Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Morning News Roundup (11 October)

BushCo's Wars
  • A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred.
    It is more than 20 times the estimate of 30,000 civilian deaths that President Bush gave in a speech in December. It is more than 10 times the estimate of roughly 50,000 civilian deaths made by the British-based Iraq Body Count research group.
    Of the total 655,000 estimated "excess deaths," 601,000 resulted from violence and the rest from disease and other causes, according to the study. This is about 500 unexpected violent deaths per day throughout the country. [WaPo]

  • Normally, when someone launches a war of choice that kills 2.5 percent of a country’s population, they are considered a war criminal. [The Left Coaster]

  • Needless to say, Bush followers have become overnight expert statisticians and are able -- with certainty no less -- to declare these numbers to be wildly inflated and unreliable (some try to provide some reasoning, while some don't even bother). As always, facts which reflect poorly on the Leader and his wars are, for that reason alone, false and inherently "biased," and can be disregarded with the wave of a hand (which is, incidentally, as good an explanation as any as to how and why we are in the dreadful situation we find ourselves in Iraq). [Glenn Greenwald]

  • For the first time, more Americans (36 percent) believe the terrorists are winning the “war on terror” than think the United States and its allies are winning (31 percent). Twenty-two percent (22%) say neither side is winning. [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

  • Japan is to impose tough new sanctions against North Korea in response to the North's claimed nuclear test. The new Japanese measures will include banning all North Korean imports and stopping its ships entering Japanese waters. [BBC]

  • If there had been more good intelligence, or if Bush had been intelligent enough to listen to what there was, he might have discovered that there was no very reliable information to underpin his charges against Iraq; that Iran’s supposed weapons program was completely unproven; and that North Korea’s ambitions might still be subject to change, if the right incentives were offered. What was needed was statecraft and diplomacy of a high level. But Bush, in (his 2002 State of the Union) speech and in his actions, turned the famous dictum of Carl von Clausewitz on its head: diplomacy became nothing more than war by other means. And as such, it has failed. [Newsweek's Christopher Dickey]

Climate Crisis

Domestic Potpourri
  • In what sounded to many Washington ears yesterday like an early shot in the 2008 presidential campaign, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) singled out Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as he denounced the Clinton administration's policies toward North Korea.

    "I would remind Senator Clinton and other Democrats critical of Bush administration policies that the framework agreement her husband's administration negotiated was a failure," McCain said in a speech near Detroit, where he was campaigning for a Republican Senate candidate. "Every single time the Clinton administration warned the Koreans not to do something -- not to kick out the IAEA inspectors, not to remove the fuel rods from their reactor -- they did it. And they were rewarded every single time by the Clinton administration with further talks." [WaPo]

  • By the way Senator, if giving the North Koreans energy assistance as required by the framework agreement is the sign of a failed policy, then what did you say when George W. Bush gave Pyongyang the same assistance back in 2002?

    Senator, how many nuclear weapons tests did the North Koreans conduct during the 1990’s? And how many tests and how much weapons grade material have they developed since 2000 right under your nose while you sat on the Senate Armed Services Committee? [The Left Coaster]

  • "Failure" =1994-2002 -- Era of Clinton 'Agreed Framework': No plutonium production. All existing plutonium under international inspection. No bomb.

    "Success" = 2002-2006 -- Bush Policy Era: Active plutonium production. No international inspections of plutonium stocks. Nuclear warhead detonated. [Talking Points Memo]

  • As the Republican candidate for governor, Blackwell has been counting on values voters to do for him this year what they did for the party in 2004. Several polls find Blackwell trailing his Democratic opponent, five-term Rep. Ted Strickland, by double digits with less than four weeks to go until the Nov. 7 midterm elections.

    Strickland, 65, an ordained but non-practicing minister, has built his lead by speaking about the economic distress of this manufacturing state and by painting his opponent as a loyal soldier of a scandal-plagued Ohio Republican Party. At the same time, he is directly challenging Blackwell for values voters in ways that many analysts believe Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry did not two years ago. [WaPo]

Big Blue Marble
  • Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has warned of a possible genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. Mr Obasanjo said security should be handed over to the United Nations, but the peacekeeping force should retain its African character. It is the strongest use of the word 'genocide' in connection with the Darfur conflict by an African leader. [BBC]

  • Kiran Desai has won the UK's leading literary award, the Man Booker Prize, for her novel The Inheritance of Loss. Desai, 35, is the youngest female winner of the prize. The Inheritance of Loss is her second novel.

    The Inheritance of Loss tells the story of a Cambridge-educated Indian judge who lives a reclusive retirement in the foothills of the Himalayas. But the arrival of his orphaned teenage granddaughter, and his cook's son's attempts to keep one step ahead of the US immigration department, threatens to shatter his peace. [BBC]

  • The craze for blogging in Iran has reached an unlikely set of adherents - the country's conservative Islamic clerics. Following the example of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, ayatollahs, seminary students and theologians are receiving training in setting up their own weblogs.

    The arrival of the religious ruling class on Iran's blogosphere is ironic in view of the harsh crackdown launched by the authorities against bloggers who have used it to voice political dissent. Scores of bloggers have been jailed in recent years while many sites have been blocked using US-made filtering technology. Iran is estimated to have between 75,000 and 100,000 bloggers, most of them avoiding politics to concentrate on matters like social affairs, culture and sex. [The Guardian]

[ posted with ecto ]


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