/ BUSHLIES part 2:
"We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield." / - From George Orwell's 1946 essay "In Front of Your Nose." JPJPJ/PI _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / / Ex-Nixon Aide John Dean Tells Bill Moyers that Bush Should Be Impeached / PBS' NOW with Bill Moyers Friday, April 2, 2004 / "The evidence is overwhelming that George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney have engaged in deceit and deception over going to war in Iraq. This is an impeachable offense." /
Tonight on NOW with Bill Moyers , former counsel to President Nixon John Dean tells Bill Moyers that he believes the Bush Administration's secrecy and deception over the war with Iraq should result in impeachment.
"Clearly, it is an impeachable offense," he says. "I think the case is overwhelming that these people presented false information to the Congress and to the American people."
It is Dean's first television interview about his new book Worse than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush. In the interview, taped Friday in New York, Dean compares the Bush and Nixon White Houses.
"There are many things worse than Watergate," he says. "Taking the nation to war in a time when they might not have had to gone to war, and people dying."
After becoming counsel to Nixon at the age of 31, Dean emerged as a central figure in the Watergate scandal and is considered the chief whistleblower that brought down Nixon's presidency. Dean has written many articles and essays on law, government, politics, and has recounted his days in the Nixon White House and Watergate in three previous books.
The NOW with Bill Moyers interview aired Friday, April 2, 2004, on PBS http://www.pbs.org/now
The transcript of the complete interview with John Dean is available on the NOW with Bill Moyers Web site at http://www.pbs.org/now/thisweek/index_040204.html .
You write that the administration has tried to block, frustrate or control any investigation into 9/11 using, quote, "well-proven tactics not unlike those used by the Nixon White House during Watergate." What tactics?
We knew that at the Nixon White House. Some of these are time-tested tactics. When the Congress put together a joint inquiry itself was self-defeating because it's much more difficult for a joint inquiry with its size -- the lack of attention its staff can give to a group that large. It gets diffuse. And Cheney--
So when you testified in Congress -- in the 70's there was a Senate Investigating Committee and a House Judiciary Committee, right?
Right. Separate committees. Exactly. And they can get much more focused. So it was very effective. And Cheney and Bush were very involved. They didn't want any of the standing committees to do it. They put them together. And that was one of the first signs I saw that they're just playing it by-- I think they found an old playbook down in the basement that belonged to Richard Nixon. And they said, "Well, this stuff looks like it works."
Be specific with me. What is worse than Watergate?
If there's anything that really is the bottom line, it's taking the nation to war in a time -- when they might not have had to go to war and people dying. That is worse than Watergate. No one died for Nixon's so-called Watergate abuses.
Let me go right to page 155 of your book. You write, quote, "The evidence is overwhelming that George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney have engaged in deceit and deception over going to war in Iraq. This is an impeachable offense."
Absolutely is. The founders in the debates in the states-- I cite one. I cite one that I found -- I tracked down after reading the Nixon impeachment proceedings when-- Congressman Castenmeyer had gone back to look to see what the founders said about misrepresentations and lying to the Congress. Clearly, it is an impeachable offense. And I think the case is overwhelming that these people presented false information to the Congress and to the American people.
John, I was, as you know, in the Johnson White House at the time of the Gulf of-- Tonkin when LBJ escalated the war in Vietnam on the basis of misleading information. He said there was an attack in the Gulf of Tonkin. It subsequent turns out there wasn't an attack.
Many people said then and have said that LBJ deceived the country and concealed the escalation of the war. You even say in the book that he hoodwinked Congress. Are you saying that that was not an impeachable offense but what is happening now is?
No. I'm saying that was an impeachable offense. In fact, it comes up in the Nixon debates over whether the secret bombing would be an impeachable offense. That became a high crime or offense because Nixon had, in fact, told privately some members of the Congress. Johnson didn't tell anybody the game he was playing to my knowledge.
And these are probably the most serious offenses that you can make-- when you take a country to war, blood and treasure, no higher decision can a President of the United States make as the Commander-in-Chief. To do it on bogus information, to use this kind of secrecy to do it is intolerable.
The transcript of the complete interview with John Dean is available on the NOW with Bill Moyers Web site at http://www.pbs.org/now/thisweek/index_040204.html
Nobody wants to go to war. We trust our leaders to shed blood in our name only when absolutely necessary. Two years after the start of the Iraq War, Americans are just learning that our government was dead set on taking our nation to war, even while it claimed to be pursuing diplomacy.
The Downing Street Memo, recently leaked, reveals that President George W. Bush decided to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the summer 2002 and - determined to ensure that U.S. intelligence data supported his policies - "fixed" the intelligence and facts relevent to WMD.
What has come to be known as the Downing Street "Memo" is actually a document containing meeting minutes transcribed during the British Prime Minister's meeting on July 23, 2002. This meeting was held a full 8 months PRIOR to the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003. The Times of London printed the text of this document on Sunday, May 1, 2005. When asked about the document's validity, "British officials did not dispute the document's authenticity."
The contents of the memo are shocking. The minutes detail how our government did not believe Iraq was a greater threat than other nations; how intelligence was manipulated to sell the case for war to the American public; and how all the talk of "war as a last resort" was mere hollow pretense.
Regardless of politics, all Americans should ask themselves: Was I misled? Did President Bush tell me the truth when he said he would not take us to war unless absolutely necessary?
Please join us in demanding that we get to the bottom of this issue. For if we do not demand the truth from our government here, where the Downing Street Memo is so damning, then we may as well forever cease holding our government accountable.
Smoking Gun Memo? Iraq Bombshell Goes Mostly Unreported in US Media / Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) Tuesday 10 May 2005
Journalists typically condemn attempts to force their colleagues to disclose anonymous sources, saying that subpoenaing reporters will discourage efforts to expose government wrongdoing. But such warnings seem like mere self-congratulation when clear evidence of wrongdoing emerges, with no anonymous sources required -- and major news outlets virtually ignore it.
A leaked document that appeared in a British newspaper offered clear new evidence that US intelligence was shaped to support the drive for war. Though the information rocked British Prime Minister Tony Blair's re-election campaign when it was revealed, it has received little attention in the US press.
The document, first revealed by the London Times (5/1/05), was the minutes of a July 23, 2002 meeting in Blair's office with the prime minister's close advisors. The meeting was held to discuss Bush administration policy on Iraq, and the likelihood that Britain would support a US invasion of Iraq. "It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided," the minutes state.
The minutes also recount a visit to Washington by Richard Dearlove, the head of the British intelligence service MI6: "There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
That last sentence is striking, to say the least, suggesting that the policy of invading Iraq was determining what the Bush administration was presenting as "facts" derived from intelligence. But it has provoked little media follow-up in the United States. The most widely circulated story in the mainstream press came from the Knight Ridder wire service (5/6/05), which quoted an anonymous US official saying the memo was "an absolutely accurate description of what transpired" during Dearlove's meetings in Washington.
Few other outlets have pursued the leaked memo's key charge that the "facts were being fixed around the policy." The New York Times (5/2/05) offered a passing mention, and the Charleston (W.V.) Gazette (5/5/05) wrote an editorial about the memo and the Iraq War. A columnist for the Cox News Service (5/8/05) also mentioned the memo, as did Molly Ivins (WorkingForChange.com, 5/10/05). Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler (5/8/05) noted that Post readers had complained about the lack of reporting on the memo, but offered no explanation for why the paper virtually ignored the story.
In a brief segment on hot topics in the blogosphere (5/6/05), CNN correspondent Jackie Schechner reported that the memo was receiving attention on various websites, where bloggers were "wondering why it's not getting more coverage in the US media." But acknowledging the lack of coverage hasn't prompted much CNN coverage; the network mentioned the memo in two earlier stories regarding its impact on Blair's political campaign (5/1/05, 5/2/05), and on May 7, a short CNN item reported that 90 Congressional Democrats sent a letter to the White House about the memo- but neglected to mention the possible manipulation of intelligence that was mentioned in the memo and the Democrats' letter.
Salon columnist Joe Conason posed this question about the story:
"Are Americans so jaded about the deceptions perpetrated by our own government to lead us into war in Iraq that we are no longer interested in fresh and damning evidence of those lies? Or are the editors and producers who oversee the American news industry simply too timid to report that proof on the evening broadcasts and front pages?"
As far as the media are concerned, the answer to Conason's second question would seem to be yes. A May 8 New York Times news article asserted that "critics who accused the Bush administration of improperly using political influence to shape intelligence assessments have, for the most part, failed to make the charge stick." It's hard for charges to stick when major media are determined to ignore the evidence behind them.
/ Bush: Iraq war plans memo wrong / Bush, June 2005 (CNN): "There's nothing farther from the truth" "Somebody said, well, you know, we had made up our mind to use military force to deal with Saddam. "There's nothing farther from the truth," Bush said. "We worked hard to see if we could figure out how to do this peacefully," Bush said."Nobody wants to commit military into combat. It's the last option." . "Bush: Iraq war plans memo wrong" http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/06/07/iraq.uk.memo/ / Bush, March 2002 (CNN):
Those were the words of President George W. Bush, who had poked his head into the office of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. It was March 2002, and Rice was meeting with three U.S. Senators, discussing how to deal with Iraq through the United Nations, or perhaps in a coalition with America's Middle East allies. Bush wasn't interested. He waved his hand dismissively, recalls a participant, and neatly summed up his Iraq policy in that short phrase. The Senators laughed uncomfortably; Rice flashed a knowing smile. The President left the room. A year later, Bush's outburst has been translated into action, as cruise missiles and smart bombs slam into Baghdad. /. - "First Stop, Iraq", by Michael Elliott and James Carney, CNN, March 24, 2003/ / In early 2003, when the question was raised by a reporter if the United States was going to war against Iraq, President Bush indignantly responded, "You say we're headed to war. I don't know why you suggested that. I'm the person who gets to decide, and not you." // / \ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
British Respect Party MP George Galloway / "I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims, did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning. / Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong, and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies."
May 19, 2005: Excerpts from British Respect Party MP George Galloway's testimony in front of the farcical (and monumentally hypocritcal) Senate inquiiry into war profiteering ignoring same by certain others...(see "Halliburton's Iraq Deals Greater Than Cheney Has Said " below). The most highly charged testimony since the Mc Carthy hearings.
"..On the very first page of your document about me you assert that I have had 'many meetings' with Saddam Hussein. This is false. I have had two meetings with Saddam Hussein, once in 1994 and once in August of 2002. By no stretch of the English language can that be described as "many meetings" with Saddam Hussein.
"As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country - a rather better use of two meetings with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of State for Defence made of his.
"I was an opponent of Saddam Hussein when British and Americans governments and businessmen were selling him guns and gas. I used to demonstrate outside the Iraqi embassy when British and American officials were going in and doing commerce./
"...If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we are in today. Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth.
/"Have a look at the real Oil-for-Food scandal. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad, the first 14 months when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth went missing on your watch. Have a look at Haliburton and other American corporations that stole not only Iraq's money, but the money of the American taxpayer.
"Have a look at the oil that you didn't even meter, that you were shipping out of the country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where? Have a look at the $800 million you gave to American military commanders to hand out around the country without even counting it or weighing it.
"Have a look at the real scandal breaking in the newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in this committee. That the biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians. The real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own Government."
LONDON, England -- British MP George Galloway returned to London to a standing ovation after a fiery showdown with U.S. senators who have accused him of profiting from the U.N.'s defunct oil-for-food program in Iraq. - CNN
/ THE MUST-SEE VIDEO: / /
Video-Real Audio Audio-Mp3 Video-WMP / http://www.crooksandliars.com/2005/05/17.html#a2978 / "The United States was not only aware of Iraqi oil sales which violated UN sanctions and provided the bulk of the illicit money Saddam Hussein obtained from circumventing UN sanctions," the report said. "On occasion, the United States actually facilitated the illicit oil sales." / ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Apparently they were so busy demonizing people like Kofi Anan and George Galloway, that they had no time to investigate scandals like these :
Iraq Deals Greater Than Cheney Has Said
Affiliates Had $73 Million in Contracts
By Colum Lynch, Special to The Washington Post , Saturday, June 23, 2001
UNITED NATIONS -- During last year's presidential campaign, Richard B. Cheney acknowledged that the oil-field supply corporation he headed, Halliburton Co., did business with Libya and Iran through foreign subsidiaries. But he insisted that he had imposed a "firm policy" against trading with Iraq.
"Iraq's different," he said.
Cheney has offered contradictory accounts of how much he knew about Halliburton's dealings with Iraq. In a July 30, 2000, interview on ABC-TV's "This Week," he denied that Halliburton or its subsidiaries traded with Baghdad.
"I had a firm policy that we wouldn't do anything in Iraq, even arrangements that were supposedly legal," he said. "We've not done any business in Iraq since U.N. sanctions were imposed on Iraq in 1990, and I had a standing policy that I wouldn't do that."
Cheney modified his response in an interview on the same program three weeks later, after he was informed that a Halliburton spokesman had acknowledged that DresRandser and Ingersoll Dresser Pump traded with Iraq.
Caution and deference have no place in this conversation anymore. We gave those people our caution and deference, and they have paid us back by steamrolling us. So enough of caution. Enough of deference. It is time to talk hard. If we can't speak the truth in the daylight, we will never be able to begin the process of changing that which desperately needs to be changed. Every great movement in history has begun with one thing: Words exchanged in truth between people of good conscience. So let us, as people of good conscience, exchange a few hard words in the hopes of beginning something whose time has come.
--William Rivers Pitt
William Rivers Pitt is the Managing Editor of truthout.org. He is a New York Times and international best-selling author of three books - "War On Iraq," available from Context Books, "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available from Pluto Press, and "Our Flag, Too: The Paradox of Patriotism," available in August from Context Books.
///How To Start A War In Iraq By William Rivers Pitt / t r u t h o u t | Perspective Friday 29 August 2003 (colors, bolds & links added) Go to Original
1. Lose an election and win a lawsuit. Move into the White House. Surround yourself with ideological extremists from the far-right wing of the Republican Party. Put them get to work planning 'regime change' in Iraq, something they themselves have been planning for years.
2. Pointedly ignore a variety of specific warnings about a looming terrorist attack against the American homeland. Capitalize on the chaos and fear after the attack has come. On the very day of the attack, get your people to start making public connections between the terrorist attack and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
3. Use the terror attack to pass ruinously contra-constitutional legislation like the Patriot Act, and later the Homeland Security Act. Send your Attorney General to Congress and have him state bluntly that anyone who disagrees with these bad new laws is aiding terrorism. This new legislation will help quash dissent surrounding the actions you plan to undertake, and will also help to insulate you from serious investigation, as the Homeland Security Act essentially destroys the Freedom of Information Act.
4. Periodically terrify the American people with warnings of looming death and destruction, so as to cow them into submission. Time these agitated warnings to coincide with moments when your own political standing is under assault because of your actions.
5. Lose any shame whatsoever about using the massive terror attacks as a rhetorical tool against your own people in the pursuit of your ideological goals. Say things like, "We need to counter the shock wave of the evildoer by having individual rate cuts accelerated and by thinking about tax rebates" (G.W. Bush 10/4/01) to help get what you want. Remember: No shame.
6. Have your Defense Secretary organize a group of like-minded ideologues whose task will be to cherry-pick, and often manufacture, evidence to support your push for war in Iraq. Call this group the Office of Special Plans, and remove them from any Congressional oversight. Have the powerful office of the Vice President be their sponsor and defender. When the CIA and State Department tell this Office that their plans and intelligence make no sense, use the influence of the Vice President's office to cut them completely out of the loop. Your Office of Special Plans will now be the main source of information delivered to the National Security Council, Congress, and the American people.
7. Pile up a couple hundred thousand of your troops on the border of Iraq before any consensus has been reached for war within your own government or the international community. This will help develop a sense of inevitability about your plans for war, no matter who disagrees.
8. Go to the United Nations and deliver a lot of cooperative happy talk about wanting to work with the United Nations. Get a unanimous vote from the Security Council for your resolution on the matter, sure in the knowledge that this body has no idea that you have no intention of actually working with them. When weapons inspectors are dispatched to Iraq, per the resolution you saw passed, denigrate and insult their work as being useless. Have your troops on the border begin publicly sharpening their swords.
9. Deliver the information from the Office of Special Plans to the American people on a daily basis, making connections each time between the terrorist attack and the nation of Iraq. Scare the citizens you are supposed to lead, and scare them often. When career intelligence officials complain about your rotten intelligence and outright lying, ignore them completely.
10. When the international community begins to realize they've been led down the primrose path, start denigrating and insulting the United Nations. When no proof of your allegations about Iraq can be found, begin attempting to bribe nations like Turkey with billions of dollars in trade agreements, weapons, and cash on the barrelhead to get them to come along for the ride. When they refuse, proclaim that you can go it alone.
11. Stand before the American people during your constitutionally-mandated State of the Union address and lie like a rug about the threat posed by Iraq. Use evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program based upon crudely forged documents from Niger. Ignore other career intelligence officials, including the one you sent to investigate your 'evidence' who returned to label it fake and forged, when they state flatly that your estimations of the Iraq threat are far from accurate or honest.
12. Send your Secretary of State into the well of the United Nations Security Council to make your case, full in the knowledge that you are going to war no matter what that body decides. Show the UN absolutely no respect by allowing your Secretary of State to argue for war using intelligence data that is ten years old and plagiarized from the work of a graduate student. Note the irony surrounding the fact that this presentation comes a week after your State of the Union address, but that your Secretary of State refused to use the evidence you used before the American people in front of the international community.
13. Do not, at any point, stop lying. Lie about the weapons Iraq possesses. Lie about the threat posed to the American people, thus deepening their fear. Lie about connections between Iraq and al Qaeda. Lie about the efficacy of weapons inspections. Lie about how much the war will cost. Lie about how long we will be there. Lie about your goals. Do not forget that shame has no place here. Avoid press conferences whenever possible.
14. Use the same discredited intelligence from Niger to convince Congress that a vote for war is absolutely necessary. Try to get them to pass a resolution that authorizes you to make war "on the region" surrounding Iraq as well as Iraq itself. When you don't get those three important words in the resolution, settle for what you did get.
15. With the world essentially united against you, with half of the American people convinced that your rhetoric connecting Iraq to the terrorist attack is actually true, with that half bolstering questionable approval ratings for war, with Congressional approval for war in hand despite the fact that their approval was motivated by your lies, and with four full divisions of your young troops ready to go, begin the attack.
16. Bomb Baghdad in a 'Shock and Awe' campaign that kills untold scores of civilians in their beds and on their streets. Roll tanks and troops into the country and beat the hell out of it, knowing full well that there is no army worth mentioning to stand against you after ten years of economic sanctions. To make sure, pay off the commander of Baghdad's Republican Guard to make sure neither he nor his troops fight at the city's gates.
17. Declare an end to combat operations. Strut across the deck of an aircraft carrier and proclaim yourself to be the savior of the Iraqi people. When your soldiers continue to die, scoff at any concerns about this. Dare the killers of your troops to keep it up by sticking your chin out and saying, "Bring 'em on."
18. Ignore the fact that none of the weapons you terrified your people with have turned up, despite the best efforts of your troops and investigators to find them. Ignore the fact that no connections to al Qaeda have turned up. Ignore the fact that more troops have died since your carrier strut than died during the war. Ignore the fact that your war will cost billions and billions more than you said it would.
19. Most importantly, and do not forget: Ignore the fact that you have made your country far, far less safe. You lied about Iraqi connections to the terrorist attack, and to al Qaeda. Your war will have turned Iraq into what it was not before the war - a hotbed of al Qaeda activity. This war has also been an al Qaeda recruiter's dream. Pay absolutely no attention to this. Smile. Talk about courage and staying the course.
20. Make plans to have the 2004 national convention of your party next to the hole in the ground in New York which the terrorist attack caused. Dance on the graves of the dead who helped you get your war. Remember: No shame.
3500-plus Americans killed, more than 25,000 seriously wounded / Caused the deaths of more than 600,000 Iraqi civilians, mostly children; many thousands more wounded Increased cancers and birth defects tenfold from depleted uranium exposure (both for Iraqis and coalition forces) // Destroyed Iraqi's infrastructure; museums and hospitals looted, water supplies polluted, electricity and medical care diminished // Destroyed Iraq's economy, causing job loss, hunger, crime, anarchy and more death // htnDestroyed Iraq's security apparatus, opening the floodgates to anarchy and civil war //// Created millions of Iraqi refiugees / Allowed systematic looting of munitions stockpiles after the war, which were later employed against our troops / Drastically diminished Emergency Preparedness at home by depleting National Guard forces \ Increased opium production in Afghanistan from near non-existence to record crop yields / Increased recruitment tenfold for alQaeda and other terrorist groups / Diverted energy and funds from the battle with alQaeda .// Engendered the hatred of most of the world /// Destroyed US credibility / "Lost" $9 billion / Squandered more than $2 trillion /// Turned a record surplus into a record deficit /// Enriched Halliburton, Exxon, Bechtel, the Carlisle Group, etc. /// Fired desperately needed Arab translators because they were gayn htshsnndnnd////fgndgfgndgh Established a precedent for 'pre-emptive' wars for other countries to follow htshsnndnndfgndgfgndgh Made US exempt from the International Criminal Court and the Geneva convention //// Removed fundamental American liberties, including Habeus Corpus and the Bill of Rights /dgsh Destroyed an entire covert CIA network protecting us from weapons of mass destruction htshsnndfgndgh / Made the entire world far, far less safe.
