GEORGIE WARBUCKS Part 2 : / // __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / Blood Money By William Rivers Pitt t r u t h o u t | Perspective Thursday 27 February 2003 /
George W. Bush gave a speech Wednesday night before the Godfather of conservative Washington think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute. In his speech, Bush quantified his coming war with Iraq as part of a larger struggle to bring pro-western governments into power in the Middle East. Couched in hopeful language describing peace and freedom for all, the speech was in fact the closest articulation of the actual plan for Iraq that has yet been heard from the administration.
In a previous truthout article from February 21, the ideological connections between an extremist right-wing Washington think tank and the foreign policy aspirations of the Bush administration were detailed.
The Project for a New American Century, or PNAC, is a group founded in 1997 that has been agitating since its inception for a war with Iraq. PNAC was the driving force behind the drafting and passage of the Iraqi Liberation Act, a bill that painted a veneer of legality over the ultimate designs behind such a conflict. The names of every prominent PNAC member were on a letter delivered to President Clinton in 1998 which castigated him for not implementing the Act by driving troops into Baghdad.
PNAC has funneled millions of taxpayer dollars to a Hussein opposition group called the Iraqi National Congress, and to Iraq's heir-apparent, Ahmed Chalabi, despite the fact that Chalabi was sentenced in absentia by a Jordanian court to 22 years in prison on 31 counts of bank fraud. Chalabi and the INC have, over the years, gathered support for their cause by promising oil contracts to anyone that would help to put them in power in Iraq.
Most recently, PNAC created a new group called The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. Staffed entirely by PNAC members, The Committee has set out to "educate" Americans via cable news connections about the need for war in Iraq. This group met recently with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice regarding the ways and means of this education.
Who is PNAC? Its members include:
* Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the PNAC founders, who served as Secretary of Defense for Bush Sr.;
* I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's top national security assistant;
* Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, also a founding member, along with four of his chief aides including;
* Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, arguably the ideological father of the group;
* Eliot Abrams, prominent member of Bush's National Security Council, who was pardoned by Bush Sr. in the Iran/Contra scandal;
* John Bolton, who serves as Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security in the Bush administration;
* Richard Perle, former Reagan administration official and present chairman of the powerful Defense Policy Board;
* Randy Scheunemann, President of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, who was Trent Lott's national security aide and who served as an advisor to Rumsfeld on Iraq in 2001;
* Bruce Jackson, Chairman of PNAC, a position he took after serving for years as vice president of weapons manufacturer Lockheed-Martin, and who also headed the Republican Party Platform subcommittee for National Security and Foreign Policy during the 2000 campaign. His section of the 2000 GOP Platform explicitly called for the removal of Saddam Hussein;
* William Kristol, noted conservative writer for the Weekly Standard, a magazine owned along with the Fox News Network by conservative media mogul Ruppert Murdoch.
" This is a blueprint for US world domination -- a new world order of their making. These are the thought processes of fantasist Americans who want to control the world. I am appalled that a British Labour Prime Minister should have got into bed with a crew which has this moral standing.'"-Tam Dalyell, the Labour MP
"This is garbage from right-wing think-tanks stuffed with chicken-hawks -- men who have never seen the horror of war but are in love with the idea of war. Men like Cheney, who were draft-dodgers in the Vietnam war.
The Project for the New American Century seeks to establish what they call 'Pax Americana' across the globe. Essentially, their goal is to transform America, the sole remaining superpower, into a planetary empire by force of arms. A report released by PNAC in September of 2000 entitled 'Rebuilding America's Defenses' codifies this plan, which requires a massive increase in defense spending and the fighting of several major theater wars in order to establish American dominance. The first has been achieved in Bush's new budget plan, which calls for the exact dollar amount to be spent on defense that was requested by PNAC in 2000. Arrangements are underway for the fighting of the wars.
The men from PNAC are in a perfect position to see their foreign policy schemes, hatched in 1997, brought into reality. They control the White House, the Pentagon and Defense Department, by way of this the armed forces and intelligence communities, and have at their feet a Republican-dominated Congress that will rubber-stamp virtually everything on their wish list.
The first step towards the establishment of this Pax Americana is, and has always been, the removal of Saddam Hussein and the establishment of an American protectorate in Iraq. The purpose of this is threefold: 1) To acquire control of the oilheads so as to fund the entire enterprise; 2) To fire a warning shot across the bows of every leader in the Middle East; 3) To establish in Iraq a military staging area for the eventual invasion and overthrow of several Middle Eastern regimes, including some that are allies of the United States.
Another PNAC signatory, author Norman Podhoretz, quantified this aspect of the grand plan in the September 2002 issue of his journal, 'Commentary'. In it, Podhoretz notes that the regimes, "that richly deserve to be overthrown and replaced, are not confined to the three singled-out members of the axis of evil. At a minimum, the axis should extend to Syria and Lebanon and Libya, as well as 'friends' of America like the Saudi royal family and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, along with the Palestinian Authority, whether headed by Arafat or one of his henchmen." At bottom, for Podhoretz, this action is about "the long-overdue internal reform and modernization of Islam."
This casts Bush's speech to AEI on Wednesday in a completely different light.
