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Seed Newsvine

Watch this one and wonder if the ethics of our soldiers match the ethics of the administration that sent them into battle?This MSNBC report is extremely disturbing.

clipped from www.youtube.com

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Seed Newsvine

While Americans fight and die in Iraq, while the President of the United States plans to veto the Iraq War Spending Bill, the Iraqis seem not to take their American partners seriously. Listen as Secretary of State Rice and the Iraqi Foreign Minister defend the Iraqi decision for their Parliament to take a 2 month vacation. How dare they.

The White House from the President to the mail room clerk claim that American patience is not unlimited. Well what is the limit of our tolerance?

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Seed Newsvine

When Bush breaks out the veto pen he does so objecting to what he calls an artificial withdrawal timetable. But what is your plan Mr. President? For the past four years you have insisted that you have a strategy for victory in Iraq and the conflict just deepens. For four years you have insisted that we are winning the war and the death toll continues to rise. For four years you have insisted that the war in Iraq is the front line of the global war on terror but you have presented only rhetoric to support your claim.The time has come for you extend your hand to the Congress and work out a reasonable compromise that contains a withdrawal strategy. The Iraqi government must now step up and take control of their own country. Only Iraqis can solve the Iraq problem that you created in your over zealous desire to invade that nation. Only Iraqis can ease the religious conflict that is a curse on that nation, a curse resulting from your lies and hubris. Not another American life need be lost over this venture and now only you have the power to end what you started. Bring our men and women home. End this conflict sooner rather than later.

clipped from www.cnn.com
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Four years after declaring victory in Iraq in a much-ballyhooed speech from the deck of an aircraft carrier, President Bush prepared to veto a war-spending bill that calls for pulling American combat troops out of the now-unpopular conflict.
Before sending the bill to the president Tuesday afternoon, Democratic congressional leaders urged Bush to sign the bill and begin winding down the war.
“A veto means denying our troops the resources and the strategy they need,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada. “After more than four years of a failed policy, it’s time for Iraq to take responsibility for its own future.”
The spending bill, which Congress passed last week, funds military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it also calls for the withdrawal of U.S. troops beginning in October, with the goal of getting all U.S. combat forces out of Iraq by the end of March 2008.

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Seed Newsvine

Is there any wonder why people don’t trust their government? If the Bush administration were honest all shades and colors of violence in Iraq would be counted as violence, not just violence inflicted on our troops. But, not this administration. Let’s cook the books accounting practice is the rule of the day for the Bush White House. Fear not–they must think the American people are so stupid that this intentional breakdown in mathematics won’t be noticed by anyone. Not counting car bombs exploding in Baghdad says two things. First, Iraqis don’t count as war casualties and secondly, the administration is intent on deceiving the American people.  In the Bush version of Christianity I guess overt lying is considered a virtue?  This practice simply makes me sick.

clipped from www.realcities.com
WASHINGTON – U.S. officials who say there has been a dramatic drop in sectarian violence in Iraq since President Bush began sending more American troops into Baghdad aren’t counting one of the main killers of Iraqi civilians.
Car bombs and other explosive devices have killed thousands of Iraqis in the past three years, but the administration doesn’t include them in the casualty counts it has been citing as evidence that the surge of additional U.S. forces is beginning to defuse tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

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Seed Newsvine

The President has a strange way of keeping score if he really believes that the surge is working. A significant increase in bombings, including bombs within the highly secure Green Zone, and increased death tolls over the past few weeks seems to be a step in reverse. Unless I miss the mark, progress would mean a decrease in the sectarian violence, a reduction in death toll and an overall calm in all of Iraq. While I don’t have access to all of George II’s intelligence (oh yes–pun intended) I do know what I read in the newspapers and what I read doesn’t look so good.Withdrawal of troops is a sticky business, far more so than the initial commitment of those troops in the first instance. But to walk away from a war that should never have been fought in the first instance, for reasons that have benefited only the very rich no-bid companies that accompany our troops, seems to my mind a no brainer. Provide support for all troops that remain in theater to support the withdrawal and let Iraqis sort out their own political mess. George II’s motives, however, seem to be more about protecting his already tarnished reputation than in finding a way to settle this conflict, the one of his own doing.

clipped from www.reuters.com
EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (Reuters) – President George W. Bush on Friday rebuffed a top Democrat’s charge the Iraq war was lost and asserted progress despite some of the worst carnage since Bush ordered more troops to the region.
Speaking before a world affairs forum in Michigan, Bush said the two-month-old security crackdown under which he is adding 28,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq was “meeting expectations” and the ongoing violence reflected an expected reaction by insurgents.
“There are still horrific attacks in Iraq such as the bombings in Baghdad on Wednesday, but the direction of the fight is beginning to shift,” Bush said.
Insurgent bombs killed nearly 200 people in Baghdad on Wednesday, the same day Bush met Reid and other lawmakers at the White House in a clash over the Democrats’ plans to attach troops withdrawal timetables to a war-funding bill.

