Not Like Vietnam

The U.S. military broadened its offensive in western Iraq on Monday, launching a major attack on insurgent positions in the town of Ubaydi near the Syrian border and killing about 50 insurgents in precision airstrikes and house-to-house street fighting, according to news reports and the U.S. military.

U.S. and Iraqi troops reportedly faced stiff resistance from machine-gun and small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. — John Ward Anderson, Washington Post

See? Not like Vietnam. We used to call this “escalation,” not “broadening.”

A New New Low

On CNN, Wolf Blitzer is talking about new approval poll numbers for President Bush that are even lower than last week’s. Details when I find them online.

Update: Here we are; just posted.

Beset with an unpopular war and an American public increasingly less trusting, President Bush faces the lowest approval rating of his presidency, according to a national poll released Monday.

Bush’s 37 percent overall approval rating was two percentage points below his ranking in an October survey. Both polls had a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Sixty percent of the 1,006 adult Americans interviewed by telephone Friday through Sunday said they disapprove of how Bush is handling his job as president.

… For the first time, less than half — 48 percent — of those surveyed said they approved of how the president was handling the war on terror. Forty-nine percent said they disapprove.

In November 2001, Bush had an 87 percent overall approval mark and an 86 percent rating on terrorism.

Sixty percent said it was not worth going to war in Iraq, while 38 percent said it was worthwhile. The question was asked of about half of those surveyed and had a margin of error of five percentage points. The results marked a decline in support of seven percentage points from two months earlier….

When asked about his abilities, 49 percent of those surveyed said he was a strong president and 49 percent said he was a weak leader.

About 50 percent of people polled said they disliked Bush, with 6 percent claiming to hate the president.

Oh, my goodness, it gets better

When asked in the new poll if they trust Bush more than they had Clinton, 48 percent of respondents said they trusted Bush less [than Clinton], while 36 percent said they trusted him more and 15 percent said they trusted Bush the same as Clinton.

For the first time, more than half of the public thinks Bush is not honest and trustworthy — 52 percent to 46 percent. …

…In the poll, 56 percent of registered voters said they would be likely to vote against a local candidate supported by Bush, while 34 percent said the opposite.

Only 9 percent said their first choice in next year’s elections would be a Republican who supports Bush on almost every major issue.

Forty-six percent said the country would be better off if Congress were controlled by Democrats, while 34 percent backed a GOP majority.

Update update: Steve Soto says, “Drink a beer to the next cultist GOP incumbent you see on Fox who swears loyalty to Bush and his agenda, because that sorry bastard will be out of a job next year.” Heh.

Help Lorie Byrd

Lorie Byrd of the rightie blog PoliPundit writes,

Chris Matthews spent the last few minutes of the program talking about how important it is to find out whether or not the President and Vice President lied about pre-war intelligence and how important it is that the Senate investigate this. He said that the administration promised us that there would be WMD found, that Saddam had a nuclear weapons program, that we would be greeted as liberators, that the war would cost nothing because it would be paid for entirely by Iraqi war revenue and that if we invaded Iraq we would have cheap gas. Then he went on to declare that nothing we were promised was true.

I am sorry but I missed those “promises.”

This is the sort of thing I love to plunge into, but I’ve got a lot of chores scheduled for today and I’m already into the planning phase of another post. But if some of you readers want to help, pick one or more of the promises and find a link that documents where Bush and/or Cheney made the promise. Thanks much!

Update: See “So you want details about who lied” by retired Air Force major James Bruner in today’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Update update: PoliPundit Readers: I know you are all eager to explain to me that Bill Clinton believed Saddam Hussein had WMDs in 1998. Please note that (1) only a flaming idiot starts a war in 2003 based on what somebody thought in 1998; and (2) in February 2003, a month before the invasion, UN weapons inspectors in Iraq were publicly stating that US intelligence on Iraq WMDs was “garbage.”

Yes, they said “garbage.” They said other things too, I understand, that couldn’t be printed. You can read about this here.

We Have Met the Enemy …

M. Gregg Bloche and Jonathan H. Marks, professors of law and bioethics, write in today’s New York Times that U.S. interrogators have adopted methods once used in Communist countries to obtain “confessions.”

The Pentagon effectively signed off on a strategy that mimics Red Army methods. But those tactics were not only inhumane, they were ineffective. For Communist interrogators, truth was beside the point: their aim was to force compliance to the point of false confession.

Fearful of future terrorist attacks and frustrated by the slow progress of intelligence-gathering from prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Pentagon officials turned to the closest thing on their organizational charts to a school for torture. That was a classified program at Fort Bragg, N.C., known as SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape. Based on studies of North Korean and Vietnamese efforts to break American prisoners, SERE was intended to train American soldiers to resist the abuse they might face in enemy custody.

The Pentagon appears to have flipped SERE’s teachings on their head, mining the program not for resistance techniques but for interrogation methods. At a June 2004 briefing, the chief of the United States Southern Command, Gen. James T. Hill, said a team from Guantánamo went “up to our SERE school and developed a list of techniques” for “high-profile, high-value” detainees. General Hill had sent this list – which included prolonged isolation and sleep deprivation, stress positions, physical assault and the exploitation of detainees’ phobias – to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who approved most of the tactics in December 2002.

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