New Civilization News: Is Bush A Liar Or Just Stupid?    
 Is Bush A Liar Or Just Stupid?50 comments
picture16 Nov 2005 @ 09:39, by Richard Carlson

Where is the knowledge that is lost in information?
Where is the wisdom that is lost in knowledge?

---T.S. Eliot

Knowledge comes,
but wisdom lingers.

---Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The mountain of release is such that the
ascent's most painful at the start, below;
the more you rise, the milder it will be.
And when the slope feels gentle to the point that
climbing up sheer rock is effortless
as though you were gliding downstream in a boat,
then you will have arrived where this path leads.


Paul Gauguin. Eve. Don't Listen to the Liar. 1889.
Watercolor and paste. Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX, USA.

I think we all should agree by now that even if President Bush is a pretty stupid guy, the people behind him who shield him, writing his lines and US policy, are NOT. Nobody gets rich, plundering the planet as (s)he goes---or stays rich very long, by being stupid. What I know to be the case about the great war of liberation of Iraq is it's a pre-emptive war. The stuff about Sadam and bringing democracy to these fine people were afterthoughts. We launched Shock and Awe on Baghdad when the Administration started talk of mushroom clouds over Manhattan---arriving from Iraq in under an hour.

But look here: it was our first pre-emptive attack upon a nation with whom we were not at war. The first in American history. When a smart Administration...with SMART bombs...initiates such a massive innovation in foreign policy, do not these intelligent people consider all the consequences and ramifications? If they say we know things you don't know and we can't tell you what they are, do they not realize one day history will reveal what those things are...and whether or not they were correct? Wouldn't you think about that even if you only were forming a clique against somebody in grade school? When the Principal catches you torturing that poor classmate, would you say, "OK, we were wrong about the kid, but we can't stop hurting him now"? We all know what kind of greed and hatred rage inside a bully.

And so it is I am delighted with the publication of 2 articles yesterday. One is the belated but strong editorial in the New York Times. The Times isn't calling Bush a liar, but asserts this most recent stance definitely is denial~~~


November 15, 2005

Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials

To avoid having to account for his administration's misleading statements before the war with Iraq, President Bush has tried denial, saying he did not skew the intelligence. He's tried to share the blame, claiming that Congress had the same intelligence he had, as well as President Bill Clinton. He's tried to pass the buck and blame the C.I.A. Lately, he's gone on the attack, accusing Democrats in Congress of aiding the terrorists.

Yesterday in Alaska, Mr. Bush trotted out the same tedious deflection on Iraq that he usually attempts when his back is against the wall: he claims that questioning his actions three years ago is a betrayal of the troops in battle today.

It all amounts to one energetic effort at avoidance. But like the W.M.D. reports that started the whole thing, the only problem is that none of it has been true.

Mr. Bush says everyone had the same intelligence he had - Mr. Clinton and his advisers, foreign governments, and members of Congress - and that all of them reached the same conclusions. The only part that is true is that Mr. Bush was working off the same intelligence Mr. Clinton had. But that is scary, not reassuring. The reports about Saddam Hussein's weapons were old, some more than 10 years old. Nothing was fresher than about five years, except reports that later proved to be fanciful.

Foreign intelligence services did not have full access to American intelligence. But some had dissenting opinions that were ignored or not shown to top American officials. Congress had nothing close to the president's access to intelligence. The National Intelligence Estimate presented to Congress a few days before the vote on war was sanitized to remove dissent and make conjecture seem like fact.

It's hard to imagine what Mr. Bush means when he says everyone reached the same conclusion. There was indeed a widespread belief that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons. But Mr. Clinton looked at the data and concluded that inspections and pressure were working - a view we now know was accurate. France, Russia and Germany said war was not justified. Even Britain admitted later that there had been no new evidence about Iraq, just new politics.

The administration had little company in saying that Iraq was actively trying to build a nuclear weapon. The evidence for this claim was a dubious report about an attempt in 1999 to buy uranium from Niger, later shown to be false, and the infamous aluminum tubes story. That was dismissed at the time by analysts with real expertise.

The Bush administration was also alone in making the absurd claim that Iraq was in league with Al Qaeda and somehow connected to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That was based on two false tales. One was the supposed trip to Prague by Mohamed Atta, a report that was disputed before the war and came from an unreliable drunk. The other was that Iraq trained Qaeda members in the use of chemical and biological weapons. Before the war, the Defense Intelligence Agency concluded that this was a deliberate fabrication by an informer.

Mr. Bush has said in recent days that the first phase of the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation on Iraq found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence. That is true only in the very narrow way the Republicans on the committee insisted on defining pressure: as direct pressure from senior officials to change intelligence. Instead, the Bush administration made what it wanted to hear crystal clear and kept sending reports back to be redone until it got those answers.

Richard Kerr, a former deputy director of central intelligence, said in 2003 that there was "significant pressure on the intelligence community to find evidence that supported a connection" between Iraq and Al Qaeda. The C.I.A. ombudsman told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the administration's "hammering" on Iraq intelligence was harder than he had seen in his 32 years at the agency.

Mr. Bush and other administration officials say they faithfully reported what they had read. But Vice President Dick Cheney presented the Prague meeting as a fact when even the most supportive analysts considered it highly dubious. The administration has still not acknowledged that tales of Iraq coaching Al Qaeda on chemical warfare were considered false, even at the time they were circulated.

Mr. Cheney was not alone. Remember Condoleezza Rice's infamous "mushroom cloud" comment? And Secretary of State Colin Powell in January 2003, when the rich and powerful met in Davos, Switzerland, and he said, "Why is Iraq still trying to procure uranium and the special equipment needed to transform it into material for nuclear weapons?" Mr. Powell ought to have known the report on "special equipment"' - the aluminum tubes - was false. And the uranium story was four years old.

The president and his top advisers may very well have sincerely believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. But they did not allow the American people, or even Congress, to have the information necessary to make reasoned judgments of their own. It's obvious that the Bush administration misled Americans about Mr. Hussein's weapons and his terrorist connections. We need to know how that happened and why.

Mr. Bush said last Friday that he welcomed debate, even in a time of war, but that "it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began." We agree, but it is Mr. Bush and his team who are rewriting history.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

The other is at TruthOut written by Larry Johnson, who worked as a CIA intelligence analyst and State Department counter-terrorism official. He is a member of the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Cooking the Books and Politicizing Intelligence
By Larry C. Johnson
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Tuesday 15 November 2005

Like a passenger who just leaped from the Titanic into the icy waters of the North Atlantic, George Bush is frantically looking for a rescue boat. Understandably, he keeps pointing at the dinghy nearby - i.e., last year's report issued by former Senator Chuck Robb and Judge Laurence Silbermann under the title, "Final Report on Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction." However, that boat don't float too good and Bush's credibility will continue, along with his Presidency, to sink beneath the weight of lies used to bamboozle America into a pre-emptive war.

Hopefully, most Americans will take time to read the report and understand the limitations of the Robb and Silbermann effort. While I agree with the commission's conclusion that analysts made mistakes, the Robb and Silbermann report clearly demonstrates that none of the intelligence analysis from the CIA suggested that Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction had reached a critical point requiring a pre-emptive strike.

Unfortunately, Robb and Silbermann want Americans to accept the nonsense that politics played no role in the intelligence analysis. They ask America to accept the sorry picture of a President and legislators who, apparently, were willing idiots being spoon-fed wrong information by incompetent analysts. If we accept this fairy tale we will have learned nothing from the fiasco in Iraq.

Consider what is presented in the chapter on the Iraq failure (which Robb and Silbermann concede is the most important issue). According to the report, the analysts said:

The pre-war estimate of Iraq's nuclear program, as reflected in the October 2002 NIE "Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction," was that, in the view of most agencies, Baghdad was "reconstituting its nuclear weapons program" and "if left unchecked, [would] probably have a nuclear weapon during this decade," although it would be unlikely before 2007 to 2009. The NIE explained that, in the view of most agencies, "compelling evidence" of reconstitution was provided by Iraq's "aggressive pursuit of high-strength aluminum tubes." The NIE also pointed to additional indicators, such as other dual-use procurement activity, supporting reconstitution. The assessment that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program and could therefore have a weapon by the end of the decade was made with "moderate confidence."

Pay close attention. The analysts believed, incorrectly, that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program. But there were important caveats. First, Iraq would only have a nuke if left "unmolested" to develop such a capability. Did anyone see the words, "therefore Mr. President, you must invade?" Nope. Second, the analysts concluded that, even if left unmolested, Iraq would not have acquired a nuke until at least 2007. And how strong was this judgment? The analysts made it with "moderate confidence."

So, rather than restart or continue with inspections we now know were effective, President Bush opted for war. It was the policymakers, not the analysts, who made the decision to go to war and who oversold the October estimate to a gullible public.

I am not exonerating the CIA for its failures. There were major mistakes of leadership. For example, Robert Walpole, the man who led the drafting of the October 2002 estimate, surrounded himself with true believers who shared the view of Bush administration policymakers at the NSC and Department of Defense that military action in Iraq was required. This National Intelligence Officer did nothing to ensure that dissident voices within the CIA and other parts of the intelligence community were heard. But to pretend that the flaws in the intelligence explain why President Bush took us to war requires that we ignore a host of other uncomfortable facts.

CIA analysts got it right on the lack of operational relationship between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. Yet, notwithstanding the correct judgment of the analysts, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have continued to insist that there was such a relationship. In their words, the war in Iraq was an extension of the war on terrorism.

Analysts also got it right in dismissing as nonsense the claim that Iraq was trying to buy yellowcake uranium in West Africa. The analysts who briefed Congress in October 2002 said there was no truth to the allegation. Yet, the White House wanted to run with it. We know that George Tenet had to call Stephen Hadley and Condi Rice to insist that a reference to the Iraq/Niger claim not be included in a speech the President planned to deliver in Cincinnati.

The CIA analysts consistently warned the administration that the information the Brits had also was unreliable and the reports of Iraq's trying to get its hands on a nuke were wrong. The director of WINPAC at the CIA, Alan Foley, repeatedly warned NSC official Robert Joseph that the Niger claim was unreliable. Undeterred, Joseph inserted the bogus 16 words into the President's 2003 State of the Union address.

But the policymakers did not want to hear it. In fact, Don Rumsfeld and his minions were briefing TV and newspaper pundits just two weeks before the President's 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq was trying to acquire uranium in Niger.

Here is the bottom line. There is no such thing as perfect intelligence or perfect analysis. However, we do not serve the security of this country by perpetuating the myth that we went to war in Iraq because a couple of analysts believed Saddam's acquisition of aluminum tubes was part of a secret program to build a nuke. Going to war was and remains a political decision made by a President.


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16 Nov 2005 @ 11:53 by jmarc : you seem to have forgotten
8 years of cruise missiles and US jets pounding iraq, a practically daily excersise by the Klinton Administration towards its end. In fact, one could put the question like this. What US president spent more time attacking Iraq? Answer: President Klinton.  

16 Nov 2005 @ 20:21 by jazzolog : The Difference
Clinton did not take the nation to war.

"The Bush administration’s talking point these days in defending its use of false pre-war intelligence is to blame Clinton. Scott McClellan said last week that critics 'might want to start with looking at the previous administration.' Sen. George Allen (R-VA) repeated the mantra on CNN this Sunday: '[R]ecognize that even the Clinton administration thought Saddam posed a threat.' And Bill Kristol writes in the Weekly Standard that the White House should 'fight back' by pointing out that Clinton administration officials 'believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.'

"To justify the war against Iraq, the Bush administration made a number of exaggerated and misleading claims about the Iraqi threat that went far beyond the public statements issued by the Clinton administration. Going beyond the argument that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, the Bush administration made a unique case on two specific fronts to justify the war: the supposed connections to al Qaeda and the Iraqi nuclear threat."  

16 Nov 2005 @ 22:09 by vaxen : billions...
upon billions worth of fiat ''dollars'' have been strafing and bombing and destroying in so many ways that country for well over ten years. it was 92 that bushitski the eldar took the coon boys to war...well, it hasn't stopped. war, even if undeclared, is still ''war'' with a kapital P! viva das Kapital!

bushitski is still in power and the iraqui people are still being murdered for whatever jaded purpose. and the lyiing bastards in the media are still whores regardless of whatever new trumped up gate they are smearing with their effluvia at the moment.

doom is just a game. get your doom wads from the us military and blast away. the 'amerikan' people died a very long time ago and in their place the cloned minions march on and on and on...destroying everything in their wake.  

16 Nov 2005 @ 22:56 by jerryvest : Of course Bush is a liar. Everything
that comes out of his mouth is a lie. {link:} Everyone he surrounds himself with has been supporting and contributing to his lies. Some "R's" are beginning to make a break from him and asking for a plan to end the Big Lies described in your article. Thanks for staying on top of this story and the lies. Is the next step Impeachment?  

17 Nov 2005 @ 10:04 by jazzolog : Clinton Piles On
Gee, you'd think Bill would appreciate the consistent praise and adulation Republican talking points have asserted about the leadership of his fine presidency...and how they emulate his policies. But noooo...

Bill Clinton Calls Iraq 'Big Mistake'

Wednesday November 16, 2005 4:46 PM

Associated Press Writer

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Former President Clinton told Arab students Wednesday the United States made a ``big mistake'' when it invaded Iraq, stoking the partisan debate back home over the war.

Clinton cited the lack of planning for what would happen after Saddam Hussein was overthrown.

``Saddam is gone. It's a good thing, but I don't agree with what was done,'' Clinton told students at a forum at the American University of Dubai.

``It was a big mistake. The American government made several errors ... one of which is how easy it would be to get rid of Saddam and how hard it would be to unite the country.''

Clinton's remarks came when he was taking questions about the U.S. invasion, which began in 2003. His response drew cheers and a standing ovation at the end of the hour-long session.

Clinton said the United States had done some good things in Iraq: the removal of Saddam, the ratification of a new constitution and the holding of parliamentary elections.

``The mistake that they made is that when they kicked out Saddam, they decided to dismantle the whole authority structure of Iraq. ... We never sent enough troops and didn't have enough troops to control or seal the borders,'' Clinton said.

As the borders were unsealed, ``the terrorists came in,'' he said.

Clinton said it would have been better if the United States had left Iraq's ``fundamental military and social and police structure intact.''

Democrats are accusing President Bush of having misled the American public about the urgency of the Iraqi threat before his order to invade, and Bush on Monday threw back at Democratic critics the worries they once expressed about Saddam.

``They spoke the truth then and they're speaking politics now,'' Bush charged.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld continued Bush's attack, citing the words of Clinton and others from his administration as saying Saddam was a security threat to the United States and its allies.

At a Pentagon news conference, Rumsfeld noted the Iraq Liberation Act that Congress passed in 1998 had said it should be U.S. government policy to support Saddam's removal from power. He noted that Clinton signed the act and ordered four days of bombing in December 1998.

Recent opinion polls show Bush as having the lowest approval rating of his presidency. In AP-Ipsos polling, a majority of Americans say Bush is not honest and they disapprove of his handling of foreign policy and the war on terrorism.


17 Nov 2005 @ 21:47 by Quinty @ : In a way Jmarc's
comments support us: those who opposed the war.

Under Clinton Saddam was contained. He couldn't budge. The argument the hawks have given us (in none too honest a manner) has been that Saddam "desired" WMD. That he had evil thoughts. A very far thing from actually having the weapons. The UN wanted to continue the inspections and what did US military planners find when they invaded Iraq? Pretty much what they expected. A broken country.

Look. When it comes to the Democrats they have much to be ashamed of. They still can't admit they once supported this war. That, I think, is what helped sink Kerry. He "flip flopped" on the war. And couldn't admit he had been wrong. He showed weakness in that respect. And as for Clinton and the war he has much to be ashamed of too.

There's plenty of non-partisan bi-partison blame to spread around. Propping up Bush's fantasies and lies doesn't help any. Nor does putting words into our mouths or twisting the facts or lying and slipping and sliding. Whicn in itself comprises a new scandal.  

17 Nov 2005 @ 22:15 by soultruth : they all lie
Let's face it, they ALL lie. and you know what just ocurred to me? We allow it.  

17 Nov 2005 @ 23:45 by Quinty @ : We allow it
by swallowing it. Yes. Very true.

Though I wouldn't say they "all" lie. Those who tell the truth, and are honest in this Congress, if that is what you are referring to, are indeed a minority. Under DeLay they ran rampant, with the K Street Project et al. I heard an interesting news bite today: that the CEOs of the major oil companies told Senator Lautenberg when they faced Congress the other day that they didn't take part in Cheney's "secret" energy policy meetings. Remember those, of a few years ago? They lied. (I don't believe they were sworn so they may avoid perjury charges. I hope I'm wrong.)

Oh, they are a sweet and pretty bunch.  

20 Nov 2005 @ 22:28 by jazzolog : FactCheck: Was Bush Mistaken?
Iraq: What Did Congress Know, And When?
Bush says Congress had the same (faulty) intelligence he did. Howard Dean says intelligence was "corrupted." We give facts.

November 19, 2005


The President says Democrats in Congress "had access to the same intelligence" he did before the Iraq war, but some Democrats deny it."That was not true," says Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. "He withheld some intelligence. . . . The intelligence was corrupted."

Neither side is giving the whole story in this continuing dispute.

The President's main point is correct: the CIA and most other US intelligence agencies believed before the war that Saddam had stocks of biological and chemical weapons, was actively working on nuclear weapons and "probably" would have a nuclear weapon before the end of this decade. That faulty intelligence was shared with Congress – along with multiple mentions of some doubts within the intelligence community – in a formal National Intelligence Estimate just prior to the Senate and House votes to authorize the use of force against Iraq.

No hard evidence has surfaced to support claims that Bush somehow manipulated the findings of intelligence analysts. In fact, two bipartisan investigations probed for such evidence and said they found none. So Dean's claim that intelligence was "corrupted" is unsupported.

But while official investigators have found no evidence that Bush manipulated intelligence, they never took up the question of whether the President and his top aides manipulated the public, something Bush also denies.

In fact, before the war Bush and others often downplayed or omitted any mention of doubts about Saddam's nuclear program. They said Saddam might give chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons to terrorists, although their own intelligence experts said that was unlikely. Bush also repeatedly claimed Iraq had trained al Qaeda terrorists in the use of poison gas, a story doubted at the time by Pentagon intelligence analysts. The claim later was called a lie by the al Qaeda detainee who originally told it to his US interrogators.


The latest round of this continuing partisan dispute started Nov. 11, when Bush said in a Veterans' Day speech:

Bush: While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs.

They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. . . . That's why more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate -- who had access to the same intelligence -- voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.

What Was Congress Told?

The intelligence to which Bush refers is contained in a top-secret document that was made available to all members of Congress in October 2002, days before the House and Senate voted to authorize Bush to use force in Iraq. This so-called National Intelligence Estimate was supposed to be the combined US intelligence community's "most authoritative written judgment concerning a specific national security issue," according to the Senate Intelligence Committee. The report was titled "Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction."

Though most of the document remains classified, the "Key Judgments" section and some other paragraphs were cleared and released publicly in July, 2003. The most recent and complete version available to the public can be read on the website of George Washington University's National Security Archive, which got it from the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act.

The NIE as declassified and released by the CIA says pretty much what Bush and his aides were saying publicly about Iraq's weapons - nearly all of which turned out to be wrong:

CIA Release of NIE, October 2002: We judge that Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs in defiance of UN resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of UN restrictions. If left unchecked it probably will have a nuclear weapon within this decade.

Chemical Weapons: The CIA document expressed no doubt that Iraq had large stocks of chemical weapons. "We assess that Baghdad has begun renewed production of mustard, sarin, GF (cyclosarin), and VX," it said. "Saddam probably has stocked at least 100 metric tons (MT) and possibly as much as 500 MT of CW agents – much of it added in the last year." ("CW" refers to "chemical warfare" agents.)

Biological Weapons: The document also said "we judge" that Iraq had an even bigger germ-warfare program than before the first Gulf War in 1991. "We judge Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating BW agents and is capable of quickly producing and weaponizing a variety of such agents, including anthrax, for delivery by bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers, and covert operatives," the report said. ("BW" refers to "biological warfare.")

Nuclear Weapons: The document also said "most" US intelligence agencies believed that some high-strength aluminum tubes that Iraq had purchased were intended for use in centrifuge rotors used to enrich uranium, and were "compelling evidence" that Saddam had put his nuclear weapons program back together.

On the matter of the tubes, however, the report noted that there was some dissent within the intelligence community. Members of Congress could have read on page 6 of the report that the Department of Energy "assesses that the tubes are probably not" part of a nuclear program.

