Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Katrina: Blaming Bush, Being Pro-Looting, and more, by David Corn, The Nation Blog

The Nation

Hurricane Katrina: Blaming Bush, Being Pro-Looting, and more
By: David Corn BLOG | Posted 09/01/2005 @ 12:02am

I just spotted Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, on CNN arguing with anchor Miles O'Brien. O'Brien was suggesting that the federal government dropped the ball in terms of preparing for Hurricane Katrina. Barbour kept defending the federal government--that is, the Bush Administration. He seemed to suggest that the hurricane was not that powerful when it first approached land and that there had not been enough time to do more preparation. Of course, Barbour did not note that before becoming governor of Mississippi he was head of the Republican Party and, therefore, not of a disposition to speak critically of an Administration that has gutted FEMA, slashed funding for flood control and sent many National Guard reserves to Iraq. (By one estimate, about one-third of the Louisiana National Guard is in Iraq now.) O'Brien pushed his point about as hard as is permitted on cable television. But he neglected to raise these specifics or to question Barbour about his previous work as a corporate lobbyist who, on behalf of his well-paying clients, fought fiercely against the Kyoto accords. (Recent scientific research suggests that global warming has led to more destructive hurricanes.) And, as I noted previously (click here), Barbour led the GOP when it was waging war on Big Government. Now he's all for it. O'Brien didn't query him on this conversion.

Liberal bloggers have banded together to raise money for the hurricane relief efforts and to help our Red State neighbors. (See the ad at my blog: The goal, as the ad says, is to raise $1 million. Please consider clicking on the ad (or going straight to the donation page) and doing what you can. In the meantime, I propose putting off the GOP effort to kill the estate tax for millionaires and to devote a portion of those funds for reconstruction in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast. I ask my fellow liberal bloggers to join me in this call, and to raise this question: Will Haley Barbour endorse our campaign?

As the New York Times editorializes today, a moment like this shows Bush's weaknesses. He was late to respond (again!) and his rhetoric was hollow (no surprise). Yesterday he declared, "America will be a stronger place for it." Puh-lease. Did he ask his speechwriters for the most empty platitude they could concoct? Then today he proclaimed there would be "zero tolerance" for looters. But if I were stuck in New Orleans, waiting for help from a government that had failed me, and my family was without water, food or clothes, I'd grab what I could from where I could. I'd worry about payment later. Sure, some looters are criminals exploiting the emergency. But many are people trying to survive. Who would watch their kids go hungry rather than break a window at a Winn-Dixie? Not me. Call me pro-looting-when-it's-necessary.

And if you haven't already seen my college chum Will Bunch's piece on why this disaster did not have to be as bad as it has been--due to federal cutbacks in funds for flood control--check it out here. Bunch works for the Philadelphia Daily News, and he mainly reviewed stories from the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Here's an excerpt:

New Orleans had long known it was highly vulnerable to flooding and a direct hit from a hurricane. In fact, the federal government has been working with state and local officials in the region since the late 1960s on major hurricane and flood relief efforts. When flooding from a massive rainstorm in May 1995 killed six people, Congress authorized the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, or SELA.

Over the next 10 years, the Army Corps of Engineers, tasked with carrying out SELA, spent $430 million on shoring up levees and building pumping stations, with $50 million in local aid. But at least $250 million in crucial projects remained, even as hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin increased dramatically and the levees surrounding New Orleans continued to subside.

Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.

Newhouse News Service, in an article posted late Tuesday night at The Times-Picayune Web site, reported: "No one can say they didn't see it coming....Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation."

In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.

On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."

Hmmm, a security issue. Flooding? Weather? Global warming? This is far too nuanced a view. I mean, isn't the real threat the terrorists in Iraq who want to destroy America because they hate our freedom (even though they don't seem to mind the freedoms enjoyed by people in, say, Finland)? Hurricane Katrina illuminates bad choices and bad policies. It may have been an act of God. But its devastating impact was also determined by the folly of our leaders.

It also makes me wonder, Can this government deal with one of the nightmare scenarios? A biological weapon? A nuclear detonation? The Bush Administration, according to numerous studies, has not fully funded first responders. Hurricane Katrina shows why this is foolishness.

Enough of a sermon from me. Please give to the relief fund.

The Nation

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Bush Gives New Reason for Iraq War

** Here is the latest "reason" Bush gives for his Iraq War, in his long list of ever-changing reasons. It begs the question: "What will he come up with next?" --- Annamarie

From: The Boston Globe

Bush gives new reason for Iraq war
Says US must prevent oil fields from falling into hands of terrorists

By Jennifer Loven, Associated Press | August 31, 2005

CORONADO, Calif. -- President Bush answered growing antiwar protests yesterday with a fresh reason for US troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country's vast oil fields, which he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorist extremists.

The president, standing against a backdrop of the USS Ronald Reagan, the newest aircraft carrier in the Navy's fleet, said terrorists would be denied their goal of making Iraq a base from which to recruit followers, train them, and finance attacks.

''We will defeat the terrorists," Bush said. ''We will build a free Iraq that will fight terrorists instead of giving them aid and sanctuary."

Appearing at Naval Air Station North Island to commemorate the anniversary of the Allies' World War II victory over Japan, Bush compared his resolve to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's in the 1940s and said America's mission in Iraq is to turn it into a democratic ally just as the United States did with Japan after its 1945 surrender. Bush's V-J Day ceremony did not fall on the actual anniversary. Japan announced its surrender on Aug. 15, 1945 -- Aug. 14 in the United States because of the time difference.

Democrats said Bush's leadership falls far short of Roosevelt's.

''Democratic Presidents Roosevelt and Truman led America to victory in World War II because they laid out a clear plan for success to the American people, America's allies, and America's troops," said Howard Dean, Democratic Party chairman. ''President Bush has failed to put together a plan, so despite the bravery and sacrifice of our troops, we are not making the progress that we should be in Iraq. The troops, our allies, and the American people deserve better leadership from our commander in chief."

The speech was Bush's third in just over a week defending his Iraq policies, as the White House scrambles to counter growing public concern about the war. But the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast drew attention away; the White House announced during the president's remarks that he was cutting his August vacation short to return to Washington, D.C., to oversee the federal response effort.

After the speech, Bush hurried back to Texas ahead of schedule to prepare to fly back to the nation's capital today. He was to return to the White House on Friday, after spending more than four weeks operating from his ranch in Crawford.

Bush's August break has been marked by problems in Iraq.

It has been an especially deadly month there for US troops, with the number of those who have died since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 now nearing 1,900.