"The administration, however, was concerned only with how best to expedite the war. They hastened to look for many a justifiable reason. The Iraqis were a nuclear threat; they were teeming with weapons of mass destruction; they were working closely with al-Qaeda; they had even been the dirty geniuses behind 9/11. The reasons offered to the American public proved skimpy, unverifiable, and void of the realpolitik of our need to get a choke-hold on the Middle East for many a reason more than Israel- Palestine. We had to sell the war on false pretenses"
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / Practice to Deceive Chaos in the Middle East is not the Bush hawks' nightmare scenario--it's their plan.
Washington Monthly http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2003/0304.marshall.html
Originally published April 2003
Imagine it's six months from now. The Iraq war is over. After an initial burst of joy and gratitude at being liberated from Saddam's rule, the people of Iraq are watching, and waiting, and beginning to chafe under American occupation. Across the border, in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, our conquering presence has brought street protests and escalating violence. The United Nations and NATO are in disarray, so America is pretty much on its own. Hemmed in by budget deficits at home and limited financial assistance from allies, the Bush administration is talking again about tapping Iraq's oil reserves to offset some of the costs of the American presence--talk that is further inflaming the region. Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence has discovered fresh evidence that, prior to the war, Saddam moved quantities of biological and chemical weapons to Syria. When Syria denies having such weapons, the administration starts massing troops on the Syrian border. But as they begin to move, there is an explosion: Hezbollah terrorists from southern Lebanon blow themselves up in a Baghdad restaurant, killing dozens of Western aid workers and journalists. Knowing that Hezbollah has cells in America, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge puts the nation back on Orange Alert. FBI agents start sweeping through mosques, with a new round of arrests of Saudis, Pakistanis, Palestinians, and Yemenis.
To most Americans, this would sound like a frightening state of affairs, the kind that would lead them to wonder how and why we had got ourselves into this mess in the first place. But to the Bush administration hawks who are guiding American foreign policy, this isn't the nightmare scenario. It's everything going as anticipated.
In their view, invasion of Iraq was not merely, or even primarily, about getting rid of Saddam Hussein. Nor was it really about weapons of mass destruction, though their elimination was an important benefit. Rather, the administration sees the invasion as only the first move in a wider effort to reorder the power structure of the entire Middle East. Prior to the war, the president himself never quite said this openly. But hawkish neoconservatives within his administration gave strong hints. In February, Undersecretary of State John Bolton told Israeli officials that after defeating Iraq, the United States would "deal with" Iran, Syria, and North Korea. Meanwhile, neoconservative journalists have been channeling the administration's thinking. Late last month, The Weekly Standard's Jeffrey Bell reported that the administration has in mind a "world war between the United States and a political wing of Islamic fundamentalism ... a war of such reach and magnitude [that] the invasion of Iraq, or the capture of top al Qaeda commanders, should be seen as tactical events in a series of moves and countermoves stretching well into the future."
In short, the administration is trying to roll the table--to use U.S. military force, or the threat of it, to reform or topple virtually every regime in the region, from foes like Syria to friends like Egypt, on the theory that it is the undemocratic nature of these regimes that ultimately breeds terrorism. So events that may seem negative--Hezbollah for the first time targeting American civilians; U.S. soldiers preparing for war with Syria--while unfortunate in themselves, are actually part of the hawks' broader agenda. Each crisis will draw U.S. forces further into the region and each countermove in turn will create problems that can only be fixed by still further American involvement, until democratic governments--or, failing that, U.S. troops--rule the entire Middle East.
There is a startling amount of deception in all this--of hawks deceiving the American people, and perhaps in some cases even themselves. While it's conceivable that bold American action could democratize the Middle East, so broad and radical an initiative could also bring chaos and bloodshed on a massive scale. That all too real possibility leads most establishment foreign policy hands, including many in the State Department, to view the Bush plan with alarm. Indeed, the hawks' record so far does not inspire confidence. Prior to the invasion, for instance, they predicted that if the United States simply announced its intention to act against Saddam regardless of how the United Nations voted, most of our allies, eager to be on our good side, would support us. Almost none did. Yet despite such grave miscalculations, the hawks push on with their sweeping new agenda.
Like any group of permanent Washington revolutionaries fueled by visions of a righteous cause, the neocons long ago decided that criticism from the establishment isn't a reason for self-doubt but the surest sign that they're on the right track. But their confidence also comes from the curious fact that much of what could go awry with their plan will also serve to advance it. A full-scale confrontation between the United States and political Islam, they believe, is inevitable, so why not have it now, on our terms, rather than later, on theirs? Actually, there are plenty of good reasons not to purposely provoke a series of crises in the Middle East. But that's what the hawks are setting in motion, partly on the theory that the worse things get, the more their approach becomes the only plausible solution.
"The nadir of this deceit was the Iran-Contra scandal, for which Podhoretz's son-in-law, Elliot Abrams, pled guilty to perjury. Abrams was later pardoned by Bush's father, and today, he runs Middle East policy in the Bush White House."
Ever since the neocons burst upon the public policy scene 30 years ago, their movement has been a marriage of moral idealism, military assertiveness, and deception. Back in the early 1970s, this group of then-young and still mostly Democratic political intellectuals grew alarmed by the post-Vietnam Democrats' seeming indifference to the Soviet threat. They were equally appalled, however, by the amoral worldview espoused by establishment Republicans like Henry Kissinger, who sought co-existence with the Soviet Union. As is often the case with ex-socialists, the neocons were too familiar with communist tactics to ignore or romanticize communism's evils. The fact that many neocons were Jewish, and outraged by Moscow's increasingly visible persecution of Jews, also caused them to reject both the McGovernite and Kissingerian tendencies to ignore such abuses.
In Ronald Reagan, the neocons found a politician they could embrace. Like them, Reagan spoke openly about the evils of communism and, at least on the peripheries of the Cold War, preferred rollback to coexistence. Neocons filled the Reagan administration, and men like Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Frank Gaffney, and others provided the intellectual ballast and moral fervor for the sharp turn toward confrontation that the United States adopted in 1981.
But achieving moral clarity often requires hiding certain realities. From the beginning, the neocons took a much more alarmist view of Soviet capacities and intentions than most experts. As late as 1980, the ur-neocon Norman Podhoretz warned of the imminent "Finlandization of America, the political and economic subordination of the United States to superior Soviet power," even raising the possibility that America's only options might be "surrender or war." We now know, of course, that U.S. intelligence estimates, which many neocons thought underestimated the magnitude and durability of Soviet power, in fact wildly overestimated them.
This willingness to deceive--both themselves and others--expanded as neocons grew more comfortable with power. Many spent the Reagan years orchestrating bloody wars against Soviet proxies in the Third World, portraying thugs like the Nicaraguan Contras and plain murderers like Jonas Savimbi of Angola as "freedom fighters." The nadir of this deceit was the Iran-Contra scandal, for which Podhoretz's son-in-law, Elliot Abrams, pled guilty to perjury.
But in the end, the Soviet Union did fall. And the hawks' policy of confrontation did contribute to its collapse. So too, of course, did the economic and military rot most of the hawks didn't believe in, and the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev, whom neocons such as Richard Perle counseled Reagan not to trust. But the neocons did not dwell on what they got wrong. Rather, the experience of having played a hand in the downfall of so great an evil led them to the opposite belief: that it's okay to be spectacularly wrong, even brazenly deceptive about the details, so long as you have moral vision and a willingness to use force.
What happened in the 1990s further reinforced that mindset. Hawks like Perle and William Kristol pulled their hair out when Kissingerians like Brent Scowcroft and Colin Powell left Saddam's regime in place after the first Gulf War. They watched with mounting fury as terrorist attacks by Muslim fundamentalists claimed more and more American and Israeli lives. They considered the Oslo accords an obvious mistake (how can you negotiate with a man like Yasir Arafat?), and as the decade progressed they became increasingly convinced that there was a nexus linking burgeoning terrorism and mounting anti-Semitism with repressive but nominally "pro-American" regimes like Saudi Arabia and Egypt. In 1996, several of the hawks--including Perle--even tried to sell Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the idea that Israel should attack Saddam on its own--advice Netanyahu wisely declined. When the Oslo process crumbled and Saudi Arabian terrorists killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11, the hawks felt, not without some justification, that they had seen this danger coming all along, while others had ignored it. The timing was propitious, because in September 2001 many already held jobs with a new conservative president willing to hear their pitch.
Prime Minister bin Laden
"..But, to date, every time a Western or non-Muslim country has put troops into Arab lands to stamp out violence and terror, it has awakened entire new terrorist organizations and a generation of recruits.Why do we imagine that our invasion and occupation of Iraq, or whatever countries come next, will turn out any differently?"
The pitch was this: The Middle East today is like the Soviet Union 30 years ago. Politically warped fundamentalism is the contemporary equivalent of communism or fascism. Terrorists with potential access to weapons of mass destruction are like an arsenal pointed at the United States. The primary cause of all this danger is the Arab world's endemic despotism, corruption, poverty, and economic stagnation. Repressive regimes channel dissent into the mosques, where the hopeless and disenfranchised are taught a brand of Islam that combines anti-modernism, anti-Americanism, and a worship of violence that borders on nihilism. Unable to overthrow their own authoritarian rulers, the citizenry turns its fury against the foreign power that funds and supports these corrupt regimes to maintain stability and access to oil: the United States. As Johns Hopkins University professor Fouad Ajami recently wrote in Foreign Affairs, "The great indulgence granted to the ways and phobias of Arabs has reaped a terrible harvest"--terrorism. Trying to "manage" this dysfunctional Islamic world, as Clinton attempted and Colin Powell counsels us to do, is as foolish, unproductive, and dangerous as dÈtente was with the Soviets, the hawks believe. Nor is it necessary, given the unparalleled power of the American military. Using that power to confront Soviet communism led to the demise of that totalitarianism and the establishment of democratic (or at least non-threatening) regimes from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea to the Bering Strait. Why not use that same power to upend the entire corrupt Middle East edifice and bring liberty, democracy, and the rule of law to the Arab world? (While taking them away from America!)
The hawks' grand plan differs depending on whom you speak to, but the basic outline runs like this: The United States establishes a reasonably democratic, pro-Western government in Iraq--assume it falls somewhere between Turkey and Jordan on the spectrum of democracy and the rule of law. Not perfect, representative democracy, certainly, but a system infinitely preferable to Saddam's. The example of a democratic Iraq will radically change the political dynamics of the Middle East. When Palestinians see average Iraqis beginning to enjoy real freedom and economic opportunity, they'll want the same themselves. With that happy prospect on one hand and implacable United States will on the other, they'll demand that the Palestinian Authority reform politically and negotiate with Israel. That in turn will lead to a real peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians. A democratic Iraq will also hasten the fall of the fundamentalist Shi'a mullahs in Iran, whose citizens are gradually adopting anti-fanatic, pro-Western sympathies. A democratized Iran would create a string of democratic, pro-Western governments (Turkey, Iraq, and Iran) stretching across the historical heartland of Islam. Without a hostile Iraq towering over it, Jordan's pro-Western Hashemite monarchy would likely come into full bloom. Syria would be no more than a pale reminder of the bad old days. (If they made trouble, a U.S. invasion would take care of them, too.) And to the tiny Gulf emirates making hesitant steps toward democratization, the corrupt regimes of Saudi Arabia and Egypt would no longer look like examples of stability and strength in a benighted region, but holdouts against the democratic tide. Once the dust settles, we could decide whether to ignore them as harmless throwbacks to the bad old days or deal with them, too. We'd be in a much stronger position to do so since we'd no longer require their friendship to help us manage ugly regimes in Iraq, Iran, and Syria.
The audacious nature of the neocons' plan makes it easy to criticize but strangely difficult to dismiss outright. Like a character in a bad made-for-TV thriller from the 1970s, you can hear yourself saying, "That plan's just crazy enough to work."
But like a TV plot, the hawks' vision rests on a willing suspension of disbelief, in particular, on the premise that every close call will break in our favor: The guard will fall asleep next to the cell so our heroes can pluck the keys from his belt. The hail of enemy bullets will plink-plink-plink over our heroes' heads. And the getaway car in the driveway will have the keys waiting in the ignition. Sure, the hawks' vision could come to pass. But there are at least half a dozen equally plausible alternative scenarios that would be disastrous for us.
To begin with, this whole endeavor is supposed to be about reducing the long-term threat of terrorism, particularly terrorism that employs weapons of mass destruction. But, to date, every time a Western or non-Muslim country has put troops into Arab lands to stamp out violence and terror, it has awakened entire new terrorist organizations and a generation of recruits. Placing U.S. troops in Riyadh after the Gulf War (ostensibly to protect Saudi Arabia and its oilfields from Saddam) gave Osama bin Laden a cause around which he built al Qaeda. Israel took the West Bank in a war of self-defense, but once there its occupation helped give rise to Hamas. Israel's incursion into southern Lebanon (justified at the time, but transformed into a permanent occupation) led to the rise of Hezbollah. Why do we imagine that our invasion and occupation of Iraq, or whatever countries come next, will turn out any differently?
The Bush administration also insists that our right to act preemptively and unilaterally, with or without the international community's formal approval, rests on the need to protect American lives. But with the exception of al Qaeda, most terrorist organizations in the world, and certainly in the Middle East, do not target Americans. Hamas certainly doesn't. Hezbollah, the most fearsome of terrorist organizations beside al Qaeda, has killed American troops in the Middle East, but not for some years, and it has never targeted American civilians on American soil. Yet like Hamas, Hezbollah has an extensive fundraising cell operation in the States (as do many terrorist organizations, including the Irish Republican Army). If we target them in the Middle East, can't we reasonably assume they will respond by activating these cells and taking the war worldwide?
Next, consider the hawks' plans for those Middle East states that are authoritarian yet "friendly" to the United States--specifically Egypt and Saudi Arabia. No question these are problem countries. Their governments buy our weapons and accept our foreign aid yet allow vicious anti-Semitism to spew from the state run airwaves and tolerate clerics who preach jihad against the West. But is it really in our interests to work for their overthrow? Many hawks clearly think so. I asked Richard Perle last year about the dangers that might flow from the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. "Mubarak is no great shakes," he quipped. "Surely we can do better than Mubarak." When I asked Perle's friend and fellow Reagan-era neocon Ken Adelman to calculate the costs of having the toppling of Saddam lead to the overthrow of the House of Saud, he shot back: "All the better, if you ask me."
This cavalier call for regime change, however, runs into a rather obvious problem. When the communist regimes of Eastern and Central Europe fell after 1989, the people of those nations felt grateful to the United States because we helped liberate them from their Russian colonial masters. They went on to create pro-Western democracies. The same is unlikely to happen, however, if we help "liberate" Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The tyrannies in these countries are home grown, and the U.S. government has supported them, rightly or wrongly, for decades, even as we've ignored (in the eyes of Arabs) the plight of the Palestinians. Consequently, the citizens of these countries generally hate the United States, and show strong sympathy for Islamic radicals. If free elections were held in Saudi Arabia today, Osama bin Laden would probably win more votes than Crown Prince Abdullah. Topple the pro-Western autocracies in these countries, in other words, and you won't get pro-Western democracies but anti-Western tyrannies.
To this dilemma, the hawks offer two responses. One is that eventually the citizens of Egypt and Saudi Arabia will grow disenchanted with their anti-Western Islamic governments, just as the people of Iran have, and become our friends. To which the correct response is, well, sure, that's a nice theory, but do we really want to make the situation for ourselves hugely worse now on the strength of a theoretical future benefit?
The hawks' other response is that if the effort to push these countries toward democracy goes south, we can always use our military might to secure our interests. "We need to be more assertive," argues Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, "and stop letting all these two-bit dictators and rogue regimes push us around and stop being a patsy for our so-called allies, especially in Saudi Arabia." Hopefully, in Boot's view, laying down the law will be enough. But he envisions a worst-case scenario that would involve the United States "occupying the Saudi's oil fields and administering them as a trust for the people of the region."
What Boot is calling for, in other words, is the creation of a de facto American empire in the Middle East. In fact, there's a subset of neocons who believe that given our unparalleled power, empire is our destiny and we might as well embrace it. The problem with this line of thinking is, of course, that it ignores the lengthy and troubling history of imperial ambitions, particularly in the Middle East. The French and the English didn't leave voluntarily; they were driven out. And they left behind a legacy of ignorance, exploitation, and corruption that's largely responsible for the region's current dysfunctional politics.
Another potential snafu for the hawks is Iran, arguably the most dangerous state in the Middle East. The good news is that the fundamentalist Shi'a mullahs who have been running the government, exporting terrorism, and trying to enrich their uranium, are increasingly unpopular. Most experts believe that the mullahs' days are numbered, and that true democracy will come to Iran. That day will arrive sooner, the hawks argue, with a democratic Iraq on Iran's border. But the opposite could happen. If the mullahs are smart, they'll cooperate just enough with the Americans not to provoke an attack, but put themselves forth to their own people as defenders of Iranian independence and Iran's brother Shi'a in southern Iraq who are living under the American jackboot. Such a strategy might keep the fundamentalists in power for years longer than they otherwise might have been.
Then there is the mother of all problems, Iraq. The hawks' whole plan rests on the assumption that we can turn it into a self-governing democracy--that the very presence of that example will transform politics in the Middle East. But what if we can't really create a democratic, self-governing Iraq, at least not very quickly? What if the experience we had after World War II in Germany and Japan, two ethnically homogeneous nations, doesn't quite work in an ethnically divided Iraq where one group, the Sunni Arabs, has spent decades repressing and slaughtering the others? As one former Army officer with long experience with the Iraq file explains it, the "physical analogy to Saddam Hussein's regime is a steel beam in compression." Give it one good hit, and you'll get a violent explosion. One hundred thousand U.S. troops may be able to keep a lid on all the pent-up hatred. But we may soon find that it's unwise to hand off power to the fractious Iraqis. To invoke the ugly but apt metaphor which Jefferson used to describe the American dilemma of slavery, we will have the wolf by the ears. You want to let go. But you dare not.
And what if we do muster the courage to allow elections, but the Iraqis choose a government we can't live with--as the Japanese did in their first post-war election, when the United States purged the man slated to become prime minister? But if we do that in Iraq, how will it look on Al Jazeera? Ultimately, the longer we stay as occupiers, the more Iraq becomes not an example for other Arabs to emulate, but one that helps Islamic fundamentalists make their case that America is just an old-fashioned imperium bent on conquering Arab lands. And that will make worse all the problems set forth above.
None of these problems are inevitable, of course. Luck, fortitude, deft management, (How are they doing so far, folks?) and help from allies could bring about very different results. But we can probably only rely on the first three because we are starting this enterprise over the expressed objections of almost every other country in the world. And that's yet another reason why overthrowing the Middle East won't be the same as overthrowing communism. We did the latter, after all, within a tight formal alliance, NATO. Reagan's most effective military move against Moscow, for instance, placing Pershing II missiles in Western Europe, could never have happened, given widespread public protests, except that NATO itself voted to let the weapons in. In the Middle East, however, we're largely alone. If things go badly, what allies we might have left are liable to say to us: You broke it, you fix it.
Whacking the Hornet's Nest
"Today, however, the great majority of the American people have no concept of what kind of conflict the president is leading them into".
If the Bush administration has thought through these various negative scenarios--and we must presume, or at least pray, that it has--it certainly has not shared them with the American people. More to the point, the president has not even leveled with the public that such a clean-sweep approach to the Middle East is, in fact, their plan. This breaks new ground in the history of pre-war presidential deception. Franklin Roosevelt said he was trying to keep the United States out of World War II even as he--in some key ways--courted a confrontation with the Axis powers that he saw as both inevitable and necessary. History has judged him well for this. Far more brazenly, Lyndon Johnson's administration greatly exaggerated the Gulf of Tonkin incident to gin up support for full-throttle engagement in Vietnam. The war proved to be Johnson's undoing. When President Clinton used American troops to quell the fighting in Bosnia he said publicly that our troops would be there no longer than a year, even though it was widely understood that they would be there far longer. But in the case of these deceptions, the public was at least told what the goals of the wars were and whom and where we would be fighting.
