Bush insanity watch  
ThinkProgress caught
Chris Matthews'
reaction to President Bush's claim that there are 36 nations
with troops on the ground today in Iraq. And we're curious too. What the hell is
the president talking about? Which countries are these? There are two countries
with a real troop presence in Iraq: the US and the UK. And the Brits make up
only a tiny fraction of the overall 'coalition' force. Early on there were
Spanish, Italians, Poles and a lot of other countries -- not with a lot of
troops but with enough to give some token international participation. But
pretty much all of those countries have left now.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67fzS3qgeRY

I know in the past the White House used to inflate these numbers by including
token commitments from former US Pacific Islands protectorates. Ten guys from
Micronesia. Three mechanics from the Solomon Islands.

In a lot of cases the administration has just opened up the diplomatic cookie
jar to bargain for a few soldiers from countries with acute need for American
help in order to puff up these numbers.

But again, this is 2007. I doubt the White House just came up with this
number out of the blue. I'm sure there's some very strained and feeble argument
and data behind. But I'd really like to hear it. Anyone know who these 36
counties are?

This is the best the AP
could come up with ...

There may well be 36 nations contributing to the cause, but the
overwhelming majority of troops come from the United States. For example,
Albania has 120 soldiers there and Bulgaria has 150 non-combat troops in Iraq.
Bush visited both nations this summer as a thank you.

OK, that's four. 32 to go.

Your Molly Ivins
Moment:

Everybody knows God is nonpartisan, but I swear Jesus was a liberal---the
best, the biggest, the original bleeding heart---the one who embraced the
outcasts, the model for us all.  Just read the stuff in the New Testament
written in red.  Don’t ever try to convince me that Christianity is right-wing.
As for the economic conservatives, who are driving this entire insane detour
away from liberty and justice for all.  Well, as Wright Patman once observed,
"The rich and powerful in our country are very greedy. This has many times been
demonstrated.  It is natural that they should seek ever more power and wealth,
but where there's greed there is no vision.  And as the Good Book says, where
there is no vision, the people perish."

---From Who Let the Dogs In?

Neocon media at play  Faithful
Progressive:
Four September
11
stories your press corps
ignores.

The evildoers meddling in the Iraq
war.
 I'm starting to feel strongly about teaching Iraq's
neighbor a lesson.  After all, they harbor and train terrorists.  Their leaders
are fanatics.  They teach their children that westerners are the enemy.  They
funnel money to the insurgents.  They're radical Islamic extremists.  They stand
in the way of true reconciliation.  They torture their people.  I say Bush
should immediately start bombing 'em until they clean up their act.  Iran?  No,
silly...Saudi Arabia.  We'll call it Operation Wipe That Smirk Off Your Face.

Voices of dissent.
Washington, D.C. will be abuzz Saturday as anti-war protestors swarm the Mall.  Pro: It will be
another example of grassroots activists getting together in large numbers to say
"Enough is enough!"  Con: you'll probably have to sit through a bunch of
speakers talking about everything from abortion to gay marriage to hemp-growers
rights.  Focus, you guys...focus.

We're still confused about
9/11
   This
just hurts
.

Six years after the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S., it seems the media still
have some educational work to do. A new CBS/New York Times poll reveals that
even today, 1 in 3 Americans believe that “Saddam Hussein was personally
involved in the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon.”

This notion was thoroughly debunked by official sources, including those in
the White House, years ago, but the myth endures. Polls have shown that belief
in this untruth was a prime component in support for the attack on
Iraq.

There is, of course, a partisan difference. Dems are the least likely to get
this wrong, and Republicans are the most likely to get this wrong. How bad is
it? A whopping 40% of Republicans, six years after the attacks, still
believe Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11. So, for every five
Republicans you meet, on average, two of them are confused about this basic
fact.

People, of course, have to take responsibility for keeping up with reality,
but it doesn’t help when Freedom’s Watch keeps deceiving
people
with mendacious ads.

GOP = Grand Old Perverts 
Is the conservative Congressman Patrick McHenry the latest to fall in a sordid
sex scandal?  Pam’s
House Blend
has the story and audio of the tangled story.

