Iraqi journalist tries to “shoe” Bush out of Iraq.

It’s important to note that in the Middle East it’s a very vile insult to call someone a dog. I don’t know why, but it is. It’s also a sign of the utmost contempt to throw your shoes at someone. Combine these two facts together with the video clip from CNN below and you’ll see why it’s so significant. In Iraq over the weekend a journalist threw his shoes at President Bush while yelling that it was a farewell kiss and calling him a dog. Check it:

Back when the war started one of Bush’s mantras was that we had to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. I’d say that he pretty much failed in that goal. There’s a lot of other people in Iraq who would like to throw their shoes at Bush and, I’m willing to bet, quite a few here in America as well. This one journalist has become a hero to a lot of people with that small act of defiance. Bush is probably lucky they were only shoes.

This just in: The Congressional Democrats are still a bunch of pussies.

U.S. Democrats to back down on Iraq war conditions | Reuters

WASHINGTON, June 16 (Reuters) – Democrats in the U.S. Congress, who came to power last year on a call to end the combat in Iraq, will soon give President George W. Bush the last war-funding bill of his presidency without any of the conditions they sought for withdrawing U.S. troops, congressional aides said on Monday.

Lawmakers are arranging to send Bush $165 billion in new money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, enough to last for about a year and well beyond when Bush leaves office on Jan. 20.

“It’ll be the lump sum of money, veterans (funding) and that’s it,” said one House aide familiar with the negotiations on the legislation.

The aide was referring to the funding for the unpopular Iraq war, now in its sixth year, and a measure being attached to expand education benefits for combat veterans.

[…] With this bill, Congress will have written checks for more than $800 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with most of the money going to Iraq.

Yes, I know they’re just waiting until the next President gets in there on the assumption it’ll be Barack and they can finally start bringing troops home, but these assholes have rolled over on just about every demand that Bush has made since they took control in 2006. It’d be nice to see some backbone for a change.

American soldiers appear to be pushing Christianity in Fallujah.

Yeah, this is going to win the Iraqi’s hearts and minds:

McClatchy Washington Bureau – Iraqis claim Marines are pushing Christianity in Fallujah

Fallujah, the scene of a bloody U.S. offensive against Sunni insurgents in 2004, has calmed and grown less hostile to American troops since residents turned against al Qaida in Iraq, which had tried to force its brand of Islamist extremism on the population.

Now residents of the city are abuzz that some Americans whom they consider occupiers are also acting as Christian missionaries. Residents said some Marines at the western entrance to their city have been passing out the coins for two days in what they call a “humiliating” attempt to convert them to Christianity.

In the markets, people crowded around men with the coins, passing them to each other and asking in surprise, “Have you seen this?”

The head of the Sunni endowment in Fallujah, the organization that oversees Sunni places of worship and other religious establishments, demanded that the Marines stop.

“We say to the occupiers to stop this,” said Sheikh Mohammed Amin Abdel Hadi. “This can cause strife between the Iraqis and especially between Muslim and Christians . … Please stop these things and leave our homes because we are Muslims and we live in our homes in peace with other religions.”

Above and beyond the fact that the U.S. military has an official policy that forbids this sort of activity, this is the sort of thing that’s only going to piss off the Iraqis. Supposedly the incident is being investigated, but I doubt much will come of it. It would be nice, however, if our own military would stop making things any harder in Iraq than they already are.

Five years of war and Iraq is no closer to being self-sufficient than it was on day one.

Today is the fifth anniversary of Bush’s war in Iraq. An undertaking that was sold to the public with lies about the supposed threat Saddam posed to the rest of the world—because of a supposed stockpile of biological and chemical weapons—and with promises that the war would be quick, easy, and cheap. How many of you remember that at the start of the war the Bush administration predicted that the whole shebang would likely cost $50 billion to $60 billion total?

Yeah, that wasn’t even in the ballpark:

WASHINGTON — At the outset of the Iraq war, the Bush administration predicted that it would cost $50 billion to $60 billion to oust Saddam Hussein, restore order and install a new government.

