From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE...
It had to happen sooner or later. The vehicles containing the two defining events of the Bush presidency---the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the Iraq war---have finally collided at the intersection of Incompetence Street & Deception Boulevard in the town of Fear.
Today is the sixth anniversary of the day Osama bin Laden's terrorist goons flew four airliners into three buildings and a field. It's also the day General Petraeus gives his progress report to a couple Senate committees on the 4½ year-old Iraq war and occupation. Barring a fresh Britney or Paris scandal, 9/11 and Iraq will be front and center in the public consciousness today in roughly equal measure. So what better time than now to state, plainly and simply, a few truths that all the right-wing spinners in the world will never be able to whitewash:
Most of the 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, yet that country has paid no price for producing and harboring terrorists. Neither has Pakistan, the country in which Osama bin Laden is now hiding.
The PDB said: Bin Laden determined to Strike in U.S.
Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. 9/11 had nothing to do with Iraq.
Sitting in a classroom for seven minutes after being told "America is under attack" is a poor display of leadership, especially if you're America's president.
If the administration had tried to sell the Iraq war based on anything other than the fear of weapons of mass destruction, we never would have invaded.
Colin Powell, the most trusted man in the administration, said: "My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence."
Four and a half years after declaring that "major combat operations have ended," major combat operations have not ended.
Taunting the insurgents by sneering "Bring 'em on" was really dumb because the insurgents brought it on.
The insurgency wasn't "in its last throes" then, and it isn’t in its last throes now.
Osama bin Laden has not been caught, either dead or alive. He is still making videos.
There ain't a tow truck big enough to haul those clunkers away.
Cheers and Jeers starts in There's Moreville... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
Cheers and Jeers for Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Note: Yes, summer in Maine is over so C&J is returning to a four-day week. Chriiiiiist...
By the Numbers:
Days 'til Rosh Hashanah and the First of Ramadan: 2
Days `til Fall: 10
Number of Baghdad residents who have fled their homes since Bush's escalation began: 35,000
(Source: New York Times)
Number of days in August that General Petraeus spent selling the surge to congresspeople and members of the media: 17
(Source: Think Progress)
Minimum number of public and private colleges that offer minors in gay studies or let undergraduates earn certificates or pursue concentrated studies in gay topics: 46
Percent of adults who think there's too much news coverage of celebrity scandals: 87%
(Source: Pew Research poll via USA Today)
Percent who will sit, zombie-like, in front of their TV when the next celebrity scandal hits: 87%
Bob Geiger Surrogate Osama Clock: It's been 2,178 days since the president declared he would catch the al Qaeda leader "dead or alive." So, Mr. Bush..."Where's Osama?"
Puppy Pic of the Day: "Summer vacation's not over 'til I say it is..."
YEAHHHH! to Surge MANIA! As the White House sat back and murmured, "Eeeeeexcellent,", America's official daddy, General David Petraeus, gave his assessment of the situation in Iraq yesterday. Nutshell: Things are going so well that we need to stay there, but things are also rather sucky so we have to stay there. The reaction from the serious village elders: "Oooooh! Aaaaaah!" For this we waited eight months? Wow...we coulda had a V8.
JEERS to the cost of staying the course. By remaining full-strength in Iraq through next July, the families of---[Pulls out calculator, multiplies 80 x 10]---at least 800 American soldiers will attend their loved ones' funerals. You and I will cough up another---[Pulls out calculator, multiplies 3 billion bucks per week x 42 weeks]---126 billion dollars to keep it going. And another---[Pulls out calculator, multiplies 1,825 x 10]---18,250 Iraqis will die from sectarian violence. Having carefully weighed the pluses and minuses---[Throws calculator against the wall, throws computer against the wall, throws lamp against the wall, lifts house off of foundation and throws against the wall.]---I'm still a bit skeptical.
CHEERS to John and Jane Q. Public. A USA Today/Gallup poll shows that 60 percent of your neighbors want Congress to establish a timetable for withdrawal...and stick to it no matter what happens in Iraq. Your assignment: find the 40 percent that don’t and check their pulse.
JEERS to Commander Cuckoo Bananas. A little reminder from last January of what Bush's escalation was supposed to accomplish:
"Ordinary Iraqi citizens must see that military operations are accompanied by visible improvements in their neighborhoods and communities. So America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.
To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November.
To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis.
To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs.
To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year.
And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws, and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's constitution."
Oh-for-six. Say this for the man, at least he's consistent.
JEERS to Cecil B. bin Laden. Osama has turned into a veritable video factory lately. Following up on last week's screed, in which he sounded like a vitriolic righty blogger, today he released another one that apparently uses modern editing techniques. But the showbiz life may end up devouring the despot. We hear he spends most of his time in his trailer snorting blow.
JEERS to cheap-shot comparisons. Stunning cover of Newsweek ties the current Democratic presidential front-runner to the current presidential fuckup. It shows a photo of Hillary with the caption (their use of bold, not mine): "What Kind of Decider Would She Be?" Our guess: probably the kind of decider with enough sense in her head not to say idiotic things like "I'm the decider."
Gong! Gong!! BuddaBuddaBudda... GONG!!!
This is another edition of The One Word Answer Man. Glenn Greenwald asks:
Do Democratic Beltway "strategists" ever do anything but "fear"?
Now back to Cheers and Jeers...
Gong! Gong!! BuddaBuddaBudda... GONG!!!
JEERS to heavy metal. A new report says Ludwig van Beethoven's demise at 57 may have been the result of lead poisoning. China quickly issued a statement: "Hey, don’t look at us!"
CHEERS to happy endings. Laura Bush went to the free clinic over the weekend to see about a pain in her neck. Doctors carefully extracted Condoleezza Rice and now the first lady feels much better.
CHEERS to the headline of the month. The Portland [Maine] Press Herald has since changed its online header to read: Snowe, Collins call for Craig investigation. But I've got the hardcopy that proves it originally said: Snowe and Collins want Craig probed. If I were The Onion I'd sue the paper for stealing my act.
One Year Ago in C&J: September 11, 2006...
CHEERS to performances that will never make it on iTunes. Remember in The Naked Gun when Detective Frank Drebin posed as opera star Enrico Palazzo and mangled the National Anthem? Presumably to lighten the mood during a 9/11 ceremony, House Speaker Dennis Hastert performed the skit live and without cue cards. Clay Aiken, watch yer back.
And just one more...
CHEERS to a bright spot on an otherwise tragic date. Happy Birthday to Markos Moulitsas Zuniga. The iron-fisted ruler of the Great Orange Satan turns 36 today. Many blessings on your camels, sir. For the next 16 hours, I promise to suspend my ongoing attempt to overthrow you.
Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?
Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:
"I really respect Bill in Portland Maine, but I think he's dead flat wrong."
Senator Joe Biden