“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, March 07, 2013

The Madness of King George Bush - Not to put too fine a point on it, but the invasion of Iraq turned out to be a joke. Not for the Iraqis, of course, and not for American soldiers, and not the ha-ha sort of joke either. And here’s the saddest truth of all: on March 20th as we mark the 10th anniversary of the invasion from hell, we still don’t get it.

Posted by Peter Van Buren at 8:15AM, March 07, 2013.
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We don’t get it.  We really don’t.  We may not, in military terms, know how to win any more, but as a society we don’t get losing either.  We don’t recognize it, even when it’s staring us in the face, when nothing -- and I mean nothing -- works out as planned. Take the upcoming 10th anniversary of George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq as Exhibit A. You could describe what happened in that country as an unmitigated disaster -- from the moment, in April 2003, U.S. troops first entered a Baghdad in flames and being looted (“stuff happens”) and were assigned to guard only the Interior Ministry (i.e. the secret police) and the Oil Ministry (well, you know what that is) to the moment in December 2011 when the last American combat unit slipped out of that land in the dead of the night (after lying to Iraqi colleagues about what they were doing).
As it happened, the country that we were going to garrison for a lifetime (to the thankful cheers of its inhabitants) while we imposed a Pax Americana on the rest of the region didn’t want us.  The government we essentially installed chose Iran as an ally and business partner.  The permanent bases we built to the tune of billions of dollars are now largely looted ghost towns.  The reconstruction of the country that we promoted proved worse than farcical, as former State Department official Peter Van Buren, author of the already classic book We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, reminds us.  And an outfit proudly carrying the al-Qaeda brand name, which did not exist in Iraq before our invasion, is now thriving in a still destabilized country.  Consider that just the start of a much longer list.
For Americans, however, a single issue overwhelms all of the above, one so monumental that we can’t keep our minds off it or on much of anything else when it comes to Iraq.  I’m talking, of course, about “the surge,” those five brigades of extra combat troops that, in 2006, a desperate president decided to send into an occupied country collapsing in a maelstrom of insurgency and sectarian civil war.  Admittedly, General David Petraeus, who led that surge, would later experience a farcical disaster of his own and is in retirement after going “all in” with his biographer.  Still, as we learned in the Senate hearings on Chuck Hagel’s nomination as Pentagon chief, the question -- the litmus test when it comes to Iraq -- remains: Was the surge strategy he implemented a remarkable success or just a simple, straightforward success in essentially buying off the Sunni opposition and, for a period, giving the country a veneer of relative -- extremely relative -- calm?  Was it responsible for allowing us to leave behind a shattered Iraq (and all of Washington’s shattered imperial dreams) with, as President Obama put it, our “heads held high”? Oh, and lest you think that only right-wing Republicans and the rest of the crew that once cheered us into Iraq and refused to face what was happening while we were there find the surge the ultimate measure of our stay, check out Tom Powers’s recent admiring portrait of the surge general in the New York Review of Books.
Here’s at least one explanation for our inability to look defeat in the face and recognize it for what it is: like the proverbial horseman who prefers not to change mounts in midstream, we have an aversion to changing experts in mid-disaster, even when those experts have batting averages for pure wrongness that should stagger the imagination.  In fact, you could say that the more deeply, incontrovertibly, disastrously wrong you were about Iraq, the more likely the media was in the years after, on one disaster “anniversary” after another, to call on you for your opinion.  At the fifth anniversary of the invasion, for example, the New York Times rounded up a range of "experts on military and foreign affairs" to look back.  Six of them had been intimately involved in the catastrophe either as drumbeaters for the invasion, instigators of it, or facilitators of the occupation that followed. Somehow, that paper could not dig up a single expert who had actually opposed the invasion.
In other words, we’re talking here about a country that, for wisdom, regularly consults the walking dead, the zombies of our Iraq experience. And don’t think that, in the coming days, some of them won’t be back again to offer their balanced thoughts on what it all meant.  Only one kind of expert has been noticeably missing all these years in the mainstream media when it comes to assessing our Iraq experience: those benighted, misguided types in their millions who, before March 2003, were foolish enough to go out into the streets of global cities and oppose the invasion entirely.
To inoculate you against the coverage in the anniversary week to come, and against the spirit of our American times, TomDispatch offers Peter Van Buren, who had a ringside seat at part of our Iraqi follies, on what these 10 years from hell actually meant for us as well as others. Tom
Mission Unaccomplished

Why the Invasion of Iraq Was the Single Worst Foreign Policy Decision in American History

I was there. And “there” was nowhere. And nowhere was the place to be if you wanted to see the signs of end times for the American Empire up close. It was the place to be if you wanted to see the madness -- and oh yes, it was madness -- not filtered through a complacent and sleepy media that made Washington’s war policy seem, if not sensible, at least sane and serious enough. I stood at Ground Zero of what was intended to be the new centerpiece for a Pax Americana in the Greater Middle East.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the invasion of Iraq turned out to be a joke. Not for the Iraqis, of course, and not for American soldiers, and not the ha-ha sort of joke either. And here’s the saddest truth of all: on March 20th as we mark the 10th anniversary of the invasion from hell, we still don’t get it. In case you want to jump to the punch line, though, it’s this: by invading Iraq, the U.S. did more to destabilize the Middle East than we could possibly have imagined at the time. And we -- and so many others -- will pay the price for it for a long, long time.
The Madness of King George
It’s easy to forget just how normal the madness looked back then. By 2009, when I arrived in Iraq, we were already at the last-gasp moment when it came to salvaging something from what may yet be seen as the single worst foreign policy decision in American history. It was then that, as a State Department officer assigned to lead two provincial reconstruction teams in eastern Iraq, I first walked into the chicken processing plant in the middle of nowhere.
By then, the U.S. “reconstruction” plan for that country was drowning in rivers of money foolishly spent. As the centerpiece for those American efforts -- at least after Plan A, that our invading troops would be greeted with flowers and sweets as liberators, crashed and burned -- we had managed to reconstruct nothing of significance. First conceived as a Marshall Plan for the New American Century, six long years later it had devolved into farce.
In my act of the play, the U.S. spent some $2.2 million dollars to build a huge facility in the boondocks. Ignoring the stark reality that Iraqis had raised and sold chickens locally for some 2,000 years, the U.S. decided to finance the construction of a central processing facility, have the Iraqis running the plant purchase local chickens, pluck them and slice them up with complex machinery brought in from Chicago, package the breasts and wings in plastic wrap, and then truck it all to local grocery stores. Perhaps it was the desert heat, but this made sense at the time, and the plan was supported by the Army, the State Department, and the White House.

