The week that we just left behind: FBI, The Patroit Act & Iraq...The struggle continues....

This week was another interesting week, to say the least. On Friday, the US Justice Department Inspector General issued a reporting documenting oversights by the FBI in the issuance of National Security Letters. This was granted to the FBI as part of the Patroit Act. Robert Mueller and Alberto Gonzales said that they're taking steps to fix the problem. Alberto Gonzales is the same man who drafted a memo for Mr. Bush stating that in effect, torture was permissible. Furthermore, it is the same Alberto Gonzales who talked about the Geneva Conventions not being applicable anymore. This is also the same Alberto Gonzales who fired Eight US Attorneys and replaced them with appointees. Justice seems to be hijacked for the sake of political expediency.

As for Iraq, the surge is continuing. It was announced today that the President has asked for additional troops to support the 21,000 troops already authorized. As the surge continued, General Petraus, The President's last hope, said that military is not the solution. There has to be a political solution. A conference was conveyed in Iraq, with suposedly a follow up conference to be held in Turkey. The Bush Adminstration continues to cling to the view that Iran and Syria are the main culprits. It has said that it has made mistakes. But, mistakes are one thing. Creating a disaster which has meant displacing over 10% of the Iraqi population is a fact that cannot be denied. There are daily killings every day. The victims I am most worried about are the Children. As noted in this insightful Newsweek Article (source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16610767/site/newsweek/ retrieved March 13, 2007), chronicles the "lost" generation. One staggering statistic from Iraq's Ministry of Education is the percentage of elementary school kids. It says that 70% of the elementary school kids are not attending classes regularly. There is also signs of post traumatic stress disorder. I have to ask the question: Who will help the children? No one seems to want to.

I do hold out hope though in the way the Walter Reed scandal has been handled. I saw General Cody, the Vice Chief of Staff, when he visited Walter Reed and the keen sense of control he had. As I also saw this account of the steps Bob Gates took as briefly outlined in this account, ".....When the Post first published its stories, Bush's chief of staff, Josh Bolten, called Robert Gates, the new Defense secretary. Bolten, who replaced Andy Card a little more than a year ago, is a results-oriented pragmatist. So is Gates. The two men agreed that swift action was called for. A senior White House official, who requested anonymity discussing the president's private conversations, tells NEWSWEEK that Gates called President Bush and said: "I'm going to hold people accountable. I don't know how high it will get. But it will be high." Bush responded, the official says, "Do what you need to do."...Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17554602/site/newsweek/ retrieved March 12, 2007..." it seems that the Adminstration is getting it. Whether it is too little, too late remains to be seen.
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