How Long Before Bush Bombs It?

This from the AP has me asking, and not entirely sarcastically, how long it will take for the Bush Administration to harm this planet:

For the first time astronomers have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is potentially habitable, with Earth-like temperatures, a find researchers described Tuesday as a big step in the search for "life in the universe."

What? Improper Activity By This White House?


A little-known federal investigative unit has launched a probe into allegations of illegal political activity within the executive branch, including a White House office led by President Bush's close adviser, Karl Rove.

A Different Type of Tax Dodge: New Hampshire Millionaires Hold Out From Feds In Mansion, Claiming Feds Are Fiction

Here's part of the story, but it's so strange, it almost seems like something one of George Bush's friends - like Grover Norquist - would devise:

A couple convicted of tax evasion for concealing $1.9 million in income was sentenced to prison Tuesday, but they refused to attend the hearing and have vowed not to leave their fortress-like mansion.

Ed and Elaine Brown insist tax laws do not exist and have holed up in their hilltop home in Plainfield, which has a watchtower, concrete walls and the ability to run on wind and solar power. Ed Brown, 64, said he has stockpiled food and supplies.

"The world belongs to the creator. It doesn't belong to man," he said Tuesday. "It doesn't belong to the United States government.

"The Browns were convicted in January of scheming to hide $1.9 million of income between 1996 and 2003. They were also convicted of using $215,890 in postal money orders to pay for their residence and for Elaine Brown's dental practice. The money orders were broken into increments just below the tax-reporting threshold.

U.S. District Judge Steven McAuliffe sentenced them each to 5-1/4 years in prison. They skipped the sentencing hearings, and in a telephone interview, Ed Brown said they will not surrender to federal authorities.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Morse said the former exterminator and his dentist wife have acted as though they are above the law.U.S. marshals have been ordered to arrest the couple but said they are not planning to storm the home, blockade the roads or cut off supplies.

"We're not going to engage in that kind of game with them," U.S. Marshal Stephen Monier said. But, he added, "law enforcement is not going away and neither are the warrants."

In telephone interviews, Ed Brown said the couple will stay in their home despite convictions and warrants.

"I could care less what he does," Brown said of McAuliffe. "I can't talk to a fiction. You're a fiction, too."
Have any doubt that if these people weren't so well-heeled, they wouldn't be allowed to just sit at home?


Rudy Giuliani: Dem Presidential Win Puts U.S. At Greater Risk For Another 9/11

Oh, please, Rudy! You've said some very stupid, pandering things since 2001 but this is about the worst.

Go put on another dress and go looking for the next Mrs. Giuliani you flaunt in public l0nnnnnnng before you file for divorce.

GOP Senator: White House Most Incompetent E-V-E-R

Of course, as Think Progress notes, this Republican Senator can admit all the trouble while not lifting a single manicured fingertip to remove such incompetents and corrupted types:

Profiles in courage.

A U.S. Senator talks to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius:

“This is the most incompetent White House I’ve seen since I came to Washington,” said one GOP senator. “The White House legislative liaison team is incompetent, pitiful, embarrassing. My colleagues can’t even tell you who the White House Senate liaison is. There is rank incompetence throughout the government. It’s the weakest Cabinet I’ve seen.” And remember, this is a Republican talking.

What’s truly pitiful and embarrassing is that this Senator understands these truths but hides behind a veil of anonymity, protecting his/her own political fortunes while the nation suffers.

It's Not Just Bush American People Want O-U-T; Impeach The Dick

Congressman Dennis Kucinich has announced plans to introduce articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney, separate from any possible action against The Bush.

Please don't all cry at once.

Moms/Dads, Husbands/Wifes Of Dead U.S. Soldiers in Iraq: You Don't Suffer; The Poor, Poor Bushs Do

I am so many light years beyond furious at this comment (which I saw for the first time on Think Progress today) I cannot yet speak reasonably about it. The effing nerve of that woman - with her two 25-year-olds jet-setting around the world, treating everyday like the biggest party EVAH - saying this:

“No one suffers more
than their President and I do.” — Laura Bush on Iraq

UPDATE: Of course, by “suffer,” she means the “peace of mind” that Americans “sacrifice…when they see the terrible image of violence on TV every night.”