Today, however, the great majority of the American people have no concept of what kind of conflict the president is leading them into. The White House has presented this as a war to depose Saddam Hussein in order to keep him from acquiring weapons of mass destruction--a goal that the majority of Americans support. But what the White House really has in mind an enterprise of a scale, cost, and scope that would be almost impossible to sell to the American public. The White House knows that. So it hasn't even tried. Instead, it's focused on getting us into Iraq with the hope of setting off a sequence of events that will draw us inexorably towards the agenda they have in mind.
The brazenness of this approach would be hard to believe if it weren't entirely in line with how the administration has pursued so many of its other policy goals. Its preferred method has been to use deceit to create faits accomplis, facts on the ground that then make the administration's broader agenda almost impossible not to pursue. During and after the 2000 campaign, the president called for major education and prescription drug programs plus a huge tax cut, saying America could easily afford them all because of large budget surpluses. Critics said it wasn't true, and the growing budget deficits have proven them right. But the administration now uses the existence of big budget deficits as a way to put the squeeze on social programs--part of its plan all along. Strip away the presidential seal and the fancy titles, and it's just a straight-up con.
The same strategy seemed to guide the administration's passive-aggressive attitude towards our allies. It spent the months after September 11 signaling its distaste for international agreements and entangling alliances. The president then demanded last September that the same countries he had snubbed support his agenda in Iraq. And last month, when most of those countries refused, hawks spun that refusal as evidence that they were right all along. Recently, a key neoconservative commentator with close ties to the administration told me that the question since the end of the Cold War has been which global force would create the conditions for global peace and security: the United States, NATO, or the United Nations. With NATO now wrecked, he told me, the choice is between the United States and the United Nations. Whether NATO is actually wrecked remains to be seen. But the strategy is clear: push the alliance to the breaking point, and when it snaps, cite it as proof that the alliance was good for nothing anyway. It's the definition of chutzpah, like the kid who kills his parents and begs the judge for sympathy because he's an orphan.
Another president may be able to rebuild NATO or get the budget back in balance. But once America begins the process of remaking the Middle East in the way the hawks have in mind, it will be extremely difficult for any president to pull back. Vietnam analogies have long been overused, and used inappropriately, but this may be one case where the comparison is apt.
Ending Saddam Hussein's regime and replacing it with something stable and democratic was always going to be a difficult task, even with the most able leadership and the broadest coalition. But doing it as the Bush administration now intends is something like going outside and giving a few good whacks to a hornets' nest because you want to get them out in the open and have it out with them once and for all. Ridding the world of Islamic terrorism by rooting out its ultimate sources--Muslim fundamentalism and the Arab world's endemic despotism, corruption, and poverty--might work. But the costs will be immense. Whether the danger is sufficient and the costs worth incurring would make for an interesting public debate. The problem is that once it's just us and the hornets, we really won't have any choice.
Joshua Micah Marshall, a Washington Monthly contributing writer, is author of the Talking Points Memo. Copyright © 2003 The Washington Monthly 733 15th St. NW Suite 520 Washington DC. 20005. (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski worked in the office of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith until her retirement a year ago, and often worked with the Office of Special Plans. "What I saw was aberrant, pervasive and contrary to good order and discipline," Kwiatkowski wrote of her experience in the run-up to the invasion. "If one is seeking the answers to why peculiar bits of 'intelligence' found sanctity in a presidential speech, or why the post-Saddam occupation has been distinguished by confusion and false steps, one need look no further than the process inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense."
Kwiatkowski went on to charge that the operations she witnessed during her tenure regarding the Office of Special Plans, constituted "a subversion of constitutional limits on executive power and a co-optation through deceit of a large segment of the Congress". According to Kwiatkowski, the same operation that allegedly cooked the intelligence also was responsible for the administration's failure to anticipate the problems that now dog the U.S. occupation in Iraq. Kwiatkowski reported that the political appointees assigned there and their contacts at State, the NSC, and Cheney's office tended to work as a "network." The OSP often deliberately cut out, ignored or circumvented normal channels of communication both within the Pentagon and with other agencies.
"I personally witnessed several cases of staff officers being told not to contact their counterparts at State or the (NSC) because that particular decision would be processed through a different channel," wrote Kwiatkowski. In one interview, she insists that her views of the OSP were widely shared by other professional staff. Quoting one veteran career officer "who was in a position to know what he was talking about," Kwiatkowski says, "What these people are doing now makes Iran-Contra [a Reagan administration national security scandal] look like amateur hour. . . it's worse than Iran-Contra, worse than what happened in Vietnam."
- Excerpt from "Down Goes Tenet " By William Rivers Pitt / t r u t h o u t http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/060404A.shtml
"If you know anybody in the government, if you know that the president is now lying us into a recklessly dangerous and unnecessary or wrongful war in Iraq, then I urge you to do what I wish I had done in 1964-65, which is to take this to your public officials and tell the truth - with documents" / __/______ Ellsberg says Bush is 'lying us' into war with Iraq / By Diane Ainsworth Public Affairs 30 October 2002
Daniel Ellsberg is the first to admit that his current book tour comes at an "uncanny" time in American history - just as a resolution authorizing President George W. Bush to use force against Iraq has passed in Congress. Uncanny, he says, because current events evoke a time, 38 years ago, when another administration, granted similar authority to act against North Vietnam, committed the nation to more than a decade of futile, divisive warfare.
Ellsberg's new book "Secrets - A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers" (Viking), describes the events in the 1960s and early '70s that led to his public release of 7,000 pages of top-secret documents tracing the history of U.S. decision-making in Vietnam. He spoke at Zellerbach Hall on Oct. 23 to share his insights into the United States' role in Vietnam and the parallels that he sees emerging in U.S. foreign policy toward Iraq.
He called the recent resolution authorizing President Bush to use force against Iraq "dangerous" and "troubling." The Bush administration's policy toward Iraq, he said, is every bit as deceptive as the Johnson and Nixon administrations' policies were in Vietnam, with rhetoric about weapons of mass destruction masking the government's thirst for oil.
"There are reasons for secrecy, of course, and it took me many years to realize the deception that had been going on in Vietnam," he says. That reality did not become apparent until the mid-1960s, when he came to understand that no president had ever expected to win in Vietnam.
Ellsberg, one of the best-known "whistleblowers" in U.S. history, is someone who perhaps did more than any other individual to change the course of a war, said David Kirp, a professor of public policy in the Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy at Berkeley. His access to top-secret documents gave Ellsberg "a window on secrecy," from which vantage point he saw documents that "no congressman, no senator, had seen before." The policy analyst had access to confidential documents, cables, and reports of secret maneuvers, including the "flash" messages that were wired to the Pentagon on Aug. 4, 1964, from the Tonkin Gulf off the coast of North Vietnam, reporting news of an alleged torpedo attack on U.S. gunboats by North Vietnamese ships.
In later years, Ellsberg said, he came to realize that no attack had, in fact, occurred, and that the flashes had been strategically planned and released at just the right time to justify President Lyndon Johnson's escalation of actions against North Vietnam. And in fact, just a few days after the alleged attack in the Tonkin Gulf, the president got Congress to support, almost unanimously (with just two dissenting votes in the Senate), what became known as the Tonkin Gulf resolution, referred to at the time by State Department official Nicholas Katzenbach as the "functional equivalent of a declaration of war." At least one constitutional scholar used identical words to describe the Oct. 11 congressional vote authorizing the use of force against Iraq.
Pro-war sentiment vs.journalists' backbone
In the years after his own trial and dismissal in 1973 on charges of espionage, theft, and conspiracy in the Pentagon Papers case, Ellsberg became a vocal anti-nuclear activist, lecturing, writing, and participating in grassroots efforts to end the nuclear-arms race. But it is his distribution of the Pentagon Papers to the U.S. media for which he is best remembered today - an act, he says, about which his only regret is that he did not release them in 1964 or 1965.
Some on a panel of scholars sharing the stage with Ellsberg, however, wondered how receptive the public or the press would have been toward revelations of government deception at that time. "No major paper would have published [the Pentagon Papers] before 1967," said Barton Bernstein, a history professor at Stanford University, because the American people still backed the war. But by 1971 pro-war sentiment had waned, he said, and "the press could contemplate publishing those papers."
Ellsberg urged audience members to write their elected representatives if they believe the current administration is bracing for war. "If you know anybody in the government, if you know that the president is now lying us into a recklessly dangerous and unnecessary or wrongful war in Iraq, then I urge you to do what I wish I had done in 1964-65, which is to take this to your public officials and tell the truth - with documents," he said.
Chapter one of Ellsberg's new book is available online at www.ellsberg.net. His Zellerbach talk was sponsored collaboratively by The Independent Institute, the World Affairs Council of Northern California, and the Goldman School of Public Policy at Berkeley.
Copyright 2002, The Regents of the University of California. Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley. (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / "We're through the looking glass here, people. Where white is black and black white" - Kevin Costner as District Attorney Jim Garrison in 'JFK". / / CBS NEWS: Bush Sought 'Way' To Invade Iraq / / "From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime," says Suskind. "Day one, these things were laid and sealed." "During the 2000 campaign, candidate Bush had criticized the Clinton-Gore Administration for being too interventionist: "If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road. And I'm going to prevent that." "The thing that's most surprising, I think, is how emphatically, from the very first, the administration had said 'X' during the campaign, but from the first day was often doing 'Y,'" says Suskind. "Not just saying 'Y', but actively moving toward the opposite of what they had said during the election." / - "Bush Sought 'Way' To Invade Iraq?" , CBS NEWS Jan. 11, 2004 / / For a summary of Bush "bait and switch" lies see: "The Photographic History of the Bush AdministrationPutting Its Mouth Where Its Money Isn't " Produced by the House Appropriations Committee (really) / / SEE ALSO: TIME Magazine: Does Bush Have a Credibility Gap? ___________________________________________ / / They misunderestimated me." / - George W. Bush, Nov. 2000 / "The folks who conducted to act on our country on September 11th made a big mistake. They underestimated America. They underestimated our resolve, our determination, our love for freedom. They misunderestimated the fact that we love a neighbor in need. They misunderestimated the compassion of our country. I think they misunderestimated the will and determination of the Commander-in-Chief, too." / - George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Sept. 26, 2001 / gerggwegerggwe / SEE THE VIDEO gerggwe "Well, I think if you say you're going to do something and don't do it, that's trustworthiness." / - George W. Bush, in a CNN online chat, Aug. 2000 / Q. Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that? You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you. - White House Press Conference, March 13, 2002 / "Some in Washington should spend more time responding to the warnings of terrorists like Osama bin Laden, and the requests of our commanders on the ground,and less time responding to the demands of MoveOn.org bloggers and Code Pink protesters." . - G.W. Bush, Heritage Foundation, Nov.1,2007 ___________________________________________ // MORE BUSH FLIP-FLOPS: / 20 substantive Bush flip-flops, meticulously documented by the Center for American Progress. And unlike most of the supposed flip-flops Bush attributes to Kerry, these actually occurred. CLICK HERE : http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=42263 / _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / Mr. Bush and His 10 Ever-Changing Different Positions on Iraq: "A flip and a flop and now just a flop." bdfbas By Michael Moore michaelmoore.com Wednesday 22 September 2004
Dear Mr. Bush,
I am so confused. Where exactly do you stand on the issue of Iraq? You, your Dad, Rummy, Condi, Colin, and Wolfie -- you have all changed your minds so many times, I am out of breath just trying to keep up with you!
Which of these 10 positions that you, your family and your cabinet have taken over the years represents your current thinking:
WE LOVE SADDAM.
On December 19, 1983, Donald Rumsfeld was sent by your dad and Mr. Reagan to go and have a friendly meeting with Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq. Rummy looked so happy in the picture.
Just twelve days after this visit, Saddam gassed thousands of Iranian troops. Your dad and Rummy seemed pretty happy with the results because 'The Donald R.' went back to have another chummy hang-out with Saddam's right-hand man, Tariq Aziz, just four months later. All of this resulted in the U.S. providing credits and loans to Iraq that enabled Saddam to buy billions of dollars worth of weapons and chemical agents. The Washington Post reported that your dad and Reagan let it be known to their Arab allies that the Reagan/Bush administration wanted Iraq to win its war with Iran and anyone who helped Saddam accomplish this was a friend of ours.
WE HATE SADDAM.
In 1990, when Saddam invaded Kuwait, your dad and his defense secretary, Dick Cheney, decided they didn't like Saddam anymore so they attacked Iraq and returned Kuwait to its rightful dictators.
WE WANT SADDAM TO LIVE.
After the war, your dad and Cheney and Colin Powell told the Shiites to rise up against Saddam and we would support them. So they rose up. But then we changed our minds. When the Shiites rose up against Saddam, the Bush inner circle changed its mind and decided NOT to help the Shiites. Thus, they were massacred by Saddam.
WE WANT SADDAM TO DIE.
In 1998, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and others, as part of the Project for the New American Century, wrote an open letter to President Clinton insisting he invade and topple Saddam Hussein.
WE DON'T BELIEVE IN WAR AND NATION BUILDING.
Just three years later, during your debate with Al Gore in the 2000 election, when asked by the moderator Jim Lehrer where you stood when it came to using force for regime change, you turned out to be a downright pacifist:
"I--I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops. The vice president [Al Gore] and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation building. I--I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders. I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and, therefore, prevent war from happening in the first place. And so I take my--I take my--my responsibility seriously." - October 3, 2000
(early): WE DON'T BELIEVE SADDAM IS A THREAT.
When you took office in 2001, you sent your Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and your National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, in front of the cameras to assure the American people they need not worry about Saddam Hussein. Here is what they said:
Powell: "We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they have directed that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was 10 years ago when we began it. And frankly, they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors." - February 24, 2001
Rice: "But in terms of Saddam Hussein being there, let's remember that his country is divided, in effect. He does not control the northern part of his country. We are able to keep arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt." - July 29, 2001
(late): WE BELIEVE SADDAM IS GOING TO KILL US!
Just a few months later, in the hours and days after the 9/11 tragedy, you had no interest in going after Osama bin Laden. You wanted only to bomb Iraq and kill Saddam and you then told all of America we were under imminent threat because weapons of mass destruction were coming our way. You led the American people to believe that Saddam had something to do with Osama and 9/11. Without the UN's sanction, you broke international law and invaded Iraq.
2003: WE DON'T BELIEVE SADDAM IS GOING
TO KILL US.
After no WMDs were found, you changed your mind about why you said we needed to invade, coming up with a brand new after-the-fact reason -- we started this war so we could have regime change, liberate Iraq and give the Iraqis democracy!
Yes, everyone saw you say it -- in costume, no less!
OOPS. MISSION NOT ACCOMPLISHED!
Now you call the Iraq invasion a "catastrophic success." That's what you called it this month. Over a thousand U.S. soldiers have died, Iraq is in a state of total chaos where no one is safe, and you have no clue how to get us out of there.
Mr. Bush, please tell us -- when will you change your mind again?
I know you hate the words "flip" and "flop," so I won't use them both on you. In fact, I'll use just one: Flop. That is what you are. A huge, colossal flop. The war is a flop, your advisors and the "intelligence" they gave you is a flop, and now we are all a flop to the rest of the world. Flop. Flop. Flop.
And you have the audacity to criticize John Kerry with what you call the "many positions" he has taken on Iraq. By my count, he has taken only one: He believed you. That was his position. You told him and the rest of congress that Saddam had WMDs. So he -- and the vast majority of Americans, even those who didn't vote for you -- believed you. You see, Americans, like John Kerry, want to live in a country where they can believe their president.
That was the one, single position John Kerry took. He didn't support the war, he supported YOU. And YOU let him and this great country down. And that is why tens of millions can't wait to get to the polls on Election Day -- to remove a major, catastrophic flop from our dear, beloved White House -- to stop all the flipping you and your men have done, flipping us and the rest of the world off.
We can't take another minute of it.
Presidential debate, Oct 3, 2000 Q: How would you decide when it was in the national interest to use US force? GEORGE. W. BUSH: "Well, if it's in our vital national interests. And that means: // 1. Whether our territory is threatened, our people could be harmed, whether or not our defense alliances are threatened, whether or not our friends in the Middle East are threatened. / 2. Whether or not the mission was clear, whether or not it was a clear understanding as to what the mission would be. / 3. Whether or not we were prepared and trained to win, whether or not our forces were of high morale and high standing (?) and well-equipped. / / 4. And finally, whether or not there was an exit strategy. / // I would take the use of force very seriously. ("Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out.") ("Bring em on.") ("No weapons of mass destruction under here!...") /I would be guarded in my approach. I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. / I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops. The vice president (Al Gore) believes in nation-building. / I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders. / I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and therefore prevent war from happening in the first place / So I would take my responsibility seriously. And it starts with making sure we rebuild our military power. / Morale in today's military is too low. We're having trouble meeting recruiting goals. We met the goals this year, but in the previous years we have not met recruiting goals. / Some of our troops are not well-equipped. I believe we're overextended in too many places. And therefore I want to rebuild the military power. / It starts with a billion dollar pay raise for the men and women who wear the uniform. A billion dollars more than the president recently signed into law. It's to make sure our troops are well-housed and well-equipped. (Halliburton, Walter Reed) / - George W. Bush, Presidential debarte, Oct 3, 2000 / ________________________________ / / UPDATE: May 17th, 2007 "The Bush administration today threatened to veto a House defense spending bill over a 3.5 percent pay raise for U.S. soldiers and a $40/month increase in benefits for military widows, among other provisions. Troops don't need bigger pay raises, White House budget officials said Wednesday in a statement of administration policy laying out objections to the House version of the 2008 defense authorization bill. The legislation passed the House today 397-27." _____________________________________________
The Plain Truth New York Times | Editorial June 17, 2004
It's hard to imagine how the commission investigating the 2001 terrorist attacks could have put it more clearly yesterday: there was never any evidence of a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda, between Saddam Hussein and Sept. 11.
Now President Bush should apologize to the American people, who were led to believe something different.
Of all the ways Mr. Bush persuaded Americans to back the invasion of Iraq last year, the most plainly dishonest was his effort to link his war of choice with the battle against terrorists worldwide. While it's possible that Mr. Bush and his top advisers really believed that there were chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in Iraq, they should have known all along that there was no link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. No serious intelligence analyst believed the connection existed; Richard Clarke, the former antiterrorism chief, wrote in his book that Mr. Bush had been told just that.
Nevertheless, the Bush administration convinced a substantial majority of Americans before the war that Saddam Hussein was somehow linked to 9/11. And since the invasion, administration officials, especially Vice President Dick Cheney, have continued to declare such a connection. Last September, Mr. Bush had to grudgingly correct Mr. Cheney for going too far in spinning a Hussein - bin Laden conspiracy. But the claim has crept back into view as the president has made the war on terror a centerpiece of his re-election campaign.
On Monday, Mr. Cheney said Mr. Hussein "had long-established ties with Al Qaeda." Mr. Bush later backed up Mr. Cheney, claiming that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a terrorist who may be operating in Baghdad, is "the best evidence" of a Qaeda link. This was particularly astonishing because the director of central intelligence, George Tenet, told the Senate earlier this year that Mr. Zarqawi did not work with the Hussein regime.
The staff report issued by the 9/11 panel says that Sudan's government, which sheltered Osama bin Laden in the early 1990's, tried to hook him up with Mr. Hussein, but that nothing came of it.
This is not just a matter of the president's diminishing credibility, although that's disturbing enough. The war on terror has actually suffered as the conflict in Iraq has diverted military and intelligence resources from places like Afghanistan, where there could really be Qaeda forces, including Mr. bin Laden.
Mr. Bush is right when he says he cannot be blamed for everything that happened on or before Sept. 11, 2001. But he is responsible for the administration's actions since then. That includes, inexcusably, selling the false Iraq-Qaeda claim to Americans. There are two unpleasant alternatives: either Mr. Bush knew he was not telling the truth, or he has a capacity for politically motivated self-deception that is terrifying in the post-9/11 world.
New York Times | Editorial June 19, 2004
When the commission studying the 9/11 terrorist attacks refuted the Bush administration's claims of a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, we suggested that President Bush apologize for using these claims to help win Americans' support for the invasion of Iraq. We did not really expect that to happen. But we were surprised by the depth and ferocity of the administration's capacity for denial. President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have not only brushed aside the panel's findings and questioned its expertise, but they are also trying to rewrite history.
Mr. Bush said the 9/11 panel had actually confirmed his contention that there were "ties" between Iraq and Al Qaeda. He said his administration had never connected Saddam Hussein to 9/11. Both statements are wrong.
Before the war, Mr. Bush spoke of far more than vague "ties" between Iraq and Al Qaeda. He said Iraq had provided Al Qaeda with weapons training, bomb-making expertise and a base in Iraq. On Feb. 8, 2003, Mr. Bush said that "an Al Qaeda operative was sent to Iraq several times in the late 1990's for help in acquiring poisons and gases." The 9/11 panel's report, as well as news articles, indicate that these things never happened.
