Love Under the Threat of Terrror

A short story…

Without warning, he reached down and I felt his strong, calloused hands start at my ankles, gently probing, and moving upward along my calves slowly but steadily. My breath caught in my throat. I knew I should be afraid, but somehow I didn’t care. His touch was so experienced, so sure.

When his hands moved up onto my thighs, I gave a slight shudder, and partly closed my eyes. My pulse was pounding. I felt his knowing fingers caress my abdomen, my ribcage. And then, as he cupped my firm, full breasts in his hands, I inhaled sharply.

Read on for the thrilling climax.

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Hypocrisy vs Irony via CNN

Sometimes it’s a tough call to judge whether someone is being Hypocritical or Ironic.

The same can often be said of situations.   What we have below is one such situation.  A simple confluence of world events that illustrates the absudity of….well….those same events and sometimes, the lack thereof (see #3).

cnn_cover

The storyline goes as follows….

Continue reading

Some Random Black Dude Talks about Iraq

Ran across this one yesterday.  It’s always nice to see the positions coming directly from the candidates.  As I tend to lean a bit towards this Obama fella, I figured a closer look at his Op-Ed would be worthwhile.

On we go.

Op-Ed Contributor – My Plan for Iraq – Op-Ed – Barack Obama – NYTimes.com

CHICAGO — The call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq presents an enormous opportunity. We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States.

Good start.  This is exactly the same thing I pointed out last week when al-Maliki made his statement.

Next up is a bit of history surrounding the engagement.  Nothing much here but the bottom line.

The differences on Iraq in this campaign are deep. Unlike Senator John McCain, I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president. I believed it was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Since then, more than 4,000 Americans have died and we have spent nearly $1 trillion. Our military is overstretched. Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown.

In the 18 months since President Bush announced the surge, our troops have performed heroically in bringing down the level of violence. New tactics have protected the Iraqi population, and the Sunni tribes have rejected Al Qaeda — greatly weakening its effectiveness.

So we’ve got a bit of momentum, maybe..depending on the way Sadr goes, which seem seems to be quietly at the moment.   He then goes on a bit about the current state of Iraqi politics and makes on the most salient semantic points I’ve seen in a while.  Note the bold.

Only by redeploying our troops can we press the Iraqis to reach comprehensive political accommodation and achieve a successful transition to Iraqis’ taking responsibility for the security and stability of their country. Instead of seizing the moment and encouraging Iraqis to step up, the Bush administration and Senator McCain are refusing to embrace this transition — despite their previous commitments to respect the will of Iraq’s sovereign government. They call any timetable for the removal of American troops “surrender,” even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government.

A wonderful point here, as we are giving power to a government we put in place, not the insurgents or AQI (obviously).  To call this surrender is to embolden the enemy.

He then points out that leaving in a responsible manner is not only desired by the Iraqis, the U.S. and the World, but that it can be done responsibly.

As I’ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 — two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces. That would not be a precipitous withdrawal.

And then with the strong finish, with some excellent rhetoric and a very simple statement (bolded for your pleasure).

In this campaign, there are honest differences over Iraq, and we should discuss them with the thoroughness they deserve. Unlike Senator McCain, I would make it absolutely clear that we seek no presence in Iraq similar to our permanent bases in South Korea, and would redeploy our troops out of Iraq and focus on the broader security challenges that we face. But for far too long, those responsible for the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy have ignored useful debate in favor of making false charges about flip-flops and surrender.

It’s not going to work this time. It’s time to end this war.

And so it is.

Iraq PM Wants Obama to Be President (i.e. wants a Timetable and Soverignity)

Iraq says may agree to timetable for U.S. withdrawal – Yahoo! News

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki raised the prospect on Monday of setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops as part of negotiations over a new security agreement with Washington.

It was the first time the U.S.-backed Shi’ite-led government has floated the idea of a timetable for the removal of American forces from Iraq. The Bush administration has always opposed such a move, saying it would give militant groups an advantage.

The security deal under negotiation will replace a U.N. mandate for the presence of U.S. troops that expires on December 31.

“Today, we are looking at the necessity of terminating the foreign presence on Iraqi lands and restoring full sovereignty,” Maliki told Arab ambassadors in blunt remarks during an official visit to Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.

I think that pretty much ends discussion on the topic.

The simple fact of the matter is that the Iraqi people are ready for us to go.  The majority of the American people are ready for us to go.  The VAST MAJORITY OF THE WORLD wants us to go.

Obama wants us to go.  McCain doesn’t.

Why are we even still having this discussion?

Ahh, yes…

“One of the two basic topics is either to have a memorandum of understanding for the departure of forces or a memorandum of understanding to set a timetable for the presence of the forces, so that we know (their presence) will end in a specific time.”

Maliki was responding to questions from the ambassadors about the security negotiations with the United States. The exchange was shown on Iraqiya state television.