The growing death toll has become a regular feature of the slightly larger protests that Bush now encounters everywhere he goes -- a movement boosted by a vigil set up in a field down the road from the president's ranch by a mother grieving the loss of her soldier son in Iraq.

Cindy Sheehan arrived in Crawford only days after Bush did, asking for a meeting so he could explain why her son and others are dying in Iraq. The White House refused, and Sheehan's camp turned into a hub of activity for hundreds of activists around the country demanding that troops be brought home.

This week, the administration also had to defend the proposed constitution produced in Iraq at US urging. Critics fear the impact of its rejection by many Sunnis, and say it fails to protect religious freedom and women's rights.

At the naval base, Bush declared, ''We will not rest until victory is America's and our freedom is secure" from Al Qaeda and its forces in Iraq led by Abu Musab alZarqawi.

''If Zarqawi and [Osama] bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks," Bush said. ''They'd seize oil fields to fund their ambitions. They could recruit more terrorists by claiming a historic victory over the United States and our coalition."

© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

U.S. Forces Kill Reuters Journalist

From: The New York Times
August 29, 2005

U.S. Studies Report Its Soldiers Killed Journalist

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 28 (Reuters) - A soundman working for Reuters Television was shot dead Sunday in Baghdad, and a cameraman with him was wounded and then detained by United States soldiers. An Iraqi police report, read to Reuters by an Interior Ministry official, said the two had been shot by American forces.

A United States military spokesman, Lt. Col. Steven A. Boylan, said the incident was being investigated, and an official statement indicated that the Americans were responding to an attack on an Iraqi police convoy when the journalists were shot.

The death brings to 66 the number of journalists and their aides killed in Iraq since the start of the invasion in 2003, said Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based news media rights group. That surpasses the 63 journalists killed over 20 years of conflict in Vietnam, the group said.

The soundman, Waleed Khaled, 35, was struck by a bullet to the face and at least four to the chest as he drove to investigate a report from police sources of an incident involving police officers and gunmen in the Hay al-Adil district in western Baghdad.

Reuters colleagues who arrived shortly after the attack said that the wounded cameraman, Haider Kadhem, said, "I heard shooting, looked up and saw an American sniper on the roof of the shopping center."

He was detained by United States troops and remained in custody 12 hours later, despite requests by Reuters that he be freed to receive medical attention for a wound in his back.

Two Iraqi colleagues who arrived on the scene minutes after the shooting were detained, but soon released.

The United States military statement said: "Task Force Baghdad units responded to a terrorist attack on an Iraqi Police convoy around 11:20 a.m. Aug. 28 in central Baghdad, which killed and wounded several Iraqi police. One civilian was killed and another was wounded by small-arms fire during the attack.

"After discovering an abandoned car with explosives material, weapons and a cellphone, units began searching the area for the terror suspects who were believed to have fled on foot."

Mr. Khaled had worked for Reuters for two years. He is survived by a wife and daughter. David Schlesinger, Reuters global managing editor, said: "This tragic incident must immediately be investigated thoroughly and impartially."

The New York Times

U.S. Army Demoted Critic of No-bid Contract in Iraq

From: International Herald Tribune

U.S. Army demotes critic of no-bid contract in Iraq
By Eric Eckholm The New York Times


NEW YORK A top U.S. Army contracting official who criticized a large, noncompetitive Iraq contract with Halliburton was demoted for what the army called a poor job performance.

The official, Bunnatine Greenhouse, is a 20-year veteran of military procurement and for the past several years had been the chief overseer of contracts at the Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that has managed much of the reconstruction work in Iraq.

The demotion over the weekend removed Greenhouse from the elite Senior Executive Service and reassigned her to a lesser job in the civil works division of the corps.

Her lawyer, Michael Kohn, called the action "obvious reprisal" for the strong objections she raised in 2003 to a series of corps decisions involving the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root, which has garnered more than $10 billion for work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"She is being demoted because of her strict adherence to procurement requirements and the army's preference to sidestep them when it suits their needs," he said in an interview Sunday.

Carol Sanders, spokeswoman for the Army Corps of Engineers, said Sunday that the action against Greenhouse had been approved by the Department of the Army. And in a memorandum dated June 3, 2005, as the demotion was being arranged, the commander of the corps, Lieutenant General Carl Strock, said the administrative record "clearly demonstrates that Ms. Greenhouse's removal from the SES is based on her performance and not in retaliation for any disclosures of alleged improprieties that she may have made."

Known as a stickler for the rules on competition, Greenhouse initially received stellar performance ratings. But her reviews grew critical after she began objecting to decisions she saw as improperly favoring Kellogg, Brown & Root. Often she recorded her concerns in handwriting on the contract documents, a practice that corps leaders called unprofessional and confusing.

In October 2003, Strock, citing consecutive performance reviews that called Greenhouse an uncooperative manager, informed her that she would be demoted.

Greenhouse fought the demotion through official channels and publicly described her clashes with corps leaders over a five-year, $7 billion oil-repair contract that had been awarded - in secret - to Kellogg, Brown & Root. She had maintained that if urgency required a no-bid contract, its duration should be brief.

Greenhouse had also fought the granting of a waiver to Kellogg, Brown & Root in December 2003 approving the high prices it had paid for fuel imports for Iraq and had objected to the automatic extension of a large contract to the company for logistical support in the Balkans.

NEW YORK A top U.S. Army contracting official who criticized a large, noncompetitive Iraq contract with Halliburton was demoted for what the army called a poor job performance.

The official, Bunnatine Greenhouse, is a 20-year veteran of military procurement and for the past several years had been the chief overseer of contracts at the Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that has managed much of the reconstruction work in Iraq.

The demotion over the weekend removed Greenhouse from the elite Senior Executive Service and reassigned her to a lesser job in the civil works division of the corps.

Her lawyer, Michael Kohn, called the action "obvious reprisal" for the strong objections she raised in 2003 to a series of corps decisions involving the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root, which has garnered more than $10 billion for work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"She is being demoted because of her strict adherence to procurement requirements and the army's preference to sidestep them when it suits their needs," he said in an interview Sunday.

Carol Sanders, spokeswoman for the Army Corps of Engineers, said Sunday that the action against Greenhouse had been approved by the Department of the Army. And in a memorandum dated June 3, 2005, as the demotion was being arranged, the commander of the corps, Lieutenant General Carl Strock, said the administrative record "clearly demonstrates that Ms. Greenhouse's removal from the SES is based on her performance and not in retaliation for any disclosures of alleged improprieties that she may have made."