Five years in, the Pentagon tags the cost of the Iraq war at roughly $600 billion and counting. Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and critic of the war, pegs the long-term cost at more than $4 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office and other analysts say that $1 trillion to $2 trillion is more realistic, depending on troop levels and on how long the American occupation continues.

That $4 trillion estimate by Stiglitz? That’s what he considers a conservative estimate so the actual cost will likely be much higher. If ever there was a good argument not to vote for John McCain come November the above, combined with the fact that McCain has indicated he would continue on the same course as President Bush with regards to Iraq, is one of the best.

Imagine what we could have done with that kind of money back here at home. Hillary Clinton as thought about it:

On the campaign trail, the Democratic candidates, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, often say that money for the war would be better spent at home, as Mrs. Clinton did Tuesday when she pegged the war costs at “well over $1 trillion.”

“That is enough,” she continued, “to provide health care for all 47 million uninsured Americans and quality pre-kindergarten for every American child, solve the housing crisis once and for all, make college affordable for every American student and provide tax relief to tens of millions of middle-class families.”

Whenever universal health care is brought up the Republicans whine about how much it’ll cost and how we can’t afford it yet there seems to be no limits on available cash when they need to pull money out for the Iraq war. This just shows they don’t give a shit about the average American. They’re more than happy to run up a record national debt so long as the money isn’t used to help anyone other than their defense contractor friends. Fuck you assholes that are dieing of easily curable diseases simply because you can’t afford health care, they’re not going to run up a huge debt just so you can see a doctor. That’s just silly!

Want a good laugh? Remember Lawrence B. Lindsey? No? He was President Bush’s first economic adviser until he had the audacity to publicly state back at the start of the war that he though the initial cost estimates were too low. He predicted the war would cost between $100 billion to $200 billion and that got his ass fired because the administration thought he was just crazy stupid to think it would ever cost that much money. He’s got a new I-told-you-so book coming out:

“Five years after the fact, I believe that one of the reasons the administration’s efforts are so unpopular is that they chose not to engage in an open public discussion of what the consequences of the war might be, including its economic cost,” Mr. Lindsey wrote in an excerpt in Fortune magazine.

Mr. Lindsey insists that his projections were partly right. “My hypothetical estimate got the annual cost about right,” he wrote. “But I misjudged an important factor: how long we would be involved.”

Above and beyond the issue of money though is the fact that it’s cost the lives of 4,000 U.S. military personnel along with arguably countless Iraqi lives for no good reason. As bad as things were under Saddam at least they had running water, working electricity, and relatively safe neighborhoods. Iraqi women were allowed to drive and hold jobs and wear jeans, something that is increasingly rare in Iraq today as the Islamic fundamentalists exert control through their militias.

Meanwhile President Bush is still reporting in from La La Land where his fevered delusions continue to hide reality from him. In a speech today marking the fifth anniversary he defended his war:

“The battle in Iraq has been longer and harder and more costly than we anticipated,” Bush said.

But, he added, before an audience of Pentagon brass, soldiers and diplomats: “The battle in Iraq is noble, it is necessary, and it is just. And with your courage, the battle in Iraq will end in victory.”

The war isn’t noble, wasn’t necessary, and is far from just and no matter how many times you claim it is, Mr. President, that won’t change the reality of the situation.

Bush isn’t alone in his delusions. Vice President Cheney continues to insist not only that the war was necessary and a success, but that he doesn’t give a fuck if you don’t like it:

CHENEY: On the security front, I think there’s a general consensus that we’ve made major progress, that the surge has worked. That’s been a major success.

RADDATZ: Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.

CHENEY: So?

RADDATZ So? You don’t care what the American people think?

CHENEY: No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.

The surge hasn’t worked. The stated goal of the surge was to give the Iraqi government some breathing room so they could work on reconciliation and laying the ground work for power sharing among the factions. They have yet to do so and troops are being drawn down to pre-surge levels. Based on the stated goal of the surge it is a failure. Signs are that the reduction in violence, and it’s arguable whether or not the surge had anything to do with that reduction, are starting to fade as of late.

So here we are five years later on the verge or possibly already within a recession at home, a subprime mortgage mess not helping the situation any, an ongoing war that has yet to bring any of the promised liberty, stability, and democracy to Iraq, and a President who still refuses to own up to what a colossal fuck up he is. Happy Anniversary America!

