Silence is Consent

If you don't speak up you accept what is happening. This site was born out of the mainstream media's inability to cover the news. I am just an American cititzen trying to spread the word in the era of FCC consolidation, post 9/11 Patriot Act hysteria, hackable voting machines and war without end. I rant and post news items I perceive to be relevant to our current situation.

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
- Thomas Jefferson

Social Security is not broken and therefore does not need to be fixed

So Called Social Security Crisis (SCSSC)

Comments, questions, corrections, rebuttals are always welcome.

Saturday, May 29, 2004
 
It looks like some are still with Chalabi. It looks like Perle has not jumped off the bandwagon, Conservative Allies Take Chalabi Case to the White House. A couple parts to this article.

First:
Mr. Perle said the action against Mr. Chalabi would burnish his anti-American credentials in Iraq and possibly help him to be elected to political office. "In that regard, this clumsy and outrageous assault on him will only improve his prospects," Mr. Perle said.
This is what I wrote when this stroy broke: "Mr. Chalabi is fighting for his political life in Iraq. But for him stay in power he needs the Iraqis to think he is one of them and not with the Americans". I thought this is why it was done all along to make him look like the US was against him and that he was no longer our "boy". He's been washed, like money.

Second:
Mr. Perle said that he had no business dealings with Mr. Chalabi, but that he believed the C.I.A. and D.I.A. were spreading false information that he did. He also said that Mr. Chalabi was not alone in supplying intelligence to the United States government that turned out to be false.

"I know of no inaccurate information that was supplied uniquely by anyone brought to us by the Iraqi National Congress," Mr. Perle said.
The whole article is about Chalabi, right? Why does he finish with a qualified sentence like that about the INC? This is how these people work. That last sentence is just crap plain and simple. Why is the NY Times still doing this, again?

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Friday, May 28, 2004
 
David Brock and his site Media Matters does a great job of shredding the "wing-nuts" and their daily talking points. Two in particular caught my eye today. First he takes them apart on their lie of the The media is a bunch of liberals and then how Right-wing pundits play doctor; diagnose Gore as "insane". It's very incestuous.


More "wing-nut" Insanity
THE NOBLE WARRIORS SPEAK
Don't believe anything you've been reading over the last month or so. This administration is filled with individuals who are decent, intelligent and patriotic Americans, doing their honest best for the country. Anyone who says otherwise is a Bush-hater, and the only kind of criticism they have ever offered is that the Bushies are stupid, venal or crazy. These detestable Lefties and Paleo-Righties are obviously stupid and crazy themselves (and probably venal, too), so you can safely ignore them.

I am serenely optimistic about the war and its eventual outcome. And, no, I don't give a damn what the Arabs think about us, not any of them. We're only liberating them and giving them the gift of freedom, so who the hell cares what they think? Many people do not have my refined sensibilities.

And even if this war was not required for our national defense, it has had some wonderful benefits. A military is meant to be used, and soldiers want to fight. They're doing that now, so they're a lot better at killing and blowing things up than they would have been just carrying out those namby-pamby "peace-keeping" missions. One other thing: this war has shown how incredibly stupid it is to have men and women serving in the same unit, especially in combat zones. Pfc. England conclusively demonstrates that.

Abuse and torture? What abuse and torture? Of Arabs? I told you, I don't care about them. If only everyone had my broad, philosophical outlook. Then you wouldn't get bogged down in these ridiculous details.

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Must Reads:

Chris Floyd
Down by Law
What's more, Bush and his warlords knew they were constructing a blatantly criminal operation; why else dig up legal dodges to shield the top conspirators from prosecution? Lower down, of course, it's a different story. The cannon fodder that Bush fed into his war machine -- the "white trash," the immigrants, the urban poor, the part-time reservists -- aren't blessed with the divine elite's exemption from law. When the system's true nature is inadvertently exposed -- pictures leak out, a massacre gets reported, some honest soldier blows the whistle, etc. -- a chunk of fodder is duly offered up on the altar of "justice," while the authors of atrocity mutter a few pieties and rush off to the next fund-raiser.
Paul Krugman
To Tell the Truth
People who get their news by skimming the front page, or by watching TV, must be feeling confused by the sudden change in Mr. Bush's character. For more than two years after 9/11, he was a straight shooter, all moral clarity and righteousness.

But now those people hear about a president who won't tell a straight story about why he took us to war in Iraq or how that war is going, who can't admit to and learn from mistakes, and who won't hold himself or anyone else accountable. What happened?

Bob Herbert
A Speech That's No Joke
This is a time to remember the principles that made this a great nation, and to reaffirm them. I don't know what will happen in the election in November. What I know is that the nation is facing a crisis now. The Bush administration needs to step back from the abyss its ideology has dragged us to.

It may be that the president never understood what made the U.S. great. In that case, he'd be among those who could benefit most from a reading of Mr. Gore's speech. If he followed that up with a look at the Bill of Rights (it would only take a few minutes), he'd have a better understanding of what this country, at its best, is about.

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A couple of weeks ago I read this post over at Orcinus, Media Revolt: A Manifesto:
We still treat our national politics like a combination sporting event and gossipfest. We're still demeaning the national discourse with a steady diet of propaganda/spin souffle served up on a platter of triviality, with a side of slander.

In the process, we keep the public (a large portion of it willingly) in the dark about the very real politics and policies that directly affect their security and well-being, both here and now and for the long haul.
It is a great read on the current state of the media in this country and the Manifesto is plan to fix it. At one point it mentions the, "degradation of the national discourse into trivialities and prurient speculation will be the focus of the revolt. When reporters insist on covering politics as a horse race, replacing serious analysis of policy and its effects on the real life of citizens with gossip columns and talking points, and especially when they engage in fraudulent journalism that twists and conceals the truth, they will be exposed for the untrustworthy miscreants they are". That's where Chris Matthews comes in. The last two nights I've watched Hardball. I swore off this program, and others like it, a while back but have started watching it again because of a point made in the above post that we have to keep tabs on the media and hold them accountable for their lies and lack of coverage on the important issues.

The last two nights Chris Matthews has been mentioning a poll question:
8. Who would you rather have a backyard barbecue with - John Kerry or
George W. Bush?

Tot Rep Dem Ind Men Wom Prot Cath

Kerry 39% 6% 74% 37% 37% 41% 36% 34%
Bush 50 89 16 49 54 47 55 54
DK/NA 11 5 10 14 8 13 9 12
The first problem with this is that Chris said (transcript) it was a Zogby poll, in truth it's a Quinnipiac poll:
MATTHEWS: OK. What about this personality problem, where people don‘t want to go to a barbecue with this guy? What‘s that about, this new poll? My way of asking it is, who do you want to be on an airplane next to for 10 or 15 hours? But this poll question by Zogby was, who do you want to be at a barbecue with? And everybody hands down says Bush. So do you overcome—and that was the Gore problem. Nobody really wanted to saddle up to Gore, but liked Bush.
Minor detail but still wrong. Not to mention can you imagine 10 or 15 hours on a plane with Bush!? The other thing to notice in what Chris said is it the same tactic form 2000 all over again, personality. Better known as the Goring of Kerry. Now in the Quinnipiac poll in the intro, before you get to the minutia, it references the barbecue question along with two others:
* Voters say 45 – 43 percent that they would rather have Kerry teach their children;
* By a 50 – 39 percent margin, voters would rather have a backyard barbecue with Bush;
* Voters say 46 – 41 percent they would rather have Bush run their business.
The other two questions Chris never mentions favor Kerry. Does it seem odd to anyone else that more people would want a Lawyer to run their business than an MBA/CEO? It would seem to me that just for the sake of journalistic integrity not to mention fairness he would at least mention the other two. By the way who the hell are the 43% of people that would rather have Bush teach their children. That is really disturbing!

In the end what we are left with from the last two nights of this show is no more than discussion of who would be better to hang out with. Not a meaningful discussion of the issues facing this country. Just barbecue talk.

Let's see if we hear anything about these stories in the near future:
The War and Tax Cut Dividend
2006 Cuts In Domestic Spending On Table
The White House put government agencies on notice this month that if President Bush is reelected, his budget for 2006 may include spending cuts for virtually all agencies in charge of domestic programs, including education, homeland security and others that the president backed in this campaign year.
More Good News From The War
Pending Draft Legislation Targeted for Spring 2005
There is pending legislation in the House and Senate (twin bills: S 89 and HR 163) which will time the program's initiation so the draft can begin at early as Spring 2005 -- just after the 2004 presidential election. The administration is quietly trying to get these bills passed now, while the public's attention is on the elections, so our action on this is needed immediately.
How Sick Is This?
SO-CALLED LIBERAL MEDIA, E-mail Kelli Arena
Yesterday, CNN Justice Department correspondent Kelli Arena spread the unsubstantiated myth that al Qaeda has a preference in the upcoming U.S. elections. Arena, who is supposed to be an objective journalist, claimed, "there is some speculation that al Qaeda believes it has a better chance of winning in Iraq if John Kerry is in the White House." Arena's comment came on the same day Kerry called for 40,000 more troops in Iraq. E-mail Kelli Arena at kelli.arena@turner.com and tell her to stick to the facts.