Known as a stickler for the rules on competition, Greenhouse initially received stellar performance ratings. But her reviews grew critical after she began objecting to decisions she saw as improperly favoring Kellogg, Brown & Root. Often she recorded her concerns in handwriting on the contract documents, a practice that corps leaders called unprofessional and confusing.

In October 2003, Strock, citing consecutive performance reviews that called Greenhouse an uncooperative manager, informed her that she would be demoted.

Greenhouse fought the demotion through official channels and publicly described her clashes with corps leaders over a five-year, $7 billion oil-repair contract that had been awarded - in secret - to Kellogg, Brown & Root. She had maintained that if urgency required a no-bid contract, its duration should be brief.

Greenhouse had also fought the granting of a waiver to Kellogg, Brown & Root in December 2003 approving the high prices it had paid for fuel imports for Iraq and had objected to the automatic extension of a large contract to the company for logistical support in the Balkans.

International Herald Tribune

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

British MP Calls for UK Anti-Terror Ban on Televangalist Roberts


Tue 30 Aug 2005

Pat Robertson said 'taking out' Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, would be cheaper than a war.

Call for anti-terror law ban on US evangelist


Key points
• MP calls for Pat Robertson ban over alleged assassination comment
• Evangelist said Venezuelan president Chavez should be 'taken out' on TV
• Home Office declines to comment on proposed ban under anti-terror laws

Key quote
"My view is that [Mr Robertson] is frankly not the sort of person we would welcome into Britain. The new law would catch him as someone preaching hate and murder" - Nigel Griffiths MP

A GOVERNMENT minister has fuelled the row over Britain's proposed new anti-terror laws by calling for Pat Robertson, the controversial American evangelist, to be banned from the UK. Nigel Griffiths, the deputy leader of the House of Commons, said Mr Robertson should be barred from Britain for inciting "hate and murder".

Mr Robertson has been at the centre of a storm in the United States after he called on Washington to assassinate Hugo Chavez, the left-wing president of Venezuela.

Tony Blair's proposed anti-terror laws are designed to prevent some Islamic preachers who back suicide bombers and terrorism from coming to Britain.

The laws would give the government the ability to refuse entry to anyone found to have incited terrorism.

But the Prime Minister did not expect the laws to be used to catch Christian preachers, however radical, particularly those with influential friends in the US Republican Party, such as Mr Robertson.

Mr Griffiths said yesterday that he supported the new anti-terror laws, but argued the legislation should be used in an even-handed way, and if that meant annoying the US government, that was not his concern.

He said: "My view is that [Mr Robertson] is frankly not the sort of person we would welcome into Britain. The new law would catch him as someone preaching hate and murder."

And he added: "I think anyone who calls for violent measures against others should not be welcome in Britain. What we need to ensure is that what applies to extreme mullahs applies to Pat Robertson.

"I think, if we did that, we could show that this legislation is not targeted at one single race or religious group."

The Edinburgh South MP may well support the proposed anti-terrorism legislation but, in coming out so strongly against Mr Robertson, he appears to be provoking a potential clash with the US administration - something which would greatly embarrass 10 Downing Street.

Mr Griffiths has always been seen as a loyal Brownite and his comments will be dismissed by No10 as the machinations of one of the Chancellor's closest supporters.

But any attempt to use the anti-terror laws to prevent Mr Robertson from entering Britain would cause a split between No10 and the White House.

Asked whether he was worried that his comments might anger the US administration, Mr Griffiths replied: "As deputy leader of the House of Commons, what the American administration are happy with or not happy with is not one of my concerns."

Mr Robertson - a failed Republican presidential candidate, self-described "humanitarian" and outspoken founder of the right-wing Christian Coalition - sparked the controversy when he said that killing Mr Chavez, the South American leader who has a prickly relationship with the US, would be "a whole lot cheaper than starting a war".

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," the 75-year-old TV preacher said.

The Government refused to comment on Mr Griffiths' remarks. A Home Office spokesman said: "We will not be commenting on individual cases."

This article:

Terrorism in the UK:


Home Office - terrorism



Muslim Community of Gloucester (Sajid Badat)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Washington to be Sued Over Global Warming

The Independent UK
Washington to be sued over global warming
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
Published: 26 August 2005

In a landmark judgment, a court in California has allowed a coalition of environmental groups to sue the US government over global warming - the first time a court has recognised the potentially disastrous impact of climate change.

A judge in San Francisco gave permission for the two groups, along with four US cities, to sue two federal development agencies that provide billions of dollars in loans to fund projects overseas. Some of the projects are power plants that emit greenhouse gases while others include pipeline projects that allow the transfer of oil.

Iraq Dispatches: Fallujah Film and Petition against Hollywood Propaganda, by Dahr Jamail

Iraq Dispatches: Fallujah Film and Petition against Hollywood Propaganda

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** **

New on DVD: Falluja 2004

*A film by Japanese independent journalist Toshikuni Doi*

Falluja April 2004 A documentary by Japanese independent journalist
Toshikuni Doi Fallujah has
become a symbol of the resistance movement against the U.S. occupation
of Iraq. In April 2004, the U.S. forces invaded Fallujah with several
thousand soldiers. Why did Fallujah become a base of the resistance
against the occupation? How did the U.S. forces attack? Who fought
against them? And what damages and injuries did people suffer? Ten days
after the siege of Falluja was lifted, Toshikuni Doi, a Japanese
independent journalist, went into Fallujah. His documentary investigates
the causes of, the conditions during, and damages from the siege. The
documentary is primarily in Arabic, with English subtitles. DVD, 55 minutes.

Toshikuni Doi is a Japanese journalist who has been covering Iraq since
just after the U.S. invasion.


"For a well documented, powerful film of what really occurred in
Fallujah during the April, 2004 siege, this is a must see. The film
begins by investigating why the resistance began in Fallujah shortly
after the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. The film then accurately
chronicles what occurred in Fallujah during the failed April siege. I
couldn't recommend this more highly. To get a more complete
understanding of the failed occupation of Iraq, watch this film and
encourage others to do the same./" -Dahr Jamail

In addition, here is a petitition against a film being made about
Fallujah in Hollywood which I encourage you to sign and distribute far
and wide:

To: Patricia McQueeney, Mr Ford's agent

Harrison Ford has announced that he wishes to play the role of the
general in charge of the assault and seige of Fallujah, in an upcoming
movie to be entitled No True Glory. This action resulted in the
destruction of a whole city and the loss of many thousand innocent
lives, and caused over 300,000 people to become homeless, while the
insurgent Iraqis mostly slipped away, to attack again from elsewhere. We
do not trust Hollywood to show the abuses of the US forces, who broke
Geneva Conventions and denied civilians hospitals, water, food, opening
fire on ambulances and denying the press coverage. We do not believe the
military to have been innocent pawns of flawed government, and do not
wish Mr Ford to play General Mattis, and we vote against the making of
this film. We ask the studios to examine history before they rewrite it.
We ask Mr Ford to read up on the truth. "And the truth shall set us free."


