Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Epic Crime That Dares Not Speak Its Name, by John Pilger; Seymour Hersh Interviews Scott Ritter, more Headlines from ICH

Information Clearing House

"We are reluctant to admit that we owe our liberties to men of a type that today we hate and fear -- unruly men, disturbers of the peace, men who resent and denounce what Whitman called 'the insolence of elected persons' -- in a word, free men.": Gerald W. Johnson - (1890-1980) Source: American Freedom and the Press, 1958

A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power?: Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

Dress it as we may, feather it, daub it with gold, huzza it, and sing swaggering songs about it, what is war, nine times out of ten, but murder in uniform?: Douglas Jerrold

The Epic Crime That Dares Not Speak Its Name
By John Pilger

At the Nuremberg trial of the Nazi leadership, counts one and two, "Conspiracy to wage aggressive war and waging aggressive war", refer to "the common plan or conspiracy". These are defined in the indictment as "the planning, preparation, initiation and waging of wars of aggression, which were also wars in violation of international treaties, agreements and assurances". A wealth of evidence is now available that George Bush, Blair and their advisers did just that. The leaked minutes from the infamous Downing Street meeting in July 2002 alone reveal that Blair and his war cabinet knew that it was illegal.

Declaration of Dependence and the Fall of the American Empire:

The United States currently has a military presence in 192 nations and troops stationed in 135 of them. This means the United States has a military presence in just over 70% of the world’s nations, making the United States far more influential and widespread than any empire before it.

Jim Lobe: The strange saga of Cheney and the "nuclear threat":

Cheney's initial public attempts to raise the nuclear nightmare did not in fact begin with his August 2002 barrage of nuclear speeches, but rather five months before that, just after his return from a tour of Arab capitals where he had tried in vain to gin up local support for military action against Iraq.

U.S. Supreme Court Is Asked to Consider Padilla Terrorism Case :

Jose Padilla, held for three years as an ``enemy combatant'' in the war on terrorism, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to limit the government's power to detain American citizens as terror suspects without charges.

Charge Him or Release Him

Jose Padilla : U.S. Citizen Imprisoned Without Trial or Charges for 3 Years and 171 Days

"Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison." : Henry David Thoreau

Mother of slain US soldier arrested in Iraq war protest:

US police arrested Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq who has become a prominent war opponent, along with two dozen people for demonstrating without authoritization in front of the White House.

Iraqis Forced to Take in Uninvited Troops:

The Marines call it a necessary evil — taking over houses and buildings for military use. For the Iraqis who become unwilling hosts, it can be anything from a mild inconvenience to a disruption that tears apart lives.

Where is the Grand Inquisitor When You Need Him?

A Dead Civilian a Day Keeps the Terrorists at Bay?

By Jason Miller

"The new doctrine was not one of preemptive war, which arguably falls within some stretched interpretation of the UN Charter, but rather a doctrine that doesn't begin to have any grounds in international law, namely, preventive war. That is, the United States will rule the world by force, and if there is any challenge to its domination---whether it is perceived in the distance, invented, imagined, or whatever--then the United States will have the right to destroy that challenge before it becomes a threat. That's preventive war, not preemptive war."

Fabricated Links?:

A secret draft CIA report raises new questions about a principal argument used by the Bush administration to justify the war in Iraq: the claim that Saddam Hussein was "harboring" notorious terror leader Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi prior to the American invasion.

Interview of Scott Ritter by Seymour Hersh:

The acclaimed journalist interviews weapons inspecter Scott Ritter on KPFA's Against the Grain.

Audio. MP3

Oil-for-food probe implicates 2,000 firms:

It detailed the manipulation of the program by companies around the world as well as individuals, groups and governments and made clear that nearly half of all the companies that took part in the program made illegal payments.

Another document, dripping with blood, surfaces in House of Death case:

In the case, dubbed the “House of Death,” an informant, under the supervision of U.S. law enforcers, is accused of participating in torturing and murdering a dozen people in a house in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juárez.

U.S. Soldiers Involved in Drug Smuggling Ring:

A U.S. army sergeant fighting the war on drugs in Colombia was recently sentenced to six years in prison for using military aircraft to smuggle cocaine into the United States.

Arar tortured in Syria, report determines:

An independent factfinder says there is no doubt that Maher Arar was tortured in Syria and that the horrible ordeal has had a devastating effect on the Ottawa software engineer and his family.

** Read more articles and news that matters here: Information Clearing House

Tomgram: De la Vega, Bush's War, a Case of Presidential Fraud?


[Note to Tomdispatch readers: For Elizabeth de la Vega's analysis of the Libby indictment, click here.]

It's the day after, of course. I. Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, immediately praised by the President ("Scooter has worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people and sacrificed much in the service to this country."), his resignation accepted with "deep regret" by the Vice President ("He has given many years of his life to public service and has served our nation tirelessly and with great distinction."), is gone. David Addington, Cheney's counsel and an extreme believer in unfettered presidential power, is evidently at the top of the list to succeed him as vice-presidential chief of staff. Addington, who was involved in Cheney's Plame discussions, has a Cheneyesque pedigree. As the Washington Post's Dana Milbank described him in October 2004, "Where there has been controversy over the past four years, there has often been Addington. He was a principal author of the White House memo justifying torture of terrorism suspects. He was a prime advocate of arguments supporting the holding of terrorism suspects without access to courts. Addington also led the fight with Congress and environmentalists over access to information about corporations that advised the White House on energy policy… Colleagues say Addington stands out for his devotion to secrecy in an administration noted for its confidentiality." (For the larger administration picture, as it relates to the Plame case, check out the latest graphic at, Dick and Don's Cabal.)

