There are just so many crazy stories today about Iraq, the Iraq War, and US foreign policy in the region that it almost boggles the mind that we have an administration that is so at odds with reality and itself that it seems to contradict and sabotage itself at every corner. It is as if the delusions of this Bush Administration have come to a head.. unsure of what to do or how to do it they have become desperate for some kind of action without regard to party platform, sane policy, responsibility, or ethics. (Although one could argue that they have never cared about the last three items)
Here are the Headlines that grabbed my attention.. and when you put them altogether you realize what kind of a desperate lame-duck sham we are being treated to:
- Iraqis: Agreement near on US troop withdraws
- Cleric al-Sadr may end cease fire if no US withdrawal timetable released Friday
- McCain: Obama wants to 'forfeit' war
- Former Bin Laden driver given lenient 66 month sentence
Let's start with the first two headlines. First, it may come as a surprise to you that the Bush Administration is about to complete something they call a "Security Agreement" (although it is quite the opposite) whereby the US promises to remove all Combat troops by October 2010 and the rest of all by 2013. Very, Very Surprising... That's not what you'd call a "time horizon" or a "series of benchmarks" that's what you call a strict TIME LINE. The pact also includes strict dates for the hand-over of the Green Zone (end of 2008) and the removal of all troops from cities (June 30, 2009). Talk about switching from full-speed ahead to full reverse! I know that some of you are jumping for joy at the sudden move to pull out entirely.. but it does come at a considerable cost to our long-term security, the stability of Iraq, and the balance of the Middle East. I felt like President Bush just threw up his hands and said "OK, fine! We'll do what the people want!" without really thinking it through. Even the most liberal and sane politicians who are experts on foreign policy and international relations (I'm not looking at you Kucinich! Biden step up, man, you deserve it) talk about creating time-lines without such strict dates, adding loads of benchmarks with conditional statements galore. This pact according to sources at the Baghdad Embassy and reports from the Iraqi Foreign Ministry has one big clause that basically says if the security situation changes much then the deal is off. Let me tell you: Iran, Iraqi PM Al-Maliki and various other Shi'ite politicians are going to swear everything is perfectly OK until the American Troops leave completely then they will decide to have their way with their own citizens a la Saddam. The fact that Cleric, political leader, and militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr is lobbying and threatening both Iraqi and American officials with violence should be a sure sign that something is a little rotten about the deal. If the Bush Administration does agree to this deal whoever the next President and his Secretaries of State and Defense should work to totally overhaul it within their first month in office.
Onto item #3, McCain calling out Obama on 'forfeit[ing]' the war through his timetable plan. Look McCain, if you should be scolding someone it should be the Dubya! He's the one who is saying one thing (for 5 years) and then doing the complete opposite! Then 'W' is stabbing you in the back by taking the decision right out of your hands.. its like he has absolutely no confidence in your winning the election! At least Obama's plan (which I've talked about before) includes talk of benchmarks and the security environment instead of the simple-minded rigidity of the current Security Pact. Oh, and Obama - you shouldn't be happy about this either. If both sides agree then you go in and change it or review it, it makes you look really petty unless you have a super-PR plan in place.
Finally, item #4. In the AP report and their headline "Stunningly lenient sentence for former bin Laden driver" it gives the impression to the reader that the bin Laden driver, Salim Hamed, is getting off easy. He isn't. The tribunal convicted him of supporting terror by driving Osama around and occasionally acting as his body guard and found him innocent of planning anything or purposefully harming the United States. Given that, he does need to be punished. It is never enough to say "Oops, I didn't know my boss was a bad guy." Ignorance does not equal innocence however, given the fact that this man has been held without his human rights, tortured, and treated as though he is sub-human I consider this man to have already served his time. His sentence according to the judge was 66 months, the defendant then received permission to speak and apologized to the court and the American people claiming he had no idea whatsoever that Bin Laden was planning something like that. The Judge then said that the sentence could be completed in as little as 5 months if the defendant is cooperative. Of course, that set the extreme right-wingers right off their rockers... but let's face it, lets say someone is held without bail or being notified of their rights or what they are being charged with for say... SIX YEARS and then a trial finally occurs and that someone is then told they are guilty.. but not as bad as previously thought... then sentenced for 5 and a half years. If it was anywhere in the US we'd be asking at the very least how this guy can get those extra 6 months of his life that were robbed of him back. Oh yeah.. and don't forget, even after this fella finishes his sentence he probably won't be released! Shame.. Shame on us. Remember, this nation was built on the promises of Liberty and Justice... not Revenge or Vindictefullness.
Strong Moderate (with a little help from Flaming Moderate)
Iraqis: Agreement near on US troop withdraws - AP
Cleric may end cease fire if no US withdrawal timetable released Friday - AP
Stunningly lenient sentence for former bin Laden driver - AP
McCain: Obama wants to 'forfeit' Iraq war - AP