935 flat-out lies to justify a war.

That’s what a new report by The Center for Public Integrity says the Bush Administration engaged in to sell the American public on the war in Iraq:

President George W. Bush and seven of his administration’s top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.

On at least 532 separate occasions (in speeches, briefings, interviews, testimony, and the like), Bush and these three key officials, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan, stated unequivocally that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (or was trying to produce or obtain them), links to Al Qaeda, or both. This concerted effort was the underpinning of the Bush administration’s case for war.

It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to Al Qaeda. This was the conclusion of numerous bipartisan government investigations, including those by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (2004 and 2006), the 9/11 Commission, and the multinational Iraq Survey Group, whose “Duelfer Report” established that Saddam Hussein had terminated Iraq’s nuclear program in 1991 and made little effort to restart it.

In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003. Not surprisingly, the officials with the most opportunities to make speeches, grant media interviews, and otherwise frame the public debate also made the most false statements, according to this first-ever analysis of the entire body of prewar rhetoric.

If that’s not an impeachable offense then what is? Oh, right, blow jobs are.

Update: Official White House response to the report by Press Secretary Dana Perino? How we sold the war “is not worth spending time on.”

I hardly think that the study is worth spending time on. It is so flawed, in terms of taking anything into context or including — they only looked at members of the administration, rather than looking at members of Congress or people around the world.

Because, as you’ll remember, we were part of a broad coalition of countries that deposed the dictator based on a collective understanding of the intelligence.

In short, it’s not our fault because we weren’t the only ones who believed the lies we were spewing and we had help from other governments in spewing those lies. Someone needs some sense slapped into them.

The cost of the war in Iraq just keeps climbing.

First, a brief bit of history. Cure spooky flashback sequence sound effects:

What would war with Iraq cost? – CNN.com, January 2nd, 2003

WASHINGTON (CNN)—The White House is downplaying published reports of an estimated $50 billion to $60 billion price tag for a war with Iraq, saying it is “impossible” to estimate the cost at this time.

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels told The New York Times in an interview published Tuesday that such a conflict could cost $50 billion to $60 billion—the price tag of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

But Trent Duffy, an OMB spokesman, said Daniels did not intend to imply in the Times interview that $50 billion to $60 billion was a hard White House estimate.

“He said it could—could—be $60 billion,” Duffy said. “It is impossible to know what any military campaign would ultimately cost. The only cost estimate we know of in this arena is the Persian Gulf War, and that was a $60 billion event.”

Remember those days? Remember when the estimate was only $50 to $60 billion dollars and the White House, worried that people would think that was too expensive, tried to downplay the estimate and then refused to give an estimate of their own because they felt there were too many variables to make an educated guess? Looking back it was a smart move on the White House’s part to refuse to give an estimate on the cost because it turns out that we’re already 40 times over what Mitch Daniels guessed as the cost and it’s growing bigger every day: 

U.S. war costs in Iraq up: report – Yahoo! News

“Funding for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and other activities in the war on terrorism expanded significantly in 2007,” the Congressional Budget Office said in a report released on Wednesday.

War funding, which averaged about $93 billion a year from 2003 through 2005, rose to $120 billion in 2006 and $171 billion in 2007 and President George W. Bush has asked for $193 billion in 2008, the nonpartisan office wrote.

“It keeps going up, up and away,” Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad said of the money spent in Iraq since U.S. troops invaded in 2003.

“We’re seeing the war costs continue to spiral upward. It is the additional troops plus additional costs per troop plus the over-reliance on private contractors, which also explodes the costs,” said Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat who opposed the war.

Since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, Congress has written checks for $691 billion to pay for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and such related activities as Iraq reconstruction, the CBO said.

This is Bush’s legacy. This is the mess the next President will inherit. What have we got to show for it? Osama bin Laden is still on the loose. Not a single weapon of mass destruction was ever found in Iraq. The vast majority of people in Iraq are worse off than they were under Saddam.

Good job, Bushie.

