Thursday, April 07, 2005

Juche 5: Bad Year For Dear Leader

Were it not for the week-long mourning of the pope, this would have been an even worse stretch of time for Dear Leader than it has been. The Schiavo chickens may take a while to roost, but (to mangle some mexed mitaphors here) the GOP really dropped the ball on this one, as this op-ed piece points out quite well.

Because this is what conservatism has become in this country. No more is there a dedication to the traditional principles of limited government and fiscal restraint; as John Danforth, a former Republican senator and an Episcopal minister, noted in the New York Times last week, the Republican Party “has gone so far in adopting a sectarian agenda that it has become the political extension of a religious movement.”

“As a senator,” wrote Danforth, “I worried every day about the size of the federal deficit. I did not spend a single minute worrying about the effect of gays on the institution of marriage. Today it seems to be the other way around.”

Something to keep in mind: when John Danforth says you're catering to the Jesus Crispies too much, you better listen. Of course they won't, because they've painted themselves into a bit of a corner with the fruit-loops, and they gotta dance with them that brung 'em -- except dancing is sinful, mainly because it startles the snake they're handling.

And the recent brazen attack by Iraqi insurgents on Abu Ghraib prison serves as a clear reminder of just how far from stability Iraq still is, and will be for the realistic future.

In fact, though it's hardly mentioned in our media, we've been digging in. Joshua Hammer of Mother Jones magazine reported in a recent issue that approximately $4.5 billion dollars has gone to -- who else? -- KBR for the construction and maintenance of up to 14 "enduring camps" or permanent military bases in Iraq. Many of these bases have a look of permanency that undoubtedly has to be seen to be imagined. But here's Hammer's description of just one:

"Camp Victory North, a sprawling base near Baghdad International Airport, which the U.S. military seized just before the ouster of Saddam Hussein in April 2003. Over the past year, KBR contractors have built a small American city where about 14,000 troops are living, many hunkered down inside sturdy, wooden, air-conditioned bungalows called SEA (for Southeast Asia) huts, replicas of those used by troops in Vietnam. There's a Burger King, a gym, the country's biggest PX -- and, of course, a separate compound for KBR workers, who handle both construction and logistical support. Although Camp Victory North remains a work in progress today, when complete, the complex will be twice the size of Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo -- currently one of the largest overseas posts built since the Vietnam War."

And let's just remember what those 14 bases sit on.

Then again, if our intel agencies had done proper due diligence on their weapons assessments in the first place, we might not currently be standing on our collective dicks.

A presidential commission said Thursday that "the intelligence community was dead wrong in almost all of its prewar judgments" on Iraq's arsenal. The commission also warned in a scathing report that the CIA and other agencies may be equally blind now about nuclear threats posed by countries such as Iran and North Korea.

And now Mr. Magoo -- accompanied by the woman who is not his wife though he is married and we are so very concerned about the chilluns will think -- will do for international development aid what he did for our foreign policy. Until he has a Robert McNamara moment down the road and expects us all to just forgive him for being a douchebag or something. Good luck with that.

Other fun news from the new incubator of Democracy®:

“They started shouting at us that we were immoral, that we were meeting boys and girls together and playing music and that this was against Islam.

“They began shooting in the air and people screamed. Then, with one order, they began beating us with their sticks and rifle butts.” Two students were said to have been killed.

Standing over them as the blows rained down was the man who gave the order, dressed in dark clerical garb and wearing a black turban. Ali recognised him immediately as a follower of Hojatoleslam Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shia cleric. Ali realised then that the armed men were members of Hojatoleslam al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army, a private militia that fought American forces last year and is now enforcing its own firebrand version of Islam.

The picnic had run foul of the Islamist powers that increasingly hold sway in the fly-blown southern city, where religious militias rule the streets, forcing women to don the veil and closing down shops that sell alcohol or music.

Apparently the March of Freedom™ has left waffle prints in a few foreheads. Pussies. Didn't they get the memo?

Finally, it seems that after three months of a bullshit Social Security privatization scheme -- which may or may not actually have a plan stapled to it, depending on whom you ask and on which day -- and no end in sight to rising gas prices (as Chevron makes record profits and we subsidize Iraq's fuel), some of the brighter bulbs are getting the idea.

President Bush's approval rating has plunged to the lowest level of any president since World War II at this point in his second term, the Gallup Organization reported today.

All other presidents who served a second term had approval ratings well above 50% in the March following their election, Gallup reported.

Presidents Truman and Johnson had finished out the terms of their predecessors, and then won election on their own for a second term.

Bush's current rating is 45%. The next lowest was Reagan with 56% in March 1985.

More bad signs for the president: Gallup's survey now finds only 38% expressing satisfaction with the "state of the country" while 59% are "dissatisfied." One in three Americans feel the economy is excellent or good, while the rest find it "only fair" or poor.

I see polls like this and I wonder what the 38% are smoking, or if they just feel that holding the line shows resolve against the traitorous Franken/Garofalo conspiracy to undermine their sacred freedom to shop at Piggly Wiggly and blow the remainder of their drone wages at the local Indian casino.

The war is not going to pay for itself. The Middle East is in a state of flux, like it has been for most of the last 5000 years. This does not automatically mean that "they" want to be free; "they" may just want a different strongman, and if it happens to be a strongman we don't favor, then we can dispense with our pie-eyed notions.

Perhaps someone should get on with funneling a few hundred grand to Ahmad Chalabi, so he can get some sort of public art project going in downtown Baghdad dedicated to Dear Leader. Maybe a bronze statue of Him bringing a plastic Thanksgiving tofurkey to the troops. Maybe a ceiling fresco of Him touching the hand of mortal man, and imbuing it with the unquenchable thirst for Freedom™ -- or at least a thirst for lining his pockets while Halliburton blows more taxpayer money importing oil into Iraq.

Really, the possibilities are endless, and Juche 5 has already begun with the flowering of many of those possibilities.


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