- There were a few issues I wanted to touch on but couldn't work into the story, such as Bush's decision to send two aircraft carrier groups to the waters off Iran and his order to kill Iranian operatives in Iraq (which is called a "purely political" move). However, check out a terrific column by Robert Parry on the "logic" behind Bush's efforts to ratchet up tensions in the region.
- Why would he do this? Because, of course, Cheney and the neo-cons want it that way. Apparently, back in 2003, the White House had an opportunity for "a diplomatic prize of unparalleled proportions" -- a reasonable negotiated settlement with Iran. Of course, they blew it off because they were still expecting to be greeted with rose petals in Baghdad (with an encore in Tehran), and because Cheney said they "don't negotiate with evil." Juan Cole says: "For the Love of God Impeach this Man."
In case you were wondering, the third Li'l Bushie along with George and Dick is Bill Kristol... not the best caricature ever, but it was my first time drawing him. Check out a post by Glenn Greenwald on the resurgence of neo-con influence over White House foreign policy decisions. In particular, Fred Kagan is said to have "won the ear of the President" on Iraq and Iran, which is not good news for any of us.
- I purposely avoided talking about the legality of the Iraq escalation or a possible Iran attack (I'll save that for another 'toon), but check out another excellent post by Glenn Greenwald on those issues.
- Is George W. Bush CRAZY? Justin A. Frank, M.D. says that he does indeed exhibit sociopathic tendencies, in the sense that he is someone who "exhibits external and surface empathy and amiability, but internally cannot actually empathize with the pain and suffering of others." He is one of many who say Bush has now adopted a "bunker mentality," and he argues that Dubya turns everyone who disagrees with him into his father (for example, James Baker).
- For in-depth analysis of the situation on the ground in Iraq, check out an article by Matt Taibbi, who argues that the whole idea that more troops will do any good in Iraq is "absurd on its face." He says that the majority of the troops there are holed up it Forward Operating Bases, simply trying to keep themselves safe, and that they are not actively engaged in keeping Iraq secure. The ones who go out on road patrol have been reduced to cannon fodder, forced to cross their fingers and hope they don't get blown up while driving around in circles.
- Notice any similarities between the current rhetoric on Iran and the Vietnam-era rhetoric on Cambodia and Laos? You're not imagining it...
James Ridgeway argues that the Iraq surge may be a Kissinger ploy, in the sense that Bush "will plunge into a counterinsurgency operation in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq, and then amidst mass civilian carnage, declare victory and announce negotiations." I think the apparent resurgence of neo-con influence makes this a less likely possibility.
- Do the Dems really have to cut off funding for the troops? Marty Lederman argues that they simply have to "pass an appropriations rider providing that no funds may be used to increase the number of troops in Iraq."
- Lastly, check out a typically outstanding column by Molly Ivins, who apparently is not doing well right now. She's one of the greats... give it a read.
...and probably more that I missed. Read a lot last week...