Saturday, December 31, 2005
On what planet do those respondents live? Or could it be they lived only during 1929 and 1941?
Friday, December 30, 2005
Thursday, December 29, 2005
New awareness prompts talk of withdrawal
Voice From Santa Barbara: Erik O'Dowd
With increasing frequency, Americans are asking, "Why are we in Iraq, anyway?"
It is to diffuse this growing doubt about the rightness of our mission there that the administration is now making mutterings of withdrawal.
Twenty-nine months after Bush/Cheney's invasion and occupation of Iraq, after untold thousands of deaths and maimings of Iraqis, Americans and others, and the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars, we are hearing suggestions from some in the Bush administration that "withdrawal" or "redeployment" of some coalition forces is likely, even imminent.
These utterances are no doubt prompted by the growing rejection by the U.S. public of our continued presence in Iraq, which is in turn based on a new awareness among the majority of our citizenry that the reasons the administration gave for the invasion were false: No weapons of mass destruction, no connection of Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda, no "imminent threat" by Iraq to the U.S. or its allies.
With increasing frequency, Americans are asking, "Why are we in Iraq, anyway?" It is to diffuse this growing doubt about the rightness of our mission there that the administration is now making mutterings of withdrawal.
Don't be fooled. The Bush administration's invasion of Iraq was always about establishing U.S. hegemony in the Middle East, and so when they speak of withdrawal or redeployment of forces, they don't mean our troops will come home, or even leave the area. They'll be ordered to stay indefinitely in the region to show U.S. power -- and use it if necessary -- to enforce U.S. interests (read access to oil and natural gas by our corporations). Indeed, we are presently building four "enduring" bases in Iraq to ensure our permanent military presence there.
These bases will only ensure continued attacks on U.S. targets in the region and throughout the world, by those who've long demanded that we give up our designs on the territory and resources of the Middle East. We'll continue to spend billions of dollars and risk innocent lives, just in slightly different locales.
We mustn't grow complacent. We must keep up the drumbeat, continue to demand to "support our troops" -- not by moving them a few miles farther into the desert, but by bringing them home. Home to the United States. Now.
lives in Santa Barbara.
To which I would add, as I've noted before, don't be fooled about the recently-increasing US bombing of cities in Iraq, which may lessen our casualties, but will increase Iraqis', and is equally, if not more, outrageous.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Monday, December 26, 2005
Many Americans are in despair, having given up on the political system that twice (maybe) elected Bush/Cheney, resulting in a growing chasm between rich and poor, between ideology and humanity, between truth and lies, between war and peace. But now Bush has gone too far, uniting in outrage both liberals and true conservatives (not, however, their evil cousins, the cabal of neo-cons that have Bush’s ear).
The straw that broke Bush's back?: His secret order authorizing warrantless surveillance by the National Security Agency of Americans’ private communications; and, once revealed, his unfounded assertion that the “war on terror” grants him that unprecedented power, followed by his obdurate insistence that he’s entitled to maintain the surveillance, unchecked by courts or Congress.
The Liberals' outrage is predictable, but no less so than that of true conservatives because of their innate distrust of federal power, particularly executive power, power that’s expressly limited by the Constitution’s reservation of lawmaking to Congress and oversight by the federal courts.
To be sure, the Bush/Cheney administration is in for a rough 2006. “Plame-gate” will expand; DeLay and other scandals will ripen; the occupation of Iraq will become even more poisonous; and the economy, now that the real estate bubble has popped and interest rates are rising, will slide into mediocrity.
But Bush’s Achilles heel is his arrogant assertion of executive (read dictatorial) power to intrude, unchecked, into the private communications of Americans. All sensate Americans know where this leads, and they won’t be led there.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Indeed, it's more than that I don't believe it, I find the notion abhorrent to the concept of humanity, mean of purpose (to rob humans of their essential human condition), and ruinous in effect.
And the celebration of Christmas--the idea that for a couple of days we should sing and pray and be of good will--it's worse than the recent idea of "black history month." Why is there a weekend for acting benignly, when Christians, as an historical group, are essentially a murderous group of zealots abetted (now, as much as ever) by wimpy believers who do nothing while Jesus' name is used to justify killing of persons all over the world.
Religion, in my mind--and Christianity is as bad as any--is a curse, an evil force.
It's possible, by such reckoning, that our total military commitment to the outrageous, illegal war is comparable to the outrageous illegal war in Vietnam, only, so far, not quite as long.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Monday, December 19, 2005
Here's the deal: We're told he was "more realistic," "almost apologetic," and "convincing." He asked us to be patient in Iraq, that there were hard times ahead and that these difficulties weren't foreseen. He'd earlier in the week allowed that the intelligence that led to our invasion was flawed and that the responsibility for the decision to invade was his.
