The Sunni Triangle as the Next Okinawa

D.W. MacKenzie deconstructs the popularity of the Marshall Plan, noting that its benefits to Japan and West Germany have been grossly exaggerated. But if two devastated countries with few natural resources recovered without handouts, why send $87 billion (first installment only) to a country swimming in petrol?

MacKenzie concentrates on the negative effects such a program will have on Iraq:

George Bush may well be planting the seeds of the next round of political misadventures with his plan for foreign aid for Iraq and Afghanistan. What real basis is there for President Bush’s plan to aid these nations? Has the president performed the proper calculation to see if this aid will promote economic efficiency? Bush’s record seems so far to be in line with that of other politicians in the past. Well-connected special interests—those with ties to President Bush—are benefiting the most from the postwar efforts to rebuild Iraq. Why should we not also expect politically connected special interests in the newly emerging Iraq to do the same?

All true, but this is precisely why we’re sending the aid– to ensure U.S. vassals control Iraq for generations to come, just like the Liberal Democrats in Japan, thus allowing a permanent military presence in the country. In Japan, that presence has come at the expense of Okinawans, whose attempts to bring the U.S. military to justice for murder, rape, and land confiscation are almost always squelched by Tokyo. Expect similar ethnic, religious, and/or geographic factors to determine the placement of U.S. bases in Iraq.

RE Mark Byron

Heroic reader Lloyd sends this article about what happens to people who think the wrong thoughts aloud:

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – A man who made a remark about a “burning Bush” during the president’s March 2001 trip to Sioux Falls was sentenced Friday to 37 months in prison.
Richard Humphreys of Portland, Ore., was convicted in September of threatening to kill or harm the president and said he plans to appeal. He has said the comment was a prophecy protected under his right to free speech.

Humphreys said he got into a barroom discussion in nearby Watertown with a truck driver. A bartender who overheard the conversation realized the president was to visit Sioux Falls the next day and told police Humphreys talked about a “burning Bush” and the possibility of someone pouring a flammable liquid on Bush and lighting it.

“I said God might speak to the world through a burning Bush,” Humphreys testified during his trial. “I had said that before and I thought it was funny.”

Not as funny as killing 50 Democrats and bystanders, apparently. Now that’s comedy.

Oh, That’s What They Meant by “Democracy”

Blogger Mark Byron–check him out on Glenn Reynolds’ blogroll— daydreams about building a Republican supermajority by assassinating 21 U.S. Senators, 5 Supreme Court justices, and a slew of bystanders. If only the warbloggers had told us that this is the sort of democracy they plan to impose on Iraq! Sounds feasible to me!

Oh, and while we’re indulging harmless fantasies, wouldn’t it be a hoot if a bunch of folks sent the Dept. of Homeland Security reports of Mr. Byron’s foray into creative writing? That would be a fun way to find out if all terror threats are considered equal. We all know those Bush administration softies would never abuse their new powers by punishing someone for thinking aloud.

PROOF! (of spin)

Big Story: Neocons Leak Neocon Memo, then Report On It

Today, Fox News anchors are repeatedly mentioning the blockbuster story “proving” a long-time link between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

The leak was made to a truly unbiased source, the Weekly Standard. The neocon magazine titles the article on the “leaked” memo, “Case Closed.”

The memo is from another unbiased source: Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith, one of the most hard-core neoconservatives at the Pentagon.

At one point, a Fox reporter referred to the Weekly Standard as having “close ties to the White House.” You would think that they might mention that Fox and the Weekly Standard are both owned by Rupert Murdoch. Current and retired intel officers have identified the work of Feith’s Office of Special Plans as a key component of the exaggerated and manipulated intelligence produced on Iraq. Feith himself has been accused of being behind previous leaks of “raw intelligence.”

I wonder who “leaked” this memo to the Weekly Standard?

UPDATE: The Dept. of Defense has issued a news release dismissing the report.