Disappeared; and this man stands for eight hours, dammit!

I will throw out this blob of links before getting later to more prosaic things later Fri. And lots more light rail stuff.

Rumsfeld reminded his folks coercing Arabs to stand in the hot Cuban sun, he can do it for eight hours, so why can't they do four? This man is next for the Nobel prize and its no wonder the chicks still dig him. Look at all these hot interrogation docs they put out but Billmon adds that they are from far too early, before the torture scandals in question.

Resistance grows to the 'imported government' that the IGC foisted on everyone. "Pressure at Iraqi prison detailed" in USA Today:

The officer who oversaw interrogations at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad testified that he was under intense "pressure" from the White House, Pentagon and CIA last fall to get better information from detainees, pressure that he said included a visit to the prison by an aide to national security adviser Condoleezza Rice.

Army Lt. Col. Steven Jordan, in a sworn statement to Army investigators obtained by USA TODAY, said he was told last September that White House staffers wanted to "pull the intelligence out" of the interrogations being conducted at Abu Ghraib.
[......]
Jordan, the top military intelligence officer at Abu Ghraib, described "instances where I feel that there was additional pressure" to get information from detainees, including a visit to the prison last fall by an aide to Rice that was "purely on detainee operations and reporting." And he said he was reminded of the need to improve the intelligence output of the prison "many, many, many times."
[....]
Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday that he recalled imploring, " 'Help, intelligence community and CIA. Give us more information.' Certainly that's a fairly typical thing in a conflict." He said he could not recall "any specific conversations" about improving intelligence results at Abu Ghraib.

The Defense secretary also acknowledged that, at CIA Director George Tenet's request, he ordered an Iraqi terror suspect held for seven months without registering him on prison rolls or notifying the Red Cross, as is customary. The move delayed access by Red Cross inspectors to the detainee, a suspected member of the terror group Ansar al-Islam. But Rumsfeld said "there is no question at all" that the suspect was treated humanely. The terror suspect was never held at Abu Ghraib, but the incident illustrates the involvement by high-level administration officials in prisoner handling.

In the area of treacherous Washington lobbyists, it seems that little pseudo-Dem fattycats have been giving away strategy to the Republicans so that they can calibrate how hard to squeeze their own party. Yes.

The twerps at New Republic wade into self-pity for supporting the war (David Corn says YOU SUCKAZ):

Finally the fate of Iraq is in the hands of Iraqis. If Iraq becomes a theocracy, or succumbs to a strongman, or collapses as a state, all this, too, will be the work of a free Iraq. For this reason, it is important to remember also that democratization is essentially a policy of destabilization. It demands the overthrow of one political culture so that another political culture may take its place. (That is why the outrages at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere are not only repugnant but also disastrous: "Hearts and minds" are precisely the field upon which democratizers make their stand. In this regard, nothing could be more damaging to the future of Iraq than Iraqi anti-Americanism.) It is absolutely astonishing that the planners of this war expected only happiness in its wake. Their postwar planning seems to have consisted in a kind of reverse Augustinianism: goodness is the absence of evil, Saddam is evil, Saddam's absence is good. They failed to intuit all the other evils that would emerge in the absence of this evil. They did not recognize the multiplicity of Iraq's demons; which is to say, they did not recognize Iraq.
[.....]
It is no wonder that this administration has presided over a new flourishing of anti-Americanism. It accepts anti-Americanism as a compliment. It holds that all anti-Americanism is like all other anti-Americanism, and is in no way to be imputed to American behavior. In this way, the Bush administration has transformed anti-Americanism into one of the most urgent, and least addressed, problems facing American foreign policy. In a time when the safety of the United States depends more and more upon the cooperation of other states and other societies--the struggle against terrorism is a struggle against stateless villains organized in far-flung networks--the foreign policy of the United States surrendered to Gary Cooperism. Our leaders are all such legends in their own eyes. But after Will Kane shot Frank Miller dead, you will recall, he left town. The unilateralist became an isolationalist. The transition was easy. He would rely forevermore upon his sanctimony and his hauteur. 

It's upside down as hell, the Iraq = 9/11 spinstorm. They claim that believing in Mohammed Atta in Prague is actually a major matter of faithful credence, a matter of your political compass rather than factual veracity. What tasty quotes from the Bush administration:

MR. RUSSERT: The Washington Post asked the American people about Saddam Hussein, and this is what they said: 69 percent said he was involved in the September 11 attacks. Are you surprised by that?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. I think it's not surprising that people make that connection.