And? And? And nothing. Nothing new. Same old cliches about winning the war, progress being made, and so forth. Same speech we heard from LBJ and Nixon for years while our troops, and the Vietnamese, were being decimated in Southeast Asia.
Meanwhile, "on the ground" here's how it's going in Iraq. And meanwhile, Bush's authorization of domestic wiretaps without a warrant, and the Pentagon's surveillance of antiwar groups, give credence to this sage observation (not mine, but I can't recall the source):
"Bush said that Osama bin Laden hates us for our freedoms, and so Bush's solution is to take them away from us."
Sunday, December 18, 2005
After detailing Cheney's talk to the troops (during which their questions and reactions weren't entirely favorable), Cheney toured a military base where Iraqi and US soldiers were present, during which "U.S. forces guarded Cheney with weapons at the ready while Iraqi soldiers, who had no weapons, held their arms out as if they were carrying imaginary guns."
Yup, we're sure making progress with Iraq's military. One day we may trust them with weapons in our leaders' vicinity.
Okay, I've noted this before, both the fact of it, and the manner of reporting. I understand the facts aren't likely to change, but won't the media ever tell it like it is?
I wasn't cynical enough, though. Apparently, there's a book coming out--authored by a NYT reporter--and so the publication of the spying story is timed to boost its sales.
Then, profit: we learn that what changed between now and a year ago was that a Times reporter, James Risen, is about to publish a book about the entire affair and thus publishing the story now will mean maximum pre-sale buzz in January when the book is released - a key for any big book sales.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Friday, December 16, 2005
My take on this: If we are forgiven, then so are the worst of the world's transgressions, because even Attila the Hun believed he was bringing a better world to those he conquered.
But equally outrageous is that the Times sat on the story for a year in order, it says, to conduct "additional reporting." Number one: What chickenshits! Number two: What liars! It's clear that the NYT would have sat on the story indefinitely but for the recent lies by the administration, in particular by Cheney's minions, that the federal government had no such program, as quoted in the NYT article itself. I suspect, too, that another publication was about to go public with this information, and NYT didn't want to be shown to be what it is: a craven tool of the Bushites.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
We gotta get rid of this guy.
I predict that by the end of 2006, Iraq (and likely its neighbors Syria and Iran) will have embroiled the US in such a God-awful mess that VietNam will look like a cakewalk. In the wake of today's elections, Iraq will become fragmented, will begin to look like a "failed state," to the alarm of nearby Arab states. The schism between "insurgents" and "terrorists" in Iraq, already emerging, will widen; antagonism between Shia-dominated nations and Sunni/Wahabbi nations will increase, and the US will try to straddle all of these conflicting forces, leaving our troops targets from a hundred directions.
Those of us who opposed the war are often chided for taking pleasure in seeing US failure in Iraq. Well, to be honest, I do. I want the US public--I want the world--to learn that the Bush version of democracy (you know what I'm talking about) cannot be imposed on the world by force, and should not be because of its illegitimacy. I want the Iraq experience to result in debacle so profound that we don't ever get talked into (lied into) repeating it.
I wish thousands of US soldiers didn't have to die to make this point, and I certainly feel awful about the dead and wounded Iraqis who've been made to pay this price. But, to me, if their suffering teaches the US to become a decent nation, a true leader of a fine, loving world, the price is, if not worth it, at least worth something.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
So--we've created Iraq in our own image, right?
Monday, December 05, 2005
I'll be keeping track, of course, but not blogging with my usual assiduousness. But take heart, I'll be back online bigtime in a couple of weeks.
Friday, December 02, 2005
Another thing: All this hoopla about the Pentagon planting news in Baghdad dailies. Yup, it's a bad thing. But in the face of all the outrages we've been committing in that country--killing civilians, jailing innocents, torturing, destroying cities--how can such a story even get traction in the US?
Because it's about the media, stupid. We are at the mercy of the media in America, and that's the most maddening of all.
Make no mistake. Nothing in the current debate addresses these issues, and Bush is keeping quiet about them. But when we crazies chant--as we have for three years--"Out of Iraq!" we don't mean any of these things. We mean that the US should get out of Iraq entirely, get our troops out of harm's way and leave Iraq to the Iraqis. That's withdrawal.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
We've got to get our troops--all of them, Brits, Aussies, U.S.--out of Iraq to let them come home and return to humanness because this war is making some of them into monsters.
As to Colin Powell? I've defended him heretofore as a "soldier," honor-bound not to denigrate his commander, the Commander in Chief. But I've changed my mind after these weeks of hearing from his Chief of Staff, Col. Wilkerson. Obviously, Wilkerson's statements are Powell's too, and so now it's clear that Powell is hiding behind Wilkerson's skirts to save his image.