Paul Krugman: "A Hostage Situation"

For my view, calling this a "hostage situation" is a bit like what happens when you smear tubes and tubes of lipstick on a pig, but... here's the lastest (April 23rd) from Dr. Krugman:

There are two ways to describe the confrontation between Congress and the Bush administration over funding for the Iraq surge. You can pretend that it’s a normal political dispute. Or you can see it for what it really is: a hostage situation, in which a beleaguered President Bush, barricaded in the White House, is threatening dire consequences for innocent bystanders — the troops — if his demands aren’t met.

If this were a normal political dispute, Democrats in Congress would clearly hold the upper hand: by a huge margin, Americans say they want a timetable for withdrawal, and by a large margin they also say they trust Congress, not Mr. Bush, to do a better job handling the situation in Iraq.

But this isn’t a normal political dispute. Mr. Bush isn’t really trying to win the argument on the merits. He’s just betting that the people outside the barricade care more than he does about the fate of those innocent bystanders.

What’s at stake right now is the latest Iraq “supplemental.” Since the beginning, the administration has refused to put funding for the war in its regular budgets. Instead, it keeps saying, in effect: “Whoops! Whaddya know, we’re running out of money. Give us another $87 billion.”

At one level, this is like the behavior of an irresponsible adolescent who repeatedly runs through his allowance, each time calling his parents to tell them he’s broke and needs extra cash.

What I haven’t seen sufficiently emphasized, however, is the disdain this practice shows for the welfare of the troops, whom the administration puts in harm’s way without first ensuring that they’ll have the necessary resources.

As long as a G.O.P.-controlled Congress could be counted on to rubber-stamp the administration’s requests, you could say that this wasn’t a real problem, that the administration’s refusal to put Iraq funding in the regular budget was just part of its usual reliance on fiscal smoke and mirrors. But this time Mr. Bush decided to surge additional troops into Iraq after an election in which the public overwhelmingly rejected his war — and then dared Congress to deny him the necessary funds. As I said, it’s an act of hostage-taking.

Actually, it’s even worse than that. According to reports, the final version of the funding bill Congress will send won’t even set a hard deadline for withdrawal. It will include only an “advisory,” nonbinding date. Yet Mr. Bush plans to veto the bill all the same — and will then accuse Congress of failing to support the troops.

The whole situation brings to mind what Abraham Lincoln said, in his great Cooper Union speech in 1860, about secessionists who blamed the critics of slavery for the looming civil war: “A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, ‘Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!’ ”

So how should Congress respond to Mr. Bush’s threats?
[A massive and painful enema comes to mind, but visit Rozius to learn what Mr. Rich recommends.]

The Best Iraqi Army American Taxpayers Can Buy And Insurgents Can Kill

As part of his "surge" (aka "escalation) in Iraq, President George W. Bush is using $41 billion (at least, that's all he has requested so far) to recruit and train members of the "new" Iraqi Army.

For argument's sake, let's for the moment put aside these small but weighty details:

  • We've been trying to create an Iraqi military for several years now and it hasn't exactly worked
  • Scads of Iraqi soldiers - and their colleagues, the Iraqi police - are frequently killed the day they register OR the day they graduate (or anytime in between)
  • These same uniformed Iraqis frequently see their homes and families badly injured or outright destroyed in retribution for their "loyalty" to the Bush occupation
  • Iraqi civilians and experts tell us that those Iraqi soldiers/cops who DO survive seem to be aligning themselves with torture and death squads

With these nasty, bloody details aside, consider this: for a force of just 40,000 Iraqi soldiers, this means American taxpayers will shell out about $350K to train and prep EACH and EVERY one of these soldiers.

Sound odd to you?