Some news reports have said this caveat was "buried" deeply in the 92-page report, but this is not so. The "Key Judgments" section begins on page 5, and disagreements by the Department of Energy and also the State Department are noted on pages 5,6,8 and 9, in addition to a reference on page 84.

Though much has been made recently of doubts about the tubes, it should be noted that even the Department of Energy's experts believed Iraq did have an active nuclear program, despite their conclusion that the tubes were not part of it. Even the DOE doubters thought Saddam was working on a nuclear bomb.

Connection to terrorism.

On one important point the National Intelligence Estimate offered little support for Bush's case for war, however. That was the likelihood that Saddam would give chemical or biological weapons to terrorists for use against the US.

Al Qaeda: The intelligence estimate said that – if attacked and "if sufficiently desperate" – Saddam might turn to al Qaeda to carry out an attack against the US with chemical or biological weapons. "He might decide that the extreme step of assisting the Islamist terrorist in conducting a CBW attack against the United States would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him," the NIE said.

The report assigned "low confidence" to this finding, however, while assigning "high confidence" to the findings that Iraq had active chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs, and "moderate confidence" that Iraq could have a nuclear weapon as early as 2007 to 2009.

That was the intelligence available to Congress when the House passed the Iraq resolution Oct. 10, 2002 by a vote of 296-133. The Senate passed it in the wee hours of Oct. 11, by a vote of 77-23. A total of 81 Democrats in the House and 29 Democrats in the Senate supported the resolution, including some who now are saying Bush misled them.

A point worth noting is that few in Congress actually studied the intelligence before voting. The Washington Post reported: "The lawmakers are partly to blame for their ignorance. Congress was entitled to view the 92-page National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq before the October 2002 vote. But . . . no more than six senators and a handful of House members read beyond the five-page executive summary."

"Corrupted" Intelligence?

On all key points, of course, that National Intelligence Estimate turned out to be wrong. No stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons have been found, nor any evidence that Saddam had an active program to enrich uranium or make nuclear weapons. The aluminum tubes turned out to be for use in Iraqi rockets, just as the Department of Energy experts had argued.

That has led to claims that intelligence was deliberately slanted to justify the war in Iraq. On NBC's Meet the Press Nov. 13, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said the intelligence given to Congress was "corrupted" and that Bush withheld information.

Dean: The intelligence was corrupted, not just because of the incompetence of the CIA; it was corrupted because it was being changed around before it was presented to Congress . Stuff was taken out and not presented. All of this business about weapons of mass destruction, there was significant and substantial evidence . . . that said, "There is a strong body of opinion that says they don't have a nuclear program, nor do they have weapons of mass destruction." And that intelligence was not given to the Congress of the United States.

NBC's Tim Russert: It was in the National Intelligence Estimate, as a caveat by the State Department.

Dean: It was, a very small one, but the actual caveat that the White House got were (sic) much, much greater. And the deputy to Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson, just said so. He just came out and said so.

On this point Dean is incorrect . Wilkerson, who was State Department chief of staff during Bush's first term, actually said there was an "overwhelming" consensus within the intelligence community. He said the State Department dissented only regarding a nuclear program, not about whether Saddam possessed chemical and biological weapons.

Wilkerson, Oct. 19, 2005: And people say, well, INR (the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research) dissented. That's a bunch of bull. INR dissented that the nuclear program was up and running. That's all INR dissented on. They were right there with the chems and the bios.

. . . The consensus of the intelligence community was overwhelming. I can still hear (CIA Director) George Tenet telling me, and telling my boss (Colin Powell) in the bowels of the CIA, that the information we were delivering . . . (He) was convinced that what we were presented was accurate.

Wilkerson, it should be noted, is no apologist for Bush. This excerpt comes from the same speech in which Wilkerson went public with a well-publicized complaint that decisions leading up to the war were made by a "cabal" between Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and "a President who is not versed in international relations and not too much interested in them either."

Previously, two bipartisan commissions investigated and found no evidence of political manipulation of intelligence.

In 2004 the Senate Intelligence Committee said, in a report adopted unanimously by both Republican and Democratic members:

Senate Intelligence Committee: The Committee did not find any evidence that intelligence analysts changed their judgments as a result of political pressure, altered or produced intelligence products to conform with Administration policy, or that anyone even attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to do so. When asked whether analysts were pressured in any way to alter their assessments or make their judgments conform with Administration policies on Iraq’s WMD programs, not a single analyst answered “yes.” (p273)

A later bipartisan commission, co-chaired by Republican appeals-court judge Laurence Silberman and a Democratic former governor and senator from Virginia, Charles Robb, issued a report in March, 2005 saying:

Silberman-Robb Report: These (intelligence) errors stem from poor tradecraft and poor management. The Commission found no evidence of political pressure to influence the Intelligence Community's pre-war assessments of Iraq's weapons programs. As we discuss in detail in the body of our report, analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments. We conclude that it was the paucity of intelligence and poor analytical tradecraft, rather than political pressure, that produced the inaccurate pre-war intelligence assessments.

Although the Silberman-Robb commission was appointed by President Bush, it included prominent Democrats and Republican Sen. John McCain, whom Bush defeated for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000.

Misleading the Public?

Neither the Senate Intelligence Committee nor the Silberman-Robb commission considered how Bush and his top aides used the intelligence that was given to them, or whether they misled the public. The Senate Intelligence Committee is supposed to take that up in "phase two" of its investigation – and there's plenty to investigate.

Vice President Cheney, for example, said this on NBC's Meet the Press barely a month before Congress voted to authorize force:

Cheney, Sept. 8, 2002: But we do know, with absolute certainty, that he (Saddam) is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon.

As we've seen, that was wrong. Department of Energy and State Department intelligence analysts did not agree with the Vice President's claim, which turned out to be false. Cheney may have felt "absolute certainty" in his own mind, but that certainty wasn't true of the entire intelligence community, as his use of the word "we" implied.

Similarly, the President himself said this in a speech to the nation, just three days before the House vote to authorize force:

Bush, Oct. 7, 2002: We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases . And we know that after September the 11th, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America.

Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.

That statement is open to challenge on two grounds. For one thing, as we've seen, the intelligence community was reporting to Bush and Congress that they thought it unlikely that Saddam would give chemical or biological weapons to terrorists – and only "if sufficiently desperate" and as a "last chance to exact revenge" for the very attack that Bush was then advocating.

Furthermore, the claim that Iraq had trained al Qaeda in the use of poison gas turned out to be false, and some in the intelligence community were expressing doubts about it at the time Bush spoke. It was based on statements by a senior trainer for al Qaeda who had been captured in Afghanistan. The detainee, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, took back his story in 2004 and the CIA withdrew all claims based on it. But even at the time Bush spoke, Pentagon intelligence analysts said it was likely al-Libi was lying.

According to newly declassified documents, the Defense Intelligence Agency said in February 2002 – seven months before Bush's speech – "it is . . . likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers. Ibn al-Shaykh has been undergoing debriefs for several weeks and may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest. . . . Saddam’s regime is intensely secular and is wary of Islamic revolutionary movements. Moreover, Baghdad is unlikely to provide assistance to a group it cannot control." The DIA's doubts were revealed Nov. 6 in newly declassified documents made public by Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, a member of the Intelligence Committee.

Whether or not Bush was aware of the Pentagon's doubts is not yet clear.


Transcript:"President Commemorates Veterans Day, Discusses War on Terror," Tobyhanna Army Depot, Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, The White House 11 Nov 2005.

Transcript: "Transcript for November 13: Guests: His Majesty King Abdullah II, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Ken Mehlman, Chairman, Republican National Committee; and Howard Dean, Chairman, Democratic National Committee," Meet the Press, NBC, 13 November 2005.

Select Committee On Intelligence, United States Senate, " Report On The U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq ," 7 July 2004.

The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, " Report to the President of the United States ," 31 March 2005.
Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus, " Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument," The Washington Post , 12 Nov 2005; A1.

Central Intelligence Agency, NIE 2002-16HC, " National Intelligence Estimate : Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction," October 2002. Redacted, declassified version released under Freedom of Information Act to George Washington University's National Security Archive, posted 9 July 2004.

Transcript, Remarks of former State Department chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson, New America Foundation, Washington DC, 19 Oct. 2005.

Judd Legum, Faiz Shakir, Nico Pitney Amanda Terkel, Payson Schwin & Christy Harvey, " Bush's Reverse Slam Dunk," The Progress Report, American Progress Action Fund 14 Nov 2005.

“Vice President Dick Cheney discusses 9/11 anniversary, Iraq, nation’s economy and politics 2002,” Transcript, Meet the Press, NBC, 8 Sep 2002.

Transcript: "President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat," Remarks by the President on Iraq, Cincinnati Museum Center - Cincinnati Union Terminal,Cincinnati, Ohio, 7 Oct 2002.

"Levin Says Newly Declassified Information Indicates Bush Administration’s Use of Pre-War Intelligence Was Misleading," press release with supporting documents, office of Sen. Carl Levin 6 Nov 2005.  

20 Nov 2005 @ 23:38 by Quinty @ : The Annenberg Foundation
We have a certain centrist mentality in this country which believes the truth can be found somehow in "the middle." Annenberg, I think, shares that mentality. We should remember Aristotle's Golden Mean which argued that the truth is not necessarily in the middle: it may be way over to one side.

Annenberg criticized John Edwards during the campaign for claiming Bush provided cut taxes for the rich while raising them for the middleclass.

Literally Annenberg was correct. The Bush tax cuts actually gave the middleclass a small break. But in the real world they were wrong. And the opposite has happened.

What I think Edwards was referring to was the rise in fees, local and property taxes the federal cuts necessitated. That with the cuts in spending the middleclass has had to pay more for such things as tuition at state universities, etc.

At least that's how I interpreted what Edwards was saying. And agreed.

Anyway, I agree with Dean. The Bush administration doesn't get off the hook. They lied. They lied to both the Congress and the American people. We knew that at the time because those Democrats who were all too eager to jump onto the band wagon did so out of timidity. An election was coming up and they simply wanted to wrap themselves in the flag. They didn’t have the spine to buck the jingoistic wave toward the war. Neither did the mass news media.

Those of us out on the streets at that time knew that. That was why so many of us backed either Dean or Kucinich. And what they knew anyone else in the Congress could have known too.

And we did know Bush was a fraud.

The passage of more than two years hasn’t changed any of that. Though there are those who wish we would forget and would accept the latest spin and lie.


Paul Quintanilla is librarian and "curator" of his father's sensational art (most of which still is inexplicably "undiscovered") .


21 Nov 2005 @ 08:22 by jazzolog : Taking On FactCheck
Yesterday I sent out a FactCheck analysis from Saturday on What Congress Knew about intelligence on Sadam. As you know George Bush has been claiming, in Inner and Outer Mongolia where he is visiting his staunch allies (no offense to those fine people and their fascinating culture), Congress had all the same stuff he had back in the day when everybody wanted to strike Baghdad. I got some interesting reactions I thought you'd like to see.

First comes Robert Whealey, Associate Professor of History at Ohio University~~~

"This is far too simplistic. The writer uses 9th grade logic. A historian
knows that any military decision should be based on 100s or maybe 1000s of
reports, not one or two."

> The President's main point is correct: the CIA and most other US
> intelligence agencies believed before the war that Saddam had stocks of
> biological and chemical weapons, (from the FactCheck analysis)

"There are supposedly 15 agencies reporting to Washington. How many
documents were involved here?"

>was actively working on nuclear weapons
> and "probably" would have a nuclear weapon before the end of this decade.
> That faulty intelligence was shared with Congress ? along with multiple
> mentions of some doubts within the intelligence community ? in a formal
> National Intelligence Estimate just prior to the Senate and House votes (FactCheck)

"This is only a summary estimate. One document explains nothing. How may
other documents were behind this one briefing paper? 23 Senators in Oct
2002 voted no--because they did not believe this scanty report."

> No hard evidence has surfaced to support claims that Bush somehow
> manipulated the findings of intelligence analysts. (FactCheck)

"This is probably true. Bush is far too lazy to manipulate anything.

"But Cheney withheld plenty. So did Rumsfeld. Bush only read the absolute

"Why did Tenet resign? Why did Powell resign?"

>In fact, two
> bipartisan investigations probed for such evidence and said they found
> none. (FactCheck)

"Were these 'bipartisan' committee's in the business of covering up their own

>So Dean's claim that intelligence was "corrupted" is unsupported. (FactCheck)

"Sweeping? What did the Swedes, Germans, Russians, Israelis, Arabs believe
about this scanty report?

"I stopped reading at this point. Intelligence is a very complicated
business. The rest of the report assumes a simplistic faith."

> In fact, before the war Bush and others often downplayed or omitted any
> mention of doubts about Saddam's nuclear program. They said Saddam might
> give chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons to terrorists, although
> their own intelligence experts said that was unlikely. Bush also
> repeatedly claimed Iraq had trained al Qaeda terrorists in the use of
> poison gas, a story doubted at the time by Pentagon intelligence
> analysts. The claim later was called a lie by the al Qaeda detainee who
> originally told it to his US interrogators. (FactCheck)

"The above para. is all speculation not fact."

Robert Sheak also wrote. He's Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Sociology at OU~~~


"I am suspicious of the 'facts' generated by FactCheck.Org. My central worry is that their 'objective' or authoritative sources were biased in how they collected their information. Where did the evidence come from that was made available by the NIE, CIA, and a 'bipartisan commission.' The following article (and references to other articles) suggests that these agencies and the Bush administration carefully limited the sources (e.g., who was consulted) and edited the resulting evidence. I think we should be skeptical of FactCheck, an organization that seeks to claim the high ground on this long-standing issue. But, from the non-mainstream political perspective, it leaves out a host of alternative viewpoints and evidence. FactCheck's distinction between 'intelligence they [Bush] were given' and 'misleading the public' is dubious. I am not convinced that the former was an unbiased presentation of the available evidence. And certainly they misled the public.

"You might take a minute to read the following article by Ray McGovern. He refers to a new book and two articles that tend to rebut FactCheck's rendering of the relevant history. I found the article by W. Patrick Lang, 'Drinking the Kool-Aid,' particularly informative. I'm sure that he was not called to testify before the so-called 'bipartisan commission.' From my little niche in Athens, I was involved prior to March 2003 in marshalling evidence, much of it from the Internet, to contest the Bush administration's justifications for the invasion of Iraq. I've attached a copy of a long document I compiled for a debate of the issue back in October and November of 2002. My non-authoritative impression now is that the Bush administration and key agencies of the executive branch manipulated the intelligence as well as the public to support their preconceived goal of invading Iraq. Bush and his advisors should not be seen as naive victims of faulty or corrupted intelligence. They were actively involved, I think, in creating the organizational context that produced their misbegotten claims."

A few minutes later Bob sent along the LATimes article from yesterday about "Curveball".

Professor Sheak's analysis follows~~~

Responses to the False, Dubious, and Misleading

Justifications of the Bush Administration

For the Planned Invasion of Iraq

Compiled by Bob Sheak

November 2002


Some reasons to oppose a US-led invasion of Iraq.

1) Contrary to the claims of the Bush Administration, there is no evidence that Iraq has WMD programs, much (if any) WMD, or the capacity to deliver WMD much beyond its own borders. The Iraqi military, far weaker now than in 1991, has not used WMD on surrounding countries or the Iraqi Kurds since the 1980s, and only then with the support and complicity of the U.S. and its Western European allies. There is no evidence that Iraq has plotted or been linked at all with Al Qaeda. The next round of inspections should be allowed to unfold and any WMD that may exist to be destroyed.

2) In contrast to the claims of the Bush Administration, the earlier UN inspections of Iraqi WMD were, by and large, successful. The US actively worked to subvert the inspection process and ultimately called for the inspection teams in December 1998 to be withdrawn. The inspections just authorized by the UN’s Security Council should be allowed to go ahead without illegal or premature intervention by the US.

3) Although the Bush Administration continues to claim that the Hussein regime is linked to Al Qaeda, no evidence of a link has yet to be uncovered or revealed. An invasion of Iraq will not weaken "international terrorism," but strengthen it.

4) Despite the claims by the Bush Administration that any harm to the Iraqi people is the result of the Hussein regime, the available evidence documents that US/UN policies have done great harm to the Iraqi people, as indicated by the massive destruction of Iraqi civilian infrastructure during the first Gulf War and the well-documented deterioration in the lives of the Iraqi people since then. The Oil-for-Food program is insufficient and has been further weakened by US influence on the UN Sanctions Committee. Another US-led war on Iraq will worsen an already dire situation. The US/UN should end economic sanctions and begin to repair the great damage and harm wrought by their policies.

5) The Bush Administration claims that its only interest in Iraq is to rid the world of its alleged WMD, to "free" the Iraqi people, and to promote the development of "democratic institutions. This self-serving rhetoric is brought into question by the increasing dependence of the US economy on foreign oil, the huge reserves of oil in Iraq and the jockeying of US oil corporations, along with Russia, France, China, and other countries, to gain access or control of Iraq’s oil. (In addition, there are no "democratic" governments among our allies in the Middle East [Israel is a "special" case] - and Iran, Israel, and Turkey have WMD.) US interests would be better served by an energy policy that reduced America’s growing dependence on oil and other fossil fuels.

6) Contrary to the claims of the Bush Administration, a US-led invasion of Iraq is more likely to generate instability in the Middle East region than to bring stability. A policy based on reasonable inspections, an end to economic sanctions, and support for rebuilding Iraq would do much more to win the US friends in the Middle East region than another disastrous war.

7) While the Bush Administration continually assures the American people that an invasion of Iraq will have a minimal number of negative effects, the administration tends to underplay how a US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq will lead to a large number of US casualties, further fuel increases in military spending, reduce spending on important domestic programs in the US, and drive the federal budget deficit up. (There is also concern that an invasion will reduce the ability of the US to go after those groups promoting "international terrorism" and create a situation in the US that fosters fear among citizens, support for an extension of "a security state," and erosion of constitutional rights and protections (i.e., of democracy). Rather than spending an enormous quantity of resources on an unnecessary war and enormous increases in military spending and an unreasonable extension of the state’s power, the government needs to balance its priorities and ensure that domestic needs are addressed and democracy is not further weakened.



I. Bush Adm. justification #1 – Iraq has weapons of mass destruction (WMD), has demonstrated its willingness to use them, and, as a ruthless and unrestrained aggressor state, is an imminent threat to other nations in the Middle East and to the U.S.

Response #1a – If the Iraq government has WMD, the U.S. must be viewed as complicit in helping it to acquire and develop them. The U.S. government helped the regime under Saddam Hussein to acquire WMD during the 1980s. In an article entitled "The Bloodstained Path" (Progressive, Nov. 2002), Representative Dennis Kucinich writes that during the Reagan Administration, "sixty helicopters were sold to Iraq. Later reports said Iraq used U.S.-made helicopters to spray Kurds with chemical weapons. According to The Washington Post, Iraq used mustard gas against Iran with the help of intelligence from the CIA." Kucinich adds: "Throughout 1989 and 1990, U.S. companies, with the permission of the first Bush Administration, sent to the government of Saddam Hussein mustard gas precursors and live cultures for bacteriological research. U.S. companies also helped to build a chemical weapons factory and supplied the West Nile virus, fuel air explosive technology, computers for weapons technology, hydrogen cyanide precursors, computers for weapons research and development, and vacuum pumps and bellows for nuclear weapons plants. "

Response #1b – "Administration officials brand Iraq as an aggressor state on the basis of its two wars with neighbors, Iran in 1980, and Kuwait in 1990 – and use of chemical weapons against Kurds in northern Iraq." None of this is meant to excuse Iraq or Saddam Hussein, but to demonstrate that there is no basis in Iraq's past behavior to brand it as a reckless aggressor state, much less driven by a visionary terrorist worldview, and thus no reason to lose confidence in the capacity to contain and deter Saddam Hussein in the future. Its dictatorial leadership is brutal and unprincipled, without question, but in its international relations it acts as a secular state, calculating its actions against probable costs, adjusting to miscalculations in a rational, self-serving manner.