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Thursday, May 27, 2004
 
I get stuck all the time. I have this need to write something that will explain it all. I am a great lover of history and government. But I think the most important part of those two subjects is where how do you go about keeping tabs on your government and where or how your knowledge of history was acquired.

Most of us keep up with our government through the mainstream media. It is a fact that mainstream journalism in this country -- mostly meaning newspapers and TV -- is in a sad state of affairs. They are completely profit driven and corrupt. How in the world can any network with NBC in it's name trash this war? GE, which owns NBC, is the biggest defense contractor in the country. Now follow me on this one. If war is good for the bottom line of GE how do you think the NBC's will treat the war. What was it, Showdown With Saddam!? CNN, now owned by whatever conglomeration it now is of Time, Warner, AOL and whoever else has jumped into that cesspool. ABC that's owned by Disney, which right now does not wants to release Michael Moore's new film. That sounds a little like censorship. CBS which is owned by Viacom which is the biggest media conglomerate of them all. And finally there is Fox, a.k.a NewsCorp, a.k.a Fair and Balanced, a.k.a The no Spin Zone, speaks for itself. I'm sure you've heard of the recent struggles of the New York Times, Jayson Blair as well as Judith Miller. In any case why did every single mainstream media outlet in the country fail to do their job in the lead up to this war? They were all too scared to take on a popular President after 9/11 that's why. Holy shit! I don't think that is why the founders put freedom of the press into the Bill of Rights.

Which leads us to history. I graduated from high school in 1985. At that time like most 17 year olds, and I'm sure many more today, I didn't read much. About two or three years after high school, not being a great college student, I made a decision that if I wasn't going to finish college I should probably start reading to make sure I didn't turn into an imbecile, or a bigger imbecile. And when one starts to see that there are different opinions and facts than what was in the history books you learned from it is enlightening to say the least, Howard Zinn will mess you up for the rest of you life.

Yesterday I linked an article about Daddy giving Dubya a history lesson. It just reinforces all of this. Who in the mainstream media in this country is going to point out that Iran and Israel, working together, schooled us into taking out Saddam for them? And that they've been playing us like this for years. That these two and Ronald Reagans campaign conspired (October Surprise) to not allow the release of the hostages to help insure Jimmy Carters defeat. Why you ask? Because Jimmy Carter was actually going to force Israel back to the 1967 borders in his second term. And if you watch anything other than the mainstream media you will notice that everything in the Middle East goes back to one thing. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the injustices involved in the conflict. You realize that when it comes to the Middle East as this article shows, History's Fools, it all goes back to that:
If there is a path to democracy in the Middle East, it begins in Jerusalem, not Baghdad.
As I have continued to read to get my history and my news I have come across some great information. I would like to recommend a book to you that shows what you media has become, Into The Buzzsaw. It shows how stories are censored. How the money for investigative reporting has dried up and newsrooms are more interested in ratings than good stories. How the truth is no longer important and much, much more. One last thing. This site will tell you who owns what in the media, Well Connected. The point of this is that to try and explain it all I have to keep looking.

Notice this is from the BBC, not NBC
Bush under fire over terror alert
Harold Schaitberger, president of the firefighters' union, said that the administration had known about the threats for a month.

"I do find it awfully convenient and suspicious that it happens to be tied in right behind the president's recent message to the nation as well as his troubling, plummeting poll numbers," he said.


The FBI goes after the neocons
The Bush orthodoxy is in shreds
At a conservative think tank in downtown Washington, and across the Potomac at the Pentagon, FBI agents have begun paying quiet calls on prominent neoconservatives, who are being interviewed in an investigation of potential espionage, according to intelligence sources. Who gave Ahmed Chalabi classified information about the plans of the US government and military?
Perle jumps ship. Is that the FBI knocking?
U.S. war policy 'grave error'
Richard Perle, until recently a powerful adviser to U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, described U.S. policy in post-war Iraq as a failure.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2004
 
A little history
Bush Sr.'s Iraq-Iran Secrets
Before the Iraq War spins further out of control, former President George H.W. Bush should sit down his son, George W. Bush, and level with him about the real history of U.S. relations with Iraq, Iran and Israel’s Likud Party – even if the father has to admit to illegal and unethical conduct in the process.

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Todays story about the grab for your civil liberties.
Why We Should Fear The Matrix
Remember the TIA? First it stood for "Total Information Awareness" but that was too descriptive so they changed it to "Terrorisms Information Awareness". But for some reason even Congress thought this was a bad idea. Well maybe another new name, this one really cool, MATRIX ("Multistate Anti-TeRrorism Information eXchange") will make it seem not so threatening.
Here is what this produces
Oregon lawyer speaks out about his ordeal
The attorney was taken away by FBI agents on May 6 when federal officials incorrectly matched his fingerprint to one found on a bag of detonators in a train station near Madrid.

Go Al!
Remarks by Al Gore, May 26, 2004
a few quotes:
What happened at the prison, it is now clear, was not the result of random acts by "a few bad apples," it was the natural consequence of the Bush Administration policy that has dismantled those wise constraints and has made war on America's checks and balances.

How dare they blame their misdeeds on enlisted personnel from a Reserve unit in upstate New York. President Bush owes more than one apology. On the list of those he let down are the young soldiers who are themselves apparently culpable, but who were clearly put into a moral cesspool. The perpetrators as well as the victims were both placed in their relationship to one another by the policies of George W. Bush.

When a business enterprise finds itself in deep trouble that is linked to the failed policies of the current CEO the board of directors and stockholders usually say to the failed CEO, "Thank you very much, but we're going to replace you now with a new CEO -- one less vested in a stubborn insistence on staying the course, even if that course is, in the words of General Zinni, "Headed over Niagara Falls."

We simply cannot afford to further increase the risk to our country with more blunders by this team. Donald Rumsfeld, as the chief architect of the war plan, should resign today. His deputies Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and his intelligence chief Stephen Cambone should also resign. The nation is especially at risk every single day that Rumsfeld remains as Secretary of Defense.

Condoleeza Rice, who has badly mishandled the coordination of national security policy, should also resign immediately.

George Tenet should also resign. I want to offer a special word about George Tenet, because he is a personal friend and I know him to be a good and decent man. It is especially painful to call for his resignation, but I have regretfully concluded that it is extremely important that our country have new leadership at the CIA immediately.


During Ronald Reagan's Presidency, Secretary of Labor Ray Donovan was accused of corruption, but eventually, after a lot of publicity, the indictment was thrown out by the Judge. Donovan asked the question, "Where do I go to get my reputation back?" President Bush has now placed the United States of America in the same situation. Where do we go to get our good name back?

The answer is, we go where we always go when a dramatic change is needed. We go to the ballot box, and we make it clear to the rest of the world that what's been happening in America for the last four years, and what America has been doing in Iraq for the last two years, really is not who we are. We, as a people, at least the overwhelming majority of us, do not endorse the decision to dishonor the Geneva Convention and the Bill of Rights....


President Bush offered a brief and half-hearted apology to the Arab world - but he should apologize to the American people for abandoning the Geneva Conventions. He also owes an apology to the U.S. Army for cavalierly sending them into harm's way while ignoring the best advice of their commanders. Perhaps most importantly of all, he should apologize to all those men and women throughout our world who have held the ideal of the United States of America as a shining goal, to inspire their hopeful efforts to bring about justice under a rule of law in their own lands. Of course, the problem with all these legitimate requests is that a sincere apology requires an admission of error, a willingness to accept responsibility and to hold people accountable. And President Bush is not only unwilling to acknowledge error. He has thus far been unwilling to hold anyone in his administration accountable for the worst strategic and military miscalculations and mistakes in the history of the United States of America.

So today, I want to speak on behalf of those Americans who feel that President Bush has betrayed our nation's trust, those who are horrified at what has been done in our name, and all those who want the rest of the world to know that we Americans see the abuses that occurred in the prisons of Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo and secret locations as yet undisclosed as completely out of keeping with the character and basic nature of the American people and at odds with the principles on which America stands.