And, mind you, I haven't even factored in here all the graft and sweetheart contracts that adhere themselves to each and every single operation the Bushies become involved in with Iraq. In other words, the total per head fee could end up much higher (maybe a half million per, at the very least) and the number of trained (and surviving) soldiers might show up as far lower.


Say Hello to...

Blame Islam (Bush, Cheney, & the neocons certainly always do).

Rollingstone Magazine: Seymour Hersh on Possible "Secret Plan" to Bomb Iran

The next best thing to reading one of Sy Hersh's excellent exposes in New Yorker Magazine (perhaps), is to read Matt Taibbi's feature on Hersh and the Dick Cheney/White House's "big secret" to bomb the hell out of Iran. (After all, with Iraq and Afghanistan going soooo well, why not tackle Iran next?)

Remember that several sources have indicated that we can/will be seeing a U.S. strike on Iran before the end of April (this April). And the days of April are getting might few now.

Good Night, Boris

Boris Yeltsin, a controversial figure in the former USSR as well as the Russia post-breakup, has died.

I actually have some positive things to say about him, but it's hard for me to post them in light of how he handed the country over to Vladimir Putin who I think is very destructive for his country and the world (and not just because he was former bestest friends with Bush who calls him Putey-Put).


Frank Rich: "Iraq Is The Ultimate Aphrodesiac"

I don't happen to quite appreciate how Iraq could give types like John "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb - Bomb, Bomb Iran" McCain a big stiffy, but here's what Frank Rich noted in Sunday, April 22nd's OpEd in The Times.

President Bush has skipped the funerals of the troops he sent to Iraq. He took his sweet time to get to Katrina-devastated New Orleans. But last week he raced to Virginia Tech with an alacrity not seen since he hustled from Crawford to Washington to sign a bill interfering in Terri Schiavo's end-of-life medical care. Mr. Bush assumes the role of mourner in chief on a selective basis, and, as usual with the decider, the decisive factor is politics. Let Walter Reed erupt in scandal, and he'll take six weeks to show his face - and on a Friday at that, to hide the story in the Saturday papers. The heinous slaughter in Blacksburg, Va., by contrast, was a rare opportunity for him to ostentatiously feel the pain of families whose suffering cannot be blamed on the administration.

But he couldn't inspire the kind of public acclaim that followed his post-9/11 visit to ground zero or the political comeback that buoyed his predecessor after Oklahoma City. The cancer on the Bush White House, Iraq, is now spreading too fast. The president had barely returned to Washington when the empty hope of the "surge" was hideously mocked by a one-day Baghdad civilian death toll more than five times that of Blacksburg's. McClatchy Newspapers reported that the death rate for American troops over the past six months was at its all-time high for this war.

At home, the president is also hobbled by the Iraq cancer's metastasis - the twin implosions of Alberto Gonzales and Paul Wolfowitz. Technically, both men have been pilloried for sins unrelated to the war. The attorney general has repeatedly been caught changing his story about the extent of his involvement in purging eight federal prosecutors. The Financial Times caught the former deputy secretary of defense turned World Bank president privately dictating the extravagant terms of a State Department sinecure for a crony (a k a romantic partner) that showers her with more take-home pay than Condoleezza Rice.

Yet each man's latest infractions, however serious, are mere misdemeanors next to their roles in the Iraq war. What's being lost in the Beltway uproar is the extent to which the lying, cronyism and arrogance showcased by the current scandals are of a piece with the lying, cronyism and arrogance that led to all the military funerals that Mr. Bush dares not attend. Having slept through the fraudulent selling of the war, Washington is still having trouble confronting the big picture of the Bush White House. Its dense web of deceit is the deliberate product of its amoral culture, not a haphazard potpourri of individual blunders.

Mr. Gonzales's politicizing of the Justice Department is a mere bagatelle next to his role as White House counsel in 2002, when he helped shape the administration's legal argument to justify torture. That paved the way for Abu Ghraib, the episode that destroyed America's image and gave terrorists a moral victory. But his efforts to sabotage national security didn't end there. In a front-page exposé lost in the Imus avalanche two Sundays ago, The Washington Post uncovered Mr. Gonzales's reckless role in vetting the nomination of Bernard Kerik as secretary of homeland security in December 2004.