Elegant in conception, at least to us, it failed to account for a few simple things, like a lack of regular electricity, or logistics systems to bring the chickens to and from the plant, or working capital, or... um... grocery stores. As a result, the gleaming $2.2 million plant processed no chickens. To use a few of the catchwords of that moment, it transformed nothing, empowered no one, stabilized and economically uplifted not a single Iraqi. It just sat there empty, dark, and unused in the middle of the desert. Like the chickens, we were plucked.
In keeping with the madness of the times, however, the simple fact that the plant failed to meet any of its real-world goals did not mean the project wasn't a success. In fact, the factory was a hit with the U.S. media. After all, for every propaganda-driven visit to the plant, my group stocked the place with hastily purchased chickens, geared up the machinery, and put on a dog-and-pony, er, chicken-and-rooster, show.
In the dark humor of that moment, we christened the place the Potemkin Chicken Factory. In between media and VIP visits, it sat in the dark, only to rise with the rooster’s cry each morning some camera crew came out for a visit. Our factory was thus considered a great success. Robert Ford, then at the Baghdad Embassy and now America's rugged shadow ambassador to Syria, said his visit was the best day out he enjoyed in Iraq. General Ray Odierno, then commanding all U.S. forces in Iraq, sent bloggers and camp followers to view the victory project. Some of the propaganda, which proclaimed that “teaching Iraqis methods to flourish on their own gives them the ability to provide their own stability without needing to rely on Americans,” is still online (including this charming image of American-Iraqi mentorship, a particular favorite of mine).
We weren’t stupid, mind you. In fact, we all felt smart and clever enough to learn to look the other way. The chicken plant was a funny story at first, a kind of insider’s joke you all think you know the punch line to. Hey, we wasted some money, but $2.2 million was a small amount in a war whose costs will someday be toted up in the trillions. Really, at the end of the day, what was the harm?
The harm was this: we wanted to leave Iraq (and Afghanistan) stable to advance American goals. We did so by spending our time and money on obviously pointless things, while most Iraqis lacked access to clean water, regular electricity, and medical or hospital care. Another State Department official in Iraq wrote in his weekly summary to me, “At our project ribbon-cuttings we are typically greeted now with a cursory ‘thank you,’ followed by a long list of crushing needs for essential services such as water and power.” How could we help stabilize Iraq when we acted like buffoons? As one Iraqi told me, “It is like I am standing naked in a room with a big hat on my head. Everyone comes in and helps put flowers and ribbons on my hat, but no one seems to notice that I am naked.”
By 2009, of course, it should all have been so obvious. We were no longer inside the neocon dream of unrivaled global superpowerdom, just mired in what happened to it. We were a chicken factory in the desert that no one wanted.
Time Travel to 2003
Anniversaries are times for reflection, in part because it’s often only with hindsight that we recognize the most significant moments in our lives. On the other hand, on anniversaries it’s often hard to remember what it was really like back when it all began. Amid the chaos of the Middle East today, it’s easy, for instance, to forget what things looked like as 2003 began. Afghanistan, it appeared, had been invaded and occupied quickly and cleanly, in a way the Soviets (the British, the ancient Greeks…) could never have dreamed of. Iran was frightened, seeing the mighty American military on its eastern border and soon to be on the western one as well, and was ready to deal. Syria was controlled by the stable thuggery of Bashar al-Assad and relations were so good that the U.S. was rendering terror suspects to his secret prisons for torture.
Most of the rest of the Middle East was tucked in for a long sleep with dictators reliable enough to maintain stability. Libya was an exception, though predictions were that before too long Muammar Qaddafi would make some sort of deal. (He did.) All that was needed was a quick slash into Iraq to establish a permanent American military presence in the heart of Mesopotamia. Our future garrisons there could obviously oversee things, providing the necessary muscle to swat down any future destabilizing elements. It all made so much sense to the neocon visionaries of the early Bush years. The only thing that Washington couldn’t imagine was this: that the primary destabilizing element would be us.
Indeed, its mighty plan was disintegrating even as it was being dreamed up. In their lust for everything on no terms but their own, the Bush team missed a diplomatic opportunity with Iran that might have rendered today’s saber rattling unnecessary, even as Afghanistan fell apart and Iraq imploded. As part of the breakdown, desperate men, blindsided by history, turned up the volume on desperate measures: torture, secret gulags, rendition, drone killings, extra-constitutional actions at home. The sleaziest of deals were cut to try to salvage something, including ignoring the A.Q. Khan network of Pakistani nuclear proliferation in return for a cheesy Condi Rice-Qaddafi photo-op rapprochement in Libya.
Inside Iraq, the forces of Sunni-Shia sectarian conflict had been unleashed by the U.S. invasion. That, in turn, was creating the conditions for a proxy war between the U.S. and Iran, similar to the growing proxy war between Israel and Iran inside Lebanon (where another destabilizing event, the U.S.-sanctioned Israeli invasion of 2006, followed in hand). None of this has ever ended. Today, in fact, that proxy war has simply found a fresh host, Syria, with multiple powers using “humanitarian aid” to push and shove their Sunni and Shia avatars around.
Staggering neocon expectations, Iran emerged from the U.S. decade in Iraq economically more powerful, with sanctions-busting trade between the two neighbors now valued at some $5 billion a year and still growing. In that decade, the U.S. also managed to remove one of Iran’s strategic counterbalances, Saddam Hussein, replacing him with a government run by Nouri al-Malaki, who had once found asylum in Tehran.
Meanwhile, Turkey is now engaged in an open war with the Kurds of northern Iraq. Turkey is, of course, part of NATO, so imagine the U.S. government sitting by silently while Germany bombed Poland. To complete the circle, Iraq’s prime minister recently warned that a victory for Syria's rebels will spark sectarian wars in his own country and will create a new haven for al-Qaeda which would further destabilize the region.
Meanwhile, militarily burnt out, economically reeling from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and lacking any moral standing in the Middle East post-Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, the U.S. sat on its hands as the regional spark that came to be called the Arab Spring flickered out, to be replaced by yet more destabilization across the region. And even that hasn’t stopped Washington from pursuing the latest version of the (now-nameless) global war on terror into ever-newer regions in need of destabilization.
Having noted the ease with which a numbed American public patriotically looked the other way while our wars followed their particular paths to hell, our leaders no longer blink at the thought of sending American drones and special operations forces ever farther afield, most notably ever deeper into Africa, creating from the ashes of Iraq a frontier version of the state of perpetual war George Orwell once imagined for his dystopian novel 1984. And don’t doubt for a second that there is a direct path from the invasion of 2003 and that chicken plant to the dangerous and chaotic place that today passes for our American world.
Happy Anniversary
On this 10th anniversary of the Iraq War, Iraq itself remains, by any measure, a dangerous and unstable place. Even the usually sunny Department of State advises American travelers to Iraq that U.S. citizens “remain at risk for kidnapping... [as] numerous insurgent groups, including Al Qaida, remain active...” and notes that “State Department guidance to U.S. businesses in Iraq advises the use of Protective Security Details.”
In the bigger picture, the world is also a far more dangerous place than it was in 2003. Indeed, for the State Department, which sent me to Iraq to witness the follies of empire, the world has become ever more daunting. In 2003, at that infamous “mission accomplished” moment, only Afghanistan was on the list of overseas embassies that were considered “extreme danger posts.” Soon enough, however, Iraq and Pakistan were added. Today, Yemen and Libya, once boring but secure outposts for State’s officials, now fall into the same category.
Other places once considered safe for diplomats and their families such as Syria and Mali have been evacuated and have no American diplomatic presence at all. Even sleepy Tunisia, once calm enough that the State Department had its Arabic language school there, is now on reduced staff with no diplomatic family members resident. Egypt teeters.
The Iranian leadership watched carefully as the American imperial version of Iraq collapsed, concluded that Washington was a paper tiger, backed away from initial offers to talk over contested issues, and instead (at least for a while) doubled-down on achieving nuclear breakout capacity, aided by the past work of that same A.Q. Khan network. North Korea, another A.Q. Khan beneficiary, followed the same pivot ever farther from Washington, while it became a genuine nuclear power. Its neighbor China pursued its own path of economic dominance, while helping to “pay” for the Iraq War by becoming the number-one holder of U.S. debt among foreign governments. It now owns more than 21% of the U.S. debt held overseas.
And don’t put away the joke book just yet. Subbing as apologist-in-chief for an absent George W. Bush and the top officials of his administration on this 10th anniversary, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently reminded us that there is more on the horizon. Conceding that he had “long since given up trying to persuade people Iraq was the right decision,” Blair added that new crises are looming. “You’ve got one in Syria right now, you’ve got one in Iran to come,” he said. “We are in the middle of this struggle, it is going to take a generation, it is going to be very arduous and difficult. But I think we are making a mistake, a profound error, if we think we can stay out of that struggle.”
Think of his comment as a warning. Having somehow turned much of Islam into a foe, Washington has essentially assured itself of never-ending crises that it stands no chance whatsoever of winning. In this sense, Iraq was not an aberration, but the historic zenith and nadir for a way of thinking that is only now slowing waning. For decades to come, the U.S. will have a big enough military to ensure that our decline is slow, bloody, ugly, and reluctant, if inevitable. One day, however, even the drones will have to land.


