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My Private Idaho


New York Times
By MAUREEN DOWD

W. vacationed so hard in Texas he got bushed. He needed a vacation from his vacation.

The most rested president in American history headed West yesterday to get away from his Western getaway - and the mushrooming Crawford Woodstock - and spend a couple of days at the Tamarack Resort in the rural Idaho mountains.

"I'm kind of hangin' loose, as they say," he told reporters.

As The Financial Times noted, Mr. Bush is acting positively French in his love of le loafing, with 339 days at his ranch since he took office - nearly a year out of his five. Most Americans, on the other hand, take fewer vacations than anyone else in the developed world (even the Japanese), averaging only 13 to 16 days off a year.

W. didn't go alone, of course. Just as he took his beloved feather pillow on the road during his 2000 campaign, now he takes his beloved bike. An Air Force One steward tenderly unloaded W.'s $3,000 Trek Fuel mountain bike when they landed in Boise.

Gas is guzzling toward $3 a gallon. U.S. troop casualties in Iraq are at their highest levels since the invasion. As Donald Rumsfeld conceded yesterday, "The lethality, however, is up." Afghanistan's getting more dangerous, too. The defense secretary says he's raising troop levels in both places for coming elections.

So our overextended troops must prepare for more forced rotations, while the president hangs loose.

I mean, I like to exercise, but W. is psychopathic about it. He interviewed one potential Supreme Court nominee, Harvie Wilkinson III, by asking him how much he exercised. Last winter, Mr. Bush was obsessed with his love handles, telling people he was determined to get rid of seven pounds.

Shouldn't the president worry more about body armor than body fat?

Instead of calling in Karl Rove to ask him if he'd leaked, W. probably called him in to order him to the gym.

The rest of us may be fixated on the depressing tableau in Iraq, where the U.S. seems to be delivering a fundamentalist Islamic state into the dirty hands of men like Ahmad Chalabi, who conned the neocons into pushing for war, and his ally Moktada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric who started two armed uprisings against U.S. troops. It was his militiamen who ambushed Casey Sheehan's convoy in Sadr City.

America has caved on Iraqi women's rights. In fact, the women's rights activists supported by George and Laura Bush may have to leave Iraq.

But, as a former C.I.A. Middle East specialist, Reuel Marc Gerecht, said on "Meet the Press," U.S. democracy in 1900 didn't let women vote. If Iraqi democracy resembled that, "we'd all be thrilled," he said. "I mean, women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy."

Yesterday, the president hailed the constitution establishing an Islamic republic as "an amazing process," and said it "honors women's rights, the rights of minorities." Could he really think that? Or is he following the Vietnam model - declaring victory so we can leave?

The main point of writing a constitution was to move Sunnis into the mainstream and make them invested in the process, thereby removing the basis of the insurgency. But the Shiites and Kurds have frozen out the Sunnis, enhancing their resentment. So the insurgency is more likely to be inflamed than extinguished.

For political reasons, the president has a history of silence on America's war dead. But he finally mentioned them on Monday because it became politically useful to use them as a rationale for war - now that all the other rationales have gone up in smoke.

"We owe them something," he told veterans in Salt Lake City (even though his administration tried to shortchange the veterans agency by $1.5 billion). "We will finish the task that they gave their lives for."

What twisted logic: with no W.M.D., no link to 9/11 and no democracy, now we have to keep killing people and have our kids killed because so many of our kids have been killed already? Talk about a vicious circle: the killing keeps justifying itself.

Just because the final reason the president came up with for invading Iraq - to create a democracy with freedom of religion and minority rights - has been dashed, why stop relaxing? W. is determined to stay the course on bike trails all over the West.

This president has never had to pull all-nighters or work very hard, because Daddy's friends always gave him a boost when he flamed out. When was the last time Mr. Bush saw the clock strike midnight? At these prices, though, I guess he can't afford to burn the midnight oil.

E-mail: liberties@nytimes.com

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Wicked op-ed from a REAGAN administration official in the HOUSTON CHRONICLE of all places - Rove to bring down the entire neocon government...

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.mpl/editorial/outlook/3318170

This will give you the god damn plan in a nutshell. Stop sending out no message, and instead pay attention to this plan and ARTICULATE IT!

http://www.mideastweb.org/history.htm
"2000: Camp David Summit Statement - Israeli, Palestinian and American leaders met at Camp David in an attempt to frame a final status agreement. The meeting ended in stalemate, but the statement issued at least left a small opening for hope.

1999: Opening of Final Status Negotiations - Following resumption of implementation of the Wye River Memorandum, Final Status negotiations opened in Ramalla.

1998: US Letters of Assurance Regarding Wye Memorandum Issues - Following the conclusion of the Wye River Memorandum negotiations, US officials provided Israel with letters of assurance regarding the cancellation of PLO charter provisions about destruction of Israel, and elimination of armament and surplus police not permitted under the Oslo agreement.

1998: Wye River Memorandum - Palestinian and Israeli commitments regarding the "second redeployment" (the first one was never implemented) under the interim Oslo agreement.