Mr. Cheney said yesterday that the "evidence is overwhelming" of an Iraq-Qaeda axis and that there had been a "whole series of high-level contacts" between them. The 9/11 panel said a senior Iraqi intelligence officer made three visits to Sudan in the early 1990's, meeting with Osama bin Laden once in 1994. It said Osama bin Laden had asked for "space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded." The panel cited reports of further contacts after Osama bin Laden returned to Afghanistan in 1996, but said there was no working relationship. As far as the public record is concerned, then, Mr. Cheney's "longstanding ties" amount to one confirmed meeting, after which the Iraq government did not help Al Qaeda. By those standards, the United States has longstanding ties to North Korea.
Mr. Bush has also used a terrorist named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as evidence of a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Mr. Bush used to refer to Mr. Zarqawi as a "senior Al Qaeda terrorist planner" who was in Baghdad working with the Iraqi government. But the director of central intelligence, George Tenet, told the Senate earlier this year that Mr. Zarqawi did not work with the Hussein regime, nor under the direction of Al Qaeda.
When it comes to 9/11, someone in the Bush administration has indeed drawn the connection to Iraq: the vice president. Mr. Cheney has repeatedly referred to reports that Mohamed Atta met in Prague in April 2001 with an Iraqi intelligence agent. He told Tim Russert of NBC on Dec. 9, 2001, that this report has "been pretty well confirmed." If so, no one seems to have informed the C.I.A., the Czech government or the 9/11 commission, which said it did not appear to be true. Yet Mr. Cheney cited it, again, on Thursday night on CNBC.
Mr. Cheney said he had lots of documents to prove his claims. We have heard that before, but Mr. Cheney always seems too pressed for time or too concerned about secrets to share them. Last September, Mr. Cheney's adviser, Mary Matalin, explained to The Washington Post that Mr. Cheney had access to lots of secret stuff. She said he had to "tiptoe through the land mines of what's sayable and not sayable" to the public, but that "his job is to connect the dots."
The message, if we hear it properly, is that when it comes to this critical issue, the vice president is not prepared to offer any evidence beyond the flimsy-to-nonexistent arguments he has used in the past, but he wants us to trust him when he says there's more behind the screen. So far, when it comes to Iraq, blind faith in this administration has been a losing strategy.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / /"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests." - Patrick Henry
/ "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." Thomas Jefferson ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / Just Trust Us By PAUL KRUGMAN New York Times May 11, 2004
Didn't you know, in your gut, that something like Abu Ghraib would eventually come to light?
When the world first learned about the abuse of prisoners, President Bush said that it "does not reflect the nature of the American people." He's right, of course: a great majority of Americans are decent and good. But so are a great majority of people everywhere. If America's record is better than that of most countries - and it is - it's because of our system: our tradition of openness, and checks and balances.
Yet Mr. Bush, despite all his talk of good and evil, doesn't believe in that system. From the day his administration took office, its slogan has been "just trust us." No administration since Nixon has been so insistent that it has the right to operate without oversight or accountability, and no administration since Nixon has shown itself to be so little deserving of that trust. Out of a misplaced sense of patriotism, Congress has deferred to the administration's demands. Sooner or later, a moral catastrophe was inevitable.
(M.O.W. editorial insert)
Just trust us, John Ashcroft said, as he demanded that Congress pass the Patriot Act, no questions asked. After two and a half years, during which he arrested and secretly detained more than a thousand people, Mr. Ashcroft has yet to convict any actual terrorists. (Look at the actual trials of what Dahlia Lithwick of Slate calls "disaffected bozos who watch cheesy training videos," and you'll see what I mean.
Just trust us, George Bush said, as he insisted that Iraq, which hadn't attacked us and posed no obvious threat, was the place to go in the war on terror. When we got there, we found no weapons of mass destruction and no new evidence of links to Al Qaeda.
Just trust us, Paul Bremer said, as he took over in Iraq. What is the legal basis for Mr. Bremer's authority? You may imagine that the Coalition Provisional Authority is an arm of the government, subject to U.S. law. But it turns out that no law or presidential directive has ever established the authority's status. Mr. Bremer, as far as we can tell, answers to nobody except Mr. Bush, which makes Iraq a sort of personal fief. In that fief, there has been nothing that Americans would recognize as the rule of law. For example, Ahmad Chalabi, the Pentagon's erstwhile favorite, was allowed to gain control of Saddam's files - the better to blackmail his potential rivals.
(M.O.W. editorial insert)
And finally: Just trust us, Donald Rumsfeld said early in 2002, when he declared that "enemy combatants" - a term that turned out to mean anyone, including American citizens, the administration chose to so designate - don't have rights under the Geneva Convention. Now people around the world talk of an "American gulag," and Seymour Hersh is exposing My Lai all over again.
Did top officials order the use of torture? It depends on the meaning of the words "order" and "torture." Last August Mr. Rumsfeld's top intelligence official sent Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the commander of the Guantánamo prison, to Iraq. General Miller recommended that the guards help interrogators, including private contractors, by handling prisoners in a way that "sets the conditions" for "successful interrogation and exploitation." What did he and his superiors think would happen?
To their credit, some supporters of the administration are speaking out. "This is about system failure," said Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina. But do Mr. Graham, John McCain and other appalled lawmakers understand their own role in that failure? By deferring to the administration at every step, by blocking every effort to make officials accountable, they set the nation up for this disaster. You can't prevent any serious inquiry into why George Bush led us to war to eliminate W.M.D. that didn't exist and to punish Saddam for imaginary ties to Al Qaeda, then express shock when Mr. Bush's administration fails to follow the rules on other matters.
(M.O.W. editorial insert)
Meanwhile, Abu Ghraib will remain in use, under its new commander: General Miller of Guantánamo. Donald Rumsfeld has "accepted responsibility" - an action that apparently does not mean paying any price at all.
(M.O.W. editorial insert)
And Dick Cheney says, "Don Rumsfeld is the best secretary of defense the United States has ever had. . . . People should get off his case and let him do his job." In other words: Just trust us.
We can't think of a president who has gone to the American people more often than George W. Bush has to ask them to forget about things like democracy, judicial process and the balance of powers - and just trust him. We also can't think of a president who has deserved that trust less.
This has been a central flaw of Mr. Bush's presidency for a long time. But last week produced a flood of evidence that vividly drove home the point.
After 9/11, Mr. Bush authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on the conversations and e-mail of Americans and others in the United States without obtaining a warrant or allowing Congress or the courts to review the operation. Lawmakers from both parties have raised considerable doubt about the legality of this program, but Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made it clear last Monday at a Senate hearing that Mr. Bush hasn't the slightest intention of changing it.
According to Mr.
Gonzales, the administration can be relied upon to police itself
and hold the line between
national security and civil liberties on its own. Set aside the rather
huge problem that our democracy doesn't work that way. It's not clear that this administration
knows where the line is, much less that it is capable of defending
it. Mr. Gonzales's
own dedication to the truth is in considerable doubt. In sworn testimony at his confirmation
hearing last year, he dismissed as "hypothetical" a
question about whether he believed the president had the authority
to conduct warrantless surveillance. In fact, Mr. Gonzales knew Mr. Bush was doing just that,
and had signed
off on it as White House counsel.
The Prison Camps
It has been nearly two years since the Abu Ghraib scandal illuminated the violence, illegal detentions and other abuses at United States military prison camps. There have been Congressional hearings, court rulings imposing normal judicial procedures on the camps, and a law requiring prisoners to be treated humanely. Yet nothing has changed. Mr. Bush also made it clear that he intends to follow the new law on the treatment of prisoners when his internal moral compass tells him it is the right thing to do.
On Thursday, Tim Golden of The Times reported that United States military authorities had taken to tying up and force-feeding the prisoners who had gone on hunger strikes by the dozens at Guantánamo Bay to protest being held without any semblance of justice. The article said administration officials were concerned that if a prisoner died, it could renew international criticism of Gitmo. They should be concerned. This is not some minor embarrassment. It is a lingering outrage that has undermined American credibility around the world.
to numerous news reports, the majority of the Gitmo detainees
members of Al Qaeda nor fighters captured on the battlefield in
Afghanistan. The National
Journal reported last week that many were handed over to the American
forces for bounties by Pakistani and Afghan warlords. Others were just swept up.
The military has charged only 10 prisoners with
terrorism. Hearings for the rest were not held for three years and then were mostly sham proceedings.
And yet the administration continues to claim that it can be trusted to run these prisons fairly, to decide in secret and on the president's whim who is to be jailed without charges, and to insist that Gitmo is filled with dangerous terrorists.
////The War-in Iraq
One of Mr. Bush's biggest "trust me" moments was when he told Americans that the United States had to invade Iraq because it possessed dangerous weapons and posed an immediate threat to America. The White House has blocked a Congressional investigation into whether it exaggerated the intelligence on Iraq, and continues to insist that the decision to invade was based on the consensus of American intelligence agencies.
But the next edition of the journal Foreign Affairs includes an article by the man in charge of intelligence on Iraq until last year, Paul Pillar, who said the administration cherry-picked intelligence to support a decision to invade that had already been made. He said Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney made it clear what results they wanted and heeded only the analysts who produced them. Incredibly, Mr. Pillar said, the president never asked for an assessment on the consequences of invading Iraq until a year after the invasion. He said the intelligence community did that analysis on its own and forecast a deeply divided society ripe for civil war.
When the administration did finally ask for an intelligence assessment, Mr. Pillar led the effort, which concluded in August 2004 that Iraq was on the brink of disaster. Officials then leaked his authorship to the columnist Robert Novak and to The Washington Times. The idea was that Mr. Pillar was not to be trusted because he dissented from the party line. Somehow, this sounds like a story we have heard before.
other administrations before it, this one sometimes dissembles
clumsily to avoid embarrassment. (We now know, for example,
that the White House did not tell the truth about
when it learned
the levees in New Orleans had failed.) Spin-as-usual is one thing. Striking at the civil liberties,
due process and balance of powers that are the heart of American democracy is another.
/ "In America, you can go on the air and kid the politicians, and the politicians can go on the air and kid the people." - Groucho Marx
Friday 30 January 2004
George Bush promised to bring honor and integrity back to the White House. Instead, he got rid of accountability.
Surely even supporters of the Iraq war must be dismayed by the administration's reaction to David Kay's recent statements. Iraq, he now admits, didn't have W.M.D., or even active programs to produce such weapons. Those much-ridiculed U.N. inspectors were right. (But Hans Blix appears to have gone down the memory hole. On Tuesday Mr. Bush declared that the war was justified - under U.N. Resolution 1441, no less - because Saddam "did not let us in.")
So where are the apologies? Where are the resignations? Where is the investigation of this intelligence debacle? All we have is bluster from Dick Cheney, evasive W.M.D.-related-program-activity language from Mr. Bush - and a determined effort to prevent an independent inquiry.
True, Mr. Kay still claims that this was a pure intelligence failure. I don't buy it: the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has issued a damning report on how the threat from Iraq was hyped, and former officials warned of politicized intelligence during the war buildup. (Yes, the Hutton report gave Tony Blair a clean bill of health, but many people - including a majority of the British public, according to polls - regard that report as a whitewash.)
In any case, the point is that a grave mistake was made, and America's credibility has been badly damaged - and nobody is being held accountable. But that's standard operating procedure. As far as I can tell, nobody in the Bush administration has ever paid a price for being wrong. Instead, people are severely punished for telling inconvenient truths. And administration officials have consistently sought to freeze out, undermine or intimidate anyone who might try to check up on their performance.
Let's look at three examples. First is the Valerie Plame affair. When someone in the administration revealed that Ms. Plame was an undercover C.I.A. operative, one probable purpose was to intimidate intelligence professionals. And whatever becomes of the Justice Department investigation, the White House has been notably uninterested in finding the culprit. ("We have let the earthmovers roll in over this one," a senior White House official told The Financial Times.)
(M.O.W. editorial insert)
Then there's the stonewalling about 9/11. First the administration tried, in defiance of all historical precedents, to prevent any independent inquiry. Then it tried to appoint Henry Kissinger, of all people, to head the investigative panel. Then it obstructed the commission, denying it access to crucial documents and testimony. Now, thanks to all the delays and impediments, the panel's head says it can't deliver its report by the original May 11 deadline - and the administration is trying to prevent a time extension.
Finally, an important story that has largely evaded public attention: the effort to prevent oversight of Iraq spending. Government agencies normally have independent, strictly nonpartisan inspectors general, with broad powers to investigate questionable spending. But the new inspector general's office in Iraq operates under unique rules that greatly limit both its powers and its independence.
And the independence of the Pentagon's own inspector general's office is also in question. Last September, in a move that should have caused shock waves, the administration appointed L. Jean Lewis as the office's chief of staff. Ms. Lewis played a central role in the Whitewater witch hunt (seven years, $70 million, no evidence of Clinton wrongdoing); nobody could call her nonpartisan. So when Mr. Bush's defenders demand hard proof of profiteering in Iraq - as opposed to extensive circumstantial evidence - bear in mind that the administration has systematically undermined the power and independence of institutions that might have provided that proof.
And there are many more examples. These people politicize everything, from military planning to scientific assessments. If you're with them, you pay no penalty for being wrong. If you don't tell them what they want to hear, you're an enemy, and being right is no excuse.
Still, the big story isn't about Mr. Bush; it's about what's happening to America. Other presidents would have liked to bully the C.I.A., stonewall investigations and give huge contracts to their friends without oversight. They knew, however, that they couldn't. What has gone wrong with our country that allows this president to get away with such things?
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)
Of all the justifications that President Bush gave for invading Iraq, the most terrifying was that Saddam Hussein was on the brink of developing a nuclear bomb that he might use against the United States or give to terrorists. Ever since we learned that this was not true, the question has been whether Mr. Bush gave a good-faith account of the best available intelligence, or knowingly deceived the public. The more we learn about the way Mr. Bush paved the road to war, the more it becomes disturbingly clear that if he was not aware that he was feeding misinformation to the world, he was about the only one in his circle who had not been clued in.
The foundation for the administration's claim that it acted on an honest assessment of intelligence analysis - and the president's frequent claim that Congress had the same information he had - has been steadily eroded by the reports from the Senate Intelligence Committee and the 9/11 commission. A lengthy report in The Times on Sunday removed any lingering doubts.
The only physical evidence the administration offered for an Iraqi nuclear program were the 60,000 aluminum tubes that Baghdad set out to buy in early 2001; some of them were seized in Jordan. Even though Iraq had a history of using the same tubes to make small rockets, the president and his closest advisers told the American people that the overwhelming consensus of government experts was that these new tubes were to be used to make nuclear bomb fuel. Now we know there was no such consensus. Mr. Bush's closest advisers say they didn't know that until after they had made the case for war. But in fact, they had plenty of evidence that the claim was baseless; it was a long-discounted theory that had to be resurrected from the intelligence community's wastebasket when the administration needed justification for invading Iraq.
The tubes-for-bombs theory was the creation of a low-level C.I.A. analyst who got his facts, even the size of the tubes, wrong. It was refuted within 24 hours by the Energy Department, which issued three papers debunking the idea over a four-month period in 2001, and by the International Atomic Energy Agency. A week before Mr. Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, in which he warned of an Iraqi nuclear menace, international experts in Vienna had dismissed the C.I.A.'s theory about the tubes. The day before, the International Atomic Energy Agency said there was no evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program and rejected the tubes' tale entirely.
It's shocking that with all this information readily available, Secretary of State Colin Powell still went before the United Nations to repeat the bogus claims, an appearance that gravely damaged his reputation. It's even more disturbing that Vice President Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, had not only failed to keep the president from misleading the American people, but had also become the chief proponents of the "mushroom cloud" rhetoric.
Ms. Rice had access to all the reports debunking the tubes theory when she first talked about it publicly in September 2002. Yet last Sunday, Ms. Rice said that while she had been aware of a "dispute" about the tubes, she had not specifically known what it was about until after she had told the world that Saddam was building the bomb.
Ms. Rice's spokesman, Sean McCormack, said it was not her job to question intelligence reports or "to referee disputes in the intelligence community." But even with that curious job disclaimer, it's no comfort to think that the national security adviser wouldn't have bothered to inform herself about such a major issue before speaking publicly. The national security adviser has no more important responsibility than making sure that the president gets the best advice on life-and-death issues like the war.
If Ms. Rice did her job and told Mr. Bush how ludicrous the case was for an Iraqi nuclear program, then Mr. Bush terribly misled the public. If not, she should have resigned for allowing her boss to start a war on the basis of bad information and an incompetent analysis.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)
/ Is Condi Hiding the Smoking Gun? By Frank Rich The New York Times Sunday 06 May 2007
If, as J.F.K. had it, victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan, the defeat in Iraq is the most pitiful orphan imaginable. Its parents have not only tossed it to the wolves but are also trying to pin its mutant DNA on any patsy they can find.
George Tenet is just the latest to join this blame game, which began more than three years ago when his fellow Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Tommy Franks told Bob Woodward that Douglas Feith, the Pentagon's intelligence bozo, was the "stupidest guy on the face of the earth" (that's the expurgated version). Last fall, Kenneth Adelman, the neocon cheerleader who foresaw a "cakewalk" in Iraq, told Vanity Fair that Mr. Tenet, General Franks and Paul Bremer were "three of the most incompetent people who've ever served in such key spots." Richard Perle chimed in that the "huge mistakes" were "not made by neoconservatives" and instead took a shot at President Bush. Ahmad Chalabi, the neocons' former darling, told Dexter Filkins of The Times "the real culprit in all this is Wolfowitz."
And of course nearly everyone blames Rumsfeld.
This would be a Three Stooges routine were there only three stooges. The good news is that Mr. Tenet's book rollout may be the last gasp of this farcical round robin of recrimination. Republicans and Democrats have at last found some common ground by condemning his effort to position himself as the war's innocent scapegoat. Some former C.I.A. colleagues are rougher still. Michael Scheuer, who ran the agency's bin Laden unit, has accused Mr. Tenet of lacking "the moral courage to resign and speak out publicly to try to stop our country from striding into what he knew would be an abyss." Even after Mr. Tenet did leave office, he maintained a Robert McNamara silence until he cashed in.
Satisfying though it is to watch a circular firing squad of the war's enablers, unfinished business awaits. Unlike Vietnam, Iraq is not in the past: the war escalates even as all this finger-pointing continues. Very little has changed between the fourth anniversary of "Mission Accomplished" this year and the last. Back then, President Bush cheered an Iraqi "turning point" precipitated by "the emergence of a unity government." Since then, what's emerged is more Iraqi disunity and a major leap in the death toll. That's why Americans voted in November to get out.
The only White House figure to take any responsibility for the fiasco is the former Bush-Cheney pollster Matthew Dowd, who in March expressed remorse for furthering a war he now deems a mistake. For his belated act of conscience, he was promptly patronized as an incipient basket case by an administration flack, who attributed Mr. Dowd's defection to "personal turmoil." If that is what this vicious gang would do to a pollster, imagine what would befall Colin Powell if he spoke out. Nonetheless, Mr. Powell should summon the guts to do so. Until there is accountability for the major architects and perpetrators of the Iraq war, the quagmire will deepen. A tragedy of this scale demands a full accounting, not to mention a catharsis.
That accounting might well begin with Mr. Powell's successor, Condoleezza Rice. Of all the top-tier policy players who were beside the president and vice president at the war's creation, she is the highest still in power and still on the taxpayers' payroll. She is also the only one who can still get a free pass from the press. The current groupthink Beltway narrative has it that the secretary of state's recidivist foreign-policy realism and latent shuttle diplomacy have happily banished the Cheney-Rumsfeld cowboy arrogance that rode America into a ditch.
Thus Ms. Rice was dispatched to three Sunday shows last weekend to bat away Mr. Tenet's book before "60 Minutes" broadcast its interview with him that night. But in each appearance her statements raised more questions than they answered. She was persistently at odds with the record, not just the record as spun by Mr. Tenet but also the public record. She must be held to a higher standard - a k a the truth - before she too jumps ship.
It's now been nearly five years since Ms. Rice did her part to sell the Iraq war on a Sept. 8, 2002, Sunday show with her rendition of "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." Yet there she was last Sunday on ABC, claiming that she never meant to imply then that Saddam was an imminent threat. "The question of imminence isn't whether or not somebody is going to strike tomorrow" is how she put it. In other words, she is still covering up the war's origins. On CBS's "Face the Nation," she claimed that intelligence errors before the war were "worldwide" even though the International Atomic Energy Agency's Mohamed ElBaradei publicly stated there was "no evidence" of an Iraqi nuclear program and even though Germany's intelligence service sent strenuous prewar warnings that the C.I.A.'s principal informant on Saddam's supposed biological weapons was a fraud.
Sunday interviewers, it was George Stephanopoulos who went
for the jugular by returning to that nonexistent uranium from
Africa. He forced Ms. Rice to watch a clip of her appearance
on his show in June 2003, when she claimed she did not know of any serious
questions about the uranium
evidence before the war.