Weapons of mass destruction are a smokescreen. Paeans to the idea of Iraqi liberation and democratization are cynical in their inception. At the end of the day, this is not even about oil. The drive behind this war is ideological in nature, a crusade to 'reform' the religion of Islam as it exists in both government and society within the Middle East. Once this is accomplished, the road to empire will be open, ten lanes wide and steppin' out over the line.
At the end of the day, however, ideology is only good for bull sessions in the board room and the bar. Something has to grease the skids, to make the whole thing worthwhile to those involved, and entice those outside the loop to get into the game.
Thus, the payout.
(M.O.W. editorial insert)
It is well known by now that Dick Cheney, before becoming Vice President, served as chairman and chief executive of the Dallas-based petroleum corporation Halliburton. During his tenure, according to oil industry executives and United Nations records, Halliburton did a brisk $73 million in business with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. While working face-to-face with Hussein, Cheney and Halliburton were also moving into position to capitalize upon Hussein's removal from power. In October of 1995, the same month Cheney was made CEO of Halliburton, that company announced a deal that would put it first in line should war break out in Iraq. Their job: To take control of burning oil wells, put out the fires, and prepare them for service.
Another corporation that stands to do well by a war in Iraq is Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton. Ostensibly, Brown & Root is in the construction business, and thus has won a share of the $900 million government contract for the rebuilding of post-war Iraqi bridges, roads and other basic infrastructure. This is but the tip of the financial iceberg, as the oil wells will also have to be repaired after parent-company Halliburton puts out the fires.
More ominously is Brown & Root's stock in trade: the building of permanent American military bases. There are twelve permanent U.S. bases in Kosovo today, all built and maintained by Brown & Root for a multi-billion dollar profit. If anyone should wonder why the administration has not offered an exit strategy to the Iraq war plans, the presence of Brown & Root should answer them succinctly. We do not plan on exiting. In all likelihood, Brown & Root is in Iraq to build permanent bases there, from which attacks upon other Middle Eastern nations can be staged and managed.
Again, this casts Bush's speech on Wednesday in a new light.
Being at the center of the action is nothing new for Halliburton and Brown & Root. The two companies have worked closely with governments in Algeria, Angola, Bosnia, Burma, Croatia, Haiti, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Somalia during the worst chapters in those nation's histories. Many environmental and human rights groups claim that Cheney, Halliburton and Brown & Root were, in fact, centrally involved in these fiascos. More recently, Brown & Root was contracted by the Defense Department to build cells for detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The bill for that one project came to $300 million.
Cheney became involved with PNAC officially in 1997, while still profiting from deals between Halliburton and Hussein. One year later, Cheney and PNAC began actively and publicly agitating for war on Iraq. They have not stopped to this very day.
(M.O.W. editorial insert)
Another company with a vested interest in both war on Iraq and massively increased defense spending is the Carlyle Group. Carlyle, a private global investment firm with more than $12.5 billion in capital under management, was formed in 1987. Its interests are spread across 164 companies, including telecommunications firms and defense contractors. It is staffed at the highest levels by former members of the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations. Former President George H. W. Bush is himself employed by Carlyle as a senior advisor, as is long-time Bush family advisor and former Secretary of State James Baker III.
One company acquired by Carlyle is United Defense, a weapons manufacturer based in Arlington, VA. United Defense provides the Defense Department with combat vehicle systems, fire support, combat support vehicle systems, weapons delivery systems, amphibious assault vehicles, combat support services and naval armaments. Specifically, United Defense manufactures the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the M113 armored personnel carrier, the M88A2 Recovery Vehicle, the Grizzly, the M9 ACE, the Composite Armored Vehicle, the M6 Linebacker, the M7 BFIST, the Armored Gun System, the M4 Command and Control Vehicle, the Battle Command Vehicle, the Paladin, the Crusader, and Electric Gun/Pulse Power weapons technology.
In other words, everything a growing Defense Department, a war in Iraq, and a burgeoning American military empire needs.
(M.O.W. editorial insert)
Ironically, one group that won't profit from Carlyle's involvement in American military buildup is the family of Osama bin Laden. The bin Laden family fortune was amassed by Mohammed bin Laden, father of Osama, who built a multi-billion dollar construction empire through contracts with the Saudi government. The Saudi BinLaden Group, as this company is called, was heavily invested in Carlyle for years. Specifically, they were invested in Carlyle's Partners II Fund, which includes in that portfolio United Defense and other weapons manufacturers.
This relationship was described in a September 27, 2001 article in the Wall Street Journal entitled 'Bin Laden Family Could Profit From Jump in Defense Spending Due to Ties to US Bank.' The 'bank' in question was the Carlyle Group. A follow-up article published by the Journal on September 28 entitled ' Bin Laden Family Has Intricate Ties With Washington - Saudi Clan Has Had Access To Influential Republicans ' further describes the relationship. In October of 2001, Saudi BinLaden and Carlyle severed their relationship by mutual agreement. The timing is auspicious.
