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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, July 28, 2014
Bi-Partisan House to Obama: Get Out of Iraq
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(Finally some Fair & Balance!)
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2004 3:48pm PT  

A little something I missed last week on Fahrenheit 9/11 from Fox News'(!) Roger Friedman (no relation):

It turns out to be a really brilliant piece of work, and a film that members of all political parties should see without fail.

As much as some might try to marginalize this film as a screed against President George Bush, "F9/11" — as we saw last night — is a tribute to patriotism, to the American sense of duty — and at the same time an indictment of stupidity and avarice.

Readers of this column may recall that I had a lot of problems with Moore's "Bowling for Columbine," particularly where I thought he took gratuitous shots at helpless targets such as Charlton Heston. "Columbine" too easily succeeded by shooting fish in a barrel, as they used to say.

Not so with "F9/11," which instead relies on lots of film footage and actual interviews to make its case against the war in Iraq and tell the story of the intertwining histories of the Bush and bin Laden families.
...
Before anyone's even seen it, there have been partisan debates over which way Moore may have spun this or that to get a desired effect.

But, really, in the end, not seeing "F9/11" would be like allowing your First Amendment rights to be abrogated, no matter whether you're a Republican or a Democrat.

Nope. I haven't seen it yet. Today's effort to do so was cut short as every showing at every theater within driving distance is completely SOLD OUT.

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By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2004 3:37pm PT  

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The bottom keeps dropping for Bush.
Supporters continue to turn on him.
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2004 2:39pm PT  

A majority of Americans (54%, up from 41% just two weeks ago) now believe the Iraq War was a mistake. 55% of them also now understand what Howard Dean was telling them months ago, that this War made the U.S. "less safe", according to a new Gallup poll released today.

Meanwhile, along with the majority of Americans, Bush's old friends continue to desert him in droves.

Lee Iacocca, who appeared in campaign commercials with Bush four years ago, is now endorsing John Kerry instead, due to Bush's failed record on jobs for Americans during his term.

"All of my best friends are Republicans, and they ask me, "Are you crazy or something? Why are you doing this?" Well, it's simple. I tell them the world is changing. Our country is changing. And we need a leader who understands that change that's taking place. And most important, we need a leader who will level with us about how we can adapt to that change and make things change for the better. I've met privately with John Kerry, I've talked with him, I read all his position papers, and I would suggest you do likewise. I like him. And I'm endorsing him to be our next president because I like what he says about getting every American a fair shot at a secure, well-paying job so they can provide for their families."

And over in the jolly old U.K., Bush's only real partner in the mirage-like "Coalition of the Willing" also has a thing or two to say about the Bush Administration's "unacceptable" plans for military trials for detainees in Gitmo.

"While we must be flexible and be prepared to countenance some limitation of fundamental rights if properly justified and proportionate, there are certain principles on which there can be no compromise," [British Attorney General Lord Goldsmith] said.

"Fair trial is one of those, which is the reason we in the UK have been unable to accept that the US military tribunals...offer sufficient guarantees of a fair trial in accordance with international standards."
...
Five Britons were released from Guantanamo in March and several alleged mistreatment by US interrogators.

The Pentagon has yet to hold any trials under the proposed rules.

It says trials would be fair, but that the entire process would be controlled by the Defence Department and there is no right to appeal to a civilian court.

Sounds "fair" to me.

How's old Dubya standing up under the mounting pressure? He's currently in Ireland, heading towards a NATO summit as he continues to move closer and closer to the same positions on Iraq that Kerry has been advocating for months.

According to this AFP article, he "snapped" today at one of the Irish reporters: "I wouldn't have made the decisions I did if I didn't think the world would be better."

And, though it'll likely surprise the Fake Conservative shadow boxing dead enders out there who believe that folks like me "hate George W. Bush" and think he's the devil --- an argument that they likely project on us based on their own true emotional disdain for the previous Whitehouse occupant, and it's the only argument left for them to try --- I actually believe Bush when he makes such statements as the above.