-Iran – Alan Simpson (chair of Labour Against War) and Dr. Glen Rangwala (lecturer in politics at Combridge U.), "The Dishonest Cast for a war on Iraq: Refuting the Blair Dossier), Sept 27, 2002 – -

The only occasion on which the Iraqi government used weapons of mass destruction against another country was against Iran from 1981/82 to 1988.The use of mustard agents had a devastating impact on Iranian troops in the first years of the war, and the civilian death toll from the use of sarin and tabun numbers in the thousands. However, it should be noted that the use of chemical weapons was undertaken with the compliance of the rest of the world. The US Secretary of State acknowledged that he was aware of reports of Iraqi use of chemical weapons from 1983, and a United Nations team confirmed Iraqi use in a report of 16 March 1984. Nevertheless, the US administration provided "crop-spraying" helicopters to Iraq (subsequently used in chemical attacks on the Kurds in 1988), gave Iraq access to intelligence information that allowed Iraq to "calibrate" its mustard attacks on Iranian troops (1984), seconded its air force officers to work with their Iraqi counterparts (from 1986), approved technological exports to Iraq's missile procurement agency to extend the missiles' range (1988), and blocked bills condemning Iraq in the House of Representatives (1985) and Senate (1988).

Most crucially, the US and UK blocked condemnation of Iraq's known chemical weapons attacks at the UN Security Council. No resolution was passed during the war that specifically criticised Iraq's use of chemical weapons, despite the wishes of the majority to condemn this use. The only criticism of Iraq from the Security Council came in the form of non-binding Presidential statements (over which no country has a veto). The 21 March 1986 statement recognised that "chemical weapons on many occasions have been used by Iraqi forces against Iranian forces"; this statement was opposed by the United States, the sole country to vote against it in the Security Council (the UK abstained).

In summary, Iraq has never used chemical weapons against an external enemy without the acquiescence of the most powerful states. It has done so only in the knowledge that it would be protected from condemnation and countermeasures by a superpower. There is no reason to suspect that the Iraqi leadership now places any military gains it might achieve through the use of chemical weapons above its desire to form international alliances with major powers.

Kuwait -Tom Gorman, "Who is the Madman Here? Bush’s UN Non-Sequiturs," - 9-18-02: -

-Provocation for invasion of Kuwait – "Kuwait had been slant-drilling the Iraqi oil field of Rumallah as well as driving down the price of oil at a time when Iraq was in desperate need of funds to rebuild its infrastructure after the Iran-Iraq War (in which Iraq was favored by the US). While it is arguable whether this was justification for an invasion, this provocation is significantly less specious than that cited for, say, the American invasion of Panama seven months earlier."

-Not massing to invade Saudi Arabia – "Satellite imagery showed no Iraqi military buildup on the border regions with Saudi Arabia in either Iraq or occupied Kuwait in September 1990, as revealed in a series of articles in the St. Petersburg (FL) Times in January 1991. Yet the elder President Bush fabricated this ‘aggression’ to justify Operation Desert Shield."

-Iraqi Kurds – Simpson and Rangwala: -

"As part of the Anfal campaign against the Kurds (February to September 1988), the Iraqi regime used chemical weapons extensively against its own civilian population. Between 50,000 and 186,000 Kurds were killed in these attacks, over 1,200 Kurdish villages were destroyed, and 300,000 Kurds were displaced. The most infamous chemical assault was on the town of Halabja in March 1988, which killed 5,000 people. Human Rights Watch regards the Anfal campaign as an act of genocide.

"The Anfal campaign was carried out with the acquiescence of the West.

"Rather than condemn the massacres of Kurds, the US escalated its support for Iraq. It joined in Iraq's attacks on Iranian facilities, blowing up two Iranian oil rigs and destroying an Iranian frigate a month after the Halabja attack. Within two months, senior US officials were encouraging corporate coordination through an Iraqi state-sponsored forum. The US administration opposed, and eventually blocked, a US Senate bill that cut off loans to Iraq. The US approved exports to Iraq of items with dual civilian and military use at double the rate in the aftermath of Halabja as it did before 1988. Iraqi written guarantees about civilian use were accepted by the US commerce department, which did not request licenses and reviews (as it did for many other countries). The Bush Administration approved $695,000 worth of advanced data transmission devices the day before Iraq invaded Kuwait."

Response #1c - Most of Iraq’s WMD were discovered and destroyed by UNSCOM by the end of 1998.

-YES! Magazine, "10 Questions Americans are Asking as the US Prepares to go to War" – - October 30, 2002: -

"Most observers believe that the threat is less than it was in 1991, when Iraq invaded Kuwait. The former head of the UN inspection team, Scott Ritter, states that 90 to 95 percent of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were confirmed destroyed and that there is no evidence that Iraq retained any of its weapons or capacity for producing them. Because there have been no inspections since 1998, no one knows for sure just what Iraq has. Since 1991, Iraq has not used weapons of mass destruction nor engaged in war with any other country. Due to 12 years of UN sanctions, Iraq is now an impoverished country, making a large-scale weapons program far less feasible, Ritter said."

-Scott Ritter – televised lecture at the University of Maryland by C-Span, November 13, 2002 – Ritter said one indication of the success of the earlier inspections process is this: In 1994, the Israeli military ranked Iraq as the number one threat to Israel. In 1998, it ranked Iraq as number 6 on their threat list.

Response #1d – Iraqi forces fire on U.S. and British planes over the "no-fly" zones, but with little effect. A key point is that the no-fly zones have been illegally imposed by the U.S. The Institute for Public Accuracy, "Detailed Analysis of Bush Oct 7 Speech":

Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence: "It is the U.S. government that is violating the United Nations Charter ... by using military force to allegedly 'police' these illegal 'no-fly' zones that have never been authorized by the U.N. Security Council or by the U.S. Congress, in violation of the 1973 War Powers Resolution as well. Iraq is simply exercising its legitimate right of self-defense under U.N. Charter article 51. The Bush administration has deliberately put U.S. pilots in harm's way in order to concoct a pretext for a catastrophic war of aggression against Iraq."

Response #1e – The best available evidence indicates that Iraq does not have nuclear weapons and does not have the infrastructure now to develop them.

Simpson and Rangwala - In 1998, when the US ordered UN weapons inspectors to leave Iraq, it was widely accepted the Iraq's nuclear capacity had been wholly dismantled. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), charged with monitoring Iraq's nuclear facilities after the Gulf War, reported to the Security Council from 8 October 1997 that Iraq had compiled a "full, final and complete" account of its previous nuclear projects, and there was no indication of any prohibited activity. The IAEA's fact sheet from 25 April 2002, entitled "Iraq's Nuclear Weapons Programme", recorded that "There were no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of amounts of weapons-usable nuclear material of any practical significance." …. "IAEA experts maintain that Iraq has never had the capacity to enrich uranium sufficiently for a bomb and was extremely dependent on imports to create centrifuge facilities (report of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 28 June 2002).

…. Furthermore, enriching uranium requires substantial infrastructure and a power supply that could be easily spotted by US satellites. No such information has been provided. Over the past year, US and UK sources have made much of the fact that Iraq has attempted to import specialized steel and aluminum tubes that could be used in gas centrifuges that enrich uranium. According to the Washington Post (10 September 2002), such tubes are also used in making conventional artillery rockets, which Iraq is not prohibited from developing or possessing under UN resolutions. As David Albright, former IAEA inspector in Iraq and director of the Institute for Science and International Security, told the Washington Post, "This is actually a weak indicator for suggesting centrifuges -- it just doesn't build a case. I don't yet see evidence that says Iraq is close."

Response #1f – There is no public evidence that Iraq has biological or chemical weapons, that they have used such weapons over the past 10 or 12 years, that they are rebuilding facilities since 1998 to produce such weapons, or that Iraq has the capacity or desire to threaten other countries by delivering these agents by missiles or other means.

Simpson and Rangwala – UNSCOM discovered and destroyed a large amount of the biological and chemical weapons in Iraq, and that much of what remained has deteriorated. However, they say there "are two potential exceptions for materials that would not be expected to have deteriorated if produced before 1991. Mustard gas has been found to persist over time, as shown when Unscom discovered four intact mustard-filled artillery shells that would still have constituted a viable weapon. Unscom oversaw the destruction of 12,747 of Iraq's 13,500 mustard shells. The Iraqi regime claimed that the remaining shells had been destroyed by US/UK bombardment. This claim has not been verified or disproved. However, as former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter notes, "A few hundred 155 mm mustard shells have little military value on the modern battlefield. A meaningful CW attack using artillery requires thousands of rounds. Retention of such a limited number of shells makes no sense and cannot be viewed as a serious threat."

Simpson and Rangwala - The major facilities that Iraq had prior to 1991 have all been destroyed. The Muthanna State Establishment, Iraq's main plant for the production of chemical warfare agents, was destroyed partially through aerial bombardment and partly under Unscom supervision. Al-Hakam, Iraq’s main biological weapons facility that was designed to make up to 50,000 litres of anthrax, botulinum toxin and other agents a year, was destroyed in May-June 1996.

Simpson and Rangwala – "journalists who visited the Taji warehouse in mid-August - which the US claimed days before was a major biological weapons facility - found only "boxes of powdered milk from Yemen, Vietnam, Tunisia and Indonesia and sacks of sugar imported from Egypt and India", according to the Reuters correspondent. The visiting journalists are not weapons inspectors, and do not have the resources to monitor facilities for chemical agents or radiation; but they are able to ascertain if major new production facilities have been constructed. Now that the Iraqi Foreign Minister has made an unconditional offer to the UN to readmit weapons inspectors (on 16 September), allegations about the production of new facilities can be checked. However, the British Foreign Secretary and the White House have both disparaged the Iraqi offer, even though it could lead to the verified disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction."

Response #1g– Most of Iraq’s long- and mid-range missiles were destroyed. Simpson and Rangwala:

The first problem with this claim is the very low number of longer range missiles that Iraq might have. According to Unscom, by 1997, 817 out of Iraq's known 819 ballistic missiles had been certifiably destroyed. On the worst-case assumption that Iraq has salvaged some of the parts for these missiles and has reconstructed them since 1998, even Charles Duelfer - former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, deputy head of Unscom and strong proponent of an invasion of Iraq - has provided an estimate of only 12 to 14 missiles held by Iraq. Even under this scenario, it is difficult to see Iraq posing a threat to the rest of the world through its missiles. Furthermore, biological weapons cannot be effectively disbursed through ballistic missiles. According to the IISS, much of the biological agent would be destroyed on impact and the area of dispersal would be small. For example, if anthrax is filled into missile warheads, up to 95% of the content is not dispersed (according to the Director of Intelligence of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff:

Response #1h – Iraq has not used WMD since the 1980s. Simpson and Rangala point out:

Iraq would face massive reprisals if its leadership ever ordered the use of weapons of mass destruction on the US or Europe. It is difficult to imagine circumstances in which the Iraqi regime would use these weapons directly against any western country. The only conceivable exception would be if the Iraqi leaders felt they had nothing left to lose: that is, if they were convinced of their own imminent demise as a result of an invasion. Weapons of mass destruction were not used by Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War, despite having both a much more developed capacity than it holds at present (see below) and the routing of its army. The best way to avoid prompting Iraqi leaders to use any non-conventional capacity would be to refrain from invading Iraq or attempting to assassinate or depose its rulers.

Response #1i – No evidence that Hussein has shared WMD with "terrorists." Simpson and Rangala:

The State Department's annual report on terrorism, released on 30 April 2001, stated that the Iraqi regime "has not attempted an anti-Western terrorist attack" since 1993. The small paramilitary groups that Iraq supports, such as the Arab Liberation Front (in Palestine) and the Mujahidin e-Khalq (for Iran), have no access to Iraq's more advanced weaponry, let alone weapons of mass destruction. Furthermore, these groups have never carried out attacks on the US or Europe, and have little if any supporting infrastructure in those countries. The Iraqi regime has no credible links to al-Qa'ida, either in the perpetration of the 11 September attack, or in the presence in eastern Iraqi Kurdistan (controlled by the US-backed Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, not the Iraqi government, since 1991) of Ansar al-Islam. This group is an off-shoot of the US-backed Islamic Movement of Iraqi Kurdistan which has taken funds and arms from Iran and (reportedly) from al-Qa'ida.

Response #1j - It would still be a good idea for inspections to resume in Iraq for the purpose of eliminating WMD. -Stephen R. Shalom and Michael Albert, "45 Questions and Answers," - Oct 9, 2002: -

Most everyone favors the inspection of Iraqi WMD, other than Saddam Hussein and, as we can infer from its actions, Washington. Everything the United States has done for the last few months, and indeed for the last eleven years, has had the effect of discouraging Iraq's cooperation with inspections. Security Council resolution 687 declared that sanctions would be lifted when Iraq was disarmed, but the United States promptly removed Hussein's incentive for disarmament when in May 1991 deputy national security adviser Robert Gates officially announced that all sanctions would remain as long as Saddam Hussein remained in power. In March 1997, secretary of state Madeleine Albright stated that "We do not agree with the nations who argue that if Iraq complies with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted" -- and Hussein became more uncooperative with the inspectors.


II. Second major justification offered by the Bush Administration for an invasion of Iraq: The Hussein regime subverted the earlier inspections – and will not comply with the requirements of future inspections.

Response #2a – The U.N. inspections were effective.

- Milan Rai, 2002, War Plan: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq, writes:

"Scott Ritter points out that, ‘Most of UNSCOM’s findings of Iraqi non-compliance concerned wither the inability to verify an Iraqi declaration or peripheral matters such as components and documentation, which by and of themselves do not constitute a weapon or a program. By December 1998, ‘Iraq had, in fact, been disarmed to a level unprecedented in modern history…." (67)

According to Richard Butler’s final UNSCOM report for the Security Council on December 14 -- -- "In statistical terms, the majority of the inspections of facilities and sites under the ongoing monitoring system were carried out with Iraq’s cooperation" – "Butler only cited five incidents in 300 inspection operations over the previous month (52)

Response #2b – The U.S. actively worked to subvert the previous inspection process. Milan Rai, 2002, War Plan: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq, writes:

-"US intelligence provided technology for UNSCOM to intercept secret, coded, Iraqi communications from January 1996. Mr Ritter sent the intercepts by satellite relay to Bahrain, the regional headquarters of UNSCOM, where a computer filtered the conversations for relevant key words – ‘chemical,’ missile,’ and so on – and relayed them to the US National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland for decoding and translation" – "Barton Gellman of the Washington Post learned in 1999 that in March 1996 a US military intelligence officer working for UNSCOM had secretly inserted special scanners into UNSCOM cameras, enabling US intelligence to spy on important nodes of Iraqi military communication, quite unknown to UNSCOM" (55)

-"There are three reasons why the inspection and monitoring regime no longer exists in Iraq. First, the US penetrated and used UNSCOM for its own spying/assassination/coup purposes, including the coordination of an UNSCOM inspection with a CIA-backed coup attempt in June 1996. This damaged UNSCOM beyond repair when the truth became known in late 1998 and early 1999. Secondly, the US manipulated UNSCOM inspections and the final UNSCOM report in November and December 1998 to create an atmosphere of confrontation. Thirdly, the US ordered the withdrawal of all UNSCOM staff in December 1998 in order to make it politically possible to carry out Operation Desert Fox." (201)

Response #2c – Inspections can work again, if they are given a reasonable chance and not subverted by the U.S.


III. Bush Administration justification #3 – Hussein is linked to Al Qaeda.

Response #3 – There is no evidence of a link between the Iraqi government and Al Qaeda.

-Stephen R. Shalom and Michael Albert, "45 Questions and Answers," October 9, 2002:

The head of the Senate intelligence committee, Bob Graham, said he had seen nothing connecting al Qaeda and Iraq. Sen. Joseph Biden, who heard a classified CIA briefing on the matter, disputes Rumsfeld's summary. Nebraska Republican, Senator Chuck Hagel, commented that "To say, 'Yes, I know there is evidence there, but I don't want to tell you any more about it,' that does not encourage any of us. Nor does it give the American public a heck of a lot of faith that, in fact, what anyone is saying is true." Intelligence experts inside and outside the U.S. government expressed skepticism, and a Pentagon official called the new claims an "exaggeration." And French intelligence has found not a "trace" of evidence of any link. (NYT, 9/28/02; Newsday, 9/27/02; USA Today, 9/27/02; Washington Post, 9/27/02; Financial Times, 10/6/02.)

-Milan Rai, 2002, War Plan: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq.

-no meeting between the ringleader of the suicide bombers,Mohamed Atta, with an Iraqi intelligence agent in the Czech republic in 2001 – When the Czech completed their investigation into this alleged meeting they found no documents showing that Atta visited Prague at any time this year – at the time of the alleged meeting, Atta was in Virginia Beach and Florida (130)

-"The New York Times carried an article on Baghada record: ‘The Central Intelligence Agency has no evidence that Iraq has engaged in terrorist operations against the US in nearly a decade, and the agency is also convinced that President Saddam Hussein has not provided chemical or biological weapons to Al Qaeda or related terrorist groups, according to several American intelligence officers" (131)


IV. Fourth Bush Administration justification for an invasion – We are the friends of the Iraqi people and want to help them.

Response #4a – The facts belie the rhetoric. Institute for Public Accuracy – "Detailed Analysis of Bush’s Oct. 7 Speech":

Anthony Arnove, editor of the book Iraq Under Siege: "But the people of Iraq have good reason to feel otherwise. As Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times noted in his October 4 report from Baghdad, 'while ordinary Iraqis were very friendly toward me, they were enraged at the U.S. after 11 years of economic sanctions.... Worse, U.S. bombing of water treatment plants, difficulties importing purification chemicals like chlorine (which can be used for weapons), and shortages of medicines led to a more than doubling of infant mortality, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.' Another war on Iraq -- this time, a 'pre-emptive' attack aimed at 'regime change' -- will lead to more civilian casualties and damage to Iraq's infrastructure. And Iraqis are right to worry that the regime Washington installs, in violation of their right to self-determination, will be one that serves U.S. interests, not their own. We should recall the impact of the last war. In the words of Gulf War veteran Anthony Swofford, a former Marine corporal, writing in the New York Times, October 2, 'From the ground, I witnessed the savage results of American air superiority: tanks and troop carriers turned upside down and ripped inside out; rotten, burned, half-buried bodies littering the desert like the detritus of years -- not weeks -- of combat.' We should be skeptical of Bush's stated concern for the Iraqi people. His real interests in this war are not the Iraq people, or defending Americans from attack, but expanding U.S.hegemony in the Middle East."

Response #4b – The U.S. military is responsible for the destruction of Iraq’s physical (civilian) infrastructure

-Milan Rai, 2002, War Plan: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq.

-"…the US-led forces had deliberately destroyed the civilian infrastructure which supported public health. The Arab Monetary Fund estimated the value of destroyed infrastructure and economic assets during the 1991 war at $232 billion. (By comparison, the eight-year Iran-Iraq war caused only $67bn worth of economic damage. Dr. Eric Hoskins, a UNICEF adviser, observes that: ‘Eighteen of Iraq’s twenty power-generating plants were rendered inoperative [during the 1991 war], reducing [immediate] postwar electricity to just 4 percent of prewar levels. Food storage facilities, industrial complexes, oil refineries, sewage pumping stations, telecommunications facilities, roads, railroads, and dozens of bridges were destroyed during the war’" (136).

-"Without electricity, water cannot be purified, sewage cannot be treated, water-borne diseases flourish and hospitals cannot cure treatable diseases" (137).

-Dr. Leon Eisenberg of Harvard Medical School noted that the destruction of the country’s power plants in 1991 ‘brought its entire system of water purification and distribution to a halt, leading to epidemics of cholera, typhoid fever, and gastroenteritis, particularly among children.’ Death rates doubled or tripled among children admitted to hospitals in Baghdad and Basra. Cases of marasmus, a disease of acute malnutrition, appeared for the first time in decades" (138).

-"Deliberate destroying the means of containing water-borne disease is equivalent to the use of a biological weapon" (138)

-These actions violate the Geneva Conventions – "It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, or cause them to move away, or for any other motive" (139).

Response #4c – There is considerable evidence of how the Iraqi people have been harmed by the first Gulf War and the subsequent economic sanctions.

- The War and the continuous bombing, along with the ongoing economic embargo, have left Iraq devastated. U.N. Under-Secretary-General Martti Ahtisaari described conditions in the country as "near apocalyptic" and that Iraq had been relegated to a pre-industrial age. The economic infrastructure has been largely destroyed. Denis Halliday stated that Iraq needs at least $50 billion to rebuild its agricultural, medical, and social infrastructure.

-The U.N. Childrens’ Fund, UNICEF, found that between 1991 and 1998 there were 500,000 deaths above the anticipated rate among Iraqi children under five years of age, or, on average, 5,200 preventable under-five deaths per month. The 2002 edition of the State of the World’s Children, produced by UNICEF, found that the overall well-being of Iraqi children had declined more in the 1990s than in any other country. The infant mortality rate in Iraq went from one of the lowest in 1990 to the highest in 1998. There has been a 125% increase in children seeking help for mental health problems. Cancer rates among children have soared.