Meanwhile, Special Counsel Fitzgerald's case remains "open," as he indicated rather quietly in his news conference yesterday. On the significance of this, oddly enough, James Moore, author of Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential, and Ann Coulter seem to agree. As Moore puts it:

"Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald must surely just be at the beginning of rendering justice. An indictment or two will hardly serve to answer the critical questions. The leak and any lies to the grand jury were most likely motivated by a deep and abiding fear that a much greater crime was at risk of being uncovered. Karl Rove is vindictive, yes. But he is not stupid. Rove would never risk treason unless he thought it served a political purpose. And this was the most important political purpose of all: protecting his most precious asset, George W. Bush."

And here's Coulter:

"O'BRIEN: So there you have it, Karl Rove apparently escaping indictment, but that's the good news. The bad news is, on goes the investigation. What are your thoughts on that one?

COULTER: That is like the worse possible outcome… Let's just get it done one way or the other this Friday. Either they get indicted and they leave, or they're not indicted and it's over. To stay under investigation --- that is not the best possible outcome."

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

The Iran-Israel Cold War

opendemocracy.netThis article originally appeared on under a Creative Commons licence. To view the original article, please click here.

28 - 10 - 2005

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s new president, has called for the extinction of Israel. But the Islamic Republic and the Jewish state were not always enemies, explains Trita Parsi.

The inexperienced Iranian president has done it again. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s comments in a speech on 26 October – before an audience of 4,000 students attending a Tehran conference on “The World Without Zionism” – have understandably been met by widespread international condemnation. Understandably so, for Ahmadinejad talked of “wiping the state of Israel off the map" and prediected that “the new wave of attacks in Palestine will erase this stain from the face of Islam."

The question is whether his explosive remarks indicate a more aggressive Iranian policy against the Jewish state or whether they were merely another sign of Ahmadinejad’s inability to grasp the implications of his proclamations.

After the Iranian revolution of 1979, the Ayatollah Khomeini-led Iran of the 1980s routinely called for Israel’s destruction. In practice, however, Iranian strategic interests during the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88 coincided on many points with those of Israel, and Iran was very careful to avoid direct confrontation with Israel in this period.

“We never wanted to get directly involved in the fights against Israel,” Alavi Tabar, an Iranian revolutionary close to Khomeini, explained to me over tea and cookies at his Tehran office in 2004. Iranian passivity on Israel had everything to do with the war with Iraq and Iran’s strategic imperatives.

Abbas Maleki, Iran’s former deputy foreign and education minister (1989-97), told me: “Iranian decision-makers were very clever not to substitute or replace Israel as a direct threat to Iran. Because at that time, Iraq was the threat.”

Between interest and ideology

Indeed, the Israelis recognised the difference between Iran’s rhetoric and its policy, and treated Iran as a potential regional ally – regardless of the nature of its regime and its rhetoric. While Khomeini called Israel a cancerous tumor, the Israelis – and particularly Shimon Peres, successively Israel’s prime minister and foreign minister (1984-88) – were lobbying Washington to boost Iran’s defenses and bring Tehran “back into the western fold.”

In 1982, Ariel Sharon (then Israeli’s defence minister) proudly announced on NBC that Israel would continue to sell arms to Iran – in spite of an American ban on such sales. It was then that Iran routinely introduced resolutions to expel Israel from the United Nations – to which the Israelis responded by selling more arms to the Khomeini regime.

In that period, Iran’s strategic imperatives and its ideological objectives clashed – and time and time again, the ideology of the revolutionaries was sidelined by realist calculations. As a result, Iran huffed and puffed, but did very little against Israel. All of this changed by the mid-1990s as the cold war ended in anti-climax. Iran’s ideological and strategic goals began to converge, and as a result Iranian rhetoric against Israel began to be accompanied by anti-Israeli actions.

The Iranians operated against Israel in order to defeat what they perceived to be the likely consequence of Arab-Israeli peace and the materialisation of Peres’s vision for a “new middle east”, which entailed Iran’s prolonged isolation and exclusion from regional affairs.

According to Martin Indyk, the brainchild behind the “dual containment” policy, Tehran’s perception was correct. “The more we succeeded in making peace, the more isolated [Iran and the rouge states] would become, the more we succeeded in containing [Iran], the more possible it would be to make peace. So they had an incentive to do us in on the peace process in order to defeat our policy of containment,” he explained to me.

The Israeli reversal

But it wasn’t Iran that turned the Israeli-Iranian cold war warm – it was Israel. In October 1992, prior to Iran’s material support for Palestinian rejectionists, the Shimon Peres/Yitzhak Rabin government undertook a major campaign to depict Iran and Shi’a Islamic fundamentalism as a global threat.

Even though Iran was weak militarily after the devastating war with Iraq, Rabin told Israel’s Knesset (parliament) in 1993 that Israel’s “struggle against murderous Islamic terror” was “meant to awaken the world which is lying in slumber” of the dangers of Shi’a fundamentalism. “Death is at our doorstep,” Rabin said of Iran – though he only five years earlier dismissed Iran’s rhetoric as inconsequential.

The Israeli reversal on Iran was partially motivated by the fear that its strategic importance would diminish significantly in the post-cold war middle east if the then president (1989-97) Hashemi Rafsanjani’s outreach to the Bush Sr administration was successful. Also, the geopolitical map of the middle east had changed. Israel no longer needed Iran to balance Iraq and the Arabs – rather, Iran was now a potentially powerful regional player who could become a threat. And according to Israel’s military doctrine, potential threats are to be treated as existing threats.

More than a year after Israel’s efforts to isolate and weaken Iran began, Tehran embarked on a retaliation campaign. Itamar Rabinovich, a close advisor to Rabin, told me that “Iran began to engage in anti-Israeli global terrorism with the destruction in Argentina, in 1994. Terrorism as a global issue became a big issue from our point of view with Iran since 1994.”

The soldier-politician Amnon Lipkin-Shahak verified this: “The first time we witness Iranian fingerprints in activities against, not Israelis, but more Jews than Israel was in Argentina. This was the first time [that] there was a clear Iranian fingerprint. Suddenly we saw more and more indirect Iranian involvement in what was going on inside Israel.”

