Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Re-Frame Bush's Plan for Iraq!

If he won't pull troops out while he's in the White House, we'll have to impeach (in peace ?) the war!

Here's a chance to win back your
$1,075 which you have already involuntarily contributed to Bush's un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI).

Go to
Working4Change and submit your catchy slogan describing Bush's plan for Iraq -- whatever that is. It's your contribution to reframing the debate. The winner of the contest will direct a $5,000 donation from Working Assets to a nonprofit working for peace.

Monday, August 28, 2006

News Up-Date: The Latest on Non-Hurricane Ernesto, Comair Flight 5191 and the JonBenet Ramsey Case!

I apologize to my regular readers who do not need to be tricked into reading the real news by a cheap bait 'n switch tactic of offering fake news.

For the rest of you itinerant, channel-switching lurkers out there, I hope you can spare 90 seconds to check out what's really happening. So as not to test or tax your attention span, I'll just present three or four items of what's really going on:
  1. In the single policy venture which most currently and ultimately defines the historical legacy of George W. Bush - his un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI) - American fatalities (KIA) reached 2,630 today. That's 53 this month. The number of American service men and women sustaining life-altering wounds in Iraq have reached 8,922.

  2. In Iraq, Fewer Killed, More Are Wounded

    New data shows better technology and tactics are keeping fatalities down, but injuries remain high.
    Saving more American lives in the war zones means more people must be treated for amputations and other serious injuries, perhaps for the rest of their lives.
  3. In order to extend his UULUIUOI another two years - until such time as he can blame his mess on his Democratic successors, Bush is in the process of converting our all-voluntary military into involuntary conscription.

  4. Spike in Violence Shatters Calm in Iraq

    In Iraq, a series of explosions, gunbattles, car bombs and executions over the past 48 hours have left at least 192 dead, including eight U.S. soldiers. In one attack, a car bomb was detonated at a police checkpoint near the Ministry of the Interior, killing at least 16 people.
This is the end of the 90-second real news segment.

Thank you for your attention.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Baseball Brings Us (Ultimately) Together.

I have to hope something does, anyway.

This year my Dodgers have held my attention - more than the normal year's 90 early morning seconds on the throne in the while I scan the box scores.

2006 has been a rollar-coaster, characterized by losing and winning streaks in double digits, untimely injuries and timely trades, mediocre pitching and power. At this point they are 1 game in 1st with 33 left to play.

All I can say is there is good chemistry and not an easy out from 1st to 8th in the line-up. Names like Russell Martin, Nomar Garciaparra (w/ Mia Hamm!) Andre Ethier, Chad Billingsly, Takashi Saito, Rafael Furcal.

I'm out of the closet this morning, copping to having had Dodger Blue blood in my veins since 1953.

I tell you, I'm going to hang with them a while longer.

This year is no different, excepting I'm aware of why I need the Dodgers - and baseball - more than ever.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


What I Could Do Better (than Bush) with $1,075?

The The National Priorities Project has calculated the cost of the un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI) by congressional district, city, state and even household.

You owe $1,075. So do I.

Would I rather have $1,075? And not have had my country cost the lives of 50,000 Iraqis? And not having allowed Bush to cause us - that's the USA - more damage than Osama bin Laden has?

I'll have to think about this. Excuse me while I retire to reflect and comtemplate on this issue.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Equal Time, Mr. President...

I Give the President his Bully Pulpit:

The President: And so, yes, I care, I really do. I wish -- and so, therefore, I'm going to spend a lot of time trying to explain as best I can why it's important for us to succeed in Iraq.

Q:Quick follow-up. A lot of the consequences you mentioned for pulling out seem like maybe they never would have been there if we hadn't gone in. How do you square all of that?

The President: I square it because, -ah- imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein who had the capacity to make a weapon of mass destruction, who was paying suiciders to kill innocent life, who would -- who had relations with Zarqawi. Imagine what the world would be like with him in power. The idea is to try to help change the Middle East.

Now, look, part of the reason we went into Iraq was -- the main reason we went into Iraq at the time was -ah- we thought he had weapons of mass destruction. It turns out he didn't, but he had the capacity to -ah- make weapons of mass destruction. But I also talked about the -ah- human suffering in Iraq, and I also talked the need to advance a freedom agenda. And so my question -- my answer to your question is, -ah- is that, -ah- imagine a world in which Saddam Hussein was there, stirring up even more trouble in a part of the world that had so much resentment and so much hatred that people came and killed 3,000 of our citizens.

