Just now breaking and it is definitely going to send shockwaves around D.C.
The bipartisan Iraq Study Group reached a consensus on Wednesday on a final report that will call for a gradual pullback of the 15 American combat brigades now in Iraq but stop short of setting a firm timetable for their withdrawal, according to people familiar with the panel’s deliberations.
The report, unanimously approved by the 10-member panel, led by James A. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton, is to be delivered to President Bush next week. It is a compromise between distinct paths that the group has debated since March, avoiding a specific timetable, which has been opposed by Mr. Bush, but making it clear that the American troop commitment should not be open-ended. The recommendations of the group, formed at the request of members of Congress, are nonbinding.
A person who participated in the commission’s debate said that unless the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki believed that Mr. Bush was under pressure to pull back troops in the near future, “there will be zero sense of urgency to reach the political settlement that needs to be reached.”
This sounds an awful lot like what Democrats have been getting at. Prove to Iraq we are done and force them to step up. Of course Bush already said this week he would not go this route:
Mr. Bush has rejected such contacts until now, and he has also rejected withdrawal, declaring in Riga, Latvia, on Tuesday that while he will show flexibility, “there’s one thing I’m not going to do: I’m not going to pull the troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete.”
Raw Story brings us this:
report filed by CNN claims that former Secretary of State Colin Powell has said that President Bush must accept that Iraq has descended into civil war.
"Powell says he thinks we can call it a civil war," Cable News Network's Hala Gorani, reporting from Dubai, said today.
Powell also reportedly "added if he were still heading the State Department, he probably would recommend to the Bush administration that those terms should be used in order to come to terms with the reality on the ground."
It seems like everyone is accepting the fact that Iraq is in a civil war except President Denial himself. Why is that? Well considering he is out looking for funding for his "legacy library" now, apparently he don't want to tarnish that legacy anymore. If he can hold off on calling it a civil war until 2009 then he can blame it on the next President. That has worked really well in the past - just ask Lyndon Johnson.
It is good to see a politician with such honesty:
President Bush has pledged to work with the new Democratic majorities in Congress, but he has already gotten off on the wrong foot with Jim Webb, whose surprise victory over Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) tipped the Senate to the Democrats.
Webb, a decorated former Marine officer, hammered Allen and Bush over the unpopular war in Iraq while wearing his son’s old combat boots on the campaign trail. It seems the president may have some lingering resentment.
At a private reception held at the White House with newly elected lawmakers shortly after the election, Bush asked Webb how his son, a Marine lance corporal serving in Iraq, was doing.
Webb responded that he really wanted to see his son brought back home, said a person who heard about the exchange from Webb.
“I didn’t ask you that, I asked how he’s doing,” Bush retorted, according to the source.
Webb confessed that he was so angered by this that he was tempted to slug the commander-in-chief, reported the source, but of course didn’t. It’s safe to say, however, that Bush and Webb won’t be taking any overseas trips together anytime soon.
I am glad Webb didn't slug Bush, but it is good to finally see someone stand up in this way to Bush. Republicans had no problem taking shots at Clinton, one right after the other, but when it comes to Bush, we are supposed to treat him like some delicate little flower? Fuck that. Bush decided he wanted to play big boy and become a President. He decided he wanted the super-sized game of being a war time President. Now he needs to man-up and start facing the criticism he so deserves. Jim Webb has a son serving this country and has a right to ask questions. Bush has daughters who should be serving in Iraq, but instead are out partying and embarrassing us in other countries.
Lawmakers and cabinet ministers loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have suspended participation in parliament and the government to protest Prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's summit with U.S. President George W. Bush.
A statement issued Wednesday by the 30 lawmakers and five Cabinet ministers said their action was necessary because the meeting constituted a "provocation to the feelings of the Iraqi people and a violation of their constitutional rights." The statement did not explain that claim.
Al-Maliki and Bush are meeting in Amman, the Jordanian capital, Wednesday and Thursday looking for ways to end the violence in Iraq.
This is going to definitely add to the tensions in the country. Ironically on the same day as this so called "summit", we find out that the Bush White House has been trashing al-Maliki:
A classified memorandum by President Bush’s national security adviser expressed serious doubts about whether Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki had the capacity to control the sectarian violence in Iraq and recommended that the United States take new steps to strengthen the Iraqi leader’s position.
The Nov. 8 memo was prepared for Mr. Bush and his top deputies by Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, and senior aides on the staff of the National Security Council after a trip by Mr. Hadley to Baghdad.
The memo suggests that if Mr. Maliki fails to carry out a series of specified steps, it may ultimately be necessary to press him to reconfigure his parliamentary bloc, a step the United States could support by providing “monetary support to moderate groups,” and by sending thousands of additional American troops to Baghdad to make up for what the document suggests is a current shortage of Iraqi forces. (Text of the Memo)
Earlier today our
commander idiot in chief had this to say:
President Bush said on Tuesday the hand of al Qaeda lay behind the sectarian violence racking Iraq, and deflected talk of "civil war."