Iran targeted the peace process precisely because it was the weakest link in what Tehran perceived as a US-Israeli strategy of building a new middle east order based on Iran’s exclusion and isolation.

Between rhetoric and reality

There are similarities between Iran’s strategic situation in 1994 and today. Tehran is yet again facing intensified United States efforts to isolate it through the threat of a Security Council referral over its nuclear plans (in 1994, the issue was the peace process and dual containment). But the key difference is that Iran today has many tools at its disposal to counter such isolation efforts. In 1994, Iran only had the peace process to undermine; today it has Iraq, Afghanistan, and the oil card.

The Mohammad Khatami years (1997-2005) in Iran saw a recognition that Iran’s radical position and statements had contributed to the very same isolation Iran was trying to escape from. In consequence, Khatami considerably lowered Iran’s rhetoric, realising that the country could not expect the international community to make a distinction between Iran’s rhetoric and its operational policy.

After all, escalating its opposition to Israel would only add to Iran’s headaches and strengthen the case of a Security Council referral. Even if Iran only intensified its rhetoric on Israel and refrained from action, it would not matter – Iran would face greater international resolve to sanction, isolate and distrust it. In this light, Ahmadinejad’s speech is a gift for those who aim to put Iran on the Security Council agenda, as the unprecedented reaction of the Europeans clearly indicates.

Ahmadinejad’s comments are irresponsible and repulsive, but there is little to suggest that they reflect a deliberate policy shift. Rather, the historic pattern of the Israeli-Iranian rivalry indicates that the former Tehran mayor committed yet another faux pas in the international arena.

Again, the ineptitude of Tehran has proven to be the primary source of Iran’s many problems

Trita Parsi is researching for a doctorate at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

Also by Trita Parsi in openDemocracy, a contribution to a post-election symposium, “Iran’s conservative triumph” (June 2005)

[link to original article, which contains full reference links]

Friday, October 28, 2005

BuzzFlash Review: "How the Right Stole the 2004 Election...."
Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They'll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them)
by Mark Crispin Miller Review (excerpt)

"Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election and Why They'll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them)" is Miller's meticulous and thorough account how the numbers just don't add up to a Bush reelection. Miller's sharp analysis points in one direction: George W. Bush did not rightfully win the 2004 election and Bush's "victory" was borne out of vote suppression, manipulating the electoral process, fraud and theft.

Mark Crispin Miller, author of "The Bush Dyslexicon" is a leading public intellectual and professor of media studies at New York University. He is also one of BuzzFlash's most admired thinkers and writers today.

"Fooled Again" demonstrates Miller's uncanny ability to weave circumstantial evidence together almost as damning as a smoking gun. For example, Miller highlights Bush's dismal approval ratings all under 50% days before the 2004 election as well as record democratic voter registration and voter turnout. He debunks the myth that waves of evangelicals came out of the woodworks to carry Bush to victory or account for the host of statistical miracles that no pollster can seem to adequately explain. And Miller astutely observes that it was the progressive and liberal bases that were united whereas the conservative base was fractured. Miller's book is best thought of as a closing argument, and if one approaches the topic like a juror with an open mind, its difficult to conceive of any other verdict for the Republican Party other than guilty as charged for stealing the 2004 election.

Read the Complete Review >>>

Other Reviews

"Fooled Again is a must-read for anybody concerned about the health and preservation of our democracy."
-- Joseph Wilson, author of The Politics of Truth

"Miller gathers enough well-documented evidence that anyone who cares about fair play should find this book revelatory."
-- Publishers Weekly

Order Your Copy Today and Support >>>

Tomgram: De la Vega, a Prosecutor, Considers Libby's Indictment


[Note to Tomdispatch Readers: Tomorrow, I'll be releasing on-line a major piece by Elizabeth de la Vega, the cover story of the next Nation magazine. It considers how to hold the Bush administration accountable for fraud for taking us into the war in Iraq on false premises. So consider the De la Vega piece below a teaser for tomorrow's foray into Bush administration skullduggery.]

Implosion update: And so they fall: Tom DeLay just weeks back. Harriet Miers yesterday. I. Lewis ("Scooter") Libby today. Prepare yourself. It's going to be a long, hard dive into deep waters that should, sooner or later, lead us back to the beginning. Think of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's indictment of the Vice President's Chief of Staff as but a judicial wade-in-the-water; and yet the charges against Libby already bring to mind the cover-up charges that unraveled the Nixon White House during the Watergate era. With this indictment, Americans begin their official trip into the sordid history of the planning and selling of the invasion and occupation of Iraq via a shadow government -- what Lawrence B. Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, recently called a "cabal," set up out of Dick Cheney's office and Donald Rumsfeld's neocon-ridden Pentagon.

If you want to bone up on this story, you might check out reporter Jim Lobe's August Tomdispatch piece on the timing and pattern of the Cheney-inspired propaganda for war, "a seamless, boundary-less operation to persuade the American people that Saddam Hussein represented an intolerable threat to their national security." And don't forget the Downing Street Memos either, or those mysterious, crudely forged Niger uranium documents -- Laura Rozen is on the case (scroll down) -- that led to the President's infamous 16 words in his 2003 State of the Union address. Now we know as well that the FBI (along with the Italian press) continues to investigate those forgeries, including a mysterious September 2002 meeting between Nicolo Pollari, chief of Italy's military intelligence service (who evidently brought the forged documents directly to the White House after they were rejected by the CIA) and then Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. Before we're done, truth might find itself busting out all over. These days, even the New York Times, freed from its imprisonment in Judy Miller's jail cell, has been breaking front-page stories worth reading on the bum's rush to war this administration gave the American people and the machinations that followed.