I believe we have a duty to hold President Bush accountable - and I believe we will. As Lincoln said at our time of greatest trial, "We - even we here - hold the power, and bear the responsibility."

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Whether you're outraged by the outrage or just a member of the blowing off steam crowd the one thing everyone must understand about the prison abuse in Iraq is that it was not just "a few bad apples". Notice I say in Iraq and not Abu Ghraib or "abugah-rayp" (audio)as your President said. The reason they refer to the name of the prison and not Iraq as a whole is because it makes it seem less widespread.

So who or what is being hidden with this "bad apples" defense. Well Robert Fisk has an idea,The Trail of Torture
But we're in danger again of missing the detail. Just as the unsupervised armed mercenaries being killed in Iraq are being described by the occupation authorities as "contractors" or, more mendaciously, "civilians"--so the responsibility for the porno interrogations at Abu Ghraib is being allowed to slide into the summer mists over the Tigris river. So let's go back, for a moment, to the long weeks in which the Department of Bad Apples allowed its jerks to put leashes around Iraqi necks, forced prisoners to have sex with each other and raped some Iraqi lasses in the jail.

And let's cast our eyes upon that little, all-important matter of responsibility. The actual interrogators accused of encouraging US troops to abuse Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib jail were working for at least one company with extensive military and commercial contacts with Israel. The head of an American company whose personnel are implicated in the Iraqi tortures, it now turns out, attended an "anti-terror" training camp in Israel and, earlier this year, was presented with an award by Shaul Mofaz, the right-wing Israeli defence minister.
I'm not a Middle East expert but whenever Israel is put in the mix it's like throwing gasoline on a fire. This is just reinforcing a previously held notion of why we are in Iraq -- to setup an Israel friendly Iraq. It's also important to understand that this didn't just start in Iraq. It all started with this:
Cofer Black, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) counter- terrorism chief, was said to have testified at a U.S. Senate hearing in 2002 that interrogators had now been given more latitude in interpreting the law because of the importance of the information they were seeking. "After September 11 the gloves came off," he was quoted as saying.
We also find out that more horrible things have happened in Afghanistan which -- unless a person gets their news form something other than the mainstream media, i.e. the internet, -- you probably never heard about. There was even a documentary about the massacre of POW's in Afghanistan.

It's hard to imagine how those soldiers feel that "took the gloves off". I'm sure in some weird patriotic way they thought they were just doing their little part to keep their country safe from terrorism by following these orders, whoever they came from. But now to hear their Commander in Chief label them as, "...a few American troops who disregarded our country and disregarded our values", must make them feel betrayed. There truly is no honor among thieves.



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Tuesday, May 25, 2004
 
A few before I go:

Halliburton Steals Lifesaving Equipment Money from Soldiers in Iraq. Be sure and scroll down there are eight, as the author calls them, Recent developments in our perpetual war on evil

A Call to Conscience
The Diplomat who quit over Nixon's Invasion of Cambodia asks Americans on the front lines of Foreign Service to resign from the "Worst Regime by far in the History of the Republic."

Bush Promises the Appearance of Chaos Ahead
But Bush gave no reason why the turnover of power will go smoothly. Quite the contrary: He said there will be more violence before and after the turnover. And he provided no realistic basis for expecting that the resistance to the U.S. occupation will fade.

Instead, he tried to foreshadow troubles to come. "There are difficult days ahead, and the way forward may sometimes appear chaotic," he said.


Do you remember this place, War Returns with a Vengeance as Allies Fail the Afghan People? Before the war in Afghanistan all the talking heads said we have to get Afghanistan right because it will show the rest of the world what we are going to do with these countries when we liberate(?) them, a template, so to speak. Now do you see where Iraq is headed?

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The only reason everyone in this administration keeps saying there is more violence ahead is to cover their asses. If there's more violence they will say, "See, we told you so". If there is less violence no one will hold it against them and then they will say, "Look, things are getting better".

The Presidents speech also reiterated the main theme of his re(ahem)-election campaign, fear. He did this by his tried and true ploy of once agian linking all that has occurred in Iraq with 9/11.

Even though the picture surrounding Chalabi keeps getting murkier, US intelligence fears Iran duped hawks into Iraq war, some still can't let go.
But Laurie Mylroie, a US Iraq analyst and one of the INC's most vocal backers in Washington, dismissed the allegations as the product of a grudge among CIA and state department officials driven by a pro-Sunni, anti-Shia bias.
But she has a history, Armchair Provocateur. The main question about this is whether this is another step in the push for war with Iran. Don't expect these people, from the President on down, to ever admit they made a mistake. The terrorists made them do it. Here's an update on Richard Perle, a.k.a The Prince of Darkness.

Oh yeah, your civil liberties are up for grabs again
ACLU Calls Move To Make Patriot Act Permanent Premature, Unwise; Calls Upon Hatch to Honor Vow to Examine Patriot Act Corrections Bill
The American Civil Liberties Union today voiced its strong opposition to legislation introduced in the Senate Friday that seeks to make permanent portions of the Patriot Act currently set to expire at the end of 2005. The measure follows a commitment by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to hold hearings on a Patriot Act corrections bill.

Meet the new boss. Remember Al Gore was playing class warfare for pointing this out in the 2000 election.
Special Interest Takeover
This agenda puts special interests above the public interest, sacrificing a safer, healthier, more just America at the behest of industry lobbyists, corporate campaign contributors, and professional ideologues – many of whom the president has appointed to "regulate" the very interests they used to represent.

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Along with power comes problems
You've probably already seen this already. Sometimes it takes a quote like this to point our how lame the Dems have been.
"It's extremely difficult to govern when you control all three branches of government," says Hastert spokesman John Feehery, a burden of which Democrats would happily relieve them. Feehery and other Hill Republicans say that intraparty tension will inevitably bubble up amid adversity. But many political analysts say the recent infighting exceeds the usual steam-letting


Your President laid out his Iraq strategy (better know as same plan restated) again last night
There are five steps in our plan to help Iraq achieve democracy and freedom. We will hand over authority to a sovereign Iraqi government, help establish security, continue rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure, encourage more international support, and move toward a national election that will bring forward new leaders empowered by the Iraqi people.
There's nothing new here. This has been the plan all along. They can't get it done. Why not? I don't want to get into one of my usual rants here about whether the chaos was planned or not. All I want to say is this: If you current plan isn't working you need to change it. There is no change here. He laid out these five steps but without changing the way to go about it nothing will change. His big announcement was that he is going to tear down the prison, the name of which he could not pronounce, like it was the building and not the people involved, form top down, that were responsible. So it looks like the strategy is if you keep saying the same thing, over and over again, sooner or later the sheeple will come to believe it.

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Monday, May 24, 2004
 
Stan Goff
Open Season in Iraq, MAMs (Military-Age Males) Are Back
In 1963, well before the American public generally understood where Vietnam was, a young Army captain led a South Vietnamese unit through the A Shau Valley to systematically burn villages to the ground. This was to deprive the so-called Vietcong of any base of support, and was called "draining the sea," a reference to Mao's dictum that the guerrilla is the fish and the population is the sea.


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The other half of Woodward and Bernstein weighs in
History lesson: GOP must stop Bush
Thirty years ago, a Republican president, facing impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction by the Senate, was forced to resign because of unprecedented crimes he and his aides committed against the Constitution and people of the United States. Ultimately, Richard Nixon left office voluntarily because courageous leaders of the Republican Party put principle above party and acted with heroism in defense of the Constitution and rule of law.

Zinni takes his turn on 60 Minutes. Can all these former Bush administration officials be wrong?
'They've Screwed Up'
Zinni, who now teaches international relations at the College of William and Mary, says he feels a responsibility to speak out, just as former Marine Corps Commandant David Shoup voiced early concerns about the Vietnam war nearly 40 years ago.

“It is part of your duty. Look, there is one statement that bothers me more than anything else. And that's the idea that when the troops are in combat, everybody has to shut up. Imagine if we put troops in combat with a faulty rifle, and that rifle was malfunctioning, and troops were dying as a result,” says Zinni.

“I can't think anyone would allow that to happen, that would not speak up. Well, what's the difference between a faulty plan and strategy that's getting just as many troops killed? It’s leading down a path where we're not succeeding and accomplishing the missions we've set out to do.”

