Democrats in Box on Iraq War Legislation By ANNE FLAHERTY, The Associated Press Wednesday, September 12, 2007; 3:20 AM WASHINGTON -- Democrats are in a box on the Iraq war debate, lacking the votes to pass legislation ordering troops home by spring but tied to a support base that wants nothing less. Two days of testimony from Gen. David Petraeus, the military commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador there, seemed only to harden positions among lawmakers. GOP conservatives said real progress was finally being made and more time was needed, whereas Democrats said the absence of a political deal in Baghdad meant the strategy failed.Democrats could have positioned themselves to capitalize on Bush's inevitable failure in Iraq. But when a united chorus might have swept this failed presidency away in a political tsunami, Democrats find themselves neither here nor there, just "almost" morally right. Instead of demanding withdrawal, Democratic opposition seems too little, too late. Bush will have achieved his goal: a permanent presence in Iraq. Politically, he will have gotten it all on the cheap.
Guantanamo Detainees Tell of Abuses By ANDREW O. SELSKY SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Detainees flinging body waste at guards. Guards interrupting detainees at prayer. Interrogators withholding medicine. Hostility and tension between inmates and their keepers at the Guantanamo Bay prison are evident in transcripts obtained by The Associated Press. These rare detainee accounts of life inside the razor wire at the remote US military base in Cuba emerged during Administrative Review Board hearings aimed at deciding whether prisoners suspected of links with the Taliban or al-Qaeda should continue to be held or be sent away from Guantanamo. The Pentagon gave the AP transcripts of hearings held last year in a trailer at Guantanamo after the news agency sought the material under the Freedom of Information Act. Amid the tensions, the transcripts also show a few relaxed encounters between detainees and their guards and interrogators.When the GOP focus groups told Bush and/or Rove that the old line about fighting "terror" in Iraq was no longer working, the reasons for attacking and invading that nation changed, conveniently, to fit Bush's political needs of the moment. It became a war for freedom. Jimmy Breslin puts that lie to rest.
So I got in the subway and went home. Where the torture of watching this general and his friend, Crocker, had me looking for a rope to cling to. Watching them was far more difficult than running six years later on the same legs. What I saw and heard was Crocker being asked something about how long he thought we were going to be fighting in Iraq. He said, and you could look it up, that we poor, unschooled and impatient fools ought to look to our past. We fought for this nation, he said. We won our independence by fighting for it. We didn't have any large army coming in to help us. The Iraqis now don't fight for their nation. They want us to fight for them. And that is exactly what we are doing and will do for years. Why, then, don't we give Iraqis the same opportunity our people had here, to fight for their freedom and win it?I wrote years ago that Bush's policies in both Afghanistan and Iraq made terrorism worse, and, in fact, they have. Bush hasn't put a glove on terrorism. Bush's ham fisted, fucked-up war crime against the people of Iraq is what it is: a heinous war crime whose perps --Bush and his henchmen --should be tried for high treason, capital crimes, and mass murder.
--JIMMY BRESLIN, Running in place in Iraq