Reaching out to the Sunni Arab community, Iraqi leaders called for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces and said Iraq's opposition had a "legitimate right" of resistance.
The communique -- finalized by Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni leaders Monday -- condemned terrorism but was a clear acknowledgment of the Sunni position that insurgents should not be labeled as terrorists if their operations do not target innocent civilians or institutions designed to provide for the welfare of Iraqi citizens.
The leaders agreed on "calling for the withdrawal of foreign troops according to a timetable, through putting in place an immediate national program to rebuild the armed forces ... control the borders and the security situation" and end terror attacks.
Now, I'm not certain that Republicans will want to spin THIS as a call for an immediate withdrawl (as is they're want to do these days) but it would be funny if they did. Also, I note that President Bush is always saying to Democrats that setting up a timetable would amount to capitulation, and give the enemy a false sense of hope, and a timeline for increased violence. What does he do now when the Iraqis themselves want a timetable? It'll be interesting to see.
So, democracy continues to blossom in Iraq... unless you ask the 80% of Iraqis who want the U.S. to leave. Then again, I suppose in Middle Eastern "democracies" (outside of Israel) 80% just isn't that convincing of a majority.
It's also interesting that the Iraqis want to stop labelling insurgents who aren't attacking civilians or "institutions designed to provide for the welfare of Iraqi citizens" as "terrorists". I too find it interesting that people tend to use "insurgent" and "terrorist" as though they were synonymous terms these days, as though the definition of words didn't matter. Not that it will change Western coverage of the war, but it's interesting to see that the Iraqis are concerned about this blurring of definitions too. They came a heck of a lot closer than I would have ever thought they would to saying that resisting the occupation is legitimate, as long as you don't use "terrorist" tactics. Maybe everyone who says the Iraqi government isn't legitimate, and is just a puppet regime for the Americans is wrong. 'Cause I'm pretty sure talk like this didn't get vetted by the Bush administration.
This is fascinating too:
The final communique also stressed participants' commitment to Iraq's unity and called for the release of all "innocent detainees" who have not been convicted by courts. It asked that allegations of torture against prisoners be investigated and those responsible be held accountable.
The statement also demanded "an immediate end to arbitrary raids and arrests without a documented judicial order."
Wow. Good luck getting the Americans on board with all of that!
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Well, you'd expect this to be coming from the "far left" but once your own Secratary of State's former Chief of Staff starts using the T-word, you should be worried no? (especially if a leading member of your own party is out there trying to ban torture, and your response is to threaten to veto his bill....)
Retired U.S. Army Col. Larry Wilkerson, who served as former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, told CNN that the practice of torture may be continuing in U.S.-run facilities.
"There's no question in my mind that we did. There's no question in my mind that we may be still doing it," Wilkerson said on CNN's "Late Edition."
"There's no question in my mind where the philosophical guidance and the flexibility in order to do so originated -- in the vice president of the United States' office," he said. "His implementer in this case was [Defense Secretary] Donald Rumsfeld and the Defense Department."
At another point in the interview, Wilkerson said "the vice president had to cover this in order for it to happen and in order for Secretary Rumsfeld to feel as though he had freedom of action."
Bad couple of weeks for the administration. The existence of secret U.S. prisons in Eastern Europe is leaked, the Murtha fiasco blows up in the GOP's face, and everywhere I look on the news tonight there are stories about those secret CIA jetstreams, and prisoners being flown to Egypt and Syria (gee, I wonder why...). Conspiracy nuts must be losing it. Everything they've ever dreamed up is showing up on CNN! Heads up everybody. That crazy guy down the street who thinks the CIA's after him? Keep your distance. You don't want to be around when they grab him.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
I'm very confused, and I need someone to explain some things to me.
Were the Tories telling the truth when they said in the Spring that it was uconscionable that the NDP would support the corrupt, criminal Liberals just because they agreed with the government's spending priorities, or are they telling the truth now, when they say that it's important that they support the corrupt, criminal Liberals because they agree with the government's spending priorities (or is it just that NDP support is bribe-taking insanity and Tory support is prudent parliamentary manouvering and I should just accept that? Tories good, NDP bad, and that's it?). And does it change your view at all that the NDP propped up the government BEFORE Gomery 1, and the Tories are doing it AFTER Gomery 1?
Were the Tories and their supporters telling the truth when they said that Canadians wouldn't mind a Christmas election, or should I believe their ACTIONS (as they scramble around trying ever so hard to avoid being seen forcing a Christmas election)?
