Posts Tagged ‘USA’

Wintour and Watt blog

Allies of former prime minister regard darling of Tea Party movement as a frivolous figure unworthy of an audience

Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and handbag

Margaret Thatcher will attend the unveiling of a statue to Ronald Reagan but is not planning to meet Sarah Palin. Photograph: Barry Thumma/AP

Sarah Palin wants to show to the Republican right that she is the true keeper of the Ronald Reagan flame by meeting the late president’s closest ally on the world stage.

A meeting with Margaret Thatcher in the centenary year of Reagan’s birth would be the perfect way of launching her bid for the Republican nomination for the 2012 US presidential election.

This is what Palin told Christina Lamb in the Sunday Times:

I am going to Sudan in July and hope to stop in England on the way. I am just hoping Mrs Thatcher is well enough to see me as I so admire her.

It appears that the former prime minister has no intention of meeting the darling of the Tea Party movement. Andy McSmith reported in the Independent this morning that Palin is likely to be “thwarted” on the grounds that Thatcher, 86, rarely makes public appearances.

It would appear that the reasons go deeper than Thatcher’s frail health. Her allies believe that Palin is a frivolous figure who is unworthy of an audience with the Iron Lady. This is what one ally tells me:

Lady Thatcher will not be seeing Sarah Palin. That would be belittling for Margaret. Sarah Palin is nuts.

Thatcher will show the level she punches at when she attends the unveiling of a statue of Ronald Reagan outside the US embassy in Grosvenor Square on Independence day on 4 July. This is what her ally told me:

Margaret is focusing on Ronald Reagan and will attend the unveiling of the statue. That is her level.

No doubt a rebuff from Thatcher will delight Andrew Sullivan, the creator of The Dish blog, who regards Palin as a dangerous lightweight.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/wintour-and-watt/2011/jun/07/margaretthatcher-sarahpalin

Glenn Greenwald 

Thursday, Jun 2, 2011 10:03 ET

The war in Libya growing more illegal by the day

AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd
A new cadet for the Libyan rebel army holds a pre Moammar Gadhafi flag after a graduation ceremony for new cadets in Benghazi, Libya, Sunday, May 29, 2011.

To the extent that the War Powers Resolution (WPR) authorized President Obama to fight a war in Libya for 60 days without Congressional approval — and, for reasons I described here, it did not — that 60-day period expired 12 days ago.  Since that date, the war has been unquestionably illegal even under the original justifications of Obama defenders, though I realize that objecting to “illegal wars” — or wars generally — is so very 2005.  After making clear that they intended to contrive “some plausible theory” to justify this illegal war, the White House finally settled on the claim that the war in Libya — despite featuring substantial U.S. military action with the goal of destroying a foreign army and removing that nation’s leader — is too small and limited to be a real “war” under the Constitution and the WPR. 

Even the White House seemed to recognize the absurdity of that excuse — the WRP explicitly appliesin any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced (1) into hostilities” — and the President thus subsequently requested a Resolution from Congress approving the war.  That authorization, however, never came, and now it seems that Congress is closer to doing the opposite: approving a bipartisan bill opposing the war:

On Wednesday, 74 days after U.S. forces joined the military operation in Libya, President Obama seemed to run out of goodwill on Capitol Hill.

A group of both liberals and conservatives — defying the leaders of both parties — threw their support behind a bill to pull the U.S. military out of the Libya operation. That prospect led GOP leaders to shelve the bill before it came to a vote. . . .

On Wednesday, the bill at issue was far more drastic. Introduced by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio), it would demand that Obama withdraw forces from the Libyan operation within 15 days. That would be a crippling loss for the NATO-led campaign, which relies heavily on U.S. air power.

The resolution looked, a week before, like a legislative long shot.

Then, on Wednesday, it wasn’t.

“There’s been disquiet for a long time,” said Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), one of those who supported it. “Republicans have been too eager to support some military ventures abroad. And this, I think, is perhaps a little more consistent with traditional conservatism.”

Conservatives expressed support for the bill in a closed meeting, but GOP leaders put off the vote.

Waging a war for 74 days without Congressional approval is illegal enough.  Doing so when there is a growing bipartisan movement in Congress to compel an end to the war — rather than approve it — is even worse.  And note the individuals on whom Obama is now relying to protect him from this bipartisan effort to put an end to his illegal war:  “GOP House leaders” — John Boehner and Eric Cantor, who refused to allow the bill to come up for a vote despite ample support among conservative members of their caucus as well as numerous liberal House members.  Can we hear more now about how the two parties are so radically different that bipartisan cooperation is impossible?  The Emperor has decreed that we will fight this war, and thus we will — that seems to be the prevailing mindset.

* * * * * 

Last week, I delivered the keynote address to the ACLU in Massachusetts for their annual Bill of Rights dinner. The topic was the Bipartisan National Security State and President Obama’s continuation of it, and it obviously relates to the Libya issue. Those interested in listening to the 25-minute speech can do so here.

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/index.html

 Diplomatic cables reveal the U.S. has been launching strikes in Yemen, but attacks are claimed by local government

David Petraeus

AP
Gen. David Petraeus

One of the most interesting items in the trove of diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks confirms that the Obama Administration has secretly launched missile attacks on suspected terrorists in Yemen, strikes that have reportedly killed dozens of civilians. The government of Yemen takes responsibility for the attacks.

The January 2010 cable describes a meeting between Gen. David Petraeus and President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen, in which they discuss U.S. airstrikes.

Here’s the key section (emphasis ours):

President Obama has approved providing U.S. intelligence in support of ROYG [Republic of Yemen government] ground operations against AQAP targets, General Petraeus informed Saleh. Saleh reacted coolly, however, to the General’s proposal to place USG [U.S. government] personnel inside the area of operations armed with real-time, direct feed intelligence from U.S. ISR [intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance] platforms overhead. “You cannot enter the operations area and you must stay in the joint operations center,” Saleh responded. Any U.S. casualties in strikes against AQAP would harm future efforts, Saleh asserted. Saleh did not have any objection, however, to General Petraeus’ proposal to move away from the use of cruise missiles and instead have U.S. fixed-wing bombers circle outside Yemeni territory, “out of sight,” and engage AQAP [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] targets when actionable intelligence became available. Saleh lamented the use of cruise missiles that are “not very accurate” and welcomed the use of aircraft-deployed precision-guided bombs instead. “We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours,” Saleh said, prompting Deputy Prime Minister Alimi to joke that he had just “lied” by telling Parliament that the bombs in Arhab, Abyan, and Shebwa were American-made but deployed by the ROYG.

The three strikes mentioned at the end there each occurred in December 2009, the month before the cable was written. The Dec. 17 Abyan attack killed 55 people, 41 one of whom were civilians, including 21 children Amnesty International later reported. Amnesty had also suspected that a U.S. cruise missile was used in the attack because of images of debris found at the scene. This new cable seems to bear out that suspicion.

The Dec. 17 attack in the city of Arhab occurred the same day, though it’s not clear who was killed.

And finally, here is a contemporaneous report that mentions the Dec. 24 Shebwa attack. Here (.pdf) is the official Yemeni statement on that attack, which falsely claims rseponsibility. The Yemeni government said the strike targeted a meeting of Al Qaeda leaders, including the American-born Anwar Al-Awlaki. But he turned out either not to have been there, or not to have been killed. And again, it’s not clear whether any civilians were killed in the attack, which the government claimed killed 30 people.

There has been speculation that the Wikileaks revelation will spark a backlash against Saleh, but as of yet nothing has been reported.