If ever we needed proof that President Bush is fucking nuts…

We can always look to this Washington Post article about interviews Bush has been giving in the Middle East in which he makes predictions about how history will view his legacy as President:

“I can predict that the historians will say that George W. Bush recognized the threats of the 21st century, clearly defined them, and had great faith in the capacity of liberty to transform hopelessness to hope, and laid the foundation for peace by making some awfully difficult decisions,” Bush told Yonit Levi of Israel’s Channel 2 News. Bush held several interviews with Middle Eastern journalists last week in anticipation of his trip to the region, which starts tomorrow.

“When he needed to be tough, he acted strong, and when he needed to have vision he understood the power of freedom to be transformative,” Bush said of himself to Nahum Barnea and Shimon Shiffer of the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot.

As for the people of the Middle East, Bush told Hisham Bourar of al-Hurra Television: “I would hope that they would say President Bush respects my religion and has great love for the human—human being, and believes in human dignity.”

The Bush record, the president told Nadia Bilbassy-Charters of al-Arabiya Television, is one of liberation—“liberation, by the way, not only from dictatorship, but from disease around the world, like HIV/AIDS or malaria.”

On a personal basis, Bush told Bilbassy-Charters that he hopes that people would know “that he hurts when he sees poverty and hopelessness” and “that he’s a realistic guy.”

That man is clearly delusional. Freedom is transformational? You bet it is. It has transformed Iraq into a hell hole even worse than when it was being run by an insane dictator. Who the hell has he liberated from HIV/AIDS and malaria? He hurts when he sees poverty and hopelessness? Apparently not so much that he wasn’t able to veto that expansion to SCHIP. He’s a realistic guy?!? Holy shit, I think I just choked on my fucking sandwich! Hang on a second. I gotta go perform the Heimlech Manuever on myself.

OK, now for the understatement of the year nominee:

Bush’s self-image contrasts sharply with his image among his fellow Americans.

That’s because even though half of Americans were stupid enough to elect this guy twice, the vast majority of them aren’t actually batshit insane. Well, at least 60% of them aren’t.

President Bush needs a lesson in economics.

In the same vein as my last entry comes this little ditty from the folks at Think Progress:

Think Progress – Bush: We Can’t Spend $22 Billion On America Because We Need $200 Billion For Iraq War

The Democratic leadership in Congress is set to pass a host of domestic funding bills that would exceed Bush’s request by $22 billion. The extra funding would help go towards veterans health care, infrastructure improvements, education, and other domestic priorities.

Speaking to business leaders at a White House event this morning, Bush railed against the relatively modest increase in spending, arguing that $22 billion is “a lot of money”:

    Some in Congress will tell you that $22 billion is not a lot of money. As business leaders, you know better. As a matter of fact, $22 billion is larger than the annual revenues of most Fortune 500 companies. The $22 billion is only for the first year. With every passing year the number gets bigger and bigger, and so over the next five years the increase in federal spending would add up to $205 billion.

Bush warned that spending increases, which could add up to over $200 billion over five years, would be “taking money out of the pocket” of Americans who need to “pay their mortgages or pay for their children going to college.” Unfortunately, Bush failed to appreciate the irony in his remarks.

While complaining of modest spending increases on much-needed domestic funding priorities, Bush is far less concerned about the impact of spending $200 billion in the next year alone on a disastrous war in Iraq:

    President Bush plans to ask lawmakers next week to approve another massive spending measure — totaling nearly $200 billion — to fund the war through next year, Pentagon officials said.

It shouldn’t take a “CEO President” to figure out that $200 billion is greater than $22 billion.

It’s amazing to me that the man can ask for billions upon billions for the Iraq war without batting an eyelash yet a few more billion to help his fellow Americans is too much to bear. We’re spending $500,000 per minute in Iraq at the moment and Bush and his cronies are mulling over starting another war with Iran as well as trying to figure out how he can force us to stay in Iraq for half a century at the cost of trillions of dollars:

On June 1, during a trip to U.S. Pacific Command in Honolulu, Defense Secretary Robert Gates mused about how to “posture ourselves” in Iraq “for the long term.” The Vietnam experience underscored the undesirability of a sudden, abrupt withdrawal. Far better for the U.S. to follow the experiences of post-conflict garrisoning in Korea and Japan, he said: “a mutually agreed arrangement whereby we have a long and enduring presence.” President Bush is reportedly intrigued by the so-called Korea model, wherein the U.S. has guaranteed security on the Korean peninsula with at least four U.S. Army combat brigades for half a century. Indeed, in his speech on Thursday, Bush declared himself ready to build an “enduring relationship” between the U.S. and Iraq.

