Home

Newest Comic

Cartoon Archive

Blog Archive

Interviews, Articles, Etc.

Grab Bag

Contact

FAQ

Reprint Requests

Letters

T-shirts & Swag

Books

Signed Prints

RSS feed

My Wish List (read this first)



Co-bloggers

BobHarris.com

Body and Soul
(Jeanne d'Arc)

The Talent Show
(Greg Saunders)

Billmon



Support this site:
if you buy anything at all from Powell's through this link...

...or from Amazon through this one...

...I get a small kickback.



Other blogs

Roger Ailes

Altercation

Atrios

Baghdad Burning

Berube

The Bitter Shack of Resentment

Daily Kos

Scoobie Davis

Steve Gilliard

Hullabaloo

Mad Kane

Ezra Klein

Frank Lynch

Making Light

MaxSpeak

Orcinus

Pacific Views

Pandagon

August Pollak

Ted Rall

Mikhaela Blake Reid

Elayne Riggs

Skippy

Talking Points Memo

TAPPED

TBogg

A Tiny Revolution

Uggabugga

Wil Wheaton

Oliver Willis

Wolcott


News and commentary

Alternet

Bartcop

Buzzflash

Center for American Progress

Counterpunch

Cursor

Daily Howler

Daily War News

FAIR

Media Matters

PR Watch

Progressive Review

Romenesko

Salon

Soldiers for the Truth

Tompaine.com

Working For Change




November 14, 2003

Funding the GOP convention by calling it a children's charity

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

Oh, this is just whole new levels of unexplored wrongness: according to the New York Times, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Innovative Corruption) has set up a charity for abused and neglected children -- which will funnel at least some of the money to the 2004 GOP convention.

... aides to Mr. DeLay... acknowledged that part of the money would go to pay for late-night convention parties, a luxury suite during President Bush's speech at Madison Square Garden and yacht cruises.

-- snip --

"They are using the idea of helping children as a blatant cover for financing activities in connection with a convention with huge unlimited, undisclosed, unregulated contributions," said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a Washington group that helped push through the recent overhaul of the campaign finance laws.

The donors not only get a tax break, but they also get to make a massive, unlimited political contribution in a manner that will never be accounted for publicly.

And apparently the idea is catching on. Senator Bill Frist (R-Slaughtering Cats) is planning to do the same thing, staging an event at Rockefeller Center for six-figure Republican donors... and calling it an AIDS charity.

I'm gonna be sick.

Must See DVD

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

Uncovered: The Whole Truth About The Iraq War is a new documentary that explores the lies and exaggerations of the Bush White House as it marched to war, featuring interviews with key military and intelligence officers, embassy personnel, UN weapons inspectors, journalists, and others with direct, first-hand experience.

Hey, just 41 shopping days left 'til Christmas. DVDs make great stocking-stuffers, sure to please the neocon warmonger in every family.

The game they play in heaven

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

Just a quick note -- the Rugby World Cup has reached its semifinal round. Two reasons to care:

a) At its best, rugby combines the skill of a basketball fast break with the continuity of soccer and sheer kathunk of pro football, all played with a premium on fairness and sportsmanship. Imagine the loopy excitement of a four-lateral interception return... extended for an hour and a half. And the World Cup is rugby at its very best.

b) It's terrific therapy for U.S. liberals who feel surrounded by the Bush/Cheney/Ashcroft machine. Seriously. Watch a game, even if you don't know what's going on and it all just looks like a bunch of knotty-eared guys in knickers banging their heads together. Just keep your eyes on it for a while. And slowly it dawns on you: the troubles and dangers are real, yes -- but the world is a big and mighty and hopeful place, and right this minute almost a billion people are following a tournament that Americans don't even know is happening. Suddenly our problems seem a whole lot smaller through these eyes.

I only wish you all could have seen the South African side singing its anthem before each of its games. This was something beyond words for me: the entire team, multiple cultures, side by side, black and white -- all belting out words of peace and freedom in four languages (Xhosa, Sesotho, Afrikaans, and English), merging multiple melodies and diverse histories into a single voice, sung with a pride and sincerity and optimism that brought me to tears, every time.

If South Africa can pull that together... maybe we can all be OK after all.

PS -- At the opening ceremonies a few weeks ago, Aussie Prime Minister John Howard, recently censured for lying about Iraq, stepped out to declare the games officially open -- and the entire stadium of cheering fans suddenly unleashed a cathartic chorus of boos. Howard looked humiliated, and didn't even speak for about ten solid seconds. Dishonesty actually being treated as dishonorable -- a national leader actually being held accountable, face-to-face, by the public -- oh man, that was something to see.