U.S. officials in Baghdad had no immediate comment. Last month Maliki caught Washington off guard when he said talks on the security deal were at a “dead end” after he complained Iraq’s sovereignty was being infringed by U.S. demands.

Oil and Terror.  That’s why some want to stay.  We don’t yet have the agreements in place that were the major impetus for starting this whole debacle.  And we don’t have carte blanche to go in and abduct or kill anyone we want.  Those are the three main sticking points, extra-legal right to the Iraqi people (that we think are bad), ownership of Iraqi oil (which we think is good), and immunity from Iraqi courts (which we would rather avoid, since our mercenaries have done lots of bad things).

All of these can be resolved by an Obama presidency or exacerbated by a McCain one.  Vote accordingly.

——————

UPDATE: One of the sticking points has been resolved, generally…

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s foreign minister said Tuesday that the United States had agreed to lift immunity for foreign security contractors operating in Iraq, making them subject to prosecution under Iraqi law, according to Iraqi politicians.

In a briefing for lawmakers on the status of a complex security agreement being negotiated with the United States, the foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, said Iraq had insisted on ending the immunity for private security companies, according to three Iraqi politicians who were present. American troops are operating under a United Nations mandate that expires in December.

The private security companies, like Blackwater Worldwide, have reputations of using excessive force in protecting diplomatic and other foreign clients, and currently enjoy immunity from Iraqi law. That immunity became a political issue last fall, after a Blackwater shooting in Baghdad in September left 17 Iraqis dead, according to Iraqi investigators.

The Chinese Propaganda Machine in Action

Bloomberg.com: North American

April 1 (Bloomberg) — Tibetans sympathetic to pro- independence activists are planning suicide squads to disrupt the Beijing Olympic Games in August, including a plan for the Olympic torch to pass through Lhasa, said a Chinese police spokesman.

“To our knowledge, the next plan of the Tibet independence forces is to organize suicide squads to launch violent attacks” around the time of the Olympics, Wu Heping, the Public Security Ministry spokesman, told reporters today in Beijing. He declined to say what measures police are taking to prevent such assaults.

Tibet’s government-in-exile, based in India, said the accusation is “propaganda,” Agence France-Presse reported.

More on this in a bit.  Basically the Chinese are taking the American position that it is o.k. to do anything you want as long as you say it is to combat potential terrorist activities

It Ain’t Iraq That’s the Danger

VOA News – CIA Chief Says Al-Qaida Found Safe Haven in Pakistan  

The head of the US Central Intelligence Agency says al-Qaida has established a safe haven in the tribal areas near the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that it presents a “clear and present danger” to the West. VOA’s Kent Klein reports from Washington.

CIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden (File)
CIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden (File)

The CIA Director, Air Force General Michael Hayden, says if there were another terrorist attack against the United States, it would almost certainly originate from that region.

“What I can tell you about is the situation along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, which presents a clear and present danger to Afghanistan, to Pakistan, and to the West in general and to the United States in particular,” said Michael Hayden.

General Hayden, interviewed on NBC’s Meet the Press, said al-Qaida has been using the advantage of that safe haven to train operatives who “look Western.”

BTW, “Clear and Present Danger” is a code word for start bombing now, or at least it leaves open that option.   Bush is bot-like in his devotion to his mangling of the Middle East, and McCain doesn’t seem to remember who it was that had the temerity to strike.  It wasn’t Huessein.  And it didn’t come from Iraq.

Also…when did Red Coleman start running the CIA?

General Hayden would neither confirm nor deny a recent US newspaper report that the United States is increasing attacks against al-Qaida suspects in the border region in anticipation that President Musharraf’s power will diminish soon. But he said the United States has not had a better partner in the war against terror than the Pakistani government.

And that is exactly why Musharraf lost the election.  And why it’s going so poorly.   Musharraf’s crackdowns, which the U.S. loves, cost him a lot of popular support.   Musharraf’s support for the U.S., which the U.S. loves, cost him a ton of popular support.  Then the Bhutto bombing solidified the opposition and then you got this.

Who Could Fight Terror Better?

Muslims more numerous than Catholics: Vatican | Top News | Reuters

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Islam has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the biggest single religious denomination in the world, the Vatican said on Sunday.Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, who compiled the Vatican’s newly-released 2008 yearbook of statistics, said Muslims made up 19.2 percent of the world’s population and Catholics 17.4 percent.

“For the first time in history we are no longer at the top: the Muslims have overtaken us,” Formenti told Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano in an interview, saying the data referred to 2006.

He said that if all Christian groups were considered, including Orthodox churches, Anglicans and Protestants, then Christians made up 33 percent of the world’s population — or about 2 billion people.

The Vatican recently put the number of Catholics in the world at 1.13 billion people. It did not provide a figure for Muslims, generally estimated at around 1.3 billion.

U.S. Pop = 300,000,000

1 American =  4.3333… Muslims.

Perhaps peace is the answer?  Hrrrm?