By E. J. Dionne Jr. (THE WASHINGTON POST, 24/08/07):
Maybe Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki should just enter our primaries next year and Americans could vote up or down on whether he should remain in office.
The surest sign of how bad our choices in Iraq have become is the eagerness of both of our political parties to blame the entire mess on the man American officials helped install in his job. After all, it was taken as an American victory back in April 2006 when Maliki replaced Ibrahim al-Jafari, who faced many of the same criticisms as prime minister that Maliki does today.… Seguir leyendo »
By Jim Hoagland (THE WASHINGTON POST, 24/08/07):
Desperate presidents resort to desperate rhetoric — which then calls new attention to their desperation. President Bush joined the club this week by citing the U.S. failure in Vietnam to justify staying on in Iraq.
Bush’s comparison of the two conflicts rivals Richard Nixon’s «I am not a crook» utterance during Watergate and Bill Clinton’s «I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky,» in producing unintended consequences of a most damaging kind for a sitting president.
It is not just that Bush’s speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention on Wednesday drew on a shaky grasp of history, spotlighted once again his own decision to sit out the Vietnam conflict, and played straight into his critics’ most emotive arguments against him and the Republican Party.… Seguir leyendo »
By Charles Krauthammer (THE WASHINGTON POST, 24/08/07):
After months of surreality, the Iraq debate has quite abruptly acquired a relationship to reality. Following the Democratic victory last November, panicked Republican senators began rifling the thesaurus to find exactly the right phrase to express exactly the right nuance to establish exactly the right distance from the president’s Iraq policy, while Murtha Democrats searched for exactly the right legislative ruse to force a retreat from Iraq without appearing to do so.
In the last month, however, as a consensus has emerged about realities in Iraq, a reasoned debate has begun. A number of fair-minded observers, both critics and supporters of the war, agree that the surge has yielded considerable military progress, while at the national political level the Maliki government remains a disaster.… Seguir leyendo »
By Michael Gerson (THE WASHINGTON POST, 24/08/07):
One sexual predator, when interviewed by the FBI, described his experience with foreign child prostitutes this way: «It’s like being a star. They want to try my food. They want to see what clothes I wear. They want to watch my television.» Such «stars» are the global consumers of innocence, exercising a particularly brutal form of power over the poorest, most vulnerable children on Earth.
About 25 percent of sex tourists targeting children are from the United States, traveling to Latin America, Asia and Africa in search of abomination on the modified American plan.… Seguir leyendo »
By Camelia Entekhabifard, the author of “Camelia: Save Yourself by Telling the Truth — a Memoir of Iran” (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 24/08/07):
On many early mornings in Tehran, my uncle Ali would bang on our door to deliver large heaps of mammoth mushrooms from the mountain of Shemiran. Every summer and early autumn when I saw thunderstorms gathering in the sky, I knew we would have giant bunches of wild, tasty mushrooms the following day. My uncle believed that the storms pushed the mushrooms up from beneath the mountain’s numerous stones. Mushroom hunters like Ali would wake up early the next morning to go after those fresh, juicy mushrooms and cut off their heads.… Seguir leyendo »
By Jonathan Steele (THE GUARDIAN, 24/08/07):
The death toll from last week’s staggeringly brutal attacks by suicide bombers on two small-town communities in northern Iraq has crept up above 500, making it by far the worst atrocity since the 2003 invasion. No other mass killing has come within even half that total.Why did four truck bombers make these people their target? The mind struggles for an answer. The Yezidis are one of Iraq’s smallest religious minorities, who follow an ancient cult unique to themselves. They wield no political or economic power. They live in an area that is remote from the key cities at the eye of Iraq’s recurring hurricanes.… Seguir leyendo »
By Naomi Klein’s, author of the forthcoming The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism; a version of this article appears in the Nation www.thenation.com www.naomiklein.org (THE GUARDIAN, 24/08/07):
As protesters gathered recently outside the Security and Prosperity Partnership summit in Montebello, Quebec, to confront George Bush, Felipe Calderón, the Mexican president, and Stephen Harper, the Canadian prime minister, Associated Press reported this surreal detail: «Leaders were not able to see the protesters in person, but they could watch the protesters on TV monitors inside the hotel … Cameramen hired to ensure that demonstrators would be able to pass along their messages to the three leaders sat idly in a tent full of audio and video equipment … A sign on the outside of the tent said, ‘Our cameras are here today providing your right to be seen and heard.… Seguir leyendo »
By Dr Kim Howells, a minister of state at the Foreign Office. Response to It takes inane optimism to see victory in Afghanistan (THE GUARDIAN, 24/08/07):
Simon Jenkins raises many important issues about the challenges of building a modern state in Afghanistan (It takes inane optimism to see victory in Afghanistan, August 8). But his central premise that this is a British «post-imperial spasm, a knee-jerk jingoism» is plain wrong.I have visited Afghanistan a number of times and there is no doubting the international community’s common view of the task ahead, nor the fact that the overwhelming majority of Afghan people reject the Taliban and their brutal tactics.… Seguir leyendo »
By Rosemary Righter (THE TIMES, 24/08/07):
Why did he do it? Why conjure up unquiet ghosts? Why now? Vietnam is not only, as President Bush rather flatly put it, “a complex and painful subject” for Americans. The V-word is lodged in folk memory as an unwinnable war that America should never have fought, that wasted blood and treasure, and that, most woundingly, bitterly split the nation.
Vietnam, even today, is a powerful political toxin. Probably the only American politician who can talk about Vietnam without risk is the war hero John McCain. John Kerry tried the “veteran who wants out of Iraq” line in the 2004 presidential elections; the unwanted effect was to remind the nation of his career as an anti-Vietnam protester.… Seguir leyendo »