The Beltway Bandit

An online journal of politics, culture, and sports

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

BLEEDING IRAQ -- Two more American soldiers were killed in Iraq today when their Abrams tank was damaged by Iraqi insurgents. This brings the total of American dead since May 1 to 115. According to the Defense Department, which, I confess, can no longer be completely trusted on this matter, more American soldiers have died since Mr Bush declared an end to major combat than did in the actual Iraq War itself.

Additionally, seven soldiers from Ukraine were injured today in attacks from Iraqi insurgents. These are the first coalition soldiers wounded in attacks in the Polish sector of occupied Iraq, south of Baghdad.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

YES, TOM FRIEDMAN IS STILL A FREAKING LOON -- And the proof is right here.

BLEEDING IRAQ -- Another U.S. soldier has been killed in Baghdad, this one the victim of a grenade attack.

Bring 'em on.

THE BELTWAY BANDIT NFL POWER POLL: WEEK EIGHT -- It's the only power poll that matters and it is back, whether you like it or not.

01. Kansas City Chiefs [8-0]: That is the best offensive line in football right now. By far. [No change]

02. Indianapolis Colts [6-1]: Peyton Manning is having his best year ever. [+1]

03. Tennessee Titans [6-2]: There is no better player in the NFL right now than Steve McNair. [+2]

04. Carolina Panthers [6-1]: If you're believin' in Stephen, good things will happen to you. [+1]

05. Minnesota Vikings [6-1]: Bad loss at home to an inferior Giants team. [-3]

06. New England Patriots [6-2]: They just keep on winning. [No change]

07. Miami Dolphins [5-2]: The return of a Griese to Miami yields instant results. [No change]

08. St. Louis Rams [5-2]: They've won four in a row and they've done it without Marshall Faulk and by using a tough running game. Go figure. [+2]

09. Tampa Bay Buccaneers [4-3]: That's more like the Bucs we all expected to see. [+3]

10. Seattle Seahawks [5-2]: It looked like Seattle would run away with the division but Mike Martz's Rams are giving them a fight to the finish. [-2]

11. Baltimore Ravens [4-3]: Led by the Lewis boys [Ray and Jamal], the defense and the running game are hitting on all cylinders. The AFC North is theirs to lose. [+5]

12. Philadelphia Eagles [4-3]: Somehow, these guys have a winning record and are just one game out of first place. [+1]

13. Dallas Cowboys [5-2]: That's what it is like to play a good team, Dallas. [-2]

14. New York Giants [3-4]: A big road win over the Vikings saves the season. [+6]

15. Denver Broncos [5-3]: Just too beat up now to compete. [-6]

16. Cincinnati Bengals [3-4]: Believe it or not, Marvin Lewis has these guys poised to make a run at the division title. [+2]

17. Green Bay Packers [3-4]: Refusing to accept the notion of a bye week, 70,000 Packers fans showed up to Lambeau on Sunday to tailgate and talk about Brett Favre. [-2]

18. Buffalo Bills [4-4]: Earned stinging lesson in humility at the hands of the Chiefs. [-4]

19. San Francisco 49ers [3-5]: They stomp the defending champs one week and lose to the lowly Cardinals the next week. Who are these guys and why are they no good? [-2]

20. New Orleans Saints [3-5]: Stomped by Stephen. Get in line. [-1]

21. Washington Redskins [3-4]: Spent bye week scouring prison leagues for defensive tackles. [No change]

22. Cleveland Browns [3-5]: Bill Belichick had their number. [No change]

23. New York Jets [2-5]: Chad finally returned, but the end result was not what they wanted. Still, look for this team to improve quickly. [+1]

24. Pittsburgh Steelers [2-5]: Stick a fork in them, they're done. [-1]

25. Houston Texans [2-5]: After defeating Miami on opening day, Houston has been pretty terrible. Now their QB is hurt. They're singing the Expansion Blues. [No change]

26. Oakland Raiders [2-5]: Three more players qualified for Social Security during the bye week. [No change]

27. Arizona Cardinals [2-5]: Too bad beating the Niners doesn't carry quite the cachet it once did. I believe that is the first time the word 'cachet' has ever been used in any NFL power poll. [No change]

28. Chicago Bears [2-5]: The Detroit Lions are a blissful reminder that the Bears are no longer the worst team in the NFL. [+3]

29. Atlanta Falcons [1-6]: The season is over for these guys, so maybe they should just leave Michael Vick on the shelf and let him heal completely. On the other hand, Falcons ownership will not want to alienate the small and angry Atlanta fan base by not giving them a glimpse at that which they have been waiting for all these years. [-1]

30. Jacksonville Jaguars [1-6]: Suffering the indignities of playing a rookie QB. One day, though, that rookie will lead the NFL in passing. [No change]

31. San Diego Chargers [1-6]: Like much of southern California, the San Diego Chargers secondary was burned to a crisp and the entire season is up in smoke. [-2]

32. Detroit Lions [1-6]: Should probably sign that long-term lease of the Power Poll basement that I generously offered them last week. [No change]

TOM TOLES IS ON FIRE -- Or maybe it is just the White House Halloween pumpkin that is ablaze.