-Milan Rai, 2002, War Plan: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq.

-"…a Humanitarian Panel of experts appointed by the UN Security Council concluded in March 1999 that, ‘Even if not all suffering in Iraq can be imputed to external factors, especially sanctions, the Iraqi people would not be undergoing such deprivations in the absence of the prolonged measures imposed by the Security Council and the effects of war.’

-"In August 1999, UNICEF revealed that in the south/center of Iraq – home to 85 percent of the country’s population – the death rate among children under five had more than doubled during the period of sanctions. The death rate had gone from 56 deaths per1000 live births (1984-1989) to 131 deaths per 1000 live births (1994-1999). Infant mortality – defined as death of children in their first year – had increased from 47 to 108 deaths per 1000 live births with the same period of time."

-"UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy noted that there had been a substantial reduction in child mortality throughout Iraq during the 1980s. If this had continued through the 1990s, there would have been half a million fewer deaths of children under five in the country as a whole during the eight year period 1991 to 1998" (176).

Response #4d – The Oil for Food program has done too little to assist the Iraqi people; it has been sorely inadequate.

The oil for food program, introduced to ease the effects of the economic embargo, has been inadequate. While the program technically exempts food and medicines, the U.N. Sanctions Committee, dominated by the U.S. and Britain, has frequently vetoed and delayed requests for baby food, agricultural equipment, heart and cancer drugs, oxygen tents, X-ray machines. As of October, 2001, over one-thousand contracts for humanitarian supplies worth $3.85 billion were "on hold" by the Sanctions Committee. The goods on hold increased in value from $3.71 billion on May 14, 2001, to $5.71 billion on May 17, 2002. Kofi Annan, U.N. General Secretary, has said: "Not one of the U.N.’s observation mechanisms has reported any major problems in humanitarian supplies being diverted, switched, or in any way being misused. The supplies are insufficient. Hans von Sponeck, former U.N. coordinator of humanitarian concerns in Iraq, denounced the oil for food program as completely inadequate, making available only $119.70 per capita a year in supplies.

Response #4e – An invasion will make the already desperate situation of the Iraqi people even worse than it is. Save the Children in the UK makes the following points:

Three things resulting directly from military action will dangerously undermine the livelihoods and the very survival of Iraqi civilians.

First, supplies of humanitarian goods imported under the UN Oil-for-Food program (OFF) will be interrupted. Neighboring states may close their borders, UN agency, international and local aid staff will evacuate their posts, and local authorities may obstruct or be unable to deliver supplies to the needy.

Second, armed conflict is likely to encompass centers of high population density and affect key aspects of their infrastructure. Power cuts and closure of transport routes leading to public health hazards can endanger the lives of large numbers of Iraqis in the medium term.

Third, a breakdown in communications and logistics in the Iraqi civil administration will leave civilians without access to centrally warehoused supplies and hamper distribution.

"…. Based on its eleven-year experience in northern Iraq Save the Children UK maintains that military intervention in Iraq could significantly increase the civilian suffering of the majority of Iraqis, almost half of whom are children under the age of 14. The livelihoods and lives of the most vulnerable Iraqis could be critically endangered. International law requires that warfare is never indiscriminate and disproportional. Damage to civilians and civilian objects must be minimised and can never be in excess of the military advantage gained. Attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless infrastructure and facilities on which large numbers of civilians currently depend for their very survival would fail this test of distinction and proportionality. International law further affords civilians protection and obligates the parties to the conflict to provide adequate food and medicine. Undermining food security through the interruption of supplies, border closures or disabling local transportation and distribution mechanisms (whether these consequences were intended or not) would deny children further their right to be protected."

High altitude bombing to "soften up" areas before ground troops go in guarantees high levels of civilian casualties – and, further civilian harm could stem from, the use of indiscriminate weapons such as cluster bombs and the deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure such as electrical-power generation and water facilities. Whether the military will discover Iraqi underground bunkers that can only be reached with "bunker buster" tactical nuclear warheads is unknown.

V. The Bush Administration claims it has no interests in Iraq but the end of the military threat allegedly posed by the Hussein regime. We are the "good guys" and they are the "bad guys."

Response #5 - There is evidence that the U.S. government is interested in Iraq’s oil.

Whatever other reasons, oil is an increasingly important factor in why the Bush Administration has singled out Iraq for even higher levels of obliteration. Keven Danaher of Global Exchange has said, "If the chief export of this area were broccoli, do you think this stuff would be going on?" When we take certain evidence into account the salience of oil becomes all too obvious.

1) The United States is the largest user of crude oil in the world. With only 5 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. consumes nearly 26 percent of the world’s oil, even though it only produces 11 percent of total world oil.

2) The U.S. dependence on foreign oil will increase as long as we continue to rely mostly on fossil fuels for our energy. According to Michael Klare, the U.S. imports of oil will rise from 10 million barrels, or 53% of its total consumption a day, to 17 millions barrels, or 65% of total consumption, by 2020.

3) The Bush Administration has emphasized the importance of opening up oil fields in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 20.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil may lie in these fields. By 2020, according to the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy, ANWR would add about 1 percent, 1.4 million barrels a day, out of 112 to 220 million barrels worldwide. Not enough to reduce our increasing dependence on foreign oil.

4) The Bush Administration’s energy policy emphasizes the continuing and overwhelming importance of fossil fuels in the U.S. energy mix for the foreseeable future, even though nearly 73% of the increase in carbon dioxide emissions in the past twenty years are attributable to fossil fuels. Renewable energy plays only a minor role in the Administrations energy plans. Oil, gas, "clean" coal, and nuclear are highlighted. The construction of 1,300 new polluting fossil fuel and nuclear power plants is highlighted. There is no consideration for the environmental devastation that these forms of energy will generate and how oil, gas, and coal will accelerate global warming. From 1990-2000, the total U.S. greenhouse emissions grew by 13.6%, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration. Under the new Bush energy plan, emissions will likely increase by another 13% between 2002 and 2012. Conservative estimates put the international cost of global warming at $1 trillion a year.

5) In his new book, The Hydrogen Economy, Jeremy Rifkin refers to the estimates of a score of petroleum experts and consultants who project that the total world production of oil will peak sometime between 2008 and 2035. In this time period, the oil production will top out in Russia, the Caspian Sea area, the Alaskan North Slope, the areas off the shores of West Africa, and other regions, making the Middle East increasingly important.

6) Rifkin notes that twenty-six of [the] forty super-giant [oil] fields are in the Persian Gulf… and while other giant fields, especially those in the U.S. and Russia, have peaked and are now in decline, and the oil fields in Norway and the Caspian Sea will peak by 2010, the Middle East fields are still ascending the bell curve.

7) Iraq and Saudi Arabia have the largest proven and suspected reserves of oil. Iraq has 113 billion barrels of proven reserves, second only to Saudi Arabia, and as much as 220 billion barrels in undiscovered reserves. American, Russian, French, and Chinese oil companies are already maneuvering for a stake in Iraq’s huge oil supply.

8) U.S. business connections to the oil nations of the Middle East are not only about oil. U.S. banks and other corporations benefit when the surplus revenues of the oil nations are sent to the U.S. for deposit or investment and U.S. arms producers benefit when Middle East petrodollars are used to buy sophisticated weapons.

9) There are significant political connections to oil. The Center for Responsive Politics notes that $10 million out of $14 million in political contributions from oil and gas companies in the 2000 election went to Republican candidates. The Bush family has roots in the oil business. President Bush began his own "career" with a series of unsuccessful drilling ventures and was bailed out by bigger oil companies. Big oil backed his campaigns for governor in Texas and for the presidency. Cheney is former CEO of the giant Halliburton company, which does 70 percent of its $15 billion sales of exploration and drilling equipment to Arab governments. Don Evans Bush’s Commerce Secretary, has been chairman and CEO of the Texas-based Tom Brown oil company. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice served on the board of oil giant Chevron for the decade before assuming her current position. The Task Force that developed the Bush Administration energy plan was based on consultations with those who have ties to fossil fuel and nuclear multinational corporations. There was no representation of renewable or energy efficiency experts.


VI. The Bush Administration claims a U.S. military victory in Iraq will bring stability to the Middle East region.

Response #6a – An invasion of Iraq will fuel hatred of the US and generate recruits for terrorist organizations. Fawaz A. Gerges, "US should be wary of alienating Muslims through its focus on Iraq – Oct 31, 2002 -- a professor in international affairs and Middle Eastern studies at Sarah Lawrence

-Young men who are unconnected to Al Qaeda but outraged by U.S. policies toward the Palestinians or Iraq can apparently be nudged by the inflammatory rhetoric of Al Qaeda leaders to pursue freelance terrorism and kill Westerners on their own, complicating and prolonging the U.S. war on terror. The assassination of a senior American diplomat in Jordan appears to fall into this freelance category.

The U.S. must take seriously the rage against U.S. foreign policies in the world of Islam. The festering Palestinian wound fuels anti-Americanism, as does the U.S. stand toward Iraq even as Washington maintains cozy relations with more pliant dictators. A U.S. invasion of Iraq, with large civilian casualties, would only make these young Muslims more inclined to join jihadi cells of the Al Qaeda variety.

Response #6b – An invasion will generate untold instabilities that will haunt us for generations. Richard Falk, "Opposition to War Against Iraq," The Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research," Sept. 20, 2002 –

"…. [the] side-effects that should give pause to the war-makers in Washington: an Islamic coup in Pakistan leading to a regional war with India in which both sides have nuclear weapons; escalating oil prices triggering a world depression; civil strife in the Middle East, with anti-West regime changes in Saudi Arabia and Egypt; an inter-civilizational holy war between Islam and the West (which would amount to an unintended endorsement of Osama bin Laden's approach to world history!); and possibly most serious of all, a loss of international support for the struggle against the persisting al Qaeda threat, which should remain the overriding security concern of the White House."

Response #6c - The experience so far in Afghanistan does not provide much confidence for what awaits the Iraqi people. -Institute for Public Accuracy – "Detailed Analysis of Bush’s Oct. 7 Speech"

Bush: The lives of Iraqi citizens would improve dramatically if Saddam Hussein were no longer in power, just as the lives of Afghanistan's citizens improved after the Taliban.

Toensing: "Given what is known about the return of warlordism and chaos to Afghanistan -- not to mention the fiction that Afghan women have all thrown away their burqas -- this is a debatable proposition, and indicative of the administration's lack of interest in rebuilding Afghanistan. Why would Iraq be any different?"


VII. A seventh justification from the Bush Administration for an invasion of Iraq is that we can "afford" it.

Response #7a - $269 billion? For a war based on such flimsy reasons? -William Neikirk, "Critics of War Point to Costs," Chicago Tribune, Nov. 4, 2002

In a detailed estimate, the Congressional Budget Office differed from Lindsey's prediction of a $100 billion to $200 billion cost. The CBO said it would cost as much as $13 billion to redeploy U.S. troops in Iraq; up to $9 billion a month to fight the war itself; as much as $7 billion to send the troops back home; and up to $4 billion a month to occupy Iraq…. A war lasting two months with a five-year occupation, in other words, could cost as much as $269 billion.

Response #7b – Why risk so many American lives? Can we afford to lose U.S. troops in an unnecessary war and have tens of thousands return with wounds and illnesses that may affect them for the rest of their lives?

There are various estimates of how many U.S. troops will be deployed in this planned war. One estimate indicates there will be 250,000 troops engaged in the assault on Iraq. Some estimates suggest the number could be larger than 250,000, even as high as 500,000. Americans have not, in these numbers, been involved in a war since the Vietnam War. As of this time, there seems to be little likelihood that, with the exception of Britain, other countries from the Middle East or anywhere else in the world will commit soldiers to the anticipated war. Out troops alone will suffer the effects of the Bush Administration driven war policy. We don’t know how many U.S. soldiers will die or become casualties, but there will be some – perhaps in the hundreds, perhaps in the thousands. About 150,000 troops from the first Gulf War have since received partial or total disability benefits from the V.A. Will this happen again?

Response #7c – The "war" will help to provide a further rationale for the Bush Administration to raise military spending and selectively reduce revenues for pressing domestic programs. Rising deficits will provide further justification for reduced spending on important domestic programs.

-Distorted government spending priorities - Correspondent James Dao details the proposed dramatic increase in military spending in an article of February 2, 2002, for the New York Times. "In a military buildup rivaling that of the Reagan era, the Bush administration will call for increasing the Pentagon’s yearly budget by $120 billion over the next five years, to $451 billion in 2007, according to Defense Department documents." Given the large and growing budget deficit this year, and anticipated for the next few years, spending on the war will drive the deficits higher and reduce support for a host of important existing and potential domestic programs. This situation will loom poorly for those Democrats who have some interest in job creation, the child care crisis, the continuing inequities in the public school system and the inadequate role of the federal government, protecting Social Security and Medicare (and other health care reforms), and so forth.

-A rising federal budget deficit - Ross Finley, "Financing a U.S. War on Iraq Stirs Anxiety," Yahoo!News, Sept. 22, 2002.

"Government spending is sharply on the rise and expectations are for poor income tax receipts next year owing to capital losses from the stock market rout. Even without a war on Iraq, it is highly likely the budget deficit for the next fiscal year, which begins in October, will be higher than the $165 billion White House estimate for fiscal 2002."

I am most grateful to these friends for sending me this material and these opinions. At this hour I have not checked the blogosphere to see if others are reacting too. If any of you see something, please let me know. Perhaps FactCheck will respond as well. Have a great week...and Happy Thanksgiving (to the Yanks)!  

21 Nov 2005 @ 17:20 by Quinty @ : More on Annenberg

During the last election they conducted several roundtable Q and As with groups of "ordinary citizens" which were telecast over CSPAN. These sessions with a dozen or so people who were characterized as "average" (for the most part they weren't all that well educated or well informed) were intended to show how "middle" America was currently thinking: about the war, various social problems, the candidates, etc.

That form of pseudo-science appears to be the kind of thinking they practice at Annenberg: an academic think tank which appears to have left centrist leanings. Following the sessions the moderator would discuss what "middle America" currently thought with a group of journalists who had observed the proceedings offsite. (Perhaps their presence would have tainted the clinical, impromptu character of the Q and A.)

It's hard keeping up with the fast and furious spin which comes our way today. I can't remember anything like it. Not Watergate or Iran Contra. But it is easy to remember who was on our side two or three years ago since there were actually so few in the “establishment.” And not that many people to remember.

Remember those magnificent speeches Robert Byrd gave to an empty Senate? Remember the equally stirring speeches Al Gore made at MoveOn? The rightist mark of extreme villainy which still clings to those earliest opponents of the war are a mark of distinction today. Michael Moore persists in being a caricature of leftwing extremism in the eyes of the Bushies for attacking the war. Let’s not forget George McGovern, whose predictions on every count have come true. And of course there was Richard Clarke and Paul O’Neil. Kucinich and Dean and some more.

There were none - none that I can remember - in the mass mainstream media. But listening to Chris Matthews today on MSNBC you would think he had always opposed the war. Maybe he did. But I can still remember how he kissed up to his pro war guests way back then. And how infuriating it was. Will he ever admit his culpability?

Now, the Bushies are calling all of us liars. Odd how often they accuse us of what they themselves do. Cheney’s moral indignation has heated up into a tempest reminding me of Spiro Agnew before he went down. How the far right loved such phrases as “nattering nabobs of negativity.” I suppose that could apply to us today.

Yeup, it’s deja vu all over again.  

21 Nov 2005 @ 17:49 by Quinty @ : What I should have said
in the above is that Richard Clarke, Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, Robert Byrd, George McGovern, John Dean, Al Gore and others knew that the war was a fraud. If they could see, if millions of Americans with no access to secret or classified information could see, then there is no excuse for all those who are scampering today for cover.

What is coming out of the White House today is mere spin. Damage control. And they react by attacking. That is in the nature of vicious, amoral people. And since the Democrats, out of spinelessness and fear, were often complicit they can't offer a decent rebuttal to the Bushies' allegations. For they would have to admit their own spinelessness, error, and complicity.  

22 Nov 2005 @ 10:21 by jazzolog : Here's How 'Twas Done
Tired of Being Lied to? Modern History You Can't Afford to Ignore

Part 1 of a 3-Part Series

by Maureen Farrell

"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people." ~ Theodore Roosevelt

"The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know." ~ Harry S. Truman

A couple years ago, historian Chalmers Johnson predicted that thanks to the "entrenched interests" of the military-industrial complex, the United States can look forward to a future of perpetual war, increased propaganda, fewer Constitutional rights, and a bloated executive branch. America, he warned, "will cease to resemble the country outlined in the Constitution of 1787" unless there is a "revolutionary rehabilitation of American democracy."

The founding fathers were particularly sensitive to liberty's fleeting nature and power's corruptive tendencies. Thomas Jefferson said that "even under the best forms [of government] those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny," while James Madison warned that "If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." And at the close of the Constitutional Convention, when someone asked Ben Franklin what type of government the framers had drafted, he presciently replied, "A republic, if you can keep it."

But America's wisest leaders did not merely warn against the death of the republic, but about how and why its democratic principles would gradually wither away. "Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation [of power] first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence," Jefferson wrote in 1821. "We are free today substantially, but the day will come when our Republic will be an impossibility. It will be an impossibility because wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few," Madison said in the New York Post.

Similar warnings were sounded by modern presidents. Franklin D Roosevelt said he didn't "want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of [World War II]," and Dwight D. Eisenhower warned that the military/industrial complex had the potential to "endanger our liberties or democratic processes."

By late 2005, when Andy Rooney played a segment of Eisenhower's speech on CBS' 60 Minutes, the implications were evident: "We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist," Eisenhower said in 1961. "Well, Ike was right. That's just what's happened," Rooney remarked.

Since our genocidal beginnings, there has always been a dark side to American history. Between slavery's shameful legacy, Abraham Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus, and FDR's internment of Japanese Americans, democracy has not always been Priority One to its chosen guardians. But even so, something has shifted since Harry Truman declared war profiteering a form of treason.

"What has become of the American people that they permit the despicable practices of tyrants to be practiced in their name?" former Reagan administration official Paul Craig Roberts recently asked. "The Bush administration is in violation of the US Constitution, the rule of law, the Geneva Convention, the Nuremberg Standard, and basic humanity. It is a gang of criminals," he wrote.

Former President Jimmy Carter also voiced concern. "Everywhere you go, people ask, "What has happened to the United States of America?" he said, referring to international reaction to America's evolving stance on human rights, the environment and the separation of church and state.

The most striking criticism has come from Bush administration exiles, however. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, recently offered a scathing critique, confirming reports that a "cabal" led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had "hijacked foreign policy" and that this cabal's "insular and secret workings" led to "decision-making one would associate more with a dictatorship than a democracy."

With government insiders now sounding such alarms, concerns cannot be attributed to the New World Order fringe. It's clear that something is amiss -- something that's eroding our character, our reputation and our values. How did this come about? Just how far have we strayed from our democratic ideals? Consider the following:

Part I -- 1937 - 1990

1937: A small company named Brown & Root (which will later become a division of Halliburton) calls upon Lyndon Johnson to procure $10 million in federal funding for the Mansfield Damn project. The freshman congressman eventually delivers the necessary authorization and funding for the project, which becomes the cornerstone of Brown and Root's financial empire. In turn, Herman Brown finances Johnson's political rise. "It was a totally corrupt relationship and it benefited both of them enormously. Brown & Root got rich, and Johnson got power and riches," LBJ biographer Ronnie Dugger later notes, adding that Johnson "wouldn't have been in the running without Brown & Root's money and airplanes."

In 2000, the Bush/Cheney campaign uses Halliburton's planes during the Florida recount, triggering a federal investigation. ''The Bush administration literally flew into power on Enron's and Halliburton's private jets," a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee charges.

1942: The New York Tribune features a front page story entitled "Hitler's Angel has $3 million in US bank," referring to Nazi industrialist Fritz Thyssen and his ties to Union Banking Corporation. Later that year, Union Bank official Prescott Bush, George W. Bush's grandfather, is charged with "Running Nazi front groups in the United States." Bush is elected to the U.S. Senate ten years later.

1944: Former Vice President Henry A. Wallace writes an Op-ed , discussing war profiteers who are "ruthless" in their "use of deceit or violence" to gain money and power -- pointing to those who "hope to have profitable connections with German chemical firms after the war ends." Newly discovered government documents prove that Prescott Bush's ties to the Nazis continued until as late as 1951, and that he and his cohorts "routinely attempted to conceal their activities from government investigators."