Mr. Kerik, you may recall, withdrew from consideration for that cabinet post after a week of embarrassing headlines. Back then, the White House ducked any culpability for the mess by attributing it to a single legal issue, a supposedly undocumented nanny, and by pinning it on a single, nonadministration scapegoat, Mr. Kerik's longtime patron, Rudy Giuliani. The president's spokesman at the time, Scott McClellan, told reporters that the White House had had "no reason to believe" that Mr. Kerik lied during his vetting process and that it would be inaccurate to say that process had been rushed.

Thanks to John Solomon and Peter Baker of The Post, we now know that Mr. McClellan's spin was no more accurate than his exoneration of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby in the Wilson leak case. The Kerik vetting process was indeed rushed - by Mr. Gonzales - and the administration had every reason to believe that it was turning over homeland security to a liar. Mr. Gonzales was privy from the get-go to a Kerik dossier ablaze with red flags pointing to "questionable financial deals, an ethics violation, allegations of mismanagement and a top deputy prosecuted for corruption," not to mention a "friendship with a businessman who was linked to organized crime." Yet Mr. Gonzales and the president persisted in shoving Mr. Kerik into the top job of an already troubled federal department encompassing 22 agencies, 180,000 employees and the very safety of America in the post-9/11 era.
Read the rest at Chez Rozius Unbound.

Maureen Dowd: "Running With Scissors"

MoDo offers much in this Saturday (April 21st) OpEd column in The Times:

Whether or not the country is ready to elect a woman president or a black president, it’s definitely not ready for a metrosexual in chief.

In presidential politics, it’s all but impossible to put the man into manicure. Be sensitive, but not soft. Effete is never effective. Not much has changed since George H. W. Bush drove his New Hampshire campaign off the road by requesting “a splash” more coffee at a truck stop.

John Kerry sank himself by windsurfing in spandex and ordering a cheese steak in Philly with Swiss instead of Cheez Whiz.

We haven’t reached the point where we can handle a green-tea-soy-latte-drinking, self-tanning-sea-salt-mango-body-wrapping, Norah-Jones-listening, yoga-toning chief executive.

Bill Clinton sometimes flirted with metrosexuality, with Zegna ties, Christophe haircuts, Donna Karan suits and keen anima, but the heterosexual beat out the metrosexual.

Americans have revered such homely leaders as Abe Lincoln. They seem open to balding pates like Rudy’s and flattops like Jon Tester’s. They don’t want self-confidence to look like self-love.

John Edwards has reminded us that even — or especially — in the age of appearances, you must not appear to care too much about appearances.

When you spend more on a couple of haircuts than Burundi’s per capita G.D.P. , it looks so vain it makes Paul Wolfowitz’s ablutions spitting on his comb look like rugged individualism.

Following his star turn primping his hair for two minutes on a YouTube video to the tune of “I Feel Pretty,” Mr. Edwards this week had to pay back the $800 charged to his campaign for two shearings at Torrenueva Hair Designs in Beverly Hills. He seems intent on proving that he is a Breck Girl — and a Material Boy.

He did not pony up for the pricey bills from Designworks Salon in Dubuque, Iowa, or the Pink Sapphire spa in Manchester, which offers services for men that include the “Touch of Youth” facial, as well as trips “into the intriguing world of makeup.” The Edwards campaign calls makeup a legitimate expense.
Get the rest at Rozius.

Progress? Now We Have Iraqis Beat and Torture Confessions From Iraqis?

I just don't see that ordering Iraqis to beat and torture Iraqi civilians into making likely less-than-truthful confessions is quite the progress, justice, and democracy we (allegedly) want for post-Saddam Iraq.

Karl Rove Should Only Hope Sheryl Crowe Would Molest Him

Also posted at All Things Democrat:

All too often, fat men are portrayed as thick-skinned AND jolly. Apparently neither is the case with Bush's (none too brilliant) "brain", Karl Rove.

