Monday, January 28, 2008

United States Inc. vs. the People

By Larisa Alexandrovna

January 25, 2008

If retroactive immunity for telecoms passes (as part of FISA bill), then our Congress will finally have declared that the United States is a wholly owned subsidiary of a few mega-companies and that the citizens are without rights or even avenues for redressing grievances. In other words, our government has given us very little choice other than to declare ourselves independent.

Let's first examine why it was that original US colonies declared their independence from king to begin with. Here is the list provided by the founders in the Declaration of Independence. I will put them in bullet points and discuss each briefly:

  • "He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."

How does this apply to this current scandal (among many) regarding domestic spying? Let's look at the particulars. The Vice President and President (Cheney/Bush) have acted as a single royal house that is above the laws of this country. They decided in secret to violate the law and used their power of authority to create a new law to be carried out by agencies under their control. This was done without the consent of Congress and the American people. It was also done against the law of the land and without authorization from the Judiciary.

Moreover, this illegal domestic spying was conducted against US citizens, without a warrant, via the hiring (with public money) of non-government entities (corporations) who charge the public for their service to begin with.

When the public learned of this, they filed legal action against the corporations, rightly so, for breach of contract (service provided to the customer) and criminal conduct. The Vice President and President are now demanding that the public not be allowed to sue these companies (civil) and exempting these companies from the criminal charges - which the White House cannot do in a blanket pardon of a corporation.

This one abuse of power alone violates Fourth Amendment to the Constitution ("The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.").

This violates the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, particularly the right to due process and self-incrimination ("nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.")

This also violates Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution ("I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.")

Instead of being impeached for their crimes, the Vice President and President are being allowed to violate the law, subvert the Constitution, abuse their authority, and deny the public any forum in which to redress grievances. Instead of these corporations being held accountable by Congress, it now appears that every single company involved will get immunity and retroactively. Congress has now become complicit in the crimes of this administration and is obstructing justice by voting to cover it up.

In other words, we have grounds on which to declare our contract with the government null and void. It has been done before (as noted above) and for the same reasons.

  • "He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance."

As part of this domestic harassment, the Vice President and President have created the Department of Homeland Security, and have used the FBI to demand private information on US citizens without a warrant. The FBI has demanded, for example, private records from 26 Connecticut libraries. When the libraries were unwilling to grant the access, the FBI slapped the librarians with "National Security Letters" making it illegal for anyone to tell Congress, the press, or in any way make public this harassment. Private institutions, medical offices, credit card companies, and US citizens have all been silenced in this way from making public such brazen acts of domestic surveillance, harassment, and even denied the right to redress their grievances by making what was done to them a state secret. This whole set of secret laws, secret policing, secret warrants (when there are any), secret harassment, and secret courts is entirely in violation of not only the laws of the land but also in violation of the very definition of democracy.

As to the Constitution, this violates the First Amendment of the Constitution ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."). Yet they passed the Patriot Act and the Real ID Act. And now are busy debating and likely to pass the FISA bill, which will allow domestic surveillance without a warrant, involving private companies to whom US citizens pay money for services.

This violates the Second Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, the Fight Amendment, the Sixth Amendment, and the Seventh Amendment (see for all of these here).

This also violates Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, as well as Article, Section 8 of the Constitution. (see here).

In other words, Congress has abdicated its powers to an imperial presidency. And will continue to do so with the FISA bill.

We again have grounds on which to declare our contract with the government null and void. It has been done before (as noted above) and for the same reasons.

You get the basic idea, that we are ultimately faced with two choices. Either this FISA bill is the last straw and the passage of it will be grounds to declare the government contract with the people null and void, or we agree to give up our rights completely. Here are some additional reasons listed in the Declaration of Independence as to why our founding fathers declared their contract with the British king null and void. Notice how easily any number of crimes by this administration and Congress (as part of the royal court) can be inserted in substitution for the British monarchy and its legislative co-conspirators:

  • He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
  • He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
  • He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
  • He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
  • He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

  • For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
  • For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
  • He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

  • He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
  • He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

Do you see just how far this has gone? Are we not at the same juncture that our founding fathers were when they declared their contract with the government null and void? If this FISA bill passes with retroactive immunity for corporations in collusion with the government to commit crimes against the people, I would say folks we have to seriously consider a new Declaration of Independence, and we won't even have to change the list of reasons either.

Now, for the latest news on the FISA bill:

"After a January 24 debate in the Senate on amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the Senate appears ready to capitulate once again to the Bush administration's agenda of sacrificing liberty for questionable security.

On the day before Congress was slated to take up this issue, Dick Cheney addressed the Heritage Foundation, the most influential right-wing think tank. He was given a thunderous reception, to which he quipped, "I hold an office that has only one constitutional duty - presiding over the Senate and casting tie-breaking votes." But the most powerful vice president in this nation's history was about to strong-arm Congress into doing the administrations' bidding.

Invoking the memory of September 11, 2001 twelve times, Cheney said it was "urgent" that Congress update the FISA law immediately and permanently. Notwithstanding the administration's well-known violations of FISA months before 9/11, Cheney claimed they had used "every legitimate tool at our command to protect the American people against another attack." He omitted the illegal tools the administration has admitted using, that is, Bush's so-called "Terrorist Surveillance Program" and a massive data mining program. FISA makes it a crime, punishable by up to five years in prison, for the executive to conduct a wiretap without statutory authorization. The TSP has been used to target not just the terrorists, but also critics of administration policies, particularly the war in Iraq."

So, back to the Declaration of Independence, the only other document that I value as part of the democracy cannon (the other being the Constitution of course), with one minor change on my part below:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the ADMINISTRATION AND THEIR ENABLERS IN CONGRESS is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

No immunity for the telecoms. No one can stand above the law in a democracy. This my friends is patriotism.

Posted in full with author's permission.

Originally posted at

Bush Surging Into Oblivion

by Ron Fullwood

With less than a year left in office, George Bush is scrambling to tie up the loose ends of his presidency and cobble together something he can point to as his legacy, before he leaves town. Faced with the distraction of the election and squeezed by the limited time left in his term, Bush has decided to deploy every available staffer and appointee out into the nation to effect a 'surge' of accomplishments which he can highlight in his presidential library.

All set to give his State of the Union Address Monday night, Bush is already prepared to report 'progress' and successes stretching from his continuing occupation of Iraq, to his reinterpretation of the Constitution and abuse of our democracy back home in the name of 'national security', and in his ability to hold on to the tax breaks the nation's affluent 2% have enjoyed during his presidency, at the miserly expense of the needs of the rest of the nation.

"I will report that over the last seven years, we've made great progress on important issues at home and abroad," Bush said in his radio address this weekend, telegraphing the highlights of his address. "In my speech, I will lay out a full plate of issues for Congress to address in the year ahead," he said.

Undoubtedly, Bush will lead his appeal with a defense of his stewardship of the economy. 'This economy of ours is on a solid foundation," Bush told reporters days before he admitted to himself that immediate action was needed to prop up the declining markets. What the White House and the Emperor's Democratic tailors agreed to was a package of petty bribes to American taxpayers (funded by our foreign debt-holders in countries like Saudi Arabia and China) and a pacifying lump of cash for their corporate benefactors.

Nothing, however will be broached by Bush or his congressional cohorts to address the exploding budget deficit which is forecast to rise to $219 bln in 2008, well over last years deficit total of $163 bln.. Their election year band-aid will only increase pressure on the stifled economy, promising a flood of negative effects for the next presidency as the departing administration removes their finger from the economic dike.

Bush will also be looking to orchestrate a 'surge' of activity surrounding his defense and perpetuation of autocratic occupation of Iraq. His hapless lackey in the Iraqi regime, Prime Minister Maliki, has been openly preparing for over a week for a massive, staged military assault against Sunni communities in Mosul which government leaders have identified as 'al-Qaeda strongholds.' Obviously under Bush's direction, the new Iraqi dictator intends to demonstrate for Americans looking on that his army is capable of the same 'My Lai' type assaults on his countryfolk his U.S. military protectors have conducted; all for the presumed 'political progress' of the Iraqi regime, or for the furthering of Bush's politics back home.

Look at the grand army he's recreated with soldiers originally disbanded by the invaders. Look at how well they strike out at the specter of Bush's al-Qaeda. "We know there's been 'progress' in Iraq because we have a body count of 'insurgents' we killed in our contrived raids."

Lastly, Bush wants to keep a tight lid on the evidence of his illegal domestic surveillance, by pressuring Congress to give his telecommunication accomplices immunity from prosecution for their illegal assistance to an administration which refused to follow the law as they trolled through private phone and e-mail records. The administration insists that no laws were broken, yet, is loath to allow any of the FISA judges to review their handiwork. Bush wants Congress to waive him on as he does his predictable end run around the law, without even showing them the product of the surfing his people did through thousands of confidential records and proving their innocence.

