“The American Combat Mission in Iraq Has Ended …”

And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge you might be interested in buying. It connects my oceanfront properties in Kansas (also for sale) to the magical island where I keep my leprechaun-sourced gold hoard.

From the Washington Post‘s account of an attack on an Iraqi army base today:

The Americans provided covering fire while Iraqi soldiers pursued the attackers who had entered the compound, said Lt. Col Eric Bloom, a U.S. military spokesman. The U.S. intervention also included helicopters and drones, he said.

50,000 US troops remain in Iraq. Re-labeling them (“advisers”) doesn’t take them out of harm’s way. No magic, bulletproof “we’re not combat troops any more” force field pops into existence around them just because POTUS made a speech. They’re still there, and the fighting continues.

The American combat mission in Iraq has ended? I need not deplete my own meager rhetorical arsenal for a pithy response — Confederate cavalry warlord (and, to his eternal discredit, Ku Klux Klan founder) Nathan Bedford Forrest provided that response 140-odd years ago:

Damn such nonsense. War means fightin’ and fightin’ means killin’. Turn the grindstone.

Rule of law vs. rule of flaw

“[Chief Justice] John Marshall has made his ruling,” President Andrew Jackson famously blustered after the US Supreme Court overruled him on the issue of US treaty obligations with the Cherokee. “Now let him enforce it.”

We’ve come a long way, baby — these days, presidential revolts against the Court are advertised as “disagreements” and carried out with procedural foot-dragging and visits to the Hill in search of legislative workarounds. The Court’s third rebuke of the Bush administration on the rights of prisoners at DoD’s Guantanamo gulag is the premier case in point.

Attorney General Michael Mukasey claims that the Court’s ruling — which upholds the right of Gitmo detainees to appeal their detentions in the US courts — won’t affect ongoing illegal “trials” before “military commissions.” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), apparently forgetting the prohibition on ex post facto laws, proposed a constitutional amendment to legalize the Gitmo operation. Even more baffling as amnesia goes is the reaction of GOP presidential standard-bearer (and ex-“unlawful combatant” per Hanoi) John McCain, who expressed “concern” that the Court might prevent the US from treating its prisoners as poorly as his captors treated him.

Three “knock it off” orders from the Supreme Court; three “drag it out” operations from the War Party … and no end in sight for more than 200 victims left trudging along on the Treadmill of Tears.