Saturday, July 22, 2006

More Links

Welcome to the new Unsolicited Opinion complete with an expanded blog roll. I even organized it a bit. These are sites that I visit regularly and provide the basis for my commentary. I'm sure it will expand as I check out other sites but for the time being, I encourage you to check out the links.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Targets of Opportunity

Leave it to the architect of the Iraq War to find opportunity in the Israeli-Hezbollah war in Lebanon. The Washington Post reports today that BushCheney believes that Israel’s attack on Hezbollah targets in Lebanon is a step toward peace in the region.

In the administration's view, the new conflict is not just a crisis to be managed. It is also an opportunity to seriously degrade a big threat in the region, just as Bush believes he is doing in Iraq. Israel's crippling of Hezbollah, officials also hope, would complete the work of building a functioning democracy in Lebanon and send a strong message to the Syrian and Iranian backers of Hezbollah.

"The president believes that unless you address the root causes of the violence that has afflicted the Middle East, you cannot forge a lasting peace," said White House counselor Dan Bartlett. "He mourns the loss of every life. Yet out of this tragic development, he believes a moment of clarity has arrived." (emphasis added)

So let me be sure I have this straight. BushCheney believes that the Iraq War will bring peace to that region. It’s working so well that he is looking forward to similar results on the Lebanon-Israel border. Of course, he is viewing the whole thing in a different time frame from the rest of us mortals.

"He thinks he is playing in a longer-term game than the tacticians," said the former official, who spoke anonymously so he could discuss his views candidly. "The tacticians would say: 'Get an immediate cease-fire. Deal first with the humanitarian factors.' The president would say: 'You have an opportunity to really grind down Hezbollah. Let's take it, even if there are other serious consequences that will have to be managed.' "

Geologists posit that anything is possible given sufficient time. Funny that a man who so resolutely rejects scientific inquiry, BushCheney, is willing to accept “other serious consequences” over time. He can never be proved wrong because there is always more time.

Meanwhile, people who must endure the consequences are fucked.

By way of measuring results in real time, check out the metrics at Free Iraq.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Breaking News! Rez Dog Learns New Trick!

After two years of blogging, I finally learned how to add links to Unsolicited Opinion. If you look to the right, you will see the results of my first attempts. Now that I know the secret I will add more. Who knows? Maybe I'll even organize them like skippy does.

Thanks to Mimus Pauly at Mockingbird's Medley for encouraging me to get off my ass and figure this out. Thanks, also, to CLB at Just Another Cranky Little Blog for walking me through the programming code and showing me how to create a list.

Meanwhile, In Iraq

The war in Lebanon has certainly eclipsed the war in Iraq during the past week but casualties continue to mount in Iraq at an even greate rate than in Lebanon. The past week has seen brutal violence as rival Muslim factions attack each other. American casualties are also on the increase. Earlier this month the Iraq Casualty Count showed an average of less than one American killed per day. That figure is now at 1.25, still below the 2.28 average for the war. The average was low during most of June, too, but ended up just over 2 per day for the month.

The bodies just keep coming.

Not Totally Random Thoughts

I'm back from my travels. My contract proposal is in. So it's time to see what's going on in the world. I'm not ready to comment on the Hezbollah-Israeli war yet other than to say that killing civilians is still wrong. Juan Cole is doing some fine reporting at Informed Comment. So is Chris Albritton at Back to Iraq.

In the news that is more manageable:

Guantanamo detainees are using an al-Quaeda training manual as a means for organizing while in captivity. It sounds nefarious--an al-Qaeda manual--but what the article describes are classic techniques used by prisoners to maintain morale and communication. You know, the kind of things that Americans found so heroic among our boys held prisoner in Vietnam.

Arlen Specter seems poised to give away the store to BushCheney on electronic eavesdropping. The so-called compromise on FISA courts announced with such fanfare last week looks more like total capitulation Checks and balances? A quaint 18th Century concept that BushCheney believes has no place in a 21st Century world. Senator Specter seems to agree.

Other senators are not quite as accommodating as Specter. At least not yet. BushCheney is pushing hard to simply enact into law the military tribunals recently rejected by the Supreme Court. So far, a few senators are insisting on something a bit more in keeping with traditional legal concepts.