It's time for Powell to step forward in person. Not as a soldier, not as a diplomat, but as a human being. Otherwise, I label him a coward, and so, I hope, will history.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Meanwhile, the poor in America have nothing and, under recent Bush legislation, will have even less in the future. Yeah, it's a human rights issue, nothing less.
I've just watched Lehrer's interview of Senators Warner and Reid, a Republican and a Democrat, who hummed the same tune backing today's Presidential "speech" about Iraq, in particular, withdrawal of our troops. In essence, never.
We, the people, have got to take back America, because our representatives aren't doing our will.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Does God have a plan? If He's omnipotent, can't He control such events? Was He too busy? If so, why bother to live a life that accords with His supposed dictates? Or maybe He just doesn't care.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Sounds like a hell of a deal for $300 billion and 17,000 killed or wounded US soldiers, eh?
Cole also has a word of advice for George Bush about his heritage, worth reading.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Friday, November 25, 2005
Thirty-nine months after Bush/Cheney's invasion and occupation of Iraq,
after untold thousands of deaths and maimings of Iraqis, Americans and others,
and the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars, we are hearing
suggestions from some in the Bush administration that "withdrawal" or
"redeployment" of some coalition forces is likely, even imminent. These utterances are no doubt prompted by the growing rejection by the US public of our continued presence in Iraq, which is in turn based on a new awareness among the majority of our citizenry that the reasons the administration gave for the invasion were false: No weapons of mass destruction, no connection of Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda, no "imminent threat" by Iraq to the US or its allies. With increasing frequency, Americans are asking, "Why are we in Iraq, anyway?" It is to diffuse this growing
doubt about the rightness of our mission there that the administration is now making mutterings of withdrawal.
Don't be fooled. The Bush administration's invasion of Iraq was always about establishing US hegemony in the Middle East, and so when they speak of withdrawal or redeployment of forces, they don't mean our troops will come home, or even leave the area. They'll be ordered to stay indefinitely in the region to show US power--and use it if necessary--to enforce US interests (read access to oil and natural gas by our corporations). Indeed, we are presently building four "enduring" bases in Iraq to ensure our permanent military presence there.
These bases will only ensure continued attacks on US targets in the region and
throughout the world, by those who've long demanded that we give up our designs on the territory and resources of the Middle East. We'll continue to spend billions of dollars and risk innocent lives, just in slightly different locales.
We mustn't grow complacent. We must keep up the drumbeat, continue to demand to "support our troops" not by moving them a few miles farther into the desert, but by bringing them home. Home to the United States. Now.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
I regularly check out Al-Jazeera's webpage to see whazzup. I know it's thought to be a shill for the bad guys--even a target of our bombing--but it seems moderately moderate to me, and it certainly publishes news that others don't touch, especially our MSM.
Of course that's why Bush wants it destroyed.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
On the other hand, there are the hints by Condi Rice, that troop reductions in Iraq are in the offing. Is it possible that Condi's bullshitting us, just saying what the Bush administration thinks will placate the growing resistance to the war? Naa. Couldn't be, not in this administration with its implacable dedication to truth.
When I was apartment-hunting in SB three months ago, I logged onto Craigslist hourly almost, to find the latest listings and to communicate by email with the owners. Really quick and efficient, an important feature being that when the space was rented, it was removed from Craigslist, unlike in the classifieds of the SB News-Press, where a rental could appear available long after it was rented. Other features, too, making Craigslist far superior to the newpaper for classified advertising. I'm certain that it, along with eBay and uBid (both of which I've used as well) are part of the problem the papers are facing, as shown in their declining revenues.
And now Craigslist is taking on the news component of newspapers. Right on, dog!
BTW--There's a quote in this post, cited by Raimondo, which is attributed to Claire Booth Luce, criticizing FDR's actions in triggering our entry into WWII:
The President "lied us into war because he did not have the political courage to lead us into it."
Seems like history repeats itself each generation. FDR in 1941, LBJ in 1966, GWB in 2003. Like the song says, "When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?"
Today's posts deal with Bush's conversation with Tony Blair, wherein the latter talked Bush out of bombing the Qatar broadcast station of al Jazeera (and the post describes the network accurately, in my opinion); the attempt by Big Oil to pirate Iraq's oil to their own profit; the disclosure that Bush was personally told by way of a President's Daily Brief (PDB) long before the Iraq invasion that there was no operational connection between Iraq and al Qaeda--and that Bush nevertheless told the US public that there was, and withheld the PDB from Congress in the runup to the war.
Other tidbits, too. All part of a day in the dwindling decade of our empire.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Does our media ever--I mean, ever--cast what's happening in Iraq as anything other than bad guys vs. good guys? I mean, isn't it at least possible that we're the bad guys? We are, after all, the invading army, invading in violation of international law, in the face of UN opposition, without justification. Can't at least one MSM headline writer at least try to fairly characterize what's really going on in Iraq?