  1. The sad fact is, the same element that dragged us into the madness in Iraq is determined to take us further down the road of insanity to a war with Iran.

    1. Israel pushed hard for an invasion of Iraq. No lie was too big, no lie was too small. In particular, some of the WMD stuff came from one particular liar we have come to know too well:

      "There is absolutely no question Saddam is seeking and is working and is advancing toward the development of nuclear weapons. NO QUESTION WHATSOEVER!"

      - Binyamin Netanyahu

    2. It's a Slam-Dunk.

      George Tenet

    3. It's a sad fact that the same appeasers of yesterday will cause the slavery of millions today.

    4. AnonymousThu Mar 07, 11:29:00 PM EST
      Israel pushed hard for an invasion of Iraq. No lie was too big, no lie was too small. In particular, some of the WMD stuff came from one particular liar we have come to know too well:

      Nice comment, what proof do you have?

      This comment:

      "There is absolutely no question Saddam is seeking and is working and is advancing toward the development of nuclear weapons. NO QUESTION WHATSOEVER!"

      - Binyamin Netanyahu

      That aint proof. That's NOTHING.

    5. You mean other than the fact that Netanyahu actually said it?

  2. Foreigners are different.
    Different is wrong.
    Foreigners are wrong.

  3. From the Christian Broadcast Network:

    JERUSALEM, Israel -- Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Danny Ayalon said the global community could give Israel concrete assurances that it cares about the security and continued existence of the Jewish state if it would take of the Iranian threat.

    "It's a dangerous attempt to link the Palestinian problem with the Iranian," Ayalon told reporters ahead of President Obama's visit. "They're not linked; however, taking care of the Iranian threat would help very much assure the Israelis that they can be more ready for negotiations with the Palestinians."

    Ayalon said Israeli leaders would then be able to focus their energy on talks with the Palestinians.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he and Obama will discuss Iran, Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks when the American leader visits later this month.

  4. TORONTO Christian Science Monitor

    Speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) annual conference, Vice President Joe Biden insisted last week that President Obama was not bluffing about using force to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, too, called for a “clear and credible military threat” against Tehran, underscoring that sanctions alone would not make Iran cave at the negotiation table.

    These threats were issued at a time when the latest round of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 in Kazakhstan were positively characterized, by many accounts, as a “turning point.” New rounds of negotiations were set to take place in April.

    If we set aside all the ethical and political implications of threatening a negotiating party in the course of negotiations (especially at a time when talks seem finally to be heading in the right direction), there are at least two major legal issues with these threats that seem to have fallen into America’s blind spot.

    First, the “threat of force” against a sovereign member of the United Nations is illegal under international law. It violates Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which unequivocally requires all member-states to “refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force.”

    The term “threat” refers to a government's announcement of an act of violence for the purpose of intimidating another government into changing its policies. Under the Charter, only the Security Council is qualified to make such threats. Every other threat of force is unlawful.

