Thursday, September 07, 2006

Other Items

Another group of about 160 Minnesota National Guard troops have been ordered to active duty in preparation for deployment in Iraq, the guard announced Wednesday.
The troops are with Company B, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor, based in East St. Paul and headquartered in Brainerd. The company includes soldiers from the Twin Cities, Brainerd, Duluth, Little Falls and Moorhead areas.

The above is from the Associated Press' "More Minnesotans headed for duty in Iraq" -- Alaska, Colorado, . . . While Caldwell's spinning a ceremonial 'handover' as "gigantic," the reality is more and more US troops are being sent over.

On the topic of Rumsfeld and Congress yesterday, skip the Times and go to Edward Epstein's "Senators use Rumsfeld to debate Iraq policy Over 4 hours of talk, but Democrats don't get vote on call for defense secretary's dismissal" (San Francisco Chronicle):

Democratic and Republican senators engaged Wednesday in a made-for-the-campaign debate over President Bush's Iraq policy during a nonbinding Democratic resolution calling for the dismissal of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
But the outcome was known even before the start of the talking, which stretched more than four hours. The Senate's Republican leaders said in advance that they would rule the minority's resolution out of order as an amendment to a $468.4 billion military spending bill on the Senate floor.
With polls showing a majority of Americans opposed to the war that has killed more than 2,600 U.S. troops, Democrats believe their criticism of the president's policy in Iraq will help them capture a majority in the House or the Senate in the Nov. 7 midterm elections. During Wednesday's debate, Democratic senators repeatedly called for changes in the war policy and in the Pentagon's leadership, listed what they called Rumsfeld's numerous mistakes prosecuting the war, and chastised their Republican colleagues for failing to oversee the Bush administration's policy.
"What happened to the accountability in this administration?'' asked Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, who first called about three years ago for Bush to fire Rumsfeld. "In the place of accountability we have vicious partisan attacks on those who oppose administration policies.''

If Carl Hulse's article in the Times is worthy of note for anything, it's for this quote from Alaska's Senator Ted Stevens: "He has been, I think, a very impressive secretary of defense. I can think of no one who has worked harder as secretary of defense than Donald Rumsfeld." One wonders how many people with friends and family on the 172nd Stryker Brigade would agree? They were supposed to be home now -- and some actually made it home before being called back -- but is instead, yet again, in Iraq. Whose incompetence was that? Ted Stevens says it wasn't Rumsfeld's but he's the one who gave the order. And for those who missed it (the media doesn't seem overly interested), the 172nd Stryker Brigade will not automatically return at the end of their extended tour. Rumsfeld refused to confirm that when he met with the families.

On KPFA's The Morning Show today, Marjorie Cohn and Barbara Olshansky will discuss the Bully Boy's confession/confirmation that, despite rule of law and the Constitution, the United States is now engaged in secret prisons where people can be held without trial.