There are a number of depths to be plumbed in all of this. The Bush administration has claimed all along that this war with Iraq is about Saddam Hussein's connections to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, though through it all they have roundly failed to establish any basis for either accusation. On Wednesday, Bush went further to claim that the war is about liberating the Iraqi people and bringing democracy to the Middle East. This ignores cultural realities on the ground in Iraq and throughout the region that, salted with decades of deep mistrust for American motives, make such a democracy movement brought at the point of the sword utterly impossible to achieve.
This movement, cloaked in democracy, is in fact a PNAC-inspired push for an American global empire. It behooves Americans to understand that there is a great difference between being the citizen of a constitutional democracy and being a citizen of an empire. The establishment of an empire requires some significant sacrifices.
Essential social, medical, educational and retirement services will have to be gutted so that those funds can be directed towards a necessary military buildup. Actions taken abroad to establish the preeminence of American power, most specifically in the Middle East, will bring a torrent of terrorist attacks to the home front. Such attacks will bring about the final suspension of constitutional rights and the rule of habeas corpus, as we will find ourselves under martial law. In the end, however, this may be inevitable. An empire cannot function with the slow, cumbersome machine of a constitutional democracy on its back. Empires must be ruled with speed and ruthlessness, in a manner utterly antithetical to the way in which America has been governed for 227 years.
And yes, of course, a great many people will die.
It would be one thing if all of this was based purely on the ideology of our leaders. It is another thing altogether to consider the incredible profit motive behind it all. The President, his father, the Vice President, a whole host of powerful government officials, along with stockholders and executives from Halliburton and Carlyle, stand to make a mint off this war. Long-time corporate sponsors from the defense, construction and petroleum industries will likewise profit enormously.
mnn (M.O.W. editorial insert)
Critics of the Bush administration like to bandy about the word "fascist" when speaking of George. The image that word conjures is of Nazi stormtroopers marching in unison towards Hitler's Final Solution. This does not at all fit. It is better, in this matter, to view the Bush administration through the eyes of Benito Mussolini. Mussolini, dubbed 'the father of Fascism,' defined the word in a far more pertinent fashion. "Fascism," said Mussolini, "should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."
Boycott the French, the Germans, and the other 114 nations who stand against this Iraq war all you wish. France and Germany do not oppose Bush because they are cowards, or because they enjoy the existence of Saddam Hussein. France and Germany stand against the Bush administration because they intend to stop this Pax Americana in its tracks if they can. They have seen militant fascism up close and personal before, and wish never to see it again.
Would that we Americans could be so wise.
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.' He is also editor and publisher of t r u t h o u t .com.
SEE ALSO: IN THEIR OWN WORDS: The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) : "Bush planned Iraq 'regime change' before becoming President" and Iraq War Planned Pre-9/11? (CBS News, Jan. 10,2004)
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ . The Multibillion Robbery the U.S. Calls Reconstruction The shameless corporate feeding frenzy in Iraq is fuelling the resistance. b xv b
By Naomi Klein The Guardian Saturday 26 June 2004
Good news out of Baghdad: the Program Management Office, which oversees the $18.4bn in US reconstruction funds, has finally set a goal it can meet. Sure, electricity is below pre-war levels, the streets are rivers of sewage and more Iraqis have been fired than hired. But now the PMO has contracted the British mercenary firm Aegis to protect its employees from "assassination, kidnapping, injury and" - get this - "embarrassment". I don't know if Aegis will succeed in protecting PMO employees from violent attack, but embarrassment? I'd say mission already accomplished. The people in charge of rebuilding Iraq can't be embarrassed, because, clearly, they have no shame.
In the run-up to the June 30 underhand (sorry, I can't bring myself to call it a "handover"), US occupation powers have been unabashed in their efforts to steal money that is supposed to aid a war-ravaged people. The state department has taken $184m earmarked for drinking water projects and moved it to the budget for the lavish new US embassy in Saddam Hussein's former palace. Short of $1bn for the embassy, Richard Armitage, the deputy secretary of state, said he might have to "rob from Peter in my fiefdom to pay Paul". In fact, he is robbing Iraq's people, who, according to a recent study by the consumer group Public Citizen, are facing "massive outbreaks of cholera, diarrhoea, nausea and kidney stones" from drinking contaminated water.
If the occupation chief Paul Bremer and his staff were capable of embarrassment, they might be a little sheepish about having spent only $3.2bn of the $18.4bn Congress allotted - the reason the reconstruction is so disastrously behind schedule. At first, Bremer said the money would be spent by the time Iraq was sovereign, but apparently someone had a better idea: parcel it out over five years so Ambassador John Negroponte can use it as leverage. With $15bn outstanding, how likely are Iraq's politicians to refuse US demands for military bases and economic "reforms"?
Unwilling to let go of their own money, the shameless ones have had no qualms about dipping into funds belonging to Iraqis. After losing the fight to keep control of Iraq's oil money after the underhand, occupation authorities grabbed $2.5bn of those revenues and are now spending the money on projects that are supposedly already covered by American tax dollars.
But then, if financial scandals made you blush, the entire reconstruction of Iraq would be pretty mortifying. From the start, its architects rejected the idea that it should be a New Deal-style public works project for Iraqis to reclaim their country. Instead, it was treated as an ideological experiment in privatisation. The dream was for multinational firms, mostly from the US, to swoop in and dazzle the Iraqis with their speed and efficiency.