    It should also be understood that "threat" within the meaning of Article 2(4) must be understood in a restrictive sense. Hostile statements that are common between antagonistic countries, especially when they’r
    e uttered by officials who do not have the constitutional authority to materialize them, do not carry the same legal weight as potent military threats directly issued in a particular context (for the purpose of influencing negotiations) by top officials who actually have the power to order military operations.


  5. {…} Watching the highest political authorities of Israel and the United States so impetuously violate a fundamental rule of international law is on its own very alarming. It signals to Iran and the international community that the West is not willing to play by the rules. It also greatly undermines the credibility and impartiality of all international organizations involved in the negotiating process.

    Some would rightly argue that if any other state had so blatantly breached such a central bedrock of the post-UN charter international order, the Security Council or, at least, the Secretary General of the United Nations would have certainly issued a strong condemnation in reply.

    Second, and more important, according to a well-known principle of international law, an agreement that is obtained through duress and coercion is considered invalid. The 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties – which codifies some of the most fundamental norms in the field – is very clear on the subject. Its Article 52 specifically renders void any international agreement “which has been procured by the threat or use of force in violation of the principles of international law.”

    The International Court of Justice confirmed this position in a 1973 case between the United Kingdom and Iceland, stating in very clear terms that: “There can be no doubt, as is implied in the Charter of the United Nations and recognized in Article 52 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, that under customary international law, an agreement concluded under the threat of force is void.”

    In other words, even if Tehran does cave in to the “clear and credible military threat” that Mr. Netanyahu expects world powers to put forth, and if it actually concedes to a nuclear agreement procured under duress, Iran could very well invoke Article 52 to nullify it at later date. In fact, the military threat that AIPAC, Netanyahu, and his American backers seem to view today as valuable “leverage” in the ongoing negotiations with Iran could very well turn into the Achilles' heel of any future arrangement.

    OPINION: 4 ways US and Iran can make nuclear talks work

    Netanyahu and those American officials who are poised to make military threats in the course of negotiations should be careful not to end up procuring an “agreement” that contains the legal seeds of its own dissolution.

    Reza Nasri is an international lawyer specializing in Iranian affairs and charter and foreign relations law at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

  6. "If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, this could presage catastrophic consequences, not only for my country, and not only for the Middle East, but for all mankind … the deadline for attaining this goal is getting extremely close."

    The above quote – from a speech given by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to a joint session of the United States Congress – is notable not only for its sense of urgency and dire threat, but also for the date on which the speech was given: 10 July 1996. That was far from the first time Netanyahu had sounded the alarm for the need to take drastic action against a purportedly imminent Iranian nuclear weapon: in a 1992 address to the Israeli Knesset, he declared, "within three to five years, we can assume that Iran will become autonomous in its ability to develop and produce a nuclear bomb" – an assertion he repeated without irony in 1995, when, in his book Fighting Terrorism, he again predicted full Iranian nuclear weapons capability within "three to five years".

    1. You love to ignore all that the Israelis, Germans, Russians and Americans have done to set the Iranians BACK.

      Why do you simply ignore the fact that they (the above nations) have all had active programs to slow, stop and disable the Iranian program?

      It's like you are stuck on the same quote in 1996 without the ability to reason

    2. No it's is clear Iran has tons of uranium at different levels of refinement, has plutonium, has delivery systems, has triggers, has bases that it will not allow the IAEA inspectors in to, it has the money, the bases and the time.

      It's clear that Iran supports terror around the globe. Supplies hamas, hezbollah both with tens of thousands of rockets.

      Supports Syria's Assad and has actively murdered thousands of Americans thru it's proxies.

      The reality?

      Iran is a threat to the world.

      You can ignore reality and chant "peace in our time" slogans and blame Israel for all the issues however reality is about to bite you in the ass. Like it or not.

    3. On what logical, moral or legal basis, does Israel have a right to have 250 offensive and nuclear deterrent weapons and Iran have none? Apply the same logic to India and Pakistan, The US and China, UK and France.

      How many Israelis have been killed by outside forces? This would be Israel’s strongest argument for its own defense. I accept that they have the right to a nuclear defense based on that alone. Iran is surrounded by hostile US military bases and has two borders with countries assaulted by US military forces. The casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq are in the hundreds of thousands.

      Iran was attacked by Iraq in a war that killed 1,000,000 Iranians. Iran has not attacked another country in 200 years.

      THe US and the EU have declared economic war on Iran including boycotts and assassinations. Nuclear armed US warships are right of the coast of Iran and the US Congress routinely discusses a military attack on Iran.

      That is Iranian reality.

      Now which standard that you award to Israel should be denied to Iran?

    4. I understand your emotional and familial attachment to Israel but if it is a fact of life that standards are necessary or everything is arbitrary.

    5. On what logical, moral or legal basis, does Israel have a right to have 250 offensive and nuclear deterrent weapons and Iran have none? Apply the same logic to India and Pakistan, The US and China, UK and France.

      Read and learn the NPT treaty, if you SIGNed it, and you are not part of the original "club", you legally gave up that right.

      Israel is not a signer to the treaty, Iran is.

      It's called law.

    6. How many Israelis have been killed by outside forces? This would be Israel’s strongest argument for its own defense. I accept that they have the right to a nuclear defense based on that alone.

      No the question should be:

      Are Israel and the Jews of the world under genocidal threats that are substantive? Is there any history of genocide of the Jews in modern history? Is Israel specifically surrounded by thousands of percent more of hostile population sitting on thousands of percent of more land?

    7. ====Iran is surrounded by hostile US military bases and has two borders with countries assaulted by US military forces. The casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq are in the hundreds of thousands.

      So what? in the iran/iraq war alone MILLIONS were killed. Your stat means nothing.

      ===Iran was attacked by Iraq in a war that killed 1,000,000 Iranians. Iran has not attacked another country in 200 years.

      Iran has not DIRECTLY attacked another nation in 200 years. So?

      Iran has troops in syria murdering civilians. Iran and trained, supplied and funded some of the world worst terror groups that have directly attacked other nations.

      The marine barracks, ied's in iraq and afpak. tens of thousand of rockets that have rained on israel, iran has directly murdered israelis on tour buses in europe, jewish day care centers in argentina, planned blowing up restaurants in washington dc.

      To imply Iran is some innocent angel nation is specious.

