The Friends of California Libre...

28 August 2006

If the Ocean Were Whiskey and I Was a Muslim Duck...

Greetings, friends,
The end is near...of August, I mean. You'll forgive me for being overly negative, but I'm gripping the armrests as this dynamite-laden jet bounces down the runway to the terminal. What a wretched began with Jason, then another friend in jail, one in a locked rehab, while I've been struggling in my apartment alone with a life-changing project that appears to be imploding. I'm going to celebrate 1 September like it was Christmas.

Not to mention we finally touched the match to the powder-keg in the Middle East. You know that old yarn about the dude with one eye in the land of the blind? I can't complain.

First of all, proof that the United States really is filling up nicely:

U.S. Census Bureau Facts for Features: 300 Million

To spotlight the occasion of the U.S. population reaching 300 million in 2006, "the Census Bureau steps back in time by comparing contemporary life and statistics to those in the time periods in which the nation reached other noteworthy population milestones in 1967 ... and in the year 1915." Includes comparisons of population, education, life expectancy, prices (gasoline, milk, postage stamps, and more), earnings, and other data. From the U.S. Census Bureau.

Seems like a few hundred thousand troops, with a few thousand dead, is a small price for such a big, smart country to pay for one idiot's mistake:
FOCUS Iraq's Spreading Civil War
The debate is over: By any definition, Iraq is in a state of civil war. Indeed, the only thing standing between Iraq and a descent into total Bosnia-like devastation is 135,000 US troops -- and even they are merely slowing the fall. The internecine conflict could easily spiral into one that threatens not only Iraq but also its neighbors throughout the oil-rich Persian Gulf region with instability, turmoil and war.
FOCUS "Waiting to Get Blown Up"
Some soldiers in the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division - interviewed over four days on base and on patrols - say they have grown increasingly disillusioned about their ability to quell the violence and their reason for fighting. The battalion of more than 750 people arrived in Baghdad from Kuwait in March, and since then, six soldiers have been killed and 21 wounded. "It sucks. Honestly, it just feels like we're driving around waiting to get blown up, that's the most honest answer I could give you," said Spec. Tim Ivey, 28, of San Antonio, a muscular former backup fullback for Baylor University. "You lose a couple friends and it gets hard." "No one wants to be here, you know, no one is truly enthused about what we do," said Sgt. Christopher Dugger, the squad leader.

Then we watched our friends in Israel do a little flailing of their own, though not after trashing their neighbor Lebanon (where now Iranian cash is going to rebuild everything, turning the only real democracy in the Arab world against us):
BREAKING Israel and Hezbollah Approve Middle East Cease-Fire
Israel's Cabinet approved the UN cease-fire plan Sunday, clearing a key hurdle to ending the month long Middle East war. The 24-0 vote, with one abstention, came a day after the Lebanese government approved the agreement. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah gave his grudging consent but warned "the war has not ended.

And not with any help from us:
US Thwarts Middle East Cease-Fire
As the fighting and bombing intensified in Lebanon and Israel, an urgently convened, high-level international conference in Rome concluded in open disagreement, failing to reach accord on a plan to bring a halt to the strife. The European Union has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities, while the United States has not.

I was extremely disappointed by the tepid response to the UN plea for a peacekeeping force, especially on the part of France. There are some who know the history of Lebanon who could lay a lot of the responsibility for their current and past troubles at France's door; indeed, Syria and Lebanon were part of the French Mandate from 1919 to 1943 ( While I agree with them in general on most things, this is certainly a chance for them to put their money (and their soldiers) where their mouth is. I'm glad to see them do it finally, although I think they were shamed into it by the Italians.
Italy May Lead UN Force for Lebanon
By Alistair Lyon
Chirac Offer of 2,000 Troops Breaks Impasse on Lebanon Peacekeepers
By Ewen MacAskill and Rory McCarthy
The Guardian UK

French, Italian, Israeli or American, we certainly ended this year's "peace in the Middle East" campaign with a bang:
Protests Erupt Across the Muslim World
By Daniel Howden
The Independent UK

You know things are cute when even the Israelis blame it on us:
Robert Parry Israeli Leaders Fault Bush on War
Robert Parry reports that amid the political and diplomatic fallout from Israel’s faltering invasion of Lebanon, some Israeli officials are privately blaming President George W. Bush for egging Prime Minister Ehud Olmert into the ill-conceived military adventure against the Hezbollah militia in south Lebanon. Bush conveyed his strong personal support for the military offensive during a White House meeting with Olmert on May 23, according to sources familiar with the thinking of senior Israeli leaders.

And they're not wrong; George Bush is just stupid enough to see this as the opening shot in the war he plans to leave his successor:
Bush "Viewed War in Lebanon as a Curtain-Raiser for Attack on Iran"
The Bush administration was informed in advance and gave the "green light" to Israel's military strikes against Hezbollah, with plans drawn up months before two Israeli soldiers were seized it has been claimed. The US reportedly considered Israel's actions as a necessary prerequisite for a possible strike against Iran. A report by a leading investigative reporter says that earlier this summer Israeli officials visited Washington to brief the government on its plan to respond to any Hezbollah provocation and to "find out how much the US would bear."