1945: World War II ends. Between 1945 and 1955, more than 700 Nazi scientists are smuggled into the U.S. In addition to providing the government with valuable science, "Operation Paperclip" eventually spawns more notorious programs like Operation ARTICHOKE (extreme interrogation and torture) and MK-ULTRA (mind control).

Eight years later, Dr. Frank Olson, an Army biochemist expert who runs the Special Operations Division at Fort Detrick, (and has ties to Operation Paperclip) falls from a New York City hotel window. "The search for the circumstances surrounding the mysterious death of Dr. Frank Olson begins in 1945, with the liberation of the concentration camp at Dachau, Germany," a German documentary later reports. In 1975, after the Rockefeller Commission unearths revelations about the CIA's role in Dr. Olson's death, his family is paid $750,000 restitution, though the government continues to hide the true nature of his work. Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney are later implicated in the cover-up.

1947: The Central Intelligence Agency is created. Forty years later, Bill Moyers traces the advent of secretive and often grossly unethical practices to the National Security Act of 1947 -- exposing the government's "apparatus of secret power" and threats to the U.S. Constitution.

In the 1980s, Congressman Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld abscond annually to a remote location, partaking in "one of the most highly classified programs" of the era. At times the program disregards Constitutional protocol for presidential succession during a national crisis, instead using "a secret procedure for putting in place a new 'President' and his staff," while diminishing the role of the Speaker of the House and Congress. Following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney routinely disappears to an undisclosed location and President George W. Bush initiates a shadow government in underground bunkers without informing Congress.


The US government establishes the first program to develop human mind control techniques, conducting 149 separate experiments using electroshock, hypnosis and drugs on unsuspecting inmates, mental patients, minorities and others.
Government researchers conduct secret germ tests on U.S. citizens, releasing live bacteria over San Francisco. The Army later says it conducted open air tests of biological agents 239 times between 1949 and 1969.
Congress approves the Security Act of 1950, which contains an emergency civilian detention plan that remains in effect for more than 20 years. During the early 1980s, Oliver North helps draft secret wartime contingency plans which provide for "the imposition of martial law, internment camps, and the turning over of government to the president and FEMA," and more than twenty years later, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Bush administration might employ these Reagan-era security initiatives, installing "internment camps and martial law in the United States." Following the Sept. 11 terror attacks, reports of civilian detention camps and plans to "herd people into sports stadiums," are punctuated by John Dean's question: "Could terrorism result in a constitutional dictator?" By late 2005, after President Bush proposes a greater role for the military during natural disasters and the imposition of marshal law should there be an avian flu outbreak, former Reagan cabinet member Paul Craig Roberts asserts that "The Police State Is Closer Than You Think."
1951: Madison's Capital Times editor John Patrick Hunter takes to the streets with a petition, (which is actually the Declaration of Independence, along with portions of the Bill of Rights) and tries to get people to sign it. Only one in 112 does. The rest find it too subversive. More than fifty years later, Harper's editor Lewis H Lapham explains that America is "blessed with a bourgeoisie that will welcome fascism as gladly as it welcomes the rain in April and the sun in June."

1953: After Iran's Prime Minister Mossadegh nationalizes Iran's oil industry. Britain pushes the U.S. to mount a coup. The CIA, led by Teddy Roosevelt's grandson Kermit Roosevelt (and with the help of Norman Schwarzkopf's father) overthrows Mossadegh during Operation AJAX. "The crushing of Iran's first democratic government ushered in more than two decades of dictatorship under the shah, who relied heavily on US aid and arms," the Guardian later notes.

In 1957, the CIA creates SAVAK, the Shah of Iran's secret police force, which routinely relies on torture -- using the same interrogation techniques the CIA imported from the Nazis. Nearly half a century later, the world learns of the CIA's network of detainment facilities and American-sanctioned torture.


France's defeat at Dien Bien Phu signals the end of a bitter struggle -- and the beginning of a divided Vietnam. Less than a year later, U.S. military aid starts trickling into Saigon and the "secret war in Laos" begins. Fifty-eight thousand Americans eventually die in Vietnam, without an official declaration of war by Congress.
The McCarthy hearings begin. Though Ann Coulter and other revisionists later assert that Sen. McCarthy was "right," questions regarding due process and Constitutional protections leave a lasting legacy -- and have special significance during George W. Bush's presidency, when charges of a "New McCarthyism" arise.
After Guatemala's president Jacobo Arbenz Guzmain's implements Agrarian Reform (which would have taken land away from United Fruit Company), the CIA organizes a coup against him. Following OPERATION SUCCESS, which installs Castillo Armas as dictator, President Eisenhower praises Guatemala as a "showcase for democracy." At least 100,000 civilians eventually perish under Guatemala's successive military regimes. After decades of CIA-sponsored torture and repression, President Bill Clinton issues a pseudo-apology.


President Eisenhower delivers his farewell address, warning of the military/industrial complex and the potential for a "disastrous rise of misplaced power." Former GOP strategist Kevin Phillips later chronicles how Bush dynasty founders George H. Walker and Samuel Prescott Bush were "present at the emergence of what became the U.S. military-industrial complex, in which the Bush family has been enmeshed ever since."
The Bay of Pigs invasion, the covert paramilitary operation meant to overthrow Fidel Castro's government ends in disaster. Journalist Joseph McBride later suggests that George H. W. Bush's Zapata Offshore Oil Company was a front for this and other CIA operations. Code-named Operation Zapata, the Bay of Pigs is planned and orchestrated by several alumni of Yale's Skull and Bones secret society -- which boasts three generations of Bushes as members. (Even though a Nov. 1963 memo states that "Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency" is briefed by J. Edgar Hoover on "the post-assassination reaction of Cuban exiles in Miami" following the Kennedy assassination, the CIA denies Bush's involvement with the agency until he becomes its head in 1976).


Operation Northwoods, the Pentagon's plan to kill innocent Americans and blame Fidel Castro as a pretext for war against Cuba is presented to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. "We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba. . . Casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation," the document reads. All Joint Chiefs of Staff sign off on the plan, but it's nixed by the civilian leadership. "The whole point of a democracy is to have leaders responding to the public will," author James Bamford tells ABC News in May, 2001, "and here this is the complete reverse, the military trying to trick the American people into a war that they want but that nobody else wants."
Brown & Root, which will later become Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), is acquired by Halliburton.


The CIA, in collusion with the Baath party, conducts its first "regime change" in Baghdad. Saddam Hussein is reportedly involved in this coup to overthrow Iraq's leader Abdel Karim Kassem.
John F. Kennedy and Robert McNamara discuss withdrawing 1,000 troops from Vietnam and ending U.S. involvement by 1965; Kennedy arranges to meet with Cuban officials to discuss normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba; The U.S. backs a coup against South Vietnam's leader, Ngo Dinh Diem, who is murdered on Nov. 2.
John F. Kennedy is assassinated. Nearly four decades later, scientists prove, with 96.3 percent certainty, that there was a second gunman on the grassy knoll. Journalists eventually chronicle ways the government used the media to manipulate and dupe the public -- with the New York Times shilling for the Warren Commission and Life buying the Zapruder film hours after the assassination -- and locking it away until 1975 with the publisher's expressed desire to "withhold it from public viewing." In 2004, prominent authors demand that 'the CIA come clean on JFK assassination.'
Lyndon Johnson takes office and Republicans in Congress soon wonder if Brown & Root's new government contacts aren't connected to its political contributions to the new president. The company eventually becomes part of a consortium which wins a $380 million contract to build bases, hospitals and airports for the U.S. Navy in South Vietnam. During America's War on Terror, the Halliburton subsidiary has similar luck in Afghanistan and Iraq.
1964: After the American destroyer the USS Maddox is reportedly attacked in the Gulf Of Tonkin, the Senate approves the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, giving President Johnson the authority to escalate U.S. involvement in Vietnam. In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg leaks the Pentagon Papers to the press, proving that the pretext for this escalation was based upon distortions. Before the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Ellsberg asks government officials who know that the Bush administration is deceiving the public to come clean and reiterates his plea in 2004: "Do what I wish I had done in 1964: go to the press, to Congress, and document your claims," he writes.

Senator Robert Byrd, in opposition to the resolution authorizing President Bush to use force against Iraq, compares the current crisis to the one lawmakers faced in 1964. "This is the Tonkin Gulf resolution all over again," he says in Oct. 2002. "Let us not give this president or any president unchecked power. Remember the Constitution."

1965: The government secretly releases Bacillus globigii at the National Airport and Greyhound bus terminal in Washington, DC.; One year later, military researchers break bacteria-filled light bulbs onto tracks in subway stations in New York City.


The General Accounting Office faults "Vietnam Builders" Brown & Root for accounting lapses; protesters target Brown & Root as a symbol of the "military-industrial complex." Decades later, historians cite parallels between Halliburton's hefty Iraq contracts and Vietnam-era controversies, including "allegations of overcharging, sweetheart contracts from the White House and war profiteering." In 2004, former Army Corps of Engineers contract officer Bunnatine Greenhouse charges that the Pentagon is improperly awarding no-bid contracts to Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, which is already under investigation for overcharging the government.
President Johnson gives speech after speech, saying that America's security and freedom depend on a U.S. victory in Vietnam. Comparing the Vietnamese struggle to the one faced by post-colonial Americans and assuring American mothers that their sons are dying for a noble cause, Johnson also promises, "We shall stay the course." LBJ's words are later echoed in President George W. Bush's defense of the war in Iraq.
President Johnson establishes the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, assisted by an Army task force, planning to use military force to squelch civil disturbances. On May 4, 1970, four students are killed at Kent State University when the Ohio National Guard fires at unarmed protesters.
1968: Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy are assassinated. The Democratic National convention in Chicago is marked by riots.

1970: After a coup brings CIA-backed Lon Nol to power in Cambodia, the formerly neutral country is dragged into the war in Vietnam. Support for the Khmer Rouge, which was marginal before Nixon widens the war, grows, and the Khmer Rouge takes power in 1975, leading to Cambodia's infamous killing fields. "Few Americans realize that close to two million people died. . . and that the United States helped bring about the crisis that lead to the Khmer Rouge takeover," CBS later reports. Thirty-five years later, in an article entitled, "Cambodia All Over Again?" Conn Hallinan suggests that the U.S. is setting the stage to extend the war with Iraq into Syria -- a country we are already "unofficially at war with."


The "Citizens Committee to Investigate the FBI" releases secret files on the FBI's domestic counterintelligence program, COINTELPRO, to the press, revealing that ordinary citizens had been FBI targets, as had Albert Einstein, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Martin Luther King, John Lennon and Elvis Presley. Though Senator Frank Church later vows that "never again will an agency of the government be permitted to conduct a secret war against those citizens it considers a threat to the established order," in 2002, the New York Times reports that the FBI has "nearly unbridled power to poke into the affairs of anyone in the United States, even when there is no evidence of illegal activity." A year later, FBI Intelligence Bulletin no. 89 is sent to police departments, revealing that the federal government is advocating that local authorities spy on U.S. citizens. When the Atlanta Police Department acknowledges that it routinely places antiwar protesters under surveillance, Georgia Rep. Nan Orrock tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "This harkens back to some very dark times in our nation's history."
Sen. Sam Ervin's Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights uncovers a military intelligence surveillance system used against thousands of American citizens, and stumbles upon Operation Garden Plot, the United States Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2. The plan gives federal forces power to "put down" "disruptive elements" and calls for "deadly force to be used against any extremist or dissident perpetrating any and all forms of civil disorder." In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, soldiers are instructed to "shoot to kill" looters in New Orleans.


The Tuskegee experiment, in which black men were purposely infected with syphilis without their knowledge (and then left untreated to study the results), finally comes to an end. "The United States Government did something that was wrong, deeply, profoundly, morally wrong," President Bill Clinton later says. "It was an outrage to our commitment to integrity and equality for all our citizens."
A break-in at the Watergate Hotel marks the beginning of a drama that will last for more than two years, culminating in Richard Nixon's resignation. In his book, The Ends of Power, former Nixon Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman charges that the CIA scrubbed its involvement in both Watergate and John F. Kennedy's murder and that the Nixon tapes hold hidden clues. Nixon's references to the "Bay of Pigs," he says, actually refer to the JFK assassination, while references to "the Cubans" pertain to the Watergate burglars. While such assertions are impossible to prove, in one tape, President Nixon calls the Warren Commission's report, "the greatest hoax that has ever been perpetuated."

1973: Congress passes the War Powers Act, which is soon ignored by presidents of both parties. "We've turned the war powers of the United States over to, well we are never really sure who, or what they're doing, or what it costs, or who is paying for it," Bill Moyers laments in 1987. "The one thing that we are sure of is that this largely secret global war carried on with less and less accountability to democratic institutions, has become a way of life. And now we are faced with a question brand new in our history. Can we have the permanent warfare state and democracy too?"

Sept. 11: A U.S.-led coup topples Chile's democratically-elected leader, Salvador Allende, and installs military dictator Augusto Pinochet. "Like Caesar peering into the colonies from distant Rome, Nixon said the choice of government by the Chileans was unacceptable to the president of the United States," Sen. Church later says. "The attitude in the White House seemed to be, "If in the wake of Vietnam I can no longer send in the Marines, then I will send in the CIA."

1974: Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney urge President Ford to veto the Freedom of Information Act, which they believe will weaken the executive branch. Congress overrides Ford's veto.


A Harper's Magazine article entitled "Seizing Arab Oil" becomes the first in a series of articles about the U.S. government's dream of eventually taking control of Middle East oil. Nearly thirty years later, Mother Jones reminds readers that the same strategists who worked in the Ford administration are now "firmly in control of the White House." In April, 2001, months before the Sept. 11 attacks, James Baker III submits a report to Vice President Dick Cheney, recommending that the U.S. consider a "military" option in dealing with Iraq. The report states that 'the United States remains a prisoner of its energy dilemma', with one of the 'consequences' being a 'need for military intervention'.
Journalists investigate Operation Cable Splicer, a subplan of Operation Garden Plot, designed to control civilian populations and take over state and local governments. Nine years later, the Rex-84 "readiness exercise" program is conducted by 34 federal departments and agencies. Reportedly established to control illegal aliens crossing the Mexican/U.S. border, the exercise tests military readiness to round up and detain citizens in case of massive civil unrest. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, (and after mercenaries are brought in to patrol the streets of New Orleans) President Bush says, "It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces." "This is how repressive governments operate -- mixing inefficiency with authoritarian tendencies," Josh Marshall responds. "You don't repair disorganized or incompetent government by granting it more power. You fix it by making it more organized and more competent."
Sen. Frank Church's Committee to Study Government Operations sheds light on media manipulation, government-sanctioned civil rights abuses and the CIA's Mafia connections. The committee also learns of the CIA's "Executive Action," unit and the "Health Alteration Committee," dealing with assassinations.
A small group of conservatives, who call themselves the "cabal" advocate a more hawkish foreign policy. Among them is Richard Perle, who finds an ally in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Robert Novak is an invaluable conduit between administration insiders and U.S. citizens.
1976: President Gerald Ford issues an executive order banning assassinations by U.S. agencies. After a failed 2002 coup to overthrow Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is linked to the Bush administration, TV evangelist Pat Robertson suggests that the U.S. should murder Chavez. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war," Robertson says, adding, "I don't think any oil shipments will stop." In Oct. 2005, Chavez says the U.S. is planning to invade Venezuela.

1977: In a Rolling Stone article, Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein estimates that "400 American journalists [have] been tied to the CIA at one point or another," -- with the New York Times being one of the CIA's prime collaborators. (The Times counters, saying that the number is closer to 800).

In 2002, disinformation printed on the front page of the New York Times is repeated by Bush administration officials on Sunday morning talk shows, helping to market the impending war in Iraq. Judith Miller, co-author of the piece, later becomes a story unto herself, when her "mysterious security clearance," and ties to Plamegate, and John Bolton raise eyebrows. A colleague depicts Miller as an "advocate," whose work is "little more than dictation from government sources. . .filled with unproven assertions and factual inaccuracies."

While the government reportedly ends its disinformation program following the publication of Bernstein's article, in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, news that one of the terrorist's passports is miraculously found amongst the rubble at ground zero is reported and repeated, with some "lucky finds" bringing to mind former CIA director William Colby's boast that "the Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any major significance in the major media."

In 2005, the General Accounting Office finds that the Bush administration violated the law by engaging in "covert propaganda" within the U.S. As former Vice President Henry Wallace once wrote: "With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public."

1977-1984: The U.S. government backs "nationalist" forces in El Salvador, leading to the deaths of tens of thousands, including American nuns who are raped, mutilated and murdered by El Salvador's death squads. In 2005, Newsweek reports that the Pentagon is considering a plan to resurrect "a still-secret strategy" from this era to use against insurgents in Iraq.


Osama bin Laden leaves Saudi Arabia to fight the Soviet's in Afghanistan. He eventually receives funding and training through the CIA.

On Jan. 16, the Shah of Iran, who's been in power since the U.S.-led coup in 1953, flees Iran after months of violent protests against him. The exiled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns on Feb. 1, and takes over Iran within days. In November, Islamic revolutionaries take more than 60 American hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

1980: Dismissing televised speculation on a Ronald Reagan/Gerald Ford co-presidency, Ronald Reagan makes a late-night dash to the Republican National Convention to announce that George. H.W. Bush will be his running mate. Though Bush denies meeting Iranian officials in Paris to delay the release of America's remaining 52 hostages during President Jimmy Carter's term, the Iran hostage situation is resolved the day Reagan is sworn in.

1981: Mark Hinkley attempts to assassinate President Ronald Reagan, 69 days after the new president is sworn in. In a bizarre footnote, UPI, the Houston Post, the Associated Press, and NBC's John Chancellor report that Hinkley's brother Scott was to dine with Vice President George H. W. Bush's son Neil the night of the shooting.


The U.S. invades Grenada. "The reason we gave for the intervention [in Grenada] -- American medical students there--was phony but the reaction of the American people was absolutely and overwhelmingly favorable," Irving Kristol later explains. "They had no idea what was going on, but they backed the president. They always will."
Special envoy Donald Rumsfeld meets with Saddam Hussein. In 1984, the U.S. formerly restores relations with Iraq, after secretly supporting Saddam Hussein with military aid and intelligence for years.
1984: In a televised speech, Ronald Reagan asks Americans to support freedom fighters in Nicaragua. Two years later, the administration admits it illegally sold weapons to Iran to fund Nicaraguan Contras.


The Federal Communications Commission eliminates the Fairness Doctrine, which required broadcasters to present balanced coverage of controversial issues. As Operation Iraqi Freedom looms, balance often gives way to conformity. Radio stations sponsor Dixie Chick CD demolitions, the Bush-connected Clear Channel holds pro-war rallies and disc jockeys who openly question Bush's rationale for war suffer repercussions.
The Miami Herald reports that former deputy director John Brinkerhoff modeled FEMA's martial law program after a proposal to squelch black militant uprisings by placing "at least 21 million American Negroes" into "assembly centers or relocation camps."
The Iran/contra hearings take place. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush emerge virtually unscathed. Following George H. W. Bush's 1992 pardons of Iran/contra felons, Independent counsel Lawrence Walsh says that Bush's actions prove that "powerful people with powerful allies can commit serious crimes in high office - deliberately abusing the public trust - without consequence." Several Iran/contra figures are later awarded top jobs in George W. Bush's administration.
Coalition on Revival head Jay Grimstead begins planning for a "long-range social and political takeover" of American politics. Five years later, author Frederick Clarkson writes, "Never in the wildest dreams of the far right, nor for that matter, the rest of the GOP, did anyone think such people could get this far." When George W. Bush takes office in 2001, the Washington Post reports that, "For the first time since religious conservatives became a modern political movement, the president of the United States has become the movement's de facto leader." In the spring of 2004, the Guardian reports that "US Christian fundamentalists are driving Bush's Middle East policy" and the Village Voice asserts that "Bush White House checked with rapture Christians before latest Israel move."
1988: The Reagan era comes to a close. When George W. Bush's administration later compares itself to the Reagan administration, Ronald Reagan, Jr. objects. "Yes, some of the current policies are an extension of the '80s," he says. "But the overall thrust of this administration is not my father's -- these people are overly reaching, overly aggressive, overly secretive, and just plain corrupt. I don't trust these people."

1989: The US invades Panama, overthrowing its dictator, General Manuel Noriega, a former CIA asset.

1990: Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait.

End of Part 1 of a 3-Part Series.