** More writing, photos and commentary at**

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Catapulting the Proganda: The President, Cindy Sheehan, and How Words Die, by Tom Engelhardt

Tomgram: A Worldview Repeated Once Too Often?

Catapulting the Propaganda
The President, Cindy Sheehan, and How Words Die

By Tom Engelhardt

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." -- George Bush, "President Participates in Social Security Conversation in New York," May 24, 2005.

Forced from his five-week vacation idyll in Crawford by the mother of a dead boy he sent to war, the President has recently given two major speeches defending his war policies and, between biking and boating, held a brief news conference at Tamarack Resort in Donnelly, Idaho. On August 22nd, he addressed the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Salt Lake City for 30 minutes; on August 24th, he spoke for 43 minutes to families of the Idaho National Guard in the farming community of Nampa, Idaho.

As his poll figures continue on a downward spiral, he has found it necessary to put extra effort into "catapulting the propaganda." Though he struck a new note or two in each speech, these were exceedingly familiar, crush-the-terrorists, stay-the-course, path-to-victory speeches. That's hardly surprising, since his advisors and speechwriters have been wizards of repetition. No one has been publicly less spontaneous or more -- effectively -- repetitious than our President; but sometimes, as he says, you "keep repeating things over and over and over again" and what sinks in really is the truth rather than the propaganda. Sometimes, just that extra bit of repetition under less than perfect circumstances, and words that once struck fear or offered hope, that once explained well enough for most the nature of the world they faced, suddenly sound hollow. They begin to sound... well, repetitious, and so, false. Your message, which worked like a dream for so long, goes off-mess! age, and then what do you do?

This is, I suspect, exactly what growing numbers of Americans are experiencing in relation to our President. It's a mysterious process really -- like leaving a dream world or perhaps deprogramming from a cult. Once you step outside the bubble, statements that only yesterday seemed heartfelt or powerful or fearful or resolute truths suddenly look like themselves, threadbare and impoverished. In due course, because the repetitious worldview in the President's speeches is clearly a believed one (for him, if not all of his advisors) and because it increasingly reads like a bad movie script for a fictional planet, he himself is likely to look no less threadbare and impoverished, no less -- to use a word not often associated with him -- pathetic and out of touch with reality to some of those who not so long ago supported him or his policies.

Under these circumstances, it's worth taking a close look at his recent speeches and comparing his linguistic landscape with that of Cindy Sheehan, at the moment a stand-in for the mute (and previously somewhat hidden) American dead from his war as well as an encroaching Iraqi catastrophe.

George's World of Words

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Will News Media Help Bush Exploit the 9/11 Anniversary Again? by Norman Solomon Homepage

Will News Media Help Bush Exploit the 9/11 Anniversary Again?

Submitted by editor on August 25, 2005 - 1:19pm.
By Norman Solomon

For a long time, the last refuge of scoundrels was "patriotism." Now it's "the war on terror."

President Bush and many of his vocal supporters aren't content to wrap themselves in the flag. It's not sufficient to posture as more patriotic than opponents of the Iraq war. The ultimate demagogic weapon is to exploit the memory of Sept. 11, 2001.

Next month, the fourth anniversary will provide the Bush administration with plenty of media opportunities to wrap itself in the 9/11 shroud and depict Iraq war critics as insufficiently committed to defending the United States. A renewed attempt to justify the war as a resolute stand against terrorism is well underway.

On Wednesday, eager to pull out of a political nosedive, Bush stood in front of National Guard members in Idaho and read from a script that was thick with familiar rhetoric: "Our nation is engaged in a global war on terror that affects the safety and security of every American. In Iraq, Afghanistan and across the world, we face dangerous enemies who want to harm our people, folks who want to destroy our way of life." And: "As long as I'm the president, we will stay, we will fight and we will win the war on terror."

Such presidential oratory has become routine. And anniversaries of 9/11 are occasions when the White House ratchets up the spin.

"In the ruins of two towers, under a flag unfurled at the Pentagon, at the funerals of the lost, we have made a sacred promise to ourselves, and to the world," President Bush proclaimed on Sept. 11, 2002. "We will not relent until justice is done and our nation is secure. What our enemies have begun, we will finish."

At the time, the Bush administration was building its agenda for an invasion of Iraq. "Mr. Bush wants the UN to compel Iraq to submit to weapons inspections, or face the consequences," ABC News reported. "And though he did not mention Saddam Hussein by name ... the White House says he had the Iraqi leader in mind when he warned America's enemies."

That's an example of how the propaganda tag-team of government and media has conveyed implicit lies as actual facts. While talking about 9/11, Bush said: "What our enemies have begun, we will finish." And network reporting helpfully explained that "he had the Iraqi leader in mind." The absence of evidence didn't seem to matter much. Repeated countless times, such slick media maneuvers were able to convince a hefty chunk of the U.S. population that Saddam Hussein was involved with the 9/11 attacks.

When the second anniversary came around, Bush went to Walter Reed Army Hospital and visited soldiers who -- in the words of one TV network -- were "wounded in the war on terror, both in Afghanistan and Iraq." The president's comments in front of cameras were carefully targeted: "We're going to a church service to remember the victims, pray for their families, victims of 9/11, 2001. Today, this afternoon, Laura and I are here to thank the brave souls who got wounded in the war on terror, people who are willing to sacrifice in order to make sure that attacks such as Sept. 11 don't happen again."

During that hospital visit, the commander in chief made a pitch for war without any foreseeable end: "As I've told the American people right after Sept. 11, 2001, this will be a different kind of war and this will be a long war. And we're fighting this war on a lot of fronts, the major front of which is now in Iraq."

Last year, Sept. 11 fell on a Saturday, and the president's weekly radio address gained unusual visibility. Relatives of 9/11 victims surrounded Bush in the Oval Office as he made his little speech, which -- in the words of NBC News -- engaged in "linking the war on terror to the war in Iraq."

And so the media siege has gone, to this day. With routine assistance from news coverage, the Bush administration touts the U.S. war effort in Iraq as a legitimate response to what happened on Sept. 11, 2001. With the White House now desperate to shore up its sinking political fortunes, a vast amount of such propaganda is on the horizon.