Not so long ago, "tipping points" were things that Washington officials and top military commanders announced were about to happen or had just happened in embattled Iraq. Now, the "tipping points" that never quite tipped there seem to have made their way home. Already, as Thomas DeFrank, Washington Bureau Chief for the New York Daily News, reports, "some of Bush's most trusted advisers believe his political viability is dangerously near a tipping point." Former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega brings her experienced eye to bear on the breaking events of today, putting them into perspective and suggesting what we should -- and should not -- expect as we await the Libby trial and as the Fitzgerald investigation continues. Tom

Smoking Guns and Red Herrings
What Should We Expect Now that Fitzgerald Has Announced the Indictment of Lewis "Scooter" Libby?

By Elizabeth de la Vega

The Grand Jury supervised by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has returned an indictment charging Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide and reputed "alter-ego" I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby with perjury, obstruction of justice, and false statements to the grand jury. But this indictment does not end the story; rather, a close reading suggests that these charges are most likely merely a chapter in a long and tragic story. Here, from a former federal prosecutor, are thoughts about four things we should expect, four things we shouldn't, and one question we should all be asking.

We should not expect a final resolution any time soon. Complex cases usually take years to proceed through the courts. In addition, the indictment released today describes a chronology of close to two years and a complicated set of facts. Obviously, Fitzgerald is taking a "big picture" approach to this case. This mirrors his approach to previous cases. In December 2003, for example, Fitzgerald announced the indictment of former Illinois Governor George Ryan on corruption charges in Operation Safe Road, which began in 1998. In that year, the investigation of a fatal accident revealed that truckers were purchasing commercial licenses from state officials. Indictments were announced in stages, culminating in the indictment of Ryan, who was the 66th defendant in the case. In the Libby case, the allegations suggest he was merely one of many officials -- including an unnamed Under Secretary of State and "Official A," a Senior White House Official -- who were involved! in revealing classified information about Joseph Wilson's wife Valerie Plame. No other individuals are named as defendants, and they should not be considered so at this point, but the complexity of the indictment suggests that the investigation may follow a pattern similar to that used by Fitzgerald in the Illinois corruption case.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Former Head of Abu Ghraib Admits She Broke Geneva Conventions, Blames Top Brass

From: Democracy Now!

* Col. Janis Karpinski, the Former Head of Abu Ghraib, Admits She Broke the
Geneva Conventions But Says the Blame "Goes All the Way to The Top² *

Karpinski, the highest-ranking officer demoted in connection with the
torture scandal, speaks out about what happened at the Abu Ghraib prison.

She discusses:

* How the military hid "ghost detainees" from the International Red Cross in
violation of international law;
* Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller calling for the Gitmoization of Abu Ghraib and
for prisoners to be "treated like dogs";
* Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's secret memos on interrogation policies
that hung on the prison¹s walls;
* The military¹s use of private (and possibly Israeli) interrogators;
* Her dealings with the International Red Cross;
* Why she feels, as a female general, she has been scapegoated for a scandal
that has left the military and political leadership unscathed; and
* Calls for Donald Rumsfeld, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, Alberto Gonzalez and
Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller to be held accountable for what happened.


"God Without Religion" Wins 'Best Books 2005' Award

Santa Fe, NM (PRWEB) October 3, 2005 -- The groundbreaking book God Without Religion: Questioning Centuries of Accepted Truths by Sankara Saranam, with a foreword by Arun Gandhi, has been named winner of the Best Books 2005 Spirituality award. Heading a selection of finalists composed of such distinguished titles as Jewish with Feeling: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Practice by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, God Without Religion advocates an inner approach to expansive spirituality.

God Without Religion offers a much-needed bridge from dogmatic belief systems to progressive spirituality, offering seventeen techniques to help readers develop a direct understanding of God. "It is time for new teachers, and author Sankara Saranam's message will bring much peace and understanding into a world so desperately in need of it," says Jeffery Bowen, president and publisher of "It is with great honor that the editors of award God Without Religion the coveted 'Best Spirituality Book of 2005' award."

Selected as September's featured book on, God Without Religion has reached bookshelves at a crucial time when -- bombarded by ongoing national and international crises and tired of the divisiveness spawned by organized religion -- many people are actively seeking new ways to worship. A recent Newsweek/Beliefnet poll found that 79 percent of Americans, especially those under age sixty, describe themselves as "spiritual, though not necessarily religious," while almost 66 percent pray every day and nearly 33 percent meditate. "Times are desperately calling for a return to the concept of God as the substance of self-awareness shining through the eyes of all," says Saranam. "When God is recognized not as a punitive being outside ourselves but as an expanded inner sense of self, we automatically develop an all-inclusive spirituality that leaves no room for prejudice, blame, or condemnation of others."

** Saranam, an ascetic, mystic, scholar, and teacher, is founder of The Pranayama Institute. He will be a speaker at the Gandhian Conference for Nonviolence at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee on October 14 and 15. For more information about his speaking engagements and teachings, please visit or

# # #

Press Contact: Hillary Welles
Phone: 505-231-0806

More Information:

Thursday, October 27, 2005

News Headlines from BuzzFlash, October 26, 2005

Fight Ignorance: Read

Missing the Katrina Moment: The Democratic leadership seems somehow unable to grasp the huge gap in outrage between them and their base.

Saving Davis-Bacon; "the President will overturn his Gulf Coast wage cut on November 8. This was a direct result of intense pressure from Democrats and labor and religious leaders."

David Swanson: Why I'm Getting Arrested at the White House Today -- A BuzzFlash Guest Contribution

Cindy Sheehan: A Grim Milestone -- A Guest Contribution

Iraq's War Dead; This week's grim milestone, 2,000 American soldiers killed in Iraq, doesn't begin to scratch the surface of the real human costs of this war.