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Fascism, I've mentioned it a few times. I read this post last night on the subject. It is very interesting. He makes a point about how de Tocqueville in his book Democracy in America spoke of a new kind of oppression not yet seen in the world:
The kind of oppression with which democratic peoples are threatened will resemble nothing that had preceded it in the world; our contemporaries would not find its image in their memories. I myself seek in vain an expression that exactly reproduces the idea that I form of it for myself and that contains it; the old words despotism and tyranny are not suitable. The thing is new, therefore I must try to define it, since I cannot name it.
Amazing, de Tocqueville foresaw Fascism. In the post he also introduces a new term Dolchstoßlegende -- Legend of the Stab in the Back. It was the theory, in Germany, that the reason they lost WW I was because the war effort had been weakened from within by Communists and Jews on the home front. He cites examples and makes a hypothosis that those who are against the Iraq war -- whether from the beginning or have since joined in -- will be blamed, like the Jews and Communists in Germany after WW I, for losing this war.

So de Tocqueville foresaw a new kind of oppression. This brought to mind another concept I encountered last year. It's called the The Cycle of Democracy and it was wriiten by 18th century historian Alexander Tyler:
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years.

These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.
As I look at this we are in the apathy to dependency stage of the cycle. That is where Facsism comes in. As the government, corporations and military become one we become dependent on them for our security and survival or so we are lead to believe. Don't believe me? Well look who's voting themselves money from the public treasury. They do this as roads and public schools crumble. As heath care skyrockets. As the income gap continues to increase. As corporate earnings skyrocket becuase of the benifits from recent tax cuts and I'm sure war spedning. So ya' see it looks like we are in a viscous cycle.


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Friday, May 21, 2004
 
More on Chalabi
The Truth About Ahmed Chalabi
Why the US Turned Against Their Former Golden Boy -- He was Preparing a Coup! What He Did as a Catspaw for Tehran: How He Nearly Bankrupted Jordan; the Billions He Stands to Make Out of the New Iraq

A couple on the money game
Pioneers Fill War Chest, Then Capitalize
Joined by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and a host of celebrities, hundreds of wealthy Republicans gathered at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge here in the first weekend in April, not for a fundraiser but for a celebration of fundraisers. It was billed as an "appreciation weekend," and there was much to appreciate.

As Bush "Pioneers" who had raised at least $100,000 each for the president's reelection campaign, or "Rangers" who had raised $200,000 each, the men and women who shot skeet with Cheney, played golf with pros Ben Crenshaw and Fuzzy Zoeller and laughed at the jokes of comedian Dennis Miller are the heart of the most successful political money operation in the nation's history. Since 1998, Bush has raised a record $296.3 million in campaign funds, giving him an overwhelming advantage in running against Vice President Al Gore and now Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.). At least a third of the total -- many sources believe more than half -- was raised by 631 people

Kerry Ponders Delaying Acceptance of Nomination
John Kerry is thinking about the possibility of postponing acceptance of his party's presidential nomination until weeks after the Democratic Convention in July. The chief advantage would be that he could continue to spend money for his general election campaign that was raised for the primaries.

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This is a great American. You can read, listen or view the interview.
Gore Vidal on the "United States of Amnesia," 9/11, the 2000 Election and the War in Iraq
Gore Vidal is one of America's most prolific and best-known writers. He has written more than 22 books and more than 200 essays -- a collection of his essays won the National Book Award in 1993. Vidal is the author most recently of Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace and Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Bush-Cheney Junta. Taken together, the books constitute a comprehensive attack on America’s imperialist ambitions and the military industrial complex. Writing in the Scotsman, critic Gavin Esler called Perpetual War "the finest serious critique of America's use and abuse of power in the 21st century that I have read."

Chris Floyd
Global Eye
Matters of great moment are suddenly in the air all around us: stark evidence of war crimes by the leaders of the West; the growing certainty of a humiliating geopolitical defeat inflicted on the world's greatest power; terrorism and torture as the mirrored emblems of the age, a deadly double helix giving rise to a hideous global reality.

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Thursday, May 20, 2004
 
All Texans should be proud of this
Your tax dollars at work
Let me make sure I've got this right ... the guv wants to fund schools with slots, so his office approves the expenditure of a quarter mil of public funds to an out-of-state firm by the lottery commission--who, by the way, only have the authority kindly granted them by the Lege to administer the existing lottery laws for the good people of Texas--so they can put legislation before the lawmakers that no one in Texas except the guy in the white mansion and the gambling industry wants. Carole Strayhorn should jump on this but big.

Remember, they hate us because of our freedom
Five detainees' deaths probed
The deaths include the killing in November of a high-level Iraqi general who was shoved into a sleeping bag and suffocated, according to the Pentagon report. The documents contradict an earlier Defense Department statement that said the general died "of natural causes" during an interrogation. Pentagon officials declined to comment on the new disclosure.
US tried to curtail Red Cross access to Iraqi prisons: senior officer
Karpinski said senior officers treated the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) report, which described prisoners held naked in dark cells for days at a time or paraded and photographed wearing women's underwear on their heads, in "a light-hearted manner".

She told The Wall Street Journal in a separate interview that the report drew laughs and jokes at a meeting in November.

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Sacrifice? What would Hastert know about that?
Hastert Lectures McCain on War, Sacrifice
"Throughout our history, wartime has been a time of sacrifice. ... What have we sacrificed?" McCain said. "As mind-boggling as expanding Medicare has been, nothing tops my confusion for cutting taxes during wartime. I don't remember ever in the history of warfare when we cut taxes."

Asked Wednesday about McCain's remarks, Hastert, who was rejected for military service because of a bad shoulder, first joked: "Who? Where's he from? A Republican?"


Check out Pelosi
Pelosi Criticizes Bush on Iraq Policies
"I believe that the president's leadership and the actions taken in Iraq demonstrate an incompetence in terms of knowledge, judgment and experience," the California Democrat told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference. The only fault I find in this statement is she is overstating the obvious.

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I heard about this on the way in today, U.S. military raids Chalabi's home. My first thought was that this is the US finally coming to the realization that "our" guy has turned on us and he has become the problem. But then I started to think that what better way to legitimize "our" guy in the minds of the Iraqis than to start terrorizing him like we have the rest of the people in the country?

So who is Ahmed Chalabi? He's been our guy all along. He was instrumental in producing the false justification for war in Iraq along with his co-conspirator form the NY Times Judith Miller. We got him and his people to Baghdad in time for them to help celebrate when Saddam's statue came down last year. He is also a member of the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) and has ambitions to be either Iraqs President or Prime Minister.

Why has he possibly fallen out of favor? Two things. His illegitimacy from the beginning as noted in this article:
The former exile's political movement was funded for years by the US government, and he was originally slated by the Pentagon to run Iraq's postinvasion government. But his lack of evident domestic support forced that plan to be scrapped last April. And Mr. Chalabi has increasingly fallen out of favor with the US.
The other could be this from an article co-written by his co-conspirator at the NY Times, U.S. and Iraq Spar Over Who Should Run Corruption Inquiry Into Oil-for-Food Program, and guess who is in the middle:
The disagreement over which agency should run Iraq's investigation raises questions about the effectiveness of any inquiry.

Beyond the political question of who should run a potentially explosive investigation, there is the practical question of access to thousands of documents that remain in the hands of individual Governing Council members like Ahmad Chalabi.

Mr. Chalabi, a former exile who returned with the strong backing of many senior Pentagon officials, has strongly objected to Mr. Bremer's decision to bypass the council on the oil-for-food inquiry.

Mr. Bremer now controls the spending of Iraqi money. Presumably, control over the purse strings would pass to Iraqis after the transfer of sovereignty, and the transitional government, with or without the current Governing Council members, could decide who should investigate the oil-for-food program.
So it could be that the raid was to recover these documents. This shows him fighting for Iraqi control of the UN investigation into the Oil-For-Food Program.

Mr. Chalabi is fighting for his political life in Iraq. But for him stay in power he needs the Iraqis to think he is one of them and not with the Americans. He is a Shia Muslim and just think how it would benefit the US to have a pro-US Shia Muslim running a country that is 60% Shia. There is so much maneuvering going on right now in Iraq and the current members of the IGC want to keep power any way they can. I'm just saying that maybe he hasn't fallen out of favor as much as we are being led to believe.

[UPDATE] I found this right after I posted, Neocon Lets Cat Out of Bag.

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Good stuff
Change Agents
But all of us need to take advantage of our own opportunities to be agents of change. For some it may mean walking away from cruel, wrongful, or dishonest work. For others it may mean becoming whistle-blowers. Still others can announce the truth as they see it in spite of risks to their pensions or job security. When we're willing to call ourselves by all of our names, change can happen.

Molly Ivins
Killing people for their own good
It's quite difficult to convince people you are killing them for their own good. That's our basic problem in Iraq.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2004
 
This says it all
Army, CIA want torture truths exposed
The pattern of the latest wave of revelations is clear: They are coming from significant numbers of senior figures in both the U.S. military and intelligence services. They reflect the disgust and contempt widely felt in both communities at the excesses; and at long last, they are being listened to seriously by senior Republican, as well as Democratic, senators on Capitol Hill.