Should I believe the conservatives who told me yesterday that Goodale's budget plan was terrible, and a naked attempt to bribe the voters of Canada, or should I believe the conservatives who are today telling me that they're glad the Liberals have "adopted the Conservative agenda" and that the Tories intend to support Goodale's plan? Is the plan evil corrupt Liberal criminality, or stolen Tory policy (or do you believe the Tories have had an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" moment and that corrupt vote buying simply IS Tory policy now?).
Are the Liberals so far gone that the opposition should do everything in their power to bring them down at the "earliest possible opportunity", or not? You can spend an entire summer telling anyone who'll listen that your opponents are pond scum, and that they've lost the moral authority to govern, but as far as I'm concerned, if you believe a party has lost the moral authority to govern (and that they are corrupt and criminal - Harper's two favourite words) then you're morally obliged to bring them down whenever you have the chance. If you don't, I don't see how you can continue to claim that they have no moral authority to govern, after voting with them and continuing to keep their moral authorityless asses in power. Saying a party has no moral authority to govern is one thing. SUPPORTING a government you say has no moral authority to govern (for ANY reason) now that I don't get. (unless you were lying to me, and you don't believe they've lost the moral authority to govern, in which case..... uhmmmm, OK.)
My head is spinning so fast from the opposition manouvering that the Liberals are actually starting to look STABLE.
At this point, I'm not even sure what party Stephen Harper and Jack Layton each want me to vote for anymore. And I'm not at all confident that either of them could explain it to me.
Some higher force seems to be protecting Martin and the Liberals. With all they've done (and failed to do) only an opposition this incompetent could make the Liberlas look good.
Congrats Jack and Stephen! You're pulling off the impossible!
Monday, November 14, 2005
So, apparently (they were just discussing this on CTV Newsnet) Ralph Goodale will not just announce planned tax cuts today, but the government is going to bring forth an actual bill announcing some new tax cuts (retroactive to Jan. 2005 as well) that would apparently come up for a vote sometime BEFORE the next opposition days.
So I guess the opposition will have to vote against tax cuts for Canadians, or alternatively vote WITH the government on a confidence matter, immediately before voting AGAINST the government in a confidence matter.
This should be fun to watch.
More details to follow, no doubt...
Saturday, November 12, 2005
"I don't believe for a moment that the Conservative Party of Canada has a hidden agenda".
"I don't want the Conservative Party of Canada to form the next government".
So tell me everyone, are these two statements mutually exclusive? No? Because every time I reiterate my intention to try to keep the Tories out of power, I am assailed by conservatives for being a (stupid, or corrupt, or lazy... take your pick of insult) Ontario voter who has fallen for the "hidden agenda" clap-trap. After all, why would anyone who wasn't corrupt (or stupid) vote Liberal? My answer? To keep Stephen Harper from becoming Prime Minister.
Are Tory supporters so convinced that they are right that they can't even fathom someone disagreeing with their policies? Do they really believe that no one would ever vote against Harper, unless they were bribed, or were just too stupid to know any better?
I never fell for the idea that the Tories had some devious, neanderthal "hidden agenda". In fact, I railed against such a silly idea. But the reason I railled against it was mostly because I believe that their ACTUAL agenda is bad enough for me. Not only did I not fall for the hidden agenda line, it was completely wasted on me. I for one am perfectly clear about what the CPC's agenda is, and I don't like it. So just what am I supposed to do?
I think I'm your typical Ontario voter, which means everyone should want my vote. But all I ever hear Harper say is that he just can't fathom why anyone would vote Liberal. He's not particularly intersested, sofar as I can see, in convincing me to vote for him, as he is in chastizing me for not voting for him. So I'd like to hear from some Blogging Tories (and everyone else who'd like to comment) about just what they expect a Canadian who thinks the Liberal party has moved too far to the right to do. I'll probably end up voting NDP, but I must say, I'll be sickened if Harper becomes Prime Minister, and if that DOES happen, I'll probably spend the entire mandate of a CPC minority government feeling guilty about not voting Liberal. And I won't be alone. Which makes me wonder how all of those like me will vote in the next election after that (Liberal landslide anyone?).
Anyway. I'm sick of being called corrupt or stupid for not supporting the CPC, and I've come to believe that the only political myth in Canada bigger than the idea that the Tories have a "hidden agenda" is the Tories' delusion that fear of a "hidden agenda" is the only thing keeping them from making ground in Ontario. I think I know what the CPC stands for, and I think I know what Harper believes (he thinks the Liberals are corrupt... right?) and it's that ACTUAL agenda that I find distasteful. And yet Tories still seem to believe that I should ignore the fact that their party will move the country in the exact OPPOSITE direction to the one I want the country to go in, just because some members of the Liberal party of Canada have been found to be corrupt. To me, that just doesn't make sense.