution that distinguishes between what type of prisoner has rights and what type of prisoner does not have rights. This country gains its power not from its arsenal but from that very Constitution!

    The Bill of Rights was inspired by civil rights violations by the British before and during the Revolutionary War. America was to be different. Our Founding Fathers were committed to the ideal that this country would not abuse its prisoners, be they American Citizens or Prisoners of War. We cried out at the atrocities many of our service men and women suffered in Vietnam, and we stand poised to justify even greater atrocities.

    And the majority of Americans are silent. That is the greatest shock of all.