HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Saturday, July 14, 2007

 
Losing The Thread

by digby

You may have noticed that I've been posting less than usual the last few days and the fact is that I've been quite busy. So busy, in fact, that I seem to have lost the thread of what's going on in Washington. Perhaps some of you can help me find it.

First, as I wondered earlier in the week, is there some reason that the Democrats didn't force the Republicans to actually filibuster the Webb legislation the old fashioned way and force them to publicly justify why they don't think the troops in Iraq should be allowed to spend some time at home before being redeployed? I still can't figure that one out --- it seemed like a no-brainer to me. Let Huckelberry Graham and Holy Joe explain why the president's prerogatives are more important than the troops and their families. I still don't get it.

But then this took place and I'm completely confused. Here's RJ Eskow in Huffington Post:

The amendment sounds reasonable enough on its face. (Text is here.) It asks for bimonthly reports from the military regarding "external support or direction provided to anti-coalition forces by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran or its agents ... the strategy and ambitions in Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran; and .... any counter-strategy or efforts by the United States Government to counter the activities of agents of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Iraq."

It was a shrewdly worded document. Any Democrat who voted against it would have opened him- or herself up to accusations that of being afraid to face the facts about Iranian involvement in Iraq. And we know that Iran is involved in Iraq in certain ways. After all, it's been invited there - by the very government our troops are sacrificing themselves to defend. In fact, the Iraqi government is so close to its Shi'ite neighbor that it quickly invited it to open an embassy in Baghdad.

Predictably, the Lieberman measure passed 97-0. But it's not the reporting requirements themselves that are dangerous - it's the amendment's language. It lists a hodgepodge of undocumented and inflammatory accusations before stating that "the murder of members of the United States Armed Forces by a foreign government or its agents is an intolerable and unacceptable act of hostility against the United States by the foreign government in question." These are words that invite an act of war against Iran, even in the absence of clear evidence of involvement.

The amendment doesn't just ask for intelligence on Iranian activity. It requires ongoing reports on proactive U.S. efforts against alleged Iranian efforts, placing political pressure on our military to become more active against Iran. Word in Washington is that top military leaders are resisting an attack on Iran, saying we lack the resources. This is a great way to lean on the generals to change their minds.




I cannot believe that the Democrats voted for this en masses on the merits. It had to be a deal of some sort, or some kind of assurance from the powers that be or something that I'm just not getting. I'm usually pretty good at figuring out the kabuki of these inexplicable legislative actions but in this case, I'm stumped.

It makes no sense at all for the Democrats to empower this administration in any way, shape or form to do anything with respect to Iran. Nada. It certainly doesn't make political sense -- nobody in the country wants war with Iran and nobody will suffer at the polls for failing to sign off on the president and Lieberman's crazy schemes. The idea that Democrats need to be scared of seeming soft on Iran is ludicrous. And even if it did, all they had to do was scuttle the amendment anyway ---they didn't have to call for a vote. I just can't find any political benefit to this at all, and tons of serious, substantive risk.

(It's possible that their little friend Lieberman is blackmailing them, but if that's the case they should just turn the Senate over to the Republicans, return their pay to the taxpayers and go home. Let the war with Iran commence without their compliance.)

On the substance, it's just plain nuts. If they think they can depend on the military to hold Bush and Cheney back, I hope they talked to the air force, because the flyboys have to be chomping at the bit to get in on the action. There have been few medals and promotions for them in the GWOT so far --- they sure could use a good bombing campaign. (And if the Dems believed any assurances from Bush, they should be the ones who are impeached.)

Like I said, I've been busy and so perhaps didn't catch all the nuance. But between the flummoxed Dem response to the Bush officials' three stooges-style committee testimony and defiance of subpoenas, to the inability to force the Republicans to take responsibility for their obstruction to this sloppy wet kiss-up to Joe Lieberman, I don't understand what the hell is going on with the congress at all.

Seriously, do they really think that these lawless Republicans are going to comply with some quaint rules or live up to their "word"? That they will see the light and come over from the dark side? The GOP is looking down the barrel of an electoral defeat so extreme they may never recover. The party is falling apart under the leadership of a misfit and a certified lunatic and more than a quarter century of political philosophy has just been proven to be complete rubbish. They are cornered animals.

And anyway, the Republican Party has not acted with restraint for more than a decade, using whatever institutional power they had without regard to consequences, precedent or effect on the constitution --- a partisan impeachment by a reckless Republican majority in the congress, a stolen election by a ruthless political machine in Florida in concert with a blatantly partisan Supreme Court majority --- and now the lawless rule of the Republican executive branch under Bush and Cheney. The wholesale corruption and decadence of their rule should be more obvious to them than it is to us. There is not one political act of the last decade that should give anyone the least bit of assurance that the Republicans are acting in good faith.

This isn't really about Bush and it isn't really about Cheney. It is about the malignant political aberration that calls itself the modern Republican Party.

I don't know what kind of "strategy" the Democrats think is in play when they sign off on a bizarre statement about Iran that opens up all kinds of avenues for the president to start another war, but they are engaging in a very dangerous game. Arming the Republicans with any excuse to shoot the moon right now is political malpractice. On their best days, the Republicans are reckless and delusional. Now that they're desperate, anything could happen. Why did the Dems just hand them a loaded gun? I don't get it.



.