CLARK OFFERS NEW HEALTH PLAN -- Democratic presidential candidate General Wesley Clark is offering a new health care plan that is less generous than what is offered by some of his rivals, but also looks more affordable and quite generous by American standards.
The retired Army general says if elected president, he would look to spend $695 billion over 10 years to ensure all American children get health insurance and expand access for coverage to adults.
Clark would make it law that parents get health insurance for their children. All families making up to five times the poverty limit would be eligible for a tax credit that could help them pay for their children's health care, either through their employer or a government plan.

Clark said he also would give financial assistance to those who need help to buy insurance, provide incentives for disease prevention and seek to cut costs with better efficiency.
In a speech prepared for delivery Tuesday at the University of New Hampshire, Clark tells about his own experience with the health care system after being shot by a sniper in Vietnam. Clark said he was hit four times and then underwent surgery and endured months of painful rehabilitation. The Army provided for all of his medical needs - "right down to the rubber ball I squeezed for nearly a year to build strength in my hand," he said.

"The reason we had such good health care is because the Army understood that without adequate health care, our soldiers could not do their jobs," Clark said. "It seems to me that just as our soldiers can't do their jobs without adequate health care, our families shouldn't be expected to do their best jobs without adequate health care, either."
Now there's a man who should be President of the United States of America. He's a soldier who has learned his lessons, not an willfully ignorant twerp who just plays at being a soldier.

BLEEDING IRAQ -- A day after at least 35 people were killed in terrorist bombings in Baghdad, more bombs have gone off in the Sunni triangle. At least four people were killed by a car bomb in Fallujah and four U.S. servicemen were injured in guerrilla attacks in the northern city of Mosul.

Bring 'em on.


TURKEY: U.S. ADMIN "INEPT" -- Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul had this to say about the Bush regime
:"The Americans do not know the region very well. They did not pay much attention to the advice given to them. If the officials who are currently administering Iraq had known the region better, things would be better today," Gul said.
Yeah, that sounds about right.

Monday, October 27, 2003

MORE BUSH LIES ON IRAQ WMD -- As The Washington Post noted in yesterday's edition, it is now clear that no Iraqi nuclear weapons program existed at any team near the U.S. invasion of Iraq, in direct contradiction to what the Bush regime has been telling us for months.
Thirty miles to the north and west, Army troops were rolling through the precincts of the Nasr munitions plant. Inside, stacked in oblong wooden crates, were thousands of high-strength aluminum tubes.

That equipment, and Iraq's effort to buy more of it overseas, were central to the Bush administration's charge that President Saddam Hussein had resumed long-dormant efforts to build a nuclear weapon. The lead combat units had more urgent priorities that day, but they were not alone in passing the stockpiles by. Participants in the subsequent hunt for illegal arms said months elapsed without a visit to Nasr and many other sites of activity that President Bush had called "a grave and gathering danger."

According to records made available to The Washington Post and interviews with arms investigators from the United States, Britain and Australia, it did not require a comprehensive survey to find the central assertions of the Bush administration's prewar nuclear case to be insubstantial or untrue. Although Hussein did not relinquish his nuclear ambitions or technical records, investigators said, it is now clear he had no active program to build a weapon, produce its key materials or obtain the technology he needed for either.

Among the closely held internal judgments of the Iraq Survey Group, overseen by David Kay as special representative of CIA Director George J. Tenet, are that Iraq's nuclear weapons scientists did no significant arms-related work after 1991, that facilities with suspicious new construction proved benign, and that equipment of potential use to a nuclear program remained under seal or in civilian industrial use.

Most notably, investigators have judged the aluminum tubes to be "innocuous," according to Australian Brig. Gen. Stephen D. Meekin, who commands the Joint Captured Enemy Materiel Exploitation Center, the largest of a half-dozen units that report to Kay. That finding is pivotal, because the Bush administration built its case on the proposition that Iraq aimed to use those tubes as centrifuge rotors to enrich uranium for the core of a nuclear warhead.
Intelligence failure, my ass. This was political deceit and manipulation writ large and it is now being exposed.