Like the administration's torture bill -- which reached back and granted immunity from prosecution for those who engaged in administration approved torture, in defiance of clear law and regulation prohibiting the actions -- Bush wants a clean slate of approval for the wiretapping abuses his administration arrogantly engaged in, clearly defying the law and their obligation to open their activities for congressional review. All Bush has to do to continue to use wiretapping in his 'terror war', is follow the original FISA law which saw over 90% of the requests which were brought before the panel approved outright.

But, this administration, obviously, has a great deal of their activities they feel a need to conceal from the scrutiny of the American people. All they have left as a defense is Bush in his little, lame, bully pulpit. And, very few Americans are buying the arguments from an administration which has sacrificed over 4000 U.S. service-folk overseas for their political agenda; fostered and fueled a previously non-existent al-Qaeda presence in Iraq with their invasion and occupation; has been caught, red-handed, rifling through our private communications; and has destroyed the nation's economy for average Americans struggling to survive . . . Yet, Bush will try Monday night.

"When I go before Congress on Monday, I will speak more about how we can keep our economy strong and our people safe," Bush said in his weekend address.

I expect very little from Bush about his own responsibility in the decline in all of that. One of the extraordinary initiatives Bush will reportedly announce is an Executive Order directing federal agencies to "ignore" earmarks included in reconciling conference report language, but not in the actual wording of spending legislation. Once again, Bush is set to assume a privilege to ignore the intent of Congress as they do their job of appropriating money from the Treasury. Bush, in typical fashion, will attempt to dictate the intent of laws established by Congress to conform them to whatever he couldn't achieve through the normal legislative process.

That's as good as a legacy as Bush can demonstrate tonight. Bush has achieved an autocratic administration which was able to amass assumed authority through the inability or ineptness of Congress to counter his power-grabs with their own constitutional levers of accountability and justice. Whatever anti-democratic or anti-constitutional constructions he's managed during his tenure will either collapse by attrition in the wake of a change in parties in power, or, will provide a platform for the next generation of corporatist republicans to build their own petty autocracy.

Whatever Bush manages to express in his legacy address Monday night, one thing will be clear. The problems which Bush will claim to be responsive to are results and consequences of his own arrogant disregard of the will of the American people that he put aside his opportunistic militarism abroad and focus on the needs and concerns of Americans at home. The irony of a landmark presidential election to replace Bush -- drowning out his legacy appeal -- should not be lost on even one so ignorant as to escalate and highlight the agenda millions will mass together to oppose with their votes on election day.

Posted in full with author's permission.

Originally posted at

Dorothy Day and H.L.Menken

Dorothy Day, a "Catholic Worker" activist and contemporary of mine, summarized the root cause of our nation's predicament when she stated "Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy rotten system."

Another contemporary, H.L.Menken, a well known newspaper columnist of our day, took it a step further when he wrote "Nobody ever got poor underestimating the intelligence of the American consumer" [Rove and Goebles really picked up on this one]-WTFU, America


Sunday, January 27, 2008

What A Great Freakin' War!!

By David Michael Green

What a ding-dong I am!

For months - nay, years! - I've been ranting about how screwed up the war in Iraq has been, and how disastrous have been its consequences.

What a fool I've been! In reality, it's actually turned out pretty great.

That's what I learned when I read William Kristol's recent New York Times piece, "The Democrats' Fairy Tale." In a stroke of thoughtfulness, generosity and uncanny prescience, the Times was kind enough recently to hire Kristol to write a regular column for their op-ed page. I guess that's because Ariel Sharon was unavailable and David Duke was on vacation.

And bless his little heart, Kristol knows a thing or two about a thing or two. Heck, he's the one who got us into Iraq in the first place! He's been telling us for a long time what a cool thing it would be to knock over that tin-pot Saddam Hussein crank, and damned if he didn't convince the president to do it, despite Bush's decades of foreign policy experience.

But it's been a rough couple of years for Ol' Bill, 'cause the whole damn country went into some sort of narcoleptic, apoplectic, pathogenic tizzy about the war, crying fickle and foul at every turn and seeming like all everyone wanted was to end the darned thing. Imagine that. What a bunch of whiney little self-interested twits, squealing like a continent full of Europeans, and utterly failing to see the great wisdom of Young William's Grand Adventure In Mesopotamia. It's really quite nauseating, isn't it?

In his article, Kristol really rips the Democrats, and don't they ever deserve it. Now that Iraq appears to be marginally more peaceful than it was last year at this time, Kristol is angry because, as he puts it: "It's apparently impermissible for leading Democrats to acknowledge - let alone celebrate - progress in Iraq".

Bill is angry because the Democrats (and the public - but, oddly, he doesn't mention that part) still want to end the war - even though it's been a huge success! They should "celebrate" it, instead! Fortunately, he is clever enough to suss out the real reason for this childish intransigence. It's not, as Hillary put it, because the Iraqis know the Democrats will shut off the supply valve of endless wasted dollars and soon-to-be casualties headed to Baghdad. As Kristol notes, "That is truly a fairy tale. And it is driven by a refusal to admit real success because that success has been achieved under the leadership of ... George W. Bush. The horror!"

I must admit I've suffered from some of the same confusion as the Dumb Dems, whom I think we can all agree are simply hopelessly naive pacifists intent on allowing our country to be taken over by Very Bad People (of less than fully white complexion) who mean us harm. You know the type I mean, like George McGovern, who flew all those bombing missions during World War II while Little Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, Kristol and the rest fought ... valiantly ... in ... Viet ... oh, never mind. Anyhow, that hopeless and dangerous idealism is why, just one year before the Iraq war, every single Democrat in the Congress opposed the invasion of Afghanistan except for ... well, except for ... every single Democrat in Congress other than one. Okay, never mind on that one too.

Look, let's get down to brass tacks here. Kristol just gets it. The rest of us don't. He realizes that in the grand scheme of things - "World War IV" as his pappy likes to call it - what's important is not the big picture, but the very narrowest.

You may think, for example, that promulgating egregious lies in order to shove your way into am Iraq war that no one else wants is stupid and counterproductive, damaging the credibility and interests of the United States, and probably accounting for the lack of allied support in a more credible war in Afghanistan. But Bill Kristol knows better.

You may think that fighting a war that massively drains military, diplomatic and financial resources away from the real enemies of the country in order to pursue a pet project that has nothing to do with those genuine threats would be idiotic and suicidal. But that's 'cause you're not as smart as William Kristol.

You might believe that it was a ludicrous waste of blood and treasure to kill 4,000 Americans and one million Iraqis, while borrowing and spending a trillion bucks (fast going up to two) in order to invade a country that had neither attacked us nor threatened us. And that doing so was an extremely poor choice of resource allocation, especially when we have tens of millions of children doing without healthcare in this country. But if you were a clever neoconservative like Bill Kristol you'd know better.

You might think that wrecking our military and compromising American security over a non-problem - indeed, a problem that people like Bushes and Cheneys and Rumsfelds and Reagans once very much created and encouraged - would be a stupid choice of priorities. But that's only because you don't have the foreign policy insight of someone like Bill Kristol.

And let me guess - I bet you also think that launching a war that brings chaos to a vital and volatile area, and that massively increases the power of an Iran run by radical theocrats was a really, really dumb idea. But if you were Bill Kristol you'd realize that all we need is a third war against an Islamic country, and we can clean up the whole mess all at once!

Or maybe you're like all those American intelligence agencies, who collectively reported last year that the Iraq war was actually creating anti-American terrorists rather than eradicating them. But if you were as smart as Mr. Bill and his Kristol Ball, you'd know that they're all just a bunch of long-haired and bearded blame-America-first left-wing Berkeley rejects running covert ops for the CIA, NSA and other intelligence agencies. Of course they're going to diss the war! It's going well, and those unpatriotic spooks can't stand that because they hate America!

Maybe you're angry because you think the same American soldiers whom people like George W. Bush are always hiding behind should actually have adequate armor to fight the war they've been thrust into, rather than their families having to hold bake sales to buy it for them. And maybe you also think they should be treated a wee bit better than they have been at Walter Reed (and far beyond) when they come home wounded, or they have to fight harder than in Anbar to get the benefits owed to them out of the military. But what Bill Kristol knows is that you can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs! So lighten up on that whole concern-for-the-troops thing already. (Unless you're the president doing a photo-op, of course.)

Don't tell me you're chagrined at the idea that American forces may be in Iraq for another decade, or even for a full "generation". Probably that's just because you or someone you know might have to go fight there. People like Kristol never do, of course, so why should he worry?

Are you angry that well-connected cronies and corporations got rich off this war? That eight billion dollars in cash went completely missing in Iraq? That multi-billion dollar no-bid contracts got paid out for jobs never done? That American soldiers worked and bled and died for peanuts alongside mercenaries making four times as much salary? That we will be paying for this war in interest on loans and expensive treatment of the wounded for generations to come? Yeah? Well Bill Kristol thinks you should get your priorities straight!

Have you somehow come to the conclusion that turning one-fifth of Iraq's 25 million people into either corpses or refugees hasn't exactly been a great liberating service to that country? You know, sorta like when we told them to rise up but then stood by and watched Saddam mow them down. Or when we turned a blind eye to Saddam's use of chemical weapons against his own people, and even protected him from condemnation for those crimes at the UN? Bill Kristol thinks that's because you just don't know the true value of freedom and democracy. Oh, and you put too much emphasis on that whole not-getting-killed thing.