Then he came as close as any Sunday host ever has to calling a
"But that statement
wasn't true," Mr.
Stephanopoulos said. Ms. Rice pleaded memory loss, but the facts remain.
She received a memo raising serious questions about the uranium
in October 2002, three months before the president included the
infamous 16 words on the subject in his State of the Union
address. Her deputy, Stephen
Hadley, received two memos as well as a phone call of
warning from Mr. Tenet.
Apologists for Ms. Rice, particularly those in the press who are embarrassed by their own early cheerleading for the war, like to say that this is ancient history, just as they said of the C.I.A. leak case. We're all supposed to move on and just worry about what happens next. Try telling that to families whose children went to Iraq to stop Saddam's nukes. Besides, there's a continuum between past deceptions and present ones, as the secretary of state seamlessly demonstrated last Sunday.
On ABC, she pushed the administration's line portraying Iraq's current violence as a Qaeda plot hatched by the Samarra bombing of February 2006. But that Qaeda isn't the Qaeda of 9/11; it's a largely Iraqi group fighting on one side of a civil war. And by February 2006, sectarian violence had already been gathering steam for 15 months - in part because Ms. Rice and company ignored the genuine imminence of that civil war just as they had ignored the alarms about bin Laden's Qaeda in August 2001.
Ms. Rice's latest canard
wasn't an improvisation;
it was a scripted set-up for the president's outrageous statement
three days later. "The
decision we face in Iraq," Mr.
Bush said Wednesday, "is not whether we ought to take
sides in a civil war, it's whether we stay in the fight against
the same international terrorist network that attacked us on 9/11."
Such statements about the present in Iraq are no less deceptive - and no less damaging to our
national interest - than the lies about
uranium and Qaeda- 9/11 connections told in 2002-3. This country
needs facts, not fiction,
to make its decisions about the endgame of the war, just as
it needed (but didn't get) facts when
we went to war in the first place. To settle for less is to
make the same
tragic error twice.
That Ms. Rice feels scant responsibility for any of this was evident in her repeated assertions on Sunday that all the questions about prewar intelligence had been answered by the Robb-Silberman and Senate committee inquiries, neither of which even addressed how the administration used the intelligence it received. Now she risks being held in contempt of Congress by ducking a subpoena authorized by the House's Oversight Committee, whose chairman, Henry Waxman, has been trying to get direct answers from her about the uranium hoax since 2003.
Ms. Rice is stonewalling his investigation by rambling on about separation of powers and claiming she answered all relevant questions in writing, to Senator Carl Levin, during her confirmation to the cabinet in January 2005. If former or incumbent national security advisers like Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski could testify before Congress without defiling the Constitution, so can she. As for her answers to Senator Levin's questions, five of eight were pure Alberto Gonzales: she either didn't recall or didn't know.
No wonder the most galling part of Ms. Rice's Sunday spin was her aside to Wolf Blitzer that she would get around to reflecting on these issues "when I have a chance to write my book." Another book! As long as American troops are dying in Iraq, the secretary of state has an obligation to answer questions about how they got there and why they stay. If accountability is ever to begin, it would be best if those questions are answered not on "60 Minutes" but under oath.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
THE of Condoleezza Rice!
"...Clinton's National Security Advisor Sandy Berger remembered how little help the previous Bush administration had provided to his team. Believing that the nation's security should transcend political bitterness, Berger arranged ten briefings for his successor, Condoleezza Rice, and her deputy, Stephen Hadley. Berger made a special point of attending the briefing on terrorism. He told Dr. Rice, "I believe that the Bush administration will spend more time on terrorism in general, and on al Qaeda specifically, than any other subject.''
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ nhndn "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile." - Condoleezza Rice, May 16, 2002
by Catherine Austin Fitts Former Assistant Secretary of Housing, Bush I
Hon. Condoleezza Rice
National Security Advisor
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
April 9, 2004
Dear Ms. Rice:
I am writing to communicate four
points regarding your testimony
yesterday under oath before the National Commission on Terrorist
Attacks Upon the United States.
Point #1: You are a liar.
Attorney General Ashcroft sits
on the National Security Council.
Warned by his FBI security detail, the head of law enforcement for the United States knew to avoid commercial airlines on September 11, 2001.
It was your job as National Security Advisor to make sure that the people who flew on American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, United Airlines Flight 93 and American Airlines Flight 77 had the benefit of the same warnings as those they paid to protect us.
You knew. You kept silent. They died.
You had numerous warnings of the risks of 9-11 - sufficient to let the American people know and use their best judgment as to how to protect themselves from a possible attack. It was your job as National Security Advisor to make sure that the people in the South Tower of the World Trade Center had the knowledge they needed to evacuate their building upon seeing the North Tower hit by a plane.
You knew. You kept silent. They died.
Point #2: Your motives are transparent.
The World Trade Center is in the heart of New York City - one of the great financial capitals of the world. The Pentagon is in the heart of Washington -- the appropriation and accounting capital for the US federal budget and credit and the US Treasury - the largest issuer of securities in the world.
Unlike many other terrorist attacks,
these attacks killed people whose family, friends and neighbors
understand how these financial systems work.
Victim families, friends and the residents of the communities directly harmed can calculate who made money on 9-11 profiteering. They can trace the flow of money into the 2004 Presidential campaign coffers from the profits your supporters made as a result of 9-11 profiteering. They can calculate how 9-11 profiteering connects to the financing and silence of corporate media.
Those personally impacted and the global researchers they network with have the intellectual power and personal courage to ask and answer, "Cui Bono?" (Who Benefits?) They understand that your success as National Security Advisor is as a direct result of your failure to stop 9-11. They can see how your lies about 9-11 made money for the investment syndicate that put you in power and for the buyers of US Treasury securities who are so richly paid to finance the US military, intelligence and enforcement apparatus and the defense contractors and oil interests it serves.
All the campaign ads in the world can not now convince the American people that you have their best interests at heart.
/ "Who will resist this killing by others? Millions of decent people will not kill, but few will prevent others from killing, especially when those others lurk in governments and the military, in transnationals and banks -- -- the quiet, well-manicured terrorists who kill under the law." - FatherPhilip Berrigan ?
Point #3: You are going down.
The richest and most powerful people in the world pay for performance. They pay you to make the US governmental apparatus look legitimate while they use it to centralize economic and political power. That means they need liars who are better at lying than you.
The myth that you had no idea that Americans deserved to be warned about the risks of flying or planes being used as weapons is now in the dust heap with the notion that the United States attacked Iraq and our soldiers are dying to protect us from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Your lies of 9-11 - like your lies about the Iraqi war - have been profitable for the military-banking complex you represent. These lies, however, have not misled the crowd. The American people and global citizens are looking for the truth. We demand the changes that will give meaning and honor to those who died on 9-11 and in the ensuing wars. We demand an end to further bloodshed. We demand a refund of all that you and your backers have stolen from those of us who remain alive.
Point #4: You are guilty of criminal gross negligence.
If you want to catch a terrorist today, you need look no further than your own mirror.
Many Americans gather this weekend to give thanks that Jesus died for our sins and gave us the covenant of grace.
In the spirit of our Lord's crucification and resurrection, may God have mercy on your soul.
Catherine Austin Fitts
Former Assistant Secretary of Housing, Bush I
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ jdje / "Who will resist this killing by others? Millions of decent people will not kill, but few will prevent others from killing, especially when those others lurk in governments and the military, in transnationals and banks -- -- the quiet, well-manicured terrorists who kill under the law." - Father Philip Berrigan ? "No man (or woman) can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." / , Eerily prophetic 1957 illustration by Lynd Ward for "The Moloch Broadside", by Allen Ginsberg / ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / gg,g / "...Even Jesus would never forgive what you do." - Bob Dylan, "Masters of War" hfnmdfh _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Alternate Reality By Molly Ivins Creators Syndicate Friday 21 January 2005
Austin - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice helpfully explained it all for us. The problem is that we are living in an alternative reality. What we think we know is not true. We have always had enough troops in Iraq. There are 120,000 trained Iraqi soldiers ready to take over. The president has condemned torture, so what else is there to say? Why torture happened, whose fault it is and why it is still happening at Guantanamo is not a problem because the president has condemned it. Secretary Rice also condemns it, so why raise questions about the fact that she wrote a letter to get an anti-torture clause in the intelligence appropriation bill taken out?
What, do you want to insult her integrity?
Secretary Rice did say that mistakes were made, but she does not know who made them or who should be held accountable. And, of course, as we all learned during the last election, no matter what happens, it is never, ever President Bush's fault.
/Q. What do you think should be done in Iraq?
"Well, the first thing that should be done in Iraq is for us to be serious about what's going on. There is almost no serious discussion, I'm sorry to say, across the spectrum, of the question of withdrawal. The reason for that is that we are under a rigid doctrine in the West, a religious fanaticism, that says we must believe that the United States would have invaded Iraq even if its main product was lettuce and pickles, and the oil resources of the world were in Central Africa. Anyone who doesn't believe that is condemned as a conspiracy theorist, a Marxist, a madman, or something. Well, you know, if you have three gray cells functioning, you know that that's perfect nonsense. The U.S. invaded Iraq because it has enormous oil resources, mostly untapped, and it's right in the heart of the world's energy system. Which means that if the U.S. manages to control Iraq, it extends enormously its strategic power, what Zbigniew Brzezinski calls its critical leverage over Europe and Asia. Yeah, that's a major reason for controlling the oil resources - it gives you strategic power. Even if you're on renewable energy you want to do that. So that's the reason for invading Iraq, the fundamental reason."
The Awful Truth By Paul Krugman The New York Times Tuesday 13 January 2004
People are saying terrible things about George Bush. They say that his officials weren't sincere about pledges to balance the budget. They say that the planning for an invasion of Iraq began seven months before 9/11, that there was never any good evidence that Iraq was a threat and that the war actually undermined the fight against terrorism.
But these irrational Bush haters are body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freaks who should go back where they came from: the executive offices of Alcoa, and the halls of the Army War College.
I was one of the few commentators who didn't celebrate Paul O'Neill's appointment as Treasury secretary. And I couldn't understand why, if Mr. O'Neill was the principled man his friends described, he didn't resign early from an administration that was clearly anything but honest.
But now he's showing the courage I missed back then, by giving us an invaluable, scathing insider's picture of the Bush administration.
Ron Suskind's new book "The Price of Loyalty" is based largely on interviews with and materials supplied by Mr. O'Neill. It portrays an administration in which political considerations - satisfying "the base" - trump policy analysis on every issue, from tax cuts to international trade policy and global warming. The money quote may be Dick Cheney's blithe declaration that "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." But there are many other revelations.
One is that Mr. O'Neill and Alan Greenspan knew that it was a mistake to lock in huge tax cuts based on questionable projections of future surpluses. In May 2001 Mr. Greenspan gloomily told Mr. O'Neill that because the first Bush tax cut didn't include triggers - it went forward regardless of how the budget turned out - it was "irresponsible fiscal policy." This was a time when critics of the tax cut were ridiculed for saying exactly the same thing.
Another is that Mr. Bush, who declared in the 2000 campaign that "the vast majority of my tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum," knew that this wasn't true. He worried that eliminating taxes on dividends would benefit only "top-rate people," asking his advisers, "Didn't we already give them a break at the top?"
Most startling of all, Donald Rumsfeld pushed the idea of regime change in Iraq as a way to transform the Middle East at a National Security Council meeting in February 2001.
There's much more in Mr. Suskind's book. All of it will dismay those who still want to believe that our leaders are wise and good.anyone who says the administration hyped the threat from Iraq is a conspiracy theorist.
The question is whether this book will open the eyes of those who think that anyone who criticizes the tax cuts is a wild-eyed leftist, and that
The point is that the credentials of the critics just keep getting better. How can Howard Dean's assertion that the capture of Saddam hasn't made us safer be dismissed as bizarre, when a report published by the Army War College says that the war in Iraq was a "detour" that undermined the fight against terror? How can charges by Wesley Clark and others that the administration was looking for an excuse to invade Iraq be dismissed as paranoid in the light of Mr. O'Neill's revelations?
So far administration officials have attacked Mr. O'Neill's character but haven't refuted any of his facts. They have, however, already opened an investigation into how a picture of a possibly classified document appeared during Mr. O'Neill's TV interview. This alacrity stands in sharp contrast with their evident lack of concern when a senior administration official, still unknown, blew the cover of a C.I.A. operative because her husband had revealed some politically inconvenient facts.
Some will say that none of this matters because Saddam is in custody, and the economy is growing. Even in the short run, however, these successes may not be all they're cracked up to be. More Americans were killed and wounded in the four weeks after Saddam's capture than in the four weeks before. The drop in the unemployment rate since its peak last summer doesn't reflect a greater availability of jobs, but rather a decline in the share of the population that is even looking for work.
More important, having a few months of good news doesn't excuse a consistent pattern of dishonest, irresponsible leadership. And that pattern keeps getting harder to deny.
Paul Krugman joined The New York Times in 1999 as a columnist on the Op-Ed Page and continues as professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University. (COMPLETE BIO)
"I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes." - George W. Bush, 1994. Source: MSNBC sbbsb "I've been to war. I've raised twins. If I had a choice, I'd rather go to war." -- Dubya doing a sterling job of belittling war and parenting at the same time,while also backhandedly manufacturing a war record for himself out of thin air, Jan. 27, 2002 sbbsb POSTER: Whitehouse.org (click on image)
An Open Letter from Michael Moore to George "I'm a War President!" Bush
Dear Mr. Bush,
Thank you for providing the illegible Xeroxed partial payroll sheets (or whatever they were) yesterday covering a few of your days in the National Guard. Now we know that, not only didn't you complete your tour of duty, you were actually paid for work you never did. Did you cash those checks? Wouldn't that be, um, illegal?
Watching the press aggressively demand the truth from your press secretary -- and refusing to accept the deceit, the dodging, and the cover-up -- was a sight to behold, something we really haven't seen since you took office (to watch or listen to the entire press conference, or to read the full transcript, go here)
by DAVE ZIRIN The Nation posted October 6, 2005 (October 24, 2005 issue)
"I don't believe it," seethed Ann Coulter.
Her contempt was directed at a September 25 San Francisco Chronicle story reporting that former NFL star and Army Ranger war hero Pat Tillman, who was killed in Afghanistan last year, believed the US war on Iraq was "f***ing illegal" and counted Noam Chomsky among his favorite authors. It must have been quite a moment for Coulter, who upon Tillman's death described him in her inimitably creepy fashion as "an American original--virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be." She tried to discredit the story as San Francisco agitprop, but this approach ran into a slight problem: The article's source was Pat Tillman's mother, Mary.
Mary and the Tillman family are relentlessly pushing for answers to the questions surrounding Pat's death in Afghanistan. They want to know why it took the Pentagon five weeks to tell them he died in a tragic case of friendly fire. They want to know why they were unwitting props at Pat's funeral, weeping while lies were told by eulogizing politicians. Mary is now hoping that a new Pentagon inquiry will bring closure. "There have been so many discrepancies so far that it's hard to know what to believe," she said to the Chronicle. "There are too many murky details."
The very private Tillmans have revealed a picture of Pat profoundly at odds with the GI Joe image created by Pentagon spinmeisters and their media stenographers. As the Chronicle put it, family and friends are now unveiling "a side of Pat Tillman not widely known--a fiercely independent thinker who enlisted, fought and died in service to his country yet was critical of President Bush and opposed the war in Iraq, where he served a tour of duty. He was an avid reader whose interests ranged from history books...to works of leftist Noam Chomsky, a favorite author." Tillman had very unembedded feelings about the Iraq War. His close friend Army Spec. Russell Baer remembered, "I can see it like a movie screen. We were outside of [an Iraqi city] watching as bombs were dropping on the town.... We were talking. And Pat said, 'You know, this war is so f***ing illegal.' And we all said, 'Yeah.' That's who he was. He totally was against Bush." With these revelations, Pat Tillman the PR icon joins WMD and Al Qaeda connections on the heap of lies used to sell the Iraq War.
Tillman's transition from one-dimensional caricature to critically thinking human being is a long time coming. The fact is that in death he was far more useful to the armchair warriors than he had ever been in life. When the Pro Bowler joined the Army Rangers, the Pentagon brass needed a loofah to wipe their drool: He was white, handsome and played in the NFL. For a chicken-hawk Administration led by a President who loves the affectations of machismo but runs from protesting military moms, this testosterone cocktail was impossible to resist. The problem was that Tillman wouldn't play their game. To the Pentagon's chagrin, he turned down numerous offers to be its recruitment poster child.
But when Tillman fell in Afghanistan the wheels once again started to turn. Now the narrative was perfect: "War hero and football star dies fighting terror." The Abu Ghraib scandal was about to hit the press, so the President found it especially useful to praise Tillman as "an inspiration on and off the football field, as with all who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror." His funeral was nationally televised. Bush even went back to the bloody well during the presidential campaign, addressing his team's fans on the Arizona Cardinals' stadium Jumbotron.
We now know, of course, that this was all a brutal charade. Such callous manipulation is fueling the Tillman family's anger. As Mary Tillman said this past May, "They could have told us up front that they were suspicious that [his death] was a fratricide, but they didn't. They wanted to use him for their purposes.... They needed something that looked good, and it was appalling that they would use him like that." A growing number of military families, similarly angered, are criticizing the war in Iraq through organizations like Military Families Speak Out.
As for Chomsky, whom Ann Coulter would undoubtedly label "treasonous," Mary Tillman says a private meeting was planned between him and Pat after Pat's return--a meeting that never took place, of course. Chomsky confirms this scenario. This was the real Pat Tillman: someone who, like the majority of this country, was doubting the rationale for war, distrusting his Commander in Chief and looking for answers. The real Pat Tillman, the one with three dimensions, must stick in the throat of the Bush-Coulter gang, a pit in the cherry atop their bloody sundae.
Copyright © 2005 The Nation/
Courtesy of the Tillman Family
"....don't be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity." / After Pat's Birthday By Kevin Tillman
It is Pat's birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice until we got out.
Much has happened since we handed over our voice:
Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can't be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.
Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few "bad apples" in the military.
Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It's interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.
Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.
Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.
Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.
Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.
Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.
Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.
Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.
Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.
Somehow torture is tolerated.
Somehow lying is tolerated.
Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.
Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.
Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.
Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.
Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.
Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.
Somehow this is tolerated.
Somehow nobody is accountable for this.
In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don't be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that "somehow" was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.
Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat's birthday.
Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,
________________________________________________________________________ / ________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
"This week the Bush campaign unveiled an ad accusing John Kerry of, among other things, opposing increases in combat pay because he voted against an $87 billion appropriation for Iraq. Those who have followed this issue were astonished at the ad's sheer up-is-down-ism.
In fact, the Bush administration has done the very thing it falsely accuses Mr. Kerry of doing: it has tried repeatedly to slash combat pay and military benefits, provoking angry articles in The Army Times with headlines like "An Act of `Betrayal." Oh, and Mr. Kerry wasn't trying to block funds for Iraq - he was trying to force the administration, which had concealed the cost of the occupation until its tax cut was passed, to roll back part of the tax cut to cover the expense.
But the bigger point is this: in the Bush vision, it was never legitimate to challenge any piece of the administration's policy on Iraq. Before the war, it was your patriotic duty to trust the president's assertions about the case for war. Once we went in and those assertions proved utterly false, it became your patriotic duty to support the troops - a phrase that, to the administration, always means supporting the president. At no point has it been legitimate to hold Mr. Bush accountable. And that's the way he wants it."
- Paul Krugman,"Taken for a Ride", New York Times, March 19,200
//'I never took him as a compassionate conservative. I'm a Texan. I saw what he had done to Texas 'and I knew he would do to the nation what he had done to Texas. And by God he's done it.' rhe/wh - Bill Moyers (2003) / hd/jetej "We're through the looking glass here, people. Where white is black and black white" / - District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) in 'JFK". \ / WAR is PEACE FREEDOM is SLAVERY IGNORANCE is STRENGTH / fvrhe/whbdssbbs rhe/wh/ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
By MAUREEN DOWD New York Times April 25, 2004
It's their reality. We just live and die in it.
In Bushworld, our troops go to war and get killed, but you never see the bodies coming home.
In Bushworld, flag-draped remains of the fallen are important to revere and show the nation, but only in political ads hawking the president's leadership against terror.
In Bushworld, we can create an exciting Iraqi democracy as long as it doesn't control its own military, pass any laws or have any power.
In Bushworld, we can win over Falluja by bulldozing it.
In Bushworld, it was worth going to war so Iraqis can express their feelings ("Down With America!") without having their tongues cut out, although we cannot yet allow them to express intemperate feelings in newspapers ("Down With America!") without shutting them down.
In Bushworld, it's fine to take $700 million that Congress provided for the war in Afghanistan and 9/11 recovery and divert it to the war in Iraq that you're insisting you're not planning.