Saturday, November 19, 2005
But these NeoCon people and their puppet, Bush, still control the media, still control all facets of government, still have three years (let's hope not!) years to rule. Now--more than ever--it's time to exploit this momentary advantage, with care and diligence, and with effective insight into the process.
For example, does the Left challenge the Alito nomination? I mean, do they threaten a filibuster? Would that be a waste of energy? Would it win? Would it alienate the moderates?
Does the Left relent a bit, and lean toward the middle? Does it howl until the middle moves Left? Does it do nothing--that is, allow the Bush administration to implode in the eyes of the middle-of-the-road congressmen (and, more to the point, women) and in the middle-of-the-road voters?
I say no. Give no quarter. Attack, attack, attack!--Just like they do. You see, their issues--drilling in Anwar, continuing the Patriot Act, "staying the course" in Iraq--are so awful, and so unpopular, that the Left has wide-open area for attack.Soo--attack!
So why are we still at war?
Friday, November 18, 2005
"South Korea has announced plans to pull a third of its troops out of Iraq
next year.The announcement from the Korean Defense Ministry comes a day after
President Bush met with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun (noh moo-hyuhn) and praised him as a staunch ally in the Iraq conflict.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
The "Bush index" is a definitive polling indicator, because it measures the spread between Bush's approval and disapproval numbers, as determined weekly by averaging the polls concluded during that week.
Well, as you can see, the news ain't good for Bush, not at all. Pollkatz's figures reveal the highest spread ever between those figures--24.2--whereas no previous index had risen above 20. This means, according to the broad sample of polls, 36% of Americans approve of Bush's handling of his presidency, and 60% do not.
A "silent majority" has arisen, to be sure. And it's a big majority, growing bigger by the week.
Bush's version of battling the war on terror is this: "Since 'they hate us for our freedoms,' we'll just eliminate the freedoms."
My guess is that at some point in Bush's meaningless "quarterly progress reports" on Iraq, one or both of them will ease into a reversal, citing some figures or some developments in the reports. There'll be no abrupt change of heart, a la John Edwards, that's for sure. The last thing Biden or Clinton wants is a flip-flop moniker. So, keep your eyes and ears open, tune in to nuance when they speak. Let's see how cleverly they do it--and how cleverly we can spot it.
PS--Scroll down the above link, past the news release of Murtha's statement, and read the statement i
This article assails Woodward, and rightly so. I've always been somewhat guarded in my assessment of his reporting. He seems to me to be so enamored of his role as contemporary chronicler of political history that he sacrifices insight in favor of churning out a middling mush, becoming first to press but only that. In the process, his recounting is more like regurgitating.
But unlike the author of the above-linked piece, I don't see Woodward's claim to be ruinous to the prosecution of Libby. On the contrary, I believe that "junkyard dog" Fitzgerald--who's taken Woodward's depostion now--will not take kindly to Woodward's last-minute disclosure, and will demand of Woodward that he reveal this source, and that he'll seek a contempt citation, a la Judith Miller, if Woodward doesn't fess up. Woodward may go to jail to protect his source, but he might not. After all, such a sacrifice isn't newsworthy anymore (BTDT--"Been there done that") and besides, Woodward's got a book to finish.
So Woodward will doubtless squeal, and since it's likely his source was Cheney himself, Fitzgerald will likely want to depose Cheney too--not simply chat with him, in Bush's presence and not under oath, as before--and if Cheney lies: perjury. If he tells the truth: violation of a substantive statute, possibly. Either way, Fitzgerald's gonna have himself a field day--and we're in for a hell of a ride.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
The Republicans have won two battles, defusing the Democrats' issues on two important issues, and looking magnanimous in the process.
The Democrats, the gutless party, caved in twice, handing Bush a way out of his own barbarism. He can now comply with these weak-kneed laws and slide through his murderous policies unscathed.
Monday, November 14, 2005
A day in the life of an emerging democracy.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
My question: since Carter's a born-again Christian, are there two versions, the ones, like Carter, who follow the teachings of Jesus, and the others--those who vote for Bush repeatedly--who follow Bush?
Why are we having this debate? Didn't we need information during the world wars, during Korea and VietNam? Wasn't it likely (wasn't it even more likely?) that captured troops or guerillas could supply it, and wouldn't the same argument apply to them, that harsher methods of interrogation might obtain more information, might save lives? And yet we stuck by the rules in world war--and we stuck by them during the Cold War, when the Soviet Union posed a documented nuclear threat to the U.S.