Rumsfeld and his team of top lieutenants have therefore now lost the confidence, trust and respect of both the Army and intelligence establishments. Key elements of the political establishment even of the ruling GOP now recognize this.

Yet Rumsfeld and his lieutenants remain determined to hang on to power, and so far President Bush has shown every sign of wanting to keep them there. The scandal, therefore, is far from over. The revelations will continue. The cost of the abuses to the American people and the U.S. national interest is already incalculable: And there is no end in sight.


If you have any respect left for Colin Powell, say goodbye to it
Powell Admits False WMD Claim
Think about it. The secretary of state revealed that he, the CIA and the administration were conned (perhaps too easily) by exiles supported by the Pentagon, and this fraud helped set the stage for a war and a bloody and difficult occupation that still is claiming the lives of Americans. If this is not cause for investigations, dismissals, and angry statements from congressional leaders and administration officials, then what is?

These peoples' opinions should no longer be trusted
FIRE THE WAR PIMPS
A year and a half late and 30,000 lives short, supporters of the war in Iraq finally admit that they were wrong.

A father asks Bush a question
To the president from a father: Shame on us
FOR TWO GUYS about the same age, George W. Bush and I do not have much in common. There are, however, two realities we do share: His daughter Barbara and my son Michael both attend Yale. And neither one is about to join the United States armed forces in Iraq. Why not?

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It's not worth the life of one of my children. If you don't have kids then how about a family member? This is the way that every American must start looking at Iraq and the WOT. If you believe that the War on Terror (WOT) is for the future of freedom and civilization as we know it, similar to the cause of WW II, than it should be worth that sacrifice, right? History cycles, maybe that is an oversimplification for what follows but it's true. After Vietnam most people in this country we more willing to look at what we did there and understand that it was wrong. But then we cycled from that point, America can do wrong, to now, America is never wrong. We had free reign because everything changed after 9/11. Well it was that way before all these pictures came out. So why isn't the WOT worth the sacrifice? It's because it is not a war to save civilization it is a war fought to spread freedom and democracy around the world. That sounds oxymoronic doesn't it? The reasons are starting to appear more and more unworthy of sacrifice by the day.

Vietnam was not a war for civilization. Neither was Korea for that matter. These were wars we were fought on behalf of another population to save them from tyranny and give them democracy. Sound familiar? That's a noble idea but eventually didn't seem worth the sacrifice. That combined with the fact that these two wars did not end in an American victory made the horrors of war less palatable and seem more inhumane since the cause was not worth it. When we are all in it together against a force that threatens our very existence then we are more willing to sacrifice. Whether it is an actual threat or one that is trumped up doesn't matter.

The point about Vietnam I'm trying to make is that it all seems like such a waste when the cause is not just. The Bush administration since September 11th has tried to turn this into a WW II-like war but without the sacrifice. It is lost on succeeding generations just how much was sacrificed during that war. I only know from what my father has told me from back then. Bill Maher has been saying something to this effect since this all started. He even wrote a book about it, When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden: What the Government Should Be Telling Us to Help Fight the War on Terrorism. He relates it to the sacrifices made by Americans during WW II. New cars were no longer in production, sugar, coffee, tires, gas and many other things were rationed. Can you imagine this President telling people they will have to sacrifice to win the WOT. I mean he did the unprecedented thing of lowering taxes on the rich during a war, that was a sacrifice. The only people sacrificing for this war are people that didn't vote for or bankroll this President. Look who has lost a job and got a new one paying less, if they were lucky, since this President took office. Look who is fighting the WOT. Look whose expenses are going through the roof (gas, tuition, local taxes, health care, etc..) I think it is obvious who is doing the sacrificing and more importantly who isn't. This President has done very little, if anything, to create a sense of we're all in this together.

If this war is being fought to save the world for freedom shouldn't those who benefit the most from that freedom be made to pay if not at least an equal share a few percentage points more than those at the lower end? This war is right now benefiting some more than peace would. This has always been the case though. Then there is this quote:
"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." - Hermann Goering, April 18, 1946, while awaiting the Nuremberg trials.
This quote has been making the rounds quite a bit in the last few years. Not in the mainstream media though because who do you think is reponsible for bringing the people along to do the bidding of the leaders? Don't forget who owns the media. The corporations who own the defense companies that get rich from the war also own the media. Do you remember where your Vice President worked before becoming Vice President? Is Halliburton getting any work in Iraq? All of this is getting pretty close to fascism. Or what Mussolini called Corporatism,
"Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism as it is a merge of state and corporate power."
I started off talking about cycles of history. I think we may be cycling back to an era when America can be wrong again. Al Franken in his latest book talked about a concept that was something to the effect of grown up love and having grown up love for your country. Which in effect means owning up to mistakes and accepting the consequences. If one is to believe that 19 terrorists flew those planes on 9/11 one also has to own up to the fact that they didn't do it because they hate us for our freedom. They did it because we have used our power, at times, to do bad things.

This is where it all starts to fall apart. This WOT. For those doing the sacrificing are starting to realize, let's hope, that it is only making them worse off and those they are sacrificing for better off. Hmm, maybe war is a racket after all and it's definitely not worth one of my children.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2004
 
I had no idea. Maureen Farrell is aweseom
Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the Manchurian Candidate
"I am writing this from Frederick, Maryland. I've just been filming, for Channel 4, a press conference in which the son of a CIA officer who died in suspicious circumstances presented his evidence that vice-president Dick Cheney and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld were, in 1975, when part of the Gerald Ford administration, involved in a cover-up of the events surrounding his father's death. The press conference was due to have been two weeks ago, but when the son, Eric Olson, called the New York Times to invite them, they said, "Whoa! Do you really want to release such complex information to a bunch of journalists who'll probably screw it up? Let us do it properly instead."

I must try this ruse sometime. It worked on Olson. He postponed the press conference. The New York Times finally called him and said, "We missed Watergate because we thought it was just a small, unimportant break-in." What they seemed to mean was they believed his evidence but they couldn't decide if it was a huge, government-toppling White House cover-up of a murder, or a small, unimportant White House cover-up of a murder, the kind of stuff that doesn't mean much.. . "


I didn't think Sistani would sit on the sidelines forever
Sistani Calls for Iraq-Wide Protests
The BBC reports that Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has again called for all military forces to be withdrawn from Najaf and Karbala, the two holiest cities for Shiites. His statement seems calculated to put pressure on both sides. He wants the US to stop being so aggressive. And he wants the Muqtada al-Sadr supporters to leave Najaf. Muqtada has apparently called for Shiites to come to Najaf from all over Iraq to make a stand against the Americans, and Sistani is trying to countermand him.

Some are talking
‘Definitely a Cover-Up’
Dozens of soldiers — other than the seven military police reservists who have been charged — were involved in the abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, and there is an effort under way in the Army to hide it, a key witness in the investigation told ABCNEWS.

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The latest installment of...
Freewayblogger.com

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Best synopsis I've seen so far
Locked in Abu Ghraib
The White House is about to get hit by the biggest tsunami since the Iran-Contra affair, maybe since Watergate. President George W. Bush is trapped inside the compound, immobilized by his own stay-the-course campaign strategy. Can he escape the massive tidal waves? Maybe. But at this point, it's not clear how.

The last step before the draft
Phony Disengagement, Secret Escalation
While the Pentagon says it plans to scale back the U.S. occupation in Iraq, it's quietly doing just the opposite, high-level internal e-mails reveal.

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Some truth about war
Atrocities in Iraq: 'I killed innocent people for our government'
For nearly 12 years, Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey was a hard-core, some say gung-ho, Marine. For three years he trained fellow Marines in one of the most grueling indoctrination rituals in military life - Marine boot camp.

The Iraq war changed Massey. The brutality, the sheer carnage of the U.S. invasion, touched his conscience and transformed him forever. He was honorably discharged with full severance last Dec. 31 and is now back in his hometown, Waynsville, N.C.

When I talked with Massey last week, he expressed his remorse at the civilian loss of life in incidents in which he himself was involved.

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Monday, May 17, 2004
 
How a few radicals have taken over our country
The War at Home
"I'm a uniter, not a divider," said candidate George W. Bush during his 2000 campaign for president. "I refuse to play the politics of putting people into groups and pitting one group against another." This promise to be a "uniter, not a divider" was a recurrent theme throughout Bush's campaign, repeated verbatim in media interviews, fund-raising letters, campaign stump speeches and debates.