--** Norman Solomon is the author of "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." For information, go to: Audio of his recent speech on "Building Agendas for War" is at:

The Vietnamization of Bush's Vacation, by Frank Rich

A New York Times Op-Editorial

August 28, 2005

The Vietnamization of Bush's Vacation


ANOTHER week in Iraq, another light at the end of the tunnel. On Monday President Bush saluted the Iraqis for "completing work on a democratic constitution" even as the process was breaking down yet again. But was anyone even listening to his latest premature celebration?

We have long since lost count of all the historic turning points and fast-evaporating victories hyped by this president. The toppling of Saddam's statue, "Mission Accomplished," the transfer of sovereignty and the purple fingers all blur into a hallucinatory loop of delusion. One such red-letter day, some may dimly recall, was the adoption of the previous, interim constitution in March 2004, also proclaimed a "historic milestone" by Mr. Bush. Within a month after that fabulous victory, the insurgency boiled over into the war we have today, taking, among many others, the life of Casey Sheehan.

It's Casey Sheehan's mother, not those haggling in Baghdad's Green Zone, who really changed the landscape in the war this month. Not because of her bumper-sticker politics or the slick left-wing political operatives who have turned her into a circus, but because the original, stubborn fact of her grief brought back the dead the administration had tried for so long to lock out of sight. With a shove from Pat Robertson, her 15 minutes are now up, but even Mr. Robertson's antics revealed buyer's remorse about Iraq; his stated motivation for taking out Hugo Chávez by assassination was to avoid "another $200 billion war" to remove a dictator.

In the wake of Ms. Sheehan's protest, the facts on the ground in America have changed almost everywhere. The president, for one, has been forced to make what for him is the ultimate sacrifice: jettisoning chunks of vacation to defend the war in any bunker he can find in Utah or Idaho. In the first speech of this offensive, he even felt compelled to take the uncharacteristic step of citing the number of American dead in public (though the number was already out of date by at least five casualties by day's end). For the second, the White House recruited its own mom, Tammy Pruett, for the president to showcase as an antidote to Ms. Sheehan. But in a reversion to the president's hide-the-fallen habit, the chosen mother was not one who had lost a child in Iraq.

It isn't just Mr. Bush who is in a tight corner now. Ms. Sheehan's protest was the catalyst for a new national argument about the war that managed to expose both the intellectual bankruptcy of its remaining supporters on the right and the utter bankruptcy of the Democrats who had rubber-stamped this misadventure in the first place.

When the war's die-hard cheerleaders attacked the Middle East policy of a mother from Vacaville, Calif., instead of defending the president's policy in Iraq, it was definitive proof that there is little cogent defense left to be made. When the Democrats offered no alternative to either Mr. Bush's policy or Ms. Sheehan's plea for an immediate withdrawal, it was proof that they have no standing in the debate.

Instead, two conservative Republicans - actually talking about Iraq instead of Ms. Sheehan, unlike the rest of their breed - stepped up to fill this enormous vacuum: Chuck Hagel and Henry Kissinger. Both pointedly invoked Vietnam, the war that forged their political careers. Their timing, like Ms. Sheehan's, was impeccable. Last week Mr. Bush started saying that the best way to honor the dead would be to "finish the task they gave their lives for" - a dangerous rationale that, as David Halberstam points out, was heard as early as 1963 in Vietnam, when American casualties in that fiasco were still inching toward 100.

And what exactly is our task? Mr. Bush's current definition - "as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down" - could not be a better formula for quagmire. Twenty-eight months after the fall of Saddam, only "a small number" of Iraqi troops are capable of fighting without American assistance, according to the Pentagon - a figure that Joseph Biden puts at "fewer than 3,000." At this rate, our 138,000 troops will be replaced by self-sufficient locals in roughly 100 years.

For his part, Mr. Hagel backed up his assertion that we are bogged down in a new Vietnam with an irrefutable litany of failure: "more dead, more wounded, less electricity in Iraq, less oil being pumped in Iraq, more insurgency attacks, more insurgents coming across the border, more corruption in the government." Mr. Kissinger no doubt counts himself a firm supporter of Mr. Bush, but in Washington Post this month, he drew a damning lesson from Vietnam: "Military success is difficult to sustain unless buttressed by domestic support." Anyone who can read a poll knows that support is gone and is not coming back. The president's approval rating dropped to 36 percent in one survey last week.

What's left is the option stated bluntly by Mr. Hagel: "We should start figuring out how we get out of there."

He didn't say how we might do that. John McCain has talked about sending more troops to rectify our disastrous failure to secure the country, but he'll have to round them up himself door to door. As the retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey reported to the Senate, the National Guard is "in the stage of meltdown and in 24 months we'll be coming apart." At the Army, according to The Los Angeles Times, officials are now predicting an even worse shortfall of recruits in 2006 than in 2005. The Leo Burnett advertising agency has been handed $350 million for a recruitment campaign that avoids any mention of Iraq.

Among Washington's Democrats, the only one with a clue seems to be Russell Feingold, the Wisconsin senator who this month proposed setting a "target date" (as opposed to a deadline) for getting out. Mr. Feingold also made the crucial observation that "the president has presented us with a false choice": either "stay the course" or "cut and run." That false choice, in which Mr. Bush pretends that the only alternative to his reckless conduct of the war is Ms. Sheehan's equally apocalyptic retreat, is used to snuff out any legitimate debate. There are in fact plenty of other choices echoing about, from variations on Mr. Feingold's timetable theme to buying off the Sunni insurgents.

But don't expect any of Mr. Feingold's peers to join him or Mr. Hagel in fashioning an exit strategy that might work. If there's a moment that could stand for the Democrats' irrelevance it came on July 14, the day Americans woke up to learn of the suicide bomber in Baghdad who killed as many as 27 people, nearly all of them children gathered around American troops. In Washington that day, the presumptive presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held a press conference vowing to protect American children from the fantasy violence of video games.

The Democrats are hoping that if they do nothing, they might inherit the earth as the Bush administration goes down the tubes. Whatever the dubious merits of this Kerryesque course as a political strategy, as a moral strategy it's unpatriotic. The earth may not be worth inheriting if Iraq continues to sabotage America's ability to take on Iran and North Korea, let alone Al Qaeda.

As another politician from the Vietnam era, Gary Hart, observed last week, the Democrats are too cowardly to admit they made a mistake three years ago, when fear of midterm elections drove them to surrender to the administration's rushed and manipulative Iraq-war sales pitch. So now they are compounding the original error as the same hucksters frantically try to repackage the old damaged goods.