Are you one of those whiney liberals who believe that this war - whether one supported the idea of it originally or not - has been ridiculously mishandled from the beginning? That there were never enough troops sent in? That allowing rampant looting was stupid? That failing to have plans for the occupation of a country of 25 million people constitutes criminal negligence? That firing the Iraqi army was just as idiotic as sending thousands of armed and angry men home unemployed sounds like it would be? That purging the national government and infrastructure of all Baath Party members was a prescription for chaos? That allowing civil war between Sunni and Shiite was disastrous? Yeah, well, Bill Kristol knows better. He understands that what's really important is that the massive levels of violence and pandemonium of these last FIVE years (count 'em) are now possibly slightly lower than the outrageous levels they've long been at, and could conceivably stay that way.

Can't you see the small picture here? Kristol can. I guess that's why he has a New York Times column and you don't. I guess that's why the president listens to his advice and not yours.

Who could blame him for being angry and vituperative toward dangerously silly Democrats who don't see the peril facing our civilization?

Such quibblers! So what if the war was sold on completely fabricated lies, was supposed to be a cakewalk but has now lasted longer than World War II, has divided the country and made the world hate us, has squandered our (borrowed) resources and broken our military, has brought instability to a volatile and crucial region and allowed a real national antagonist to double its power, has diverted our resources from the still-uncaptured guy who supposedly attacked us on 9/11, has become a factory for producing anti-American terrorists, has wiped out over a million innocent people and turned more than four million into refugees? So what if this war has now supposedly been 'saved' by precisely the same strategy that was vehemently rejected by the same people in the beginning?

Let's keep our priorities straight here, people. All that really matters is that we've seen a possible slight improvement in levels of violence in Iraq over the last couple of months (all of which may be due to a host of possible factors, including that there aren't many people left alive to fight there anymore). Get it?

Some people think that burning down your neighbor's house and having your own catch fire as a result is a highly stupid and really criminal thing to do. What neocons like Bill Kristol understand, though - and what naive liberals will never get - is that what really matters is whether you can slightly diminish the rate at which the flames consume those dwellings, five years after starting the fire. That's what's genuinely important - not the ashes where the houses once stood.

If you understood that simple principle, you wouldn't be complaining about this war so much. Rather, you'd be "celebrating" how well it's going.

If you understood this logic, you'd have supported the war from the very beginning, as William Kristol did. (Which of course has nothing to do with his apparent defensiveness about it today, we can all rest assured.)

In fact, if you were as smart as Bill Kristol and the other fine folks who brought you the invasion of Iraq, you'd quit with all your smug complaints, once and for all.

And you'd realize what a great freakin' war this really is!

Posted in full with author's permission.

Originally posted at'_War.html

Bill O’Reilly, Homeless-Veteran Denier

by Brent Budowsky

January 25, 2008

It was one of the most repellent and revealing spectacles to hear multimillionaire conservative talk show host Bill O’Reilly virtually deny the existence of large numbers of homeless vets.

In his scorched-earth attack on John Edwards for calling for help for the homeless veterans living on grates and in poverty, O’Reilly hit a new low that is almost impossible to fully comprehend.

Does O’Reilly not understand that the problem of homeless vets is very severe, and beginning to rise again with the return of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan with severe psychological trauma and physical wounds?

Or is O’Reilly merely using homeless vets as the petty cash of another cheap-shot attack by a right-wing mouthpiece who doesn’t care whether his words are true, to make his point between commercials, from sponsors who should call him on the carpet for this?

Perhaps Mr. O’Reilly can take a first-class flight to Washington, and before he checks in to his four-star hotel, prior to his opining during dinner at a five-star restaurant, he might ask his limousine driver to give him a guided tour of this city, where he would easily find the homeless vets this homeless-vet denier does not know exist.

Let’s forget O’Reilly, part of the freak show cavalcade that now passes for entertainment and news in some outposts on cable television.

The issue is homeless vets, the problem is a moral and patriotic crisis for our generation, and the solution is to give these homeless heroes the love, attention and support they have earned.

In my column this past Tuesday in The Hill, I proposed a very modest profits tax on oil companies that would increase the size of the “stimulus” by adding, among other things, new support for homeless veterans.

At various times, on this site and in columns, I have proposed a Soldier Bond, or Patriot Bond, that would be modeled after the U.S. Savings Bond and raise capital that would support homeless and disabled vets, and wounded troops.

We should do these things. It would be swell if Mr. O’Reilly would lend his loud but not always wise voice to these efforts, but whether he does or not, we as a country and people must do this.

Every one of us should be part of this effort. It is a moral duty of our generation, and we must do so with words that are true, actions that are real, and a patriotic commitment that is shared.

Posted in full with author's permission.

Originally posted at

January 25, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

McCain and "Wasteful Govt.Spending"

McCain, who parlayed his POW status into a life time on the taxpayers tits, has definitely shown his brain death. As a Viet Vet, who should know better, actively promotes this Criminal Enterprise's Criminal War "If it takes a hundred years"@" $2,083,333.33 per minute" [see unhappycamper below] and in the breath says, as president, he will stop all that"wasteful government spending."

Perhaps, for once, Karl Rove was right when he claimed McCain's time in the "Hanoi Hilton" damaged him to such an extent that he couldn't be trusted to be President!



Let's face facts, shall we? America Sucks

By MrScorpio

Yep, I said it, we suck.

It isn't hard to figure this out.

It's just that too many of us are too chicken to deal with this fact.

I know that a lot of people will say, "What about Democracy? What about Freedom? What about this? What about that?"

I say that these people obviously haven't been paying attention.

In terms of the strict constructionist, America was supposed to be the safe haven for the white, land owning male... Everybody else was supposed to be an afterthought. Slaves, indigenous people, women and child labor be damned. The history of this nation should never be viewed in terms of the PEOPLE, who overcame adversity and lead the nation to peace and prosperity... That's basically a lie.

The story is one of the privileged few, forcing the disenfranchised many to do their bidding. Twenty million citizens from the great state of Wisconsin didn't sign the NAFTA treaty along with the people of Chiapas and Manitoba... These were men and women, who were the source of real power or the supporters of it. They acted and the people who were most affected by this, or any other such treaty or policy decision had very little say, if any.

The history of America is basically an example of how empires are built, and as of late, how they collapse on themselves. The motto of America should have always been, "We Shit Where We Eat". Which, of course, is never a good thing to do.

You have two histories of America, internal and external. The internal history relates how the rich and powerful few have subjugated the not as rich and powerful many. How most people are dealing with modern day slavery, i.e. the prison industrial complex, economic disenfranchisement and the support for the war machine that affects so much of our external history.

America still is ruled by the rich and powerful few and the tools that use are many. Their strategy is very simple and efficient in its prosecution: Just get the masses of people to not care that they are continually working against their own best interests. Do everything to stop them from noticing that they are shitting where they are eating.

You hear these folks, and there are a lot of them all the time. They say things like, "I'm not a terrorist, so it's ok that my phones or bugged". Or, "Unions are what's bringing down the economy." Or one of my personal faves, "The government should be run like a business." People who utter this kind of crap have successfully turned off their brains and are willing to allow their masters to maintain dominion over them.

Even, when faced with their own economic and political disadvantages, they proudly attach yellow ribbons to their vehicles and pine on about how great "we" are. Talk about reverse projection.

They are the kind of people who shit where eat and are very proud of this fact.

And of course, those captains of industry and their whores in the political arena aren't any better. These are people so blinded by their quest for greed and power, their willing to commit social and economic suicide to get ahead. Just think about every business that fought tooth and nail to change trade policy in this country that outsources manufacturing and offshores money. Look in any paper and you'll see that the major car companies are tanking from lack of sales and are tanking badly.

Did it ever occur to these people that, by moving manufacturing and support to cheaper and less regulated climes, they were undercutting the buying power of a huge chunk of folks that they depended on to buy their cars? Henry Ford may have been an anti-semitic, racist, union-busting egoist along with being a successful industrialist... But one thing he understood, the wages that he paid his employees would eventually put more money in his own pockets. So, he sold a car that he knew that his workers could afford. With his eventual acquiescence to the demands of his organized labor force, the resulting growth of the middle class working population improved living conditions tremendously.

All in all, Henry Ford was dragged kicking and screaming into the realization that it was not a good thing to shit where he ate.

How the Big Three are not realizing this obvious situation as they circle the drain is way beyond my understanding.

About a hundred years ago, during the gilded age of the robber baron, society said enough: The barons where given a choice, either strive to make life better in general for the masses of people, or continue to shit where they ate and be forced to change their ways. Most chose the latter. Thus people whose with names like Rockefeller, Mellon and Carnegie built an infrastructure for culture and learning that we still are benefiting from to this very day.

They were forced to be the exception when the rule was no longer tenable.

The result helped transform America into a country where the original ideal citizen was expanded to include just about all of us into the franchise.