I believe he did think this action in Iraq would "make the world better". The real problem, however, is that he was so horribly wrong. He listened to nobody who was trying to tell him otherwise thousands of dead bodies ago, and to this day he can't seem to admit the undisputable fact: He and the NeoCons that brought us here, (along with the support of plenty of Democrats and the supposedly "liberal" Media who rolled over for him during a completely Republican controlled Congress) simply and plainly...blew it.

And now it's finally time that the piper is being paid. End of story.

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...But nobody's home. As usual.
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2004 12:37pm PT  

Speaking of how out of touch with reality this Administration is, it looks like Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is still in a world of his own.

In April of this year, while testifying to congress, Wolfowitz estimated the casuality count at the time to be "approximately 500". At that time, of course, the second highest ranking Pentagon official, was only off by "approximately" 200 US dead bodies.

On Tuesday, he was at it again, telling Congress that one of the reasons things seem so bad in Iraq is, of course, the fault of the media.

"Part of our problem is a lot of the press are afraid to travel very much, so they sit in Baghdad and they publish rumors. And rumors are plentiful."

He said that on Tuesday. And rumor has it that the next day, some 100 were killed in Iraq, and more than 400 wounded in 5 seperate coordinated bombings throughout the country. Damn that lazy media!

Rumor also has it that, as of Wolfowitz' testimony to congress on Tuesday, a total of 34 TV and print journalists from all over the world have been killed in Iraq since the war began. Add news employees to that (drivers, interpreters etc.) and there have been 46 killed, along with several kidnappings tossed in for good measure. Perhaps if they weren't so "afraid to travel very much" everything would be better.

Can someone please explain to me why this guy, second only at the Pentagon to the great strategist Donald Rumsfeld, still has a job???

And while you're at it, please let me know what Rummy is still doing there as well!

Both appointed, and currently retained by George W. Bush. It's the judgement, Stupid.

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A Bush Administration Fantasy/Flashback
It's the JUDGEMENT, Stupid.
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2004 12:10pm PT  

Just before the war began, the Bush Administration hoped to ease the concerns of Americans by openly sharing their assessments of the costs of occupying and reconstructing Iraq after our "victory".

The Vice President, Dick "Fucking" Cheney said in March 2003, "I really do believe we will be greeted as liberators."

Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld predicted in February 2003 that the war "could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."

And Deputy Defense Secretary testified to congress that Iraq "can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon."

What's to worry about?

On April 23, 2003, on the eve of war, Andrew Natsios, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development re-assured Americans on Nightline. This reminder comes courtesy of our friends at The O'Franken Factor:

TED KOPPEL: Well, it's a, I think you'll agree, this is a much bigger project than any that's been talked about. Indeed, I understand that more money is expected to be spent on this than was spent on the entire Marshall Plan for the rebuilding of Europe after World War II.

ANDREW NATSIOS: No, no. This doesn't even compare remotely with the size of the Marshall Plan.

TED KOPPEL: The Marshall Plan was $97 billion.

ANDREW NATSIOS: This is 1.7 billion.

TED KOPPEL: All right, this is the first. I mean, when you talk about 1.7, you're not suggesting that the rebuilding of Iraq is gonna be done for $1.7 billion?

ANDREW NATSIOS: Well, in terms of the American taxpayers contribution, I do, this is it for the US. The rest of the rebuilding of Iraq will be done by other countries who have already made pledges, Britain, Germany, Norway, Japan, Canada, and Iraqi oil revenues, eventually in several years, when it's up and running and there's a new government that's been democratically elected, will finish the job with their own revenues. They're going to get in $20 billion a year in oil revenues. But the American part of this will be 1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this. [emphasis added]

Well, I think we all now believe the part about "no plans". Other than that, it's the judgement, Stupid.

And somehow, there are still Bush Dead-Enders out there who believe that the judgement of this Administration has merited a second term. I'll have a bit of whatever they're smoking please.