Which he knows nothing about:
Examining Iran's Ties to Hezbollah
Hezbollah has now taken on a life of its own. Even if all Iranian financial and logistic support were cut off, Hezbollah would not only continue, it would thrive.

I mean, really, are these people in our government even AWAKE?
White House Sees "Huge Challenges" in Iraq
Bush is under election-year pressure to start bringing some troops home this year, but a spasm of violence in Baghdad has forced commanders to move some American forces from other parts of Iraq into the capital.

We could try the Northern Ireland method...that worked great for Belfast...not bad for Berlin either...
In Baghdad, the American Army Erects Walls Between Communities
By Rémy Ourdan
Le Monde

We'll watch as our "democracy" crumbles in flames:
Kurds Flee Homes as Iran Shells Iraq's Northern Frontier
Turkey and Iran have dispatched tanks, artillery and thousands of troops to their frontiers with Iraq during the past few weeks in what appears to be a coordinated effort to disrupt the activities of Kurdish rebel bases.

Here's a good idea; pour that $3 a gallon gasoline on the fire:
US Plans $4.6 Billion in Mideast Arms Sales
The Bush administration spelled out plans on Friday to sell $4.6 billion of arms to moderate Arab states. The announcement came two weeks after the administration said it would sell Israel its latest supply of JP-8 aviation fuel.
Jim Lobe The Drums of War Sound for Iran
"The week-old Israeli-Hezbollah conflict is likely to boost the chances of US military action against Iran, according to a number of regional experts who see a broad consensus among the US political elite that the ongoing hostilities are part of a broader offensive being waged by Tehran against Washington across the region," writes Jim Lobe.

Even our puppet states don't support us:
Iraqi Minister Backs Iran on Nuclear Research
By John O'Neil
The New York Times

And why should they? All the advantages go to our rivals and enemies:
U.S. Unease Grows as Iraqi Chaos Bolsters Iranian Position
By Farah Stockman
The Boston Globe
Russia and Iran Lead the New Energy Game
By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

No, we haven't done enough damage to America. Let's just trash this fucking country and let some dope pick up the pieces in 2008:
US, Iran Standoff Grows Tenser
By Scott Peterson
The Christian Science Monitor
FOCUS US Preparing to Go It Alone on Iran
With increasing signs that several fellow Security Council members may stall a United States push to penalize Iran for its nuclear enrichment program, Bush administration officials have indicated that they are prepared to form an independent coalition to freeze Iranian assets and restrict trade.
The Iran Plans
By Seymour M. Hersh
The New Yorker
Seymour Hersh: Bush Administration Planning Possible Major Air Attack on Iran
By Amy Goodman
Democracy Now!
Bush Meets Privately With Think Tank Promoting Military Strike On Iran
Lieberman: US could attack Iran's nukes
EXCLUSIVE: Senator tells the Post that strike would be last resort.
Click here to view the entire article:
James Bamford Iran: The Next War
"Even before the bombs fell on Baghdad, a group of senior Pentagon officials were plotting to invade another country. Their covert campaign once again relied on false intelligence and shady allies. But this time, the target was Iran," writes James Bamford.
Target Iran: US Hints At a New Battlefront
The Independent UK

It's the goddamned red-blooded American way:
Bottle rockets ruffle chicken's feathers

Forget about negotiating, just START THE NEXT WAR NOW:
Iran Ready for High-Level Talks, US Resists
By Guy Dinmore
The Financial Times
White House Dismisses Calls for Direct Iran Talks
The White House on Sunday dismissed calls for direct talks with Iran to resolve the stand-off over its nuclear program, saying the United Nations was the best forum for those discussions.
So How Close Is a Showdown Over Iran?
By Paul Harris, Gaby Hinsliff and Robert Tait
The Observer UK

And if it does happen, prepare for the shit to seriously slam fanward:
USA-oil-dollar global crisis: A European think-tank reads the world
You can access it at the following url:
USA-Dollar-Iran Crisis Press Review: "Why 2006 is set to be a bad year for the dollar?"
You can access it at the following url:
Nonaligned Nations Prepare to Back Iran
Western countries at a 35-nation UN meeting pushed Tuesday for consensus on the need for Iran to freeze uranium enrichment, but diplomats said that most nonaligned countries were preparing to endorse Tehran's right to continue the work.
Iran Nuclear Conflict Is About US Dominance
By Gareth Porter
Inter Press Service
Iran Attack Would Destroy NATO
You can access it at the following url:
Bombs That Would Backfire
By Richard Clarke and Steven Simon
The New York Times

On that sour note, keep your fingers least that we make it to 1 September! Goodbye cruel, lonely August, and vive le screed!

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