Gropenator update

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

For the last week, Californians have been hearing Schwarzenegger's Wortführer tell the press how hard he's working in preparation for his inaugural on Monday. Turns out the whole time he's been hanging out in Hawaii.

This is gonna be swell.

Incidentally, for those who've asked, nope, I never could dislodge the video of Arnold groping his female interviewers in December of 2000. The New York Daily News got interested and gave it a shot, with no success.

The footage is still sitting there in the Carlton Production archives. One of these days...

Reality slowly seeps in

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

A poll released yesterday afternoon finds that:

[A] majority of Americans (55%) believe that the Bush administration went to war on the basis of incorrect assumptions. An overwhelming 87% said that, before the war, the administration portrayed Iraq as an imminent threat, while a majority (58%) believes that the administration did not have evidence for this... with 61% saying that the US should have taken more time to find out if Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and 59% saying it should have taken more time to build international support.

A majority of Americans believe that the evidence that the US had on Iraq did not meet the proper international standards for going to war without UN approval.

I'm buying stock in whoever makes Ambien.

--------------------

November 13, 2003

Chess update: the machines revolt

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

Following up on this earlier post... Garry Kasparov just got his keister handed to him by X3D Fritz, a computer chess program whose face will be on the currency when the machines take over.

The news stories are all about a pretty bad rook move GK made toward the end, but in a real sense the machine actually won the game over an hour earlier.

The computer, playing white, controlled the center, but Kasparov had a slight positional edge otherwise. GK probably should have patiently played for a draw, but that's not his style. So even as the machine was displaying remarkable ability, building its position, doing things chess computers just don't do, Kasparov -- who looked overconfident -- was preparing an aggressive attack on the white king. And so while all of ESPN2's Grand Masters (and your humble amateur here) were all dithering about which pawn he should play next, GK set his brain on Stun for twenty tense minutes, finally cooking up a brilliant, subtle little move with his queen, setting up his entire counterattack.

Aha! "Take that," said Neo, landing a kick to Hugo Weaving's ribs. Jaws dropped. Mere mortals quaked with awe.

And the computer responded... instantly. Like it was playing a beginner. As if shouting, "in your face, carbon-based fool." The heavyweight champ threw a devastating surprise roundhouse to the chin -- and the machine just smiled and hit back.

An hour later, the best chess player in human history... crumbled.

I'm telling you, this is freakin' awesome.

Colin Powell gushes about his favorite drug

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

Alert reader Larry points to a Washington post item (noted in the blog blah3.com), in which Colin Powell gushes about using a sedative hypnotic drug called Ambien:

"They're a wonderful medication -- not medication. How would you call it? They're called Ambien, which is very good. You don't use Ambien? Everybody here uses Ambien."

As Blah3 wrrites:

Everybody where, Colin?

Ambien's common side effects include daytime drowsiness, dizziness, and changes in thinking and behavior. Less common but reported side effects include confusion, emotional instability, and an exaggerated feeling of well-being.

Ambien addiction is also more likely among people who have been dependent on alcohol and can cause amnesia.

Gee. Sound like anybody we know?

And can you freakin' imagine the firestorm if somebody in the Clinton administration had gushed about a drug like this in the middle of a war?

Presidential politics as inadvertent singles ad

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

Who out there wants to be Dennis Kucinich's girlfriend?

Yet another Iraq war casualty -- Amazon rain forest

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

The Independent reports that British government will be cutting its rainforest protection program in order to help pay for the war. Link from Grist.

Tempest continues

(posted by Tom)

Gosh, have you ever seen so many panties in a wad?

Look, the cartoon’s fair game, of course, and none of this is unexpected—you make fun of a bunch of bloviators, you’re going to get some bloviating. The only thing I really object to is the canard that it was attacking veterans. What it was attacking was pomposity; the self-important rhetoric of those who tell us in flowery language that the mounting death toll is a necessary and even a good thing. No rightie blogger was ever so callous, you say? Well, do you remember the "flypaper strategy"? The idea that the deaths of our troops are a good thing because as long as the terrorists are busy attacking them, they can’t come after us?

And I'm the one who doesn't "support the troops"?

I have to catch a plane, but since this thing is clearly going to continue awhile in my absence, one quick note: remember, I don’t do comments. I'm told that some jackass on one of these message boards is posting in my name. If you read some comment somewhere allegedly by me, remember that it's not.