      Iran has CAUSED at least 9 nations to have civil wars causing the deaths of tens of thousands across africa and asia, to ignore the murderous record of Iran? DO so at your own peril

    8. THe US and the EU have declared economic war on Iran including boycotts and assassinations. Nuclear armed US warships are right of the coast of Iran and the US Congress routinely discusses a military attack on Iran.

      The arab/iran world SINCE 1948 has declared an economic war on Israel, they even spend a billion dollars a year enforcing it.

      The arab/iranian world since 1948 have been in an actual state of war with Israel. Only jordan and egypt have made peace treaties.

      Iran actively supports terrorists that murder Americans on a daily basis. Iran plots and carries out attacks that dismember Americans, Israelis and even their own people.

      ===That is Iranian reality.

      Now which standard that you award to Israel should be denied to Iran?

      Nonsense. WHEN Iran gives it's citizens the freedoms that Israel give it's citizens? When Iran lives up to it's treaty obligations? When Iran (a signer to the NPT) comes clean and stops violating the very contracts it's signed? When Iran stops murdering Israelis, JEWS, Americans who are all innocent civilians?

      Then we can talk about that standard you talk about.

      Tell then? Listen to the threats COMING from Iran and ignore them.

      Oh and by the way, Iran sponsors a national "Day without America Day".... Kinda leaves ya warm and fuzzy dont it?

  7. Unless the Obama administration can pursue peace with the same zealous determination with which its hawkish counterparts are pursuing war, the latter may likely win the day. That would propel the United States once more into a tragic and avoidable war in the Middle East. They are determined to have the US fight a war of their choosing.

    1. Every President since Carter has pursed PEACE with Iran.

      Everyone has failed.

      We may not be in a war with Iran, but they are in a war with us

  8. “Wars begin when you will, but they do not end when you please.”


    1. War will always surprise you.

      Dwight D. Eisenhower

    2. ...course, I'm not the Supreme Commander.
      Never have been.

    3. case you didn't know.

  9. Hard to believe kids put time into crap like this.

    I'd take my dog, friends, bikes, scooters, and cardboard boxes, anyday.

    ...unless I'd been raised different.

    1. The crab legs on the landing craft are pretty cool, tho.
      In their dreams.

    2. How do they make it so realistic?

  10. .

    From the Guardian,

    Pentagon investigating link between US military and torture centres in Iraq

    Defense Department says 'it will take time' to respond to 15-month investigation by BBC Arabic and the Guardian

    The Pentagon is investigating allegations linking the US military to human rights abuses in Iraq by police commando units who operated a network of detention and torture centres.

    A 15-month investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic, published on Wednesday, disclosed that the US sent a veteran of the "dirty wars" in Central America to oversee Iraqi commando units involved in some of the worst acts of torture during the American-led occupation.

    The allegations, made by US and Iraqi witnesses, implicate US advisers for the first time in these human rights abuses. It is also the first time that the then US commander in Iraq, David Petraeus, has been linked through an adviser to the abuses.


  11. .

    Reuters) - The White House on Thursday said North Korea's threat of a nuclear strike on the United States would only lead to Pyongyang's further international isolation and declared that Washington was "fully capable" of defending against any North Korean missile attack.

    Yet, Iran is is our big problem.


  12. Colonel Ike

    Eisenhower later said that the command decisions relating to TORCH were among the most worrisome that he had to make in the entire war. The unprecedented scope and complexity of the operation depended upon amphibious landings, which were inherently risky and with which his forces had little worthwhile experience. Added to this concern was a nagging uncertainty as to how the Vichy French would react when the United States launched an invasion of the territory of a neutral nation without a declaration of war. Moreover, TORCH was America's first campaign in the crucial European Theater, and it was Eisenhower's debut in the ticklish business of commanding Allied officers who were not only senior in rank, but also more experienced. At the time of TORCH, Lieutenant General Eisenhower's permanent grade was still lieutenant colonel.

    Mediterranean operations inevitably delayed the final invasion of Europe, but it turned out that TORCH had important benefits outside the realm of strategy. Battle was the only sure measure of equipment, some of which proved inadequate, and of training and leadership. North Africa accordingly became the laboratory in which he tested both men and concepts in Allied cooperation. At the tactical level, American soldiers absorbed the lessons of their first battles, and American commanders adjusted their training to acknowledge the defects war had revealed. Allied commanders learned something of the difficulties of fighting alongside each other, and the entire Allied force gained invaluable experience in planning and conducting amphibious landings. Eisenhower discovered that handling coalition warfare involving the three armed services of two nations in a campaign launched on hostile soil by amphibious landings, where logistical and administrative support did not previously exist, was even more complex than he had imagined.

    TORCH and the subsequent Mediterranean operations were a period in which Eisenhower matured and gained self-confidence as a commander. Simultaneously, his Anglo-American staff settled down and became proficient in combined staff planning and supervision of tactical commanders from different armies that had different operational habits.

    TORCH also taught Eisenhower, to his surprise and chagrin, that politics and diplomacy demanded more of his time than actual military command. As Allied commander, he was not only a military leader but also the representative of the Combined Chiefs of Staff and their respective governments when such political issues as the handling of the Vichy regime had to be resolved.

    His emergence as a diplomat thus began in North Africa. Eisenhower's first exercise of Allied command revealed that it held many frustrations, but he treated each problem or setback as a lesson. As time went on, he became more skillful, gradually mastering a job that was really without precedent in the history of warfare.

    At the end of 1943, after Eisenhower had conducted successful landings in Sicily and Italy and negotiated an Italian surrender, the Combined Chiefs of Staff named him Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force for the invasion of Europe. At the Teheran Conference in November, Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin had agreed upon the opening of a second front in northwest Europe, thus validating what had been the essence of American strategy since the beginning of the war. Operation OVERLORD, in this sense, was the culmination of all of America's mobilization and training efforts; all other campaigns had merely prepared the way.

  13. The ugly reality and horror behind the Neocon dream in Iraq.

    The investigation by the Guardian and the BBC into direct Pentagon involvement in the systematic torture of Sunni insurgents in Iraq is a bloody reminder of the catastrophe that the 2003 invasion wreaked on the people of Iraq. It also a key reason behind the decade of sectarian violence the war has left in its wake.

    After a decade of the most extreme bloodshed on both sides, the Sunni minority is now asserting its collective muscle in an organised fashion under the leadership of figures such as the Sunni scholar Abdul-Malik al-Saadi. The immediate reason for this upsurge in confidence among the Sunnis of Iraq is not hard to find.