So that means our number one enemy is behind all our troubles then. Great - that means our military should be handling this problem. So then why is Bush saying this also:
Bush said he will ask al-Maliki to explain his plan for quelling the violence.
So it's al-Maliki's responsibility to deal with al Qaeda? I thought we were the ones fighting al Qaeda. Isn't this Bush's war? How the hell can he go demanding Iraq's plan when he has yet to present a plan.
This line of babbling from Bush will do nothing but increase the number of Iraqi's and U.S. soldiers that die for his lies. Someone needs to sit him down and slap the stupid right out of him because he is the biggest danger to the world and needs to be stopped. Democrats better not sit there next year and worry about political futures and instead move to serious hearings and impeachment so that we can save the lives of what few troops we have left. After he is out of office then turn his ass over to the Hague along with Cheney and Rumsfeld so they can stand trial for war crimes. This is the only way the world will accept us as a responsible power again.
Remember when Christmas was about "peace on earth and goodwill towards men"? This would be a perfect way to symbolize that sentiment.
Well it is unless you live in one of those corporate run communities that have a home owners association:
A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.
Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs. He said some residents have also believed it was a symbol of Satan. Three or four residents complained, he said.
"Somebody could put up signs that say drop bombs on Iraq. If you let one go up you have to let them all go up," he said in a telephone interview Sunday.
So the home owner's association is upset because they feel it speaks out against Iraq - you know that war where we are supposed to be spreading democracy? So how about this democratic approach to handling the situation:
Kearns ordered the committee to require Jensen to remove the wreath, but members refused after concluding that it was merely a seasonal symbol that didn't say anything. Kearns fired all five committee members.
That sounds like George Bush styled democracy to me - if something isn't decided upon the way you want then you fire them. I really hope this case ends up going to court so that these so-called "activist judges" can rule in favor of freedom of speech.
Remember the Republican controlled Congress spent 1/10th the time investigating Abu Gharib as they did investigating Bill Clinton's Christmas Card list. Here is why that is such a crime:
Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized the mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the prison's former U.S. commander said in an interview on Saturday.
Former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski told Spain's El Pais newspaper she had seen a letter apparently signed by Rumsfeld which allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep deprivation during interrogation.
Karpinski, who ran the prison until early 2004, said she saw a memorandum signed by Rumsfeld detailing the use of harsh interrogation methods.
"The handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: "Make sure this is accomplished,"" she told Saturday's El Pais.
Karpinski was made to be the fall guy (girl) in the entire scandal and no one would listen to her. Now she is going to countries where people will listen.
It is amazing how we hear that we should support our troops, yet the people who constantly make that demand are the ones who refuse to listen to the troops when they address problems like this. Almost every single general who has served in Iraq and left service during that time has raised serious complaints, but Bush don't listen to them. Instead he chooses to listen to the now fired Donald Rumsfeld.
The New York Times:
The insurgency in Iraq is now self-sustaining financially, raising tens of millions of dollars a year from oil smuggling, kidnapping, counterfeiting, connivance by corrupt Islamic charities and other crimes that the Iraqi government and its American patrons have been largely unable to prevent, a classified United States government report has concluded.
The report, obtained by The New York Times, estimates that groups responsible for many insurgent and terrorist attacks are raising $70 million to $200 million a year from illegal activities. It says $25 million to $100 million of that comes from oil smuggling and other criminal activity involving the state-owned oil industry, aided by "corrupt and complicit" Iraqi officials.
As much as $36 million a year comes from ransoms paid for hundreds of kidnap victims, the report says. It estimates that unnamed foreign governments - previously identified by American officials as including France and Italy - paid $30 million in ransom last year.
Remember when the talking heads would try and lead you to believe the insurgency was the equivalent to farmers with pitchforks? How about when Rumsfeld said they didn't predict a robust insurgency? Now that they are self-sustaining the problems have just grown. No longer do we have the scapegoats of Syria or Iran - the problem is totally within Iraq and we have no plan to cure it. This is the product of piss-poor planning by our administration and this will be a major downfall for us in Iraq.
A post-election e-mail to executives at the drug company GlaxoSmithKline details just how tough. "We now have fewer allies in the Senate," says the internal memo, obtained by The Washington Post. "Thus, there is greater risk over the next two years that bad amendments will be offered to pending legislation." The company's primary concerns are bills that would allow more imported drugs and would force price competition for drugs bought under Medicare.
The defeat of Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) "creates a big hole we will need to fill," the e-mail says. Sen.-elect Jon Tester (D-Mont.) "is expected to be a problem," it says, and the elevation to the Senate of Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) "will strengthen his ability to challenge us."
That is buried in an article in yesterday's Washington Post. Should they be afraid? Hell yeah they should! The 109th Republican controlled Congress has been a gift horse to mega corporations in this country and it has been the American people that have paid the price. The Democrats need to restore the power to the people and take it away from these corporate greed mongers. They also need to start pushing legislation through that makes such things as price gouging a serious crime with mandatory prison time for anyone involved. We pay the highest prices in the world for medicines and there is no excuse for that.