Somehow, we're backing to shitting where we eat and no one has any inclination to change.

On the External Front, America never fails to shit where it eats. I'll just give you a list of people that simplifies my point. A list of dictators supported by the U.S. Government and the corporate elite.

Country Dictator Dates Statistics
Chile Gen. Augusto Pinochet 1973-1990 3000 murdered. 400,000 tortured.
Argentina Gen. Jorge Rafael Videla 1976-1981 30,000 murdered. more
Indonesia Suharto 1965 coup against left-leaning Sukarno,
1975 support of East Timor genocide
500,000 dead after 1965 coup; 100,000-230,000 dead in East Timor; more, more, more.
Guatemala Armas, Fuentes, Montt 1954-
Iran The Shah of Iran
Ayatollah Khomeini was on the CIA payroll in the 1970s in Paris
Egypt Sadat, Mubarak 1978-today
Iraq Saddam Hussein
Nicaragua Anastasio Somoza & sons 1937-1979
Paraguay Stroessner. US supported throughout ( says US has supported Paraguayan development since 1942) ($142M between 1962 and 1975) 1954-1989
Bolivia Col. Hugo Banzer overthrew elected leftist president Juan Jose Torres 1970-
Angola Jonas Savimbi/UNITA (didn't actually win his revolution, but killed or displaced millions) 1975-1989
Zaire Mobutu
Saudi Arabia Saud family
Kuwait a monarchy
Panama Noriega was US-supported for years
Haiti Papa Doc, Baby Doc
Dominican Republic Trujillo, a military dictator for 32 years with US support for most of that time; Belaguer, Trujillo's protege, installed after US Marines intervened to put down an attempt to restore the democratically elected government of Juan Bosch 1930-61, 1965-78
El Salvador 1980s
Nepal monarchy since 1948
Cuba Fulgencio Batista pre-Castro
Brazil Gen. Branco overthrew elected president Goulart with US support 1965-67
Uzbekistan Kamirov "The Boiler", $150M from the Bush administration for an air base. 1965-67


With things like total war, globalized pollution, tobacco price and trade supports, the undermining to international law and a complete disregard of the basic humanity of other people on this planet, the U.S. is taking a big shit on the whole planet. Just to name a few, of course. Oh, and we brag, and force so much of our "culture" on so many people who can't even imagine to have our frame of reference at all. The concept and definition of "Anti-Americanism" and our response to it has always bothered me... I could spend all day talking about that, but I won't

I'm sure you get the point, so there's no need to extrapolate further. Is there any reason why we shouldn't realize why so many people hate our guts?

One last thing: They easy thing to do would be to blame Bush, or Reagan or the Republicans or whoever. The fact is that these things have happened and they were done in all of our names AND due to the fact that the masses did not stop whatever crimes from occuring, we all share either implicit or explicit blame. When a dropped bomb kills an innocent family, in one way or another, we all share in that event, without regard to our approval or not. We allow the bombs to be built, our taxes fund the costs and those who represent us authorize the deed.

We allow failure to stop it from occurring to be an option.

It's that ugly fact alone, which stipulates why this country sucks.

Posted in full with author's permission.

Originally posted at

Come On, MSM - Just DO IT!!!

By NanceGreggs

To say I have a problem with the mainstream TV media’s coverage of the presidential primaries would be a vast understatement. However, since they’re intent on turning politics into a combination horserace/infotainment show, they can at least go whole-hog with the concept – yes, pun very much intended.

Primary season could begin with the candidates from both parties battling it out on Jeopardy! – at least we’d get a glimpse of who knows what, especially with tailored-to-the-task categories like The Economy, The National Debt, Job Outsourcing, and National Security.

It’s bound to keep the voters enthralled. Who doesn’t want to hear McCain choose “Iraq” and have to answer with, “What is a money-sucking quagmire?” if he wants to stay in the game, or watch the hilarity as Huckabee says, “I’ll take Separation of Church & State for a thousand, Alex.”

The popular American Idol format would work well as-is, except the competition would focus on speechmaking rather than singing. Bonus: no need to replace the judges. I’ve no doubt that Simon, Paula and Randy know as much about politics as, say, Wolf, Candy and Russert. While it may seem laughable that candidates be judged on their speechifying’, let’s remember that one G.W. Bush never would have made it past the audition stage. You can almost hear Cowell’s disgust as he states, in his clipped accent, ”That was truly dreadful. Let’s be honest here, George, it is blatantly obvious that you cannot speak English.”

TVs across American would be tuned-in for an entire season of Survivor – Middle-Class America, where contestant candidates are plunked down into a small American town and, stripped of any access to their personal wealth, have to survive by finding a job and an affordable place to live, while facing choices between food and heating oil, or enough gas to get to work and an emergency trip to the dentist. Job outsourced after one week? Bankrupted by a medical emergency? Welcome to Middle-Class America – too bad you didn’t survive!

Of course, there’s always the probability that the GOP candidates could “up” their ratings by appearing on more than one show in a primary season. No doubt Giuliani would wow ‘em on Cheaters, followed by an episode of Cops where he stands in the driveway, shirtless and clutching a can of beer, screaming as the boys-in-blue ‘cuff his best buddy Kerik, and cart him off to the hoosegow.

Cameo appearances on popular drama shows could also boost ratings and score political points, e.g. Fred Thompson portraying a catatonic patient on ER, or Alan Keyes playing a presidential candidate who went missing months ago without anyone noticing on Without a Trace.

And who wouldn’t watch a special reprise episode of Seinfeld featuring Mitt Romney as Elaine's newest love interest who’s got Mr. Peterman selling his combination puffy shirt/magic underwear?

The side-slapping, roll-on-the-floor-laughing possibilities are truly endless, and would undoubtedly have the viewing/voting public not only interested, but mesmerized - and therein lies the problem.

So don't forget to tune-in. You don't want to miss a minute of the hilarious hijinks as the country chooses its next president - one who could make-or-break democracy as we once knew it. And if the entire country goes down in flames, there's always the hope that next season will offer better viewing fare.

Posted in full with author's permission.

Originally posted at

Thursday, January 24, 2008

$2,083,333.33 a minute

The occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are costing us roughly $12,000,000,000 a week, which works out to $2,083,333.33 a minute. Every fucking minute of every fucking day. (1,440 minutes per day, 5,760 minutes per week)

I don't know about you, but I sure could find something useful to do with $2,083,333.33 a minute. Feed the hungry. TAKE CARE OF OUR VETERANS. Schools. Bridges. Health insurance. TAKE CARE OF OUR VETERANS. Social programs. SCHIP.

Instead, we continue to pour money down the rabbit hole. BAE, Lockeed Martin, SIAC, GE, Raytheon, Grumman Northup, Parsons, Halliburton, Blackwater etc. etc.

What is going on is shameful. And wrong.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"Free Lunch"

"Free Lunch" by David Cay Johnston is subtitled "How the wealthiest Americans enrich themselves at government expense and stick you with the tab." In it he cites people like Warren Buffet, Donald Trump, "Dubya" himself etc. ad nauseam. In his own words; "These people use the government as a vehicle to take from the many and give to the few."

Sound familiar? - As in "War is a Racket - A Few Profit the Many Pay" by Smedley D.Butler.

Face it folks, as Bob Dylan wrote in his song, many years ago - "When You Gonna Wake[the Fuck]Up?" "You got gangsters in power and law breakers making the rules"

Too bad we can't program that song into every American's radio alarm!!!


Monday, January 21, 2008

King: War Cannot Achieve Even a Negative Good

Monday, January 21, 2008

King: War Cannot Achieve Even a Negative Good

By Juan Cole

Martin Luther King will be honored today throughout America as a champion of racial justice and racial harmony. That is a pivotal legacy for the United States of America, which for 87 long years was built on the lawful enslavement of one race by another, and for another century practiced the lawful Apartheid of Jim Crow.

But he was not the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Prize only because of his work on civil rights and integration. He was also a profound thinker in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi on peace. Not peace in the abstract, but peace as a practical political tool. Not only peace as a social movement but peace as a method in international relations.

King critiqued the typical use of "peace" by politicians as a distant ideal toward which they are working, even while they bomb and massacre and slaughter. In his Christmas Sermon, December 24, 1967, King made this point:

' And the leaders of the world today talk eloquently about peace. Every time we drop our bombs in North Vietnam, President Johnson talks eloquently about peace.

What is the problem?

They are talking about peace as a distant goal, as an end we seek, but one day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal.

We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.

All of this is saying that, in the final analysis, means and ends must cohere because the end is preexistent in the means, and ultimately destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends.'

The reply to such an assertion from politicians, generals and others is that peace as method (rather than as distant ideal) is impractical. That the enemy is deadly and determined and will slaughter us if we attempt to deal with him through the method of peace.

But King came to this conclusion at the height of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union had the US targeted with thousands of nuclear warheads. He came to this conclusion when the Vietnam War was raging. He was not naive. He was not a babe in the woods. He was not an impractical dreamer. He was a seer, and he saw the end of war.