Read this at Huffington Post about how songstress Sheryl Crowe and "Inconvenient Truth" producer Laurie David (wife of Seinfeld co-creator, Larry David) approached Karl Rove at the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday night only to have Rove freak because they - oh my! - touched his arm, suggested he's supposed to work (since he's paid from our tax dollars) for the American people, and that he needs to take a much smarter look at the issue of global warming.

Hey, maybe Global Warming will be good to Karl: let him sweat off the 100 or so extra pounds and three additional chins he currently sports.

No ass like a righteous Republican ass.

Maureen Dowd: "Daddy's In A Panic, And Mommy, Too!"

MoDo from her April 10th Times column (better late than never?):

Washington - The mind reels at the mind.

The Times’s science section devoted itself yesterday to the topic of Desire, the myriad ways in which the human mind causes the body to get turned on.

It now seems that instead of desire leading to arousal, as researchers once believed, arousal may lead to desire.

The brain, as D. H. Lawrence once wrote, is a most important sexual organ [syd note: also, famously, Woody Allen's second favourite], and men and women have extremely varied responses to sexual stimuli.

As Natalie Angier, The Times’s biology expert, noted, research has shown that women differed from men “in the importance they accorded a man’s physical appearance, with many expressing a comparatively greater likelihood of being aroused by evidence of talent or intelligence — say, while watching a man deliver a great speech.”

This could explain why many Republican women are so frustrated. They have been deprived of the bristly excitement of hearing their men on the stump delivering great speeches for quite some time now.

The Daddy Party, sick with desire for a daddy, is like a lost child. John McCain, handcuffed to the Surge, announced yesterday he has the support of Henry Kissinger. Why not just drink poison? As the Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi slyly said, “Leave it to Mitt Romney to shoot himself in the foot with a gun he doesn’t own.”

Rudy Giuliani, already haunted by the specters of Bernard Kerik’s corruption and Judy Nathan’s conjugal confusion, yesterday made things worse. He did the same thing John McCain did in South Carolina in 2000, a sickening pander the Arizona senator told “60 Minutes” Sunday that he did “for all the wrong reasons.” As Marc Santora reports from Montgomery, Rudy said he would leave the decision about whether to fly the Confederate flag over the Alabama State Capitol to the people of Alabama.

Even cable news showed little interest in President Bush’s big speech on Iraq yesterday, as he continued to excoriate Democrats for hurting the troops by trying to get an exit strategy, a day after Moktada al-Sadr’s spokesman denounced the Liberator as “the father of evil, Bush” while Sadr thugs burned and shredded American flags and shouted, “Leave, leave occupier.”

Four years ago, the conservative commentator Kate O’Beirne thrilled at the sight of President Bush strutting in his flight suit and mocked Bill Clinton’s doughy thighs, noting, “Women don’t want a guy to feel their pain, they want a guy to clean the gutters.” But on “Meet the Press” Sunday, she sorrowfully admitted that Republicans had lost their national security swagger because of Iraq, and now have “a real brand name problem” and “a competency problem.”

“It used to be people thought they might not much like big government, but they can run it,” she said of her party’s leaders. “Now they seem to like it fine, but not be able to run it at all.” A point underscored by this week’s Time cover: “Why Our Army Is at the Breaking Point.”
Get the rest at Rozius.

Re: GonzoGate, President Bush Takes Another Extended Vacation From Reality

From the White House spokesweasel re: Dubya's reaction to U.S. Attorney General's downright pathetic testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Thursday (nods to Talking Point Memo):

President Bush was pleased with the Attorney General’s testimony today. After hours of testimony in which he answered all of the Senators’ questions and provided thousands of pages of documents, he again showed that nothing improper occurred. He admitted the matter could have been handled much better, and he apologized for the disruption to the lives of the U.S. Attorneys involved, as well as for the lack of clarity in his initial responses. The Attorney General has the full confidence of the President, and he appreciates the work he is doing at the Department of Justice to help keep our citizens safe from terrorists, our children safe from predators, our government safe from corruption, and our streets free from gang violence.
"Heluva job there, Brownie... er... Jugs... er... Brownie."