Tom Dispatch
Chaos in Washington
"I don't care what the international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass." President George W. Bush, September 11, 2001 (quoted by Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies)

Blogger Billmon takes apart the...
...non-denial denial form the DoD on the Seymour Hersh story
Meanwhile, I wanted to call your attention to the press statement the Pentagon released yesterday in response to Sy Hersh's story. It's an artful (if prolix) example of what in the Watergate era would have been called a "non-denial denial" - that is, a statement carefully constructed so that it appears to deny a serious allegation, but without actually doing so. Here it is, in full:

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Weekend articles:

The next installment from Seymour Hersh
THE GRAY ZONE
The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld’s decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of élite combat units, and hurt America’s prospects in the war on terror.

Newsweek gets in the game
The Roots of Torture
It's not easy to get a member of Congress to stop talking. Much less a room full of them. But as a small group of legislators watched the images flash by in a small, darkened hearing room in the Rayburn Building last week, a sickened silence descended. There were 1,800 slides and several videos, and the show went on for three hours. The nightmarish images showed American soldiers at Abu Ghraib Prison forcing Iraqis to masturbate. American soldiers sexually assaulting Iraqis with chemical light sticks. American soldiers laughing over dead Iraqis whose bodies had been abused and mutilated. There was simply nothing to say. "It was a very subdued walk back to the House floor," said Rep. Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. "People were ashen."

The New York Times as well
Some Iraqis Held Outside Control of Top General
About 100 high-ranking Iraqi prisoners held for months at a time in spartan conditions on the outskirts of Baghdad International Airport are being detained under a special chain of command, under conditions not subject to approval by the top American commander in Iraq, according to military officials.


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Friday, May 14, 2004
 
The latest on the questions surrounding Nick Berg
In the Absence of Truth from the White House, Conspiracy Theories Emerge About the Nick Berg Murder
If any incident lends itself to conspiracy theories, the murder of Nick Berg does. The Bush Cartel has only poured fuel on the fire by lying about key facts surrounding Berg’s detention and the videotape of his killing. Most curious is the rush to identify the killer as Abu Musab Zarqawi. They still haven’t found the Anthrax killer, but they claim to have identified a man wearing a ski mask within 24 hours. Preposterous. Especially since it appears that it wasn’t the elusive – and perhaps dead -- Zarqawi at all. Then who was it? Good question, indeed.

You make the call. Who is responsible?
Iraqi Tells of U.S. Abuse, From Ridicule to Rape Threat
The rough road to confession began with the ridicule of the naked and hooded prisoner's name: Saddam.

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For me this prison abuse "thing" is approaching what I call "space shuttle territory". What I mean is this: The first time a space shuttle blew up, Challenger in 1986, I was watching TV when the news coverage interrupted regular programming. I continued watching it all through the day. By dinner time, I couldn't take it anymore. I was still living at home at the time, and as the evening news was going through it again, I lost it and started ranting and asking everyone in the house, "Hey, did you hear? The space shuttle blew up!" I asked this repeatedly and freaked out the rest of my family. I had heard enough about solid rocket boosters or SRB's, as Dan Rather had called them, for one day. The space shuttle had jumped the shark for me.

I think that is about where I am with the current issue. I am sick of hearing all the different reporters' pronunciations of Abu Ghraib. How high up does this go? Who knew and when did they know it? How long will we be paying for this? The whole thing is being blamed on all the "liberals" in our country.

Now, I have a theory on all of this: basically, the media just keeps on with this until everyone gets tired of the same old thing and just tunes it out. It takes away people's curiosity. People believe that the media is looking into this and that it will all get flushed out and that when it does, they will tell us what happened. But what is really happening is that the same line, usually incorrect, is repeated over and over and over and over, until most people come to believe it as fact.

It is this incessant retelling of the same story over and over and over again that makes people not want to 'hear about it anymore.' It can also turn lies into truth as John S. Carroll, editor of the Los Angeles Times points out in his recent essay The Wolf in Reporter's Clothing: The Rise of Pseudo-Journalism in America:
But we live in changed times. Never has falsehood in America had such a large megaphone. Instead of being ignored, the author of the column [on unethical behavior at the L.A. Times]was booked for repeated appearances on O’Reilly, on CNBC, and even on the generally trustworthy CNN. The accusation was echoed throughout the talk-show world. This is how the tale of the two-week delay -– as false as any words ever penned by Jayson Blair -- earned the columnist not infamy but fame. Millions of Americans heard it and no doubt believed it. And why not? It sounded just like journalism.
So if you 'don't want to hear about it anymore,' then you obviously will not dig deeper into the story to see if what is being said about the situation at Abu Ghraib is actually the truth. There is a constant fight inside each one of us to decide what to focus our attention on. I'm not falling for it this time.

In this case, like everything else, the reality is probably the worst possible story for the mainstream media. War is ugly. Bad things happen during war. The enemy is dehumanized, has to be, for the war to be fought. If soldiers were taught that the enemy is a fine, upstanding person like they are, most would not want to kill the enemy. Rape, murder, torture--it's all part of war. It's not that we or those we fight are different. It doesn't matter what economic system or religion or policial ideology or society you were raised in. This is what happens in a war, no matter where you come from.

That is the story the corporate-run media does not want to be told. They just want to tell the story of the "good" things about war: Killing bad people, libertating good people, democratization, rebuilding schools, etc. And, of course, that those who do bad things on our side are 'just bad apples.' These people in the photos were not influenced--in any way--by bringing in the GITMO prison commander, and a religious fanatic who heads military intelligence, nor by a President who does not respect international law, nor by a Secretary of Defense who believes our prisoners of war are 'different' than everyone else's.

I am currently reading an eerie book about war, War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning. It is by Chris Hedges who was a war correspondent in many conflicts. It breaks war down very well. If you want a short version of this, I found a commencement speech he gave last year, and it is very interesting. Here is how is begins:
I want to speak to you today about war and empire.

Killing, or at least the worst of it, is over in Iraq. Although blood will continue to spill -- theirs and ours -- be prepared for this. For we are embarking on an occupation that, if history is any guide, will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige, power, and security. But this will come later as our empire expands and in all this we become pariahs, tyrants to others weaker than ourselves. Isolation always impairs judgment and we are very isolated now.
He wrote that last year, not today. See, people knew--and know--what is going to happen in Iraq, or in any war. But it doesn't make you feel like a liberator. So now, when I'm approaching "space shuttle territory," I handle it in a different way. I keep digging.

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Thursday, May 13, 2004
 
Not the ususal stuff. A very good read.
Cold Turkey
Many years ago, I was so innocent I still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable America so many members of my generation used to dream of. We dreamed of such an America during the Great Depression, when there were no jobs. And then we fought and often died for that dream during the Second World War, when there was no peace.

But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America’s becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas.


Shocked? We shouldn't be. Just ask a vet.
George "that's not the way Americans do things" Bush is outraged.

General "those troops let us down" Kimmit is outraged.

Senators and Congressmen are outraged.

Everyone is shocked, simply shocked to hear that abuse is going on at Abu Ghraib prison!

Of course it's an outrage that American soldiers and mercenaries are torturing Iraqi prisoners. But ask anyone who has gone through military basic training and they might well ask you: "What did you THINK was going on in Iraq?"


A few things about Nick Berg:
- First of all Berg was in U.S. military's hands.
- There are many, many unanswered questions about who and why he was killed, Conspiracy Theories Abound About the Nick Berg Killing -- And With Good Reason..... They always have to use the "C" word. I just have some questions I want answered.
- More questions, Nicholas Berg's Murder: The Unanswered Questions.
- His dad doesn't seem very happy either, "My son died for the sins of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. This administration did this."