In Bushworld, you don't consult your father, the expert in being president during a war with Iraq, but you do talk to your Higher Father, who can't talk back to warn you to get an exit strategy or chide you for using Him for political purposes.
In Bushworld, t's O.K. to run for re-election as the avenger of 9/11, even as you make secret deals with the Arab kingdom where most of the 9/11 hijackers came from.
In Bushworld, you get to strut around like a tough military guy and paint your rival as a chicken hawk, even though he's the one who won medals in combat and was praised by his superior officers for fulfilling all his obligations.
In Bushworld, it makes sense to press for transparency in Mr. and Mrs. Rival while cultivating your own opacity.
In Bushworld, you can reign as the antiterror president even after hearing an intelligence report about Al Qaeda's plans to attack America and then stepping outside to clear brush.
In Bushworld, those who dissemble about the troops and money it will take to get Iraq on its feet are patriots, while those who are honest are patronizingly marginalized.
In Bushworld, they struggle to keep church and state separate in Iraq, even as they increasingly merge the two in America.
In Bushworld, you can claim to be the environmental president on Earth Day while being the industry president every other day.
In Bushworld, you brag about how well Afghanistan is going, even though soldiers like Pat Tillman are still dying and the Taliban are running freely around the border areas, hiding Osama and delaying elections.
In Bushworld, imperfect intelligence is good enough to knock over Iraq. But even better evidence that North Korea is building the weapons that Saddam could only dream about is hidden away.
In Bushworld, the C.I.A. says it can't find out whether there are W.M.D. in Iraq unless we invade on the grounds that there are W.M.D.
In Bushworld, there's no irony that so many who did so much to avoid the Vietnam draft have now strained the military so much that lawmakers are talking about bringing back the draft.
In Bushworld, we're making progress in the war on terror by fighting a war that creates terrorists.
In Bushworld, you don't need to bother asking your vice president and top Defense Department officials whether you should go to war in Iraq, because they've already maneuvered you into going to war.
In Bushworld, it's perfectly natural for the president and vice president to appear before the 9/11 commission like the Olsen twins.
In Bushworld, you expound on remaking the Middle East and spreading pro-American sentiments even as you expand anti-American sentiments by ineptly occupying Iraq and unstintingly backing Ariel Sharon on West Bank settlements.
In Bushworld, we went to war to give Iraq a democratic process, yet we disdain the democratic process that causes allies to pull out troops.
In Bushworld, you pride yourself on the fact that your administration does not leak to the press, while you flood the best-known journalist in Washington with inside information.
In Bushworld, you list Bob Woodward's "Plan of Attack" as recommended reading on your campaign Web site, even though it makes you seem divorced from reality. That is, unless you live in Bushworld.
© 2004 The New York Times Company
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ \ "The fact that he relies on facts - says things that are not factual - are going to undermine his campaign." / - George W. Bush on Al Gore, New York Times, March 4, 2000 / _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ /
The Scary Little Man By William Rivers Pitt t r u t h o u t | Perspective Friday 08 October 2004 nbmcg
George W. Bush, still smarting from his embarrassing performance in the Florida debate, decided on Friday night in St. Louis that volume was a good substitute for strength, that yelling would be mistaken for gravitas. The result was an ugly, disturbing, genuinely frightening show.
In my report on the first debate, I described Bush as, "Shrill. Defensive. Muddled. Angry, very angry. Repetitive. Uninformed. Outmatched. Unprepared. Hesitant." As bad as that display was, it honestly paled in comparison to the frenzied hectoring Bush sprayed at 140 Missouri citizens who had the ill fortune of watching the man come unglued before their eyes.
John Kerry, by comparison, was every inch the controlled prosecutor pressing his case to the jury. It was, perhaps, that calm delineation of Bush's myriad errors which caused the Republican candidate to blow his stack. Exactly 30 minutes into the debate, Bush became so agitated by Kerry's description of the "back-door draft," which is literally bleeding the life out of our National Guard and Reserve forces, that he lunged out of his chair and shrieked over moderator Charles Gibson, who was trying to maintain some semblance of decorum.
"You tell Tony Blair we're going alone," Bush roared. "Tell Tony Blair we're going alone!" The disturbed murmur from the crowd was audible. Bush, simply, frightened them.
More unsettling than Bush's demonstrable agitation was his almost uncanny disconnect from reality.
The voluminous report released by Charles Duelfer and the Iraq Survey Group, compiled by 1,625 U.N. and U.S. weapons inspectors after two years of searching some 1,700 sites in Iraq at a cost of more than $1 billion, stated flatly that no weapons of mass destruction exist in that nation, that no weapons of mass destruction have existed in that nation for years, and that any capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction within that nation has been crumbling for the same amount of years.
"My opponent said that America must pass a global test before we used force to protect ourselves," said Bush during the Iraq phase of the debate. "That's the kind of mindset that says sanctions were working. That's the kind of mindset that said, 'Let's keep it at the United Nations and hope things go well.' Saddam Hussein was a threat because he could have given weapons of mass destruction to terrorist enemies. Sanctions were not working."
What? First of all, the Duelfer Report proves beyond any question that sanctions had worked incredibly well. The stuff wasn't there, because Scott Ritter and the UNSCOM inspectors destroyed it all during the 1990s, along with any and all equipment and facilities to make it. The stuff wasn't there because the sanctions put into place against Hussein prevented him from getting any material to develop weapons. The stuff wasn't there because Hussein stopped making it years ago, because the sanctions were breaking his back. The sanctions worked.
When Bush made the statement about Hussein giving weapons of mass destruction to "terrorist enemies," the needle edged over from 'Dumb' to 'Deranged.' How many different ways must one say "The stuff wasn't there" before George picks up the clue phone? How does someone give away something he doesn't have?
Bush continued in this appalling vein when he said, "He keeps talking about, 'Let the inspectors do their job.' It's naive and dangerous to say that. That's what the Duelfer report showed." Welcome to Bush World, where everything is upside down and two plus two equals a bag of hammers. It is naive and dangerous to point out that the inspectors got the job done in the 1990s, that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction whatsoever? No, George. It is simply the truth.
The mental disconnect reared its shouting head repeatedly throughout the evening. Bush somehow lost track of where he was at one point and called his opponent, "Senator Kennedy." He told one questioner that he would control the deficit by stopping Congress from spending, only a few minutes after defending the fact that he had never, not once, vetoed a spending bill from Congress.
He made an accountant crack about "Battling green eyeshades," a statement that immediately became a first-ballot nominee for the Gibberish Hall of Fame. When asked what kind of Supreme Court Justice he would nominate if given an opportunity, he wandered off along a free-association rant about Dred Scott. Clearly, this President will make sure to nominate people to the bench who are opposed to chattel slavery.
Perhaps the most telling moment came when questioner Linda Grabel asked Bush, "Please give three instances in which you came to realize you had made a wrong decision, and what you did to correct it."
As with his April prime time press conference, in which he was asked a very similar question, Bush absolutely refused to admit to any errors in judgment, beyond a cryptic quip about mistakes in personnel appointments which he would not elaborate upon. He opened himself up to the judgment of history, a sad straddle given the simple fact that no President can avoid such a judgment. That was all he was willing to offer. Ms. Grabel did not hear about three mistakes. She did not even hear about one.
Bush was every inch the angry man on Friday night, which is dangerous enough. But to witness anger combined with belligerent ignorance, with a willful denial of basic facts, to witness a man utterly incapable of admitting to any mistakes while his clear errors in judgment are costing his country in blood, to see that combination roiling within the man who is in charge of the most awesome military arsenal in the history of the planet, is more than dangerous.
It is flatly terrifying.
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and international bestseller of two books - 'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know' and 'The Greatest Sedition is Silence.'
hfhgjfd Jimmy Carter Savages Blair and Bush: 'Their War Was Based on Lies' By Andrew Buncombe The Independent UK
Monday 22 March 2004
Jimmy Carter, the former US president, has strongly criticised George Bush and Tony Blair for waging an unnecessary war to oust Saddam Hussein based on "lies or misinterpretations". The 2002 Nobel peace prize winner said Mr Blair had allowed his better judgement to be swayed by Mr Bush's desire to finish a war that his father had started.
In an interview with The Independent on the first anniversary of the American and British invasion of Iraq, Mr Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981, said the two leaders probably knew that many of the claims being made about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction were based on imperfect intelligence.
He said: "There was no reason for us to become involved in Iraq recently. That was a war based on lies and misinterpretations from London and from Washington, claiming falsely that Saddam Hussein was responsible for [the] 9/11 attacks, claiming falsely that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And I think that President Bush and Prime Minister Blair probably knew that many of the allegations were based on uncertain intelligence ... a decision was made to go to war [then people said] 'Let's find a reason to do so'."
Before the war Mr Carter made clear his opposition to a unilateral attack and said the US did not have the authority to create a "Pax Americana". During his Nobel prize acceptance speech in December 2002 he warned of the danger of "uncontrollable violence" if countries sought to resolve problems without United Nations input.
His latest comments, made during an interview at the Carter Centre in Atlanta, are notable for their condemnation of the two serving leaders. It is extremely rare for a former US president to criticise an incumbent, or a British prime minister. Mr Carter's comments will add to the mounting pressure on Mr Bush and Mr Blair.
Mr Carter said he believed the momentum for the invasion came from Washington and that many of Mr Bush's senior advisers had long ago signalled their desire to remove Saddam by force. Once a decision had been taken to go to war, every effort was made to find a reason for doing do, he said.
"I think the basic reason was made not in London but in Washington. I think that Bush Jnr was inclined to finish a war that his father had precipitated against Iraq. I think it was that commitment of Bush that prevailed over, I think, the better judgement of Tony Blair and Tony Blair became an enthusiastic supporter of the Bush policy".
Mr Carter's criticisms coincided with damaging claims yesterday from a former White House anti-terrorism co-ordinator. Richard Clarke said that President Bush ignored the threat from al-Qai'da before 11 September but in the immediate aftermath sought to hold Iraq responsible, in defiance of senior intelligence advisers who told him that Saddam had nothing to do with the conspiracy.
With an eye to November's presidential elections, Mr Bush sought on Friday to use the anniversary of the Iraq invasion to say that differences between the US and opponents of the war belonged "to the past".
Speaking at the White House, he told about 80 foreign ambassadors: "There is no neutral ground in the fight between civilisation and terror. There can be no separate peace with the terrorist enemy."
But in the US and Britain, and elsewhere, there is growing anger among people who believe the war in Iraq was at best a deadly distraction and at worst an impediment to the war against al-Qa'ida - diverting resources and energy from countering those groups responsible for attacks such as the train bombings in Madrid.
Over the weekend millions of anti-war protesters poured on to the streets of cities around the world to call for the withdrawal of US-led troops from Iraq. It was estimated that in Rome - which saw the biggest crowds - up to one million turned out.
Mr Carter, 79, has recently published a novel. The Hornet's Nest is centred on America's revolutionary war against the British. That period had many lessons for the present day, Mr Carter said.
Friday 17 October 2003
In 1837, Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen, wrote a wonderful fairy tale which he titled The Emperor's New Clothes. It may be the very first example of the power of political correctness. It is the story of the Ruler of a distant land who was so enamored of his appearance and his clothing that he had a different suit for every hour of the day.
One day two rogues arrived in town, claiming to be gifted weavers. They convinced the Emperor that they could weave the most wonderful cloth, which had a magical property. The clothes were only visible to those who were completely pure in heart and spirit.
The Emperor was impressed and ordered the weavers to begin work immediately. The rogues, who had a deep understanding of human nature, began to feign work on empty looms.
Minister after minister went to view the new clothes and all came back exhorting the beauty of the cloth on the looms even though none of them could see a thing.
Finally a grand procession was planned for the Emperor to display his new finery. The Emperor went to view his clothes and was shocked to see absolutely nothing, but he pretended to admire the fabulous cloth, inspect the clothes with awe, and, after disrobing, go through the motions of carefully putting on a suit of the new garments.
Under a royal canopy the Emperor appeared to the admiring throng of his people - - all of whom cheered and clapped because they all knew the rogue weavers' tale and did not want to be seen as less than pure of heart.
But, the bubble burst when an innocent child loudly exclaimed, for the whole kingdom to hear, that the Emperor had nothing on at all. He had no clothes. That tale seems to me very like the way this nation was led to war.
We were told that we were threatened by weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but they have not been seen.
We were told that the throngs of Iraqi's would welcome our troops with flowers, but no throngs or flowers appeared.
We were led to believe that Saddam Hussein was connected to the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, but no evidence has ever been produced.
We were told in 16 words that Saddam Hussein tried to buy "yellow cake" from Africa for production of nuclear weapons, but the story has turned into empty air.
We were frightened with visions of mushroom clouds, but they turned out to be only vapors of the mind.
We were told that major combat was over but 101 [as of October 17] Americans have died in combat since that proclamation from the deck of an aircraft carrier by our very own Emperor in his new clothes.
Our emperor says that we are not occupiers, yet we show no inclination to relinquish the country of Iraq to its people.
Those who have dared to expose the nakedness of the Administration's policies in Iraq have been subjected to scorn. Those who have noticed the elephant in the room -- that is, the fact that this war was based on falsehoods - have had our patriotism questioned. Those who have spoken aloud the thought shared by hundreds of thousands of military families across this country, that our troops should return quickly and safely from the dangers half a world away, have been accused of cowardice. We have then seen the untruths, the dissembling, the fabrication, the misleading inferences surrounding this rush to war in Iraq wrapped quickly in the flag.
The right to ask questions, debate, and dissent is under attack. The drums of war are beaten ever louder in an attempt to drown out those who speak of our predicament in stark terms.
Even in the Senate, our history and tradition of being the world's greatest deliberative body is being snubbed. This huge spending bill has been rushed through this chamber in just one month. There were just three open hearings by the Senate Appropriations Committee on $87 billion, without a single outside witness called to challenge the Administration's line.
Ambassador Bremer went so far as to refuse to return to the appropriations Committee to answer additional questions because, and I quote: "I don't have time. I'm completely booked, and I have to get back to Baghdad to my duties."
Despite this callous stiff-arm of the Senate and its duties to ask questions in order to represent the American people, few dared to voice their opposition to rushing this bill through these halls of Congress. Perhaps they were intimidated by the false claims that our troops are in immediate need of more funds.
But the time has come for the sheep-like political correctness which has cowed members of this Senate to come to an end.
the Emperor has no clothes. This entire adventure in Iraq has
been based on propaganda
billion dollars is too much to pay for the continuation of a
war based on falsehoods.
Mr. President, taking the nation to war based on misleading rhetoric and hyped intelligence is a travesty and a tragedy. It is the most cynical of all cynical acts. It is dangerous to manipulate the truth. It is dangerous because once having lied, it is difficult to ever be believed again. Having misled the American people and stampeded them to war, this Administration must now attempt to sustain a policy predicated on falsehoods. The President asks for billions from those same citizens who know that they were misled about the need to go to war. We misinformed and insulted our friends and allies and now this Administration is having more than a little trouble getting help from the international community. It is perilous to mislead.
The single-minded obsession of this Administration to now make sense of the chaos in Iraq, and the continuing propaganda which emanates from the White House painting Iraq as the geographical center of terrorism is distracting our attention from Afghanistan and the 60 other countries in the world where terrorists hide. It is sapping resources which could be used to make us safer from terrorists on our own shores. The body armor for our own citizens still has many, many chinks. Have we forgotten that the most horrific terror attacks in history occurred right here at home!! Yet, this Administration turns back money for homeland security, while the President pours billions into security for Iraq. I am powerless to understand or explain such a policy.
I have tried mightily to improve this bill. I twice tried to separate the reconstruction money in this bill, so that those dollars could be considered separately from the military spending. I offered an amendment to force the Administration to craft a plan to get other nations to assist the troops and formulate a plan to get the U.N. in, and the U.S. out, of Iraq. Twice I tried to rid the bill of expansive, flexible authorities that turn this $87 billion into a blank check. The American people should understand that we provide more foreign aid for Iraq in this bill, $20.3 billion, than we provide for the rest of the entire world! I attempted to remove from this bill billions in wasteful programs and divert those funds to better use. But, at every turn, my efforts were thwarted by the vapid argument that we must all support the requests of the Commander in Chief.
I cannot stand by and continue to watch our grandchildren become increasingly burdened by the billions that fly out of the Treasury for a war and a policy based largely on propaganda and prevarication. We are borrowing $87 billion to finance this adventure in Iraq. The President is asking this Senate to pay for this war with increased debt, a debt that will have to be paid by our children and by those same troops that are currently fighting this war. I cannot support outlandish tax cuts that plunge our country into potentially disastrous debt while our troops are fighting and dying in a war that the White House chose to begin.
I cannot support the continuation of a policy that unwisely ties down 150,000 American troops for the foreseeable future, with no end in sight.
I cannot support a President who refuses to authorize the reasonable change in course that would bring traditional allies to our side in Iraq.
I cannot support the politics of zeal and "might makes right" that created the new American arrogance and unilateralism which passes for foreign policy in this Administration.
I cannot support this foolish manifestation of the dangerous and destabilizing doctrine of preemption that changes the image of America into that of a reckless bully.
Mr. President, the emperor has no clothes. And our former allies around the world were the first to loudly observe it.
I shall vote against this bill because I cannot support a policy based on prevarication. I cannot support doling out 87 billion of our hard-earned tax dollars when I have so many doubts about the wisdom of its use.
Mr. President, I began my remarks with a fairy tale. I shall close my remarks with a horror story, in the form of a quote from the book Nuremberg Diaries, written by G.M. Gilbert, in which the author interviews Hermann Goering:
(Gilbert) : "We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.
(Goering): ". . . But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."
(Gilbert) : "There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."
(Goering): "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
--From Senate Floor Remarks by U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd on Final Passage of Iraq Supplemental Appropriations Bill, Friday 17 October 2003
-------© 2003 truthout.org
"Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception."
(Satan:) "Monarchies, aristocracies, and religions are all based upon that large defect in your race -- the individual's distrust of his neighbor, and his desire, for safety's or comfort's sake, to stand well in his neighbor's eye. These institutions will always remain, and always flourish, and always oppress you, affront you, and degrade you, because you will always be and remain slaves of minorities. / / There was never a country where the majority of the people were in their secret hearts loyal to any of these institutions."
A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen,
and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them,
and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity.
Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform,
and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers -- as earlier -- but do not dare to say so And now the whole nation -- pulpit and all -- will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open.
This just in: More irrefutable proof that Dubya's is the slimiest administration in 100 years.
Like you even needed more proof.
Like you even need to read about the incredible and ever-increasing list of lies and misinformation and deeply, colon-clenchingly humiliating wrongness shot forth from the mouth of the GOP machine, a truly jaw-dropping assortment of falsehoods and fabrications about war, and war, and war. Oh, and the economy. And the environment. And war.
Look. There is no doubt left. Zero. None. Even many high-ranking Republicans are deeply worried over the increasingly embittered national timbre regarding BushCo's lies, as reflected in his ever-slipping ratings and declining reelectability quotient and his smug little smirky emptiness.
Do you need to be reminded? Do you need to see it again?
Very good, then. Let us recap: No WMDs. Biggest joke on the American public in the past 50 years. Saddam doesn't have 'em, and probably never did. Over 1,400 of BushCo's own investigators and specialists and scientists -- affectionately known as the Iraq Survey Group -- canvassing postwar Iraq for six months, not to mention the teams of original U.N. investigators, and finding not a trace of anything resembling huge stockpiles of massive scary weaponry.
Which is to say, no nukes. No biotoxins. No big cannons full of scary Korans and rusty bullets and old gum. Nothing at all resembling what Condi Rice and Cheney and Rummy and Wolfowitz, et al., said were absolutely positively no question going to be found any day now because after all that's why we went to war. Except that it wasn't. And they knew it.
To paraphrase The Washington Post: Among the judgments of the above-mentioned Iraq Survey Group, as overseen by David Kay, who reports directly to CIA Director George Tenet, are these: Iraq's nuclear-weapons scientists did no significant arms-related work after 1991. Also, all those facilities with suspicious new construction (remember Colin "Emasculated" Powell's bogus satellite photos?) proved benign, and of no military use whatsoever.
This is not speculation. This is not liberal wishful thinking. These are facts. And BushCo knew them. And more.
Translation: Bush's urgent call back in March to bomb the living crap out of pissant Iraq because Saddam had irrefutably cranked up his nuke arsenal and might possibly bomb New York at any minute not only completely bogus and impossible, it was shockingly dangerous, and unprecedented, and even borderline treasonous.
Remember how Saddam ostensibly loved al Qaeda? Remember how Uncle Dick helped drill that terrorism connection into the cultural consciousness, repeatedly, across all media for months on end just before the war, thus inducing upward of 50 percent of the disturbingly gullible U.S. population to believe that Saddam actually had a hand in 9/11? When he didn't? When there was no connection whatsoever? Remember that?
