W Writes A Book On Vietnam

This is not exactly a guy known for his smarts. And now he has decided he wants to do some out of the box thinking and overturn history on Vietnam. If you think you know what happened back then, look again. That is what he is saying.

First it was that Saddam has to be punished for 9/11. And that is no exaggeration. Cheney still maintained that lie in a fairly recent speech. 40% of Republicans believe that. The truth is Saddam was not behind 9/11, it was Bin Laden, they don't even look alike.

Then it was that Saddam might not attack directly but he might provide WMDs to Bin Laden. Bin Laden and Saddam were enemies like Bin Laden and dictator Musharraf are enemies today. Saddam was an ugly Arab. Bin Laden is an ugly Arab. But that doest not mean they were friends. The fact is they were enemies. And not only they were enemies, it turned out Saddam had no WMDs to share even if he wanted to. Cheney cooked the intelligence to make it look like Saddam did have WMDs.

When that did not fly and it was proven on the ground that there were no WMDs, they shifted the goal post again. Now it was about spreading democracy. If it costs half a trillion dollars to spread democracy into a country of 27 million, I wonder where America will be after it is done spreading democracy into China. Will it borrow even that much more money from China? To liberate a billion people you will need 20 trillion dollars that you don't have.

The democracy thing did not fly either. I can't think of one democracy anywhere that has a civil war. They might talk of democracy, but what they really pumped into Iraq was statelessness. Instead of democracy, there was intense sectarian violence.

So they shifted again. Forget democracy, we came in here to calm down the sectarian violence. Mind you, that sectarian violence did not exist before they got there. They put the house on fire, and now they were going to firefight.

Then they shifted the goal post again. You are worried about sectarian violence? Wait until there is a full fledged civil war. We need a surge to make sure there is no civil war. So you are supposed to go along with them as they do the surge thing.

And now W is waving the ultimate flag. If you don't go along with his plan for a surge now, and American troops in large numbers in Iraq for as far as the eyes can see, you are going to have blood on your hands. You are going to see a regional genocide. Remember Vietnam?

This is not blackmail, because it is not a black guy doing it. This is whitemail. This is emotional whitemail.

Dumbo, the mistake was made during step one. The mistake was made when you decided war was the first option. And mistake is being made now in not realizing there is no military solution to Iraq, there is only a political solution.

A smart withdrawal coupled by a super intense diplomatic and political effort will lead to stabilization, not just in Iraq, but in the region, with positive repurcussions for the cause of a Palestinian state - yet another Arab democracy - and democracy and human rights in the region.