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It is becoming more and more apparent that the prison torture in Iraq was an born out of the inability to find WMD. As the hunt continued and no weapons were found a decision was made to try and get information from those held in Iraq who must know where they are hidden. This happened last August:
One of the most explosive elements of the Taguba Report, one which has received relatively little attention, is that the commander of the Guantanamo detention center, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, was sent to Abu Ghraib in late August 2003 with "a team of personnel experienced in strategic interrogation" to meet with officials there, including the WMD-hunting Iraq Survey Group. Their purpose was to review "the current Iraq Theatre ability to rapidly exploit internees for actionable intelligence"?in other words, how to get more information out of prisoners faster. It was Miller, according to Taguba, who recommended training the prison guards "to be actively engaged in setting the conditions for successful exploitation of the internees."
Around that time last year another thing happened as well, Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin is appointed the new deputy undersecretary of Defense for intelligence. Who would know better how to humiliate Muslims than this guy? So we have a religious wacko and the guy who runs GITMO now training interrogators in Iraq. Still surprised this happened? The funny part is, if there is anything to laugh about at all it is who's responsible:
It is absolutely clear, based on the information already in the public domain, that the responsibility for the bestial actions at Abu Ghraib goes right to the top, to the top "Beast-Men" in the Cheney-Bush Administration: the Vice President himself, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Rumsfeld's top civilian deputies in the Department of Defense. The direct line from the MPs at Abu Ghraib, to the top levels in the Pentagon, runs up the ladder through military intelligence to those in the Pentagon who were making increasing demands for information to be obtained through interrogations, more politely known as setting intelligence "requirements"?including the Straussian Stephen Cambone and his deputy, the holy-warrior Lt. Gen. William Boykin.
It's the same old people that are responsible for all of this. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfie, and all their cohorts from the Pentagon. All those who were in Daddies administration and drew up the DPG in 1992 (See post from May 6, 2004). And through all of this they didn't even find the WMD. I've said this before and I will say it again: Hitler told everyone what he was going to do if he attained power in the book Mein Kempf, these people told everyone what they would do if they got power in Rebuilding America's Defenses. I'm not saying these people are Hitler. What I'm saying is you shouldn't be surprised this is happening. They're are only doing what they said they would do.



More on Boykin
Endure you little Iraqis! Endure!
Well, sooner or later you knew someone was going to find out what major force was behind the American torture of Iraqis. I post this for your own erudition. It's a tough read, but worth it.

The rights outrage
The Right's Abu Ghraib Denial
and
Abu Ghraib Denial, Part 2

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004
 
Whenever anyone -- left, right or center -- talks about Iraq, in the mainstream media, they inevitably end up saying something like this, "We can't afford to get it wrong in Iraq." Which implies that anything other than a US imposed solution and Iraq will descend into chaos. The chaos they usually refer to is civil war. This to me is just like all the other arguments this administration and the talking heads make. If we all say it then it must be true. Now I'm no Iraq expert nor a Middle East expert or anything like that but just think about this, what if they are all wrong? Saddam had no WMD, he was not a threat, had no Al Qaeda ties and had nothing to do with 9/11. Is it possible, just possible they could all be wrong about this too?

Here is the article that reinforced my thinking
Iraq's Political Puzzle, Piece by Piece
Our media tell us that it can't happen. The Iraqi factions can never unify themselves. Ever since Saddam was chased from power, mainstream U.S. journalists and pundits have assumed that Iraq, if left to itself, would dissolve into chaos. One way or another, the U.S. must teach the Iraqis how to govern themselves and bring order out of chaos. The journalists and pundits debate fiercely about the best way to do it. But they all agree that the Iraqis must be treated like little children, gently but firmly guided on the long road to maturity by kindly grown-up Americans.

None of this really matters because William Rivers Pitt says...
The War is Lost
This war is lost. I mean not just the Iraq war, but George W. Bush's ridiculous "War on Terror" as a whole.

I say ridiculous because this "War on Terror" was never, ever something we were going to win. What began on September 11 with the world wrapping us in its loving embrace has collapsed today in a literal orgy of shame and disgrace. This happened, simply, because of the complete failure of moral leadership at the highest levels.

We saw a prime example of this during Friday?s farce of a Senate hearing into the Abu Ghraib disaster which starred Don Rumsfeld. From his bully pulpit spoke Senator Joe Lieberman, who parrots the worst of Bush?s war propaganda with unfailingly dreary regularity. Responding to the issue of whether or not Bush and Rumsfeld should apologize for Abu Ghraib, Lieberman stated that none of the terrorists had apologized for September 11.

There it was, in a nutshell. There was the idea, oft promulgated by the administration, that September 11 made any barbarism, any extreme, any horror brought forth by the United States acceptable, and even desirable. There was the institutionalization of revenge as a basis for policy. Sure, Abu Ghraib was bad, Mr. Lieberman put forth. But September 11 happened, so all bets are off.

Thus fails the "War on Terror." September 11 did not demand of us the lowest common denominator, did not demand of us that we become that which we despise and denounce. September 11 demanded that we be better, greater, more righteous than those who brought death to us. September 11 demanded that we be better, and in doing so, we would show the world that those who attacked us are far, far less than us. That would have been victory, with nary a shot being fired.

Our leaders, however, took us in exactly the opposite direction.

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Disconnect anyone?
Bush's Backing of Rumsfeld Shocks and Angers Arabs
Arab commentators reacted with shock and disbelief on Monday over President Bush's robust backing of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld against calls for his resignation.

Critics had called for him to quit after the furor over the abuse of Iraqi prisoners but analysts, editors and ordinary Arabs were united in their condemnation of Bush who said the United States owed Rumsfeld a "debt of gratitude."

"After the torture and vile acts by the American army, President Bush goes out and congratulates Rumsfeld. It's just incredible. I am in total shock," said Omar Belhouchet, editor of the influential Algerian national daily El Watan.

"Bush's praise for Rumsfeld will discredit the United States...and further damage its reputation, which is already at a historic low in the Arab world," he added.

The good news never stops.

I call this one "Fun With Statistics"
WHAT ARE THEY SMOKING AT THE LABOR DEPT.?
DON'T get too excited about all those new jobs that were supposed to have been created in April.

I'm not going to waste a lot of my precious space on this, but the bottom line is that most of the 288,000 jobs that the Labor Department says were created last month may not really exist.

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Those accused of the prison abuse in Iraq did not just decide to do this out of the blue. I do not believe the "few bad apples" defense. Where did they get the leashes, hoods, electrocution equipment, etc..? Was this some of Saddam's leftover torture equipment? The post 9/11 propaganda is the cause. As you will see this administration has since then tried to use 9/11 to say the United States is above the law. Also to make sure that anyone or country that is on our hit list, Axis of Evil, is dehumanized. It is now undeniable that the abuse was systemic.

The people of Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. The people of Iraq had and still have not conspired with Al Qaeda. What do you think most of the soldiers thought they were going to Iraq to do? Liberate the Iraqi people or get revenge for 9/11? If a majority of the American sheeple thought Saddam was responsible for 9/11 what percentage of the military was brainwashed into believing this lie? Their superiors taught them this, systemic. So now that the military is clear that all Iraqis are terrorists and have been dehumanized enough what do you think will happen to those that are imprisoned? Exactly. Of course there was a very strict policy in place to determine who was taken into custody, Up to 90% of Iraqi detainees arrested by mistake, Red Cross says:
The agency said arrests allegedly tended to follow a pattern.

''Sometimes they arrested all adult males present in a house, including elderly, handicapped or sick people,'' it said.

It was unclear what the Red Cross meant by ''mistake.'' However, many Iraqis over the past year have claimed they were arrested by American forces because of misunderstandings, bogus claims by personal enemies, mistaken identity or simply for having been at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Don't forget though, they hate us because of our freedom. Stan Goff, a retired Special Forces master sergeant, writes this:
When one uses the term "systemic," (s)he is saying that the source of this abuse is not individual moral failure, but a predictable expression of the system and its structures.

The abuses of detainees, by US troops, by CACI International and Titan Corporation mercenaries, and by the CIA in Iraq, is "systemic."
There is that word again, systemic. All the way from the top down, from the President and Secretary of Defense. Here is the President speaking of the International Criminal Court (ICC):
"The International Criminal Court is troubling to the United States," Bush told reporters following a tour at a Milwaukee church. "As the United States works to bring peace around the world, our diplomats and our soldiers could be drug into this court, and that's very troubling -- very troubling to me."
Here is your Secretary of Defense trying to justify why "our" war is different:
Precisely because murder and rape and torture are more common during wartime, past U.S. governments have ratified the Geneva Conventions, which were designed to enforce the rule of law, however badly or weakly, during wartime. But although these particular international laws have never been controversial, it has nevertheless became fashionable, in some Washington circles, to argue that America is now somehow above them and to suggest that they need not be taken quite so seriously as in the past. Back in February 2002, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declared that the prisoners of Guantanamo Bay were not even entitled to a hearing establishing whether the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war applied to them. Perhaps it didn't, but Rumsfeld wasn't willing to prove the case in a court: "The set of facts that exist today with the al Qaeda and the Taliban were not necessarily the set of facts that were considered when the Geneva Convention was fashioned," he claimed.
As these two instances show the Commander in Chief and the Secretary of Defense are saying that the United States is above reproach. Remember this?
Way back in 1988, on the 3rd of July, the U.S.S. Vincennes, a missile cruiser stationed in the Persian Gulf, accidentally shot down an Iranian airliner and killed 290 civilian passengers. George Bush the First, who was at the time on his presidential campaign, was asked to comment on the incident. He said quite subtly, "I will never apologize for the United States. I don't care what the facts are."
Now we know where the boy gets it. So to wrap up. This is a systemic problem. From the top down, including the whole chain of command starting with the President. He likes to kill, he has a history of it. Besides I'm sure the soldiers believe they are only getting even for what was done to us on 9/11.