You know, I've heard this theory about everything was just fine until we arrived, and -ah- kind of "we're going to stir up the hornet's nest" theory. It just doesn't hold water, as far as I'm concerned. The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started -ah- the freedom agenda in the Middle East.

Q What did Iraq have to do with that?

The President: What did Iraq have to do with what?

Q The attack on the World Trade Center?

The President: Nothing, except for -ah- it's part of -- and nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a -- the lesson of September the 11th is, -ah- take threats before they fully materialize, Ken. Nobody has ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were -ah- ordered by Iraq. I have suggested, however, that resentment and -ah- the lack of hope create the breeding grounds for terrorists who are willing to use suiciders to kill to achieve an objective. I have made that case.

And one way to defeat that -- defeat resentment is with hope. And the best way to do hope is through a form of government. Now, I said going into Iraq that -ah- we've got to take these threats seriously before they fully materialize. I saw a threat. I -ah- fully believe it was the right decision to remove Saddam Hussein, and I -ah- fully believe the world is better off without him. Now, the question is how do we succeed in Iraq? And you don't succeed by leaving -ah- before the mission is complete, like some in this political process are suggesting.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Get Rummy???

Is that the answer or the alibi?

On August 6th, I wrote that
The demand for Rumsfeld's head represents the last desperate bastion of scoundrels seeking to cover their complicit asses from the unmistakably deepest debacle in American foreign policy in history.
I also wrote that these are the voices who are whispering over Bush's shoulder the familiar old Vietnam era refrain,
'Send more troops.
Send more troops!
Yesterday, we heard both messages from Neo-Republican, Joe Lieberman on CBS' "Face the Nation." The Connecticut Senator called for more troops and then said,
Yeah. I think there's--three years ago in October on this show you asked me and I said that I believe that it was time for new leadership at the Pentagon. I think it's still time for new leadership at the Pentagon. With all respect to Don Rumsfeld, who has done a grueling job for six years, we would benefit from new leadership to work with our military in Iraq.
Of course, that's not the tune he was singing when he wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal on May 14, 2004, Let Us Have Faith: Why Rumsfeld must stay:
Many argue that we can only rectify the wrongs done in the Iraqi prisons if Donald Rumsfeld resigns. I disagree. Unless there is clear evidence connecting him to the wrongdoing, it is neither sensible nor fair to force the resignation of the secretary of defense, who clearly retains the confidence of the commander in chief, in the midst of a war. I have yet to see such evidence. Secretary Rumsfeld's removal would delight foreign and domestic opponents of America's presence in Iraq.
The cry for Rumsfeld's scalp is the screed of those leaders in both national parties who did not exercise the timely due diligence assigned to their high office by the Constitution; who went along with George Bush's jingoism, "Let's get Iraq while we're at it." Now that the un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI) is going from bad to worse - and worse still - they understandably have buyers' remorse. But, instead of admitting their error on the war, our misled leaders obfuscate the issues with the alibis that the UULUIUOI's implementation or implementors were wrong.

This same thread of obfuscation is becoming prevalent in Israel. Amir Peretz is their neophyte defense minister whose performance has been pilloried as amateurish, overconfident and inconsistent.

The names are different but the artless evasion is the same: stay the course, only fire the Defense Secretary/Minister and (Psssst!) send more troops.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Former Generals & National Security Officials Call On President To Reverse Course On Iraq & Iran

"Hard Line" Has Undermined National Security & Made Americans Less Safe

Bush Administration Is Rebuked For Attacking Opponents As "Soft On Terrorism"

Calling President Bush's "hard line" policies on Iraq and Iran failures that have undermined national security and made America less safe, General Joseph Hoar (USMC ret.), Lt. General Robert Gard (USA ret.), and Morton Halperin, former National Security Council staff, released an open letter signed by twenty-one colleagues urging the Administration to reverse course.

In a telephone press conference today, Lt. General Gard said,
We who have served this country cannot stand by silently while the President and his spokespeople attack critics of their deeply flawed policies as 'soft on terrorism'. The Administration has repeatedly failed to seek diplomatic solutions to problems that are only inflamed by the use of military force. They need to start talking with the Iranians immediately.