Bush Lied, Soldiers Keep Dying.
2,002U.S. Military Fatalities in Iraq (thru today)
15,220 U.S. Military Maimed in Iraq (Last DoD Update: 14-Oct-05)
30,098Iraqis Reported Killed (thru today)

Bernie Weiner: Patrick Fitzgerald's Diary: Watching Them Flop, Squirm, Flip -- A Guest Contribution

George Bush's Nightly Prayer - A BuzzFlash Reader Contribution

On Senate Floor, U.S. Military Deaths Reaching 2,000 In Iraq Is Acknowledged -- Verse-Case Scenario by Tony Peyser

The Sesame Wing -- Editorial Cartoon by Tony Peyser

Further Proof The Bushies Need More Irony In Their Diet -- Verse-Case Scenario by Tony Peyser

Barbara's Daily Buzz

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Book Review: Jesus Land, A Memoir, by Julia Scheeres

** This is a BuzzFlash Review of a new book by California journalist Julia Scheeres. She writes about growing up in a fundamentalist Christian home. She must have had a sheltered if somewhat narrow childhood, so you think.... Well, that couldn't be further from the truth.... --- Annamarie

Jesus Land, A Memoir
by Julia Scheeres


This memoir by a California journalist of her childhood with cruel, brutal Christian fundamentalist parents is profoundly revealing and moving on many levels. It's not meant as a political commentary, but one can't help continually comparing the public hypocrisy of the Christian right with the private Hell that Julia Scheeres endured, along with her adopted brothers, at the hands of "Jesus loving" parents who were -- in effect -- "God fearing" child abusers.

The cumulative result of living in a world where devotion to Jesus was best evidenced by wanton cruelty would have been devastating to us at BuzzFlash. But Julia Sheeres survived to become a San-Francisco based journalist and to write this remarkable recollection of her upbringing.....

Read the complete review here:

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Tomgram: Will the Bush Administration Implode?

Bush's October Surprise
By Tom Engelhardt

Those in the anti-fascist struggle of the 1930s who went off to fight in the Spanish Civil War were later termed "premature antifascists." Perhaps, in the same spirit, I might be considered a premature Bush-administration implodist.

On February 1, 2004, reviewing the week just passed, I imagined us trapped in "some new reality show in which we were all to be locked in with an odd group of [administration] jokesters," and then wrote:

"When we finally emerge will there be a prize for the survivors? Will we discover, for instance, that our President and his administration have headed down a path of slow-motion implosion…?"

On February 18, 2004, my optimism briefly surging, I imagined the future as a movie trailer (inviting readers back for the main attraction that spring or summer) and offered this synopsis of the future film -- the wild fowl references being to Dick Cheney's hunting habits, then in the news -- with:

"a wall-to-wall cast of characters. Far too many to absorb in a split second including our President, Vice President, CIA officials, a supreme court justice, spooks and unnamed sources galore, FBI agents, prosecutors, military men, congressional representatives and their committees, grand juries, fuming columnists, an ex-ambassador, journalists and bloggers, sundry politicians, rafts of neocons…, oil tycoons, and of course assorted wild fowl (this being the Bush administration). If the director were Oliver Stone, it might immediately be titled: The Bush Follies… And the first scene would open -- like that old Jean Luc Goddard movie Weekend -- with a giant traffic jam. It would be epic. All of political Washington in potential scandal gridlock. And (as with Weekend) horns would be blaring, drivers and passengers arguing. It would be obvious that the norms of civilization were falling fast and people were threatening to cannibalize each other."!

Sounds a bit like Washington awaiting the Fitzgerald indictments this week, doesn't it? For good measure, I added, "The Bush administration has been in trouble ever since its arrogance met its incompetence at Intelligence Pass last summer; ever since Plame Gate began…"

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

** Tom Engelhardt, who runs the Nation Institute's ("a regular antidote to the mainstream media"), is the co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The End of Victory Culture, a history of American triumphalism in the Cold War. His novel, The Last Days of Publishing, has just come out in paperback. Both books make wonderful, interesting reading. Check them out, and with the holidays coming for some of us, they make excellent, thoughtful gifts, after you've purchased your own, of course! --- Annamarie

Iraq Dispatches from Dahr Jamail: Mr. "Bring 'em on"

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website: **

October 26, 2005

Mr. “Bring ‘em on”

Yesterday while speaking to a group of military wives in Washington, Mr.
Bush said, “This war will require more sacrifice, more time and more

Of course this speech of pre-emptive consolation to the news of the
2,000th death was not in vain, as the announcement came but a few hours
after his speech at the air force base.

I wonder how many of those military wives recall what Mr. Bush said
1,794 dead US soldiers ago when he proudly announced, “Bring ‘em on”
back on July 2, 2003?

Of course Mr. Bush went off yesterday about spreading freedom and laying
foundations for peace as the bombs continue to drop in Iraq. He even
went so far as to claim that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is the head of the
Iraqi resistance.

“Each loss of life is heartbreaking,” he told the wives. But how would
he know? A person who was a deserter during Vietnam and who would never
allow his daughters to serve in Iraq, how could he know?

So now we continue the death march towards the 3,000 mark, with the
announcement of another dead US soldier bringing the official tally to
2,001. With 159,000 US soldiers in Iraq now (remember when it was
138,000?) the tally will only continue to grow.

Yet the number of dead US soldiers still pales in comparison to the
number of Iraqis dying, including Iraqi police and soldiers.

Even today two Iraqi policemen (IP) were killed in Ramadi when their
police station was attacked, while in the “model city” of Fallujah,
three IP’s were killed by a roadside bomb.

Also today, four gagged and bound bodies of three Iraqis wearing army
uniforms and one of a contractor working with a US company were found
with gunshots in their heads and chests.

Mr. Bush uses one of his favorite words, “resolve,” despite the fact
that two days ago one of the largest suicide bombings to occur in
Baghdad detonated between the Palestine and Sheraton hotels. The bomb,
transported inside a cement truck, was carefully driven through a hole
in the perimeter concrete barrier which was created by a car bomb just
minutes earlier.

Reported in most major media outlets as an attack against journalists,
what wasn’t reported is that there is a large number of security
contractors (read-mercenaries) who use these hotels, and it is well
known in Baghdad that the penthouse of the Sheraton is used by
contractors and CIA operatives. That very room has been the target of
rocket attacks as far back as December, 2003.