He saw the end of war not because war could never achieve any good. He recognized that it had in recent history accomplished what he called a "negative good," of, say, keeping us from having to live under the jackboot of a tyrant. But the sheer destructiveness of contemporary warfare began to raise doubts in his mind, even as a young man in the late 1950s, as to whether this instrumental use of war to achieve a negative good was any longer possible.

Let us just review American wars since King began to have those doubts. There was Vietnam, where the US lost 58,000 dead and tens of thousands more wounded, where it spent billions and as a result suffered from an inflationary spiral, and where it lost. It did not lose, as the Right fondly imagines, because of a stab in the back by weak-kneed civilian politicians.

The US lost in Vietnam because it fought on the wrong side of history, because it took up a French colonial project of suppressing Vietnamese Left Nationalism. The US killed perhaps as many as 2 million Vietnamese peasants, which surely counts as a genocide, all to no avail, because the war was poorly chosen. Ironically, Dwight Eisenhower had told the French to give up on a similar fruitless war in Algeria, because he could see that it could not be won and risked pushing the Algerians into the arms of the communists. Three or four years later Kennedy began getting us more deeply involved in precisely the same sort of war, succeeding the French. My guess is that it was because the North Vietnamese had already embraced communism; if they had been bourgeois nationalists like the Algerians, even Washington would have had more sense than to get involved. But what that generation of Cold Warriors could not see was that "communism" could often just be a banner for nationalism.

Then there were Reagan's covert wars in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Afghanistan. Reagan won temporarily in Nicaragua, at the price of running nun-killing death squads. But if you check, you'll see that Daniel Ortega is president of Nicaragua, and left-leaning regimes of the sort Reagan attempted to destabilize are in power in Venezuela, Bolivia and Brazil. Reagan's covert wars in Latin America caused a lot of trouble, harmed a lot of people, and had no long term success. In part that is because politics wells up from social and economic conditions, and is not just the creation of some individual an imperial power installs in power.

As for Reagan's Jihad in Afghanistan, it clearly was a world-historical blunder. Had the communists stayed in power in Afghanistan, their regime would probably have just evolved after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 into a Kazakhstan-style state. Not a democracy, but stable enough and with schooling for all and an investment in development.

Instead, Reagan and his Saudi and Pakistani allies funneled the lion's share of their covert war aid to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the most radical of the Mujahidin leaders. They forced the Soviet Union out, and destroyed the Afghanistan communists, but the ultimate result was a) the rise of al-Qaeda and b) the rise of the Taliban.

Reagan won the Afghanistan war, but it was a Pyrrhic victory that came around to bite the US on the posterior on September 11.

So you have to ask whether any of these wars -- Vietnam, Nicaragua, or Afghanistan-- should have been fought. Either we lost, or the victory was temporary, or we contributed to a blowback that hit our society on 9/11.

And of course, then there is the Iraq War.

But first, let's consider what King said about the negative good a war might have accomplished in the past. It is from "Pilgrimage to Nonviolence" in Strength to Love, 1958:

' More recently I have come to see the need for the method of nonviolence in international relations.

Although I was not yet convinced of its efficacy in conflicts between nations, I felt that while war could never be a positive good, it could serve as a negative good by preventing the spread and growth of an evil force. War, horrible as it is, might be preferable to surrender to a totalitarian system.

But now I believe that the potential destructiveness of modern weapons totally rules out the possibility of war ever again achieving a negative good.

If we assume that mankind has a right to survive then we must find an alternative to war and destruction. '

And given the dismal record of the failure of US wars since King wrote that in 1958, he may well have been prescient.

The Iraq War failed for many reasons, but one important cause was that contemporary warfare is too destructive to achieve political and nation-building goals. The destructiveness of the US war helped to provoke the various Iraqi insurgencies. The killing of 17 civilians at a protest in Falluja in April of 2003 was the beginning of the end of Falluja. In November and December of 2004, the US military damaged 2/3s of the city's buildings and emptied it of its population, except for the unknown number it killed (hundreds? thousands?)

And for all the subsequent frantic US military actions, the US has not put humpty dumpty back together again, and almost certainly cannot.

The narrative of the warmongers is that war has become ever more precise, ever more useful in achieving specific diplomatic and political goals.

Need to remove a dictator? Well here is some Shock and Awe.

Need to restore human rights? Here, destroy this city to save it.

Fighting terrorism? You just need a hundred thousand more troops with more M16s!

But actually the nonviolent means of dealing with the Saddam Hussein regime turn out to have been completely effective. The United Nations inspections had actually worked, something that no one in the United States or Britain seems to want to acknowledge, even with all we now know. The inspections really did force Saddam to dismantle his WMD programs and destroy his stockpiles. The economic sanctions were useless for regime change. But as a means of destroying Saddam's power to menace his neighbors, they were completely effective. Too effective, to the extent that they ended up harming children and civilians.

The 2003 Iraq War was not necessary if its goal was to remove the Saddam regime as a threat to US or regional security. Iraq had been disarmed and contained.

And, the 2003 Iraq War was not effective if the goal had been to restore civil society and bring democracy. Iraq lacked the essential social and political prerequisites for such a transition, and the US military is a military, not a police force.

Let us consider whether King wasn't right in 1958, and whether contemporary warfare isn't too destructive, too blunt an instrument to achieve even negative good any longer.

Far more al-Qaeda operatives have been busted through good police work than were ever captured on a battlefield. And, the brutality of the Iraq war has created hundreds of little Bin Ladens, as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak predicted it would.

Three main sorts of security challenges face the United States.

There is the rivalry with other nuclear powers, where war cannot be used as a tool of diplomacy because it would be far too destructive.

There is conflict between the US and small weak third world annoyances such as Iran. What the Iraq War should have taught us is that elective war is a horrible policy tool for dealing with such conflicts.

And there is the problem of terrorism, which cannot be fought with big conventional militaries. The attempt to do so just provokes insurgencies that grow potentially even more formidable.

Bush and Cheney keep imagining that they are in 1928 or 1942 or 1947. Their mindset is that of the first half of the twentieth century. They are men of the past.

Martin Luther King was a man of the future. He saw clearly that humankind has a choice. It is the choice between continuing to wage war, and surviving as a species. King was also a man in a hurry. He did not have much time. Neither do we.

It is time to wrap up the Iraq War and to, as carefully and deliberately as possible, end the US military presence in Iraq. It is not a Japan or a Germany after WW II, both of which feared the Soviet Union and so could put up with foreign bases as protection. Iraqis fear no one, such that they would accept permanent bases. The Middle East is a postcolonial region inhospitable to the humiliations of foreign domination, which its peoples struggled hard and long to end.

And it is time to take the elective war option off the table, with regard to Iran, and to the Sudan, and to Somalia, and all the others on the Neoconservative hit list.

War does not work. It is too destructive. It creates too much blowback, as with Afghanistan and al-Qaeda. It leaves too much of the city destroyed, that it meant to save, as with Falluja. It cannot midwife rights or democracy, it is too gross, too indiscriminate, too brutal for that purpose. It produces Abu Ghraib and Falluja, not Monticello.

The US needs a defensive military, insofar as it can contribute to protecting us from asymmetrical or conventional challenges. But launching a war against a country that did not attack us, that is immoral and stupid. Let's listen to Dr. King and never do that again.

Posted in full with author's permission.

Originally posted at


"Operation Iraqi Freedom" is all about liberating Iraqi oil from the Iraqis. Any other rationalization is pure BULLSHIT. With that in mind,and mindful of the imminent danger of Global Warming (the primary cause being the burning of oil and related materials) -doesn't the Cheney/Bush regime then become Neo-Nero[s]???



Sunday, January 20, 2008

Letter to Vets for Freedom

“War is a racket, it always has been... a few profit, and the many pay.”

It is every active duty service member and veteran's duty to resist this and any illegal and unconstitutional war. The only true patriots during this dark time in our history are either dead or working to bring the troops home. Just as there is nothing honorable or patriotic about war, there is nothing honorable or patriotic about your organization; you are pro-war, pro-imperialism, pro-lies, and pro-death, you are anti-peace, anti-freedom, anti-military, anti-constitution, and ultimately you are anti-American. Your interests are not those of America and her citizens, the overwhelming majority of whom have learned to hate this war and their corrupt administration, your interests are those of corporate greed, war profiteering, aggression, imperialism, and fascism.

How come nearly every single one of you people that I've seen or read about are Lieutenants and Sergeants? When I look at your little war pictures and read your poorly written bio's my vision is overflowed with images of lazy, incompetent, cowardly Officers with a handful of brain-dead NCO's to do their dirty work, as usual. I wonder where you boys all served? The Green Zone, BIAP, on some spit and polish General's staff perhaps? Or hell, maybe you actually were in combat, maybe you had the pleasure of ordering teenage boys to their deaths for a pack of lies, maybe you gave the orders to kill civilians and imprison the innocent, maybe you got to stand over your soldiers in your clean uniforms and new boots while they toiled to fix all the shit you broke on your last joy-ride mission, maybe you got to get drunk with all your old West Point buddies, laughing and joking all night because you knew nobody could punish you for it, maybe you even payed a couple dollars that night to get your dick wet in your favorite interpreter girl. And then, at the end of your long and glorious deployments, you all got Bronze Stars just for showing up.

