Posts Tagged ‘Condoleezza Rice’

Collateral Dynasty: the Colorado Iraqis story

August 21, 2011

As the US winds down its military involvement in Iraq, it’s easy to overlook the many successes of this far-reaching American crusade to extend freedom and our way of life. Among the great advances in this cradle of civilization since US-led liberation, let us not neglect the feats of the Colorado Iraqis.

“I know even less about baseball than I do about hair care,” former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said. “But I am moved by the success of the Colorado Iraqis since the advent of freedom in Iraq.”

The Colorado Iraqis were conceived in the wake of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s widely condemned invasion of Kuwait in 1990. After US forces expelled the invaders, the Pentagon and Major League Baseball officials established the Iraqis franchise. “From Abner Doubleday through Tim Johnson, there’s been a strong, positive relationship between baseball and the military,” Gen. Colin Powell, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman during that first Gulf War, explained. “So we believed that establishing a major league franchise could help moderate the regime’s behavior.”

After two inaugural losing campaigns, the Colorado Iraqis reached the playoffs as the first-ever National League wild card team in 1995. However, the franchise failed to continue its winning ways. The growing misrule of Saddam Hussein led to increased international scrutiny. Consistent major league leading power output fueled suspicions of an illegal nuclear program. The team’s Blake Street Bombers nickname suggested connections with international terrorism.

“In a post-9/11 world, those risks were unacceptable,” former Texas Rangers owner George W. Bush, who served as US President from 2001 to 2009, said. “Plus, we wanted to create a government and a team that the Iraqi people could support.” So the US led an international coalition to launch Operation Iraqi Freedom to oust Saddam Hussein and bring democracy and winning baseball to the Iraqis.

Regime change didn’t make the Colorado Iraqis successful overnight. Replacing Saddam Hussein with L Paul Bremer didn’t do the Iraqis any more good than replacing Jim Leyland with Buddy Bell had. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s experiment with the Iraqis using a seven man lineup set back their progress. But the rising tide of freedom would eventually propel the Iraqis upward in the standings.

While the US-led invasion uncovered no weapons of mass destruction, the Colorado Iraqis retained Todd Helton. The Coalition Provisional Authority’s efforts in the immediate aftermath of the invasion to nurture democracy and development enabled the Iraqis to develop Matt Holliday and Troy Tulowitzki.

However, it wasn’t until advent of the surge strategy in 2007, championed by Senator John McCain and implemented by manager Clint Hurdle, that the Colorado Iraqis returned to the postseason. With a 6 1/2 game deficit on September 16, the Iraqis won 14 of their last 15 games, including a one-game playoff, to become the National League’s wild card team for a second time.

The Colorado Iraqis fantastic 2007 postseason run became known to all as Iraqtober. The Iraqis swept the Philadelphia Phillies to advance to the National League Championship Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Iraqis repeated the sweep to win their first National League pennant, giving them an unprecedented 21-1 run from mid-September. But Iraqtober came to an abrupt end in the World Series against the Boston Red Sox, which the Iraqis lost four games to none.

“The surge strategy enabled the Iraqis to make meaningful, sustainable gains against opposing forces,” General David Petraeus, US commander in Iraq in 2007, recalled. “The past four years of learning to defense the hit and run really paid off.”

Not everyone was as pleased as Petraeus with the Colorado Iraqis’ results. “After nearly one million Iraqi deaths, you ought to get a least one game off the Boston-effing-Red Sox,” Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said. “The only thing worse would be losing to the apostate Cardinals or Padres. And, to be honest, I don’t like those Indians much either.”

The late season surge strategy has become a regular feature of the Colorado Iraqis’ finish every year since 2007. In 2009, the Colorado Iraqis rode September winning streaks of eight and five games to another wild card berth. They didn’t get beyond the first round of the playoffs, but they’ve become a force to be reckoned with annually, transforming the season’s closing weeks into the fall of Iraqis.

“Whatever you think of the original circumstances of the invasion of Iraq, it’s indisputable that the Colorado Iraqis are established as a thriving, successful franchise, right in the center of the Middle East,” President Barack Obama said. “That’s allowed my administration to focus on the current threat to global order from WMDs – the Wilpons of Mets Destruction – and to dare hope we can duplicate the success of the Colorado Iraqis in our efforts to assist the long-suffering Detroit Libyans.”

Totally globalized native New Yorker, reforming baseball writer, and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie. See his biography, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com.