If you happen to be one of those Dead-Enders, who think the judgement --- or the extraordinary display of lack thereof --- of this Administration has gotten any better with experience, that they've learned their lesson, and are now offering America a more honest assessement of real world events, think again.

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*** EXCLUSIVE! BRAD BLOG BREAKING NEWS! ***
By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2004 5:08pm PT  

A great catch by frequent BRAD BLOGGER Jaime! Seems that Moviefone (323-777-FILM out here in L.A.) claims that Fahrenheit 9/11 is rated NC-17! As of 5:13pm PDT, I can confirm that indeed that's the case!

That's a far cry, of course, from the R rating that Moore and company were trying to have changed recently (and unsuccessfully) to PG-13!

Moviefone is a partnership out here with ABC-7 TV, and online (where Moviefone.com has the film correctly listed with an R rating) they are partners with AOL/Time-Warner.

Does Moore take shots at ABC and/or AOL/Time-Warner in the film? Or is it just an outrageously unfortunate oversight for Moviefone?

UPDATE - 5:46pm PDT: A few minutes after sending this info to both Drudge and Michael Moore, the rating has now been changed at 777-FILM to the correct R rating in Los Angeles! Our scoopster Jaime tells the BRAD BLOG that the NC-17 had been in place, to the best of his recollection, all week long.

UPDATE - 6/25/04 5:18pm PDT: Duh. Not sure what I was thinking above when asked about Moore taking shots at ABC! ABC-7, which co-sponsors Moviefone, is of course owned by Disney! You may recall all the nice things that Moore had to say about Disney when they refused to meet their contractual obligation to distribute F9/11. And, as I pointed out, the website version of Moviefone (a partnership with AOL) had the correct rating for F9/11 --- it was only the phone version, co-sponsored by ABC, that had been giving the NC-17 rating to F9/11 all week. We report, you decide.

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Potty-Mouthed Endangered Veep Falls Apart on Senate Floor!
By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2004 4:05pm PT  

I guess it's not just the "Liberals" who enjoy using profanity, as some Rightwing Dead Ender BRAD BLOG commenters delude themselves by posting here.

Looks like the Vice-President, he of the "Major League Asshole...'Big time!'" sound-bite caught on tape during the 2000 Campaign is starting to fall apart just like his "Boss".

Though the Senate was not technically "in session" when Dick Cheney reportedly said "Fuck you" or "Fuck off" or "Go fuck yourself" (according to various accounts) to Sen. Patrick Leahy during a "class photo" taken earlier today, I'm certain that the Veep would never skirt the "rule of law" by using such profanity during an actual session!

Here's the early reports on the incident: One from Reuters and another from AP.

(Thanks to JohnHP for the earlier heads-up!)

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By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2004 3:03pm PT  

...Just buried with a few things. Hope to be back on the usual Blog Job shortly...Until then: OPEN THREAD! What's on your mind? Hit the COMMENTS button and discuss, beat the crap outta each other, speculate on who will be the next Vice President, recommend a movie, tell us what's on your mind, or any other such mischief that you like!

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By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2004 7:36pm PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2004 4:23pm PT  

Several years from now, when you look back and wonder how it ever happened, you'll be able to look back at this, and recognize that you did nothing to stop it. In fact, you allowed 99 Senators from both political parties to suggest that "this is something the public wants."

Or, you can Call or Email your Senator or Congressmen, and tell them to knock it off and stop censoring your public airwaves through the slow, chilling oppression of free speech.

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By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2004 4:10pm PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2004 4:05pm PT  

Special Added Bonus Link from Bizarro World!:
Video of US Attorney General John Ashcroft singing his song "Let the Eagle Soar" during a speech!

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Another sad tale from 'Bizarro World'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2004 1:09pm PT  

It's a sad state of affairs in America when the fake news show, The Daily Show on Comedy Central is doing some of the best journalism on television.

To that end, take a look at this sequence wherein The Daily exposes Dick Cheney (and with him, the entire Bush Administration) to be the manipulative dissemblers that they are.

