Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Worth checking out

There's a lot of stuff worth checking out below. For the sake of time, it's easiest for me to compile it in a single post.

* The NY Times reports on the latest developments in the Rove/Plame case following Matt Cooper's testimonial in this week's Time magazine, notably Bush's "moving of the goalposts."

* Additionally, the LA Times points out that Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, is a main focus of Fitzgerald's investigation and the WSJ is running a story quoting a source familiar with the June 2003 State Department memo that revealed Plame's identity. Trouble is, for the Bushies, the memo makes clear that information contained within was not to be shared. As the Journal reports, these "details are significant because they will make it harder for officials who saw the document to claim that they didn't realize the identity of the CIA officer was a sensitive matter. Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, may also be looking at whether other crimes -- such as perjury, obstruction of justice or leaking classified information -- were committed."

* In accord with recent wake-up calls from Frank Rich and even Justin Raimondo, Jim Lobe sees the emerging Plamegate scandal as important because of its relation to the Iraq war. "The case," Lobe writes, "may also prove to be one more string -- albeit a very central one -- that, if pulled with sufficient determination, could well unravel a very tangled ball of yarn, and one that would confirm recent revelations in the British press -- the so-called Downing Street memo -- that the Bush administration was 'fixing the facts' about the alleged threat posed by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in order to grease the rails to war." See also: Bush's Brain author James Moore on "Why Karl Rove Will Never Go" and Billmon's announcement, "Here Comes the Cavalry."

* A joint survey conducted by the Iraq Body Count and the Oxford Research Group, based on an evaluation of media reports, accounts for 25k deaths in Iraq from the war. Moreover, responsibility for the deaths broke down this way: 37% from the US military; 9% from the insurgency; and 36% from criminal violence. This figure is rather conservative, and follows previous casualty estimates noted recently on this blog.

* Following up on that LA Times investigation of a few weeks ago, Barbara Bedway examines why graphic images from the Iraq war remain out of view in American newspapers.

* "If the prerequisites for US military withdrawal from Iraq are the building of an effective fighting force and the Iraqis being capable of defending themselves," reports the Guardian's Ghaith Abdul-Ahad after spending two weeks with Iraqi forces, "American troops may be here for a long, long time. What I saw of the Iraqi forces on the ground was sobering."

* Mike Whitney declares, "We know the root of terrorism now; the secret has been divulged. Robert Pape has done an exhaustive study that provides scientifically-researched answers to all the critical questions surrounding suicide bombers. His findings are more important to antiwar activists than the contents of the Downing Street memo."

* Seymour Hersh was interviewed on Democracy Now! about his latest New Yorker piece on American manipulation of Iraq's elections. Worth a gander.

* Mark Sappenfield of the CS Monitor has an interesting report on the American south and midwest's prominent role feeding the US military.

* Writing for Le Monde diplomatique, Gilbert Achcar describes the convenient conjunction of recent events in the Middle East that some have branded an "Arab spring." In the face of these developments, Achcar notes, "Many former critics of George Bush have seized the opportunity to admit the error of their ways and acknowledge that his policies produced positive results after all. His longstanding supporters made no secret of their satisfaction, nor did Bush and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice. Unfortunately," he adds, "several stubborn facts contradict the overall impression."

* Two new books out on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict are sure to provoke. Read brief reviews of Jacqueline Rose's The Question of Zion and Virginia Tilley's The One-State Solution.

* While the LA Times runs a lengthy feature on China's emergence as a major player in the global energy equation, Knight Ridder's Tim Johnson reports on China's general rise as a 21st century juggernaut. See also, from earlier: Ted Fishman's NYT Magazine essay on "The Chinese Century."

* "During the cold war, as the Soviet economic system slowly unraveled, internal reform was impossible because highly placed officials who recognized the systemic disorders could not talk about them honestly. The United States is now in an equivalent predicament. Its weakening position in the global trading system is obvious and ominous, yet leaders in politics, business, finance and the news media are not willing to discuss candidly what is happening and why," warns William Greider in the NY Times, with an implicit nod to China's trade dominance.

* FPIF has two articles that give good background on recent developments in Bolivia.

* Naomi Klein looks back on Aristide's ouster from Haiti in her Nation column. She quotes the deposed President on the reasons for his "dramatic falling-out with Washington," citing three: "privatization, privatization and privatization."

* War in Context rounds up the latest news on the London bombings.

* Channeling that lovable scamp Rich Lowry, Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado is floating the idea of "bombing Mecca" as the "ultimate response" to a catastrophic terrorist attack on the United States.

* In what is a very significant change in policy, the Bush administration struck an agreement yesterday to share nuclear technology with India. See further analysis of this news from Siddharth Srivastava.

* A pretty strong piece by Ed Herman that appeared around the 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre has triggered an interesting debate over at ZNet.

* Mike Davis, the excellent urban historian, has an incisive essay on Dubai's positioning for the 21st century as the "apotheosis of neo-liberal values" for TomDispatch.

* Meet Alan Dershowitz and Tom Friedman, two alleged "liberals" who are about as despicable as they come.

* In a wide-ranging piece for The Nation that tries to lay out a new vision for the Democratic party, Sherle R. Schweeniger writes, "In his New Republic essay, Peter Beinart argues that the Democratic Party faces a choice similar to the one it made in 1947-48, when Harry Truman and other party leaders took a tough and uncompromising posture toward Soviet Communism. But we can learn more from the twenty-year crisis from 1919 to 1939, whose conditions bear an eerie resemblance to the challenges today."

* Neocons and Greens -- perfect together?