This is a repost of a Stan Goff letter to the troops from about 6 months ago
Hold On to Your Humanity
Dear American serviceperson in Iraq,

I am a retired veteran of the army, and my own son is among you, a paratrooper like I was. The changes that are happening to every one of you--some more extreme than others--are changes I know very well. So I'm going to say some things to you straight up in the language to which you are accustomed.



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Monday, May 10, 2004
 
Tom Dispatch
Postcards from the edge: "We saw the pictures"
"The next day [January 14, 2004], Gen. John Abizaid, commander of all U.S. forces in the region, was on the phone to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. ‘General Abizaid informed the leadership within hours of the incident,' said a senior Pentagon official. Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the military's spokesman in Iraq, also called the Pentagon, though with more alarming words. ‘He said, "We've got a really bad situation," recalled one official, who like others requested anonymity. ‘The evidence is damaging and horrific,' ‘We've got a really bad situation…'
Guardian article with a timeline
Catastrophe
The White House faced its biggest crisis over Iraq last week, but its origins lie in practices that may have been routine. We reveal how the abuse of prisoners began long before the sickening images which have outraged the world appeared

More on Condi's October task
Condoleeza Rice's Appointment To Head the New Iraq Stabilization Group
I just have a comment on what I have seen of Condoleezza Rice, and it's clear that she's an extremely skilled rhetoritician in support of the Bush or the neoconservative ideology. But it's not so clear that she has a strong commitment to the truth, and probably the best example of that is with reference to the whole nuclear flap—or nucular, as President Bush says. In reference to Iraqi nuclear weapons prior to the war, she coined a phrase, you know, that 'We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud,' which is just bombast, and then later after the Joe Wilson flap, I saw her on "Tim Russert" tell Tim Russert that she or one of her underlings had simply forgotten to take the 16 offending words out of the president's State of the Union message—the 16 words referring to yellow cake from Niger, so...
Complete audio of this from NPR. Very funny stuff.

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Pressure is building time to scare the public again
Threat of 'Dirty Bomb' Growing, Officials Say
Concerns are growing that Al Qaeda or a related group could detonate a "dirty bomb" that would spew radioactive fallout across an American or European city, according to intelligence analysts, diplomats and independent nuclear experts.

Remember this move? I got this from Atrios
Iraq: New U.S. Plan Seeks To Expedite Reconstruction
The administration of U.S. President George W. Bush, facing persistent problems with restoring order in much of Iraq, has formed the Iraq Stabilization Group to expedite its rebuilding and security efforts there. Ultimate responsibility for reconstruction has been shifted from the Pentagon to the White House, under Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice
Rice will manage Iraq's 'new phase'
President Bush is giving his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, the authority to manage postwar Iraq and the rebuilding of Afghanistan.

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Sunday, May 09, 2004
 
I'm testing the new blogger. Here are a few must reads from over the weekend.

Realy? I'm so shocked
Dissension Grows In Senior Ranks On War Strategy
Deep divisions are emerging at the top of the U.S. military over the course of the occupation of Iraq, with some senior officers beginning to say that the United States faces the prospect of casualties for years without achieving its goal of establishing a free and democratic Iraq.

More from Seymour Hersh
CHAIN OF COMMAND
How the Department of Defense mishandled the disaster at Abu Ghraib.

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Thursday, May 06, 2004
 
Okay. I think I've finally got my brain around this prison abuse scandal. For many months now, this administration has known that this was coming. They should have been better prepared for the fallout over this if they are as competent as everyone always says they are. First off, I know they knew it was coming because CBS delayed abuse story for 2 weeks. The least Rumsfeld could have done was tell Congress: U.S. Senators Criticize Bush for Not Briefing on Prison Charges.

So once again, this administration is caught hiding the truth. (I'm being diplomatic.) Wouldn't this have been better coming from Rumsfeld rather than Dan Rather? Now, they didn't want to mention this for obvious reasons. See, it kinda hurts the administration's latest reason for going to Iraq: To liberate the Iraqi people. Most of the people in this prison are the people we are supposedly there to liberate. We know from The New Yorker atricle that:
Most of the prisoners, however—by the fall there were several thousand, including women and teen-agers—were civilians, many of whom had been picked up in random military sweeps and at highway checkpoints. They fell into three loosely defined categories: common criminals; security detainees suspected of “crimes against the coalition”; and a small number of suspected “high-value” leaders of the insurgency against the coalition forces.


As the story came out, the pressure built and the President--for whatever reason--goes on two Arab TV stations to tell the people of the Middle East that this was only a few "bad apples" and -- just like whoever outed Valerie Plame and just like Osama bin Laden -- those that did this will be brought to justice. Only one problem: Arab papers blast Bush for failing to apologise. So today -- just like steel tarriffs, the Office of Homeland Security, the investigation of who outed Valerie Plame, a 9/11 Commission, and so many other things -- your President flip-flops again: Bush 'sorry for humiliation' of Iraqi prisoners. (And Kerry is accused of changing his mind a lot!) Only, not really. Who did he apologize to? When you read the story, you'll note that the first paragraph says this:
President Bush on Thursday said he told visiting King Abdullah II of Jordan that he is "sorry for the humiliation suffered" by Iraqi prisoners at the hands of U.S. troops in Iraq.
He told King Abdullah he was sorry, he didn't tell the people that were tortured he was sorry. It reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where George is trying to get an alcoholic to apologize to him....

This story is not over. Seymour Hersh, who wrote The New Yorker article, had this to say on, of all places, O'Reilly last night:
First of all, it's going to get much worse. This kind of stuff was much more widespread. I can tell you just from the phone calls I've had in the last 24 hours, even more, there are other photos out there. There are many more photos even inside that unit. There are videotapes of stuff that you wouldn't want to mention on national television that was done. There was a lot of problems.

There was a special women's section. There were young boys in there. There were things done to young boys that were videotaped. It's much worse. And the Maj. Gen. Taguba was very tough about it. He said this place was riddled with violent, awful actions against prisoners.
Man, wait till Al Jazerra gets their hands some video to run. That's going to be even worse. Some are trying to justify this as 'war is hell.' Well, this administration sold us a Cakewalk In Iraq, not hell. My wife told me about what one Iraqi said on Nightline last night: a man interviewed in a Bagdad cafe asked how would Americans feel if those were Americans being treated like that by their Iraqi occupiers?

Well?


More Arab reaction
America in the Balance: Sex, Lies and Prison Abuse
Arabs are angered that President Bush has expressed only regrets, but offered no formal apology in his interviews on Arabic-language satellite television. His attempt to place the blame on a small handful of perpetrators reminds Muslim viewers of their own fruitless attempts to convince the American public that September 11 itself was the work of a small handful of terrorists. Many Americans never accepted the latter argument. Can we really expect Middle Easterners to be mollified so easily?

Here we go, Rummy
Resign, Rumsfeld
YOU are fighting against international terrorists in a battle that both they and you describe as being one about values. You fight a war against Saddam Hussein at your initiative, not his, and you say that it is a war about law, democracy, freedom and honesty. A big metaphorical banner hangs above both wars proclaiming that your aim is to bring freedom, human rights and democracy to the Arab world. All of that sets admirably high standards for the conduct of your forces as well as of your government itself. Now, however, some of your own armed forces are shown to have fallen well below those standards. What do you do?
Pelosi Calls on Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to Resign
"Secretary Rumsfeld's leadership of the Pentagon has unnecessarily jeopardized the safety of American troops, and it has seriously undermined our ability to prosecute the war on terrorism. He has been dismissive of international law, of world opinion, and of the Congress. The Pentagon Secretary Rumsfeld oversees has become an island of unaccountability, ignoring the Geneva Conventions, our allies, and common sense.
Rumsfeld resigning would be nice but remeber Cheney, I mean Bush, will just appoint someone else. That person could always be worse.

Oh yeah, one last thing. Don't forget what you're missing because of the prison abuse scandal
$25 billion sought for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan
This is a stop gap measure. The administration is trying to do this without anyone noticing. The President doesn't want to have to make a huge deal out of another $87 billion dollar Congressional fight, it is an election year after all. Also the $25 billion is going to increase the deficit, it is an election year after all. But seriously, they are trying to make sure no one notices how much Iraq is going to continue to cost the taxpayers until after they have spent all their corporate cash to get reelected. Then it's new contracts for everyone in Iraq.


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