Maureen Farrell is a writer and media consultant who specializes in helping other writers get television and radio exposure.

© Copyright 2004, Maureen Farrell

The article is hyperlinked for sources here~~~

23 Nov 2005 @ 16:49 by Quinty @ : Has it been a conspiracy?

Because there are numerous conspiracies does not mean that all conspiracy theories are true. How do you tell a theory from the real thing? The former tends to bring disparate events together in a unifying manner, expressing a singleness of purpose. The world don't work that way, folks. As we know. Chaos is more often the rule than the tortured intricacies of a sinister conspiracy, all the individual threads coming together *after* the fact. And what is a conspiracy? A group of guys having drinks together at the country club bar who happen to be in the same business? Who all vote for the same candidate and share basic values? Hardly.

A great deal of the above is documented and true. But to me at least it has a disquieting scent of theory. The JFK assassination, for example. (LBJ, I recently learned, believed it was the Cubans.) And while I leapt with joy at her beginning it soon became apparent that she was describing an overriding, unifying tide. Ninety percent of it is true, and Bush has brought us very close to the brink. These people, in his administration, care only for themselves and what they see as their interests. And they do not believe in truth or democracy. Certainly not in the common man, as they define him: since all their values appear to be corporate, founded upon the desire for power and money. Maybe I'm being too picky. Perhaps I'm wrong. But most of what Farrell tell us, while true, falls into a foreign reality than the one I see. Chaos. Human nature. The old eternal vices. These are a greater reality than the overriding tide of conspiracy she sees.

Gee, Richard, I'm beginning to feel as if I'm always beating up on you. Maybe I'm excessively picky? 'Cause most of what she says is established history.  

24 Nov 2005 @ 09:29 by jazzolog : The Conspiracy Of Power
It's not so much there's one magnate sitting somewhere giving the orders, as satisfying as such a character is in a Mr. Big in On The Waterfront. I think most people who've had a job, at least in the States, know the feeling of getting as close to Power as one cares to, or feels comfortable with, or is allowed. Then one turns back or is tossed out...or goes on. There's a password, or a behavior, or a grin, or an exposed ass to kiss...that either you know or you don't. If you don't, there are ways to get in the pecking order...but you must do it just so. And your wife or husband must do it too, and the kids.

One time, when I was about 16, I asked a girl to a dance. She asked me to call her later in the day at home. I lived in a city of about 40,000 in Western New York, largely a dairy and farming region but with quite a bit of industry at the time. At 16, I had some idea of class...but believed what they taught in social studies about opportunity in America. When my dad came home from work that day, he told me our bank had telephoned him to say that girl's family representatives had called to inquire into our financial standing. She did not go to the dance with me.

I have dozens of stories like that. During the Reagan years, Dana and I sat down together and consciously agreed we would not get rich. We would not join with what appeared very clearly to be the formation of a huge gravy train...if you wanted to be a "player." In fact we got involved instead in one of the first class action suits against a giant insurance company that had sold us an "investment" plan that was nothing more than another policy. We got all our money back, but alienated some people in town.

What I'm saying is the climb into inner circles in this country begins subtly. You do it or you don't. You join the club or you stay outside. Surely Quinty is more aware of these barriers during his life history than I am, but we both know about it...and we know about the knock on the door from the investigators, still trying to pin something on us because we don't play along. What Farrell is doing, and others like Howard Zinn, is laying out the chronicle of corporations that play politics the way you and I play canasta. Who cares who's in power as long as you get the contracts and tax breaks? It's not conspiracy. It's just the way things are done.  

24 Nov 2005 @ 18:57 by quinty @ : Well said,

and Yes, Bush loves good "team players." And under his administration many of the abuses which were brought out, say, by the Church investigations, are fully returning. The CIA get's Mossadegh out? What's such a big leap from that to a president lying us into a war? They all drink at the same country club bar.  

28 Nov 2005 @ 11:38 by jazzolog : WHEN Did We Vote For Shock And Awe?
The Los Angeles Times has an essential story this morning about the Senate's vote to go to war in 2002~~~

Timing Entwined War Vote, Election
By Ronald Brownstein and Emma Vaughn
Times Staff Writers

November 28, 2005

WASHINGTON — Tom Daschle, the former Democratic senator from South Dakota, remembers the exchange vividly.

The time was September 2002. The place was the White House, at a meeting in which President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney pressed congressional leaders for a quick vote on a resolution authorizing military action against Iraq.

But Daschle, who as Senate majority leader controlled the chamber's schedule, recalled recently that he asked Bush to delay the vote until after the impending midterm election.

"I asked directly if we could delay this so we could depoliticize it. I said: 'Mr. President, I know this is urgent, but why the rush? Why do we have to do this now?' He looked at Cheney and he looked at me, and there was a half-smile on his face. And he said: 'We just have to do this now.' "

Daschle's account, which White House officials said they could not confirm or deny, highlights a crucial factor that has drawn little attention amid rising controversy over the congressional vote that authorized the war in Iraq. The recent partisan dispute has focused almost entirely on the intelligence information legislators had as they cast their votes. But the debate may have been shaped as much by when Congress voted as by what it knew.

Bush's father, President George H.W. Bush, did not call for a vote authorizing the Persian Gulf War until after the 1990 midterm election. But the vote paving the way for the second war with Iraq came in mid-October of 2002 — at the height of an election campaign in which Republicans were systematically portraying Democrats as weak on national security.

Few candidates sparred over the war resolution itself. But Republicans in states including Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota and Georgia strafed Democratic senators seeking reelection who had supported military spending cutbacks in the 1990s, accepted money from a liberal arms-control group, opposed Bush's preferred approach for organizing the new Department of Homeland Security, and voted in 1991 against the Persian Gulf War.

With national security then such a flashpoint in so many campaigns, many Democrats believe, the vote's timing enormously increased pressure on their party's wavering senators to back the president, whose approval rating approached 70% at the time.

"There was a sense I had from the very beginning that this was in part politically motivated, and they were going to maximize the timing to affect those who were having some doubt about this right before the election," Daschle said.

White House counselor Dan Bartlett denied that charge, saying the vote's timing represented a desire to increase pressure on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, not Democrats.

"The president, during the run-up to the war, went out of his way not to make it political," Bartlett said.

Whatever the motivation for the vote's timing, the effect was to produce a clear contrast between the Democratic senators who sought reelection that November and those who did not.

The Democrats not on the ballot split almost evenly, with 19 supporting the war resolution and 17 opposing it. Among those facing the voters, 10 voted for the resolution while only four opposed it. And of those four, only one — Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, who died in a plane crash a few weeks after the resolution vote — was in a seriously competitive race.

"The political currents were extraordinarily strong for everybody involved," said Jim Jordan, then executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. "I'm certainly not implying that Democrats had their finger to the wind and didn't make votes of conscience, but it was a piece of the puzzle, clearly."

It is, of course, impossible to say whether more Democrats would have opposed the war resolution — which passed the Senate 77 to 23 on Oct. 11, just hours after the House approved it 296 to 133 — if the vote had occurred after the 2002 election.

Daschle, who voted for the resolution and was not up for reelection that year, said he did not think so, "given the circumstances, the environment, the sense that we were responding to 9/11, and all of the urgency that was created by the rhetoric and cajoling of the administration."

But Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said recently that a delay might have prompted more Democrats to vote no by increasing the time available to study the evidence for war and by dissipating the political pressures surrounding the decision.

"There was a stampede to vote on this," Kennedy said. "A lot of our people got caught up in it."

Bartlett said that if some Democrats felt "like they would have made a different decision before the election or after, that doesn't speak very well of them, because the facts didn't change in the course of one month."

Democrats themselves were divided over the vote's timing. Kennedy, Wellstone and Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) were among those who passionately urged Daschle to defer the vote until after the election, said several sources who requested anonymity when discussing the party's internal debate.

The sources said that other Democratic senators supported Bush's push, in part because the senators believed an early vote might help the party shift attention to domestic issues it wanted to spotlight before election day. Democrats also felt more pressure to act because they recognized that the GOP-controlled House would agree to Bush's request on the vote's timing.

Against this backdrop, Republicans across the country were escalating attacks on their Democratic opponents on defense issues.

Starting in mid-September, for instance, then-Rep. John Thune (R-S.D.) issued statements and organized news conferences by veterans to criticize Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson for voting against the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

On Oct. 4, one week before the Senate vote, Thune released an ad that used images of Hussein and terrorist leader Osama bin Laden to criticize Johnson for voting against missile defense systems.

In Minnesota beginning in mid-September, Republican Norm Coleman organized retired military officials to hold news conferences charging that Wellstone "didn't just vote to devastate our defense; he voted to dismantle it." In late September, the National Republican Senatorial Committee ran ads attacking Wellstone over votes to reduce military spending.

The committee ran similar ads against Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) one week before the vote.

Although he did not criticize Democrats over Iraq, Bush stoked the overall security debate during a series of appearances between Sept. 23 and Oct. 4. He criticized Senate Democrats who were blocking the administration's preferred version of legislation to create the Department of Homeland Security because, they said, it gave the president too much freedom to suspend workers' civil service protections.

"The Senate is more interested in special interests in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people," Bush said in New Jersey.

Bush's comments reverberated most powerfully in the Senate race in Georgia, where Saxby Chambliss, then a Republican House member, began criticizing incumbent Democrat Max Cleland over the Homeland Security issue.

Less than a day after the Senate authorized the use of force in Iraq, Chambliss aired what became the most talked-about ad of the 2002 election: a sharply worded jab that used pictures of Hussein and Bin Laden to accuse Cleland of voting "against the president's vital Homeland Security efforts."

Cleland, Johnson and Harkin were among the Democrats who voted for the war resolution; Wellstone voted no.

Less than a month later, Johnson and Harkin were reelected, Cleland was defeated and Coleman beat former Vice President Walter F. Mondale for Wellstone's seat after the senator's death. Overall, Republicans widened their majority in the House and swept back into control of the Senate.

Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times

28 Nov 2005 @ 16:59 by Quinty @ : The big slip and slide

We keep relearning what we knew yesterday. This constant slip and slide in this country over the truth of what actually happened is maddening. And both sides, the Demos and Repubs, have much to hide. The Demos their lack of backbone in questioning the rush to war. The Repubs for fueling the rush. Everyone - as anyone who watched and saw remembers - including the mass media, was terrified of not appearing sufficiently patriotic by even questioning the war. It was a complete coup for the White House.

We were warned, there were those even in the mainstream who warned us (Scot Ridder, Michael Moore, Senator Robert Byrd, even Al Gore who would not have created this war) and now those who failed us are attempting to shake off their responsibility, including the Democrats. (Though John Edwards has at least apologized.)  

29 Nov 2005 @ 09:46 by jazzolog : Col. Ted Westhusing, a military ethicist
who volunteered to go to Iraq, was upset by what he saw. His apparent suicide raises questions.

By T. Christian Miller
Times Staff Writer

November 27, 2005

"War is the hardest place to make moral judgments."

---Col. Ted Westhusing, Journal of Military Ethics


WASHINGTON — One hot, dusty day in June, Col. Ted Westhusing was found dead in a trailer at a military base near the Baghdad airport, a single gunshot wound to the head.

The Army would conclude that he committed suicide with his service pistol. At the time, he was the highest-ranking officer to die in Iraq.

The Army closed its case. But the questions surrounding Westhusing's death continue.

Westhusing, 44, was no ordinary officer. He was one of the Army's leading scholars of military ethics, a full professor at West Point who volunteered to serve in Iraq to be able to better teach his students. He had a doctorate in philosophy; his dissertation was an extended meditation on the meaning of honor.

So it was only natural that Westhusing acted when he learned of possible corruption by U.S. contractors in Iraq. A few weeks before he died, Westhusing received an anonymous complaint that a private security company he oversaw had cheated the U.S. government and committed human rights violations. Westhusing confronted the contractor and reported the concerns to superiors, who launched an investigation.

In e-mails to his family, Westhusing seemed especially upset by one conclusion he had reached: that traditional military values such as duty, honor and country had been replaced by profit motives in Iraq, where the U.S. had come to rely heavily on contractors for jobs once done by the military.

His death stunned all who knew him. Colleagues and commanders wondered whether they had missed signs of depression. He had been losing weight and not sleeping well. But only a day before his death, Westhusing won praise from a senior officer for his progress in training Iraqi police.

His friends and family struggle with the idea that Westhusing could have killed himself. He was a loving father and husband and a devout Catholic. He was an extraordinary intellect and had mastered ancient Greek and Italian. He had less than a month before his return home. It seemed impossible that anything could crush the spirit of a man with such a powerful sense of right and wrong.

On the Internet and in conversations with one another, Westhusing's family and friends have questioned the military investigation.

A note found in his trailer seemed to offer clues. Written in what the Army determined was his handwriting, the colonel appeared to be struggling with a final question.

How is honor possible in a war like the one in Iraq?

Even at Jenks High School in suburban Tulsa, one of the biggest in Oklahoma, Westhusing stood out. He was starting point guard for the Trojans, a team that made a strong run for the state basketball championship his senior year. He was a National Merit Scholarship finalist. He was an officer in a fellowship of Christian athletes.

Joe Holladay, who coached Westhusing before going on to become assistant coach of the University of North Carolina Tarheels, recalled Westhusing showing up at the gym at 7 a.m. to get in 100 extra practice shots.

"There was never a question of how hard he played or how much effort he put into something," Holladay said. "Whatever he did, he did well. He was the cream of the crop."

When Westhusing entered West Point in 1979, the tradition-bound institution was just emerging from a cheating scandal that had shamed the Army. Restoring honor to the nation's preeminent incubator for Army leadership was the focus of the day.

Cadets are taught to value duty, honor and country, and are drilled in West Point's strict moral code: A cadet will not lie, cheat or steal — or tolerate those who do.

Westhusing embraced it. He was selected as honor captain for the entire academy his senior year. Col. Tim Trainor, a classmate and currently a West Point professor, said Westhusing was strict but sympathetic to cadets' problems. He remembered him as "introspective."

Westhusing graduated third in his class in 1983 and became an infantry platoon leader. He received special forces training, served in Italy, South Korea and Honduras, and eventually became division operations officer for the 82nd Airborne, based at Ft. Bragg, N.C.

He loved commanding soldiers. But he remained drawn to intellectual pursuits.

In 2000, Westhusing enrolled in Emory University's doctoral philosophy program. The idea was to return to West Point to teach future leaders.

He immediately stood out on the leafy Atlanta campus. Married with children, he was surrounded by young, single students. He was a deeply faithful Christian in a graduate program of professional skeptics.

Plunged into academia, Westhusing held fast to his military ties. Students and professors recalled him jogging up steep hills in combat boots and camouflage, his rucksack full, to stay in shape. He wrote a paper challenging an essay that questioned the morality of patriotism.

"He was as straight an arrow as you would possibly find," said Aaron Fichtelberg, a fellow student and now a professor at the University of Delaware. "He seemed unshakable."

In his 352-page dissertation, Westhusing discussed the ethics of war, focusing on examples of military honor from Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee to the Israeli army. It is a dense, searching and sometimes personal effort to define what, exactly, constitutes virtuous conduct in the context of the modern U.S. military.

"Born to be a warrior, I desire these answers not just for philosophical reasons, but for self-knowledge," he wrote in the opening pages.

As planned, Westhusing returned to teach philosophy and English at West Point as a full professor with a guaranteed lifetime assignment. He settled into life on campus with his wife, Michelle, and their three young children.

But amid the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, he told friends that he felt experience in Iraq would help him in teaching cadets. In the fall of 2004, he volunteered for duty.

"He wanted to serve, he wanted to use his skills, maybe he wanted some glory," recalled Nick Fotion, his advisor at Emory. "He wanted to go."

In January, Westhusing began work on what the Pentagon considered the most important mission in Iraq: training Iraqi forces to take over security duties from U.S. troops.

Westhusing's task was to oversee a private security company, Virginia-based USIS, which had contracts worth $79 million to train a corps of Iraqi police to conduct special operations.

In March, Gen. David Petraeus, commanding officer of the Iraqi training mission, praised Westhusing's performance, saying he had exceeded "lofty expectations."

"Thanks much, sir, but we can do much better and will," Westhusing wrote back, according to a copy of the Army investigation of his death that was obtained by The Times.

In April, his mood seemed to have darkened. He worried over delays in training one of the police battalions.

Then, in May, Westhusing received an anonymous four-page letter that contained detailed allegations of wrongdoing by USIS.

The writer accused USIS of deliberately shorting the government on the number of trainers to increase its profit margin. More seriously, the writer detailed two incidents in which USIS contractors allegedly had witnessed or participated in the killing of Iraqis.

A USIS contractor accompanied Iraqi police trainees during the assault on Fallouja last November and later boasted about the number of insurgents he had killed, the letter says. Private security contractors are not allowed to conduct offensive operations.

In a second incident, the letter says, a USIS employee saw Iraqi police trainees kill two innocent Iraqi civilians, then covered it up. A USIS manager "did not want it reported because he thought it would put his contract at risk."

Westhusing reported the allegations to his superiors but told one of them, Gen. Joseph Fil, that he believed USIS was complying with the terms of its contract.

U.S. officials investigated and found "no contractual violations," an Army spokesman said. Bill Winter, a USIS spokesman, said the investigation "found these allegations to be unfounded."

However, several U.S. officials said inquiries on USIS were ongoing. One U.S. military official, who, like others, requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said the inquiries had turned up problems, but nothing to support the more serious charges of human rights violations.

"As is typical, there may be a wisp of truth in each of the allegations," the official said.

The letter shook Westhusing, who felt personally implicated by accusations that he was too friendly with USIS management, according to an e-mail in the report.

"This is a mess … dunno what I will do with this," he wrote home to his family May 18.

The colonel began to complain to colleagues about "his dislike of the contractors," who, he said, "were paid too much money by the government," according to one captain.

"The meetings [with contractors] were never easy and always contentious. The contracts were in dispute and always under discussion," an Army Corps of Engineers official told investigators.

By June, some of Westhusing's colleagues had begun to worry about his health. They later told investigators that he had lost weight and begun fidgeting, sometimes staring off into space. He seemed withdrawn, they said.

His family was also becoming worried. He described feeling alone and abandoned. He sent home brief, cryptic e-mails, including one that said, "[I] didn't think I'd make it last night." He talked of resigning his command.

Westhusing brushed aside entreaties for details, writing that he would say more when he returned home. The family responded with an outpouring of e-mails expressing love and support.

His wife recalled a phone conversation that chilled her two weeks before his death.

"I heard something in his voice," she told investigators, according to a transcript of the interview. "In Ted's voice, there was fear. He did not like the nighttime and being alone."

Westhusing's father, Keith, said the family did not want to comment for this article.

On June 4, Westhusing left his office in the U.S.-controlled Green Zone of Baghdad to view a demonstration of Iraqi police preparedness at Camp Dublin, the USIS headquarters at the airport. He gave a briefing that impressed Petraeus and a visiting scholar. He stayed overnight at the USIS camp.

That night in his office, a USIS secretary would later tell investigators, she watched Westhusing take out his 9-millimeter pistol and "play" with it, repeatedly unholstering the weapon.

At a meeting the next morning to discuss construction delays, he seemed agitated. He stewed over demands for tighter vetting of police candidates, worried that it would slow the mission. He seemed upset over funding shortfalls.

Uncharacteristically, he lashed out at the contractors in attendance, according to the Army Corps official. In three months, the official had never seen Westhusing upset.

"He was sick of money-grubbing contractors," the official recounted. Westhusing said that "he had not come over to Iraq for this."

The meeting broke up shortly before lunch. About 1 p.m., a USIS manager went looking for Westhusing because he was scheduled for a ride back to the Green Zone. After getting no answer, the manager returned about 15 minutes later. Another USIS employee peeked through a window. He saw Westhusing lying on the floor in a pool of blood.

The manager rushed into the trailer and tried to revive Westhusing. The manager told investigators that he picked up the pistol at Westhusing's feet and tossed it onto the bed.

"I knew people would show up," that manager said later in attempting to explain why he had handled the weapon. "With 30 years from military and law enforcement training, I did not want the weapon to get bumped and go off."

After a three-month inquiry, investigators declared Westhusing's death a suicide. A test showed gunpowder residue on his hands. A shell casing in the room bore markings indicating it had been fired from his service revolver.

Then there was the note.

Investigators found it lying on Westhusing's bed. The handwriting matched his.

The first part of the four-page letter lashes out at Petraeus and Fil. Both men later told investigators that they had not criticized Westhusing or heard negative comments from him. An Army review undertaken after Westhusing's death was complimentary of the command climate under the two men, a U.S. military official said.