Thus, aside from targeting the US government-funded Al-Hurra TV station
and the Fox propaganda outlet in the 18-story Palestine Hotel,
journalists were exploited by the attack which generated massive media

Killing at least 17 people, the attack sent a very clear message to the
occupiers of Iraq-nowhere is safe; even in one of the most heavily
guarded hotel complexes in Baghdad they are completely vulnerable.

The idea of political stability seems more of a pipe dream in Iraq now
than it did before the recent vote on the constitution, which has been
rejected by Arab Sunni leaders who called the process “fraudulent”

Hinting at things to come in December, Sunni leader Saleh Mutlaq told
reporters; “Violence is not the only solution, if politics offers
solutions so that we can move in that direction. But there is very
little hope that we can make any gains in the elections.”

Hussein al-Falluji, another prominent Sunni politician said the
referendum was manipulated by Washington and added, “We all know that
this referendum was fraud conducted by an electoral commission that is
not independent. It is controlled by the occupying Americans and it
should step down before elections in December.”

He and other Sunnis have called for a truly independent election
commission (the head of Iraq’s current electoral commission was
appointed by the US) for the December election, but added, “Politics is
linked directly to security on the ground. The situation can only get
worse now. I have just prayed to God to expose the truth about what is
happening in Iraq.”

What will it take for a US withdrawal? Because with this
“administration” in power, there is a guaranteed three more years of
occupation in Iraq; and by then, 2,000 dead US soldiers will not seem
like such a large number.

(c)2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media . Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.

More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at:

* You can visit to subscribe to the email list and RSS feeds.

** Note: All of Dahr Jamail's outstanding dispatches are republished here with the kind, explicit permission of the author. You will always find a link to Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches on every page of this site, under LINKS. --- Annamarie

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

ICH: Poll Shows Iraqis Back Attacks on UK, US Forces, and More News

** This is one of the wonderful newsletters I regularly receive from Tom Feeley of Information Clearing House, who kindly sends them out with links to important news you will NOT find elsewhere. After reading the very interesting and informative articles below, you will want to sign-up for regular ICH news alerts to arrive in your inbox. These important news items are painstakingly and diligently culled by Tom from many solid sources around the globe and by seasoned contributors, covering important events, news and issues. If you like what you read and find it informative -- as I certainly do -- please donate to ICH to help keep up with hosting costs of the site. You will always find a link to Information Clearing House in the LINKS section of all of my pages. --Annamarie

From: Information Clearing House
Date: October 23,2005

"It is never right to do wrong or to requite wrong with wrong, or when we suffer evil to defend ourselves by doing evil in return." : Socrates 469 - 399 BC

Crime Against Peace: A basic provision of the Charter is that to plan, prepare, initiate or wage a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements, and assurances, or to conspire or participate in a common plan to do so is a crime: Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson
Link Here

There are particular moments in public affairs when the people, stimulated by some irregular passion, or some illicit advantage, or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men, may call for measures which they themselves will afterwards be most ready to lament and condemn. In these critical moments, how salutary will be the interference of some temperate and respectable body of citizens, in order to check the misguided career and to suspend the blow meditated by the people against themselves, until reason, justice and truth can regain their authority over the public mind: James Madison. Federalist No. 63.

"I'm often amazed at the way politicians, who spend hours poring over opinion poll results in a desperate attempt to discover what the public thinks, are certain they know precisely what God's views are on everything.": Simon Hoggart

"Going to church no more makes you a Christian than sleeping in your garage makes you a car.": Garrison Keiler

To read this newsletter online



Charge Him or Release Him

"Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison." : Henry David Thoreau

Jose Padilla : U.S. Citizen Imprisoned Without Trial or Charges for 3 Years and 168 Days

Poll shows Iraqis back attacks on UK, US forces :

Eighty-two percent of those polled said they were "strongly opposed" to the presence of the troops.

U.S. Military Claims To Have Killed 20 "Insurgents" Near Syrian Border:

The U.S. military said soldiers and warplanes killed 20 insurgents and destroyed five "safe houses" in Iraq.

Ten Iraqis, including seven members of Iraqi security forces killed:

Ten Iraqis, including seven members of Iraqi security forces, were killed in various insurgent attacks in the country, security sources said. An Iraqi civilian was killed and eleven others wounded in ...Kirkuk


Iraqi policeman, kids among latest victims:

A roadside bomb struck a car being driven by a police colonel in northern Iraq on Sunday, killing him and his two sons as well as two young girls nearby,

Four U.S. Contractors Killed in Iraq :

An angry mob of insurgents attacked a convoy of American contractors last month when they got lost in a town north of Baghdad, killing four and wounding two, the U.S. military said on Sunday.

Iraqi bomb builders learn fast, exact heavy toll:

More than two years after U.S. leaders dismissed insurgents as "dead-enders," their attacks are more lethal than ever -- and the American military death toll since the March 2003 invasion is approaching 2,000.

Grieving Iraq family sees no end to “rivers of blood”:

Mentally ill since childhood, he used to wander the streets of Baghdad alone. One day he chanced on some American soldiers who shot him dead after he took fright at a bullet fired over his head.

Poll shows Iraqis back attacks on UK, US forces :

Eighty-two percent of those polled said they were "strongly opposed" to the presence of the troops.

Secret MoD poll: Iraqis support attacks on British troops:

65 per cent of Iraqi citizens support attacks and fewer than one per cent think Allied military involvement is helping to improve security in their country.

Officials: al-Zarqawi has expanded terror network to 40 nations:

U.S. intelligence officials say Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has expanded his terrorism campaign in Iraq to extremists in two dozen terror groups scattered across almost 40 countries, creating a network that rivals Osama bin Laden’s.

US diplomat points to neocon ideology behind Iraq war:

A veteran US diplomat who served as a government adviser in Iraq says US policy in the country at the initial stage of the occupation was driven by neoconservative ideology rather than careful preparation and clear understanding of issues.

