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Archive for May, 2004

Pinochet. And Me. And Abu Ghraib.

Sunday, May 30th, 2004

Great news hearing this weekend that former dictator Augusto Pinochet has been stripped of his immunity by a Chilean appeals court. The 88 year-old former military dictator was narrowly spared a certain prison sentence a few years back when another court ruled he was too infirm to stand trial on murder indictments. Pinochet may once […]

Gone Fishin’

Saturday, May 29th, 2004

In Baja. Light posting (in case you haven’t already noticed) until Memorial Day weekend subsides.

Analyzing Bush

Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

Or at least analyzing the president’s Iraq speech this week. Here’s my latest L.A. Weekly column just posted.

A Liberal Nightmare: Moderate Republicans

Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

Radical right-wing Republicans are good for business””especially if your business is being an Official Liberal. Look no further than The Nation magazine whose circulation now hovers at an all-time high of 160,000. That’s more than twice that of its long time and more moderate rival The New Republic and almost three times the size of […]

Bush On War: What Me Worry?

Tuesday, May 25th, 2004

Will Saletan of Slate offers a mordant take on Bush’s Monday night speech on Iraq. Bush fails to see his own error-filled role in shaping recent history, Saletan says. And blind to the past, he says, Bush can hardly see the way forward: Bush’s ignorance of his part in the tragedy infects everything he says. […]

Rapid Response to Bush Speech: Ker-plunk!

Monday, May 24th, 2004

I’ll be looking at Bush’s Iraq policy in depth later this week. My rapid response to his first of five major speeches on the subject tonight is”¦ in one word”¦ ker-plunk! I heard nothing that will significantly shift the devastating poll numbers that came in over the last 24 hours. The CBS News Poll: Bush’s […]

Two Friends Write…

Sunday, May 23rd, 2004

Two must-read pieces today from two friends of mine. Journalist and old buddy Frank Smyth was arrested by Saddam’s regime in 1991 and tossed into Abu Ghraib prison. Some of us gave him up for dead and even started putting together a scholarship fund in his name. Frank, fortunately, survived to tell the tale. In […]

New Report: Top Brass “Present” At Abuse

Saturday, May 22nd, 2004

Bad News for the Big Brass. This breaking news just in from the A lawyer for one of the soldiers accused in the Iraq prison abuse scandal testified that an officer at Abu Ghraib said the top-ranking U.S. Army General in Iraq was present during some “interrogations and/or allegations” of the prisoner abuse. The […]

Torture Coverage: The Chuck Norris Backlash

Saturday, May 22nd, 2004

The backlash has begun. Now that there are fresh reports of prisoner deaths while in U.S. custody and as the WaPo has secured scores of new prison abuse photos, some videos and new sworn testimony from victims detailing sodomy, ritualized religious desecration and sexual humiliation inside Abu Ghraib, there’s a rising chorus from the Right […]

The Soprano-Bush Axis: Chalabi? You Won’t See Him No More

Friday, May 21st, 2004

With barely two weeks left in The Sopranos fifth season, it’s now an even money bet. Does the Tony Soprano-Johnny Sack alliance destroy itself in internal warfare before the Bush operation does? Just as sure as Tony’s 21-minute onscreen reverie last Sunday meant that he now has no choice but to whack butt-buddy cousin Blundetto, […]

Why NOT John McCain?

Wednesday, May 19th, 2004

My latest column out tonight for L.A. Weekly. Why NOT John McCain? By Marc Cooper The Abu Ghraib prison scandal threatens to become another Watergate. George W. Bush’s approval ratings are nosediving. A huge majority thinks America is on the “wrong track,” and an almost equal number think the war’s being mismanaged. But John Kerry […]

From Baghdad: “Total Indifference” over Rummy’s Fate

Tuesday, May 18th, 2004

“Nobody in Iraq gives a tinker’s damn whether or not the U.S. Secretary of Defense gets fired,” says Tish Durkin in a wonderfully-worded piece written from ground level in Baghdad for The New York Observer. “For purposes of comparing the outrage here with the outrage back home, perhaps the most striking of the Iraqi themes […]

Powell on WMD’s: “Deliberately Misleading”

Monday, May 17th, 2004

All the hullabaloo over the dolt on Colin Powell’s staff who tried to short-circuit some tough questioning on yesterday’s Meet The Press has obscured the real bombshell to come out of the Secretary of State’s colloquy with Tim Russert. Sounding like a Kennedy Democrat, Powell admitted the administration’s WMD case for invading Iraq was not […]

JAG’s. And JAG-Offs.

Monday, May 17th, 2004

So, maybe you don’t trust Seymour Hersh. He’s too liberal for you? His latest story (see yesterday’s posting) claiming that the Iraqi prisoner abuse has direct roots in a Rumsfeld-managed policy seem fishy to you? Well, then, here’s two more stolid sources that have equally damning tales to tell. ABC News reports that the U.S. […]

SecDef Death Watch (Chapter 2)

Saturday, May 15th, 2004

Seymour Hersh’s third installment on the Iraqi prison torture story is out today. And it’s more bad news for Rumsfeld. And for General Richard Myers. And for General Geoffrey Miller, camp leader at Abu Ghraib. The story also focuses on the noxious role played by Rummy’s Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Stephen Cambone, who entertained […]


Friday, May 14th, 2004

Information penetrates in direct inverse proportion to its predictability. In that spirit, I share with you two challenging, contrarian pieces. Both are from leftists””Jose Ramos-Horta and Ian Williams. Both boldly depart from accepted dogma. Ramos-Horta, winner of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize is the foreign minister for the tiny nation of East Timor. He writes […]

Barking Dogs

Friday, May 14th, 2004

NBC News has secured this exclusive photo from inside Abu Ghraib prison that suggests that the Military Police were, indeed, being “run” by Military Intelligence. The photograph was taken during the interrogation of several Iraqi prisoners who are seen naked in a heap on the floor. The soldiers numbered as 4,5,7, and 8 are identified […]

“Water Boarding,” “Camp Redemption” And Other Idyllic Thoughts

Thursday, May 13th, 2004

I got a good laugh driving back from Nevada this afternoon and listening to Hardball on satellite radio as Chris Mathews described Don Rumsfeld’s and General Dick Myers’ photo-op trip to Iraq as a replay of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in The Road to Baghdad. No dummy that Rummy. He spent a grand total […]

Justifying Torture

Wednesday, May 12th, 2004

The web-broadcast beheading of Nicholas Berg has led some to conclude that — by contrast””what happened at Abu Ghraib wasn’t so bad. They are half right. The torture (or in RummySpeak the “stress positions”) inflicted by U.S. troops indeed pales against the barbarity of the beheaders. But it was, nevertheless, torture. What we’ve heard today […]

‘Army Times:’ Dump Rummy; CBS Airs First Abuse Video Weds Nite

Tuesday, May 11th, 2004

FLASH”¦ CBS News 60 Minutes II will air the first of the rumored Iraqi prisoner abuse videos on Wednesday night. Says Reuters: “An American soldier’s video diary showing her disdain for Iraqi detainees who died in her charge [my emph.] is to be broadcast by a U.S. network on Wednesday in a further escalation of […]