A story (mentioned on The Picket Line) that the CIA was planning to release a report just in time for the Republican Convention, speculating on just how bad Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction arsenal might have become had he been allowed to remain in power for another four years, has been denied by Charles Duelfer, the head of the CIA’s weapon search team in Iraq, who will be delivering its final report.
Christopher Hitchens seems to have completely lost the plot over Iraq, but I can’t help but check in and see what he has to say from time to time. Today it’s this: “John Kerry actually claims to have shot a fleeing Viet Cong soldier from the riverbank, something that I personally would have kept very quiet about. He used to claim that he was a witness to, and almost a participant in, much worse than that. So what if he has been telling the absolute truth all along? In what sense, in other words, does his participation in a shameful war qualify him to be president of the United States?… ¶ The Democrats have made a rod for their own backs in uncritically applauding their candidate’s ramrod-and-salute posture. They have also implicitly subverted one of the most important principles of the republic, which is civilian control over military decisions. And more than that, they have done something eye-rubbingly unprincipled, doing what Reagan and Kissinger could not do: rehabilitating the notion of the Vietnam horror as ‘a noble cause.’ ”
And now for some more stories…
- “There is no peace candidate in this race,” said Ashton Carter, a Defense Department official in the Clinton administration and now a senior Kerry adviser on military matters who helped craft the policy speech. “No candidate who is a peace candidate ought to win.”
- What if you’re an American soldier who is caught red-handed abusing or even killing prisoners of war? Quake in fear, soldier — for you might be subjected to “reprimands, fines, rank reductions, bars on Internet use and ‘Chapter 10’ agreements, which allow some soldiers who admit guilt to leave the military under less-than-honorable conditions but without being prosecuted.”
- What’s happening with all of those billions of dollars being spent by the Iraqi occupation forces? The clearest overview I’ve seen yet is in Pratap Chatterjee’s The Thief of Baghdad.
- There’s a second superpower challenging the might of the United States’ empire, says James F. Moore of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. This superpower is found on-line, and “demonstrates a new form of ‘emergent democracy’… How does the second superpower take action? Not from the top, but from the bottom. That is, it is the strength of the US government that it can centrally collect taxes, and then spend, for example, $1.2 billion on 1,200 cruise missiles in . By contrast, it is the strength of the second superpower that it could mobilize hundreds of small groups of activists to shut down city centers across the United States on . And that millions of citizens worldwide would take to their streets to rally.” Well, it’s a thought.