Jon Stewart is discussing the Administration's recent bone picking with the Media for supposedly mischaracterizing the 9/11 Commission's report that Iraq and al-Qaeda had no substantial cooperative ties and what the Bush Administration may or may not have said about all of that in the lead up to war.

Cheney is seen on tape speaking to a CNBC reporter in an "exclusive" interview:

CHENEY (on tape): One thing we had is the, uh, gravity of a Czech intelligence service report saying that, uh, [9/11 hijacker] Mohammed Atta had met with a senior Iraqi intelligence official at the embassy on April 9th, 2001. That's never been proven, that's never been refuted.

STEWART (live): "Never been proven, never been refuted"?...Well, I'm not unconvinced! ... [audience laughter] ... For the record, the 9/11 Commission said of the alleged Iraq/Atta encounter or meeting; "We do not believe that such a meeting occurred." But still that's okay because Vice President Cheney never said such a meeting occurred... He just said that you couldn't prove that it hadn't. He never acted like Atta had had that meeting and that meeting had been confirmed. Am I, am I right?

CNBC (on tape): You have said in the past that it was quote "pretty well confirmed..."

CHENEY (on tape): No, I never said that.

CNBC (on tape): Okay...

CHENEY (on tape): I never said that...

CNBC (on tape): I think that is...

CHENEY (on tape): That is...Absolutely not...

STEWART (live): He never said that? Hmm....

CHENEY (on tape, 12/9/01, Meet the Press): It's been pretty well confirmed...[audience cheers] that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April.

[cheers continue]

STEWART (live): Mr. Vice President...I have to inform you...your pants are on fire. [laughter, applause]

Funny? Yes. But also terribly sad that such "reporting" on what our "leaders" are saying to us, and the lies that they are selling to justify a horrendous foreign policy, is virtually only being done on a "fake news" show on a basic cable comedy channel! A disgraceful indictment of the supposedly "liberal" media if you ask me.

That wasn't the only ball that The Daily hit outta the park on last night's show. Stewart's interview with Stephen F. Hayes, author of The Connection: How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Sadam Hussein Has Endangered America was nothing less than brilliant. If I find time later today, I'll try and transcribe some key moments...Yes, really good journalism.

But for now, for "fair and balanced" sake, here's a great line from a Clinton story that lead last night's show featuring tape from Sunday's 60 Minutes Dan Rather interview:

CLINTON (on tape): ...If there had been no Kenneth Starr...if we had different kind of people, I would have just said "Here are the facts, I'm sorry, deal with it however you please."

STEWART (live): "If there had been no Ken Starr"...he would have confessed! [laugher] You know I'll say this for Bill Clinton, his integrity is at it's highest, when the situation is at it's most hypothetical. [audience laugher, cheers]

So there's a bone for you Fake Conservatives. Unfortunately, while the Clinton bit is funny, yes, it has no importance to anything. His "lies" haven't lead to the death of thousands of innocent human beings. I wish I could say the same for the Dick Cheney stuff...And for the media's part in standing down and/or aiding and abetting that effort throughout the entire shameful chapter.

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Why the results in Afghanistan and Iraq simply make things worse.
By Brad Friedman on 6/21/2004 3:58pm PT  

Getting a bit too wonky even for myself here. So I'll hope the BRAD BLOG readers will tolerate this bit of wonkery for the moment. I believe it's important.

In case you're not familiar, an anonymous career CIA analyst/foreign policy expert, having served decades, and still employeed by the agency as I understand it, is releasing a book in a few weeks which is highly critical of the Bush Administration's "War on Terror".

In Imperial Hubris: How the West is Losing the War on Terror the author, Anonymous, goes into a much detailed account of where we went wrong, and what few options we now may be left with.