    The rebellion in neighbouring Syria, which began as essentially secular resistance movement, has attracted Sunni extremist groups from across the globe in support of the effort to bring down President Assad. Armed by regional troika of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, they are now about to be provided with military support by the west, including Britain, in an echo of the strategy under which western countries provided firepower to support the Islamist rebel forces in Libya.

    This, in turn, has emboldened the Sunni minority, comprising a fifth of Iraq's population, which has been holding large-scale public demonstrations. Their attempt to mount a cross-sectarian challenge to the government in Baghdad has also attracted the support of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Meanwhile, the remnant of al-Qaida in Iraq has been attempting to use the protests as cover for a highly incendiary campaign inciting Sunnis to take up arms against the regime.

    The essentially pluralist administration in Baghdad is committed to the re-intergration of the Sunni minorities into positions of responsibility in Iraq. They have set up a dedicated ministry of reconciliation, and the minister for human rights is actively pursuing an agenda for positive change. My UN mandate is to work closely with the government and civil society in Iraq, aiming to delivering cross-sectarian initiatives that will stem the flow of violence.


  14. {…}


    But who is really to blame? The government is in no doubt that the causes of the deep-seated sectarian violence in the country lie in the excessive and extreme policy of de-Ba’athification pursued by the US administration under the now discredited Paul Bremmer.

    During the Saddam era, membership of the Ba’ath party was effectively a prerequisite for public employment in positions of any responsibility. Expelling all Sunni members of the Ba'ath party from the administration was as ill-judged a policy as excluding members of the Communist party from public office in the former Soviet Union following the collapse of the Berlin wall. Individuals who had no connection whatsoever with the crimes of the former regime were ignominiously put out of their jobs and often their homes.

    Almost overnight, a privileged Sunni ruling class was turned into a marginalised and unemployed minority, with a deep sense of grievance against the US-backed Shia authorities. Many were men with military or paramilitary training, access to weapons, and nothing to to do except hate.

    Into this political tinderbox, the Bush-era Pentagon, the CIA, and their proxies among the brutal Shia militias, threw the lighted match of systematic torture. Suspected Sunni insurgents were rounded up and subjected the most brutal forms of torture under the eyes of American agents. The Guardian/BBC investigation advances our knowledge of this criminal conspiracy, taking it right to the heart of the Bush administration. That set off a chain reaction that is still reverberating in Iraq.


    1. General Garner had prior positive experience w/the Iraqi Kurds (many Sunni) and his State Dept Plan certainly did not have an extreme de-baathification plan in place.

      Bremmer changed all that, and Garner was unceremoniously kicked out.

      How and who gave him his marching orders, or free reign, remains a mystery to me, although the Buck obviously stops at George.


  15. {…}

    On Tuesday this week, I presented a report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva calling on the US and other states, including the UK, to secure accountability for the crimes committed by the Bush-era CIA and its allies in pursuit of the counterproductive campaign of rendition, secret detention and torture. To the list of international crimes committed by that administration must now be added the evidence uncovered by the Guardian and the BBC.

    As long ago as 2006, during its last periodic review by the UN Human Rights Committee, the US was heavily criticised for adopting a policy of impunity towards the officials who committed these grave and systematic crimes. It is due for its next periodic review in the autumn of this year, and I have every confidence that the committee will expect to see the results of a full investigation into these new allegations. This would have the objective of bringing those responsible, including the politicians who authorised this conduct, to justice.

    Taken with the compelling evidence that is now available concerning the crimes of torture and rendition that were committed internationally, this latest investigations presents an image of lawlessness and hypocrisy that is antithetical to building international co-operation with the Islamic peoples of the Middle East and North Africa. The urgent and imperative need to develop an international consensus in favour of ethical counter-terrorism was underlined by William Hague in a recent speech on ethical to the Royal United Services Institute in London, in which he said that where allegations of this kind are made, they must be fully investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice. One can only hope that he will be impressing upon the US Department of Justice the need for an investigation into the allegations against David Petraeus and others.

    Failure to address the past inevitably generates the misperception that the perpetrators remain as beneficiaries of official toleration or collusion. However inaccurate some of these perceptions may be, they will endure until decisive action is taken. Holding those responsible to account is now the only way of genuinely drawing a line under the past.

    Iraq is in desperate need of reconciliation initiatives. There may well be a case for an effective truth and reconciliation commission. But before reconciliation, there must be reckoning with the past.

    Justice for the perpetrators of these crimes is an essential prerequisite to peace and stability in the region.

    Ben Emmerson, Thursday 7 March 2013 13.06 ES

    1. committed by the Bush-era CIA and its allies in pursuit of the counterproductive campaign of rendition, secret detention and torture

      so they are coming after rat!

  16. The New York Times recently ran a two-part report on the toll that the war on terror era has taken on women in the U.S. military, and it makes for startling reading. Back in January 2012, Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta estimated that there could be as many as 19,000 sexual assaults in the U.S. military -- not in the whole war on terror era, but in a year of it (only about 3,000 of which actually get reported). Sexual assault and the threat of it, as the Times recounted, only adds to the pressures that, in these years, have been placed on American soldiers. They have experienced striking rates of brain injuries (usually from roadside bombs), rising cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), soaring suicide rates among both on-duty service personnel and veterans, increased use of drugs (legal and illegal), and a striking rise among women veterans in homelessness -- a phenomenon that itself, reports the Times, is often connected to being raped, to the Military Sexual Trauma (MST) that follows, and to the PTSD that can follow as well.

    This, in other words, is one kind of “collateral damage” seldom thought of as such when the war on terror is brought up.

    1. Trying to think of the number of articles I've ever SEEN relating to female trauma in today's military.

      ZERO comes to mind.
      (not counting the attractive heroine saved by our Warriors at the outset, and a few others in the first 30 days)

      Kudos to the NY Times.

  17. The creepiness behind the very word “Homeland”

    Once upon a time, “homeland” was a word of little significance in the American context. What American before 9/11 would have called the United States his or her “homeland” rather than “country”? Who sang “My homeland, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty”? Between my birth in 1944, as World War II was drawing to a close, and September 11, 2001, I doubt I ever heard the word in reference to the U.S.