We're told that "9/11 changed everything." Well, maybe so. Maybe we've allowed the Bush administration to convince us that, but to me all that's changed is the American psyche. "We Have Met the Enemy...and He is Us."
Pat Roberts' answer was succinct. "The DIA report didn't reach the policymakers."
And Wolf's next question: "Isn't that a terrible commentary on our intelligence system?" or words to that effect, turning to Levin, an avoidance that Levin bit on.
You don't have to be a trial lawyer to know that the next question that Wolf should have asked Roberts was this: "How do you know that?"
You take it from there.
Friday, November 11, 2005
The only economic source we'll have to go without is tourism, to which I say...oh well.
The rub: the letter (pdf) was authored by the head of the Wisconsin Democratic party.
Recall the "dodgy dossier" in the UK? Well, we've got our own version in the US.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Our little Saturday protest group has begun this chant, which isn't original, but sure feels right--and righteous. "The world can't wait! Impeach George Bush!" He and his cabal have the power to wreck the world, and they're doing it, quickly and surely. With three years left in his second term, we could be back in the Stone Age by inauguration-time, 2009.
Monday, November 07, 2005
But nowhere have I seen reference to a hugely significant piece of evidence that the administration was going to invade Iraq regardless of the state of its possession of WMDs, and that's this: In the winter of 2002-03, the UN inspectors--Blix and al Barradei--were pleading with the US authorities to share with them any information in their possession about WMDs so that they, with unrestricted access to inspection (recall their white SUV's racing around Iraq in response to tips?) could track down WMDs--or not. But the US didn't, for months, lend a hand--not a whisper of information--and then finally, on the eve of Powell's UN speech, the US gave Blix a verbal report of WMD whereabouts ("unprecedented" that such a report wouldn't be in writing, said Blix), which the UN inspectors then chased down and found to be false. Not just once, but several times. "Garbage on garbage," was one UN inspector's evaluation of the US evidence.
I've never seen a single essay that calls these events to mind--the above-linked report makes a brief reference to US intransigence, but doesn't stress it--as telling as they are that the US had faulty information--and had learned it was faulty "on the ground." What more proof could there be that when Bush told the Congress, in his declaration before the invasion, that Iraq had WMD's, he lied, knowingly and intentionally?
Sunday, November 06, 2005
I will point out, however, that a new storm cloud is rising on this score. Compare this item, appearing in 2004, but citing evidence dating back to many months before the war, with the NYT article today that cites a report by the Defense Intelligence Agency about the lack of credibility of one of the sources for Bush's claims of a connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.
Result: A main source of Bush/Cheney's claims (as well as Colin Powell's speech to the U.N. Security Council) about Iraq's threat were made up by a stoolie who was out to please his captors--and the DIA reported this fact months before the invasion.
So--We'll keep chanting, and I'll keep on carrying my sign.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
1) Fitzgerald makes a deal with Libby, Rove and others, resulting the indictment of Cheney for some subversive crime, followed by the submission of articles of impeachment in the House of Representatives.
2) The ACLU wins the appeal of its FOIA case against Rumsfeld, requiring the release of the four videotapes and 87 photos of abuse at Abu Ghraib, film that is shown on all networks (even Fox, which has by now turned on the administration) and depicts abuse that makes the earlier pictures look like a Winnie the Pooh cartoon.
3) Cheney, Libby, Rove and others plead guilty, counting on pardons from Bush, which Bush, citing their "unswerving governmental service," grants.
4) Within minutes, articles of impeachment against Bush are filed in the House. Condi Rice, fearing for her future as a black female inmate of Leavenworth, makes a deal with the House Counsel, and presents evidence of Bush's deliberate distortion of pre-Iraq-invasion evidence to justify war.
5) Both John Roberts and Samuel Alito, having been confirmed, are videod with Scalia and Thomas in an orgy with a bunch of mixed-gender, mixed-race ten-year-olds, and Fox News plays the videos in prime time.
6) Iraq is taken over by Iran, which demands that the US appoint a new president in order for the US to have any oil from either country.
At which point, I awoke, screaming in delight.
Friday, November 04, 2005
And so, as the author points out, we might want to be on the lookout for an attack on Iran by the US, in the guise of disarming its nuclear threat, just as the US attacked Iraq in 2003, using WMD as the excuse, in the wake of Iraq's decision to utilize the euro as its exchange.
He said there are signs of how the U.S. presence is likely to change in the
future. He visited a base in southern Iraq that will expand from 6,000 to
soldiers, drawing them from northern parts of the country. He expects
forces will consolidate in two or three major, well-protected bases,
troops eventually taking over operations in the rest of the
You see, this stuff you'll be hearing from Washington about "withdrawal" of US forces after the upcoming December 15 election (another election in Iraq? God, they've got to be tired of voting!), simply means withdrawing them to fortified perimeter zones inside the country, where the US will be able to control all events throughout the Middle East. This was one of the major reasons Bush invaded Iraq, and it's the major reason Muslim radicals--especially bin Laden--have given for terrorist actions against the US.