Paul Wolfowitz shouldn’t be seen or heard

March 6, 2011

In the late 1980s, automaker Isuzu began a series of commercials featuring Joe Isuzu, a pitchman congenitally incapable of telling the truth. “I used my new Isuzu pickup truck to carry a 2,000 pound cheeseburger,” Joe Isuzu, played by actor David Leisure, declared. He claimed one Isuzu had “more seats than the Astrodome,” and that another was faster than a speeding bullet that he caught – in mid-sentence – between his teeth.

Paul Wolfowitz is the Joe Isuzu of US foreign policy. Whatever Wolfowitz says is untrue, simply wrong if not an outright lie. Therefore, it’s little short of astounding that CNN programs Fareed Zakaria GPS and Anderson Cooper 360 put Wolfowitz on the air as an expert on the situation in Libya. Perhaps CNN, a network I was proud to have worked for, no longer wants to be seen as a credible news organization.

In case you’ve forgotten, as Deputy Secretary of Defense, Wolfowitz wasn’t just a leading architect of the George W Bush administration’s ill-conceived invasion of Iraq. His mulish conviction, shared by his boss Donald Rumsfeld, that reality would conform to his beliefs, and utter dismissal of opinions differing from his own, transformed the Iraq misadventure into an unmitigated disaster. After failing to secure Afghanistan following the overthrow of its Taliban rulers because the Bush administration was stingy with reconstruction funding and troops, Wolfowitz helped ensure those errors were repeated in Iraq.

Wolfowitz forecast Iraqis would greet US troops with flowers as liberators; instead, more than 4,000 Americans have been killed by insurgents. He scoffed at suggestions it would require more than 100,000 troops to bring security to Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein; in reality, US troop strength in Iraq didn’t drop below 100,000 until 2009. Wolfowitz insisted that the war and the occupation would pay for itself; US direct costs for the war and its aftermath have so far exceeded $850 billion, and long term costs will surpass $2.5 trillion. The Center for Public Integrity flagged Wolfowitz for 85 Iraq-related lies through 2007, a higher total than his fellow Bush administration pillar of integrity Condoleezza Rice.

Like Rice, Wolfowitz adopts the air of an intellectual but he’s strictly a partisan hack, a shameless ideologue who’ll say anything to promote his side. After the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202, Wolfowitz blamed the fall for the Suharto regime that Wolfowitz coddled as US Ambassador to Indonesia from 1986 to 1989 for allowing terrorists to gain ground. But last week he decried the Obama administration for not doing more to topple Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, as if anti-government protesters – unlike US-dependent autocrats – in Egypt are ripe for US influence. Rest assured, though, should any future Egyptian government take a harder line on Israel, Wolfowitz will be the first to criticize the Obama administration for failing to prop up Mubarak.

Moreover, 202 deaths from outlaw terrorists in Bali made it a mistake for the US not to intervene against an organic, homegrown movement that ousted Suharto. But an official death count in excess of 100,000, estimated true casualties of more than 500,000, plus huge falls in Iraqi living standards and US global prestige, didn’t make it wrong for the US to invade Iraq on false pretenses.

By the way, let’s not forget that in addition to his errors in the foreign policy field, Wolfowitz added personal dishonesty after failing up to the World Bank presidency. He secured excessive pay hikes for his girlfriend at the bank, then lied about it.

Yet Zakaria and Cooper put Wolfowitz on the air, as if he’s not a congenital liar and hasn’t been wrong about every major foreign policy question he’s faced as a public official. Rather than question him about his catalogue of failures that have cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars, they listened to him as if he knows something. When he urged the US to take military action in Libya to oust Moammar Gaddafi, no one reminded Wolfowitz that the invasion of Iraq has made it impossible for the US to intervene in the Middle East without being suspected of the worst possible motives and breeding greater anti-Americanism worldwide, even if, unlike the Iraq fiasco, it’s undertaken with the best intentions.

Perhaps less surprisingly, Wolfowitz has the gall to appear on mainstream television rather than hiding out in rightwing sinecures. Cooper and Zakaria are, like Wolfowitz, card carrying members of the elite that transcends ideology and common decency among its own and runs on self-congratulatory fellowship.

When Wolfowitz talks to them, he has no reason to fear that anyone will note his colossal errors in judgment and make him pay some price, even if it’s merely a small measure of humiliation, for his mistakes. The next person who puts Wolfowitz on the air needs to accept that responsibility and make Wolfowitz start to do the same.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie.

