Monday, May 22, 2006

Really, who picked out that tie?

John Bolton, he of the mustache, said that America’s decision to come to terms with Libya was a subtle hint to Iran that if they just do what we tell them to do, “their regime can stay in place”.

When Tony Blair made his ever-so-secret trip to Iraq today, PM Maliki stood next to him and announced that British troops would be leaving two provinces next month, and that Iraqi troops will be in complete charge of all the provinces except Anbar and Baghdad by the end of the year. Of course this won’t happen, and Americans keep saying such decisions will be “conditions-based,” as did Blair, who said there was no timetable. I wonder who gets to break the news to Maliki that it’s not actually a decision he or any other Iraqi will be making.

Is that the tie you’d choose for a trip to a war zone?

Ah, it matches the carpet, so to speak.

The Iraqi government I keep hearing described bears little resemblance to the one that actually exists. Blair said it was “directly elected by the votes of millions of Iraqi people.” A directly elected government would have taken office immediately after the elections, not after five months of haggling. Bush said today, “Although Iraq’s new leaders come from many different ethnic and religious communities, they’ve made clear they will govern as Iraqis.” Again, five months of haggling about which sects would get which ministries.

Blair says that with this directly elected government, “There is now no excuse for people to carry on with terrorism and bloodshed.” So he thought there was an excuse up until now?

The US heavily bombed the small Afghan town of Azizi, killing, it claims with no plausibility whatsoever, 80 Taliban fighters and maybe one or two civilians. The US position is the usual “How dare they hide behind civilians” crap – Maj. John Yonts (a Dr. Seuss name if ever I heard one) said the rebel leaders were “responsible for the deaths of those women and children” killed by American bombs. In fact, the Taliban were in a madrassa which was bombed (it was nighttime so I assume it was otherwise unoccupied); they then ran out of it and into other houses, which were then bombed. What else would you expect them to do? Stand in the middle of an open field, waving their arms? The villagers, the London Times reports, take a different view from Yonts and blame the people with the airplanes. You can blame the Taliban tactics all you like, and of course they were risking the lives of those villagers, but the Americans chose to bomb civilian houses at night, being more interested in killing Taliban than in not killing civilians.

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