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In The News

Report Cites Grave Concerns on Iraq’s Government New York Times deep doubts that the government of the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, can overcome sectarian differences ....... any military gains would be ephemeral if Iraqi politicians were not able to bridge sectarian divides ..... what we’ve been doing hasn’t been working, but we can’t let up, or it’ll get worse ...... On Wednesday, as a second Democratic senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, called for Mr. Maliki to quit, he lashed out at American lawmakers who have questioned his competence. ....... an intense White House initiative to shape the debate on Capitol Hill in September ...... a new interest group, Freedom’s Watch, led by allies of the Bush administration — including Sheldon G. Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate who ranks sixth on Forbes Magazine’s lists of the world’s billionaires — began a monthlong, $15 million campaign intended to support the president’s policy. ....... the war in Vietnam, asserting that the American pullout there 32 years ago led to tens of thousands of deaths in that country and Cambodia ....... Bush was doing something few major politicians of either party have done in a generation: rearguing a conflict that ended more than three decades ago but has remained an emotional touch point. ...... “Invoking the tragedy of Vietnam to defend the failed policy in Iraq is as irresponsible as it is ignorant of the realities of both of those wars,” Mr. Kerry said. ...... two World War II veterans, John Rocca and Anthony Cellucci, said they had qualms about Mr. Bush’s speech. They said they agreed with Mr. Obama’s call for United States troops to refocus their efforts to find Osama bin Laden and his deputies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
News Analysis: Historians Question Bush’s Reading of Lessons of Vietnam War for Iraq (August 23, 2007) The American withdrawal from Vietnam is widely remembered as an ignominious end to a misguided war — but one with few negative repercussions for the United States and its allies. ....... the Khmer Rouge would never have come to power in the absence of the war in Vietnam .... Bush did not offer a judgment on what, if anything, might have brought victory in Vietnam or whether the war itself was a mistake. ..... “If one is really concerned about the Iraqi people, and the fate that may be awaiting them as this war winds down, then we ought to get serious about opening our doors, and to welcoming to the United States those Iraqis who have supported us and have put themselves and their families in danger.” ..... some members of Congress and human rights groups have urged the Bush administration to drop the limits on Iraqi refugees admitted to the United States. ..... Germany and Japan were homogenous nation-states with clear national identities and no internal feuding among factions or sects, in stark contrast to Iraq today. .... The comparison of Iraq to Germany and Japan “is fanciful” .... “The occupation of Germany and Japan lasted for years — and not a single American solider was killed by insurgents.” ..... the essential elements that brought victory in World War II — a total commitment by the American people and the government, and a staggering economic commitment to rebuild defeated adversaries — do not exist for the Iraq war. The wars in Korea and Vietnam also involved considerable national sacrifice, including tax increases and conscription.
Transcript of President Bush’s Speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention (August 22, 2007)
The Lede: Bush’s Iraq-Vietnam Parallel (August 22, 2007) “What is Bush suggesting? That we didn’t fight hard enough, stay long enough? ..... “We’ve been in Iraq longer than we fought in World War II. It’s a disaster .... the disaster is the consequence of going in, not getting out.” .... the mayhem of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge regime “was a consequence of our having gone into Cambodia and destabilized that country.” ....... “Vietnam was not a bunch of sectarian groups fighting each other,” as in Iraq. In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge toppled a U.S.-backed government. ...... The support for the war of course has diminished to almost a disappearing point.
Video Video: Speech Excerpt
Behavior: To Reap Psychotherapy’s Benefits, Get a Good Fit since psychiatric disorders fluctuate spontaneously with time, like most illnesses, many patients would get better even if they got no treatment at all. ...... Many patients have problems with relationships in the first place; they can find it difficult to extricate themselves from bad or ineffective therapy. ..... the obvious financial incentive to hold on to a patient.