MR. RUSSERT: But is there a connection?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: We don't know. You and I talked about this two years ago. I can remember you asking me this question just a few days after the original attack. At the time I said no, we didn't have any evidence of that. Subsequent to that, we've learned a couple of things. We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the '90s, that it involved training, for example, on BW and CW, that al-Qaeda sent personnel to Baghdad to get trained on the systems that are involved. The Iraqis providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the al-Qaeda organization.
[.....]
We know that many of the attackers were Saudi. There was also an Egyptian in the bunch. It doesn't mean those governments had anything to do with that attack. That's a different proposition than saying the Iraqi government and the Iraqi intelligent service has a relationship with al-Qaeda that developed throughout the decade of the '90s. That was clearly official policy.


Q: Mr. President, do you believe that Saddam Hussein is a bigger threat to the United States than al Qaeda?

PRESIDENT BUSH: That's a--that is an interesting question. I'm trying to think of something humorous to say. (Laughter.) But I can't when I think about al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. They're both risks, they're both dangerous. The difference, of course, is that al Qaeda likes to hijack governments. Saddam Hussein is a dictator of a government. Al Qaeda hides, Saddam doesn't, but the danger is, is that they work in concert. The danger is, is that al Qaeda becomes an extension of Saddam's madness and his hatred and his capacity to extend weapons of mass destruction around the world.

Both of them need to be dealt with. The war on terror, you can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror. And so it's a comparison that is--I can't make because I can't distinguish between the two, because they're both equally as bad, and equally as evil, and equally as destructive.

I would point out the growing evidence of ethnic cleansing of Arabs in northern Iraq. This is to a great extent the backlash from the cleansing that Saddam carried out. I also find it disturbing that the former Kurd-Arab barrier is called the Green Line... what does this sound like? In fact, refugee camps of Arabs are forming, a perfectly logical outcome of stumbling into an ethnically troubled county without a plan or enough troops to maintain political order. What on earth will happen next?? Where will the newly sovereign refugees go?

Thousands of ethnic Kurds are pushing into lands formerly held by Iraqi Arabs, forcing tens of thousands of them to flee to ramshackle refugee camps and transforming the demographic and political map of northern Iraq.

....some 10,000 Kurds have gathered in a sprawling camp outside Kirkuk, where they are pressing the American authorities to let them enter the city. American military officers who control Kirkuk say they are blocking attempts to expel more Arabs from the town, for fear of igniting ethnic unrest.

Peter W. Galbraith, a former United States ambassador, who has advised the Kurdish leadership, said he recommended a claim system for Kurds and Arabs to Pentagon officials in late 2002. Nothing was put in place on the ground until last month, he said, long after the Kurds began to move south of the Green Line.

"The C.P.A. adopted a sensible idea, but it required rapid implementation," Mr. Galbraith said. "They dropped the ball, and facts were created on the ground. Of course people are going to start moving. If the political parties are encouraging this, that, too, is understandable." [?!?!? -Dan]
[....]
But in the villages and camps where the Kurds have returned, Kurdish leaders are more boastful. They say they pushed the Arab settlers out as part of a plan to expand Kurdish control over the territory.
[....]
Before the war began in 2003, Arab settlers worked the fields in the areas surrounding Makhmur. Most of the settlers were brought north by successive waves of Mr. Hussein's campaign to populate the north with Arabs, killing or expelling tens of thousands of Kurds.

Exactly what happened when Mr. Hussein's army collapsed is disputed. Kurdish officials say the Arab settlers fled with the army. No expulsions were necessary, they said.

Some more of that stuff from the chatty anonymous CIA agent (via Washington Monthly). This dude was on CNN Wednesday, and his voice wasn't disguised. As most have noted, he had a strange combination of honest sentiment towards our evolving catastrophe in the so-called GWOT, but Anonymous suggested we might just have to go with the high body count.

Meanwhile in the Holy Land, you got Hebron headaches.