Ah, yes. It turns out that all intelligence and every piece of evidence points exactly the opposite way. As BushCo was well informed, Saddam might only make contact with al Qaeda -- his sworn enemies -- if his back was against the wall, and probably not even then.
More? Sure. How about Afghanistan? Remember that? Osama at large. Never captured. Taliban resurfacing. No aid for the country and no rebuilding (except for a shiny new oil pipeline) and complete devastation and neglect.
And even Rummy, in his private and damning memo, said as much, just last week, writing that there is absolutely no way to tell whether we are making any progress in the war on terror, and that "victory" would be "a long, hard slog," and that it was impossible to say whether we are killing known terrorists any faster than the increasingly furious and inspired madrassas, or Islamic fundamentalist schools, can manufacture them.
"This is a man that we know has had connections with al Qaeda. This is a man who, in my judgment, would like to use al Qaeda as a forward army." - President Bush, Oct. 14, 2002
"Yes, there is a linkage between al Qaeda and Iraq." - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Sept. 26, 2002
"There have been contacts between senior Iraqi officials and members of al Qaeda going back for actually quite a long time." - National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, Sept. 25, 2002
Isn't that cute? Not a single one of those statements was true. And not a single one of those people is being accused of treason or malfeasance or of being a soulless anti-American warmongering drone, despite how their words were dripping with lies when they exited their mouths.
Look. Bush told Americans we were going to enter into this savage and bloody war no one really wanted because Iraq posed an immediate and imminent threat to the security of the U.S. and its citizens. He gutted the economy for it. He destroyed long-standing relationships with countless international allies for it. He made America into this rogue superpower brat, disrespected and untrustable and appalling, for it. And it was never true.
How about this? More soldiers have died since BushCo declared the war essentially over six months ago than during the war itself. And guerrilla attacks on U.S. forces have more than doubled over recent months to more than 25 per day, with fresh American causalities coming in nonstop.
No matter, says the GOP. All part of the clumsy "rebuilding" process, they say. By the way, that $87 billion BushCo just begged for to keep the Iraq war machine clunking along? That's more than the fiscal debt of all the gutted U.S. states combined. Iraq is, by every account, a devastating U.S. money pit.
Might it be worth mentioning here that comprehensive new nonpartisan investigation that reveals how at least 15,000 Iraqis, including a minimum of 4,000 civilians, were slaughtered by U.S. forces in the first days of the invasion? Or that some estimates of total Iraqi civilian deaths go as high as nearly 10,000?* Do those people matter? All those women and children and poor families? Nah. Screw 'em.
*- (This figure has since been amended to 100,000. That's right---100,000 lives for George's Folly. That's 33 times the number of innocents killed in the 911 attacks. - MOW Ed.)
And you know why they don't matter, according to the GOP? Because we got rid of a pesky evil pip-squeak tyrant, that's why. One who was zero threat to the U.S., and not much of a threat to neighboring countries, and had no 9/11 connection, but who we know killed lots of his own people 20 years ago, with America's full and complicit assistance, including the biotoxins we sold to him.
And how he's gone. Yay! Mission accomplished! Except, of course, he's not. Still alive, apparently. But he's hiding somewhere! And he's probably really furious that he had to shave his mustache, too! Ha! That oughta show him! That's $300 billion and hundreds of dead U.S. soldiers well spent, baby! God bless America.
This needs to be said. This needs to be repeated, over and over again, because apparently it is still not clear and apparently Republican apologists love to trot it out as some sort of justification, some sort of hollow and childish accusation, signifying nothing.
Yes, Bill Clinton lied, too. He lied about stupid adulterous sex. And the GOP savaged him like rabid feral swine attacking a rutabaga. Had him impeached over it. Loathe him still, and his wife, too, with unprecedented level of hatred and bile and vicious litigious action never before seen in this nation.
No such fate for BushCo. Shockingly, the GOP isn't the slightest bit upset about this pro-corporate, oil-drunk administration's deadly string of lies. Shall we wonder why? Or is it just too poisonous and sad to consider for very long, lest the intellect curdle and the soul recoil?
OK, I'll spell it out: George W. Bush and his entire senior administration lied, and continue to lie, flagrantly, openly, knowingly, with full intent, about the need to drive this nation into a brutal and unwinnable and fiscally debilitating war, one that protects no one and inhibits no terrorism and defends nothing but BushCo's own petrochemical cronies and political stratagems.
This much is obvious. This much is painfully, crushingly sad. And this much we must purge like so much clotted gunk from the collective social artery one year from now. Otherwise, we should just turn in our stained and bloody Superpower badge, and resign ourselves to our fate.
/ 100 Facts and 1 Opinion The Non-Arguable Case Against the Bush Administration A MUST READ CLICK HERE ____________________________________________________________________________________
Bush Is at War with Americanism
By David Michael Green
The Albany Times Union (NY)
Saturday 28 January 2006
Forget the war on terrorism. President Bush is engaged in a full-blown war on Americanism.
Ridiculous? Unthinkable? The idea that an American president could epitomize anti-Americanism is certainly counterintuitive. But it's a lot less shocking if we consider just what defines this country's core values.
And if that list includes such essentials as freedom, responsibility, justice, humanity, respect and fairness - and doesn't it? - if that's what it means to be American, then George Bush is indeed at war with Americanism.
Each new revelation forces patriotic Americans to reconsider how much of ourselves - our liberties, our reputation, our dignity - have now been sacrificed on the altar of the Bush presidency. Each week brings fresh outrages. Torture, wiretaps, planted news stories, secret prisons, one unmasked war justification after another. This country faces some very real threats, but must we give up everything that makes America, well, America in order to live safely within our borders?
As it turns out, that's a false choice anyhow, since even our security has been diminished by George Bush. The 9/11 commission has flunked him for his preparations against another attack. Meanwhile, he admits a breathtaking disinterest in Osama bin Laden, saying "I am truly not that concerned about him" and "I don't really think about him very much."
Bush he has been similarly unconcerned about North Korean nuclear proliferation on his watch, Hurricane Katrina, and the still unsolved anthrax case. Add these to his Iraq obsession, which has severely diminished our military, and American security has lessened.
this, we've given up two centuries worth of proud honor
For this, George Bush has traded away so much of what makes this country great that his presidency can only be described as a war on Americanism.
· Once, America stood as a proud beacon for human rights. Now we are known for the horrors of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, extraordinary rendition and torture.
· Once, we stood foursquare for the rule of law. Now we demolish inconvenient agreements we once promoted - the Geneva, nuclear nonproliferation and ABM treaties, the International Criminal Court - and thereby encourage others to follow suit.
· Once, America's word was good. Today - after deceits ranging from WMD, to promised but withdrawn U.N. votes, to shameful lies about former football star Pat Tillman's death in Afghanistan - we are distrusted.
· Once, America stood tall against colonialism. Today, with invasion excuses falling like dominoes, most of the world sees us as just another old-fashioned imperialist predator.
· Once, we stood for due process of law. Now our President creates his own prisons and courts and denies the accused long sacred rights - to habeas corpus, an attorney, a speedy trial judged by peers, knowledge of the crime charged, and more.
· Once, we were a model for civil liberties. Now, Mr. Bush authorizes himself to conduct illegal wiretaps on Americans while his government monitors everyone from vegans to Quakers, then snoops in libraries to see what we're reading.
· Once, we stood for press freedom. Now our tax dollars pay to plant stories and buy off journalists, here and abroad, while our President plots to blow up al Jazeera, all in the name of bringing freedom to the Mideast.
a good neighbor. Today,
our 5 percent of the world population produces 25 percent
of global warming emissions, while the President scuttles
the Kyoto Protocol.
For all these reasons and others, world opinion of the United States has sunk precipitously - as well it should, for this is not the America our Founders had in mind.
And so we must ask, just what will be left of Americanism after George Bush is through with America? And, if the goal is not only preserving our lives, but also our way of life, just who is the true enemy of America and Americanism?
Surely al-Qaida is. Too bad, therefore, that the President doesn't think very much anymore about the folks who brutally attacked us on 9/11. Surely Saddam Hussein - who never attacked the United States and never threatened to do so - was no such enemy, however brutal a dictator he certainly was.
But what of
Mr. Bush himself? However counterintuitive, it is hard to reach
but one conclusion about a President who has bankrupted America
morally, fiscally, and militarily, who has alienated the
world and deeply divided his own country, and who has
trampled roughshod over our most sacred traditions and
liberties, as if he were some sort of self-anointed king.
David Michael Green teaches at Hofstra University. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
By PAUL KRUGMAN Published: May 16, 2005
Is there any point, now that November's election is behind us, in revisiting the history of the Iraq war? Yes: any path out of the quagmire will be blocked by people who call their opponents weak on national security, and portray themselves as tough guys who will keep America safe. So it's important to understand how the tough guys made America weak.
There has been notably little U.S. coverage of The Downing Street Memo actually the minutes of a British prime minister's meeting on July 23, 2002, during which officials reported on talks with the Bush administration about Iraq. But the memo, which was leaked to The Times of London during the British election campaign, confirms what apologists for the war have always denied: the Bush administration cooked up a case for a war it wanted.
Here's a sample: "Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and W.M.D. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
(You can read the whole thing at www.downingstreetmemo.com).
Why did the administration want to invade Iraq, when, as the memo noted, "the case was thin" and Saddam's "W.M.D. capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran"? Iraq was perceived as a soft target; a quick victory there, its domestic political advantages aside, could serve as a demonstration of American military might, one that would shock and awe the world.
But the Iraq war has, instead, demonstrated the limits of American power, and emboldened our potential enemies. Why should Kim Jong Il fear us, when we can't even secure the road from Baghdad to the airport?
At this point, the echoes of Vietnam are unmistakable. Reports from the recent offensive near the Syrian border sound just like those from a 1960's search-and-destroy mission, body count and all. Stories filed by reporters actually with the troops suggest that the insurgents, forewarned, mostly melted away, accepting battle only where and when they chose.
Meanwhile, America's strategic position is steadily deteriorating.
Next year, reports Jane's Defense Industry, the United States will spend as much on defense as the rest of the world combined. Yet the Pentagon now admits that our military is having severe trouble attracting recruits, and would have difficulty dealing with potential foes - those that, unlike Saddam's Iraq, might pose a real threat.
In other words, the people who got us into Iraq have done exactly what they falsely accused Bill Clinton of doing: they have stripped America of its capacity to respond to real threats.
So what's the plan?
The people who sold us this war continue to insist that success is just around the corner, and that things would be fine if the media would just stop reporting bad news. But the administration has declared victory in Iraq at least four times. January's election, it seems, was yet another turning point that wasn't.
Yet it's very hard to discuss getting out. Even most of those who vehemently opposed the war say that we have to stay on in Iraq now that we're there.
In effect, America has been taken hostage. Nobody wants to take responsibility for the terrible scenes that will surely unfold if we leave (even though terrible scenes are unfolding while we're there). Nobody wants to tell the grieving parents of American soldiers that their children died in vain. And nobody wants to be accused, by an administration always ready to impugn other people's patriotism, of stabbing the troops in the back.
But the American military isn't just bogged down in Iraq; it's deteriorating under the strain. We may already be in real danger: what threats, exactly, can we make against the North Koreans? That John Bolton will yell at them? And every year that the war goes on, our military gets weaker.
So we need to get beyond the clichés - please, no more "pottery barn principles" or "staying the course." I'm not advocating an immediate pullout, but we have to tell the Iraqi government that our stay is time-limited, and that it has to find a way to take care of itself. The point is that something has to give. We either need a much bigger army - which means a draft - or we need to find a way out of Iraq.
"Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." / - Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
vzsdg "The clock is ticking, and it's ticking towards war. And it's going to be a real war. It's going to be a war that will result in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. It's a war that is going to devastate Iraq. It's a war that's going to destroy the credibility of the United States of America."
Families of Soldiers Not Amused By Bush's Comedy Routine By Kenneth R. Bazinet New York Daily News Thursday 25 March 2004 r
WASHINGTON - (KRT) - President Bush got some laughs at a Washington dinner when he spoofed the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but some family members of dead G.I.s said Thursday there was nothing funny about it.
"Those weapons of mass destruction have to be here somewhere," Bush joshed as he narrated a slide show of him looking behind furniture, as if hunting for the weapons of mass destruction.
"Nope, no weapons over there. Maybe under here," Bush joked Wednesday night at the annual dinner of Washington radio and TV correspondents, an event where Presidents typically poke fun at the press and themselves.
George Medina, 43, of Orange County, who lost a son in Iraq, heard about Bush's remarks when his outraged daughter, an Army sergeant, called him Thursday. "She was very upset," Medina said.
"This is disgraceful," Medina continued. "He doesn't think of all the families that are suffering. It's unbelievable, how this guy tries to run the country."
His 22-year-old son, Spec. Irving Medina, died Nov. 14 in Baghdad when an explosive device struck his convoy.
Charles Celestin, 28, of Coral Springs, Fla., and Irving Medina's brother-in-law, blasted the commander in chief's remarks.
"To be poking fun; it's just a travesty to the soldiers who lost their lives. I think it's disrespectful," he said.
The camp of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry last night fired off a statement from Iraq war veteran Brad Owens, who said he was "insulted" by the President's comments.
"No weapons of mass destruction have been found and that is no joke - this is for real. This cheapens the sacrifice that American soldiers and their families are dealing with every single day," said Owens, who served in the Army Reserve.
The dinner performance put the President on the defensive for the second time this week. The Bush campaign was already dealing with fallout from testimony by former presidential aide Richard Clarke, who has claimed in a new book that Bush and his cabinet were looking for reasons to attack Iraq within hours of the 9/11 terror attack despite being told Saddam Hussein was not linked to it.
The President's dinner act also bombed with Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan), who called it "out of line and in poor taste."
"It's disgusting that during his little performance on stage, the President seemed to forget that people are dying in Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction he lied about," Nadler said.
Asked whether the comment was appropriate, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he was not at the dinner and so could not comment.
White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan noted that Bush ended his remarks at the dinner with a very serious tribute to U.S. forces serving in Iraq, but "was poking fun at himself" with the comments about weapons of mass destruction.
"Anyone who has followed the President's views on this knows how seriously he takes this issue," Buchan said.\?
"It's unbelievable, how this guy tries to run the country." ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / (2003) He Just Doesn't Get it October 22nd, 2004 "My brother DIED for weapons of mass destruction."
See Bush's pathological sense of "humor" for yourself (video). See if you think he was just "poking fun at himself". One of the most disgusting Bush Moments so, far (and that's saying a lot) .
Brooke Campbell's family have felt first-hand the tragic results of George Bush's foreign policy. Win Back Respect produced this ad (video) to showcase Brooke's moving, unscripted remarks and contrast them with the President's flippant attitude and ongoing deception. An open letter with more details of Brooke's story is reproduced here. Pollsters Greenberg, Quinlan & Rosner tested the ad and found that after viewing it just once, there was an almost unprecedented 8 point gross shift away from Bush in voting intentions among the 750-person test sample. It also badly eroded support for Bush across a wide range of measures including confidence in his Iraq policy and key measures of character, including honesty and sharing the concerns of ordinary people.
Sergeant Ryan M. Campbell and his mother Ryan was Iraq serviceman death Number 832.
The Writing on the Latrine Walls By William Rivers Pitt t r u t h o u t | Perspective Monday 09 August 2004
I sat with a photographer from Reuters who had just returned from a six-month tour of Iraq. He had been tagging along with the Kellogg Brown & Root operation, subsidiary of Halliburton, and saw everything there was to see. He went from new military base to new military base, from the oil work in the north and back to the south, observing how busy were the contactors for Halliburton.
"I feel like I compromised every one of my principles by even being over there," he told me after the story had been spun out a bit. His eyes, which had seen too many things through the lens of his camera, were haunted.
It was two years ago that talk about invading Iraq began to circulate. Reasons for the invasion were bandied about - they had weapons of mass destruction, they had a hand in September 11, they will welcome us as liberators - but it wasn't until the Project for the New American Century got dragged into the discussion that an understanding of the true motives behind all this became apparent.
The Project for the New American Century, or PNAC for short, is just another right-wing think tank, really. One cannot swing one's dead cat by the tail in Washington D.C. without smacking some prehensile gnome, pained by the sunlight, scuttling back to its right-wing think tank cubicle. These organizations are all over the place. What makes PNAC different from all the others?
The membership roll call, for one thing:
· Dick Cheney, Vice
President of the United States, former CEO of Halliburton;
· Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense;
· Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense;
· Elliot Abrams, National Security Council;
· John Bolton, Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security;
· I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's top National Security assistant;
Quite a roster.
These people didn't enjoy those fancy titles in 2000, when the PNAC manifesto 'Rebuilding America's Defenses' (Adobe document) was first published. Before 2000, they were just a bunch of power players who had been shoved out of the government in 1993. In the time that passed between Clinton and those hanging chads, these people got together in PNAC and laid out a blueprint. 'Rebuilding America's Defenses' was the ultimate result, and it is a doozy of a document. 2000 became 2001, and the PNAC boys - Cheney and Rumsfeld specifically - suddenly had the fancy titles and a chance to swing some weight.
'Rebuilding America's Defenses' became the roadmap for foreign policy decisions made in the White House and the Pentagon; PNAC had the Vice President's office in one building, and the Defense Secretary's office in the other. Attacking Iraq was central to that roadmap from the beginning. When former Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke accused the Bush administration of focusing on Iraq to the detriment of addressing legitimate threats, he was essentially denouncing them for using the attacks of September 11 as an excuse to execute the PNAC blueprint.
Iraq, you see, has been on the PNAC menu for almost ten years.
The goals codified in 'Rebuilding America's Defenses,' the manifesto, can be boiled down to a few sentences: The invasion and occupation of Iraq, for reasons that had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein. The building of several permanent military bases in Iraq, the purpose of which are to telegraph force throughout the region. The takeover by Western petroleum corporations of Iraq's nationalized oil industry. The ultimate destabilization and overthrow of a variety of regimes in the Middle East, friend and foe alike, by military or economic means, or both.
"Indeed," it is written on page 14 of 'Rebuilding America's Defenses,' "the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."
Two years after the talk began, the invasion is completed. There are no weapons of mass destruction, there is no connection to September 11, and the Iraqi people have in no way welcomed us as liberators. The cosmetic rationales for the attack have fallen by the wayside, and all that remains are the PNAC goals, some of which have been achieved in spectacularly profitable fashion.
The stock in trade of Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root is the construction of permanent military bases. The Reuters reporter I spoke to had been to several KBR-built permanent American military bases in his six month tour of Iraq. "That's where the oil industry money is going," he told me. "Billions of dollars. Not to infrastructure, not to rebuilding the country, and not to helping the Iraqi people. It's going to KBR, to build those bases for the military."
According to the Center for Public Integrity, Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root has made $11,475,541,371 in Iraq as of July 1. So that's one PNAC goal checked off the list.
As for the corporate takeover of the Iraqi oil industry, that has become the prime mission of the American soldiers engaged there. Kellogg Brown & Root also does a tidy business in the oil-infrastructure repair market. "The troops aren't hunting terrorists or building a country," said the Reuters photographer. "All they do is guard the convoys running north and south. The convoys north are carrying supplies and empty tankers for the oil fields around Mosul and Tikrit. The convoys south bring back what they pull out of the ground up there. That's where all these kids are getting killed. They get hit with IEDs while guarding these convoys, and all hell breaks loose."
That last goal, about overthrowing other regimes in the region, hasn't been as easy to follow through on as the PNAC boys might have hoped. The Iraqi people are fighting back, and the small-by-comparison force Rumsfeld said would be enough to do the job can't seem to pacify the country. Perhaps that is because too many troops are dedicated to guarding the oil supply lines. More likely, however, it is because of the sincere belief among the Iraqi people that they have been conquered - not 'liberated' but conquered - and their conquerors don't give a tinker's damn whether they live or die.
"The Americans over there have all these terms for people who aren't Americans," the Reuters photographer said. "The Iraqi people are called LPs, or 'Local Personnel.' They get killed all the time, but it's like, 'Some LPs got killed,' so it isn't like real people died. Iraqi kids run along the convoys, hoping a soldier will throw them some food or water, and sometimes they get crushed by the trucks. Nothing stops, those are the orders, so some LPs get killed and the convoy keeps rolling. The labels make it easier for them to die. The people are depersonalized. No one cares."
"Everyone is an 'insurgent' over there," the photographer told me. "That's another label with no meaning. Everyone is against the Americans. There is a $250,000 bounty on the head of every Westerner over there, mine too, while I was there. The Americans working the oil industry over there are the dumbest, most racist jackasses I've ever seen in my life. That's the American face on this thing, and the Iraqi people see it."
930 American soldiers have died to achieve goals the PNAC boys gamed out before they ever came in with this Bush administration. Well over 10,000 Iraqi civilians have likewise died. Over $200 billion has been spent to do this. Fighting today rages across several sections of Iraq, and the puppet 'leaders' installed by U.S. forces are about to drive a final stake into the heart of the liberation rhetoric by declaring nationwide martial law.