    There was a reason: “homeland” had a certain ring to it and anyone would have known at once just what that ring, that resonance, was. Not to put too fine a point on it, we’re talking about the ring of evil. It sounded like the sort of word the Nazis or maybe Stalin would have used as the terrible totalitarians of the previous century mobilized their people for horrific wars and heinous crimes.

    1. This Rhineland is my land, this Rhineland is your land, from the Prussian border, to the Fuhrer's Homeland!

    2. At least Bush made the planes fly on time!

      "The Bush administration is committed to addressing the problem of flight delays and to improving airline customer service, and we are encouraged by this month's statistics," U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said. "We have had an unprecedented level of cooperation between DOT's Federal Aviation Administration, the airlines, pilots and controllers in managing the system, and we will continue to work hard to improve it."

      "Washington - This morning, President Bush announced air traffic modifications for the days around Thanksgiving and Christmas. The president also touted his administration's plan to auction off flight slots at the three major New York City area airports as a way to reduce delays.

      U.S. Senator Robert Menendez has consistently pushed the Bush administration to take action to systemically address flight delays,


      "Like Mussolini, Hitler made the trains run on time..."

  18. The coalition of a new political party?

    Paul, the son of libertarian hero and three-time presidential contender Ron Paul, drew widespread attention this week with a 13-hour Senate filibuster. He demanded assurances from the Obama administration that unmanned aircraft would not be used in the United States to kill terrorism suspects who are U.S. citizens.

    Many Republicans say Paul and his father are so libertarian in their outlook that they operate outside the party mainstream. But Paul's filibuster drew active support from several tea party-leaning senators, including Marco Rubio of Florida, who possibly could vie with Paul and others for the 2016 presidential nomination. Also helping with the filibuster were more traditional Republican senators such as John Cornyn of Texas and John Thune of South Dakota.
    That sharpened the drama Thursday, when Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina claimed the Senate floor to chide Paul and to defend the administration’s drone policies.

    McCain, the party's 2008 presidential nominee, and Graham are frequent guests on national talk shows. They rank among the party’s best-known members, and they attended Obama's dinner Wednesday.

    Their critiques of Paul's actions were acidic at times. McCain read approvingly from a Wall Street Journal editorial titled "Rand Paul's Drone Rant." McCain said Paul’s reasoning did not match his "showmanship."

    McCain and Graham are among pro-military Republicans unhappy with a tea-party-backed push to cut spending across the board, including in the Pentagon. The recently enacted “sequester" cuts were seen as a triumph for conservatives, especially in the House, who place their highest priority on refusing to raise income taxes on anyone, even if it means reducing military spending.

    These House Republicans, led by 2012 vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, now promise to pass a 10-year budget plan that will call for much deeper spending cuts, including significant changes to Medicare.

    The move carries risks, say moderate Republicans. They cite polls showing substantial public support for a balance of tax increases and spending cuts to tame the deficit.


    GOP splits over immigration and terrorism play out
    By By CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press

    1. Eric Holder writes letter to Paul.


      "I'm quite happy with the answer, and I'm disappointed it took a month and a half and a root canal to get it."

    2. "This is where the Republican establishment had better pay attention... You cannot have this many millions of Americans continually ignored and unrepresented in a representative democracy without a price to pay for it."

      - Limbaugh

    3. .

      McCain and especially Graham are taking increasing criticism over their comments on Rand Paul's filibuster.

      Graham's Very Bad Day on Twitter

      Rand Paul responds to McCain/Lindsay Criticism


  19. Samira Ibrahim Speaks

    Yesterday, THE WEEKLY STANDARD first reported that the State Department was about to bestow an International Woman of Courage Award on an anti-Semite and 9/11 fan. Egypt women’s rights activist Samira Ibrahim had left a record on her Twitter feed of statements quoting Hitler, celebrating the murder of Israelis in Bulgaria last summer, and the September 11, 2012 siege of the U.S. embassy in Cairo.

    Ibrahim claimed yesterday that her Twitter page had been “stolen” and she was not responsible for the hateful comments. Today the State Department announced it was deferring her award pending further review.

    Finally, Ibrahim herself has spoken, writing in Arabic on her Twitter page. Egyptian democracy activist Mina Rezkalla provides the translation: "I refuse to apologize to the Zionist lobby in America regarding my previous anti-Zionist statements under pressure from American government therefore they withdrew the award.”

    This would seem to settle the question as to whether or not her page had been “stolen.” Now all that’s left is for the State Department to demand that Ibrahim reimburse American taxpayers for her trip to the United States.

  20. Very Big Jobs Number -


    246,000 Private Sector

    7.7% Unemployment Rate

    Hours worked, and Hourly Wage Up

  21. …and attack on Iran would send everything crashing. Who pays for that? You do.

    1. and an attack on us by iran thru it's proxies?

      who pays for that?

      You do

    2. Or an attack from Planet Mars.

  22. Eureka!

    Whata Guy!

    Just wait til he gets his Carbon Tax!

  23. ...and the COSTS and TAXES of Obamacare kick in.

    The New Normal of 7.7 will be remembered as the Good Old Days.

  24. Construction is the key from here on out.

  25. Construction of what, and the key to what?

  26. Houses

    The Economy, and Employment

  27. Will there be a steady supply of homes for sale from aging baby boomers in this decade? Who will they sell to and at what price?

    The big challenge will be at what price will future buyers purchase these homes for. For the moment, about 30 percent of the market is being sopped up with gusto by Wall Street and investors. However yields are now being squeezed. There is no way investor demand will stay this hot. So what other group is going to step in? We’ve also had the FHA insured buyer making up another 20 to 25 percent of buying for the last few years but the FHA is having financial issues. The assumption of course is that we’ll somehow have another baby boomer wave that will have the same buying habits as prior generations:


    The current boomlet, (Another Bubble in CA) is thanks to Bernanke and the FHA.
    IOW, another "market" distortion courtesy of the govt.
    Investors w/free money from the govt buying to rent, flip, or speculate, now more of the market than ever. Banks enabled to hold onto properties by free fed money.

    IOW, once again following the Japanese path, and expecting a different outcome.

    Not to mention the disaster that will result if they get their carbon tax and continue to stifle energy production.

    A (badly) Managed economy.