IN the new pitch there are no mushroom clouds. Instead we get McCarthyesque rhetoric accusing critics of being soft on the war on terrorism, which the Iraq adventure has itself undermined. Before anyone dare say Vietnam, the president, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld drag in the historian David McCullough and liken 2005 in Iraq to 1776 in America - and, by implication, the original George W. to ours. Before you know it, Ahmad Chalabi will be rehabilitated as Ben Franklin.

The marketing campaign will crescendo in two weeks, on the anniversary of 9/11, when a Defense Department "Freedom Walk" will trek from the site of the Pentagon attack through Arlington National Cemetery to a country music concert on the Mall. There the false linkage of Iraq to 9/11 will be hammered in once more, this time with a beat: Clint Black will sing "I Raq and Roll," a ditty whose lyrics focus on Saddam, not the Islamic radicals who actually attacked America. Lest any propaganda opportunity be missed, Arlington's gravestones are being branded with the Pentagon's slogans for military campaigns, like Operation Iraqi Freedom, The Associated Press reported last week - a historic first. If only the administration had thought of doing the same on the fallen's coffins, it might have allowed photographs.

Even though their own poll numbers are in a race to the bottom with the president's, don't expect the Democrats to make a peep. Republicans, their minds increasingly focused on November 2006, may well blink first. In yet another echo of Vietnam, it's millions of voters beyond the capital who will force the timetable for our inexorable exit from Iraq.

The New York Times

Nearly 1,000 Detainees Released from Abu Ghraib

From: The Associated Press, via Yahoo News

Nearly 1,000 Released From Abu Ghraib
Sat Aug 27,10:13 AM ET

The U.S. military announced Saturday that it released nearly 1,000 prisoners from Abu Ghraib prison over the past few days in response to a request by Iraqi authorities.

The move, the largest prisoner release to date, followed appeals by Sunni representatives to start releasing thousands of prisoners who have been languishing in the jail for months without being charged.

After a meeting with President Jalal Talabani on Thursday, Sunni negotiator Saleh al-Mutlaq said the president agreed to release many detainees before the Oct. 15 referendum on the constitution. Al-Mutlaq said hundreds of detainees, most of them Sunni Arabs, were to be set free.

The U.S. command said the prisoner release "marks a significant event in Iraq's progress toward democratic governance and the rule of law."

"Those chosen for release are not guilty of serious, violent crimes — such as bombing, torture, kidnapping, or murder — and all have admitted their crimes, renounced violence, and pledged to be good citizens of a democratic Iraq," the U.S. statement said.

Abu Ghraib prison, built by Saddam Hussein's regime in the 1970s on the outskirts of Baghdad, was retained as a major detention center by U.S. occupation authorities after the dictator was toppled in 2003. It gained international notoriety after some U.S. military personnel were charged with humiliating and assaulting detainees.

Later Saturday, Iraqi police said they released an unspecified number of people arrested this week in the region of Madain, 12 miles, southeast of the capital.

Sunni politicians had complained to Talabani that the Shiite-controlled police picked up 132 Sunnis in the region to prevent them from registering for the constitutional referendum. The deadline for voter registration is Sept. 1.

Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

The Republican War on Science, A Buzzflash Book Review

** I suggest you purchase and read this important, highly informative, well-written book. ------ Annamarie

August 26, 2005

Fight Ignorance:
Read BuzzFlash

click for more

See All The BuzzFlash Premiums

The Republican War on Science
by Chris Mooney


--> Get Your Copy Here <--

America has long prided itself on its dynamic industrial and scientific innovation. We boasted of our investment in research to produce new technology, products and medical breakthroughs, because we were a country always moving forward. Born of a revolution that rejected the stultifying constraints of Monarchist governments, we were unleashed to invent a future without constraints.

So historians, in a few years, may look back on the era of right wing Republican rule and wonder how we became saddled with a government that is intent on moving the nation backwards instead of forwards. It's as if you were a passenger in a car speeding down the expressway at 60 miles per hour and suddenly the driver threw the gear into reverse.

In this fascinating dissection of the "The Republican War on Science," author Chris Mooney skillfully explores what is behind the GOP attempt to turn a country on the cusp of innovation backwards into the Middle Ages of skepticism about science and evolution. Mooney guides the reader through this unfathomable undertaking that is an organized Republican effort to undo our national heritage of innovation and scientific advancements.

--> Get Your Copy from <--

There are really two main forces at work in the Republican right, which has reached its pinnacle of power in the reign of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Tom DeLay. On the one hand, you have the extremist religious "base" that supports Bush no matter what his latest egregious failure or betrayal is. To them, science is an enemy because it, ipso facto, deals with discoveries, research and explanations of life and the world that conflict with literal interpretations of the Bible. Forget about the canard of "Intelligent Design," which is just another Frank Luntz euphemism -- in this case for creationism. The religious right fully endorses the war on science because science is born of human research, and human research inevitably comes into conflict with the fundamentalist interpretation of divine intent.

The second major camp behind Bush's war on science is the corporate world, particularly the depletable natural resources companies who are championed by Dick Cheney. They believe that science gets in the way of their pillaging and plundering the environment for a quick profit. If science proves, as it has, that global warming is accelerating rapidly, then what good is it? It will only lead these companies -- headed by big Republican contributors -- to a short-term reduction in profits. Or so they believe.

In Bush's world, as with the war in Iraq and economic forecasts, science is only of value when the books are cooked on research so as to support a specific Bush policy that either endears him to the fringe religious right or to the "loot and pollute" corporations.

In a tragically ironic way, these two Bush groups of supporters synergistically support each other. Because if the earth's environment is truly being destroyed by unfettered industrial pillaging, it might only hasten the Armageddon so ardently anticipated by the holy rollers. Who cares what happens to our planet, if "good Christians" will soon meet in heaven?

Bush is certainly a man with a lot of wars on his hands. But Mooney's book reminds us that the Iraq War shouldn't overshadow the severe damage that the Busheviks are doing to America's extraordinary heritage of scientific accomplishment. With a few more years, they will grind it into dust.

This is an Administration that wants us to return to a period before the Age of Enlightenment, which some might call the "Dark Ages."

--> Get Your Copy Here <--


Why We Must Leave Iraq, by Larry C. Johnson

From: Common Dreams News Center

Why We Must Leave Iraq
By Larry C. Johnson

Thursday 25 August 2005

Sometimes in life there are no good options. It is part of our nature to always assume that we can fix a problem. But in life there are many problems or situations where there is no pleasant solution. If you were at the Windows on the World Restaurant in the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 9 am on September 11, 2001 you had no good options. You could choose to jump or to burn to death. Some choice.