We believe that the U.S. occupation of Iraq continues to divert our nation's resources from addressing adequately the most serious threat to our national security, Al Qaeda.

We also believe that the President's failure to engage immediately and without preconditions in direct talks with the government of Iran, and the Administration's continued consideration of military action against that country, could lead to disastrous consequences for security in the region and for U.S. forces in Iraq.
The statement signed by former U.S. military, national security and foreign policy officials calls for immediate direct talks with the government of Iran, without preconditions, and cautions against the use of military action to resolve the current crises in the Middle East or to settle differences over Iran's nuclear program. Full text:
As former military leaders and foreign policy officials, we call on the Bush Administration to engage immediately in direct talks with the government of Iran without preconditions to help resolve the current crisis in the Middle East and settle differences over the Iranian nuclear program.

We strongly caution against any consideration of the use of military force against Iran. The current crises must be resolved through diplomacy, not military action. An attack on Iran would have disastrous consequences for security in the region and U.S. forces in Iraq, and it would inflame hatred and violence in the Middle East and among Muslims everywhere.

A strategy of diplomatic engagement with Iran will serve the interests of the U.S. and its allies, and would enhance regional and international security.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Right Message - Wrong Messenger!

A broken clock is right twice a day; John Kerry was right twice in 2004.

In the recent bust of the London plot against civil aviation, Bush-Cheney have an opportunity to rediscover and co-opt the position which John Kerry inadvertently stumbled upon in 2004, and to claim it was theirs all along.

What did Kerry say?

In a candidates' debate in South Carolina (Jan. 29, 2004), Kerry said that although the war on terror will be
occasionally military. . . primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation that requires cooperation around the world.
In an interview with Matt Bai published in October, responding to a question about what it would take for Americans to feel safe again, Kerry said
We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance. As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.

Thus, Kerry displayed a much less apocalyptic world view than Bush-Cheney.

One of the reasons why this interview is important intellectual turf is that it is the source of Senator Kerry’s stated use of the word nuisance in discussing world terrorism. This statement spawned a whole genre of Republican attacks alleging an emasculated or minimalist approach to the GWOT on Kerry’s part. This was dismissed by the Bush league as "the swatting of flies".

It has been persuasively argued that Bush-Cheney avoided swatting one of the mothers of-all-flies, Abu Musab Zarqawi, three times because they didn't want to upset the marketing of the un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI).

In pursuing the
UULUIUOI, Bush and Cheney usurped the established and successful American policy of deterring Saddam Hussein and instituted the most catastrophic blunder in American foreign and military history.

Any objective assessment of the terrorist threat, after completion of the destruction of the Taliban and th capture of Osama bin Laden "dead or alive", would have indicated it would be best addressed by intelligent international police work.

I am basically saying that progressives have, in this Kerry formulation, a defensible alternative approach to combating terrorism, qualitatively different from the Bush-Cheney model. All they had to do was to articulate it and repeat it, and attack Bush-Cheney's model of endless, seamless militarism. It was one of Kerry's and Liberalism's flaws that he failed to do this.

We need Progressive candidates who will hammer this point home.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


It can become addictive!

That's what last Tuesday in Connecticut proves. Things had gotten so bad with Lieberman's misrepresentation of Connecticut voters, that Joe provided them with an opportunity and an excuse to make a dramatic improvement. And Ned Lamont's underdogging Lieberman can prove to be allegorical to what can happen nationally.As Margaret Carlson wrote last week,
Democrats are fed up with the bipartisanship that gets the wrong things done. . . . The day of reasonable, centrist politics for most Democrats is over.

Over because the other side doesn't practice it. Over because this president who launched a war deceitfully and with insufficient planning and troops doesn't deserve it. Over because if you disagree with the president over his disaster in Iraq, you are accused of wanting to cut and run, of not supporting the troops.
Lieberman's determination to delay his departure from the Senate at all costs will amount to an unbecoming epilogue for which his biographers will have to deal. He is like an athlete playing past his time. So far, in his four-day effort to do so, he discloses his true colors.

