Saturday, November 10, 2007

Mas linkage

Still busy and preoccupied. Once things abate, I'll resume individual posting. But for now, a link dump.

* Although 2007 is on track to be the deadliest year for US soldiers in Iraq thus far, the death toll currently for both US soldiers and Iraqi civilians is at a relatively low ebb. (How much this lull can be chalked up to ethnic cleansing or other dour markers is usually left unsaid, particularly when the "surge" is the politically-desired causal factor.)

* Meanwhile, the US military claims the number of recent airstrikes are down, while the Iraqi government boasts of thousands of returning refugees. To further cloud the picture, the Iraqi Red Crescent reports that nearly 370K Iraqis (!) were displaced from their homes in September alone, an amazingly stark departure from the past ~year's already grim average of 50-60K per month. Oh, and word comes that more than half of the Christians in Iraq have fled the country since the war began.

* A daunting hurdle for the US in Iraq: how to extend the UN's mandate, against Iraqi wishes. But as long as the booty is kept in our hands, we're good. Disaster will have been averted.

* Is the U.S. Committing Genocide in Iraq? As A.K. Gupta argues, the answer depends on how the question is framed, really.

* "Curveball" is back in the news, his real identity exposed. The tales spun by he and the tortured al Libi did indeed help sell the Iraq war, although, again, their "intelligence" merely provided cover for a policy long desired. Ya know, like what we're seeing with Iran.

* See further background via IPS on speculation over Israel's bombing of Syria and an important, generally ignored subtext: "The air strike unequivocally shows that the U.S. and Israel have decided to circumvent the U.N.'s monitoring of nuclear proliferation situations in the Middle East."

* Jim Lobe updates his earlier speculation about the fate of the "Irbil 5," largely in response to this news.

* Poor Bush. So many other crises afoot. Also see: Nuclear risks and nuclear realities.

* It's utterly revolting what Israel can get away with in the occupied territories, as Stephen Lendman points out. A "third intifada" is practically inevitable, at this point.

* As the sun rises, West Bank settlements are ever expanding.

* Jim Lobe: "Global climate change, if left unaddressed, is likely to pose 'as a great or a greater foreign policy and national security challenge than any problem' the United States currently faces, according to a major new report released here Monday by two influential Washington think tanks."

* James Lovelock, always the purveyor of Happy Thoughts.

* Tina Rosenberg goes to gets schooled on Venezuela's oil situation.

* See Bill Blum on those damn Cubans, et al.

* Joseph Stiglitz: The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush. (Not pretty)

* 7 Countries Considering Abandoning the US Dollar (and what it means).

* In America, sadly, we usually don't get beyond "Chapter one of the trade textbook."

* The U.S. Is Unhappy with Its Health Care. No kidding. Too bad biotech, big pharma, and the insurance lobbies don't give a shit. And, thus, your elected reps don't give a shit, either.

* Jon Letman offers a nice profile of Dahr Jamail on the eve of the release of his new book. Also check Jamail's brief retrospective about his Fallujah experience in the New Statesman.

* I *heart* Alan Dershowitz. Impenetrable arguments and logic, he deploys. Nazis are definitely where we should look for inspiration, especially in those situations where everyday terrorist logic will not work.

* That Clarence Thomas is, for lack of a better word, an interesting fellow. Ahem.

* Ron Paul has some admirable qualities, particularly when it comes to his consistency on Iraq and foreign policy buccaneering. Unfortunately, he has a lot of other baggage that makes him far less appealing.

* God, Slavoj Žižek is such a party pooper. He has to be annoying and remind us that, no matter how much we try to convince ourselves otherwise, avoidance of The State is simply that -- avoidance. It is definitely not effective opposition, no matter how "transgressive" our actions may appear to be.

* Susan Faludi explains why Hillary needs to wear pants. So to speak.

* The usual feckless Dems. (BTW, when did fecklessness become such a convenient cover for bankruptcy?)