Iraqis saw something else: desperately needed jobs going to Americans, Europeans and south Asians; roads crowded with trucks shipping in supplies produced in foreign plants, while Iraqi factories were not even supplied with emergency generators. As a result, the reconstruction was seen not as a recovery from war but as an extension of the occupation, a foreign invasion of a different sort. And so, as the resistance grew, the reconstruction itself became a prime target.
The contractors have responded by behaving even more like an invading army, building elaborate fortresses in the green zone - the walled-in city within a city that houses the occupation authority in Baghdad - and surrounding themselves with mercenaries. And being hated is expensive. According to the latest estimates, security costs are eating up 25% of reconstruction contracts - money not being spent on hospitals, water-treatment plants or telephone exchanges.
Meanwhile, insurance brokers selling sudden-death policies to contractors in Iraq have doubled their premiums, with insurance costs reaching 30% of payroll. That means many companies are spending half their budgets arming and insuring themselves against the people they are supposedly in Iraq to help. And, according to Charles Adwan of Transparency International, quoted on US National Public Radio's Marketplace programme, "at least 20% of US spending in Iraq is lost to corruption". How much is actually left over for reconstruction? Don't do the maths.
Rather than models of speed and efficiency, the contractors look more like overcharging, underperforming, lumbering beasts, barely able to move for fear of the hatred they have helped generate. The problem goes well beyond the latest reports of Halliburton drivers abandoning $85,000 trucks on the road because they don't carry spare tires. Private contractors are also accused of playing leadership roles in the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. A landmark class-action lawsuit filed by the Centre for Constitutional Rights alleges that Titan Corporation and CACI International conspired to "humiliate, torture and abuse persons" in order to increase demand for their "interrogation services".
And then there's Aegis, the company being paid $293m to save the PMO from embarrassment. It turns out that Aegis's CEO, Tim Spicer, has a bit of an embarrassing past himself. In the 90s, he helped to put down rebels and stage a military coup in Papua New Guinea, as well as hatching a plan to break an arms embargo in Sierra Leone.
If Iraq's occupiers were capable of feeling shame, they might have responded by imposing tough new regulations. Instead, Senate Republicans have just defeated an attempt to bar private contractors from interrogating prisoners and also voted down a proposal to impose stiffer penalties on contractors who overcharge. Meanwhile, the White House is also trying to get immunity from prosecution for US contractors in Iraq and has requested the exemption from the new prime minister, Iyad Allawi.
It seems likely that Allawi will agree, since he is, after all, a kind of US contractor himself. A former CIA spy, he is already threatening to declare martial law, while his defence minister says of resistance fighters: "We will cut off their hands, and we will behead them." In a final feat of outsourcing, Iraqi governance has been subcontracted to even more brutal surrogates. Is this embarrassing, after an invasion to overthrow a dictatorship? Not at all; this is what the occupiers call "sovereignty". The Aegis guys can relax - embarrassment is not going to be an issue.
(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. t r u t h o u t has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is t r u t h o u t endorsed or sponsored by the originator.
By Paul Krugman New York Times Tuesday 29 June 2004 "... given the Arab world's suspicion that we came to steal Iraq's oil, the occupation authorities had every incentive to expedite an independent audit that would clear Halliburton and other U.S. corporations of charges that they were profiteering at Iraq's expense. Unless, that is, the charges are true."
The formal occupation of Iraq came to an ignominious end yesterday with a furtive ceremony, held two days early to foil insurgent attacks, and a swift airborne exit for the chief administrator. In reality, the occupation will continue under another name, most likely until a hostile Iraqi populace demands that we leave. But it's already worth asking why things went so wrong.
The Iraq venture may have been doomed from the start - but we'll never know for sure because the Bush administration made such a mess of the occupation. Future historians will view it as a case study of how not to run a country.
Up to a point, the numbers in the Brookings Institution's invaluable Iraq Index tell the tale. Figures on the electricity supply and oil production show a pattern of fitful recovery and frequent reversals; figures on insurgent attacks and civilian casualties show a security situation that got progressively worse, not better; public opinion polls show an occupation that squandered the initial good will.
What the figures don't describe is the toxic mix of ideological obsession and cronyism that lie behind that dismal performance.
The insurgency took root during the occupation's first few months, when the Coalition Provisional Authority seemed oddly disengaged from the problems of postwar anarchy. But what was Paul Bremer III, the head of the C.P.A., focused on? According to a Washington Post reporter who shared a flight with him last June, "Bremer discussed the need to privatize government-run factories with such fervor that his voice cut through the din of the cargo hold."
Plans for privatization were eventually put on hold. But as he prepared to leave Iraq, Mr. Bremer listed reduced tax rates, reduced tariffs and the liberalization of foreign-investment laws as among his major accomplishments. Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time - but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics.
If the occupiers often seemed oblivious to reality, one reason was that many jobs at the C.P.A. went to people whose qualifications seemed to lie mainly in their personal and political connections - people like Simone Ledeen, whose father, Michael Ledeen, a prominent neoconservative, told a forum that "the level of casualties is secondary" because "we are a warlike people" and "we love war."
"Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business." / - Michael Ledeen, resident scholar in the "Freedom Chair" at the American Enterprise Institute. / /h (M.O.W. editorial insert)
Still, given Mr. Bremer's economic focus, you might at least have expected his top aide for private-sector development to be an expert on privatization and liberalization in such countries as Russia or Argentina. But the job initially went to Thomas Foley, a Connecticut businessman and Republican fund-raiser with no obviously relevant expertise. In March, Michael Fleischer, a New Jersey businessman, took over. Yes, he's Ari Fleischer's brother. Mr. Fleischer told The Chicago Tribune that part of his job was educating Iraqi businessmen: "The only paradigm they know is cronyism. We are teaching them that there is an alternative system with built-in checks and built-in review."
Checks and review? Yesterday a leading British charity, Christian Aid, released a scathing report, "Fueling Suspicion," on the use of Iraqi oil revenue. It points out that the May 2003 U.N. resolution giving the C.P.A. the right to spend that revenue required the creation of an international oversight board, which would appoint an auditor to ensure that the funds were spent to benefit the Iraqi people.
Instead, the U.S. stalled, and the auditor didn't begin work until April 2004. Even then, according to an interim report, it faced "resistance from C.P.A. staff." And now, with the audit still unpublished, the C.P.A. has been dissolved.
Defenders of the administration will no doubt say that Christian Aid and other critics have no proof that the unaccounted-for billions were ill spent. But think of it this way: given the Arab world's suspicion that we came to steal Iraq's oil, the occupation authorities had every incentive to expedite an independent audit that would clear Halliburton and other U.S. corporations of charges that they were profiteering at Iraq's expense. Unless, that is, the charges are true.
Let's say the obvious. By making Iraq a playground for right-wing economic theorists, an employment agency for friends and family, and a source of lucrative contracts for corporate donors, the administration did terrorist recruiters a very big favor.
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.)
President Bush spoke eloquently the other day about what the war on terror requires of us. He said, "The war on terror is not a figure of speech. It is an inescapable calling of our generation." Those words ring true. Whatever drives them, whatever grieves them, Islamic fanatics have declared war and seem willing to wage it to the death. If they prevail, our children will grow up in a world where fear governs the imagination and determines the rules of life. Mr. Bush clearly believes what he said: The war on terror is an inescapable calling of the generation now in charge.
Like most Americans, I want to support him in that work; I want to do my part. But the president makes it hard. He confused us by going after Saddam Hussein when the villain behind the mass murders of 9/11 was Osama bin Laden. He seems not to realize how his credibility has been shredded by all the false and misleading reasons put forth to justify invading Iraq; Lyndon Johnson never recovered from using the dubious events at the Gulf of Tonkin as an excuse to go to war in Vietnam, and even if Mr. Bush wins reelection this November, he, too, will eventually be dragged down by the powerful undertow that inevitably accompanies public deception. The public will grow intolerant of partisan predators and crony capitalists indulging in a frenzy of feeding at the troughs in Baghdad and Washington. And there will come a time when the president will have no one to rely on except his most rabid allies in the right wing media; he will discover too late that you cannot win the hearts and minds of the public at large in a nation polarized and pulverized by endless propaganda at odds with reality.
So what to do? How to assure we win this war?
The hearings in Washington suggest a start. It is clear now the Bush White House bungled the warnings about Al Qaeda, but it's also clear that the Democrats under Bill Clinton made plenty of mistakes, too. Why can't both parties come clean, apologize, and start over? Either party could lose this war but both parties together just might win it. Why not a wartime cabinet to serve a wartime nation? Al Gore as head of Homeland Security. Gary Hart at Defense. The independent-minded John McCain or Warren Rudman at State. The world would get the point: This time we mean it, all of us - the war on terror no longer a partisan cause.
Surely, too, there are ways to subject all of us to the moral equivalent of the draft. The president put it well in another speech last week when he said, "I've seen the spirit of sacrifice and compassion renewed in our country. We've all seen our country unite in common purpose when it mattered most." Those words ring true, as well. But so far sacrifice has been asked only of the men and women in uniform and their families: Over 600 dead since the war began -- over 400 of them since the President landed on that aircraft carrier under a banner reading "Mission Accomplished."
Even now the privates patrolling the mean streets of Baghdad and the wilds of Afghanistan, their lives and limbs constantly at risk, are making less than $16,000 dollars a year in base pay. Here at home, meanwhile, the rich get their tax cuts - what Vice President Cheney calls "their due." Favored corporations get their contracts, subsidies and offshore loopholes. And as the president praises sacrifice he happily passes the huge bills that are piling up on to children not yet born.
My thoughts started running on this track a couple of weeks ago when my wife Judith came across a relic of the past in our attic - a ration book, issued by the OPA (the Office of Price Administration) with stamps for the purchase of essential goods. It's dated 1943 and it's aged so much you can barely make out the name on it -- "Billy Don Moyers," the alias my mother gave me at birth.
I was nine years when this ration book was issued, and America was fighting a war on two fronts, against Nazis and Japanese warlords. Just about everything vital was going to feed the war machine, so just about everything was rationed: gasoline, tires, sugar, butter, meat, tea, diapers, kitchen utensils, lawnmowers. When stockings became scarce, women painted seams down their calves to simulate the real thing. You stood in line to get scarce items; and all of us were called upon to eat less, drive less, do without.