A hard, clear-eyed look at the current situation in Iraq reveals that we are confronted with equally bad choices. If we stay we are facilitating the creation of an Islamic state that will be a client of Iran. If we pull out we are likely to leave the various ethnic groups of Iraq to escalate the civil war already underway. In my judgment we have no alternative but to pull our forces out of Iraq. Like it or not, such a move will be viewed as a defeat of the United States and will create some very serious foreign policy and security problems for us for years to come. However, we are unwilling to make the sacrifices required to achieve something approximating victory. And, what would victory look like? At a minimum we should expect a secular society where the average Iraqi can move around the country without fear of being killed or kidnapped. That is not the case nor is it on the horizon.

We may even be past the point of no return where we could impose changes that would put Iraq back on course to be a secular, democratic nation without sparking a major Shiite counteroffensive. Therefore the time has come to minimize further unnecessary loss of life by our troops and re-craft a new foreign and security policy for the Middle East.

The Current Situation

Iraq has devolved into a tripartite state, split among the Kurds in the North, the Shias in the South, and Sunni tribes in the middle. While things are relatively peaceful in the North and South, the central part of Iraq is in the grips of a defacto civil war. Most of the trained and deployed Iraqi police and military forces are Shia. Most of their operations are directed against Sunni targets. The Sunnis do not feel that they have a legitimate voice in the political process. As a result they have decided to fight.

The Shia majority, long oppressed in Iraq, are not willing, nor likely, to relinquish their new status as the tops dogs. They are receiving significant intelligence, economic, and political support from the Islamist government in Iran. The Shia also are well positioned to control a significant portion of Iraq's vast oil resources. They are not likely to share this wealth with the Sunnis.

There is no effective national government in Iraq. The current group meeting inside the Green Zone to draft the constitution has no real clout. True power is held by tribal chieftains and religious leaders scattered around country. Those leaders are playing both sides of the fence - keeping a toe in the political negotiations in Baghdad while providing money and protection to insurgents.

The insurgency in Iraq is comprised of at least 20 groups. Some of these are Baathists, some are Sunni Islamic extremists, and a few are Shia. They agree on one thing - the United States is an invader and must be expelled. While there is no single leader who can claim the status or mandate as did Ho Chi Minh during the Vietnam days, the insurgents in Iraq are as firm and serious as those we faced in Vietnam.

The continued presence of US combat forces and our operations against Iraqi civilians is recruiting new jihadists from around the Muslim world. Notwithstanding US efforts to win the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people, the sectarian strife and the images of US soldiers kicking in the doors of peoples' homes while searching for insurgents is creating more anger rather than support.

The Sunni insurgents have control of the battlefield in the central belt of Iraq. Even today the United States military cannot keep a six mile stretch of highway open that runs from downtown Baghdad to the International Airport. US diplomatic personnel and many key Iraqi Government officials live inside a security ghetto known euphemistically as the Green Zone. Even during the bleakest days of the war in South Vietnam, US diplomats and soldiers could travel freely around Saigon without fear of being killed in bomb blast or kidnapped. We don't have that luxury in Baghdad.


We could potentially defeat the Sunni insurgents if we were willing and able to deploy sufficient troops to control the key infiltration routes that run along the Tigris and Euphrates River valleys. But we are neither willing nor able. It would require at least 380,000 troops devoted exclusively to that mission. Part of that mission would entail killing anyone who moved into controlled areas, such as roadways. In adopting those kinds of rules of engagement we would certainly increase the risk of killing innocent civilians. But, we would impose effective control over those routes. That is a prerequisite to gaining control over the insurgency.

We cannot meet the increased manpower requirements in Iraq without a draft. We do not currently have enough troops in the Army and the Marine Corps to supply and sustain that size of force in the field. But, even with a draft, we would be at least 15 months away from having the new batch of trained soldiers ready to deploy. More importantly, there is no political support for a draft. In other words, we're unwilling to do what is required to even have a shot at winning.

While the insurgency is not likely to acquire sufficient strength to fight and defeat our forces directly in large set piece battles, they do have the wherewithal to destroy infrastructure and challenge our control of lines of communication. The ultimate test of a government's legitimacy is whether or not it can protect its citizens from threats foreign and domestic. Thus far the Iraqi Government has made scant progress on this front. Today's attack in central Baghdad, by a uniformed unit of masked insurgents, represents another disturbing milestone in the continued growth of the insurgency. One of these days we should not be surprised when an insurgent force breaches the Green Zone and takes some US diplomats hostage.

An ideal, but unlikely outcome, is that the secularists, who are trying desperately to craft a legitimate government, will persuade a sufficient number of Shia and Sunni leaders to turn their back on a religious-based government. Unfortunately, they don't control weapons or militia. Force remains the ultimate means for deciding a country's fate. In this case the guns are in the hands of those who favor an Islamic state over a secular nation.

If the United States tries to intervene now to compel power sharing on behalf of Sunni interests we are likely to trigger a backlash by the Shia majority. Mullahs like Moqtada al Sadr have demonstrated that they can mobilize combat units to kill Americans when their interests are challenged.

There are some indications that once we are out of the picture that the insurgency will turn on itself. As noted earlier a significant portion of the insurgents are not Islamic extremists. There is evidence that the different groups will fight each other. Sunni tribal chiefs are not likely to cede control of their territory to foreign Islamists once the United States is no longer on the scene. Our departure will likely lead to a brutal civil war, but such a war creates opportunities for the United States where it can rebuild its credibility with those forces who represent modernity and secular progress.

So What's Next?

Staying the course and enduring further casualties while the insurgency grows stronger is an insane policy. If we persist on that front we will end up strengthening the hand of Islamic extremists and their role within the Iraqi insurgency.

Our choice is simple - either we invest in the military resources and personnel required to defeat the Sunni insurgents and allow the Shia and Kurds to consolidate power or we withdraw and let the Shia, Sunni, and Kurds find their own solution. We cannot ask our soldiers and Marines to give their lives and sacrifice their bodies for a new Islamic state. It is true that our withdrawal will create a major vacuum and damage our prestige. But the alternative, i.e., that we stay and try to train up sufficient Iraqi forces and help the fledgling Islamic Government get on its feet, will leave us the favorite target of insurgents and terrorists. And after we have shed the blood of our sons and daughters in trying to create a new government that will be controlled by Islamists, those Islamists will ultimately insist that we leave Iraq and no longer meddle in their affairs.

Rosy scenario does not live in Iraq. Until we come to grips with this truth American soldiers will continue to be killed and maimed for no good reason.