    1. The aging demographic poses problems on many fronts (i.e. how will growth be fueled, how can the stock market 'always continue to rise'?). Yet you moan about replicating the Japanese experience - what is your prescription? Let bankruptcies reign? Let demand plummet? Encourage a depression? or try to push the string, kick the can down the road, via the money press? Seems to me the money press is the best of two bad options. Will it continue to work (it seems to have kept some stability so far)? I dunno. I suspect 'reality' will intervene at some point but...fingers crossed.

    2. A problem with text communication and your presuppositions:

      Not once have I uttered a moan. least not in the last several hours.

  28. Same as I said before when the World was said to be coming to an end w/o stimuls:

    Return money to the taxpayers instead of the Fat Cats.

    Unleash the free market by cutting over-regulation, esp in Energy Production.

    DON'T pass a "Carbon Tax" which to be fair, should include an exhale tax on each individual and their pets.

  29. They are saving 18k a week by shutting down the Whitehouse, according to ABC News, however.

    That'll git'er done on the deficit.

    1. As if you could run the White House for $2600 a day. There are Four Seasons’ rooms that cost more than that a day.

    2. They spend more than that day in the kitchen.

    3. ABC is talking about the tours, figuring how much the Security Gaurds cost, etc.

      Meanwhile, how much did Obama's ONE HALF MILE, 22 car trip to eat dinner with McCain and Grahm cost?

    4. .

      A $ million per year for the tours almost the exact cost of of O's golf weekend with Tiger Woods.

      Shutting down the tours is merely another cynical attempt to gin up public support for the administration's position on the sequester. Luckily, it appears most including the MSM recognize it for what it is, silly.

      As I recall, Trish's daughter was involved in giving tours in D.C. It would be interesting to hear her perspective.


  30. Good question. What if the fed kept buying assets and kept returning the income stream as a substitute for personal income taxes?

    1. Bill McBride, at

      Calculated Risk Blog

      stays "all over" housing, all the time.

      I get the feeling from reading his blog that the consumer is starting to inch his way back into the home-buying business.

      It's important, because you really can't have a good recovery without home-building. At least, it's never happened Yet.

    2. ...but they can't keep giving away low-down, 3 percent interest rate FHA Loans forever.
      ...nor will the endless printing of, and giving to Wall St. free money work forever in Weimar West.

      aka, "The Homeland"

      Although Drones Overhead will keep the Republic safe from The Rabble for some time to come.

  31. "From the FDIC: HeritageBank of the South, Albany, Georgia, Assumes All of the Deposits of Frontier Bank, LaGrange, Georgia

    As of December 31, 2012, Frontier Bank had approximately $258.8 million in total assets and $224.1 million in total deposits. ... The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $51.6 million. ... Frontier Bank is the fourth FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the first in Georgia.

    All parties agreed that the TBTF's were a problem that needed to be addressed.

    The way they addressed it was to prop up the TBTF's so now they are BIGGER, and it is the smaller banks going out of business.

    And more small businesses to come via Obamacare.

    (which the Pubs promised to fight and are now talking about Funding) :-(

  32. Rufus IIFri Mar 08, 08:46:00 AM EST
    Very Big Jobs Number -


    246,000 Private Sector

    7.7% Unemployment Rate

    Hours worked, and Hourly Wage Up


    Only 300,000 dropped out of the labor force last month, as the population grows.

    8.8 million have dropped out since Obama took office, 1.4 million jobs have been created.

    - John Merline, Investors Business Daily.

    Real unemployment - 14 percent.

    1. That Is Not Correct.

      300,000 Fewer People became unemployed

      130,000 dropped out of the labor force

      And, the number of Employed increased by 170,000

      BLS Website

    2. I wouldn't use that guy for a reference any more, if I were you.

    3. "300,000 Fewer People became unemployed."


      They are no longer counted when they stop looking for work, right?

    4. Unemployment Hits Four-year Low: Time to Break Out the Confetti ...

      13 hours ago – Expectations were for total payrolls at 160000 or 165000 and ... 300,000 LESS people employed yet the unemployment number goes down.

    5. More Are Quitting the Workforce Than Getting Jobs

      Jobs: Who can complain about nearly a quarter-million jobs created in February? Until, that is, you learn that more people left the labor force than got new jobs, continuing a long-term trend under President Obama.

      If anything, there are still some deeply troubling signs in the labor force that the February numbers have not dispelled. While the country gained 236,000 jobs, the ranks of those not in the labor force — people who don't have a job and stopped looking — swelled by 296,000.

      That continues a trend throughout the Obama recovery, which has seen the non-workforce climb almost twice as fast as people with jobs.

      Looked at another way, just 58.6% of Americans work today, down from 60.6% when Obama took office. The average over the previous two decades was 63%.

      Demographic changes can't explain these results, particularly given the many other signs that desperation, not retirement, is the driving force behind the explosive growth of nonworkers.

      There are, for example, 6.8 million people who aren't in the labor force but would be if there were jobs available. That's up more than 1 million since the recovery started in June 2009. The number of long-term unemployed is still higher than it was 3-1/2 years ago — and it jumped more than 90,000 in February.

      There's also the fact that 3.7 million workers have gone on the Social Security disability program since mid-June 2009, the fastest enrollment pace ever.

      And as we now know from the Fed's latest beige book, ObamaCare is playing a major role here as well, with businesses telling Fed banks across the country the law has caused them to lay off or not hire workers.

      Because of all this, the economy is still 3 million jobs below its previous peak. When you factor in population growth, the jobs deficit is more like 10 million.

      In this context, the February jobs report shouldn't be a cause for celebration so much as a rallying cry for pro-growth economic policies.

    6. I'll just continue to not use you as a reference, Rufus.

      The MSM seems fair and balanced in comparison with your interpretation of this man's pathetic record.

  33. More Whitehouse employees in 2012 than 2011.

    Buy DC Area Real-Estate!

    1. .

      It's all those damn tours.


    2. .

      It's good to see private sector jobs picking up even as government jobs drop.

      However, what is troubling is the macro look. The employment-to-population percentage is the same today as it was in 2009 at the bottom of the recession.

      And even the private sector, after four years, still hasn't gained back 3 million of the jobs it lost from the great recession.


  34. Ash said:

    "U.S. Senator Robert Menendez has consistently pushed the Bush administration to take action to systemically address flight delays"


    It was an outrage when he was forced to make those 14 yr old laddies wait for his arrival.