Many Found Sexually Active Into the 70s Most Americans remain sexually active into their 60s, and nearly half continue to have sex regularly into their early 70s ..... many older people also report struggling with sexual problems, like reduced desire and erectile difficulties .... women were significantly less likely than men to report being sexually active from age 57 on .... Women were more often without a partner .... more likely to say they no longer derived much pleasure from sex. .... for many people sexual activity does not diminish much at all ..... 84 percent of men from 57 to 64 reported having had some sexual contact with another person in the last year, compared with 62 percent of women in the same age group. Those figures dwindled to 38 percent and 17 percent, respectively, in people 75 and older. ...... among those adults who were sexually active, about two-thirds had sex at least twice a month into their 70s, and more than half continued at that pace into their 80s. ...... Nearly half of those who were sexually active reported at least one sexual problem, with 43 percent of women reporting diminished desire, and 39 percent vaginal dryness, and with 37 percent of men reporting erectile difficulties. ...... only about a third of the men and just a fifth of the women in the study had discussed sex with a doctor since age 50.
Six Killers | Diabetes: Looking Past Blood Sugar to Survive With Diabetes heart disease, which eventually kills nearly everyone with diabetes. .... Blood sugar control is important in diabetes, specialists say. It can help prevent dreaded complications like blindness, amputations and kidney failure. But controlling blood sugar is not enough. ..... Nearly 73,000 Americans die from diabetes annually, more than from any disease except heart disease, cancer, stroke and pulmonary disease. ...... largely because of a misunderstanding of the proper treatment, most patients are not doing even close to what they should to protect themselves ..... just 7 percent are getting all the treatments they need. ...... people are not aware of their risks and what could be done about them .... Most people who have diabetes are treated by primary care doctors who had just a few hours of instruction on diabetes, while they were in medical school. Then the doctors typically spend just 10 minutes with diabetes patients, far too little for such a complex disease ...... the impression that diabetes is a matter of an out-of-control diet and sedentary lifestyle and the most important way to deal with it is to lose weight. .... most of the time it progresses as years go by, no matter what patients do. ..... like 90 percent of diabetes patients, has Type 2 diabetes, the form that usually arises in adulthood when the insulin-secreting cells of the pancreas cannot keep up with the body’s demand for the hormone ...... misconceptions about diabetes. ....... A main artery to his heart was 90 percent blocked. .... thought his biggest risk from diabetes was blindness or amputations. He never thought about heart disease and had no idea how important it was to control cholesterol levels and blood pressure. ...... only 18 percent of people with diabetes believed that they were at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. ...... it’s not the diabetes that kills you, it’s the diabetes causing cardiovascular disease that kills you ...... you can decrease that risk substantially ...... The science is clear on the huge benefits for people with diabetes of lowering cholesterol and controlling blood pressure. ...... levels of LDL cholesterol, the form that increases heart disease risk, should be below 100 milligrams per deciliter and, if possible, 70 to 80. ...... diabetes patients with LDL cholesterol levels of 100 to 139 often are told that their levels — ideal for a healthy person without diabetes — are terrific. ........ “Many practicing doctors just don’t know that an LDL cholesterol number that is normal for someone without diabetes is not normal for someone with diabetes” ...... Only 5 percent to 10 percent of obese people have diabetes, and many with diabetes are not obese. ...... Type 2 diabetes is genetically determined — if one identical twin has it, the other has an 80 percent chance of having it too. ........ most who lose weight are not cured of the disease ...... the metabolic process of weight loss lessens diabetes. Once weight is lost, he added, and people stabilize at a lower weight, their diabetes may remain. ...... new diabetes regimen: a statin to drive his cholesterol level very low, two drugs to lower his blood pressure, an aspirin, insulin and two drugs to reduce his blood sugar levels. That new list of drugs was what he should have been taking all along. ..... A quarter to a third of all heart attack patients have diabetes, even though diabetes patients constitute just 9.3 percent of the population. Another 25 percent of heart attack patients are verging on diabetes with abnormally high blood sugar levels. ........ should be stringently controlling their cholesterol and blood pressure. ..... There is something about diabetes itself, researchers say, that leads to high levels of LDL cholesterol and a form of LDL cholesterol particles that is particularly dangerous. Diabetes also leads to increased levels of triglycerides, which are fats in the blood that increase heart disease risk, and in diabetes is linked to high blood pressure. ........ LDL levels of 70 to 80 are even better for people with diabetes who already have overt heart disease. ...... achieving the recommended cholesterol levels usually means taking a statin ..... lowering cholesterol with statins, Dr. Hirsch and others said, is much simpler than anything else diabetes patients are asked to do. And, he added, the drugs are among the best studied and the safest on the market. ..... If he had to rate the different regimens for a typical middle-age person with Type 2 diabetes, the first priority would be to take a statin and lower the LDL cholesterol level. ..... if everyone did these things — taking a statin, taking a blood pressure medication, and maybe taking an aspirin you would reduce the heart attack rate by half ..... the start of a journey that diabetes specialists say ends up fundamentally changing a person’s world ...... as happens with most diabetes patients eventually, he feels he is reaching a point where he just cannot continue to do all that he should to protect his health. ....... it runs in his family. ..... medications to control blood sugar that make patients gain weight. ..... On his first visit, Dr. Hirsch gave him a fistful of prescriptions, including a statin, blood pressure medications and one for the drug Mr. Umbarger dreaded — insulin. He also told Mr. Umbarger to have regular checks for eye, nerve and kidney damage. And he has to watch what he eats and count carbohydrates. ....... The problem for him, as for most diabetes patients eventually, is the blood sugar monitoring. He is supposed to prick his finger six or more times a day to measure his glucose levels and adjust his insulin dose accordingly. ...... “Pricking your finger, seeing that number day after day, it wears on you,” Mr. Umbarger said. “It’s like a ball and chain.” ....... no matter what they do, most people with Type 2 diabetes get worse as the years go by. Patients make less and less insulin and their cells become less and less able to use the insulin they do produce. ....... “That is why it is not uncommon to start initially with diet therapy, then after a few years we need to add a drug that improves insulin sensitivity,” Dr. Kahn said. “Then when that drug isn’t enough, we add a second drug that improves insulin sensitivity by a different mechanism. Then we add a drug that stimulates that pancreas to make more insulin.” ..... “We already have the miracle pills” — statins and blood pressure medications, he said. And they are available for pennies a day, as generics.
Arab media condemn Bush flip-flop on Iraq prime minister International Herald Tribune
Iraq PM rejects US criticism The Australian
Nepal says takes over ownership of king's palaces San Diego Union Tribune
Pakistani supreme court approves exiled former PM's return
Xinhua the exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could return to the country and to take part in the forthcoming parliamentary elections. ..... Earlier this month, President General Pervez Musharraf said that former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif should not return home until after the forthcoming general elections in the country
Pak. govt. to respect court verdict allowing Sharif to return Hindu
Pakistan’s exiled former PM cleared to return Financial Times
Edwards Turns Campaign Message to Change
ABC News
Edwards Goes After Clinton, Obama
Guardian Unlimited
The Pragmatic Obama
Washington Post, United States He's Shaping the Debate on Foreign Policy .... he's not a left-wing devil. .... When a local reporter asks him if he's surprised by the "warm response" he got, Obama displays the almost eerie self-confidence that has marked his rise as a candidate. ....... indisputable star power. ..... the high-voltage connection he can establish with people. ..... persona is closer to a rock star than a typical politician. ..... dozens of African Americans here crowd around him with obvious pride and passion. ..... Obama is now attempting to translate this charisma into a serious political movement -- one that would allow him not simply to win the Democratic nomination but also to govern effectively as president. He is emphasizing defense and foreign policy, where voters have often not trusted Democrats to protect the country. ........ he's putting more substance into his pitch than candidates often do. ....... over the past month, Obama has been shaping the foreign policy debate for the Democrats -- and getting the best of the arguments. ........ Obama's postulate that "strong countries and strong presidents meet and talk with our adversaries." ........ he expects there will still be U.S. troops in Iraq when the next president takes office ....... "For getting out in an orderly way, withdrawing one to two brigades a month is realistic," he said. With 20 combat brigades in Iraq ....... Obama says he would support keeping U.S. forces in and around Iraq for protection of U.S. personnel there, for counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda, for protecting Iraq's borders and perhaps for continued training of Iraq's military if that country's political situation permits. He also said U.S. troops should be available to help stop any future "bloodbath" in Iraq, but only as part of a wider international effort. .......... Obama said he would talk to Iranian leaders about stabilizing Iraq ..... he would make suspension of nuclear enrichment by Iran a topic for discussions rather than a condition for talks ....... Obama is deftly managing to outflank his Democratic rivals on both the left and right on key foreign policy issues. .... "He is totally pragmatic. He asks what would work and what wouldn't."