(Edited for rushed early morning excess.)

Gonna miss the peace and quiet...

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

On the eve of Rush's return to the air, a psychologist examines the Dittohead mindset, putting into words precisely what I came to believe during my own five years of interaction with radio listeners. (Link via Buzzflash.)

Incidentally, I did the math when Rush was arrested, and under Florida state law, if he bought just 208 OxyContins (each of which weighs 135 mg, and you count the filler along with the drug, which is genius -- addressing, as it does, America's War On Gelatin -- but I don't write the laws), which would surely be the case with a habit lasting several years... Rush would be looking at 25 years mandatory -- assuming (quite impossibly, of course) the law will ever be applied to him the same way it is to other people. Oh, and not counting another possible 20 years federal.

And so millions of Americans are now seriously eager to hear a drug addict with racist tendencies defending an AWOL convicted of DUI over false statements, broken promises, and unnecessary war -- as a way to make themselves feel morally superior.

My skull hurts.

Hearts and minds...

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

Newsday reports today that the Pentagon is estimating there are perhaps 50,000 Iraqi insurgents. (Scroll down -- it's buried at the bottom of the story.)

If that number seems surprising, the Boston Globe notes a report by the British health organization MedAct indicating that the war has already caused the deaths of at least 20,000 and possibly as many as 55,000 Iraqis.

Those folks all had families.

Combined with the litany of cultural mistakes made out of ignorance or contempt for Arab sensibilities, plus the standard hostility directed toward any occupying force, anywhere... and frankly, I'm almost surprised the number of insurgents isn't substantially higher.

The story has been widely ignored in the U.S. press, but it's all over the UK, with the BBC, Mirror and Murdoch-owned Sky News stories closely mirroring the information and tone of this Guardian piece.

We do, however, have wall-to-wall coverage of Courtney Love, Rosie O'Donnell, and Scott Peterson. So there's that.

Speaking of human limitations

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

I don't know if any of you folks follow chess, but Garry Kasparov is playing a series of matches against a computer system called X3D Fritz, broadcast live on ESPN2, with Grand Masters doing sports-style commentary -- proposing strategies between moves with computer graphics and telestrators and all the usual whizbang.

Strange, maybe. But in a world where pure intelligence is rarely rewarded with testosterone-fueled high-fiving, this is pretty damned cool.

All you need to know to enjoy the show, even if you don't like chess: GK usually eats his opponents' brains with an aggressive style that frankly intimidates a lot of mere mortals. But against computers, that emotional edge disappears, and so he usually has to play a much different kind of game (evident even from his opening move!), patiently trading pieces for advantageous positions. Which means he's already scrambling a little. That's how he beat Deep Junior enough times to manage a draw in his last series against a machine.

Mix in that Fritz -- which has beaten both Deep Blue and Deep Junior -- is much less willing to sell out position for pieces than other world-class algorithms... and suddenly you've got the best chess player alive scrambling for his life on live national TV.

In Tuesday's match, after Kasparov carefully developed what looked like a workable advantage, the computer suddenly pulled a move that none of the three Grand Masters covering the event saw coming -- and neither did Kasparov. Four Grand Masters, totally ambushed. It wasn't quite Flutie-to-Phelan against Miami, but it was pretty damned wild -- shifting the entire game with a single screaming bishop. (And isn't it nice to spend a little time in a world honest enough to consider religious figures as weapons of the king?)

Kasparov looked like he almost blew a lobe scrambling for the next few moves, and the game finally ended in a draw. It was a gorgeous thing to watch.

OK, yes, I'm a total freaking geek sometimes. But tape this thing. You will be, too.

UK study on GM crops -- it's not nice to fool with Mother Nature

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

Here's why I subscribe to the print newsletter published by Counterpunch, which usually contains stuff you don't necessarily see on the site (although I just found the article I'm referencing published online here.).

Turns out that about a month ago, some bigshots in Great Britain released the results of a major study of the standard agribusiness claim that Genetically Modified crops are just like the real thing (this is called the "null hypothesis"). The result:

"The null hypothesis was rejected in each case."

Turns out that the genuine versions of the crops, whose complex genetic code is the result of millions of years of natural selection within ecological niches not yet fully understood by humans -- gee, here comes the surprise -- were usually "better for many groups of wildlife" than the pre-fab test-tube BizarroWorld LIFE! I CREATED LIFE! versions cooked up with a George Foreman Grill and a turkey baster.