So, the US will continue on its road to empire, and the terrorists' attacks will continue. A perfect recipe for ongoing dictatorship in our nation, and war throughout the world.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
And isn't Bush II supposed to have a "base," an insane/ignorant bunch of Christian radicals that constitute 40-plus percent of the electorate? Could they finally be catching on--or bailing out?
I couldn'ta said it better myself.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
The source for this report isn't the MSM, of course. Leave it to Islam Online to tell us what America has become.
Monday, October 31, 2005
Fifteen minutes of fame? Not even that, nowadays.
Ya gotta hand it to the MSM, they're right on the spot with the latest hot story, but the moment it cools, fuggetaboutit.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
To the editor, Santa Barbara News Press
Re the indictment of
To those who contend—I’m talking about Limbaugh, Hannity and their ilk—that Scooter Libby’s misstatements to the FBI and grand jury about the leak of Valerie Plame’s status with the CIA are inconsequential crimes, reflect on this.
We must first address the Why Bother? question. Why would anyone—Cheney, Libby, Rove, all of whom discussed the matter at length—bother to delve into the employment of the Joe Wilson’s wife? Because, of course, by arguing that as a CIA employee she was instrumental in
arranging Wilson’s trip to Niger, they could cheapen Wilson’s negative report on the Niger-yellowcake deal, devaluing his effort as simply the result of a familial junket, devaluing him as a nobody, merely a beneficiary of a well-positioned bureaucrat.
But why try to devalue Joe Wilson, and so his report? I’ll tell you why.
First, it’s undisputed that the famous “16 words” of Bush’s State of the Union address were critical, in the view of those in his administration—notably Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle and Libby—to establishing the case for war against Iraq. These words raised the specter of nuclear explosions on American soil, demolishing whole cities, not just toppling towers, not just clogging subways. So important was Bush’s phrase, that Iraq had sought “significant quantities of uranium from Africa,” that it was much massaged by his handlers to be attributed to the
Brits, because the CIA disputed the evidence and indeed had insisted that the reference be stricken in an earlier Bush speech—and Colin Powell didn’t touch it in his watershed speech to the UN Security Council some weeks later. Indeed, as later conceded by CIA Director George Tenet, those words should never have been included in Bush's address—a concession made, however, only after the invasion.
Second, what would be the repercussions of such a revelation, that is, that the executive branch of the US government, to which its foreign policy is entrusted under our Constitution, purposefully misstated the evidence for war in a crucial address to the Congress and the nation to support the invasion? I’ll tell you what.
It’s not just a lie—although it certainly was a lie. It’s not just an impeachable offense—although it’s certainly that, if Clinton’s lies about his sexual encounters were impeachable. No, it’s worse,
much worse: It’s direct evidence of a war crime, no less obvious than the Nazis’ falsification of evidence of Poland’s border incursion to justify Germany’s unprovoked invasion of that nation in 1939. To those who followed the Nuremberg trials, Germany’s invasion of Poland was a principal count of the indictment of the Nazis for war crimes, i.e., “waging a war of aggression.”
So, when the Bush/Cheney cabal drafted those 16 words, and Bush delivered
them—cleverly crafted, dramatically delivered—they knowingly risked everything, including exposure as war criminals, in furtherance of their ambition to take over Iraq and, with it, dominion over the assets and politics of the Middle East.
So—enter Libby. He’s among those who promoted the Iraq invasion, according to his own account, but Wilson’s yellowcake report disputed the basis for it. Libby then confered with Cheney and others, who determined to nip the report in the bud, to dispute its validity by
questioning the veracity, the solidity, of its author. Not a new concept: When you don’t like the news, kill the messenger. A ploy that had been used by the Bush administration to fine effect in the past, too numerous to mention.
And it worked, for a time. Joe Wilson’s negative report about the Niger-yellowcake deal wallowed among the myriad of other stories questioning Bush’s case for war, including the aluminum-tubes debate, the mobile biological-labs chase and the long-range drones silliness. The neo-cons, of which Libby was an avid member, had waged their war and it was underway.
But by the time Joe Wilson’s report was published in the major media, in a New York Times editorial, no less—and no WMD’s had yet been found in Iraq—the neo-cons were worried, worried bigtime, that their pre-war lies would be found out. And so—kill the messenger.
Who was behind Libby’s leaks, and who was he protecting with his lies to the FBI and the grand jury? His boss Cheney, of course; and no doubt he acted with Rove’s approval and
Bush’s concurrence. There’s no way Cheney’s first deputy would take on such a
project on his own.
