Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Good Terrorism and Bad Terrorism

CARACAS, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelan Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez issued a statement on Tuesday criticizing the United States for not deporting two Venezuelans linked to 2003 bomb attacks on the Colombian and Spanish embassies
in Caracas.

The decision not to extradite Jose Antonio Colina and German Varela, who were former Venezuelan national guard officers, showed that Washington believed "there is good terrorism and bad terrorism", Rodriguez said in the statement.

On April 12, a U.S. court declined to extradite Colina and Varela, currently held at a U.S. immigration center in Houston, in the U.S. state of Texas, saying that they might be persecuted or tortured. Rodriguez said that the torture allegations were a "pretext", noting that there were no cases of torture under President Hugo Chavez's seven-year rule.

George W. Bush on Nations That Protect Terrorists:
"United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbor terrorists, because they are equally guilty of murder." -- October 6, 2005

"To promote peace in the broader Middle East, we must confront regimes that continue to harbor terrorists and pursue weapons of mass murder" -- February 2, 2005

"The Arab states must take concrete steps with all parties to create a regional environment conducive to peace, lend financial support to the Palestinian people, and refuse to assist or harbor terrorists." -- January 9, 2005

"I laid out a doctrine, David, that said if you harbor terrorists, you're equally as guilty as the terrorists..." -- November 4, 2004

"Secondly, we are confronting regimes that harbor terrorists and feed the terrorists and support the terrorists. I set a doctrine that these regimes are equally as guilty as the terrorists. When a President speaks, he must speak clearly and he must mean what he says." -- October 29, 2004

"Part of this new war, this different kind of war is to confront regimes that harbor terrorists, that support terrorists, that could supply them with weapons of mass murder. This is an essential part of the war on terror. When America speaks, we better mean what we say. And I said right after September the 11th, if you harbor a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorists..." -- February 5, 2004

"Any person, organization, or government that supports, protects, or harbors terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent, and equally guilty of terrorist crimes. " -- May 1, 2003

"When I spoke to Congress more than a year ago, I said that those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves." -- October 7, 2002

"And our enemy is not the people of any nation, even when their leaders harbor terrorists. Our enemy is the terrorists themselves, and the regimes that shelter and sustain them." -- October 6, 2001

"Well, I think most people in the world understand that I was very serious, and they're serious, when we say if you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorist." -- September 25, 2001

Now I get it. Any nation that harbors a terrorist is just as guilty as the terrorist...unless the terrorists come from a country whose leader regularly humiliates George W. Bush. Then those terrorists are cool with the US.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Daddy, What Side Were You On in the Iraq Civil War?

More of that progress in Iraq:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Snipers held rooftop positions as masked Sunni Arab insurgents said they were gearing up for another open street battle with pro-government Shi'ite militiamen in Baghdad's Adhamiya district on Tuesday.

The Arab Sunni stronghold is still feeling ripples from overnight clashes on Monday that appeared to be the closest yet to all-out sectarian fighting.

It's a reality that has Washington scrambling to avert civil war as Iraqi politicians struggle to form a government four months after parliamentary elections.

A U.S. military spokesman said 50 insurgents attacked Iraqi forces in the middle of the night in a seven-hour battle that killed five rebels and wounded an Iraqi soldier.
Fighting was so fierce that U.S. reinforcements were brought in to the northern district, home to some of Iraq's most hardcore Sunni guerrillas and the Abu Hanifa mosque, near where Saddam Hussein was last seen in public before going into hiding.

That last sentence holds the key.

As it becomes clearer that much of the Iraqi "forces" are actually Shiite militias looking to exterminate Sunnis, every time the US comes to the aid of said "forces," it essentially is choosing one side against the other in that country's civil war. Given that most of the Middle Eastern muslims are Sunnis, this could have explosive ramifications for the US's presence there.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Because there are so many other causes

This New York Times editorial points to the tragedy that despite having burned through $200 million, the US has failed to built most of the Iraqi hospitals that it had planned to:

Two years ago, the United States government promised to build more than 140 badly needed health clinics in Iraq, bringing basic care to underserved areas outside the big cities. That could have done a lot of good, saving innocent Iraqi lives and building good will for the United States in places where it has grown dangerously scarce. A generous cost-plus contract was awarded to Parsons Inc., an American construction firm, to do the work, supervised by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Now, with roughly $200 million already spent and financing from Washington set to run out in less than nine months, it appears extremely unlikely that most of those clinics will ever be built. As The Washington Post reported earlier this month, the Army Corps of Engineers predicts that no more than 20 clinics will actually be completed — out of 142.


Let it not be said that thousands more Iraqis died needlessly because America walked away from its promise of health clinics with less than 15 percent of the job done.

The Times' heart is definitely in the right place, but this feels a little melodramatic. Of all the causes of needless death taking place in Iraq as a result of the US's actions, the lack of new health clinics must be pretty near the bottom.