The news over the weekend have brought some altogether predictable and some startling developments. In Iraq, Sheik Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha was assassinated by Al-Qaida forces in Anbar province. The Sheik was recently in the news having switched sides, leading a band of tribal leaders from the insurgency to support of US backed government forces. Al-Qaida immediately took responsibility announcing that it has formed “security committees” responsible for the assassination of any Iraqi leader who cooperates with the U.S. led coalition forces or the Iraqi government. Abu Risha was unfortunate to have achieved a high enough profile to be so targeted and was immediately eliminated. This, apparently, is what happens when one has one’s picture taken with George W. Bush out in the Iraq desert. Yesterday it was announced that insurgent forces had assassinated a high ranking Iraqi security official. It remains to be seen how well the recent developments in Anbar province will hold up, given the emerging vulnerability of any pro-government figure to this kind of retaliation. Anbar had been singled out by General Petreus and other administration officials as an example of the pacification of the countryside. But this is the very province where Al-Qaida has felt strong enough to announce the creation of an Islamist state within a state and has and continues to challenge the Iraqi government for power and legitimacy. The insurgents have demonstrated that they will not go quietly into that good night.
Meanwhile, recent CNN polls show that 47% of Iraqi’s want us out of the country immediately. Within the last year the provisional governmental council has asked us to leave, and an emerging majority of the country says it is o.k. to kill Americans. With friends like this….
Similar developments occurred at home. Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, author of the “contract on America”, and the thief that stole Christmas announced over the weekend that he would not be a candidate for President of the United States. Citing an 80-20% chance of a Democratic triumph, ‘ol Newt’ declared the political waters too frigid to chance jumping into the contest. Gingrich spoke gloomily of an upcoming Democratic landslide unless every Republican put some distance between their campaigns and the White House. Newt, of course, is merely pointing out the painfully obvious for the Desert Fox has got himself so tangled in tar that anyone who gets close to him is likely to be joined at the hip. As Sheik Abu Risha recently so graphically demonstrated W can be a fatal attraction.
Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, is out with a new book in which he has for the first time demonstrated that he can indeed speak in simple declarative sentences. Eschewing the obtuse obfuscation of his official declarations, Greenspan for the first time speaks in the King’s English demonstrating that he can indeed render the obvious obvious. Saying that Bush has run the country into the fiscal ditch with his tax policies, that Bush had favored wealth over work, and that he has put America on the wrong course, Greenspan eulogized Nixon and Clinton saying they were the most intelligent Presidents he’d had the pleasure to serve. Initial reviews of his work leave the question unanswered as to whom was the most mentally challenged, but then again it doesn’t take much of an imagination to figure that out.
The White House reacted with its usual palaver, with the assistant Press Secretary immediately taking to the ramparts with nonsense about spending whatever it takes to keep America safe from the terrorist threat. This, of course, is a boldface misrepresentation of the facts and yet another attempt to smear the historical record. The record clearly shows that this administration had run the train off the tracks by mid summer of 2001 with its retroactive tax cuts creating a burgeoning deficit that necessitated breaking into the social security lock box (something Bush had pledged not to do in the 2000 campaign) to cover operating expenses. All this well before 911. In any case the two trillion in new debt has not bought us any greater security with two million illegal immigrants crossing our open borders every year and our sea ports nearly unprotected and managed by interests in Dubai. Query: would it have taken FDR four and a half years to secure our ports from axis attack in World War II? Would any other administration in historical memory with the possible exception of James Buchanan and Pappy Bush have left the borders completely unprotected this long into the conflict? But then this is no world war and I knew FDR, FDR was a friend of mine, and “’Ol Two-Cows” is no FDR.