Most of the letter is a wrenching account of a struggle for honor in a strange land.

"I cannot support a msn [mission] that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars. I am sullied," it says. "I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored.

"Death before being dishonored any more."

A psychologist reviewed Westhusing's e-mails and interviewed colleagues. She concluded that the anonymous letter had been the "most difficult and probably most painful stressor."

She said that Westhusing had placed too much pressure on himself to succeed and that he was unusually rigid in his thinking. Westhusing struggled with the idea that monetary values could outweigh moral ones in war. This, she said, was a flaw.

"Despite his intelligence, his ability to grasp the idea that profit is an important goal for people working in the private sector was surprisingly limited," wrote Lt. Col. Lisa Breitenbach. "He could not shift his mind-set from the military notion of completing a mission irrespective of cost, nor could he change his belief that doing the right thing because it was the right thing to do should be the sole motivator for businesses."

One military officer said he felt Westhusing had trouble reconciling his ideals with Iraq's reality. Iraq "isn't a black-and-white place," the officer said. "There's a lot of gray."

Fil and Petraeus, Westhusing's commanding officers, declined to comment on the investigation, but they praised him. He was "an extremely bright, highly competent, completely professional and exceedingly hard-working officer. His death was truly tragic and was a tremendous blow," Petraeus said.

Westhusing's family and friends are troubled that he died at Camp Dublin, where he was without a bodyguard, surrounded by the same contractors he suspected of wrongdoing. They wonder why the manager who discovered Westhusing's body and picked up his weapon was not tested for gunpowder residue.

Mostly, they wonder how Col. Ted Westhusing — father, husband, son and expert on doing right — could have found himself in a place so dark that he saw no light.

"He's the last person who would commit suicide," said Fichtelberg, his graduate school colleague. "He couldn't have done it. He's just too damn stubborn."

Westhusing's body was flown back to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Waiting to receive it were his family and a close friend from West Point, a lieutenant colonel.

In the military report, the unidentified colonel told investigators that he had turned to Michelle, Westhusing's wife, and asked what happened.

She answered:


Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times

29 Nov 2005 @ 14:10 by jmarc : Re: The Times article
Leaving aside the Times’ misleading characterization of the Bush I presidency and the timing of troop deployment (George HW Bush deployed U.S. forces to defend Saudi in Operation Desert Shield in Aug, 1990), this latest Dem argument is a stunningly tone-deaf admission of their own baldfaced opportunism, and of the unseriousness with which they treat matters of national defense—not to mention that, following their logic here, the soldiers who died in Iraq did so not for a just cause, but so that the Democrats wouldn’t look weak before midterm elections.

That oughtta go over big.

29 Nov 2005 @ 16:55 by jazzolog : Left Aside
I prefer not to leave aside Bush 1's timing in requesting deployment. There's nothing misleading in the LATimes pointing out Bush 1 wanted an accurate representation of voter feeling and opinion. The paper is asserting this was an appropriate way for a president to act. Bush 2 wanted to git 'er done before testing voter waters, in fact in the midst of campaign. Who's opportunistic in such a "unification" of the country? If the Dems were going to look weak at the polls anyway, what was the hurry? The mushroom cloud? Just because Democrats have a history of staying out of wars and cleaning up the international mess Republicans invariably get us into doesn't show them "unserious" in matters of defense. What do you think the "timing" of 9/11 tells us about how some rather significant folks in the world feel about the Bush family...and its personal involvement in the Middle East? Who knows what might have been, but many think there wouldn't have been 9/11 with Mr. Gore the legitimate president. Why has Dick Cheney been even more "careful" about his own personal safety than George Bush 2? Why does he think terrorists are after him particularly? The American people seem to be catching on this gang of opportunists has much to hide, especially the truth.  

3 Dec 2005 @ 21:32 by Quinty @ : Feelings of nostalgia

Regarding the 1991 war I remember that over a period of time during the lead up to the war we all received the Bush reason for the week. Every week his administration trotted a new reason out for invading Iraq until he finally found one with some national traction. Oddly enough I still remember laughing over this with a bartender in Oakland. Bush One was especially galling regarding this, and I don't think most of us then were accustomed to such bald propaganda.

The word "oil" was never employed, though the enormous protests around the country brought the word up and employed it plenty. In San Francisco when I got off work in the Main Library, where I was a librarian, I would see the twinkling candlelight's of the enormous marches coming down Market Street from the Castro and would simply join in and walk down to the Embarcadero with thousands of marchers before going home. These enormous marches were truly impressive. On one occasion I followed them all the way to the ramp leading up to the Bay Bridge. It was apparent that some sports were about to take on the cops by blocking all traffic on the bridge. Ninety five percent of us went our separate ways. Those who intended to get arrested stayed. I have to admit I admired the courage and quick witted alacrity of these protesters who knew how to dodge and avoid the cops. And that I saw no brutality on the part of the cops. Yes, it was all very exciting. But it didn't do much good, since the Bushes, when they want a war, go ahead anyway, and find whatever reasons they need: with substantial popular support.

That reason for war regarding dying babies on the floor reminded me of the American and British propaganda against the Kaiser three quarters of a century earlier: a little more lurid, perhaps; pictures of babies impaled on the bayonets of the Hun. Today protesters are accused of treason: during Vietnam they were sometimes beaten up, as I recall: during the First World War, which I don't recall, they were thrown into jail. (As happened to Eugene V. Debbs.)

I just barely started that chronology you brought us Richard and I'm already feeling nostalgic. The sad thing being that in ten or twenty years another mountebank with secret immoral reasons for a war may conjure up a great national threat: undoubtedly in the most lurid terms, like Bush II, who outdid his father. Mushroom clouds, WMD, buildings exploding, whatever, to muster up popular support for another monstrous immoral war.

When I was kid I had a firmer belief in human progress: believing that such monstrosities as genocide, imperial aggression, the numerous horrors we read about in history books, were all things of the past. That Hitler and the evil surrounding him had been crushed. That history moved away from the barbarities of the past. Nonsense. We can see that human nature doesn't change simply by looking about us today. I once sneered at the ignorance of our primitive forbears who eagerly supported slavery, manifest destiny, human greed and rapaciousness in all its varieties. No more. With age I see they were very much like us today. And the possibilities are truly scarifying.  

4 Dec 2005 @ 08:24 by jazzolog : Scarifying
My wife and I have written the local papers a couple letters this year, which were published---with, by their rules, at least the road we live on below our names. As some of you know, we had our rural mailbox vandalized for the 4th time recently. This time the secret attackers just pulled the whole thing out of the ground and hauled it off. A good one costs about 60 dollars, so we opened a post office box in town and gave up trying to ignore our tormentors. My friend Bob Rusch wrote and said O well we all played pranks when we were kids.

But during the presidential campaign last year, we had signs stolen we had placed along the road at the end of our long driveway. The signs clearly supported candidates opposed to the ones in power. When I replaced the signs, one of them was burned one night. There may be no connection and no insidious plot.

Down the road and around a couple of corners lives another letter-writer for urgent liberal causes. We met her last year when we attended the first MoveOn house party, which she hosted. Unlike us, she is a devoted Democrat and works hard for the party in constant volunteer work. She has a master's degree and a small horse farm, which she shares with an ailing husband. In July, 2 of her horses were let out onto the road at night and killed by a speeding pickup truck. On Thanksgiving night, at about the same time we lost our mailbox, horses were let out again. The other night 2 saddles were stolen from her barn.

I'm beginning to think the native toughs are starting to act out...with some organization. We don't call them nazis around here, but there certainly are strong white supremacy groups...and the Ku Klux Klan is active. I saw them marching one Memorial Day down the main street of Belpre, Ohio, in full hooded costume. There is very little police protection in Appalachia anymore, as local governments are strapped for funds to provide the essential social services all those federal cuts have taken away. Chauncey, Ohio, just turned off its street lights, as it sinks into bankruptcy. One of my students said that was OK; he shot out 3 of them himself. Someone caused evacuation of the village last week by lobbing around some tear gas. We may be in the midst of significant social disintegration in this country. Or maybe I'm just imagining things.  

4 Dec 2005 @ 16:11 by Quinty @ : It may be
your part of the country, and others like it, that's deteriorating. The war is going badly and the administration is scrambling to prop itself up. And this may be riling the KKKers in your neck of the woods up. It's amazing how some of the staunchest patriots are thugs in prison. A very dangerous place for peace activists.

Another victory for the Bush administration! Good luck!  

4 Dec 2005 @ 16:18 by jmarc : Selctive vision.
NH GOP Latest Headlines:

Fri Nov 18, 2005


Concord, NH: Today, New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Warren Henderson released the following statement:

“On Sunday November 6th, Baines for Mayor Campaign Manager Geoff Wetrosky was observed by an eyewitness removing Guinta for Mayor campaign signs from private property as well as what may have been public property. After the theft, that witness and others followed Mr. Wetrosky directly to the Manchester home of New Hampshire Democrat State Committee Chairman Kathy Sullivan. Manchester City Police were alerted to the situation and responded, confronting Mr. Wetrosky at the home of Ms. Sullivan. Manchester City Police removed a substantial number of Guinta for Mayor campaign signs from Mr. Wetrosky’s car as well as signs belonging to the state Republican Party. The Manchester City Police returned those signs to their respective owners. All of this is fact, documented in complaints filed with the Manchester City Police and the Attorney General’s Office for the State of New Hampshire.

“Kathy Sullivan’s response to this shameful situation has been all too predictable. She denies any involvement in the situation, as if Mr. Wetrosky brought the stolen campaign signs to her house by mistake. She attacks the victim, a standard ploy from the Democrats’ Dirty Tricks playbook. For the citizens of New Hampshire however, it is Ms. Sullivan’s admission that Democrats approve of wholesale campaign sign theft so long as those thefts can be later explained away that is most disappointing. A New Hampshire Union-Leader report of the incident stated ‘Sullivan said Wetrosky believed he removed signs that were illegally posted on public property.’ That flimsy excuse is no reason for the state Democrat leader to condone wholesale campaign sign theft.

“For many New Hampshire citizens, placing campaign signs on their property is a treasured act of political free speech. That sign tells the world the candidates that they support and the ideals that they hold dear. It is an outrage when those signs are stolen. Republicans condemn the theft of campaign signs. Has Kathy Sullivan encouraged Democrats to steal campaign signs and then claim they were on public property if caught? Is the wholesale theft of campaign signs now official Democrat Party policy? All New Hampshire citizens must hope it is not. I challenge Kathy Sullivan to withdraw her comments, change her position and admit her mistake.

“Kathy, the campaign manager for the Democrat Mayor of Manchester was caught by Manchester City Police in your front yard with campaign signs belonging to the Guinta campaign and the NH GOP. You should be saying Geoff Wetrosky made a mistake, that he showed bad judgment, that you don’t condone his actions and that you will cooperate with the investigation. Stealing campaign signs hurts people who often have no other way to make a political statement. Encouraging sign theft robs them of that precious right. It’s still not too late to do the right thing.”  

4 Dec 2005 @ 17:33 by Quinty @ : Oh, now, Jmarc
why do you accuse us of "selective vision?" Because we oppose the thuggish activities of some KKK types in Ohio that means we approve of the theft and squelching of free speech in New Hampshire? Of course not!

No, we don't.

It's curious, though, that you leapt to this conclusion.

When it comes, though, to brutal thugishness the right does have an edge: unless we're talking the about Communists in Europe or Asia. In the US Klansemen and Nazis tend to be avid flag wavers. The "love it or leave it" crowd. The "back the troops" dead heads who believe in killing off more troops in order to justify the deaths of those before them. Are there fools in the left? Of course. So why so touchy about the behavior of some brutal rightwingers in Ohio? Shouldn't you be shocked and disgusted too?

I'm trying to listen Larry Bensky on KPFA radio writing this so I hope this is coherent....

Have a good day.....  

4 Dec 2005 @ 18:30 by jmarc : just pointing out
there are plenty of people of that ilk to spread around the political spectrum. All the rest comes out of your head, not mine. Sorry I'm not familiar with Larry Bensky. The KKK is in Ohio. Jazzolog publicly chastised the president. Jazzologs mailbox got torn down. So we must lump it all together to prove what point exactly? Who is leaping to conclusions?....{LINK:|this fellow} seems to have alot of the Democratic Party's talking points down cold. So I guess we can assume he represents the Democratic Party?  

4 Dec 2005 @ 23:58 by Quinty @ : Yo Jmarc
I didn't read all the comments David Duke made, since his opinions don't greatly interest me. But I got the point. What I saw on that site reminded me that even Hitler and Stalin, had they ever stood together before a white wall, would have agreed the wall was white. In other words, realities and truths are available to anyone. Anyone who cares to look. Even those you may detest.

Nevertheless, what the interviewer thinks and and what Duke thinks are, collectively, their affair. Not mine. And since the Democrats appear to have no strong position on any topic today I don't see how it's easy to generalize.

If a few Democrats opnely blame the tragedy in Iraq on Wolfowitz, Rice, Pearl, etc., as I said, the realities are available to anyone.

But why so touchy? You know, there's an activist group out there called the Black Hand: a collection of young Anarchists (way over to the left) who think they can prove something by smashing bank windows. (I saw them in action once in San Francisco.) They wear black head masks and like to torear (bullfight) with the police. And they love street spectacle. If one of them commited mayhem and various felonies I wouldn't be surprised in the least.

But that these a-holes believe they're proving something has absolutely nothing to do with my own opinions or beliefs. Are you saying that because they're on the left I'm somehow united with them? That whatever they believe I have to believe too? That by attacking them you attack me?

Because the KKK is way over on the far right do you feel you need to defend the far right by reminding us of, say, the Black Hand? Aren't you comfortable condeming the neonazi right? Thugs who rip out mailbox posts?

So, while it's kind of interesting that David Duke - as I said, I didn't read very far - admits the neocons propped up our PR man in chief* - the president - ideologically (Read Mann's The Rise of the Vulcans) I'm not going to defend anything he says. I don't care what Duke says.

But in a way I wish what you say would be true: that the Democrats had enough spine to call this president on his shameless lies and deceptions. And that they would show some genuine leadership.

*That seems to be all he's doing nowadays, going around making speeches to "by invitation only" crowds. Has he really done much of anything else as president? Are Cheney, Rove, and Rice the true puppeteers behind our gleefull president's strutting? He does seem to smile a lot: considering the huge weight on his shoulders?  

5 Dec 2005 @ 08:00 by jazzolog : Jazzolog's Letters
Sorry I haven't been around this weekend. We had an Advent service at church I was part of, and it gloriously took up our time.

For the record, jazzolog and his wife have not written letters to local newspapers chastising the President or his "team." As indicated, we write only as not to be identified with the cranks who write every week. We focus on local matters. My most recent---and quite possibly the cause of the Midnight Mailbox Robbery (if there was a connection at all)---is as follows~~~

To the editor:

We had occasion at a Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night celebration to catch up with Tom O'Grady, who you remember was laid off last month after 29 years and 10 months of area work in education on recycling and sustainability. Another 2 months in that job would have landed him his PERS pension. A walking encyclopedia on the ecology of the region, he at least still is working a couple evenings a week at Hocking College...and picking up a few landscape jobs. No pension with that stuff though.

Type his name into Google, followed by "Athens", and you'll catch a glimpse of his contributions to the region on the first page. Look at his smiling face in that 1989 feature on Athens in Mother Earth News, as he says, "I love this place." Winner of Rural Action's 2003 Sustainability Award, community member of the Bicentennial Commission last year, and trustee of the Athens County Historical Society and Museum, Tom always put in every minute of his time and then some!

Tom's position supposedly is mandated by law. Who replaced him? What kind of vendetta brings a manager to let a guy go with 2 months left before pension? This isn't Enron here. These are public service jobs and government pensions, whose managers openly double-dip...collecting salaries and pensions at the same time.

I'd like some answers. Where is the justice here? I'm thinking to leave my PERS job a couple months early and let him go for it. Anyone have a better idea?

Richard Carlson
Rhoric Road
Athens, Ohio

We confess to giving our OK to the Democratic Party last year to place signs for their candidates along the road in front of our place. Perhaps jmarc and the Klan could interpret such activity as chastising their heroic president, whose clear trademark is to attack with crisp vigor all who raise questions or don't have invitations---or know the password.  

5 Dec 2005 @ 16:15 by Quinty @ : God, that's sickening
what happened to this guy two months before his pension.  

8 Dec 2005 @ 08:51 by jazzolog : For You Revolutionaries
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kathleen Hass"
To: "Richard Carlson"
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 7:25 PM
Subject: Google PNAC, for your car windows if you dare!  

18 Dec 2005 @ 16:50 by Quinty @ : On being burdoned by reality....

They Wouldn't Lie to Us, Would They?

by Molly Ivins

AUSTIN, Texas - As one on the liberal side of the chorus of moaners about the decline of civility in politics, I feel a certain responsibility when earnest, spaniel-eyed conservatives like David Brooks peer at us hopefully and say, "Well, yes, there was certainly a lot of misinformation about WMD before the war in Iraq, but ... you don't think they, he, actually lied do you?"

Draw I deep the breath of patience. I factor in the long and awful history of politics and truth, add the immutable nature of pols — fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly — and compare Tonkin Gulf, Watergate and Iran-Contra with the piddly Curveball and Niger uranium. I prepare to respond like a reasonable person — "Of course not actually lie, per se, in the strict sense" — and then I listen to another speech about Iraq by either the president or the vice president and find myself screaming, "Dammit, when will they quit lying?"

Civility is fine. On the other hand, sanity has its claims, as well.

I have been listening with great attention to the series of speeches President Bush has lately given on his newly revealed "Plan for Victory." Of course I was pleased to learn we have a plan for a victory, which consists, it turns out, of announcing: "We cannot and will not leave Iraq until victory is achieved. ... We will settle for nothing less than complete victory."

Unfortunately, the White House claims it produced this once supposedly secret plan in 2003, when it is actually a public-relations paper written less than six months ago, which is pretty much the way things go credibility-wise these days. It has long been clear that this administration thinks it can spin reality to a blue-bellied fare-thee-well, but isn't it a tad late for this?

Of course, it's an awkward time to be a doom-and-gloomer, too. Who wants to remind everyone this isn't working just when all those brave Iraqis just risked their lives to vote again? Democracy is a grand thing. Unfortunately, a vote has never yet created an operative military brigade.

Bush claimed in his Naval Academy speech that 80 Iraqi army and police battalions are fighting alongside American units, while another 40 are taking the lead in fighting. But last summer, military leaders told Congress that three of the 115 Iraqi battalions are capable of fighting without U.S. help, and in October Gen. George Casey, the American commander in Iraq, lowered that to one.

Of course all Texans are raised on the "Never retreat, never surrender" model, but it does ring just a little hollow when the administration's own plans for a draw-down of troops are dominating the news.

So as not to completely abandon my colleagues still yearning for civility, I point out that Bush and even Cheney are making progress. For one thing, they now acknowledge reconstruction is not going entirely smoothly, a refreshing degree of candor.

Also, Bush now acknowledges we are fighting more than just terrorists. In fact, most of the people we're fighting are themselves Iraqis who don't like us being there. The fact that their government has asked us to leave is still politely passed over. This has already cost us $277 billion, with at least another $100 billion to come.

It does seem a little silly, though, to call for "complete victory" without acknowledging that the war itself is not going well. The number of attacks on American and Iraqi troops per day grows steadily worse. Rep. Jack Murtha, who is very close to the military, says insurgent incidents over the past year have increased from 150 per week to over 700 per week.

Bush's claims on reconstruction are likewise mind-boggling. It's not "fits and starts" — there are rampant overcharges, corruption, lack of oversight — it is a zoo. At least $8 billion the United States provided Iraq's Coalition Provisional Authority is unaccounted for, and Halliburton alone has already been accused of $1.4 billion in unreasonable and unsupported charges.

One night in mid-September, George W. stood in New Orleans' Jackson Square, with the floodlit facade of St. Louis Cathedral in the background. He promised help for housing, education and job training: "The work that has begun in the Gulf Coast region will be one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen. ... And tonight I also offer this pledge of the American people: Throughout the area hit by the hurricane, we will do what it takes, we will stay as long as it takes to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives."

Hey, you know, another mission accomplished.