Have you noticed his line on Lamont is as shrill as the Republicans'? Have you noticed how Lieberman's supporters have called Ned Lamont an "Al Sharpton Democrat"? How Lieberman stated on the Today Show that he was committed "to bringing the Democratic Party back from the extreme, back from Ned Lamont and Maxine Waters."

Have you noticed how his line (thanks, Em!) on opponents to our Iraqi occupation has become Cheney-esque?
If we just pick up like Ned Lamont wants us to do, get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England. It will strengthen them, and they will strike again.
His state's constituents are smart enough not mistake Lieberman for bipartisan. True centrists don't cozy up with radically Un-American Neocons. His loyalties are clearly not to his (former) party. In fact, he has already switched parties. Since Tuesday, Lieberman has become Bush's other poodle, second to Tony Blair.

Who's Ned Lamont?

Remember back when people were asking that? "Lamont Cranston?"

It's a different tune now. I hear comparisons of Ned Lamont to Eugene McCarthy, disrobing emperor LBJ in the 1968 New Hampshire presidential primary. Ned L. has proven that the party of loyal opposition does not have to tip-toe around our self-anointed "war-time president" like a bunch of Lilliputians. As someone observed last week,
". . . Democrats like Senators Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden shift progressively more in favor of withdrawal from Iraq and is certainly going to alter the entire spectrum of political views over the issue of Iraq, not only for Democrats, but for Republicans, too. In short, this is likely to be the turning point -- downward -- for the Bush presidency."
Political seismographers are detecting a sea change. Like Lieberman's overstay in the Senate, things have gotten so bad on a national and international scale that Democrats have been provided with an opportunity and an excuse to make a dramatic improvement.

Impossible as it is to overstate the need for a political tsunami, it's equally impermissible to expect a storm tide capable of lifting boats from Lilliputian shores without unstinting effort.

Let's get it done.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Cindy Sheehan!

You go, Girl!

I do not agree with Cindy on Afghanistan - not at all. And there may be a number of other things she has said I should quibble with. She's a loose cannon, all right. (There's no shortage of those in our world, is there?) I anticipate readers who hold objections to what she is alleged to have said at one time or another.

However, she has carried my opposition to the un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI) to Bush's doorstep in Crawford Texas.

And now she is taking up indefinite (for as long as it takes) residence "Camp Casey III", maintaining The Vigil.

Bush of course, is not an object for persuasion but of scorn. She is tying the dead and rotting chicken carcass of the UULUIUOI around the neck of our chickenhawk-in-chief for all the world to see.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Lieberman-Lamont: Rock & Roll, Baby!!

A Date with Destiny?

A Quinnipiac University poll released last week showed Lamont leading Lieberman 54% to 41% among Democrats likely to vote Tuesday. Lamont had trailed Lieberman 40% to 55% in the survey released June 8. Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia commented:
A Lamont victory will embolden Democratic candidates elsewhere to become even more stridently antiwar in the fall campaign. A Lamont victory will make the Iraq war the only cutting issue in the midterm elections -- and probably the 2008 presidential campaign as well.
A Lamont victory also would deal a setback to President George W. Bush because Lieberman has been his most prominent crossover Democratic ally on the war issue. And Lamont's victory would accelerate Progressives' growing efforts to cast the Nov. 7 midterm congressional elections as a national referendum on the war, rather than as a patchwork of local races about local issues favored by Republican strategists.

The Lieberman-Lamont contest is a classic intraparty clash with echoes of the titanic 1968 Democratic primary. Hubert Horatio Humphrey was wrapped in the cloak of Democratic entitlement and liberal orthodoxy. But his dirty underwear represented the epitome of fawning obsequious, and sycophantic servility to LBJ's Vietnam war. Humphrey then, as with Lieberman today, represented the cork in the bottleneck of democracy which prevented our form of government from rescuing our nation from further self-mutilation.

By my reckoning, we are now crossing the same cusp or tipping point we crossed when Robert Kennedy won the California primary in 1968. All the arguments pro and con the war have been settled and the national consensus - as we circle our wagons in Baghdad - is that the un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI) has been an unmitigable bust.

Not that some bitter-enders (Rumsfeld's misapplied term) don't want to engage in mitigation, damage control and historical alibis. You can identify them because they all want to blame Rumsfeld.