Regardless of where you were and what you did over there, you all missed something. You somehow skipped the part where it all came crashing down on you like a ton of bricks and you finally realized, "Holy shit, this war is WRONG!" I don't know how you could possibly have missed that one but you managed to somehow, perhaps you all aught to go back and give it another try. You obviously haven't had your fill of dead children and burning shit, of ringing ears and aching bones, of blood and of tears, of grinding innocent people under you boot heels.

This war will end someday and when that happens it will not be because of your efforts but of mine. I suggest you read the constitution and the bill of rights, I suggest you crack a history book, I suggest you sit down and think long and hard about this war and your roll in it. Assuming that your organization is not completely forgotten and overlooked in years to come, history will prove that you were wrong, that you spread a message of death and fear, and that your logic was horribly flawed.


Clifton Hicks
Private, US Army (Ret.)
C Troop, 1-1 Cavalry
Baghdad, Iraq OIF-1

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The fog of war crimes: Who's to blame when 'just following orders' means murder?

by Frida Berrigan | January 8, 2008 - 8:57am

A Marine squad was on a dusty road in Iraq, far from home. Suddenly, a deadly roadside bomb explodes the early morning calm and kills a lance corporal and wounds two other Marines. The mission: tend to the wounded and find those who were responsible ... Or make someone pay? Three sleeping families awaken to the sound of grenades and guns.

By the end of the "operation," 24 people were dead, including three women and six children. Bullets, fired at close range, tore through bodies and lodged deep in walls. A one-legged elderly man was shot nine times in the chest and abdomen. A man who watched the violence from his roof across the road told The Washington Post that he heard his neighbor speak to the Marines in English, begging for the lives of his wife and children, saying, "I am friend. I am good." All the family was killed except one: 13-year-old Safa. Covered in her mother's blood, she reportedly fainted and appeared dead.

In a road nearby lay the bodies of five men-four college students and their driver.

On Nov. 20, 2005, a Marine spokesman reported: "A U.S. Marine and 15 civilians were killed yesterday from the blast of a roadside bomb in Haditha. Immediately following the bombing, gunmen attacked the convoy with small-arms fire. Iraqi army soldiers and Marines returned fire, killing eight insurgents and wounding another."

The only truth in that statement was that there was a roadside bomb and that a Marine-Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas, known as T.J. to the other men in his squad-was killed instantly. The rest was a lie. It took months for the truth to come out, and the search for justice is taking even longer. The 24 Iraqi bodies have since been buried in a cemetery in Haditha, a farming town beside the Euphrates River. But no one-from the commander on down-has been sentenced to prison, and the effort to hold Marines responsible for this crime has focused on a few men who are low on the chain of command.

Geoffrey Corn, a retired lieutenant colonel and a professor at Southern Texas College of Law, says the laws of war work because "for every case of atrocities that we read about, there are thousands of Marines and soldiers who act with restraint."

The Laws of Armed Conflict and the Geneva Conventions were designed as the basis for military conduct in times of war. Three central principles govern armed conflict: military necessity, distinction (soldiers must engage only valid military targets) and proportionality (the loss of civilian lives and property damage must not outweigh the military advantage sought). Among other things, the Geneva Conventions identify grave breaches of international law as the "willful killing; torture or inhuman treatment; willful causing of great suffering; and extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully or wantonly." An examination of the military's actions in the aftermath of Haditha reveals a clear unwillingness to apply these principles.

Whose neck is on the line?

"You stop war crimes by coming down on the ranking officer," says Ian Cuth-bertson, a military historian and senior fellow at the World Policy Institute.

"All armies in all wars at all times have committed war crimes," he continues. "The question is: Does command authority condone or stop them? You can't just give an 18-year-old an automatic weapon and tell him, 'Don't shoot prisoners in the head.' You need an officer to rein him in. The officer needs to feel as though his own neck is on the line."

In the case of Haditha, Marines have not put officers' necks on the line. Maj. Gen. Richard Huck, who was in charge of Marines in Haditha in 2005, along with his chief of staff Col. Richard Sokoloski and Col. Stephen Davis, who headed the regimental combat team, all received letters of censure from the secretary of the U.S. Navy. The censure did not strip the men of their rank or salary, but they will be barred from future promotions, which could force them out of the Marines. According to Gary Solis, a military law expert and former Marine, censure is the Marine Corps' most serious administrative sanction.

But, as Cuthbertson points out, the generals are not being censured for letting Haditha happen. They are being punished for not investigating. This is a big difference.

Cuthbertson cites the Allied response to the Malmedy massacre in Belgium as one example of taking war crimes seriously up the chain of command. In 1944, German soldiers killed more than 70 unarmed U.S. prisoners of war. In war crimes trials after Germany was defeated, justice was swift and extended far beyond those who actually pulled triggers. "The commander of the regiment wasn't there. He was found guilty and sentenced to death," says Cuthbertson. "The general of the Army wasn't there. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison."

Unraveling the massacre

In January 2006-a month after the Haditha massacre-an Iraqi journalism student gave Time magazine a video of the bloody aftermath. Taher Thabet shot footage in the homes and at the morgue, recording the carnage in shaky frames. Time passed the footage on to the chief military spokesman in Baghdad, forcing the Marines to launch an investigation. Until the evidence was in their hands (and widely available on the Internet), they appeared ready to accept as truth the flimsy, contradictory account of events cobbled together by the squad leader and his men.

Two months later, the investigation determined that Marines-not insurgents-killed the civilians, and Naval Criminal Investigative Services further concluded that the civilians were deliberately targeted. CNN reported on the investigations on March 16, and Time published a long article on March 27. President Bush, however, did not address the Haditha issue until June 1, when he called the allegations "very troubling for me and equally troubling for our military."

But it took until December 2006 for eight Marines to be charged: four enlisted men with unpremeditated murder, and four officers with dereliction for covering up or failing to report the killings. These indictments helped the Marines create the impression that those responsible for Haditha were rigorously prosecuted. Yet the four charged with murder were not the only four who pulled triggers that day. And the four officers charged in the cover up were not the only four who lied.

In handing down the eight indictments, the Marines also granted immunity to at least seven others who either participated in the killings or tried to hide what the squad had done. The military ultimately offered immunity deals to two of those charged with murder in exchange for their damning testimony. Charges against two of the officers were also dismissed after their "Article 32 hearings," a sort of a half trial, half grand-jury proceeding unique to military criminal proceedings.

At this point, criminal responsibility for 24 murders in at least four separate locations is being placed on two Marines: Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich and Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum. Of their squad of 13, they are the only two who face general court martial for the killings.

Tatum, from Edmund, Okla., is charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. His trial date has not been set, but if found guilty of all three, Tatum could face a maximum 19 years in confinement, a dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of pay. During his July 24, 2007 military investigation hearing, the 25-year-old Marine choked back tears, saying, "I am not comfortable with the fact that I might have shot a child. I don't know if my rounds impacted anyone. ... That is a burden I will have to bear."

For his part, Wuterich, the Marine squad leader, was originally indicted with more than a dozen counts of unpremeditated murder, as well as soliciting another to commit an offense and making false official statements, which carry a maximum penalty of imprisonment for life. After his Article 32 hearing in August 2007, Investigating Officer Lt. Paul Ware recommended dismissing 10 murder charges and reducing seven others to negligent homicide. There has not been a determination on that recommendation, and a court martial date has not yet been set. Wuterich told CBS's "60 Minutes": "Everyone visualizes me as a monster-a baby killer, cold-blooded, that sort of thing." On the TV screen, he was handsome, polished and impossibly young looking.

Of the other four charged with the lesser offense of failing to report the incident, or obstructing the investigation-only two remain under indictment. One of them, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, is the most senior U.S. servicemen to face a court martial for action in combat since Vietnam. He is not being charged for allowing the crimes to happen, but for violating a lawful order and willful dereliction of duty for failing to report and investigate the deaths.

In cold blood?

The cases will hinge not on what happened or why, but how: Was it a rage-induced rampage or a by-the-book operation? The answer to that question depends on which side of the gun you're on.

Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), a former Marine who chairs the Subcommittee on Defense in the House Appropriations Committee, told reporters in May 2006 that the investigations would reveal that "our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

But soldiers are not supposed to kill in cold blood. "War is not a license," wrote Telford Taylor, a lead-prosecutor at Nuremberg, in Vietnam, an American Tragedy. "It does not countenance the infliction of suffering for its own sake or for revenge."

Thabet, the Iraqi journalism student who filmed the aftermath at Haditha, saw rage, telling Time: "They not only killed people, they smashed furniture, tore down wall hangings and when they took prisoners, they treated them very roughly. This was not a precise military operation."

Not so, says Wuterich. "We reacted to how we were supposed to react to our training and I did that to the best of my ability," he told "60 Minutes." "The rest of the Marines that were there, they did their job properly as well. We cleared these houses the way they were supposed to be cleared." Lt. William Kallop ordered Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich to "clear" one of the homes. He was granted immunity from future prosecution in exchange for his testimony.