More diverse plant systems tended to grow near the real thing -- leading to more diverse insect life, a kegger in the gene pool, and party all night. Fake-o plastiform DNA-on-a-stick crops, on the other hand, usually led to less genetic diversity, flat beer, and bed head.

Not in every case, of course. Turns out GM maize (my people called it corn...) seems to cause fizzier niches than the real thing. Why? I got no freakin' clue, people, I just work here. And scientists don't seem to know, either.

So the point stands: mankind's version of even the simplest crops is not the same as nature's, and pretending otherwise doesn't make it so.

What that means in the long run is debateable, of course. Maybe we should all rush out and plant and eat as much who-knows-what-the-long-term-effects-are food as humanly possible, just to see what happens. Or not.

Thing is, I try to keep up on this stuff -- and I never heard word one about this report in the U.S. media.

Which, returning to my point, is why I subscribe to Counterpunch...

Honored as always

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

... to fill in for a bit. I'm busy with actual work, but will attempt to keep your eyeballs intermittently amused until Tom returns from his many heroic voyages. Knowing his love for the the Bay Area, I assume he'll be tying himself to the mast just to get home.

Can't promise everything I post will probably be absolutely on point, but then you guys know that's pretty much how I communicate in the real world, too.

--------------------

November 12, 2003

Outta here

I'll be on the road and mostly offline for a few days. Our old friend Bob Harris may be guest-blogging a little, if he has time.

Down the memory hole

According to Tbogg, this article originally contained the following passage:

Bremer spent part of the day at the White House, where he apparently met with senior foreign policy officials that included Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and CIA chief George Tenet. He did not meet with President Bush, though officials said he may do so before he returns to Baghdad.

Maybe somebody realized it didn't look so good for the President to be out of the loop when the Iraq Administrator is in town, because the article is now headlined "Bush, senior advisers to meet on Iraq," and the paragraph TBogg posts is nowhere to be found.

On a related note, Josh tries to figure out what's really going on in these meetings:

Is Bremer out? Is he being promoted? Suspended? Two weeks ago the rumor was that he was trying to resign.

I've heard every rumor under the sun today. And all that seems really clear is that something major is about to happen on the ground in the US occupation.
Almost two weeks ago now, Bremer had consultations with senior Pentagon officials. And the chatter out of those meetings said that Bremer had grown deeply pessimistic about his job in Iraq and that John Abizaid, chief of the US Central Command, was advocating some sort of decisive move back toward actual war-fighting to arrest the rapidly deteriorating security situation.

Are we headed back to "major combat operations"? How many more people are going to lose their lives, how many more babies will never know their fathers, how many wives will lose their husbands (or vice versa), because the administration blundered into this thing with absolutely no idea what to do if things didn't turn out according to the neocon fantasy playbook?

This morning's news from Texas

Wow.

This guy admits shooting a 71-year-old man in the face and dismembering the body and dumping it in Galveston Bay--and he's acquitted.

See it was self-defense. And anyway, Texas is full of eccentrics:

Asked about the defendant, Deborah Warren, another juror, said: "I wouldn't ask him to escort my daughter to her senior prom. Durst isn't the only crazy person in Galveston."

But wait, there's more:

On the witness stand, Mr. Durst said that in November 2000, he fled New York for Galveston, a city of 57,000 people at the end of Interstate 45, because he learned that Jeanine F. Pirro, the Westchester County district attorney, had reopened an investigation into his first wife's disappearance. He said he had feared she would indict him unfairly to further her own political ambitions. Disguised as a mute woman, Mr. Durst rented an apartment for $300 a month and disappeared among the drifters and homeless wanderers of Galveston.

Update: good lord, there's more.

Durst, who has been estranged from his family since the early 1990s, remains under suspicion in the 1982 disappearance of his first wife in New York state and the 2000 shooting death of her friend Susan Berman, a Los Angeles writer who was set to be questioned about the missing woman. He has not been charged in either case.

This is one strange story.

--------------------

November 11, 2003

He'll be back

At least, I hope so. But Real Neal is calling it quits on this whole blogging nonsense for now.

Tempest in a teapot

I had a feeling the Instant Pundit was going to link to this.

(Wish "LT Smash" had been upfront enough to let me know he was posting our entire exchange as it occurred; I would have been more careful about typos.)

Look, defending cartoons is a slippery slope, but the point of this one was clearly not to disparage vets—as I wrote to "LT Smash", it draws a clear distinction between those who are in the field risking their lives, and those who seem to think they are fighting a war at home by maintaining a weblog.

