Wednesday, September 21, 2005

morning oys 


Zero Fiscal Policy

Trying to allay mounting concerns, White House budget director Joshua B. Bolten met with Republican senators for an hour after their regular Tuesday lunch. Senators emerged to say they were annoyed by the lack of concrete ideas for paying the Hurricane Katrina bill.

"Very entertaining," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said sarcastically as he left the session. "I haven't heard any specifics from the administration."

"At least give us some idea" of how to cover the cost, said Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), who is facing reelection in 2006. "We owe that to the American taxpayer."

Losing Basra

A surge of violence in Basra, Iraq's second-biggest city, has raised new doubts about the U.S.-led coalition's strategy for pacifying southern Iraq by giving free rein to Shiite religious militias with ties to neighboring Iran.

Backed by the U.S., the British forces in southern Iraq have effectively looked the other way as Shiite Muslim religious parties solidified their control over the city's government and as militia members joined the local police force while maintaining loyalty to militia leaders. The policy choice rested on an unspoken trade-off, with the British banking on the militias' ability to prevent insurgents from sowing instability or endangering Basra's ports and oil fields.

This is what we’ve become

A prisoner in Afghanistan was beaten to death over a period of five days, hanging from chains in a public place in a detention facility and only a private first class goes to jail? In all that time, the Army is trying to tell us that no one higher than a private first class walked that hallway, accounted for that prisoner, delivered meals, supervised work details? If he was truly the only one that witnessed that, then there is a whole chain of sergeants, lieutenants, and captains that obviously were derelict in their duty, simply for not checking on their soldiers! The system that doesn't provide for a proper chain of movement to the rear, the shortage of military police and transport, the situations that require a soldier assaulted by a detainee to then guard that detainee over a period of days are all evidence of a systemic failure and the naiveté of the plan that engenders those situations.

Lynndie England may be of diminished mental capacity, but so is our system. And on days like this, so is our national conscience.

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