Will we ever know who, exactly? Maybe not. But we know why, exactly. So that Libby, Cheney, Bush and Rove, as well as the entire cabal in the Pentagon--and without--who caused this nation to invade Iraq based on lies, would escape exposure as war criminals, war criminals under the same legal principles that international law applied in the past to those who lied to provoke invasion of a sovereign nation.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Pong. Tomorrow's indictment day. Rove, Libby, probably three others, plus an extended grand jury term to allow Fitzgerald some leeway to offer deals to those who decide to turn, Watergate -style, on their elders.
Ya gotta say this about the Bush administration. Never a dull moment.
Such demonstrations, as good as they are for a temporary lift to the psyche of each participant, won't change the course of American politics. We peaceniks are expected to act in such a way. What would worry the other side is if we didn't gather in parks, but in well-shielded buildings and attics; if we didn't sing softly, but planned and devised and schemed; if we didn't disperse after meeting, but worked on assigned tasks into the night and the next day and the next.
It's not enough to attend a vigil, not enough to watch and hope. We've got to act. We've got to.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Sulaimaniyah Administration Minister of Culture (to be) dismissed(Aso)
"Sulaimaniyah administration minister of culture Fattah Zakhoyee (will be)
dismissed from his job because he did not vote in the referendum, according to a
source in the Kurdistan Workers' Party. The source told Aso that the regional
government has yet to officially fire Zakhoyee, a member of the party, and the
issue will be settled on October 25 or October 26. The source said the Patriotic
Union of Kurdistan politburo wanted to dismiss Zakhoyee."
Two questions: (1) At what point does impeachment become more than a constitutional concept? (2) Who on Earth (or in any event, among those polled) could feel "somewhat" either pro or con about this president? Under what rock or rug have they been living these last five years?
Update: I wrote too soon (that's what comes from creating posts at four a.m.): As of today, 10/26, according to Rasmussen, Bush's total approval number (adding "strongly approve" and "somewhat approve" figures) dropped another point (to 41%, his lowest ever) while his "strongly disapprove" number increased by two (to 44%). Is this a new version of the "silent majority"?
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
My question: With some notable exceptions (Byrd, Kucinich and outsiders Snowcroft, Ritter, a few others) where the fuck were you before, and during, the 2000 deaths?
As one who's been marching, writing, protesting this monstrous war since well before it began, I gotta tell ya, you politicians had better not just make a sound-byte out of this. If you want my votes in 2006 or 2008, you better damned well get on the long-ago-departed bandwagon and take the reins, bigtime. Only if you do, will you get my vote (and the votes of millions of my fellow protesters) because unlike the Bud-swilling millions who voted for Bush, we have reason, and long memories.
Which means, Hillary and Kerry, it's time--long overdue--for a flipflop. You too, Feinstein.
Monday, October 24, 2005
But here's something I'm not crazy about admitting: I like to watch boxing on TV. Not every bout, but occasionally, and certainly the classics. That's why I'm confessing now. I just watched, on ESPN Classics, the 1952 heavyweight championship bout between Jersey Joe Walcott, the champion, and an undefeated contender, Rocky Marciano. I recall listening to it on radio when I was eleven years old, as a matter of fact.
Those two powerful boxers, toe to toe, fought for three-minutes times twelve (imagine!), until 50 seconds into the thirteenth round when Marciano hit Walcott with a devastating right hand to the chest or chin (no replays in those days), and Walcott hit the deck for the count.
The fight was so fierce that you wanted neither of the boxers to come out for the next round, you felt every heavy blow, and there were hundreds of them, back and forth. I cannot imagine the courage it took for those two men--in fabulous condition, of incredible strength--to come out for round after round.
Anyway--there you have it. My confession. So am I a hypocrite for calling myself a peacenik? Probably.
Could it be, could it really be true, that we might actually get to the bottom of this cabal in D.C. Could it be that Americans will take back America?
Friday, October 21, 2005
My take on the issue adds this slightly-mentioned piece: The media, especially the broadcast and cable television news. It's not hard to gain power when the major institution that's supposed to question authority doesn't do so and indeed is part of your power structure.
They have no WMD's, Saddam's in custody and on trial, they've got a government in place and they've adopted a constitution.
Why--can anybody tell me--why are our troops still dying over there?
Thursday, October 20, 2005
So where, you ask, is the "Silent Majority?" Ask Congress and the mainstream media.
But that's another story. I'm suffering, instead, from Iraq fatigue and I may be one of the last to catch the disorder. I haven't quite quit counting our dead soldiers (1987 as of this morning, five killed yesterday), and I still read the stories on the various websites, but it's hard to maintain the outrage day after day, outrage after outrage. So, when a post appears on this blog dealing with Iraq, I assure you it's been interiorly vetted by me, the least outrageous developments have been filtered out, leaving only the worst--the very worst--developments for reportage here.