It’s true, as I wrote the cartoon, I wasn’t thinking about people in the field who are also blogging in support of the war. Because those people are not the point of the cartoon.

But that nonexistent cartoon, the one in which I disrespect veterans—that’s the one all the chickenbloggers will be discussing now, you can count on it.

--------------------

November 10, 2003

"--And that’s my answer."

Via an email tip, an amazing exchange at the press gaggle caught by the Homeless Guy.

Q Scott, there are 17 former POWs from the first Gulf War who were tortured and filed suit against the regime of Saddam Hussein. And a judge has ordered that they are entitled to substantial financial damages. What is the administration's position on that? Is it the view of this White House that that money would be better spent rebuilding Iraq rather than going to these former POWs?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know that I view it in those terms, David. I think that the United States -- first of all, the United States condemns in the strongest terms the brutal torture to which these Americans were subjected. They bravely and heroically served our nation and made sacrifices during the Gulf War in 1991, and there is simply no amount of money that can truly compensate these brave men and women for the suffering that they went through at the hands of Saddam Hussein's brutal regime. That's what our view is.

Q But, so -- but isn't it true that this White House --

Q They think they're is an --

Q Excuse me, Helen -- that this White House is standing in the way of them getting those awards, those financial awards, because it views it that money better spent on rebuilding Iraq?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, there's simply no amount of money that can truly compensate these brave men and women for the suffering --

Q Why won't you spell out what your position is?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm coming to your question. Believe me, I am. Let me finish. Let me start over again, though. No amount of money can truly compensate these brave men and women for the suffering that they went through at the hands of a very brutal regime, at the hands of Saddam Hussein. It was determined earlier this year by Congress and the administration that those assets were no longer assets of Iraq, but they were resources required for the urgent national security needs of rebuilding Iraq. But again, there is simply no amount of compensation that could ever truly compensate these brave men and women.

Q Just one more. Why would you stand in the way of at least letting them get some of that money?

MR. McCLELLAN: I disagree with the way you characterize it.

Q But if the law that Congress passed entitles them to access frozen assets of the former regime, then why isn't that money, per a judge's order, available to these victims?

MR. McCLELLAN: That's why I pointed out that that was an issue that was addressed earlier this year. But make no mistake about it, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the torture that these brave individuals went through --

Q -- you don't think they should get money?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- at the hands of Saddam Hussein. There is simply no amount of money that can truly compensate those men and women who heroically served --

Q That's not the issue --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- who heroically served our nation.

Q Are you opposed to them getting some of the money?

MR. McCLELLAN: And, again, I just said that that had been addressed earlier this year.

Q No, but it hasn't been addressed. They're entitled to the money under the law. The question is, is this administration blocking their effort to access some of that money, and why?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't view it that way at all. I view it the way that I stated it, that this issue was --

Q But you are opposed to them getting the money.

MR. McCLELLAN: This issue was addressed earlier this year, and we believe that there's simply no amount of money that could truly compensate these brave men and women for what they went through and for the suffering that they went through at the hands of Saddam Hussein --

Q So no money.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and that's my answer.

Where do people get these crazy ideas?

Another reason people might have been led to think the postwar period would be "easy," from the New York Times, May 3, 2003, via Atrios.

The Bush administration is planning to withdraw most United States combat forces from Iraq over the next several months and wants to shrink the American military presence to less than two divisions by the fall, senior allied officials said today.

--snip--

If the administration plan is carried out, the effect would be to reduce the number of American troops in Iraq from over 130,000 soldiers and marines at present to 30,000 troops or fewer by the fall.

Conservatives like Sullivan can quibble over semantics all they want (they never specifically said the word 'imminent'! Or 'easy'!), but the fact remains--this is not going anywhere near as smoothly as we were led to believe, and people are dying on a daily basis as a result. The vehemence with which this basic fact is denied is inversely proportionate to the honesty of the person doing the denying, I think.

(Minor edit for grammatical mistake.)

--------------------

November 09, 2003

Do I get a t-shirt too?

The winners of Josh Marshall's "imminent" contest came up with a Bush speech already discussed at length on this site in this October 16 entry.