Edwards slams Dubya 
Democratic presidential contender John Edwards purchased ad time on MSNBC to air
his response to the president’s address this evening. Pulling no punches,
Edwards goes directly after President Bush and his failed surge but does not
spare the Democrats for caving to him and continuing to fund the occupation of
Iraq. video_wmv Download
(450) | Play
(645) video_mov Download
(221) | Play
(358)

How stupid are we? 15
percent:
Number of Americans who can name the Chief Justice of the U.S.
Supreme Court, John Roberts, compared with 66 percent of Americans who can name
“at least one of the judges on the Fox television show American Idol.” The new
study also reveals that 70
percent
of those surveyed did not know that Supreme Court decisions are
final.

Sometimes, these guys make it too
easy.
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, yesterday,
in his final appearance:

“No, benchmarks were something that Congress wanted to use as a metric. And
we’re going to produce a report. But the fact is that the situation is bigger
and more complex, and you need to look at the whole picture.”

Reality,
as reported last week:

It was the White House and the Iraqi government, not Congress, that first
proposed the benchmarks for Iraq that are now producing failing grades, a
provenance that raises questions about why the administration is declaring now
that the government’s performance is not the best measure of
change.

The administration presented a to-do list and said, “Judge us in September on
these points.” They’ve successfully completed three of the 18 tasks. In
response, the new line is, “To-do lists are stupid.”

Falling out of the friendly
skies.
 Our current FAA chief---Mrs. Whatzername---is stepping
down today.  BusinessWeek's verdict?  She sucked:

[I]t's clear she failed.  Almost everything about flying is worse than when
she arrived.  Greater are the risks, the passenger headaches, and the costs in
lost productivity.  Almost everyone has a horror story about missed connections,
lost baggage, and wasted hours on the tarmac.  More than 909,000 flights were
late through June of this year, twice the level of 2002.

Her last official act today: booking train tickets for the trip
home.

Doing to History What He Did to
Iraq
  With the president's speech tonight it appears we are back
to the supposed 'Korea analogy' for the occupation of Iraq. We've been in Korea
for more than a half century, as we have been in Japan and Germany. And for all
the commitment of troops and money, we now have three highly prosperous allied
democracies where in two of the cases we had ardent foes.

Forgive me for saying the obvious. Because it is obvious. But sometimes,
apparently, the obvious needs saying.

We garrisoned troops in these three countries for half a century, as we did
in Saudi Arabia for about a decade. The periods of military government in Japan
and Germany were relatively brief. And most importantly we never mounted
counter-insurgency operations in any of these countries.

This simple fact tells you that all these Korean, Japan, Germany analogies
are bogus.

And fundamentally why was this sustainable? Because the US troop presence was
a defense against a perceived greater threat -- either the Soviet Union or the
Soviet Union and China. We might add that this is also the premise of our
military presence in the Balkans.

On neither count is anything remotely like this in Iraq. The premise is an
indefinite period of counter-insurgency and military occupation. And if things
calmed down, who would we be defending Iraq against? The question answers
itself. No one. If Iraq could get its act together it could certainly defend
itself as it did for many decades. We are defending Iraq against itself.

Anyone with a bit of sense can see these comparisons are ridiculous.

 A Final, Tragic Note:

NYTimes
“Engaging in the banalties of life has become a death-defying act,” the seven
soldiers wrote of the war they had seen in Iraq.

They were referring to the ordeals of Iraqi citizens, trying to go about
their lives with death and suffering all around them. They did not know it at
the time, but they might almost have been referring to themselves.

Two of the soldiers who wrote of their pessimism about the war, in an
Op-Ed article
that appeared in The New York Times on Aug. 19, were killed in
Baghdad on Monday. They were not killed in combat, nor on a daring mission. They
died when the five-ton cargo truck they were riding in
overturned.

dKos: The AP
has reported on Yance Gray here,
and KHOU, a Houston-area TV station has reported on Omar Mora here.

Gray leaves a wife and infant daughter.  Mora was scheduled to return home
this November, instead, he leaves behind a wife and a five year old daughter. 
Per E&P:
one of the other five authors of the Times piece, Staff Sergeant Jeremy Murphy,
an Army Ranger and reconnaissance team leader, was shot in the head while the
article was being written. He was expected to survive after being flown to a
military hospital in the United States.

There are no words.

Submitted by RKing on