Larry C. Johnson is a former Deputy Director of the US State Department's Office of Counter Terrorism, who has spoken out for censure of Bush. Earlier, he worked for the Central Intelligence Agency and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security and crisis and risk management. Johnson is CEO and co-founder of BERG Associates, LLC, an international firm that helps multinational corporations and financial institutions identify strategic opportunities, manage risks, and counter threats posed by terrorism and money laundering. He is a Republican who supported and raised funds for George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign.

Iraq Dispatches: Two "Green Zones", by Dahr Jamail

Iraq Dispatches: Two "Green Zones"

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** **

August 27, 2005

Two “Green Zones”

As the US-backed Iraqi puppet government flails about arguing over the so-called constitution, Iraq remains in a state of complete anarchy. There is no government control whatsoever, even inside the infamous“Green Zone” where the puppets seem to have tangled their strings.

Why the harsh tone for the conflagrations of the so-called Iraqi government?

Because the price paid for this unimaginably huge misadventure of the
neo-conservative driven Bush junta is being paid by real human beings
who shed real blood and cry real tears. Because well over 100,000 Iraqis
and over 1,800 US soldiers would be alive today if it wasn’t for the
puppeteers of Mr. Bush.

The coward sits behind his guards in Crawford, Texas, too afraid to deal
with the reality of the grief he and his masters have caused to
thousands of military families who have lost loved ones in Iraq.
Meanwhile, fires are raging out of control not only in Iraq, but right
here in the US.

“I ask you, Mr Bush, if you believe that this war is for “Our Freedom”
and “Our Values” why don’t you send your daughters to fight for
freedom,” wrote Fernando Suarez del Solar recently, who lost his son in
Iraq due to the lies of Mr. Bush.

He continued, “Why don’t your closest associates send their children to
defend these values? Why are the children of immigrant families dying?
Why are children from working families who are the least privileged
dying? Why Mr. Bush? Why?”

Of course Suarez del Solar knows the answer. It’s a rhetorical question
asked of a prep school punk who has never earned nor risked anything. A
smirking dimwit, who has never truly served his country, let alone
fellow human beings outside of his gangster corporate crony pals who
inserted him into the highest office…twice.

Today he chooses to ignore the fire which is spreading across the US as
he ignores the debacle in Iraq, where the US military must leave, will
leave, but are unable to leave for fear of tarnishing what is left of
the now sordid reputation of the US.

I get emails daily from sources throughout Iraq…both Iraqi and American.
Even inside US bases in the newest colony things don’t seem to be going
so well, according to an American man who is working there as support.

“I don’t know how much longer I can stand working for these idiots and
their brothers’ mothers’ sisters’ cousin,” he wrote me recently, “They
have acres of armored air conditioned trucks but won’t pay to fix the
alternators, so the drivers must use the worst of the equipment…no
armor, no air conditioning…You know the heat here, now add the heat of
an engine to that cab and throw in a few rockets, mortars, and IED’s
[roadside bombs] and it makes for a very bad day. I’m trying to expose
the corruption of the Third Country National contractors by finding them
a forum to send the truth. Prisoners, slaves, concubines. My life may be
a contradiction, but I will not compromise with evil. The enemy is
inside the wire.”

Wars for empire don’t change…and Iraq is the perfect example. Invading
armies using slave labor (foreign in this case due to their deep
distrust of Iraqis), taking advantage of those who lack privilege, the
poor, minorities, to do the dirty work while the top 1% make more money
than ever before.

And the pirates behind the US policy-making in Iraq have chosen, perhaps
to their chagrin at this point, to disregard some of the latest history
from a past occupation of Iraq.

During the previous British occupation of Iraq, the resistance began in
Fallujah. As a response the British shelled half of that city to the
ground, much like the US military did recently as part of their failed
policy. (US soldiers are now dying in and near Fallujah again.)

It was said that if the British left Iraq civil war would ignite. Just
as we are hearing today, even though state-sponsored civil war is in
full swing, thanks to the occupiers.

The rule of the British Empire over Iraq went on for three decades
before the Brits withdrew. Every year of that time found an uprising
against the occupiers…and now less than three years into the failed US
occupation, lesser uprisings occur daily.

Attacks on US forces in Iraq are now back up over 70 per day…we’ll cross
the 2,000 dead mark before too much longer, and things are about to get
much, much worse. As Iraqis continue to say, “Today is better than
tomorrow.” The same goes for US troops there.

There is a reason why a relatively recent Army survey found that 54% of
all soldiers in Iraq reported either “low” or “very low” morale.

There is also a reason why, again according to the Army, that 30% of all
soldiers returning from Iraq develop mental health problems 3-4 months
after their return.

And there is a reason why soldiers like Nicolas Prubyla come home and
join organizations like Iraq Veterans Against the War.

“Up until five days ago, I had large amounts of blood in my stool,” he
told me recently, “I’ve felt tired all the time, I have had loss of
hair…loss of the feeling in my right arm…I’m battling this stuff.”

What he is battling is exposure to uranium munitions in Iraq. He is
battling radiation sickness as the result of the most recent nuclear war
waged by the United States of America. There is a reason why over 11,000
veterans from the ’91 Gulf War are dead today, and over 250,000 others
are on medical disability. That reason (hundreds and hundreds of tons of
uranium munitions dropped on Iraq) is the same thing Prubyla is battling

“As the years go on this is going to effect a hell of a lot more people
than we think…radioactive dust and the clouds of smoke and dust from
firing the DU [depleted uranium] is getting to us now,” he said, “And I
know I’m not the only person in my unit-my boss got diagnosed with
cancer, one of my other buddies who is 23 years-old is getting
rashes….every time I do more research on DU-I’m seeing that I have all
the side effects.”

Prubyla has realized what more and more veterans understand…that the
powers that be in our military plutocracy (also known as the US
government) could care less for their well being. One of the shadow
members of the current plutocracy who is also an exalted
neo-conservative, Henry Kissinger, has referred to military men as
“dumb, stupid animals to be used” as pawns for foreign policy.

People like Prubyla get this; they have had enough, and are now doing
something about it.

Meanwhile in the Crawford “Green Zone,” Mr. Bush chooses to ignore the
resistance movement that is standing outside his fence. But that is
alright, because the hundreds of people there now protesting represent
tens (if not hundreds) of millions across the country who, like the
Iraqi resistance, are not going to go away.

More writing, photos and commentary at

Bloggers of Ontario Unite!

[ Prev 5 | Prev | Next | Next 5 | Random | List | Join ]