Another must-read

Also from Newsweek:

The reservists run many of the same risks as the regular troops they support, but they pay a different price. For an active-duty soldier, foreign deployment is an expected risk, and carries benefits in pay and promotions to offset the hardships. But for reservists, this is an unexpected detour in lives and careers whose course had seemed quite predictable just a year ago. For their employers, losing a worker to a call-up can be anything from a nuisance to a potential disaster, in the case of small businesses or professional practices. Dan Mills, a member of the Michigan National Guard who was about to start a vacation with his wife and daughters at Disney World last winter and instead found himself on his way to Iraq with 48 hours’ notice, says: “Nobody thinks when they sign up that they’ll be going to war.” And few imagined they could be called to serve as long as a year overseas, broken up by (at most) one two-week home leave. Counting time for training, outfitting and demobilizing, this often means as much as 16 months away from home, earning military salaries that may not come close to their civilian pay. And under the Pentagon’s “stop-loss” policy, a reservist sent to Iraq must stay on duty until his entire unit is sent home——even if his enlistment expires in the meantime. (Currently, active-duty soldiers can muster out whenever their terms are up.) Two days before she was to leave the Army Reserves in February, with her paperwork all done, Leslie Crawford of Provo, Utah, was ordered into a new unit that was on its way to Iraq—where she still is, according to her sister, Lisa. “She says she feels like a POW of her own country,” Lisa says.

--snip--

Of course, active-duty troops did most of the fighting in the invasion. But there’s plenty of danger to go around for reservists, and they’re facing it, in some cases, without the same equipment provided to regular units. Joe and Suzanne Werfelman of Sciota, Pa., were shocked to hear from their son, Richard, a 23-year-old law student called up by his military-police unit, that he had been issued a protective vest without the “plates” that stop automatic-rifle rounds. They bought and shipped the plates themselves, at a cost of $660.


Today's must-read
Of all the president’s advisers, Cheney has consistently taken the most dire view of the terrorist threat. On Iraq, Bush was the decision maker. But more than any adviser, Cheney was the one to make the case to the president that war against Iraq was an urgent necessity. Beginning in the late summer of 2002, he persistently warned that Saddam was stocking up on chemical and biological weapons, and last March, on the eve of the invasion, he declared that “we believe that he [Saddam Hussein] has in fact reconstituted nuclear weapons.” (Cheney later said that he meant “program,” not “weapons.” He also said, a bit optimistically, “I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators.”) After seven months, investigators are still looking for that arsenal of WMD.

Much more.

The thin line between satire and reality

Satire, last month.

Reality, today:

For example, on Feb. 20, a month before the invasion, Rumsfeld fielded a question about whether Americans would be greeted as liberators if they invaded Iraq.

"Do you expect the invasion, if it comes, to be welcomed by the majority of the civilian population of Iraq?" Jim Lehrer asked the defense secretary on PBS' "The News Hour."

"There is no question but that they would be welcomed," Rumsfeld replied, referring to American forces. "Go back to Afghanistan, the people were in the streets playing music, cheering, flying kites, and doing all the things that the Taliban and the al-Qaeda would not let them do."

The Americans-as-liberators theme was repeated by other senior administration officials in the weeks preceding the war, including Rumsfeld's No. 2 - Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz - and Vice President Cheney.

But on Sept. 25, - a particularly bloody day in which one U.S. soldier was killed in an ambush, eight Iraqi civilians died in a mortar strike and a member of the U.S-appointed governing council died after an assassination attempt five days earlier - Rumsfeld was asked about the surging resistance.

"Before the war in Iraq, you stated the case very eloquently and you said . . . they would welcome us with open arms," Sinclair Broadcasting anchor Morris Jones said to Rumsfeld as the prelude to a question.

The defense chief quickly cut him off. "Never said that," he said. "Never did. You may remember it well, but you're thinking of somebody else. You can't find, anywhere, me saying anything like either of those two things you just said I said."

Article by way of Atrios.

(Confidential to Andrew Sullivan, et al: when we were repeatedly assured that our forces would be "welcomed as liberators"--as opposed to, say, "the primary targets of a deadly guerilla war"-- many Americans naturally took this to mean that the postwar period would be "easy." Get it?)

--------------------

Powered by
Movable Type 2.63
Site Meter

Cartoonists

Lalo Alcaraz

Derf

Norman Dog

Dykes to Watch Out For

Jules Feiffer

Get Your War On

Jack Chick Publications

Keith Knight

Peter Kuper

Minimum Security

Kevin Moore

Ted Rall

Red Meat

Mikhaela Blake Reid

Joe Sharpnack

Slowpoke

Ward Sutton

Tom the Dancing Bug

Too Much Coffee Man

Troubletown

Matt Wuerker

Zippy the Pinhead


Other Friends of TMW

Cake

Steve Earle

Michael Moore