Twenty reasons Barack Obama stinks

October 29, 2010

The US midterm Congressional election is a referendum on Barack Obama’s presidency so far. His Democratic Party is likely to lose one if not both houses of Congress due to a single simple fact: Barack Obama stinks. In case you haven’t been paying attention for the past two years, here are 20 key reasons why.

He was elected by a national vote.
Supreme Court Justices are much better qualified to choose a president.

Not a single US landmark has been destroyed by terrorists during his presidency.
George W Bush got a pair of landmark buildings destroyed and a third attacked in less than half the time Obama has dallied.

He has two daughters, but they’re not even twins.
Neither one has even been arrested for getting drunk either.

He’s part of the elite.
Bush only went to Andover and Yale because the rest of his family did.

Lived with much older white women while underage.
Called them “Mom” and “Grandma” – what a sicko!

Works in a government job and lives in public housing.
Geez, don’t they all.

Only cut taxes for middle class and poor.
He has a deep-seated hatred of rich people.

His father was never Ronald Reagan’s vice president.
His own vice president never patriotically funneled tens of millions in government contracts to his former company.

People say he’s Muslim.
Where there’s smoke, something’s not kosher.

He speaks proper English.
What does he think, he’s like better than us?

He’s never been arrested for drunk driving.
See above.

Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd died during his presidency.
Bush made the hard choices to keep them safe. Now it’s ObamaCare for all.

Says he roots for the Chicago White Sox.
But never even tried to buy the team and get a sweetheart land deal out of it.

Doesn’t have a ranch.
He owns a house across from a synagogue. Wow, there went that neighborhood.

Condoleezza Rice never called him “my husband.”
And Susan Rice isn’t even Condi’s sister.

Distinguished himself earning an advanced degree at Harvard.
As if Law Review matters more than poker at drinking clubs.

Name ends in a vowel.
Typical Chicago backroom politics.

Lousy bowler.
Lousy pool player, too.

Hasn’t invaded a single country under false pretenses.
Bush didn’t do that until his third year, but he had Congressional authorization for it by now.

Never warned anyone he would be the first black president.
At least with Bush, what you saw was what you got.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie.

Shame on Laura Bush and fellow 9/11 liars

September 11, 2010

Watching the 9/11 commemorations stirred appropriately somber memories and emotions of that tragic day, until I saw Laura Bush speaking at the Shanksville, Pennsylvania, memorial to Flight 93 passengers. The National Parks Foundation, which organized the memorial, must’ve invited Bush because Osama bin Laden and shoe bomber Richard Reid sent regrets. No telling where Bush found the gall to attend.

Bush, of course, is the wife of former president George W Bush, who held office when al Qaeda struck on September 11, 2001. Yet Bush shoulders none of the blame for the attacks, even though his administration downgraded the fight against al Qaeda, and Bush’s national security advisor, serial incompetent Condoleezza Rice, ignored an August 2001 memo titled “Bin Laden determined to attack inside the United States.”

Despite all that, plus the administration’s botched conduct of the operation to capture bin Laden that’s become the nine year war in Afghanistan, Bush evades responsibility for this monumental tragedy. Moreover, he and fellow Republicans wear 9/11 as a badge of honor, using it as a political weapon to bludgeon opponents. By contrast, the Obama administration came under a firestorm of criticism over an attempted attack where the primary fault was overseas airport security failing to detect explosives.

Laura Bush is no innocent bystander but an active part of the Bush propaganda squad. As first defender of her husband’s administration, two years ago at the Republican National Convention, Mrs Bush fibbed, “Let’s not forget, President Bush has kept the American people safe.” That’s not true, Laura, unless 9/11 is your idea of safe. Maybe it is, since you and W came out okay.

Today in Shanksville, Bush even had the temerity to mention Iraq, the misbegotten war her husband’s team justified by abusing 9/11 and telling other, bigger lies. The invasion of Iraq cost more Americans lives than 9/11, killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and extinguished any opportunity for the US to build on the global goodwill the attacks created.

For future 9/11 anniversaries, let’s hope that memorial organizers have the good sense to keep members of the George W Bush administration off the podium, and that administration members, starting with Laura and her husband, have the good taste to spend that day, and every day, with their heads bowed in shame and regret, at least until they take responsibility for their errors and apologize to the families in America and beyond that lost loved ones due to the administration’s incompetence, malfeasance and arrogance.

Make no mistake, Bushies, you’ll find Osama. You’re all guaranteed to meet him in hell.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie.


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