Here's today's outrage: Condi Rice's latest concept, "clear, hold and build." Under this scenario, as far as I can tell, our troops will take over an area by force, guard and assist construction people as they rebuild what we've destroyed. If this isn't VietNam all over again, I don't know what is. Remember the phrase "fortified hamlet"?
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Okay, something grand like that could happen but in my experience such matters (with the notable exception of the spectacular Saturday Night Massacre in which Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, and then two Justice Department bosses, Elliot Richardson, the AG, and his underling, William Ruckelshaus, resigned, only to be supplanted by Robert Bork--later to fail in a bid for the Supreme Court--who fired Cox), simply aren't part of the political scene in Washington. We're much less dramatic than that, most-times.
But I gotta admit, something's afoot and it feels like it's something pretty big. Even so, since I can't do anything about it but stayed glued to my 'puter (and, I suppose, my TV), I elect to sit back and click my mouse and remote and smile, vaguely, knowing that no matter how much less than fulfillment of my wildest fantasies eventuates, Fitzgerald and his secret jurors are giving me--all of us Lefties--a hell of a ride.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Of course they still have Faux News, the Wall Street Journal (most times), and a bunch of magazines and think tanks. But it's a start.
Monday, October 17, 2005
It takes time for any movement, any idea, to get seeded, to grow roots and thrive. It took years for the opposition to the VietNam war to get a foothold; and years more for it to lead to our withdrawal. But we don't have that much time anymore. The madmen (and women) who control our government are moving too fast, closing in on Armageddon with deliberate pace.
There's no time, either, to form a third party and have it hold sway. The Democrats are all we have--and it's time to remind them who they are. The party of the people--us--the folks who built this nation. We hate war, we want freedom, we help our fellows, we are good and kind.
Come on Democrats. Take back America.
These numbers are awful for Bush. But even more awful is the fact that in its previous poll two weeks ago (also shown on the same webpage) Gallup/CNN/USAToday was among those most favorable to Bush, with a disapproval/approval spread of only 50% to 45%.
This means that Bush has lost more than 7 Gallup percentage points in just two weeks, all after he made countless trips to New Orleans, all after his incessant speeches and appearances to bolster his image as leader.
It could well be that, as happened to Truman after the war, the public has just quit believing in the guy.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Friday, October 14, 2005
Now a national referendum is being held, and the Sunnis are being urged to vote. Really? Will they at least be promised food, water and shelter in their major cities?
What a cruel joke this is, this charade of democracy. I'm ashamed of us for allowing our nation to do this, because we as midlife adults were at the helm when this monstrous regime took over the three branches of our government. It's time, citizens, to take back our nation.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Second: Good for CNN, to tell it like it is. Its content, much less its headline of the story, wouldn't have made it onto Goebbel's broadcast of the event.
Oh yeah. Lyndon Johnson.
But Johnson was also the force behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the War on Poverty. Whereas this Texan, this monster, has done us worldwide harm, as Johnson did, and wrecked our interior as well.
We elected him. We're paying for it now. Fuck him. Fuck those who voted for him. And--I don't mind saying it, really--fuck all those American soldiers who are dying in this battle. They signed on, voluntarily, unlike the poor drafted slobs who, unlike me and Clinton and Bush and Cheney and our ilk, found a way to survive Viet Nam.
Our troops and our "independent contractors" in Iraq signed on for this duty and are being paid for it, many with hefty reinlistment bonuses. They're mercenaries, like the Hessians in 1776. I say, you takes your money, you takes your chance.
Fuck 'em, fuck 'em all.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Monday, October 10, 2005
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Friday, October 07, 2005
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
But how's this for the definition of terrorism?: any criminal act against people, institutions or property that "aims to hurt security, stability and national unity and introduce terror, fear or horror among the people and cause chaos" or any "activity threatening to spark sectarian differences or civil war." Furthermore, a terrorist is defined as including anyone who provokes or enables a terrorist to do such things.
So flag-burners, strikers, demonstrators--are they now subject to the death penalty in our new democracy? What about the person who holds the flag pole, hoists a supportive sign in an anti-government demonstration or shouts encouragement to the demonstrators?
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Monday, October 03, 2005
Gotta go now, wanna watch.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
The Iraqi constitution, if it should be adopted, will be entirely bogus, just as the Bushies, through their operative, Tribune Bremer (author of the interim constitution) envisioned.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Ya know, you've gotta feel for those folks, trying to do the right thing under the gun of our occupying forces. Makes you weep for liberty, doesn't it? Makes you ask, Why the hell don't we get out, just leave them alone and maybe they'll survive as a viable nation. Maybe we will too.