For those who would (as those who inevitably will, for partisan reasons) see this as just another Bush Bash Fest, it would be a mistake to do so, since Anonymous' prescription for what to do now, is decidely "un-Liberal". Essentially, he calls for Total War. But for an explanation of that actually means --- and how it differs from what is being waged now --- you'll need to read Spencer Ackerman's full article (over on Talking Points Memo where he's currently filling in for the vacationing Josh Marshall).

For the moment, what caught my eye was a useful and sobering post-mortem on where things now stand in both Afghanistan and Iraq:

[Anonymous] sees our intervention in Afghanistan as a disaster. While not as strident, a host of mostly liberal critics generally agree, arguing that the Bush administration has allowed Afghanistan to slip back into warlord-dominated instability. The prescription this critique implies is a vigorous nation-building effort. Anonymous rejects this entirely. Expanding Hamid Karzai's writ across the country is a recipe for violence, he writes: "After twenty years of war and ineffective or alien government in Kabul, the regions, subregions and tribes have never been more autonomously minded and jealous of their prerogatives." Democratization in Afghanistan, he believes, is a mirage. "We focus on issues that don't matter to Afghans--women's rights, democracy--and we denigrate those things that matter to Afghans--Islam, tribal and clan relationships, ethnic pecking orders," he says. Sometime soon, "you're going to have a government back in Kabul that looks like the Taliban, perhaps under a different name." The proper purpose of the 2001 war, he believes, was to use U.S. forces to annihilate the Qaeda presence in the country and do no more. With our inability to do that, our garrisoning of troops in Afghanistan and support of a weak central government of ethnic minorities provides little aside from an Islamist rallying cry against U.S. occupation--what he terms "an unmitigated defeat." [emphasis added]

Then there's Iraq. "[T]here is nothing bin Laden could have hoped for more than the American invasion and occupation of Iraq," he writes.

All Muslims would see each day on television that the United States was occupying a Muslim country, insisting that man-made laws replace God's revealed word, stealing Iraq's oil, and paving the way for the creation of a "Greater Israel." The clerics and scholars would call for a defensive jihad against the United States, young Muslim males would rush from across the Islamic world to fight U.S. troops, and there--in Islam's second holiest land--would erupt a second Afghanistan, a self-perpetuating holy war that would endure whether or not al-Qaeda survived.

The reason we've made these mistakes, he argues, is that we fail to understand that bin Laden doesn't hate us because of our freedom. Or, rather, while he does hate the licentiousness and modernity that the U.S. represents, it's not what compels him to declare war on us. Nor does an anti-modernist bent explain bin Laden's appeal across the Muslim world. Instead, it's what Anonymous identifies as six points bin Laden repeatedly cites in his communiqués: "U.S. support for Israel that keeps the Palestinians in the Israelis' thrall; U.S. and other Western troops on the Arabian peninsula; U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan; U.S. support for Russia, India and China against their Muslim militants; U.S. pressure on Arab energy producers to keep oil prices low; U.S. support for apostate, corrupt and tyrannical Muslim governments." Combined with his charismatic biography, bin Laden's strategic success has been to frame these arguments through a Koranic prism, "to convince everyone that U.S. policy is deliberately anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic," he says. Bin Laden's critique presents in resonant Islamic terminology a coherent jihadist explanation for practically everything Muslims can find offensive about the U.S.--the most deadly slippery slope there is. And the more Americans insist on treating bin Laden's anger with the U.S. as a pure hatred of freedom, the less equipped we'll be to answer him in a battle of ideas. [emphasis added]

I realize these arguments may be a bit more nuanced and informed than is easily fit onto Headline News, Larry King's brain, or the general limited scope of a Fake Conservative's knee-jerk ideological pallette.

The battle of "Good vs. Evil" is much easier to get across to the Nascar Dad Joe-Sixpacks on whom Dubya's re-election chances now hinge.

None the less, until the United States cares to take a real, sobering, and --- yes --- nuanced look at what this "War" is really about, we're destined to simply keep spinning our wheels in a never-ending, ever-increasing bloody battle that simply cannot be "won".

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By Brad Friedman on 6/20/2004 3:26pm PT  

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