1998: Letter of Assurance from PNA Chairman Yasser Arafat - In 1998, PLO Chairman Arafat issued a letter assuring the US that provisions of the PLO charter regarding destruction of Israel were null and void, and specified which provisions were nullified.

1996: "Grapes of Wrath" understanding regarding Lebanon - Agreement concluded after the Israeli Operation Grapes of Wrath, during which Israel bombarded wide areas of South Lebanon in retaliation for Hizballah bombardment of Israel.

1995- Last Speech of Yitzhak Rabin - Israeli Prime Minister Yitshak Rabin was assassinated by right-wing fanatic Yigal Amir at a giant peace rally in 1995. The rally had been called to protest violence that had been rising on both sides, and to reaffirm the commitment of the government and the Israeli people to peace.

1995: Jerusalem Embassy Act - This act of the US congress called for moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, and for recognizing Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel. It has had no practical effect, because presidents Clinton and Bush issued periodic waivers stating that implementation of the act would interfere with US policy.

1995: The Oslo Interim Agreement - This frequently misunderstood document made it possible to hold elections and set up a Palestinian Authority that would negotiate a final settlement with the Israelis. It did not stipulate the nature of the final settlement in any way.

1995: The Beilin Abu-Mazen Draft Agreement - Draft agreement, never ratified, between Israeli negotiator Yossi Beilin and PLO negotiator Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas). Though repudiated by both sides, many of the principles of the agreement have been reflected in subsequent negotiations.

1994: Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty - After the Palestinian - Israeli peace process appeared to be well under way, Jordan and Israel were able to rapidly conclude a peace treaty, aided by warm personal relations between HM King Hussein and PM Rabin.

1993: The Oslo Declaration of Principles - Breakthrough agreement of mutual recognition between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, which began the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

1993: Exchange of Letters between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat - Prior to the signing of the Oslo Declaration of Principles, Yasser Arafat of the PLO and Yitzhak Rabin exchanged letters. Arafat promised to refrain from violence and to amend the PLO Charter which called for liquidation of Israel. Rabin promised to work for normalization of life for Palestinians and peace.

1991: Syrian-Lebanese Cooperation Agreement was a bilateral Syrian Lebanese agreement that began to implement the principles of the Taif agreement regarding Syrian occupation of Lebanon.

1989- The Taif Accords - This agreement was concluded between warring factions in Lebanon under the auspices of the Arab league and Syria. They were intended to settle the Lebanese civil war and legitimize the Syrian occupation.

1989: Israeli Peace Proposal - Under pressure from the US following the Palestine National Council declaration of acceptance of UN Resolutions 242 and 338, Israel issues a peace plan for negotiations with the Palestinians, but not with the PLO.

1988: Speech by PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, Recognizing Resolution 242 - Under internal pressure, as well as pressure from the United States, Yasser Arafat declares that the PLO recognizes UN resolution 242.

1988: Palestinian Declaration of Independence - Under the impetus of the uprising ("Intifadeh") in the Israeli-occupied Arab territories, the Palestine Liberation Organization declared a state in exile. Some see this declaration as implying recognition of Israel, but the declaration makes no mention of Israel or of UN resolution 242.

1988: The Hamas Charter - This Islamic fundamentalist group was formed to fight the idea of compromise over Palestine/Israel. Its charter declared that all of Palestine belongs to the Moslems, that it can only be liberated by Jihad - holy war, and that the program of Zionism was to expand and take over Arab countries one by one. This Zionist program, according to the charter, is set forth in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (an anti - Semitic forgery).

1983: Draft Israeli-Lebanese Treaty - This treaty was signed during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1983, but it was never ratified.

1982: Kahan Commission Report - This report summarizes the investigation of massacres perpetrated in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps by Phalangist Christian militia allied to Israel. The report concluded that Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and others had indirect responsibility for the massacres, since they had ample reason to believe that they could occur, and nonetheless allowed the militia to enter the camps.

1979: Peace Treaty Between Israel and Egypt - The peace treaty was signed almost a year after the historic Camp David agreement, and after intensive shuttle diplomacy by US President Jimmy Carter.

1978: The Camp David Framework Agreements - Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli PM Menachem Begin, meeting at Camp David under the auspices of US President Jimmy Carter, sign framework agreements for peace in the Middle East and peace between Egypt and Israel. The Middle East framework was not implemented, but its some principles were incorporated in later negotiations with the Palestinians and Syrians."

The plan is that simple: Get the troops home who hate guarding the oil, send the warhawks to whats left of Iraq and let the United Nations DO WHATS IT BEEN DOING to draw up new plans for peace. Aka: Let the countries seperate completely and go their own ways, establish their own democracies, and NO ONE takes over their oil.

Doug E.

Leaving is a political illusion. We're building military bases across Iraq and we'll be there 'til the oil runs out.

Might explain why the Iraq people are on there hands and knees praying we leave!

The important point here is that Bush has been in office for five years and Gore or Kerry hasn't. Thank God.

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