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Seed Newsvine

Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff write in Haaretz:

If someone were to offer Ehud Olmert the possibility of drawing a thick, black line through all of the events of the past year, presumably the prime minister would gladly accept it. It isn’t just the war in Lebanon. It is also the affair of the abduction of Corporal Gilad Shalit two and a half weeks earlier, and the failed “Summer Rain” military operation in the Gaza Strip in the wake of the kidnapping, which did not bring Shalit back and did not yield any other significant accomplishments.

Here are two of the outstanding statements from that period that Olmert would no doubt prefer to forget: On June 26, one day after Shalit was abducted: “The question of the release of [Palestinian] prisoners [in return for Shalit] is not at all on the agenda of the government of Israel.” On July 1, a statement from the Foreign Ministry on Olmert’s behalf: “There will not be any deal. The soldier Shalit will be released, or else we will be compelled to act to release him.” Behind the scenes Olmert’s people were constantly briefing and reminding journalists: The aim is to break the old rules of the game. Israel will act so that the terror organizations, first in the territories and afterward in Lebanon, will lose the desire to abduct more people.

Since then more than eight months have elapsed. The appetite of the would-be abductors has perhaps been tempered – in light of the many losses among the Palestinians and the Lebanese – but the incentive is still there. Israel is now negotiating the release of thousands of prisoners in return for Shalit, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, in two separate channels.

The numbers reported here seem to be a bit excessive. 1400::1 is a very high price to pay for a prisoner exchange with no assurances that this behavior will cease, that rockets will no longer be targeted from Gaza into Israel, with no declaration of both the de jure and de facto existence of Israel (what other state requires this of their neighbors?) As regular readers of this blog know, I am not opposed to the notion of negotiation with one’s political enemies. It must be clear, however, that any negotiations that occur do not amount to a list of demands by one side as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. 1400::1 or even 1400::3 borders on a take-it-or-leave-it demand.

It is clear that negotiations require two sides that are willing to engage each other in meaningful talks. No reasonable person can enter talks that place demands so far out of reach that they don’t pass the giggle test. All one can do is giggle at a demand that 1400 prisoners, each with, to use the Israeli phrase, blood on his hands, in exchange for from 1 to 3 kidnapped soldiers. The demand is simply ridiculous.

If Hamas truly intends to negotiate with Israel as its leadership has indicated in recent days then it is up to that leadership to drop their ridiculous take-it-or-leave-it demands and sit down as honest negotiators. Both sides should negotiate hard, but reasonably. Most importantly, both sides must be willing to make concessions to the other, small ones that can be monitored and deemed successful at first, and then larger ones. In the end, neither side can resort to violence the second one does not get its own way. It is time for a new way of thinking, for the playground bullies to stand aside and let the people negotiate an end to nearly a century of violence.

read more | digg story

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Vice President Dick Cheney accused U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday of “bad behavior” on her Middle East trip, saying she bungled a message for Syria’s president that was later clarified by Israel.

Cheney harshly criticized Pelosi’s visit to Syria this week and declared in an interview, “The president is the one who conducts foreign policy, not the speaker of the House.”

Of all people to complain about Speaker Pelosi’s Middle Eastern trip! Cheney, one of the war profiteers, is, of course, correct that the president is the one who is supposed to conduct foreign policy–with the advice and consent of the Senate, a constitutional barrier the president no longer has in his back pocket. Bush’s idea of foreign policy seems to be more or less–more troops, more money, more bombs, more deaths, more destruction –less talk, less truth, less democracy, less trust among our remaining friends. The Bush more or less pursuit of foreign policy seems to be no policy at all; rather it appears to be one new strategy for success supplanted by another leading to failure and more still failure; a seat of one’s pants approach to foreign policy. For Cheney, and architect of the Bush non-policy (a colleague of mine disagrees and calls the Iraq policy the first Oedipal War (after all, Saddam did try “to kill my daddy!”), to complain about one who is constitutionally third in line for the presidency seeking meaningful discussions with those with whom we might disagree is simply disingenuous.

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