The study, conducted by the Congressional Budget Office, decided to follow the Korea model to calculate its expense. Since it’s unclear for how long or under what conditions combat operations will ensue, the CBO projects both a combat and a non-combat presence. Both, however, are projected to require 55,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. The combat scenario entails one-time costs of $4 to $8 billion, with annual expenses of $25 billion, projected outward. Under the non-combat scenario, a $8 billion one-time cost—mainly for the construction of additional “enduring” bases—would be followed by annual costs of $10 billion or less.

A prior CBO study, released in August, estimated (large pdf) that U.S. costs in Iraq from 2009 to 2017 will total approximately $1 trillion on the assumption of a troop presence of 75,000. On top of that, under the reduced-force combat scenario envisioned in this CBO estimate, the U.S. will spend another $1 trillion by 2057—the lifespan of the U.S.‘s Korean presence to date.

All estimates are in 2008 dollars. Both estimates are arguably conservative. In the combat scenario, for instance, Army units serve 12-month tours, whereas they now serve 15-month tours. In the non-combat scenario, the CBO ratcheted down the Defense Department’s cost-of-war estimates to reflect “lower costs for such items as equipment maintenance, fuel and consumable materials.”

If Bush has his way we’ll be paying the cost of his Presidency for decades to come. The sad part is there’s very few Democrats who are willing to say they’ll end his mess as soon as they get into office.

Why does President Bush hate America’s children?

President Bush has threatened to veto the bill renewing and expanding the SCHIP program which provides health insurance to millions of American children who wouldn’t have it otherwise. The bill which was just recently passed expands coverage to 10 million kids, a mere 4 million more than previously, but Bush claims it contains “excessive spending” so he plans to veto it. This from the man who just asked for an additional $190 billion for his little war in Iraq on top of the $450 billion we’ve already spent.

Let’s put these two costs into perspective here:


Image credit: AFL-CIO Weblog

Just over a month’s worth of the money we’re spending in Iraq would fund all 10 million kids under the new SCHIP program. In comparison that’s one hell of a bargain, but that would mean helping out Americans who can’t help themselves and it does nothing to put that money into the pockets of Big Insurance Companies or the Military-Industrial Conglomerates which are such big contributers to the Republican campaign coffers.

Michael Brush writes, “CEOs at top defense contractors have reaped annual pay gains of 200% to 688% in the years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.” Additionally, “The CEOs made an average of $12.4 million a year, easily more than the average corporate chief. Since the start of the war, CEOs at defense contractors such General Dynamics, Halliburton and Oshkosh Truck have made, on average, more in four days than what a top general makes in a whole year, or $187,390.”

President Bush’s stance seems quite clear: Fuck the kids. If they want to be healthy they should be born to rich Republican parents.

Two of the soldiers that wrote “The War As We Saw It” op-ed are now dead.

Remember that excellent NYT op-ed written by seven U.S. soldiers? Well, two of them just died in Iraq:

Two of Seven Soldiers Who Wrote ‘NYT’ Op-Ed Die in Iraq

NEW YORK The Op-Ed by seven active duty U.S. soldiers in Iraq questioning the war drew international attention just three weeks ago. Now two of the seven are dead.

Sgt. Omar Mora and Sgt. Yance Gray died Monday in a vehicle accident in western Baghdad, two of seven U.S. troops killed in the incident which was reported just as Gen. David Petraeus was about to report to Congress on progress in the “surge.” The names have just been released.

Gen. Petraeus was questioned about the message of the op-ed in testimony before a Senate committee yesterday.

The controversial Times column on Aug. 19 was called “The War As We Saw It,” and expressed skepticism about American gains in Iraq. “To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched,” the group wrote.

It closed: “We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.”

At least the mission is now over for two of them. Let’s hope the other five won’t have to end the mission the same way.