Molly Ivins is from Houston, Texas, graduated from Smith College in 1966, attended Columbia University's School of Journalism and studied for a year at the Institute of Political Sciences in Paris. Her first newspaper job was at the complaint department of the Houston Chronicle. She rapidly worked her way up to the position of sewer editor, where she wrote a number of gripping articles about street closings. She went on to the Minneapolis Tribune and was the first woman police reporter in that city. In the late 1960s, she was assigned to a beat called "Movements for Social Change," covering angry blacks, radical students, uppity women and a motley assortment of other misfits and troublemakers. Ivins counts as her highest honors that the Minneapolis police force named its mascot pig after her, and that she was once banned from the campus of Texas A&M.  

8 Jan 2006 @ 13:47 by jazzolog @ : A Crook And A Liar
Just watch our smug President in action during this 30 second movie from Has it ever been more obvious this man is an adept at lying his way out of any tight spot he's ever been in? All his life! I'll bet his mother remembers and knows it too...deep in her heart. Maybe she'd tell us---if she were questioned...vigorously, crisply, and in an isolated location.  

25 Sep 2007 @ 08:08 by jazzolog : BDS
For other challenged souls out there, "BDS" stands for Blower Drive Service

and is a cool way to get more horsepower out of your Chevy engine. The only suffering involved is guilt for contributing to global warming.

I'm just kidding. It really stands for something else, discussed here~~~  

27 Sep 2007 @ 19:42 by quinty : Confessions of a Bush Basher
Dr. Sanity reminded me of an entry I made a long time ago, in February 2006, nearly two years ago. It seems somehow still appropiate........

I am a Bush basher.

I have never been open before about this and have always hoped I could get by unobserved. But guilt, an unending spiritual malaise, and a desire to reclaim my soul has compelled me to finally be open. To finally confess.

I was born a Bush basher. Two nurses, an attending doctor, and five nearby witnesses fainted right away when they saw me. My parents raised me locked in the cellar of my home where I was not allowed to be ever seen by the outside world. When asked for explanations they merely said I was a hopeless case.

My symptoms flourished when George W. Bush was finally elected and became president. I could not wait to begin bashing. I drooled all over myself with joyous anticipation. I howled in the dark and bayed at the moon. Just to obtain some sleep at night my parents finally released me from the dank cellar. And then I ran wild on all fours in the park at night bashing, always bashing.

Why do I bash? Medical science has found no reason. Exorcism hasn't worked. Even a framable autographed photograph in full living color of the president himself, smiling, has not worked as a talisman to ward off the evil spirits. The sign of the beast remains on my forehead.

I admit there is no reasonable reason for bashing Bush.

I admit I am indiscriminate and wanton in my bashing. That my heart is filled with a hatred strong as lust. I admit to my own intransingcy, malignancy, and perversity. And to my complete flight from all reason.

Only these irrational causes could compel me to bash Bush. Gleefully, recklessly, oh so unreasonably.

There. Now I feel better. I have gotten it off my chest. Never again will I bash Bush: our holy saint, our leader, our divine steward safely leading us into an uncertain future fraught with peril. Now that I have that off my chest I can look at the front page of today's newspaper again with a clear conscience. And I see that it reads: "New revelations White House knew no weapons of mass destruction existed...." Oh, no! No! No! Not when I was fully cured!  

27 Sep 2007 @ 22:10 by vaxen : Bash Fascism...
for it is here and staring you straight in the face. Here is a good article that I think you might read and derive some profit from: (

It took more than one single puppet to get to the state that America is in today. And the world will not forgive the American Fascist people for what they are doing. History, in this regard, doesn't forgive.

Bashing Bush might give you emotional release but it does little else save to perpetuate the problem.

He and his whole family are guilty of high treason (But they aren't alone!) as is the House, as is the Senate, as is the whole damned 'Government' of this Fascist Corporate US of A.

An idiot savant, student, getting tasered in a University for asking the traitor Kerry a question should get more than just...cursory notice. Smell the smoke of the Doom fires yet? You will...guarantee!

Homegrown American Fascism

by Stephen Neitzke

Usurpation is the exercise of powers by an agent which have not been delegated to him by the principal. In a constitutional republic like the United States of America, acts by officials are legitimate only if they are consistent with and based on a constitution, a body of laws which are superior to all subsequent statutes and other acts of officials, which embodies all delegations of power, and which may recognize certain rights to further define the limits on the powers delegated. It is a fundamental principle that all acts of officials not derived from the delegated powers of the constitution are null and void from inception, not just from the point at which a court may find them unconstitutional.
--Constitution Society, "Abuses and Usurpations".  

27 Sep 2007 @ 23:55 by Quinty @ : Vax,
what the hell is wrong with you?

"American fascist people."

Yeah, like the Germans who supported Hitler. A case, I suppose, can be made. After all, a large minority still believes Saddam was holding Osama's hand without being able to see the contradiction given by Maliki actually holding Ahmadinijad's hand. And the goblins of the night still frighten them.

But being your whipping boy is really not my cup of tea, Mr. Vax. No, this has nothing to do with your vision v. my vision. Nor are you with your overbearing condescension really telling me anything. You have made this very personal. So why don't you shove it up your.......

Go ahead and respond, if you wish. You will get no echo from me. This is finished as far as I'm concerned.  

27 Sep 2007 @ 23:58 by Quinty @ : Oh,
I forgot to clarity. "American fascist people." That's us too, right?

Jesus H Christ!  

28 Sep 2007 @ 01:35 by bushman : Accually,
Quinty, my aunt and uncle a US marshal and a second cousin was the attorny general at the time, are what you would call American Fasists, both were in the government, apointed by Nixon, and later to be republican party election leaders in So Cal, for Ronny Ragan. Both would spout how the constitution and bill of rights should be torn up. They are what they are man.  

28 Sep 2007 @ 02:10 by Quinty @ : Now wait a minute,
this is getting weird.

So your aunt and uncle were fascists? Okay. I could perhaps make similar claims. So? But should we generalize from these experiences? It's a big world out there.

There are, after all, more than 300 million stories out there in the naked country. Nor am I in the habit of generally defending those I disagree with.

I object to being preached at, as if I'm too dumb to see the obvious. But these insulting generalizations reveal a very narrow form of tunnel vision too. They lack respect and are insulting. And they demean those of us who try to understand our nation's problems.

We not only have to listen to the garbage a Dr. Sanity spews - and the far right is indeed legion in this country - I almost went berserk earlier tonight listening to one Congressman Franks from Texas chortle we must remain in Iraq until a pro Western democracy is established there, claiming - heaven help us - we are fighting al Qaeda in order not to fight them here - without being able to distinguish between the Sunnis and CIA... on and on. Imbeciles. Were it not Iraq it would be Mars we would be at war with, nor do they - Frank and his crowd - remember the Iraqis ostensibly are supposed to be our friends. With friends like that, they could and do say, who needs.......

Where was I? Doesn't matter. Enough..... It's late, good night.  

28 Sep 2007 @ 02:15 by Quinty @ : CIA
Having been too lazy to go in through the accepted manner I can't fix that embarrassing error. CIA should be Shia, of course. And, since I'm bitching tonight, we should clean up our errors. Writing full speed and moving on leaves a lot of typos behind. Real sentence crashers. Such as CIA...... sorry.  

28 Sep 2007 @ 04:13 by vaxen : Maybe...
we object to being preached at, too, Quinty san. Endlessly going on about Bush simply misses the point. A coup was made long ago.

What are some solutions that might be applied? Endless ad hominems against a single person, when all are guilty, simply doesn't get the job done. Did you read the article at all? And why on earth must you continue to take things so personally? Buttons being pushed? Not my fault. Not my intention at all.

The articles author points out solutions that are available to us. That bring real light to the situation. CIA is neither Shia nor is it Sunni. If anything - it is Greada!

The plan, where Iraq is concerned, was to split it up into three distinct Federations (Accomplished!). Next will be Iran with blood sucker Israel doing the dirty work of instigation, first, then getting into hot water it never can handle without the American dupe taxpayers unending, coerced, support...

Old, stale, story...Fascism in America has been here for a long time. Do you know how to define Fascism quinty? I mean without the emotional rhetoric which oft accompanies such off the cuff definitions as might come from your blind side? A clear cut definition alluding to the real nature, the core, of the beast.

Women being tasered and tramped on and kicked repetitively after dutifully obeying the law? Does that come close to fascist antics? Oh and take a look at the Bush family, will you, Prescott, Walker, etc., who supported Adolph? Who footed the bills? You might want to put that all into perspective as well. Next time you see Kuhn and Lobotomy or Kellog, Brown and Root, or...even Trumpetsky.

Too bad Putin isn't running, yet, for President of the Fascist USA.

Yeah, ``fascist Americans.'' The British East India Trading Company and its' Dutch cohort ride the waves of the seven seas yet again! Heave Ho, Buckos! The lady got tasered in...Ohio, I believe. ;)

Mind those emotes, now, quinty san...wouldn't want to hear that you over did it and died of a heart attack. You'd need a heart for that.  

28 Sep 2007 @ 04:31 by bushman : lol
Its ok, my spelling sucks no matter how hard try, and I do understand your reaction to our friend, but really its just better not to take some things so personaly, its just my oppinion that Vax wasnt pointing his finger at you, but at those who are american fasists. Yep Id say there are a few members of my family who have fasist tendecies, my grandpa loved Musalini, and even wrote letters to him, so the story was. My sister once said to me, "street bums should stop steeling food and asking people for money, if they are going to steel, they should steel some soap and a rasor and get a job". To me that is fasist thinking. The religious right runs this country, thats like 52% of the 300 million. I have to generalize, its easyer for those less educated than myself to get it. Point being, the Iraqis didnt call us up and cry for help. We just decided they needed it. Damn missonaries?  

28 Sep 2007 @ 09:25 by jazzolog : Bushman And Vaxen
are a couple of a few old-timers at New Civilization Network who usually play hardball with any opinion with which they disagree...or even about which they have a question. I mean they have a history of aggressive reply to other members. They say repeatedly they do not mean to be disrespectful to the other people here, and if you can get past the fact their good intentions do not bear fruit they can be appreciated as fairly clever and amusing. They know a lot of stuff and that's helpful, but almost everyone has complained of a belligerent atmosphere at this site.

I got a message from People For The American Way yesterday that said, "Think the Radical Right is on the wane? Think again. A recent poll from the First Amendment Center shows that a whopping 55% of Americans believe that 'The Constitution establishes a Christian nation.' Thank the Far Right's marketing effort -- the same marketing effort that People For the American Way is hard at work countering, day in and day out." I'm becoming convinced most of the "normal" Americans I observe every day have succeeded in completely sealing themselves off from the rest of the world and its problems. The scripture is SELF And My Family, and the text is Me And Mine. They call it Freedom.  

28 Sep 2007 @ 16:41 by bushman : Yes,
Im free to impose my religios will apon the world, and kill them all or lock them away forever if they don't bow. Im free to teach the children how to be "normal" and if those children don't respect me, Ill put them in foster care and jail thier biological parents, forever, Amen.  

28 Sep 2007 @ 16:47 by quinty : Yes, it is shocking
that 55% believe the founders established a "Christian nation." That comes from the Christian right constantly insisting that the founders all shared “a Judeo Christian background” and that because, they say, 85 or 90% of Americans are Christian we are therefore a Christian nation. You get this all the time on rightwing radio. And I think Adam and Eve have an edge over Darwin too. Certainly in some locales.

Some time ago I was listening to some bottom feeder from Oklahoma claim over the radio that he and his kind are the "mainstream." Oklahoma is where Inhofe and Coburn are from. Last time I saw Coburn on CSPAN he was berating a witness at his Senate Committee for not shooting illegal aliens crossing the border. I thought - listening to that far right talkshow jock in Oklahoma - that describing himself as "mainstream" was merely more rightwing self promotion. But maybe he's correct. At least in his neck of the woods, in Oklahoma, where they elect senators such Inhofe and Coburn. God, I would hate to think of who this talkshow host's House member is.

We complain a lot in this country about the Congress. But studies have shown that in most districts a majority approves of their elected rep’s, whatever party. Barbara Lee would be as much accepted in Tennessee’s 7th CD as Marsha Blackburn would be liked in California’s 9th CD. Condemn the Congress we condemn ourselves. For that’s the nature of democracy, one man one vote. And the Congress reflects back on who we as a people are. I don’t believe many Americans truly understand that, judging from their expressed attitudes, though of course I can be wrong.

However, lumping us all together into the "evil empire" is a little extreme. Even if our right tends to do that to others fair minded persons should attempt to see it takes all kinds, wherever they are. And that one of the tragic mistakes we as a nation arrogantly made was to ignorantly assume all Iraqis are more or less the same when we invaded. Though there were several million Americans, myself included, who saw the invasion was a tragic mistake. No, there is no unanimity here in the United States.

As for Vax being "amusing." "Mind those emotes, now, quinty san...wouldn't want to hear that you over did it and died of a heart attack. You'd need a heart for that." Yes, how very sweet and amusing.  

28 Sep 2007 @ 16:59 by quinty : Let me share with you
a letter a fellow alum from my high school in New York sent out the day after the November 2004 election, which eloquently expressed how many of us felt and still feel today. Our military might brings shame to this country throughout the world. And, true enough, many of us are extremely worried about our future..... the planet's future, for that matter. But this is a profoundly human document which you might find interesting.....

A Message from One American to the World

"On this dark day in the history of my country, I reach out to you, my
international brothers and sisters, with overwhelming shame and
sorrow and fear: shame for living in a country that would re-elect a
leader with such toxic disdain for the world community and its
people; sorrow for living in a country that has so gravely and
inalterably lost its way; and fear for whether you believe that a
citizen of such a country has anything of value to communicate to
the world.

"And so, on this dark day in the history of my country, I reach out to
you, my international brothers and sisters, and beg you to
understand that not all Americans are alike. I beg you to
remember that only a fraction more than half of all Americans
rejoice this day. I beg you to please understand that for me and
the 145 million Americans like me, this is a day of dread, of grief
and of mourning. I beg you to please believe me when I tell you
that I and the 145 million Americans like me do not believe the
world community--its colors, its cultures and its citizens--to be
irrelevant. I beg you to remember during the four years that are to
come that I, and the 145 million Americans like me, live first and
foremost as world citizens, with respect and admiration and
deference for all the people on this shared earth. I beg you to
understand that for me and the 145 million Americans like me,
loving my country does not mean believing that it--its safety, its
people, its priorities--are superior to yours. But most important of
all, I, and the 145 million Americans like me, beg your patience,
your strength and your support during these next four years . . . as
we await the day when we are once again free to live side by side
with you, my international brothers and sisters, in peace and
community and shared respect. "

Seattle, Washington USA  

28 Sep 2007 @ 21:19 by vaxen : Vote?
You're daft, quinty san. Absolutely daft. And you keep using the term 'Democracy' as if it meant 'freedom!' America wasn't established as a Democracy! When did it become a Democracy? That's one of the big problems in America. So called 'Education.' It's just another word for 'Mind Control' of the worse sort. For you believe you are free. Nonsense!

Your bud is about to get his wish. One world. What a delusion. As you watch your nation divided up into plots for the super rich controllers I'm sure you'll weep tears of great joy as the One World New World Order sucks your blood. I'm sure you'll see that 'Democracy' as a great blessing. After all didn't the people of Iraq welcome us with flowers?

The Gulf War

Iraq, in an attempt to recover from the expensive eight year war with Iran, had been seeking to control its own oil reserves – independence which the Western oil companies could not allow. So, as well as being of importance to the Elite's long term goals of a world army, the conflict was engineered to effectively destroy Iraq both economically and in terms of its population.

Saddam Hussein had been installed in 1968 on the back of CIA support for his Baath party. In November 1989, US loans to Iraq were guaranteed providing that the money was used to buy US farm produce. Instead, as expected, Hussein used the money for arms and defaulted on the loans. The US taxpayer is now picking up the bill for rearming the 'enemy'. This US funding was done through the Atlantan branch of the Italian government bank, Banco Nazionale del Lavaro (BNL), which loaned $5 billion. Loans from the BNL to Iraq for arms purchases were organised as early as 1984 by Kissinger Associates. Some of the Iraqi arms were bought from Britain in illegal sales which implicate the British government. This possibly includes the Midland Industrial Trade Services, allegedly the secret arms running wing of the Midland Bank, which was introduced to the Iraqis by Kissinger Associates.

Having armed Iraq, America needed an excuse to invade. This opportunity came through covertly supporting Kuwait's obstinate insistence to make economic recovery difficult for Iraq by over-producing oil and keeping prices low. In July 1990, whilst assuring Hussein that his administration had no interest in an 'Arab-Arab conflict, like your border disagreement with Kuwait', Bush reached agreement with Gorbachev that Russia would not intervene if America invaded Iraq. Kuwait was invaded by Iraq in August 1990 and Bush started talking about economic sanctions against Iraq. Saudi Arabia was convinced by the Americans that it was under threat and under this pretext US forces were dispatched to protect Saudi Arabia. These were later joined by British and French troops to create a UN army.

One month before the UN invasion of Kuwait/Iraq, a US army report detailed the destruction of Kuwait, the firing of the oil wells and which companies would be involved in the lucrative rebuilding of Kuwait and extinguishing the fires. In the ensuing bombing, Iraqui industry, and therefore its post-conflict economy, was destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people have died, either as a direct result of indiscriminate bombing or in the ensuing poverty and deprivation.

Through the Gulf conflict, the phrase 'New World Order', used by Bush in a victory speech, was used by all and sundry to describe this unprecedented global military co-operation. Public approval for this type of intervention has been amplified by the manipulation of Yugoslavia to show inadequacies in the current UN Peacekeeping force, as first highlighted by their ineffectiveness in Rwanda and Somalia. As none of these trouble spots adversely effect the oil trade, an operation on the scale of the Gulf War is not required. Incidentally, there is already a joint UN/NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps whose existence was justified by the failure of the UN in Yugoslavia.


Gee, just wait a little longer. Witness just what waiting for 'freedom' to be delivered to you on a silver platter has done! Naive in the house the tyrant built. Just great! Just absolutely great!

``Fight" for your rights! That's the only way you're gonna get em! Have fun. Here's a fun site:

Your mind is fully awake --- in a dream.  

28 Sep 2007 @ 23:55 by bushman : American fasists.
School Guards Break Child's Arm And Arrest Her For Dropping Cake
Pandemic of police and security violence continues unabated

Steve Watson
Friday, Sept 28, 2007

School security guards in Palmdale, CA have been caught on camera assaulting a 16-year-old girl and breaking her arm after she spilled some cake during lunch and left some crumbs on the floor after cleaning it up.

The incident occurred last week at Knight High School in Palmdale and was caught on a cell phone camera by another pupil who was then also assaulted by the security guards.

The girl, Pleajhai Mervin, told Fox News LA that she was bumped while queuing for lunch and dropped the cake. After being ordered to clean it up and then re-clean the spot three times, she attempted to leave the area out of embarrassment but was jumped on by security who forced her onto a table, breaking her wrist in the process.

Pleajhai also says that the security guard in the picture yelled "hold still nappy-head" at her, which at the time she did not know was a racist comment.

In an even more shocking development the security guards later had the mother of the girl arrested after she sought out an attorney and demanded that the guard be arrested, telling her that if she wanted the guard detained then she herself would also be charged with battery after she allegedly pushed the guard and an assistant principal of the school. She has also been suspended from her job at another school in the county.

The school expelled Pleajhai for five days before then having her arrested for battery and for littering (the dropping of the cake). Then they had the pupil who captured the video arrested along with his sister who was merely present at the scene.

A walkout is planned for this morning by some students, after which the protesters will call for the firing of the main security guard involved.

The incident serves as another unbelievable case in the wave of police brutality sweeping the country. In recent days we have covered multiple incidents of this nature and have compiled them into a page which will no doubt be added to in the months to come.

Commentators have linked the increased cases of brutality with a post 9/11 mentality in America where civil liberties have been totally diminished and the anointed "authorities" simply consider themselves above the law.

Former Reagan government official Paul Craig Roberts, for instance, has succinctly described the mentality as having turned "an epidemic of US police brutality into a pandemic".

The media reports linked above clearly sympathize with the girl and her mother but only because the girl "fully complied with the guards' orders".

What on earth have things come to when children are being physically assaulted and arrested in schools by huge fat thugs 5 times their size for "not complying with orders"?

Police and security officials are being trained that it's OK to beat, torture and taser anyone should they not answer their questions or comply with their every order.

The "security" and well being of citizens is no longer the concern of these moronic hired beefbrains who revel in their false positions of power. Ask yourself, why is the security guy pictured above wearing shades indoors? Because it is part of the gang mentality of these idiots who think its cool to put the fear of life into small kids and then break their bones if they fail to cower like mice when picked upon.


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