Friday, December 28, 2007

Dubya's priorities...

Pakistan should be front and center on everyone's plate today. But we live in a silly time and place, so tiger attacks and year-end lists top the slate for many. I'll return to the point and offer a few quick thoughts on yesterday's tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto. First of all, I was shocked to wake up early yesterday morning (aided by Maya's demands just after 5am to get the day started), turn on CNN and NPR @ 5:10...and soon learn that I had been briefed approximately 20 minutes before Dubya. What does the leader of the Free World watch @ 7:30am on his "ranch"? My bet is well-worn SpongeBob SquarePants DVDs. Snark aside, I have a theory about this whole mess. The Musharraf government is telling the truth. It was al-Qaeda that orchestrated the plot. Conspiracy theorists are playing off the worst fears of Pakistanis - Musharraf had Bhutto whacked. That's easy to ignite in the public imagination since the population of Pakistan is largely illiterate and given the recent crackdown on the formerly independent media, sourced only by state-controlled or compliant lackies. But I suggest you think about it through this prism for a moment - kill the opposition leader supported by the Americans and you accomplish two things. 1) Cause anarchy. 2) Ruin both the hopes of the Bushies to calm Pakistan and undermine any future claim of Musharraf's legitimacy. I'm sad to say that I believe we've once again been gamed by the "terrorists" our leaders have spent so many lives and so much treasure to demonize. In one fell swoop, we've once again lost a country that we supposedly bought at the Pottery Barn years ago.

The last hypocrisy that I can mention today is just now percolating over the wires. Dubya has threatened through surrogates to veto the Pentagon funding bill for this fiscal year over a convoluted rationale that I strongly believe he and his minions will regret almost immediately. In a nutshell, language in the bill allows victims of Saddam Hussein's rein to seek compensation from the current Iraqi government. How we have jurisdiction over this, I have no freakin' idea. Somehow, the current Iraqi government turned the screws on the Bushies to set up this fight. As a result, Dubya has thrown his Executive Branch veto power down as the gauntlet once again. One question to all those Congressional Staffers that I know hang on my every word - can you please plan to split this ripe melon wide open given the changes in Pakistan and omnibus domestic appropriations compromises to justify full hearings on all aspects of this massive Defense bill? Fact check - as best as I can glean, the Defense bill amounts to $459Billion, and the ominbus domestic/debt-servicing/Medicare/Medicaid/SSI bill was tagged at $555Billion. Which do you think deserves a closer looksie? Maybe Dubya did us all a favor on this flub.

Hope your own budgets are signed, sealed and delivered today. Rock on.

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