Paul Krugman: "For God's Sake"

Somehow, I believe that God, if He gave press conferences, would completely disavow any relationship with Bush, the Bush Administration, or any of his so-called pals: but here's Krugman in The Times on April 13th (I know, I know: I'm catching up):

In 1981, Gary North, a leader of the Christian Reconstructionist movement - the openly theocratic wing of the Christian right - suggested that the movement could achieve power by stealth. "Christians must begin to organize politically within the present party structure," he wrote, "and they must begin to infiltrate the existing institutional order."

Today, Regent University, founded by the televangelist Pat Robertson to provide "Christian leadership to change the world," boasts that it has 150 graduates working in the Bush administration.

Unfortunately for the image of the school, where Mr. Robertson is chancellor and president, the most famous of those graduates is Monica Goodling, a product of the university's law school. She's the former top aide to Alberto Gonzales who appears central to the scandal of the fired U.S. attorneys and has declared that she will take the Fifth rather than testify to Congress on the matter.

The infiltration of the federal government by large numbers of people seeking to impose a religious agenda - which is very different from simply being people of faith - is one of the most important stories of the last six years. It's also a story that tends to go underreported, perhaps because journalists are afraid of sounding like conspiracy theorists.

But this conspiracy is no theory. The official platform of the Texas Republican Party pledges to "dispel the myth of the separation of church and state." And the Texas Republicans now running the country are doing their best to fulfill that pledge.

Kay Cole James, who had extensive connections to the religious right and was the dean of Regent's government school, was the federal government's chief personnel officer from 2001 to 2005. (Curious fact: she then took a job with Mitchell Wade, the businessman who bribed Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham.) And it's clear that unqualified people were hired throughout the administration because of their religious connections.

For example, The Boston Globe reports on one Regent law school graduate who was interviewed by the Justice Department's civil rights division. Asked what Supreme Court decision of the past 20 years he most disagreed with, he named the decision to strike down a Texas anti-sodomy law. When he was hired, it was his only job offer.

Or consider George Deutsch, the presidential appointee at NASA who told a Web site designer to add the word "theory" after every mention of the Big Bang, to leave open the possibility of "intelligent design by a creator." He turned out not to have, as he claimed, a degree from Texas A&M.
Read the rest here.

More Benefit To Corrupt Bushie Friends Than Kids In "No Child Left Behind" Reading Program

Read all about the Justice Department probe of a $6 billion windfall to those providing "reading" materials under Bush's "No Child Left Behind (in a Public School) initiative. Too bad the head of the DoJ, U.S. Attorney Alberto Gonzales, cannot read or make a single decision not surely Bush-profitable and partisan.

Maureen Dowd: "More Con Than Neo"

I think MoDo pegged this in her April 14th column I'm belatedly referencing: "con" in the term neocon has never meant conservative but "confidence" operators whose game is to part you from your money, your trust, your possessions, and your good sense (and many other important values). The entire column is here, but I offer a healthy snack-sized portion:

Usually, spring in Washington finds us caught up in the cherry blossoms and the ursine courtship rituals of the pandas.

But this chilly April, we are forced to contemplate the batrachian grapplings of Paul Wolfowitz, the man who cherry-picked intelligence to sell us a war with Iraq.

You will not be surprised to learn, gentle readers, that Wolfie in love is no less deceptive and bumbling than Wolfie at war.

Proving he is more con than neo, he confessed that he had not been candid with his staff at the World Bank. While he was acting holier than thou, demanding incorruptibility from poor countries desperate for loans, he was enriching his girlfriend with tax-free ducats.

He has yet to admit any real mistakes with the hellish war that claimed five more American soldiers yesterday, as stunned Baghdad residents dealt with bombings of the Iraqi Parliament, where body parts flew, and of a bridge over the Tigris, where cars sank.

