Friday Lion Blogging
(h/t Uncle $cam)
A lighthearted look at the American tragedy
Newsweek has more:
He was supervising the private contractor that the U.S. government hired to train Iraqi security forces. And based on e-mails he got from his brother, Tim Westhusing believes Ted Westhusing had gotten in the middle of the missing weapons scandal that's now coming to light, in which the U.S. government's accountability office says 190,000 AK-47s and pistols are unaccounted for.
"He talked more about the corruption. He talked about it in general terms, the corruption, the killings, the missing equipment, those sorts of things,” Westhusing said.
But there were also signs of problems more serious than bad record-keeping. One of Petraeus's subordinates, Col. Theodore Westhusing, had taken leave from his position as a professor of ethics at West Point to serve a six-month tour as commander of the unit training counterterrorism and Special Operations Forces. By the spring of 2005, Westhusing had grown increasingly concerned about the corruption he thought he saw in the program. He was especially upset after receiving an anonymous letter on May 19, 2005, which claimed there was outright fraud by government contractors. Among the alleged problems: failure to account for almost 200 guns.I suggest reading my earlier post, and especially follow the link to this article (which I just helpfully included). The upshot is that Westhusing believed that Petraeus and Fil, his direct superiors, knew about the rampant corruption, and chose to do nothing.
Westhusing passed the letter up the chain of command. A few days later he wrote a formal memo saying he thought the charges were off-base. But at the same time his conversations and e-mails with his family members became cryptic and he seemed concerned for his safety. Colleagues said he looked exhausted and preoccupied. On June 5, 2005, Westhusing was found dead in his temporary quarters at Camp Dublin near Baghdad airport, apparently having shot himself with his own pistol. "I cannot support a [mission] that leads to corruption, human rights abuses and liars," he wrote in a note found near his body. "Death before being dishonored any more. Trust is essential—I don't know who to trust anymore."
"Iraqi leaders have not met their own political benchmarks to share power, modify the de-Baathification laws, pass an oil law, schedule provincial elections, and amend their constitution," Clinton, a senator from New York, said in a statement.I've run out of insults and invective.
said that the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki should be voted from office because it had proved incapable of reaching the political compromises required to end violence there.snip
"I've concluded that this is a government which cannot, is unable to, achieve a political settlement," Levin said. "It is too bound to its own sectarian roots, and it is too tied to forces in Iraq, which do not yield themselves to compromise."
In a conference call with reporters from Tel Aviv, Levin called on the Iraqi Parliament to vote the Maliki government from power because it had "totally and utterly failed" to reach a political settlement, and to replace it with a team better able to forge national unity.
The Maliki government was the result of compromises in the Iraqi parliament, so unless they start hauling out their AKs and reducing the differing sectors to more manageable corpses, it hard to see what they can do.
And that fails to touch on the main distinction that Sen. Levin evidently missed while he was visiting with the Greatest General EVAR, Maliki, the government, and the parliment of Iraq have zero power. Their lives are protected because they huddle in the green zone behind American guns. But now Sen. Levin is too macho, and brave to mention facts like that.
On the Iraq front, we must conclude that there has been a grand concord of the tough guys. Guys like Petraeus, Levin, and Bush who know how to stay the course, and demand results from... Maliki, are now on the same page.
Here in the US, the political upshot is that Democratic congresscritters haven't grown a new spine at all, they've had one shoved up their ass.
There's a solution no one has thought of here. Congress needs to come back and pass legislation to make perjury no longer a crime. If Gonzales is the example of how you are allowed to lie to Congress, just take it off the books as a crime. Did anyone ever think of that? The Judge Alberto Gonzales Lying is a Sometimes Necessary Form of Protected Free Speech Act of 2007.You decide, dear reader, shrill, or smart?
This distinction between risk and uncertainty helps to explain the recent market panic and turmoil. Today, the FT cites a market economist at Lehman who said: “We are in a minefield. No one knows where the mines are planted and we are just trying to stumble through it”. A few days ago another market participant put it this way: “It is not the corpses at the surface that are scary; it is the unknown corpses below the surface that may pop up unexpectedly”.How many, and how big?
The noontime bombing that killed a dozen Iraqis at Baghdad’s Mansour Melia Hotel on June 25 continues to reverberate through Iraq — and through the American military high command. This was not a “typical” bombing (if there is such a thing in Iraq): it was well-planned and executed and the bomber was required to penetrate three levels of security, which included armed guards deployed by Iraq’s Defense Ministry. The bomb’s detonation was so powerful that it blew the doors off the Mansour’s heavily enforced dining room and caved in the dining room ceiling, according to a hotel employee.snip...
The tribal leaders were coming to the hotel to meet with a delegation of government representatives including Ahmad Chalabi, none of whom had yet arrived, according to Iraqi government officials. “The bombing was a devastating loss for our efforts in Anbar,” an American official in Iraq says. “We are still trying to piece together what happened.” The official confirms that the tribal sheiks had been brought together at the Mansour Hotel at the suggestion of General David Patraeus who, along with a number of civilian Defense Department officials, had been working to forge an alliance of anti-al Qaeda tribal leaders in the western province. This was not the first time the group had met, but it was to be an important meeting — the last in a series that included serious negotiations about what steps the tribal leaders would take in ending the al-Anbar insurgency. “The meeting at the Mansour was to be a culmination of years of work,” an Iraqi official confirms.So the 'progress' that had been made in Anbar, basically by bribing tribal sheiks to turn against the more extreme members of the insurgency, and peal off the less extreme, got blown up in a meeting engineered by the Best General EVAR Petraeus. What a mastermind!
The anti-al Qaeda front of al-Anbar lives on, but its leaders remain unwilling to tie their future to a continued American presence. In this, they have much in common with their Shia antagonists both in the Iraqi government, and in the tribal areas of the South. As one al-Anbar official scathingly notes: “The lesson of the Mansour bombing is simple for all to see. No one likes al-Qaeda, but no one should make the mistake of being friends with the Americans.”I suggest you read the whole article.
The European Central Bank lent $84 billion Friday to financial institutions, a day after providing $130 billion.That's a lot of cash, and I would think it was denominated in euros. It's a lot more than the Fed, or the Bank of Japan.
The most pressing issue for the markets is the deteriorating condition of the credit markets, a $28 trillion segment of Wall Street that provides virtually all loans for corporate enterprises and the real estate industry. After years of lending at generous rates and terms, these markets have tightened up, as fewer lenders want to take on risky loans.My emphasis above.
In a muted warning to his Iraqi counterpart, President Bush said today that Iran was a destabilizing factor in the Middle East, and he promised that if Prime Minister Nouri Maliki did not share that view he would have a "heart to heart" talk with him.I wonder a non-muted warning would have sounded like. The schizophrenic US policy in Iraq is enough to drive Maliki to madness, I would imaging. It must be comforting to talk to sane, sensible people like the Iranians.
In another move that could please Washington's Arab friends, the US signed a statement endorsing an Arab initiative for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.snip...
The initiative offers Israel normal relations with all Arab countries in return for full withdrawal from the land which Israel captured in 1967. Israel at first rejected the plan, but has said recently it could be a basis for negotiation.My emphasis above. On the other hand, the US press is filled with the news that the Saudis will attend a peace conference if invited.