The more Shaul sifts through his memories, the plainer it seems that there was no particular single moment in which his view of the world changed. A year and two months of serving in Hebron, first as a soldier and then as a commander, became a nightmarish collage of sights, sounds and feelings, which gradually led him to conclude that "It's a situation that screws up everyone. Everyone goes through the same process there of the erosion of red lines and a sinking into numbness. People start out at different points and end up at different points, but everyone goes through this process. No one returns from the territories without it leaving a deep imprint, messing up his head."
[.....]
Shaul could not bear the moral erosion he noticed in himself and his comrades: "It starts with little things. At first, you only blindfold real suspects, and in the end you have some teenager who left his house during the curfew sitting next to you blindfolded for 10 hours, and it seems normal to you. A lot of things are done just to demonstrate a presence, to show that the IDF is everywhere at all times. On each patrol, they enter a few houses, put the women and children in one room and the men in another, check documents, turn the house upside down and then leave. There are no terrorists there, no special alerts. It's just done. And then there's the shooting, of course. Hours upon hours of shooting from a heavy machine gun or a grenade launcher, on a residential neighborhood, like Abu Sneina. Do you know what it means to fire grenades into a crowded neighborhood where people live? And for four hours in a row? It's a situation that brings out the insanity in people."

At a fairly early stage of his army service, he considered refusing orders, and for a time, he asked his displeased commanders to assign him guard duty only within the base. After a little while, he decided that he had to change things from the inside and started a course to become a squad commander. "It was a disheartening experience. The kind of people I encountered there made me realize that there was no chance of influencing this system from the inside."

How so?

"There were a lot of people there, the next generation of IDF commanders, who weren't open at all to questions of ethics. For them, the slogan `In war as in war' was a satisfying answer to everything."
[....]
Since the outbreak of the intifada, the public has heard many reports about exchanges of gunfire between Palestinians in the Abu Sneina neighborhood and the IDF posts in the area of the Jewish neighborhood. Shaul explains that in most cases, the soldiers have no idea where the shooting is coming from, and so they developed the concept of iturim - picking out certain buildings that for one reason or another came to be marked as preferred targets for shooting. For example - abandoned buildings, buildings under construction, or buildings that just stuck out, "that we shoot at when they shoot at us."

They shot at you from the buildings?

"From the neighborhood. Most of the time, there's no connection to the buildings. You don't know where they're shooting at you from, but the idea is that there shouldn't be an event without a response, so you respond with a big spray of gunfire. Sometimes they shoot something like four bullets and the IDF, in response, goes at it for four hours."

Always in response to Palestinian gunfire?

"A lot of times, we told ourselves, they'll surely start shooting when it gets dark, at six, so why shouldn't we start shooting at 5:30, to deter them? Or they go up with the armored personnel carriers into Abu Sneina and start to spray the iturim, the selected buildings, from close up. To make a show of presence."

Hurray for Krauthammer and his West Bank wall:

Even more important, [Palestinians] have lost their place at the table. Israel is now defining a new equilibrium that will reign for years to come -- the separation fence is unilaterally drawing the line that separates Israelis and Palestinians. The Palestinians were offered the chance to negotiate that frontier at Camp David and chose war instead. Now they are paying the price.

It stands to reason. It is the height of absurdity to launch a terrorist war against Israel, then demand the right to determine the nature and route of the barrier built to prevent that very terrorism.

These new strategic realities are not just creating a new equilibrium, they are creating the first hope for peace since Arafat officially tore up the Oslo accords four years ago. Once Israel has withdrawn from Gaza and has completed the fence, terrorism as a strategic option will be effectively dead. The only way for the Palestinians to achieve statehood and dignity, and to determine the contours of their own state, will be to negotiate a final peace based on genuine coexistence with a Jewish state.

Oddly enough Israel is still sinking under the same demographic problems it had before: you can't overlay a minority of Jews over a space that holds more Arabs; that is, with the settlements Israel is still entering a minority situation that defies stable democracy, and hence, Hebron.

A couple tidbits about the rearranging of U.S. military forces: it really says something when we are actually pulling people from South Korea to stuff into the war effort. Altogether there are a lot of changes planned in the global military system (make what you will of that Orwellian statement). Base-wise, things are moving around now.

Draft rumors flyin: anything to it? All I know is that we have the notice filling up the draft board with "Oh shit!" written on it in the living room.

The mad Reverend Moon got some attention from the mainstream media for his bizarre peace crowning ceremony where he declared himself the Messiah. I swear, if someone manages to immanetize the eschaton, Moonies will be involved.

PR flacks of the former Clark-Gore schools prepare to defend Mr Moore. (more about flackery) At least Kerry is polling well in the independents.

Why I loathe David Brooks: he is an irritating "scruffy little mascot" of the neo-cons, but I forget who said that.

So let these be the links to chew on. I have more things to figure out Friday. Can't wait for the movie.

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