Blaming Rumsfeld for Iraq is as lame as blaming Vietnam on McNamara. Secretaries of Defense are what the word says they are: Secretaries. Secretaries are not responsible to us. They're responsible to their boss the POTUS, the CIC, the guy who sits at the desk where Harry Truman had his plaque that said the "Buck Stops Here". (Admittedly, a long time ago.)

The demand for Rumsfeld's head represents the last desperate bastion of scoundrels seeking to cover their complicit asses from the unmistakably deepest debacle in American foreign policy in history. These scoundrels range all the way from Hillary Clinton to David Brooks. They are also identifiable as the people who are whispering the old Vietnam War refrain,
'Send more troops.
Send more troops!'
That's why getting Momentum Joe's head on the platter is more important than Rumsfeld's. And more appropriate because Joe's scalp represents all of the compliant enablers of Bush and Cheney's UULUIUOI. If Joe gets buried in this Connecticut Primary, the war party and its fellow travelers will be served a notice written on the wall. They're all going to be wondering, 'Who's next'?

Lieberman-Lamont is comparable to the moment Robert Kennedy gave us by winning the California Primary. This is the moment when our once great country most needs to rock. And to roll out a robust opposition to the disaster that is the Bush Presidency. And to offer a party and candidates capable of blowing the cork out of the bottle neck of obfuscations and stagnation.

In 1968 the voters of California responded to their challenge and offered an electable nominee to demobilize their generation's unnecessary and unwinnable war. Next Tuesday, Democrats in Connecticut have a comparable date with destiny.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Sowing the Seeds of 9-11's

Americans should know who Robert Fisk is.

Fisk is Britain’s most highly decorated foreign correspondent. He has received the British International Journalist of the Year award seven times, most recently in 1995 and 1996. His specialty is the Middle East, where he has spent the last twenty-three years. Currently Fisk is the Beirut correspondent for the London Independent.

Here are Fisk's latest words:
. . . .as the Lebanon war continues to destroy innocent lives - most of them Lebanese - the conflict seems to be increasingly aimless. The Israeli air force has succeeded in killing perhaps 50 Hizbollah members and 600 civilians and has destroyed bridges, milk factories, gas stations, fuel storage depots, airport runways and thousands of homes. But to what purpose?

Does the United States any longer believe Israel's claims that it will destroy Hizbollah when its army clearly cannot do anything of the kind? Does Washington not realise that when Israel grows tired of this war, it will plead for a ceasefire - which only Washington can deliver by doing what it most loathes to do: by taking the road to Damascus and asking for help from President Bashar al-Assad of Syria?

What in the meanwhile is happening to Lebanon? Bridges and buildings can be reconstructed - with European Union loans, no doubt - but many Lebanese are now questioning the institutions of the democracy for which the US was itself so full of praise last year. What is the point of a democratically elected Lebanese government which cannot protect its people? What is the point of a 75,000-member Lebanese army which cannot protect its nation, which cannot be sent to the border, which does not fire on Lebanon's enemies and which cannot disarm Hizbollah? Indeed, for many Lebanese Shias, Hizbollah is now the Lebanese army.

So fierce has been Hizbollah's resistance - and so determined its attacks on Israeli ground troops in Lebanon - that many people here no longer recall that it was Hizbollah which provoked this latest war by crossing the border on 12 July, killing three Israeli soldiers and capturing two others. Israel's threats of enlarging the conflict even further are now met with amusement rather than horror by a Lebanese population which has been listening to Israel's warnings for 30 years with ever greater weariness. And yet they fear for their lives. If Tel Aviv is hit, will Beirut be spared. Or if central Beirut is hit, will Tel Aviv be spared? Hizbollah now uses Israel's language of an eye for an eye. Every Israeli taunt is met by a Hizbollah taunt.

And do the Israelis realise that they are legitimising Hizbollah, that a rag-tag army of guerrillas is winning its spurs against an Israeli army and air force whose targets - if intended - prove them to be war criminals and if unintended suggest that they are a rif-raff little better than the Arab armies they have been fighting, on and off, for more than half a century? Extraordinary precedents are being set in this Lebanon war.