Kids weren't exempt. I took this book with me to the store, and tore off exactly the number of stamps required to buy something. I never used all the stamps in this one book - that's how parsimonious people were. Or maybe it was patriotism. Anyway, I think of this now as a kind of war souvenir, a keepsake to remind me that victory on the home front began at 801 East Austin Street.
Where does the home front begin today? President Bush hasn't told us. I believe him when he says the war on terror is the inescapable calling of our generation. But it is one thing to say it, and yet another to lead all of us, and not just a partisan few, to answer it.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / /// fr98yf0yufpf "Boy, they were big on crematoriums, weren't they?" - George H. W. Bush Sr., during a tour of Auschwitz, 9/27/87 fr98yf0yufpfyufp0ff "History is a reminder of what's possible". - George W. Bush as he emerged from a guided tour of the gas chambers at Auschwitz, 5/31/03 8yf0yufpfy "Those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana fr98yf0y
/' Standing on the Dead / By Marc Ash t r u t h o u t | Essay Wednesday 22 January 2003 /' //"What luck for the rulers that men do not think." - Adolf Hitler
In October of 1942, under the Trading With the Enemy Act, the U.S. government halted operations at New York's Union Banking Corporation. A bank official was charged with "Running Nazi front groups in the United States."
His name: Prescott Bush.
Prescott Bush, father of future U.S President George Herbert Walker Bush and grandfather of George W. Bush, had been hard at work on behalf of his Nazi partners. In flagrant violation of U.S. law, Prescott Bush had worked tirelessly to launder money, procure raw materials, arrange transportation and provide guidance for the Nazi war effort and the German army he had helped to build.
In April of 2002, George W. Bush -- standing literally on the bones of the men who fell at Normandy beachhead in mortal combat with that very same Nazi army -- delivered his Memorial Day address. He said, in part, "This is a day our country has set apart to remember what was gained in our wars, and all that was lost."
Let us remember. /
As the German army came crashing into Poland, spreading death and destruction in its path, Prescott Bush continued aiding the Nazis.
As German tanks rolled through the Ardennes Forest and into Paris, Prescott Bush continued aiding the Nazis.
As Allied forces fighting to defend France were forced literally into the sea at Dunkirk by the German Army, Prescott Bush continued aiding the Nazis.
As German war planes rained bombs down on London, killing 50 thousand English men, women and children, Prescott Bush continued aiding the Nazis.
As millions died at the hands of the most ruthless and violent organization the world has ever known, Prescott Bush continued aiding the Nazis.
And of course, as Hitler and the Nazis planned and carried out the extermination of Europe's Jews, Prescott Bush was an eager and active partner.
When did Bush stop? When we made him stop.
In this case, George W. Bush won't have to worry about the US Government shutting him down. That's been taken care of -- he is the US Government.
As debate rages back and forth across the Atlantic over the morality and acceptability of this assault against Iraq, it is interesting to note the German position.
It was Germany who bought most completely into the war lie during the past century. It was the German people who, with their faith in country and leadership, and even their loyalty to the Fatherland, made possible the greatest nightmare the world has ever known. It is those same German people who stand today before Europe and the world in unflinching opposition to this latest world conquering force.
How well do the German people know George W. Bush? Better than they want to.
Heir to the Holocaust : http://www.clamormagazine.org/features/issue14.3_feature.3.html
The Bush Nazi Connection : http://www.lpdallas.org/features/draheim/dr991216.html
Gold Fillings, Auschwitz & George Bush : http://www.spiritone.com/~gdy52150/bushies.htm
Or just do a search at www.google.com under " Prescott Bush Nazi UBC 1942" and take your pick of the documents that come up. (Highly recommended.)
SEE ALSO: Bush Family Values Photo Album: http://www.hereinreality.com/familyvalues.html
/ "The President, his father, the Vice President, a whole host of powerful government officials, along with stockholders and executives from Halliburton and Carlyle, stand to make a mint off this war. Long-time corporate sponsors from the defense, construction and petroleum industries will likewise profit enormously." cvscva - "Blood Money" By William Rivers Pitt (BELOW) /vv
- Benito Mussolini, the inventor of fascism
- Bill Moyers _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ /
Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, one of the most colorful officers in the Marine Corps' long history, was one of the two Marines who received two Medals of Honor for separate acts of outstanding heroism.
War is just a racket.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.
I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.
I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.
It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.
The record of racketeering is long.
I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914.
I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.
I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street.
I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers* in 1909-1912 (* Prescott Bush's bank, convicted of aiding Hitler until 1943)
I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916.
In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket.
Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.
Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, one of the most colorful officers in the Marine Corps' long history, was one of the two Marines who received two Medals of Honor for separate acts of outstanding heroism.
He was not yet 20 when the citizens of his native West Chester, Pennsylvania, presented him with a sword on his return from the Boxer Rebellion in China. Some 50 years later that trophy was presented to the Marine Corps for permanent custody.
General Butler, later known to thousands of Marines as "Ol' Gimlet Eye," was born 30 July 1881. He was still in his teens when, on 20 May 1898, he was appointed a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps for the War with Spain.