But he admitted Thursday that he’d made a mistake when he got his sweetheart, Shaha Ali Riza, an Arab feminist who shares his passion for democratizing the Middle East, a raise to $193,590 — more than the taxpaying (and taxing) Condi Rice makes. No doubt it seemed like small change compared with the money pit of remaking Iraq — a task he once prophesied would be paid for with Iraqi oil money. Maybe he should have remunerated his girlfriend with Iraqi oil revenues, instead of ripping off the bank to advance his romantic agenda.

No one is satisfied with his apology. Not the World Bank employees who booed Wolfie and yelled, “Resign! Resign!” in the bank lobby.

Not Alison Cave, the chairwoman of the bank’s staff association, who said that Mr. Wolfowitz must “act honorably and resign.”

Not his girlfriend, who says she’s the suffering victim, forced by Wolfie’s arrival to be sent to the State Department (where, in a festival of nepotism, she reported to Liz Cheney).

And not his critics, who say Wolfie has been cherry-picking again, this time with his anticorruption crusade. They say he has used it to turn the bank into a tool for his unrealistic democracy campaign, which foundered in Baghdad, and for punishing countries that defy the United States.

Wolfie also alienated the bank by bringing two highhanded aides with him from Bushworld, aides who had helped him with Iraq. One was the abrasive Robin Cleveland, called Wolfie’s Rottweiler. The other was Kevin Kellems, known as Keeper of the Comb after his star turn in “Fahrenheit 9/11,” where he handed his boss a comb so Wolfie could slick it with spittle for TV. (Maybe his girlfriend didn’t get enough of a raise.) Like W., Wolfie is dangerous precisely because he’s so persuaded of his own virtue.

Just as Ms. Riza stood behind her man on the Iraq fiasco, so Meghan O’Sullivan stood behind W.

Ms. O’Sullivan, a bright and lovely 37-year-old redhead who is the deputy national security adviser, is part of the cordon of adoring and protective female staffers around the president, including Condi, Harriet Miers, Karen Hughes and Fran Townsend.

Even though her main experience was helping Paul Bremer set up the botched Iraq occupation and getting a reputation back in Washington “for not knowing how much she didn’t know,” as George Packer put it in “The Assassins’ Gate,” Ms. O’Sullivan was officially promoted nearly two years ago to be the highest-ranking White House official working exclusively on Iraq and Afghanistan.

It was clear that she was out of her depth, lacking the heft to deal with the Pentagon and State Department, or the seniority to level with W. “Meghan-izing the problem” became a catch phrase in Baghdad for papering over chaos with five-point presentations.
See Rozius Unbound for the Rest.

Washington Post: Scathing, Scalding "Report on Haditha Condemns Marines"

Yesterday's report in the Washington Post made it abundantly clear just how very past BAD U.S. Marine actions in Iraq's city of Haditha, originally covered up as much as possible, were.

From that piece:

The Marine Corps chain of command in Iraq ignored "obvious" signs of "serious misconduct" in the 2005 slayings of two dozen civilians in Haditha, and commanders fostered a climate that devalued the life of innocent Iraqis to the point that their deaths were considered an insignificant part of the war, according to an Army general's investigation.

Maj. Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell's 104-page report on Haditha is scathing in its criticism of the Marines' actions, from the enlisted men who were involved in the shootings on Nov. 19, 2005, to the two-star general who commanded the 2nd Marine Division in Iraq at the time. Bargewell's previously undisclosed report, obtained by The Washington Post, found that officers may have willfully ignored reports of the civilian deaths to protect themselves and their units from blame. Though Bargewell found no specific coverup, he concluded that there also was no interest at any level in investigating allegations of a massacre.

"All levels of command tended to view civilian casualties, even in significant numbers, as routine and as the natural and intended result of insurgent tactics," Bargewell wrote. He condemned that approach because it could desensitize Marines to the welfare of noncombatants. "Statements made by the chain of command during interviews for this investigation, taken as a whole, suggest that Iraqi civilian lives are not as important as U.S. lives, their deaths are just the cost of doing business, and that the Marines need to get 'the job done' no matter what it takes."

Ghastly. And so very unnecessary.