Two enemies of the United States - the nation of Iran and Osama bin Laden - are thrilled with the outcome to date. Saddam Hussein was an enemy to both Iran and bin Laden, and he has been removed. The destabilization and innocent bloodshed bolsters Iran's standing against the U.S., and sends freshly motivated martyrs into the arms of Osama.
Yes, the Halliburton contracting in Iraq for military bases and petroleum production is a cash cow for that company. The bases are being built. The oil industry has been privatized. The resulting chaos of the PNAC blueprint, however, has left the entire theater of the war in complete chaos. The Bush administration has insisted all along that this invasion was central to their 'War on Terror.' It has, in truth, become a failed experiment in global corporate hegemony writ large, foisted upon us by some men named Cheney and Rumsfeld who thought it would all work out as they had planned it in 2000.
It hasn't, except for the profiteering. For all their white papers, for all their carefully-laid plans, for all the power and fancy titles these erstwhile think-tankers managed to gather unto themselves, their works are now blood-crusted dust. They are clearly not as smart as they thought they were. The overall 'War on Terror' itself has plenty of examples of these boys not being too swift on the uptake. Iraq is only the largest, and costliest, example.
The case of Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan is another perfect example. Khan was a mole, deep undercover within the ranks of al Qaeda, who was sending vital data on the terror organization from Pakistan to British and American intelligence. But officials with the Bush administration, desperate to show the American people they were making headway in the terror war, barfed up Khan's name to the press while bragging about recent arrests. Khan's position as a mole within al Qaeda was summarily annihilated. The guy we had inside was blown.
Pretty smart, yes? "The whole thing smacks of either incompetence or worse," said Tim Ripley, a security expert who writes for Jane's Defense publications, in a Reuters article on the blown agent. "You have to ask: what are they doing compromising a deep mole within al Qaeda, when it's so difficult to get these guys in there in the first place? It goes against all the rules of counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, running agents and so forth. It's not exactly cloak and dagger undercover work if it's on the front pages every time there's a development, is it?"
This would be the second agent we know of who has been blown by the arrogant stupidity of the Bush administration. The other, of course, was Valerie Plame. Plame was a 'Non-Official Cover' agent, or NOC, for the CIA. NOC designates the deepest cover an agent can have. Plame's deep-cover assignment was to run a network dedicated to tracking any person, nation or group that might give weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. Because her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had the temerity to accuse the Bush administration of lying in the public prints, the administration blew Plame's cover as a warning to Wilson and any other whistleblowers who might have thought of coming forward.
The Bush administration blew Khan's cover because they wanted to get a soundbite out for the election campaign. They blew Plame out of sheer spite, and out of desperation. The mole we had inside al Qaeda, and an agent we had tracking the movement of weapons of mass destruction, are both finished now because the PNAC boys are watching all their plans go awry, and they don't quite know what to do about it. That makes them stupid and exceedingly dangerous.
The soldiers over there are hip to the jive at this point. Michael Hoffman, a Marine corporal in artillery, was part of the original March invasion. Before Hoffman's unit shipped out, his battery first sergeant addressed all the enlisted men. "Don't think you're going to be heroes," said Hoffman's sergeant. "You're not going over there because of weapons of mass destruction. You're not going there to get rid of Saddam Hussein, or to make Iraq safe for democracy. You're going there for one reason and one reason alone: Oil."
The Reuters photographer I spoke to couldn't get any soldiers to talk about how they felt when surrounded by their fellow soldiers. "They don't talk in the ranks, or just about anywhere on base," he said. "You have to go out to the latrine area, to the Port-O-Potties. For some reason, they talk there. You can read how they really feel - all the anti-Bush stuff, all the wanting to go home - in the writing on the shithouse walls."
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and international bestseller of two books - 'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You To Know' and 'The Greatest Sedition is Silence.'
"Bush lied to goad Americans to a climax of fear and fury so as to launch a baseless, shameful assault for which we will answer to our consciences, our children, and the world, for as long as our country exists." "God help us as a country if we allow this cancer of mendacity to continue to consume us."
Tuesday 25 November 2003
President Bush, as the world and many Americans have long known, is a fraud and a liar. Sadly, that's no big surprise. American presidents have a long tradition of mendacity that has ranged from the quirky and trivial to the unpardonable and even treasonous.
Some Presidential lies have been simply personally disgraceful and ridiculous, as was Clinton's brazen denial of sex at the office; others have been of such monstrous gravity that they have shaken the presidency and jeopardized the nation.
Nixon's lies in the Watergate crime were of that profoundly damaging kind. He authorized a burglary of political opponents' offices, his thugs were caught, and he used the full power of his Presidency to attempt to hide his guilt. These were the brazen tactics of a power-addled dictator. Legally thwarted and exposed, he resigned to avoid certain impeachment.
The Reagan-Bush Iran/Contra crime was comparable. Reagan knowingly broke the law in arming Contra mercenaries in Nicaragua and was exposed by Ollie North's blundering attempt at bribing hostile Iran. Reagan stonewalled and let underlings take the fall, and a cowardly, corrupt Congress preferred to let our constitution sustain a massive insult rather than to punish a simple-minded, dangerous, and criminal President.
We Americans are now confronted with the monstrous lies of George W. Bush and we must decide what has to be done about them. It is not as if there had been only one. The Bush presidency has been built and sustained on a basis of outrageous falsehoods and cynical deceptions in every area of public policy.
He lied to the nation about his fiscally insane Tax Cuts For Tycoons. Struggling working families get chump change as the top 1% of the super-wealthy reaps huge windfalls.
He lied in affecting support for working people when his labor policy is calculated to emasculate unions and to abuse, exploit and impoverish the working middle class.
He lied in claiming energy independence must come from raping our last wild lands for gas and oil, spurning solid viable technologies that could end fossil fuel addiction now.
He lied about supporting our soldiers, crafting an $87 billion boondoggle for his giant corporate backers to "rebuild" the Iraq he ordered our troops to fight and die to destroy.
He lied about fires in his Stealthy Forest Act, exploiting public fear to promote high-grading of our last old growth rather than protecting the urban-wildland interface.
He lied about supporting fairness and equity on the Federal courts while he has fought fiercely to pack them with ignorant, blatant racists and rabid, sexist zealots.
He lied about domestic security to pass the egregious Patriot Act that has blasted our Bill of Rights, eroded civil freedoms, invaded our privacy, and made us all potential suspects.
So many lies... but the lie that was far the most cynical, most despicable, most criminal of all, is the lie that caused America to break two hundred years of honorable tradition to invade, without provocation or cause, a small, weak, devastated and tyrannized country.
Bush told us Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction and was threatening to attack America. This was the paramount, indeed, the single solid justification for his war.
While the world implored him to give U.N. inspectors time to find the WMDs he swore were there, Bush refused on the grounds that an attack by Saddam on America was not only likely, but imminent. He implied, and led Americans to believe, that Saddam and Osama bin Laden were allies when they were, and always had been, bitter enemies.
After the bludgeoning of an already prostrate Iraq, the world waited for evidence, for the discovery that was to have justified this brutal blitzkrieg. It never came. And it never will, because there were no WMDs and never had been. Bush lied to goad Americans to a climax of fear and fury so as to launch a baseless, shameful assault for which we will answer to our consciences, our children, and the world, for as long as our country exists.
The Constitution cites "high crimes and misdemeanors" against the state as grounds for impeachment. Could there be any higher crime against the American people than to have knowingly deceived us in order to stampede us into an act of barbarism that has betrayed our finest ideals, our highest ethical standards, our national honor, and our whole history?
Now, as the web of lies that created the Iraq disaster collapses in the light of bitter, incontrovertible truth, and the unending cortege of our dead and wounded young people continues to come home to hospitals and graveyards, we are asked to forget Bush's lies. We are told by cynics and moral defectives that his monstrous lie about WMDs didn't matter. We are told that eliminating its dictator was reason enough to bludgeon Iraq and to kill, maim and brutalize its stunned and powerless people.
Facing a furiously rising national rebellion and clear evidence that we are justly blamed, hated, and seen as the enemy by the Iraqi people, we are asked to swallow the horror of this deception, to accept what has been inflicted on Iraq and on us, with all its bloody, bankrupting consequences, and to authorize, by our silence, cowardice and quiescence, the continuation of this grisly nightmare, and of our sociopathic appointed figurehead's odious misrule.
I submit that Bush has committed the vilest, most cynically depraved act of betrayal of the American people in the history of the Presidency.
Nothing less than impeachment, with the conviction that must inexorably follow, can begin to address the damage and redress the harm this President and his amoral handlers have inflicted on America.
God help us as a country if we allow this cancer of mendacity to continue to consume us.
------© 2003 truthout.org.
Remember: They Are Liars
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Columnist
Tuesday 08 April 2008
No one is such a liar as the indignant man.
- Friedrich Nietzsche
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleezza Rice, along with a slew of administration underlings and a revolving-door cavalcade of brass hats from the Pentagon, have been making claims regarding Iraq for many years now.
They claimed Iraq was in possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, "enough to kill several million people," according to a page on the White House web site titled Disarm Saddam Hussein.
They claimed Iraq was in possession of 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin.
They claimed Iraq was in possession of 500 tons, which equals 1,000,000 pounds, of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.
They claimed Iraq was in possession of nearly 30,000 munitions capable of delivering these agents.
They claimed Iraq was in possession of several mobile biological weapons labs.
They claimed Iraq was operating an "advanced" nuclear weapons program.
They claimed Iraq had been seeking "significant quantities" of uranium from Africa for use in this "advanced" nuclear weapons program.
They claimed Iraq attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes "suitable for nuclear weapons."
They claimed America needed to invade, overthrow and occupy Iraq in order to remove this menace from our world. "It would take just one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country," went the White House line, "to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known."
"Simply stated," said Dick Cheney in August of 2002, "there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."
"Right now," said George W. Bush in September of 2002, "Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of nuclear weapons."
"We know for a fact," said White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer in January of 2003, "that there are weapons there."
"We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction," said Colin Powell in February of 2003, "is determined to make more."
"We know where they are," said Donald Rumsfeld in March of 2003. "They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad, and east, south, west and north somewhat."
"The Iraqi people understand what this crisis is about," said Paul Wolfowitz in March of 2003. "Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator."
"No one ever said that we knew precisely where all of these agents were," said Condoleezza Rice in June of 2003, "where they were stored."
"I have absolute confidence that there are weapons of mass destruction inside this country," said Gen. Tommy Franks in April of 2003. "Whether we will turn out, at the end of the day, to find them in one of the 2,000 or 3,000 sites we already know about or whether contact with one of these officials who we may come in contact with will tell us, 'Oh, well, there's actually another site,' and we'll find it there, I'm not sure."
"Before the war," said Gen. Michael Hagee in May of 2003, "there's no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical. I expected them to be found. I still expect them to be found."
"Given time," said Gen. Richard Myers in May of 2003, "given the number of prisoners now that we're interrogating, I'm confident that we're going to find weapons of mass destruction."
"Do I think we're going to find something? Yeah, I kind of do," said Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton in May of 2003, "because I think there's a lot of information out there."
Gen. David Petraeus, commander of US forces in Iraq, is about to give testimony before the Senate regarding the current state of affairs in that battle-savaged country. He is a political general, one of many America has seen and heard over the last five years, one who would leap nude from the Capitol dome before telling the real truth about matters in Iraq ... or who would speak using words fed to him by liars, and thus be wrong.
Remember: they lie. They all lie, from the top man down to the bottom. If their lips are moving, a lie is unfolding. If they say water is wet, get into the shower to make sure.
End of file.
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: "War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know" and "The Greatest Sedition Is Silence." His newest book, "House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation," is now available from PoliPointPress.
"Enron was the first storm warning but no one realized how easily accepted that cluster of capers would be by a polity marinated in corruption -- as Ben Franklin predicted, in 1789, as our eventual fate." / "We have a deranged president. We have despotism. We have no due process." / "We are talking about despotism. The USA PATRIOT Act is as despotic as anything Hitler came up with-- --even using much of the same language. The Founding Fathers would have found this to be despotism in spades. And they would have hanged anybody who tried to get this through the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Hanged." / - Excerpts from "Gore Vidal Delivers Chilling Predictions of Despotism", by Arthur Jones, National Catholic Reporter, 8-2-03 / "There comes a time when deceit and defiance must be seen for what they are. At that point, a gathering danger must be directly confronted. ...At that point, we must show that beyond our resolutions is actual resolve. The days of looking the other way while despotic regimes trample human rights, rob their nations' wealth, and then excuse their failings by feeding their people a steady diet of hatred are over." / - Dick Cheney, World Economic Forum January 24, 2004 /
"When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it, always." / - Mahatma Gandhi / "It's hard for free people to comprehend the mix of extremism and hatred that leads terrorists to murder innocent men, women and children. ....Throughout human history there have been those who seek power through fear and mass murder but eventually all of them, every one, has fallen." / - Donald Rumsfeld, Arlington C/emetery, Sunday September 11 / // rhe/wh To those who can hear me I say,"Do not despair". The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people , will return to the people; and so long as men die [now] liberty will never perish." / - Charlie Chaplin, "The Great Dictator" (1940) / _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ /./ / "Only dictators, tyrants and fools believe they can have it all their way. Every dictator, tyrant and fool in history who has tried to have it all his way has failed in spectacular fashion. Often, that failure brings about the destruction of their family, their army, or their entire nation. Yet the lessons of history do not resonate with dictators, tyrants and fools. That, more than anything else, is why they always fail." Dictators, Tyrants and Fools /By William Rivers Pitt t r u t h o u t | Perspective Tuesday 22 March 2005 /
The greatest strength of the Republican majority in Congress and their allies in the White House is their unfailing ability to say and do anything, no matter how hypocritical or brazen or wrong, in order to win. The second greatest strength of the Republican majority in Congress and their allies in the White House is the simple fact that the news media almost never calls them on this, but that is an essay for another time.
We all know by now about the enormous raft of lies that were fed to the American people and the world about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Would you be shocked to know, however, that they are doing it again? Earlier this year, the Bush administration told allies in Asia that North Korea had supplied nuclear materials to Libya. This was a bald-faced lie; North Korea sold nuclear materials to Pakistan, an ally of the United States. Pakistan turned around and sold the stuff to Libya, but the Bush crew decided to fire a salvo of lies and disinformation at North Korea, and US allies in Asia.
The Washington Post reported on Sunday the fallout from these lies. "The Bush administration's approach, intended to isolate North Korea," wrote the Post, "instead left allies increasingly doubtful as they began to learn that the briefings omitted essential details about the transaction, U.S. officials and foreign diplomats said in interviews. North Korea responded to public reports last month about the briefings by withdrawing from talks with its neighbors and the United States."
This is why Condi Rice is touring Asia right now; some outraged allies have to be soothed. No, we didn't really lie to you. It's just that we can't make Pakistan look bad under any circumstances, and we surely can't have people know that our ally was selling nuclear materials to Libya. According to the Post, "The White House declined to offer an official to comment by name about the new details concerning Pakistan. A prepared response attributed to a senior administration official said that the U.S. government 'has provided allies with an accurate account of North Korea's nuclear proliferation activities.'"
Yes, the administration provided an accurate accountexcept for the fact that it was all wrong and designed to cover the backside of a rogue nation ally. These people will say anything. It is their greatest strength.
Take, for another example, the widely promulgated idea that 'Freedom is on the March' in Iraq. Yesterday, according to wire reports, freedom in Iraq looked like this: At least 45 people died in violence in Iraq, including a US soldier. Rebels struck around Iraq, hitting security forces in several parts of the country. In Mosul, a suicide bomber with a fake badge slipped into a building housing the provincial anti-corruption department and detonated himself inside the office of its chief, General Walid Kachmoula, killing him and two of his guards.
Attackers struck again a few hours later, opening fire on the procession bearing Kachmoula's coffin as it made its way to the cemetery, killing two people and wounding 14. Two unidentified bodies, shot in the chest and head, were discovered. In Baquba, gunmen attacked a police station, killing at least four police and wounding two. A truck bomb rammed into the entrance of an Iraqi army barracks, wounding 17 people. In Baghdad, 24 Iraqi rebels were killed and six coalition soldiers wounded in a firefight. In the northern city of Kirkuk, a U.S. soldier was killed and three others wounded when a roadside bomb hit their patrol.
Yet Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told a Fox News interviewer, "It's a wonderful thing to see 25 million Iraqis liberated, to see their economy improve as it has been, to see their political process move toward democracy."
They will say anything. It is their greatest strength.
Take, for a truly nauseating example, the grotesque charade that has unfolded around Terri Schiavo. Schiavo, as most know by now, is the Florida woman who languishes in a vegetative state while religious conservatives use her parents to keep her alive as a means to score political points. Sunday night saw an unprecedented barnstorming of legislation through Congress, pushed by the Republican majority, to keep Schiavo from being removed from the machines that are keeping her alive. The fact that her husband wants the measures to sustain her life ended, and that Florida law clearly gives him the right to make this decision, did not get in the way of a good chunk of political theater.
The myriad ways in which this issue rings the hypocrisy bells are difficult to quantify. The GOP, party of states rights, the sanctity of marriage, family values and religious freedom, placed the federal government into the role of mother, father, husband, wife, doctor and priest in this matter, and never mind the fact that they bulldozed Florida law again.
There is also the matter of the GOP talking points memo floating around out there which specifically states Ms. Schaivo's condition is a perfect wedge with which to remove Florida's Democratic Senator, Bill Nelson. Never mind the fact that the 'Culture of Life' advocates pushing this are also greasing the skids towards more executions of prisoners, or that they support a war that has killed and wounded well over 200,000 people in Iraq.
The next time you find yourself in a debate about Ms. Schiavo with a person who agrees with Bush and the Congressional majority on this, ask them about Sun Hudson. Hudson was born with a genetic disorder and was sustained by machines from the day of his birth. The Texas hospital housing him decided there was no point in sustaining his care, and Hudson was removed from his machines. He died at five months old.
This happened last week.
Five-month-old Sun Hudson was removed from his life-sustaining machines by a Texas law signed by then-Governor George W. Bush in 1999. The law allows patients deemed unsalvageable by the hospital to be removed from ventilators and other medical apparatus, with a ten-day window given to the families of the stricken to find another facility before the plug is pulled.
Sun Hudson was African-American, and neither Congress nor Mr. Bush came storming to his rescue before his death last week. Believe this: If Ms. Schiavo were an African American child, a Hispanic mother, an Iraqi wife, an Afghani grandmother, an American soldier suffering massive brain trauma from an explosion in Mosul, anyone from Darfur or the Congo, if she had been anything other than a white woman in a Fundamentalist-controlled state, we would have never, ever, heard of her.
The piercing hypocrisy found in this hue and cry over Schiavo is the simple fact that the GOP majority pushing this doesn't give a tinker's damn about her condition or her fate. They want to cobble together some kind of bastardized precedent with this to knock down a woman's right to choose, and they'd like to tag Nelson while they're at it. Beyond that, this is a smokescreen to cover their true intentions.
Understand that whatever these people are making noise about is not what they actually care about. They did it a couple of weeks ago; while shouting about Social Security reform and getting everyone all fired up over that, they passed the Bankruptcy bill, the Gun Manufacturers Shield Law and opened ANWR for drilling. They've known their Social Security 'reforms' have been dead in the water for weeks, but kept pushing them to distract opponents from their true goals, which they reached in fine style.
So it goes with Ms. Schiavo. They don't care about her. They want everyone looking at her, however, while they prepare to destroy the filibuster in the Senate in order to appoint a few far-right judges to the bench. Never mind that the Senate has confirmed 204 of Bush's judicial nominations, blocking only 10, which is an approval rate of 95%. The GOP majority still shouts "Obstructionist!" and is preparing to annihilate the one firebreak given to the minority that keeps truly bad nominees from becoming judges. They will try to do this soon, while everyone is caught up in the saga of the Schiavo feeding tube.
These people will say anything, and use anyone as a pawn, no matter how gross or disrespectful or hypocritical or flatly illegal it may be. They do this, ultimately, because they want everything their own way, with no room for compromise whatsoever. It is their greatest strength. It may also come to be their greatest weakness.
Only dictators, tyrants and fools believe they can have it all their way. Every dictator, tyrant and fool in history who has tried to have it all his way has failed in spectacular fashion. Often, that failure brings about the destruction of their family, their army, or their entire nation. Yet the lessons of history do not resonate with dictators, tyrants and fools. That, more than anything else, is why they always fail.
What we have seen in these last years is mushmouthed dictators in the Executive, petty tyrants in Congress, and fools in between trying to have it all their own way. They will fail, as ever. The backlash comes. Mahatma Gandhi once said, "When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it, always."
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books - 'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know' and 'The Greatest Sedition Is Silence.' Join the discussions at his blog forum.
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