Following a brief period of instruction at Washington, D.C., he served with the Marine Battalion, North Atlantic Squadron, until 11 February 1899, when he was ordered to his home and honorably discharged on 16 February 1899.
He was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Marine Corps on 8 April 1899; promoted to captain, 23 July 1900; to major, 13 May 1908; to lieutenant colonel, 1 August 1916; to colonel (temporary), 1 July 1918; to brigadier general (temporary), 7 October 1918; to colonel (permanent), 9 March 1919; to brigadier general (permanent), 4 June 1920; and to major general, 5 July 1929.
In April 1899, Lieutenant Butler was assigned to duty with the Marine Battalion at Manila, Philippine Islands. From 14 June 1900 to October 1900, he served with distinction in China, and was promoted to captain by brevet for distinguished conduct and public service in the presence of the enemy near Tientsin, China. He was wounded in that battle on 13 July 1900.
Returning to the United States in January 1901, he served at various posts within the continental limits and on several ships. He also served ashore in Puerto Rico and the Isthmus of Panama for short periods. In December 1909, he commanded the 3d Battalion, 1st Regiment on the Isthmus of Panama. He was temporarily detached to command an expeditionary battalion organized for service in Nicaragua, 11 August 1912, in which capacity he participated in the bombardment, assault and capture of Coyotepe, 12 to 31 October. He remained on duty in Nicaragua until November 1912, when he rejoined the Marines at Camp Elliott, Panama.
His first Medal of Honor was presented following action at Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 and 22 April 1914, where he commanded the Marines who landed and occupied the city. General Butler (then a major) "was eminent and conspicuous in command of his Battalion. He exhibited courage and skill in leading his men through the action of the 22d and in the final occupation of the city."
The following year, he was awarded the second Medal of Honor for bravery and forceful leadership as Commanding Officer of detachments of Marines and seamen of the USS Connecticut in repulsing Caco resistance on Fort Riviere, Haiti, 17 November 1915.
During World War I, he commanded the 13th Regiment in France. For exceptionally meritorious service, he was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, and the French Order of the Black Star. When he returned to the United States in 1919, he became Commanding General of the Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia, and served in this capacity until January 1924, when he was granted leave of absence to accept the post of Director of Public Safety of the City of Philadelphia. In February 1926, he assumed command of the Marine Corps Base at San Diego, California. In March 1927, he returned to China for duty with the 3d Marine Brigade. From April to 31 October he again commanded the Marine Barracks at Quantico. On 1 October 1931, he was retired upon his own application after completion of 33 years' service in the Marine Corps.
General Butler died at the Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, on 21 June 1940, following a four-week illness.
The USS Butler, a destroyer, later converted to a high speed minesweeper, was named for General Butler in 1942. This vessel participated in the European and Pacific theaters of operations during the second World War.
Some Americans regard our country as superior to other nations because we don't change governments by coup d'état - and we never have. Perhaps because of our long tradition of power changing hands by election, we regard our nation as immune to the use of force for political purposes. True, assassins have killed four of our Presidents, but these deaths did not lead to turmoil and chaos; the government followed well-established procedures for transferring control to the men previously elected Vice President. Unlike other nations where assassination often leads to civil war, the United States has avoided this.
How different is America from nations where political power comes quite directly "from the barrel of a gun"? A curious footnote to American history suggests that, except for the personal integrity of a remarkable American general, a coup d'état intended to remove President Franklin D. Roosevelt from office in 1934 might have plunged America into civil war.
This remarkable man was Smedley Darlington Butler, retired U.S. Marine Corps Major General. Butler is the sort of person for whom the word "colorful" is woefully inadequate. Butler won America's highest military award for bravery (the Congressional Medal of Honor) twice. His style of warfare was unusual not only for his personal courage, but for the energy he put into avoiding bloodshed when it was possible to achieve his aims in other ways. Not surprisingly, this engendered a remarkable loyalty among the men who served under him - and that loyalty was why certain men asked Butler to lead a military attack on Washington, D.C., with the goal of capturing President Roosevelt.
Butler was more than a remarkable soldier. He served as police commissioner of Philadelphia during 1924-25 (on loan from the Marines), in an attempt to enforce Prohibition. While the effort was a failure, his insistence on enforcing the law against wealthy partygoers as well as poor immigrants established his reputation as a man of high integrity. He was not universally loved, but he was widely respected. FULL ARTICLE
By William Rivers Pitt , t r u t h o u t | Perspective Thursday 23 June 2005
With the revelation of the secret Downing Street Minutes, which exposed the fact that George Bush and Tony Blair had decided to invade Iraq in April of 2002, a heated debate has blown through media, congressional and activist circles. The decision to go to war in Iraq was made before any public debate was initiated, before the United Nations was brought into the conversation, confirming that Bush's blather about wanting peace and leaving war as the last resort was just that: blather.
So why did we go?
It had been suspected, and has now been confirmed by the Minutes, that Bush took us to war on false pretenses and by way of a whole constellation of lies and exaggerations. First it was the weapons of mass destruction that were not there. Then it was connections between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda that did not exist. Finally, it became about bringing freedom and democracy to the region, which has emphatically not happened.