Judith Miller's Dirty Little Secret:

The neo-con cabal and the Israeli lobby are an instrumental force in framing the foreign policy of the United States towards the Middle East. Other political forces had considerable influence in charting the path to war – including the equally formidable Saudi lobby and the usual suspects in the military industrial complex.


Leak case returns spotlight to rationale for Iraq war :

The legal and political stakes are of the highest order, but the investigation into the disclosure of a covert CIA officer's identity is also just one skirmish in the continuing battle over the Bush administration's justification for the war in Iraq.

Frank Rich : Karl and Scooter's Excellent Adventure :

We don't yet know whether Lewis (Scooter) Libby or Karl Rove has committed a crime, but the more we learn about their desperate efforts to take down a bit player like Joseph Wilson, the more we learn about the real secret they wanted to protect: the "why" of the war.


Prosecutor got OK to expand leak probe in '04:

In a letter dated Feb. 6, 2004, then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey said that he was clarifying, "at your (Fitzgerald's) request," the added authority to investigate and prosecute "crimes committed with intent to interfere with your investigation."

Islamists and Mujahedeen Secure Victory in Afghan Vote :

More than a month after the elections, nearly all provisional results have finally been released for Afghanistan's Parliament and provincial assemblies, cementing a victory for Islamic conservatives and the jihad fighters involved in the wars of the past two decades.

'We have proof UK bombed us' :

Iran said yesterday it has proof that Britain was involved in a double bomb attack last week that killed six people and injured more than 100 in Ahvaz.

Blair’s New Tune on Iran:

British officials used to be certain that a military attack on Iran was out of the question. Now, it seems, they’re not so sure.

Syria hits out against Hariri murder claims :

In the first official reaction to emerge from Damascus, Syrian foreign ministry adviser Riad Daudi told a press conference his government rejected the report, which was biased and aimed at hurting Syria. He said the conclusions were 'without any foundation'.
Story Here

Pivotal Witness in Mehlis Report is a Convicted Swindler :

The alleged intelligence agent al-Sadik, 42, on whose testimony a considerable portion of the investigation is based, has been convicted of embezzlement and fraud, among other crimes. Even within the UN Commission investigating the murder of Lebanon’s former Prime Minster Rafik al-Hariri, which presented its report on Thursday, there is doubt of the credibility of the Syrian witness.

CIA likely to avoid charges in most prisoner deaths:

Despite signs of CIA involvement in at least 4 prisoner deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, CIA workers appear likely to escape criminal charges in all but one case.

Police to probe US ‘torture flights’ landing in Scotland:

SCOTTISH police are to launch an investigation into CIA “torture flights” which fly in and out of Glasgow and Prestwick airports, ferrying kidnapped war on terror suspects around the world.

'I stand by my words. And even more, I stand by my right to say them...' :

When the acclaimed Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk recalled his country's mass killing of Armenians, he was forced to flee abroad. As he prepares to accept a peace award in Frankfurt, he tells Maureen Freely why he had to break his nation's biggest taboo
Story here

Bush is nothing if not consummate con man:

The late and wonderfully caustic George Burns used to flick the ash off his cigar and say: "The secret of success in show business is sincerity. Once you learn how to fake that, you've got it made, kid."

Report: Texas Overpaid Miers in Land Sale :

Texas officials paid Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers' family more than $100,000 for a small piece of land in 2000 - 10 times the land's worth - despite the state's objections to the way the price was determined, Knight Ridder Newspapers reported Saturday.

Report: Contractor overcharged U.S. gov't.:

In audits obtained by the Washington Post, federal auditors found Unisys overbilled taxpayers for some 171,000 hours' worth of labor and overtime by charging up to $131 an hour for employees who were paid no more than $46.43 an hour.

Vermont GOP candidate gets caught lying through his teeth:

Here's where it gets interesting. Freyne writes "So, Rich Tarrant, the wealthy, wannabe U.S. senator from Vermont, does support a woman's right to choose, right? Wrong." Here's how we know:


Peace & Joy
Tom Feeley

Liberty can not be preserved without general knowledge among people." (August 1765) John Adams

Tomgram: LeVine on Playing the Chaos Card in the Middle East

Believe me, as of yet we hardly know what chaos is. Imagine -- from the perspective of Plame Week in America -- an administration whose leading neoconservative figures believed a short few years ago that the card to play in the Middle East was indeed chaos. They then played it in Iraq, and it should come as no surprise that what they got in return was more chaos than they ever counted on.

Now, a slightly altered line-up of officials in Washington threatens to play that card again in Syria. Call it madness – or call it what passes for American policymaking. As Paul Woodward comments at his War in Context blog, "If there's one lesson learned in Iraq that the Bush administration wants to apply to Syria it's that it's much easier to bring about regime change than it is to deal with the consequences." Only the other day, reports at his blog, Joshua Landis revealed that National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley called the president of the Italian senate to ask "if he had a candidate to replace Bashar al-Asad as President of Syria. The Italians were horrified. Italy is one of Syria's biggest trading partners so it seemed a reasonable place to ask! This is what Washington has been up to." That's the "spread of democracy," Bush-style, for you. Juan Cole suggests, reasonably enough, that the obvious successor candidate in Syria would be the violently repressed Muslim Brotherhood and that then a "fundamentalist crescent" might become a reality for Washington.

In the meantime, of course, chaos has been making its dramatic debut here and, post-Iraq, post-Cindy, post-DeLay, post-Frith, post-Katrina, post-Rita, post-Wilma, post-the Miers nomination, post (later in the week)-Patrick Fitzgerald's indictments, a perfect storm of chaos is threatening to blow like some category five hurricane from Baghdad and points east back into Washington and whack the Bush administration. (Call in FEMA!) What was that saying about those who live by the sword and chaos…?