In fact, one of the most profound changes in the region these past three decades has been the growing unwillingness of Arabs to be afraid. Their leaders - our "moderate" pro-Western Arab leaders such as King Abdullah of Jordan and President Mubarak of Egypt - may be afraid. But their peoples are not. And once a people have lost their terror, they cannot be re-injected with fear. Thus Israel's consistent policy of smashing Arabs into submission no longer works. It is a policy whose bankruptcy the Americans are now discovering in Iraq.

And all across the Muslim world, "we" - the West, America, Israel - are fighting not nationalists but Islamists. And watching the martyrdom of Lebanon this week - its slaughtered children in Qana packed into plastic bags until the bags ran out and their corpses had to be wrapped in carpets - a terrible and daunting thought occurs to me, day by day. That there will be another 9/11.
Click on the link below to read the first portion of Fisk's column.

A Terrible Thought Occurs to Me - That There Will Be Another 9/11

Thursday, August 3, 2006

What Really Happened...

A Dog Story

Tuesday night, a Doberman Pinscher named Barney was on duty as a guard at a British children's museum, Wookey Hole Caves in Somerset.

All of a sudden, Barney beserked, went on a rampage and ripped apart a $900,000 collection of rare teddy bears. Barney started on Mabel, a 1909 German-made Steiff teddy bear once owned by Elvis Presley, currently owned by English aristocrat Benjamin Slade and worth £40,000.

Barney's handler, Greg West, did his best to explain the event:
Barney has been a model guard dog for over six years. I still can't believe what happened.

Either there was a rogue scent of some kind on Mabel which switched on Barney's deepest instincts, or it could have been jealousy: I was just stroking Mabel and saying what a nice little bear she was. He started with Mabel, took a very large chunk out of Mabel almost severing her head, and then went mad. It took about 20 minutes to bring him out.
After West recovered Mabel's body, the Dobbie then went on the rampage for about 15 minutes, grabbing everything in his path until he was collared.

Daniel Medley, general manager of Wookey Hole Caves, said
It is entirely normal for the guard dogs to be off their lead to sniff around. Ironically, our insurance company insisted we had a dog.

I don't know what's going to happen to Barney. He is such a sweet dog normally. His owner is very shocked about the whole thing.

We just never expected anything like this to happen.

Up to 100 bears were involved in the massacre. It was a dreadful scene.

We will be holding an internal investigation as to why Mabel was left out - and heads will roll over this.

I'm sure Mabel can be repaired, but I fear that the bear's value will have seriously decreased.

I have apologized profusely to Sir Benjamin, but he just yelled at me. He couldn't believe we had allowed this to happen.
This story is not intended to be allegorical. Not at all.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Tuesday, Bloody Tuesday

50 die in Iraq

Bombings and shootings killed up to 55 people on Tuesday, including at least 23 Iraqi soldiers, undermining the new government's attempts to convince Iraqis it could improve security.
Iraqi policemen inspect the wreckage of a bus containing the remains of killed soldiers near Tikrit.

But it's not on teevee because the Israeli-Hezbollah bloodletting is the war de jour. It has a plot that's easier to follow and we Americans must think we're winning this one, because that's what Faux and CNN are dishing out.

Frank Rich:
. . . . CNN will surely remind us today that it is Day 19 of the Israel-Hezbollah war — now branded as Crisis in the Middle East — but you won’t catch anyone saying it’s Day 1,229 of the war in Iraq. On the Big Three networks’ evening newscasts, the time devoted to Iraq has fallen 60 percent between 2003 and this spring, as clocked by the television monitor, the Tyndall Report.

This is happening even as the casualties in Iraq, averaging more than 100 a day, easily surpass those in Israel and Lebanon combined.

The steady falloff in Iraq coverage isn’t happenstance. It’s a barometer of the scope of the tragedy. For reporters, the already apocalyptic security situation in Baghdad keeps getting worse, simply making the war more difficult to cover than ever. The audience has its own phobia: Iraq is a bummer. “It is depressing to pay attention to this war on terror,” said Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly on July 18. “I mean, it’s summertime.” Americans don’t like to lose, whatever the season. They know defeat when they see it, no matter how many new plans for victory are trotted out to obscure that reality.
Booksellers report that there have been an explosion of works published on Iraq, but the American people are not buying them. They have become curiously incurious about Bush's un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI).

Photo:REUTERS/Sabah al-Bazee