Sunday, May 08, 2005

Iraq memo, the Zapatista movement, and "emergency pork"

First of all, my Pacers won last night, so that means they're taking on the Pistons in Round 2. I'm predicting Pacers in 6, as Dale Davis shuts down those Wallace boys, and Reggie shows Rip Hamilton how to really come off a screen.

Remember Iraq? Well, if you're still not convinced about the illegitimacy of the war, you've probably been in a coma on a deserted island, with a blindfold and a massive earwax buildup. Anyhow, a new memo was just leaked that proves BushCo was asking the UK if they had any good excuses to invade:
The Sunday Times has published what it says is a leaked memo dated 23 July 2002 by Matthew Rycroft, a former Downing Street foreign policy aide.

In the memo, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is quoted as saying US President George Bush had "made up his mind to take military action even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin".

It adds: "Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.
I just found a book called The Zapatista "Social Netwar" in Mexico, which is available in its entirety online. If you're interested in the rise of new forms of organizations/networks due to the accessibility of communication (that was a mouthful), you should check it out:
Summary: The information revolution is leading to the rise of network forms of organization in which small, previously isolated groups can communicate, link up, and conduct coordinated joint actions as never before. This in turn is leading to a new mode of conflict--"netwar"--in which the protagonists depend on using network forms of organization, doctrine, strategy, and technology. Many actors across the spectrum of conflict--from terrorists, guerrillas, and criminals who pose security threats, to social activists who may not--are developing netwar designs and capabilities. This book examines the Zapatista movement in Mexico, a seminal example of this.
A supplemental budget which includes spending for the war on terra is a must-have, but why can't they calculate their costs like other agencies: on time? Rep. Ellen Tauscher explains:
"Rather than taking their Pentagon colleagues to task for not budgeting for the needs of the troops in the regular defense budget request, the Majority has endorsed a fiscally irresponsible ploy used since the start of the war in Iraq: Pass ‘emergency' supplemental after supplemental that Congress has limited or no ability to review."

"(The) supplemental bill is chock full of projects that could easily be planned and budgeted within the Pentagon's annual request. To call them emergency, last-minute needs is misleading, fiscally irresponsible, and prevents Congress from exercising proper oversight over vital programs and efforts. And now, in order to placate members who see through this costly tactic, the supplemental bill has swelled with unnecessary spending," says Tauscher. "This additional $82 billion measure brings total ‘emergency' supplemental funding for the war to $272 billion. The Administration's policy of irresponsibly budgeting for the Iraq war as a temporary, incremental involvement demonstrates its lack of a comprehensive plan to stabilize the country, internationalize the ground forces, and begin to withdraw American forces. I believe that our troops deserve better than a piecemeal plan."

Tauscher read the bill right. Unfortunately, like most Democrats and almost all Republicans, she did not vote right. For all her fine words, and solid insights, Tauscher did not have the courage to cast a vote against the "pork-laden" bill.

This is the frustrating thing about Congressional Democrats. They are willing to point out the fundamental flaws in the Bush administration's agenda, but most of them still vote with the Republicans to implement that agenda.
Oh, and I nearly forgot (but didn't!), Happy Mother's Day, mom!

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