Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Week in Review

*29 Americans soldiers killed in Iraq so far in June, 2007

- The powers that be are indicating that big decisions about Iraq will be made in September when General Petraus gives us his report. I don't believe it. We have been suckered along with - "as soon as this happens, as soon as that happens" statements for years now. Some of the blogs track these pronouncements by various government, military and media people. But it is always a moving target. They indicate a time by which we will need to see real improvement in Iraq When that times comes but the improvement in conditions haven't occurred, they simply move their timeline out anther six months or a year. In fact, the liberals blogs call a period of six months an "FU" or "Friedman Unit" after the number of times the famous columnist has extended the period in which he believes we will have to see progress in Iraq.

So what makes September any different? The Important People are already starting to waffle. First, they begged us to give the surge three months but when that three months was up, they explained that they didn't mean from the beginning of the surge as we'd first taken it but from the time the surge had all the new troops on the ground. That happened at the end of last month. That would mean August. Oh, okay, September then. September is the Magic Month. But now General Odierno says probably it will be more like December and General Petraus agrees.

I've read countless times by pundits "in the know" that congressional Republicans are giving the President until September and then if Petraus doesn't give a good account of what the surge is accomplishing, they will ready to force his hand in starting to wind down the war. But does anyone think that Petraus isn't going to put the best face on what he is achieving...at least a good enough account to give the Republicans cover to hang in there for at least another F.U.?

Meantime, American soldiers keep dying

- Over 11,000 gay military people have been kicked out of service including 78 Arabic linguists, a skill we desperately need. Other industrialized nations, among them Canada and Britain, have enlightened policies about gays in the military. They have had no problems integrating homosexuals into service. And yet all the Republican candidates stand firm in not allowing soldiers to be openly gay. Rudy Giuliani totally avoided the question about the Arabic linguists, instead going off on a schtick about how we couldn't make these drastic changes, during a time of war. Excuse me, Mayor, but isn't when we are at war with an Arab country exactly when we most need these people? Rudy lived with a friends, a gay couple, when he was getting a divorce so obviously, he is not personally homophobic. He just plays a homophobe on teevee for the sake of sucking up to the right wing of his party.

Meanwhile, back at the Democratic debate, Hillary quoted Barry Goldwater saying, "you don't have to be straight to shoot straight." Sounds about right to me.

- Scooter Libby sentenced to 30 months in prison for lying to the grand jury and obstructing justice. As someone who works in the judicial system, it seems good enough for him to me. The Republicans complain that Bill Clinton lied and didn't spend a day in jail. That's true - because our remedy for presidents who commit high crimes and misdemeanors is impeachment. The Republicans did impeach Clinton but couldn't make the case that his transgression was high enough to pitch him out of office so he wasn't convicted.

So, do we believe in the rule of law or not? If we do, then Scooter got what he deserved, although in the tradition of other Republicans who violated this concept (see Colonel Oliver North and Admirable Poindexter), I wouldn't be surprised if some judge doesn't find a hook to hang an appeal on.

- The Immigration Bill goes down and that's probably okay. It was such a complicated piece of legislation, it was hard to know if the good outweighed the bad. I think they should begin with one piece of immigration reform - securing the borders. After that, we can move on to what to do about the illegal immigrants who are already here. I'm pretty sure I'm opposed to a guest worker program unless it ensures decent pay and conditions for the workers and cracks down on employers who employs immigrants, not because they are offering jobs that "American's won't do" but because they can get those jobs done with cheap wages and no benefits. You can say what you want about today's Republican party being driven by the evangelicals but the fact is, this administration's biggest constituency is Big Business and it is Big Business that loves the idea of slave labor flooding our borders.