Another Marine, Lance Cpl. Humberto Manuel Mendoza, who was not indicted, told investigators that he shot at least two people: "I was following my training that all individuals in a hostile house are to be shot." Sgt. Sanick Dela Cruz, whose murder charges were dropped in exchange for his testimony against Wuterich, testified that after riddling dead bodies with automatic fire, he urinated on the head of one corpse. "I know it was a bad thing what I done, but I done it because I was angry T.J. was dead."

'I was just following orders'

Justifying crimes with assertions that "we reacted to how we were supposed to react to our training" is not new. It echoes Befehl ist Befehl-I was just following orders-words Nazi leaders accused of war crimes used to justify their actions. The Nuremberg Tribunals following World War II found many of them guilty, sentencing them to death or life in prison.

The tribunals placed the conscience of the individual above the will of military superiors. "In the military, there is a culture of compliance, fear, blind obedience, silence," says Camilo Mejia, 32, who joined the Army when he was 19 and went to prison rather than return to Iraq. Mejia served in the Florida National Guard and went to Iraq as staff sergeant in 2003. "Behavior is suggested and implied. The expectation is that if everyone else is doing it, you should do it."

At a detention facility in Al Assad, Mejia's unit was responsible for keeping prisoners awake for long periods of time in preparation for interrogation. In an interview, he described their job as "sleep deprivation with loud sounds, mock executions, treating them as sub-humans." His unit performed this long enough to "see that this was a systematic problem from the very top," says Mejia. "They had set the tone and the work. We just followed suit. No one sat us down and said, 'We want you to commit war crimes.' But they communicated what we were supposed to do, and that was war crimes."

In June 2004, Mejia told CBS's "60 Minutes II" about the 12 or 13 Iraqis he and his men killed in Ramadi, mostly civilians caught in the crossfire. "Whether you want to admit it or not to yourself, this is a human being," Mejia. "And I saw this man go down and I saw him being dragged through a pool of his own blood and that shocked me."

In war, Mejia says, "committing war crimes is what you are expected to do."


The month after the Haditha massacre became news, the Marines found themselves shamed by another atrocity. On April 26, 2006, Marines based in Hamdaniya dragged Hashim Ibrahim Awad, a 52-year-old man and father of 11 children, from his home in the middle of the night, bound his hands and feet and shot him to death. The Marines' plan was to snatch a suspected insurgent said to be behind a rash of roadside bombings and who had been repeatedly captured but released. When the Marines could not find him, they kidnapped and killed the man's neighbor instead. Later, they stole an AK-47 and staged the scene so that it appeared that Awad was caught while deploying a roadside bomb.

Seven Marines and a Navy corpsman-who became known as the Camp Pendleton Eight-were charged in the case. During the Article 32 hearings, defense attorneys said the Marines' superiors told them they were too soft. They had witnessed their superiors beating Iraqi suspects and felt pressured to be more aggressive in an environment where roadside bombs and attacks were constant and assailants melted in and out of the civilian population. Lance Cpl. Robert Pennington testified that the men were "sick of" their rules of engagement and decided "to write our own rules to keep ourselves alive."

Trent Thomas, a corporal from East St. Louis charged in the case, appeared on "Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees." When asked if he was ordered to kill Awad: "I really can't say," Thomas responded, but later allowed, "I think your leadership plays a huge factor in what you do. That's all I can say."

Thomas was demoted to private and received a bad conduct discharge.

Only two of the Camp Pendleton Eight remain in prison. Pennington is expected to serve eight years on a 14-year sentence after a plea agreement, and Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins was sentenced to 15 years. But Gen. James Mattis-the same convening authority who made determinations in the Haditha killings-is reportedly considering reducing both sentences.

Abu Ghraib

The world learned about Abu Ghraib from the photos. Piles of naked bodies. A man leashed like a dog. A hooded figure standing on a box with wires hanging from him. A menacing dog inches from a cringing man's face.

Assertions that the torture was the result of sadistic, bored or under-supervised soldiers have been widely discredited. "There is no way that a handful of low-ranking soldiers could have invented techniques all by themselves that, curiously enough, were used at Guantanamo and at other places in Iraq and Afghanistan," says Stjepan Mestrovic, a sociologist at Texas A&M University.

After months of cover-up, the blame was laid at the feet of several low-ranked soldiers, pictured grinning and giving the thumbs-up. Pvt. Lynndie England and Spc. Charles Graner were tried, convicted and sentenced to three and 10 years, respectively. Seven others have been sentenced for abuse at Abu Ghraib.

Only 54 military personnel-a fraction of the more than 600 U.S. personnel implicated in detainee abuse cases throughout Iraq and elsewhere in the war on terror-have been convicted by court martial. And only 40 have been sentenced to prison time, many for less than a year, according to a 2006 analysis by the Detainee Abuse and Accountability Project. No U.S. military officer has been held accountable for criminal acts committed by subordinates under the doctrine of command responsibility.

International law limps into the breach

Military prosecutors have won convictions against soldiers and Marines in more than 200 cases of violent crimes, including murder, rape and assault against Iraqi civilians, according to a July 27, 2007 New York Times analysis. In some cases, these convictions may come with severe sentences. Federal prosecutors are said to be seeking the death penalty for former Pvt. Stephen Green, who is accused of raping and murdering a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, as well as slaying her parents and younger sister. He will be tried as a civilian because he was discharged before the crimes came to light. This horrific crime is the subject of Brian de Palma's new movie Redacted.

But seeking the death penalty for Green, sentencing Hutchins to 15 years or court-martialing Wuterich for multiple unpremeditated murders is not the same as seeking justice for war crimes. These three should be held responsible, but the scales of justice are tipped toward scapegoating the convenient foils. They have committed awful and criminal acts, but their guilt cannot be easily separated from those who are the architects of the war.

In November 2006, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a nonprofit legal and educational organization, filed a criminal complaint, asking a German federal prosecutor to open "a criminal prosecution that will look into the responsibility of high-ranking U.S. officials for authorizing war crimes in the context of the so-called war on terror," according to a CCR statement. On behalf of 12 Iraqi citizens whom the U.S. military detained and tortured at Abu Ghraib, the complaint names former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other high-ranking U.S. officials. The German court dismissed the case in April 2007, ruling that a U.S. court should hear the charges. But CCR-along with other groups-have filed similar charges in Sweden, Argentina and France.

"This is a case of universal jurisdiction," says Belinda Cooper, editor of War Crimes: The Legacy of Nuremberg and a professor of human rights and international law at New York University's Center for Global Affairs, "It's brought under the theory that any country can take jurisdiction of particularly heinous crimes, especially if the country that would normally prosecute them is unlikely to do so." She continues: "But can you imagine Bush being tried in the U.S. or Putin in Russia for, say, torture of detainees during their administrations? The new international criminal court is not going to touch a Putin or a Bush."

While these projects inch forward, soldiers are taking matters into their own hands. In March 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will convene new Winter Soldier hearings, modeled on the February 1971 meetings in a Detroit Howard Johnson's. In the shadow of the My Lai massacre revelations, the hearings provided a platform to more than 125 Vietnam veterans to describe the atrocities they participated in and witnessed. This effort could once again give the United States a chance to listen to soldiers and Marines as they break the silence, hold themselves and each other accountable and demand the same from the architects of the war.

Posted in full with author's permission.

Originally posted at

Sunday, January 13, 2008

You've Been Served

By NanceGreggs

An Open Letter to: All Politicians, All Corporations, All Media

Our government has become non-responsive to the needs and wants of American citizens, and has followed its own agenda to benefit wealthy individuals and even wealthier corporations. We see what is wrong, and we mean to have it made right.

The corporations that are handing out pink slips to middle-class workers are the same corporations that are handing out multi-million dollar bonuses to their CEOs. We see what is wrong, and we mean to have it made right.

The news media no longer even pretends to serve the public interest, but serves only its corporate masters in delivering ‘the news’ as it wants it to be perceived, and not as it actually is. We see what is wrong, and we mean to have it made right.

Under BushCo, our country has gone from surplus to debt, from world-revered to world-reviled, from a nation that represents freedom to a nation that represents war, torture, and death. We see what is wrong, and we mean to have it made right.

Our beloved Constitution has been ignored in order to suit an administration determined to put its own insane goals above the sanctity of our democracy. We see what is wrong, and we mean to have it made right.

Our government has plunged the country into unfathomable debt in order to pursue an illegal and immoral war, whose only ‘success’ has been filling the coffers of the war-profiteers, their family members, their cronies and themselves. We see what is wrong, and we mean to have it made right.

While the middle-class lose their jobs, their homes, their savings and their health coverage, our government has not ended but encouraged the conditions that have led to this disaster. We see what is wrong, and we mean to have it made right.

As the accountability of our elected government officials has become a thing of the past, so their blatant corruption has become accepted as the current status quo. We see what is wrong, and we mean to have it made right.