Threaded through the discussion was the belief that Bush and his petroleum-company allies lusted after Iraq's oil. There was also the idea that Bush wanted Saddam's head because of the "unfinished business" left by his father in 1991. Some whispered that Iraq had intended to change the monetary basis of its petroleum dealings from the dollar to the Euro, an action that would have spelled financial disaster for the boys in Houston. Finally, many believed Bush ramped up a war push in order to give Republicans a flag-waving platform to run on in the 2002 midterms.
All of these were on the table as reasons for an invasion, though most of them were not included in public debate. Yet the real reasons behind this war, the real reasons for many of our military actions over the years, were never discussed. As with almost everything we deal with today in the foreign policy realm, the real reasons we invaded Iraq harken back to World War II and the Cold War.
When the United States jumped into World War II, President Roosevelt ordered the American economy be put on a wartime footing. This was a sound decision: the country had to speed its industrial capabilities up to a sprint in order to manufacture a huge fighting army out of whole cloth. The action was successful beyond measure. The economy was invigorated, the war was won, and in the process the military/industrial complex, so named by President Eisenhower, was established as a power player in the American economy.
In 1947, President Harry Truman put forth the Truman Doctrine, a broad policy of foreign intervention to combat the feared spread of Communism around the world. The Doctrine was essentially created by a small band of men like Paul Nitze, who were the precursors of what we now call neo-conservatives. Nitze, it should be noted, was the mentor of Paul Wolfowitz, who went on to be the mentor of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.
The establishment of the Truman Doctrine, the establishment of the "permanent crisis" that was the Cold War, required that the American economy remain on a wartime footing. There it has remained to this day, despite the fall of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the threat of a global communist takeover. Ten thousand books have been written on this subject, on the impact of our wartime economic footing upon domestic policy, the environment, global affairs and politics. In the end, however, the fact that our economy is set on a wartime footing means one simple thing.
We need wars.
Without wars, the economy flakes and falls apart. Without wars, the trillions of dollars spent on weapons systems, military preparedness and a planetary army would dry up, dealing a death blow to the economy as currently constituted. Without wars or the threat of wars, the populace is not so easily controlled and manipulated.
Let us be clear, however. When I say "we," I do not refer to your average working man and woman on the street. The man running the shoe store or the woman managing the bar does not need war to remain economically viable. The "we," I speak of is that overwhelmingly wealthy and powerful few who have wired their fortunes into the manufacture of weapons, the plumbing of oil, and the collection of spoils through political largesse.
These are the people who need war. They need it to pile up the contracts from the Pentagon, to enrich the banking institutions that protect them, to pay the lawyers who defend them, to pay the lobbyists who sustain them, to purchase the politicians who champion them, and to buy up the media that hides them from sight.
Yet though this group is small in number, they are "we," for they are our leaders and our myth-makers. They have convinced the majority of this population that war is a necessity. They create the premises for combat and invasion, they convince and cajole and, when necessary, frighten us into line. All too often, almost every time, we buy into the fictions they manufacture, thus sustaining the "permanent crisis" mentality and the need for war after war after war .
The economic need for war creates the required excuses for war. The "permanent crisis" of the Cold War motivated the United States to support the Shah in Iran, a decision that led to the Islamic Revolution and the establishment of Iran as a permanent enemy. The Cold War motivated us to support Saddam Hussein financially and militarily as a bulwark against Iran. The Cold War motivated us to establish the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia to ensure a steady supply of oil. The Cold War motivated us to support Osama bin Laden and the so-called "Jihadists" in Afghanistan in their fight against the Soviet invaders.
Now, we prepare to invade Iran. We have invaded Iraq for the second time in 15 years. We will never invade Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that this nation's vast wealth and Wahabbist extremists make it the birthing bed of international terrorism. We lost two towers in New York City at the hands of a group that we created in the 1980s to fight the Soviets. Put plainly, the "permanent crisis" of the Cold War created a cycle of military self-justification. We build enemies with arms and money, and then we destroy them with arms and money, thus keeping our wartime economy afloat.
The Cold War ended more than ten years ago, but we still need war, and we need that "permanent crisis" to continue the cycle of military self-justification. If a legitimate war is not available, we will create one because we have to. We have our new "permanent crisis," which we call the War on Terror, another turn of the cycle created by an attack that our foreign policy and war-justifications of the last 50 years made almost inevitable.
We need wars. That's why we are in Iraq. This invasion and occupation of that nation has given our economy the war it needs, and has also created the justification for future wars by creating legions of enemies in the Mideast and around the world. Our wartime economy will tolerate no less.
Talking about Bush's lies regarding weapons of mass destruction, or about bringing democracy to the region, or about the dollar-to-Euro transfer, or about the midterm elections, is window-dressing. We invaded Iraq because we had to. This is the elephant in the room, the foreign policy reality nobody talks about.
If you want peace, work to change the underpinnings of our economy. Until that change is made, there will always be wars, invasions, and lies to brings such things about. It is what it is.
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.' He is also editor and publisher of t r u t h o u t .com.
But who are the ones that we call our friends-- c x xc c x xc These governments killing their own? c x xc
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