Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Saturday, November 26th, 2005.


We’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling

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Bush Administration, Europe, Terrorism

Tracy Wilkinson of the Los Angeles Times writes that Europe is in an uproar over CIA operations on their turf.

From Scandinavia to the tropical Canary Islands, the CIA’s clandestine use of European soil and airspace for counter-terrorism missions is triggering outrage, parliamentary inquiries and a handful of criminal prosecutions.

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, Europe was either silent about or unaware of the ways in which American agents operated within its borders. But in recent weeks several European governments have become much more vocal about alleged CIA activity in their jurisdictions.

Among the complaints: CIA operatives, without formal permission, have seized suspects in European cities and transported them to third countries for interrogation; CIA flights that have transported suspected terrorists around the world purportedly have used European airports for layovers; and the CIA may be operating clandestine prisons in Europe. …

…Two countries where some of the strongest evidence has emerged are Italy, where prosecutors are attempting to arrest 22 CIA operatives, and Spain, where officials have confirmed a steady parade of purported CIA flights into the nation’s airports.

In Germany, prosecutors are investigating both the alleged kidnapping by the CIA of one of its citizens and a number of suspicious flights into German air bases. Sweden and Norway launched investigations after similar incidents. The Dutch accused Washington of hiding its alleged use of secret prisons in Europe, and the 46-member Council of Europe told Romania to investigate reports that it was the site of such illegal detentions.

Investigations into alleged CIA landings or flyovers are underway in Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

The European Union said any of its members housing secret prisons for suspected Islamic terrorists, as first reported in the Washington Post, would be in violation of the law and subject to fines.

Wow, there’s no end to the stuff we can do to piss people off, huh?

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What’d I Say?

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Bush Administration, Iraq War

Paul Richter and Tyler Marshall report in the Los Angeles Times that President Bush will start laying the groundwork for significant troops pullouts from Iraq.

I guess the boy reads polls after all.

Richter and Marshall write,

Even as debate over the Iraq war continues to rage, signs are emerging of a convergence of opinion on how the Bush administration might begin to exit the conflict.

In a departure from previous statements, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said this week that the training of Iraqi soldiers had advanced so far that the current number of U.S. troops in the country probably would not be needed much longer.

President Bush will give a major speech Wednesday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., in which aides say he is expected to herald the improved readiness of Iraqi troops, which he has identified as the key condition for pulling out U.S. forces.

The administration’s pivot on the issue comes as the White House is seeking to relieve enormous pressure by war opponents. The camp includes liberals, moderates and old-line conservatives who are uneasy with the costly and uncertain nation-building effort.

It also follows agreement this week among Iraqi politicians that the U.S. troop presence ought to decrease. Meeting in Cairo, representatives of the three major ethnic and religious groups called for a U.S. withdrawal and recognized Iraqis’ “legitimate right of resistance” to foreign occupation. In private conversations, Iraqi officials discussed a possible two-year withdrawal period, analysts said.

In other words, he’s going to declare victory so the troops can go home. Which is, of course, ENTIRELY DIFFERENT (snark) from “cutting and running.” And I’m predicting now that the “two-year withdrawal period” will be considerably shorter than two years.

Update: Josh Marshall writes,

I’m going to way out on a limb and take James Fallows’ word over the president’s and assume that there’s been no radical turnaround in the training and functioning of the Iraqi Army over the last couple months.

And if that’s true, it clarifies this essential point: there is no debate about withdrawing American troops from Iraq. That’s over. What we have is posturing and positioning over the political consequences of withdrawal. The White House and the president’s partisans will lay down a wall of covering fire, calling anybody who considers withdrawal an appeaser, to allow the president to go about the business of drawing down the American presence in Iraq in time to game the 2006 elections.

Exactly. And the Dems will be outmaneuvered once again.

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