Billions of taxpayers’ dollars have ‘gone missing’ under the current administration, while billions more have been funneled into the pockets of Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Oil and Big Business via no-bid contracts, ‘sweetheart deals’, tax-cuts, and corporate welfare. We see what is wrong, and we mean to have it made right.

Investigative journalists of integrity, willing to tell the truth at any cost, have been replaced by talking hair-dos, infotainment specialists, and out-and-out lying propagandists. We see what is wrong, and we mean to have it made right.

As our troops return home as severely wounded veterans without access to financial, psychiatric or medical assistance, our government ignores their plight, and that of their families. We see what is wrong, and we mean to have it made right.

While the rest of the global community tackles the problems of pollution and climate-change, our nation sticks its head in the sand and dismisses the impact of the consequences. We see what is wrong, and we mean to have it made right.

As the children of the world surpass our own children in education, skills, and training, our government persists in funding bridges-to-nowhere while ignoring the obvious outcome of under-funding the needs of the next generation of Americans. We see what is wrong, and we mean to have it made right.

Our elected representatives no longer represent the will of their constituents, nor do they carry out the Constitutional duties they swore to execute, but instead put their personal ‘re-electability’ above all other concerns. We see what is wrong, and we mean to have it made right.

As Americans, we have watched our jobs sent to cheaper labor markets in order to increase the ‘bottom line’, we have watched our tax dollars squandered on nonsense, we have watched our neighbors lose their lives in the aftermath of natural disaster because they were too unimportant (poor) to deserve assistance, we have watched a once-great democracy diminished due to the whims of a petulant sociopath too self-absorbed to care about the country he was allegedly elected to govern.

We have watched as our voting process has been reduced to an electronically-hackable joke, while our once-respected media spews talking points instead of focusing on facts that should be publicly exposed and discussed, while our rights and freedoms become not what we are guaranteed under our Constitution but what a group of arrogant, always-proven-wrong PNACers consider to be their idea of how the country should be governed – for the financial benefit of the few and to the detriment of the many.

We see what is wrong, and we mean to have it made right.

The revolution will not be televised. It will not be violent, it will not be sudden. It will move slowly, but inevitably towards what is right, what is just, what is fair. It will not be partisan, but will include Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Greens – and every other political persuasion one can think of. It will include all pissed-off Americans - and in case you haven't noticed, that's one big fuckin' group, and it's getting bigger by the day.

But it will happen – because we’re mad as hell, and we won’t take it any more. Because We the People have had enough. Because there are more Average Joes than there are politicians, media tycoons, lobbyists, bankers, and corporate CEOs combined.

Because we see what is wrong, and we mean to have it made right.

Consider yourselves on notice. The revolution will happen; that’s a given. And if you'd taken your heads out of your asses once in a while, you would have noticed the fact that it’s already begun, it is unstoppable, and it will place this nation back into the hands of its rightful owners - the citizens of these United States of America.

Posted in full with author's permission.

Originally posted at

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Twelve More Months of Bush's Ecclesiastic Mideast Mission

by Ron Fullwood

Did I see you in the red death jazz of war
losing moths among lost faces,
speaking to the stubs who asked you
to speak of songs and God and dancing,
of bananas, northern lights or Jesus,
any hummingbird of thought whatever
flying away from the red death jazz of war? --

Walking where Jesus walked, Bush visited Christ's second home Friday, not far from where the religious figure was said to have fed 'multitudes' with a few fish and a loaf of bread. Bush is traveling in the Mideast, seeking to craft a miracle of his own out of empty, confrontational rhetoric and produce "Mideast peace" for a region which is awash in violence; much of it perpetrated by a growing number of martyrs and militants in resistance to his own bloody, military expansion into Iraq and Afghanistan. "I'm on a timetable," Bush told reporters. "I've got 12 months."

"I believe it's possible - not only possible, I believe it's going to happen - that there be a signed peace treaty by the time I leave office," Bush said, despite his failure during the visit to secure any agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians on the issues and concerns raised in November, in Annapolis.

In an interview in Jerusalem with NBC News, Bush was asked if he endorsed the view of republican presidential candidate John McCain that the U.S. would be in Iraq for 100 yrs.. Bush offered that the U.S. could be in Iraq for a decade. "It could easily be that, absolutely," he said.

If you're left to wonder just what the U.S. military would be doing in Iraq during that decade, you can be excused for imagining that the U.S. is actually concerned with reducing its presence in Iraq. You can be excused, as well, for thinking that the recent report of a U.S. military pull-out from Iraq's previously violent Anbar province meant that the administration's final justification for remaining and continuing the occupation, -- defending against 'Iraqi al-Qaeda' -- has been fulfilled and will enable us to withdraw and leave Iraq to the Iraqis. There is still the Iran hook he's used as a fall-back, despite his indifference and inattention at the beginning of his term.

While on his Mideast 'peace' mission, Bush took time out to lash out at his favorite nemesis, as he predictably, but ironically declared the sovereign government of Iran which he's waged a war of intimidation and propaganda against since 9-11, a "threat to world peace."

No matter to Bush that the very Iraqi regime he helped install -- and our troops sacrificed their lives and their livelihoods to defend -- has repeatedly declared their neighbor, Iran, to be a friend and ally, even crediting the Iranians for their cooperation in reducing Iraq's violence by controlling the flow of weapons and weapons material across their border. But, to Bush, Iran represents the only nemesis he can use to justify the continuing, aggressive presence of U.S. troops in the region -- apart from highlighting the original 9-11 terror suspects in Afghanistan/Pakistan which he refuses to apply the bulk of our military resources to capture.

"I want to remind people," Bush said Wednesday in Jerusalem at a press availability with Palestinian Authority President Abbas, "I said then that Iran was a threat, Iran is a threat, and Iran will be a threat," he declared, in reference to a 'nuclear weapons program' that he insists Iran is developing, but, has yet to produce a modicum of proof to counter Iran's denials.

Americans don't need any reminding, at all, about Bush's trumped-up insistence before he invaded Iraq, that the sovereign nation he ultimately overthrew and occupied, "was a threat, is a threat, and will be a threat." We've all been witness to the shifting justifications the administration has used to explain away the lack of any threat to America's national security from Iraq which could remotely be considered credible. Not until his heavy-handed military occupation had fostered and fueled a brand new generation of combatants pledged to resistant violence against the U.S., our interests, and our allies -- who identified and aligned themselves with the fugitive 9-11 suspects -- did Iraq, or the Saddam regime tolerate such chaos and sectarian unrest.

Bush deliberately invited and attracted terror to Iraq with his calls for any and all comers to "bring it on" and "fight us there," far from where the original suspects were allowed safe haven from the bulk of our military forces he diverted to capture his imperialistic prize. In an amazingly revealing moment, during a tour of Israel's Holocaust memorial Friday, Bush, with tears welling up in his eyes, Bush was reported to express his wish that Auschwitz concentration camp was attacked by the allies.

"We should have bombed it," Bush reportedly told the memorial chairman, Avner Shalev, apparently unaware that it was the railroad tracks which should have been targeted, and not a camp full of prisoners, however horrendous the activities in that camp were at the time. Targets around the camp were eventually bombed -- one errant bomb accidentally finding its way into the camp and killing dozens. But, Bush obviously knows better now than Churchill did at the time.

It doesn't pass notice that a World Health Organization study, released this week, estimates that between 104,000 and 223,000 civilians in Iraq died from violence between March 2003 and June 2006. The very act of 'liberating' Iraqis from his manufactured 'threat' to the U.S., the region, and the Iraqis themselves, produced enough violence and death of innocents to seriously undermine any administration claim of 'victory' or 'success' in their nation-building fiasco. Yet this administration still insists to America and the world, that their efforts and posture have been a catalyst for some sort of emancipation from terror, when, the only thing we've been liberated from is the relative goodwill around the world that we enjoyed for decades preceding Bush's assent to office.

As our lame-duck militarist returns home and goes back to work -- deepening our military commitments in the Mideast and ensuring that Iraq always has cause for our troops to stay, for a decade or more -- he'll undoubtedly try and ramp-up the rhetorical attack he's already advantaged himself of after he directed his administration to exploit fears surrounding the hyped 'confrontation' of one of our warships he sent to intimidate the Iranians and some speedboats which didn't warrant even a targeting from the commander of the U.S. vessel.; much less an order to fire on them. Bush, insisted, though, on labeling the confrontation (which took almost 3 days to filter to the top of their agenda and not-so-coincidently dovetailing with his rhetorical assault on Iran) a "provocation."

Bush is a warmonger. There really is no initiative for 'peace' abroad which Bush intends to manage without using his own threat of military force to back up his strident declarations. After standing on the same ground that Jesus, his "favorite philosopher," once stood and (is assumed to have) declared that, "On this rock (Peter?) I will build my Church," Bush may well be tempted to assume that ecclesiastic mission himself, in his own imperialistic design. After all, Bush once, reportedly confided to President Abbas in 2003, that, God had told him to go to war.

"According to Abbas, Bush had said, 'God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them.''

"I'm on a timetable," Bush told reporters Friday. "I've got 12 months."

Posted in full with author's permission.

Originally posted at