Online "friends" could be pivotal in 2008 US race
Washington Post, United States start hanging out on Facebook ..... social-networking sites like Facebook and MySpace as tools to win over young voters who are difficult to reach through more traditional campaigning. ..... Obama is the clear favorite so far -- the Illinois Democrat even gained the support on Facebook, however briefly, of Giuliani's Harvard-bound daughter, Caroline. ...... Obama has drawn nearly twice as many online "friends" who link to his profile than any other candidate, and many of them have become volunteers for the campaign. .... The Obama campaign has also built its own social-networking site, my.barackobama.com, which it credits for boosting fund-raising and attendance at rallies. ...... "Barack Obama is not going to lose a single voter from here on out. People are with him through the end of this thing" ...... 1996, when Republican candidate Bob Dole gave out the wrong address for his Web site during a debate ....... McCain pioneered online fund-raising in the 2000 race, and in 2004 Howard Dean rode the blogosphere to the front of the Democratic field ....... Facebook had 52 million unique visitors in June, while MySpace had 114 million. ...... Democrats outnumber Republicans 5-to-1 on Facebook and 3-to-1 on MySpace ...... Obama has drawn 299,000 supporters on the two networks ...... Giuliani has drawn only 7,400 supporters on MySpace. ...... midterm elections. .... "We were shocked, to be honest," Cutler said. "We didn't know if all these people on Facebook would show up."
Obama invades 'Daily Show' for a few laughs Chicago Sun-Times, United States greeted by a studio audience chanting, "Barack, Barack" ..... Asked by host Jon Stewart if he should consider running a smaller country before taking over as commander in chief, the Illinois Democrat responded, "What I did think about, though, was invading a smaller country." ..... Obama said, "I think having Oprah's support is wonderful," but in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, "people just want to talk to you. They want to lift the hood, they want to kick the tires . . ."
Australia’s Obama-Like Timetable Korea Times, South Korea John Howard .... reported to be losing patience with the current Iraq government and mulling over options for an Australian troop withdrawal. ..... The Australian people have soured on the war effort, to which their country has committed a troop contribution of about 1,500. ...... Australians will choose their next government later this year. .... prime minister since 1996, has seen his opinion ratings deteriorate and faces the prospect of leading his Liberal Party to defeat. ...... Howard is looking for a way out that avoids the appearance either of defeat or of a timetable. ...... the Australian leader, it seems, thinks timetables for withdrawal are sort of unwise and unmanly. ..... Just a few months ago Howard, in a utterly gratuitous commentary on the U.S. presidential debate, lambasted Illinois Sen. Barack Obama ...... those running Obama's presidential campaign might well be justified now in throwing the Howard's angry words right back in the Aussie's face. ..... as if in response to the snap of the president's fingers, three prime ministers were in short order at Bush's feet: Blair of Great Britain, Koizumi of Japan and, of course, Howard of Australia. ....... Might not it have been better for the United States to have had real friends courageous enough to challenge the administration's thinking, instead of pimping it to their domestic publics and around the world? ...... the United States has lost more than 3,600 soldiers in Iraq _ and more than 27,000 have been significantly injured. The British have had 168 killed ... the Aussies have lost two soldiers. ...... this unnecessary war. .... if it turns out Afghanistan (which was a necessary war) is to be lost because of the diversion of too many resources to Iraq. ......With miscalculating, fawning friends like Howard _ and Blair and Koizumi _ Bush, in the end, really didn't need enemies, did he?
Hedge-Fund Con Men at Heart of Credit Crisis The recent market meltdown had much less to do with bad subprime loans than advertised. It was caused more fundamentally by excesses at hedge and private equity funds. Those contraptions, invented by the sinfully wealthy barons of Wall Street, have lied to themselves and their investors about the efficacy of their schemes. Now they are quiet in their sins as bad home loans take the rap for a global meltdown that the U.S. housing market is not large enough to cause. ...... when hedge funds multiply, they essentially bet against one another and require one another to validate their bets ....... akin to a Las Vegas bookie taking only bets on the Washington Redskins and none on their opponents, while financing the book on money borrowed from a New York bank .... a modern-day run on the bank, where the banks become the depositors and the hedge and equity funds are the banks. ...... Roosevelt did more than provide liquidity, he closed the banks in 1933 so that depositors could not withdraw their savings and stopped the banks from foreclosing on farm and home loans until sanity resumed. ..... the ECB and Fed need to reassure markets through steady, calm action and not behave as the ECB did, like a frightened child.