Monday, August 1, 2011

No debt ceiling talk tonight

Tonight will be a Washington-free zone.
What are we supposed to do about Syria?  Clearly the Assad regime is an affront to decency and blight on the planet.  That being said what do you do with Syria and Assad?  On the plus side, a world without Assad is a better place and if a regime change can weaken Hezbollah or damage Iran’s dreams of regional hegemony I will be the first to scream “Allahu Akbar”.  On the downside an Assad-free Syria will leave a vacuum that could be filled by al-Qaeda, the Salafi, or not filled at all and another failed state like Yemen is left behind.  One thing for sure the Kurdistan minority has already made its statement in neighboring Turkey and the Islamist Erdogan government in Ankara was swift to pounce on the Kurds.
Speaking of Turkey, the erosion of its military’s political dominance has accelerated.  The decision by the top four figures in the military establishment to step down Friday stunned many.  But as the dust settled, the realization dawned that this dramatic move was the latest chapter of civilian leadership usurping the military command.  Perhaps in 20 years Pakistan will look more like Turkey with a military obedient to the civilian leadership.
No one seemed to notice that the conditions in Iraq are still extremely dangerous.  In the last two months 314 civilians have been killed and as U.S. armed forces continue to leave the country, civilian deaths will continue to be high as Shia, Sunni, al-Qaeda in Iraq, and other militant groups fight for political, economic, and religious control.  This thorn will be in our side for a long time and the biggest prick will be Muqtada al-Sadr and his Iranian fertilizer.  War on terror cannot be won.
The law of unintended consequences is rearing its ugly head in the once sleepy Central American nation of Guatemala.  The expansive U.S. and Mexican drug interdiction policies and tactics in the northern part of Mexico have hindered the drug cartel smuggling operations.  To combat this, the Zetas, one of Mexico’s toughest cartels, have moved their operation into the northern jungle area of Guatemala where local police are bought off by the cartels, the military is using WWII era equipment and arms, and the badly understaffed army lacks the necessary training.  War on drugs cannot be won.
Remember when Governor Jan Brewer filed her countersuit against the federal government in response to the federal challenge to the state’s SB1070 anti-immigration law?  Well the countersuit is not going so well for the governor and her flying monkey commander Russell Pearce.   District Court Judge Susan Bolton left no doubt that she would throw out at least part of the case.  Both Bolton and an attorney from the U.S. Department of Justice said the arguments raised in Arizona’s countersuit were resolved by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in similar lawsuits filed in the 1990s by Arizona and California. 
Finally, Arizona’s Pinal County and frequent Fox News guest Sheriff Paul Babeu should be embarrassed by the recent investigative reporting performed by ABC15 here in Phoenix.  The Sheriff’s office was recently audited and the 300-page report finds other potential causes for concern regarding how evidence is documented and tracked.  In addition, the audit questioned how sexual assault kits are stored and processed.  It found only about 5 percent of the sexual assault kits ever go to the Crime Lab and said, "It is unclear why more sexual assault kits and other evidence are not being sent to the Crime Lab for analysis in hopes of identifying a perpetrator or linkage to other crimes."  So the next time Babeu asks the state for weapons, ammo, and other combat gear for his ‘war zone’ fight with smugglers, he may also want to ask for a clue how to manage a sheriff’s office in 2011, not 1811.  War on stupidity cannot be won.

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