Historian and Middle Eastern expert Mark LeVine, whose blog can be found at the invaluable History News Network website, has been a student of Washington-inspired "sponsored chaos" for some time. Having just returned from the ever more chaotic Middle East, he considers the uses of chaos in Iraq and Israel/Palestine. Tom

Where Chaos Is King
By Mark LeVine

Within twenty-four hours, on October 16-17, the New York Times ran three stories about the threat increasing chaos posed to emerging, still fragile political orders in Iraq, Palestine, and the Sudan. In all three cases, the chaos afflicting these societies was described as an unintentional and negative consequence of ill-conceived policies put in place by the various governments involved: the U.S. in Iraq, Israel as it withdrew from Gaza, and the Sudanese Government as it finally tried to restrain marauding Janjaweed militias in Darfur. In no case was the chaos viewed as intentional or beneficial to one or more of the forces competing for control of these countries.

The U.S. occupation of Iraq in particular has been judged a failure by its critics almost from the start because of the chaos it has generated. Even with the approval of the constitution, "experts" are arguing that, as long as American and other foreign troops remain in Iraq, the situation "will become more chaotic," or in the words of Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, will continue to "destabilize the Middle East."

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Essay: History Lesson For Military Superpower, by Stewart Nusbaumer

During recent travels "zipping through Germany on a super-smooth train", Stewart Nusbaumer took a good look around. A very good look. What struck him was how well the Germans have learned their lessons from history. In stark contrast to the U.S., the cities were clean, prosperous, not gutted-out. Also absent were the "abandoned factories, legions of homeless, and armies of criminals". Pondering these vast differences between the two countries, Stewart's thoughts turned to how America does not learn from its sordid past. He remembers fighting a futile war in the rice paddies, steamy jungles and villages of Vietnam, not unlike the futile wars being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan today. America the 'superpower' possesses the planet's most expensive war machinery, yet it is once again at war's losing end. The costly mistakes of Vietnam are repeated, the horrors continue, thousands of lives are lost, the awful tragedy continues.

In this powerful essay, Stewart Nusbaum, veteran of 'that other needless terrible war', passionately asks: "when will superpower Americans learn?" This is a question every American should be asking. --- Annamarie

Opponents fight one type of war, our military fights another type of war, there is a military stalemate and eventually the U.S. returns home. Is anyone learning anything?
By Stewart Nusbaumer
Posted Tuesday, October 18 on Intervention Magazine

Frankfurt, Germany -- There is an awful truth stalking America -- one too uncomfortable for Americans to speak, even to think, and too dangerous for the mainstream media to report.

Americans spend $450 billion annually on defense, which is nearly as much as all of the world’s military budgets combined, yet our astronomically expensive military cannot catch a 6’5” Arab in a small corner of the world? Our awesomely powerful military can blow up the world, yet it can not subdue a few dizzy fanatics setting off crude road bombs that has spiraled into a full fledge insurgency? We have the most expensive and most the powerful military, but can it do anything?

I’m thinking this while zipping through Germany on a super smooth train -- unlike our roller coaster kidney mixers crawling at camel speed. I’m looking out at a prosperous and secure Germany. There are not gutted-out cities here, not abundantly abandoned factories, not legions of homeless and armies of criminals, not a depopulation of the impoverished heartland as in America. And there is not a public that would elect as president an ignorant nut case. Germany has moved on, but it learned from its horrible mistake. And today Germany is being rewarded for learning from its history.

Meanwhile America is moving backwards. It refuses to learn from its ugly past, so today it is in another ugly mess. The disaster in Iraq was clearly foreseeable, it would have been avoided if Americans, especially George Bush and his handlers, respected history. But George Bush doesn’t like history. History is confining, history talks of limitations and says, “Don’t do that!”

In Vietnam our troops blew up rice paddies and then the Vietnamese attacked us from the jungle. We defoliated the jungle and they attacked us from rice paddies. We blew up both the rice paddies and defoliated the jungle and they attacked us from the village. We leveled the village and they attacked us from the city. When we arrived in mass, they dispersed; when we departed, they massed again and then attacked. U.S. strategy had our highly mobile military racing all over Vietnam, often to where the enemy was not -- until we fell into their attack trap. Frustrated and tired, eventually we gave up and left Vietnam.

And did America learn? Did our military change? Take a wild guess.

What Was Not Learned

According to the mainstream media, the primary lesson of the Vietnam War is that Americans should not spit in the faces of our returning soldiers, a bogus lesson since Americans never did. On the other hand, little is said about the lesson of not getting our soldiers faces blown off in a useless, immoral war. The bogus is everywhere in America, the crucial is hardly heard. The American media doesn’t like history either.

Learning genuine lessons requires studying history, which superpower America won’t do. So today in Iraq a limited if not primitive military force is applying asymmetrical warfare and has stymied the world’s most powerful military. The Iraqi insurgents avoid our massive firepower, the U.S. searches for them mostly unsuccessfully. The guerrillas rely on stealth mobility while the all-powerful U.S. depends upon advanced technology. When our troops attack, the Iraqis disperse; when our troops leave, the insurgents return. The Iraqi opposition is not fighting our type of war and the U.S. military refuses to fight their type of war. The result will be a military stalemate. In military stalemates, however, the visiting army almost always loses.

Unwilling to burden the continuing cost in blood and money, both of which are huge for our expensive military machine and our vulnerable modern soldiers, the U.S. will quit this endless stalemate. But Iraqis will remain, it is their home. It is their country, not our country. And the discredited local government installed by the departed United States will fall like a stack of cheap Vegas cards.

All this is written in history, the history that all Superpowers refuse to read. After our defeat in Vietnam, the Soviet Union rushed to defeat in Afghanistan, now we are on our way to defeat in Iraq, possibly Afghanistan. Superpower militaries don’t change how they fight wars even when losing wars -- hey, they have super power!

The awful truth that Americans do not face and the media is uninterested in discussing is although we spend a fortune on defense, although our military has the most sophisticated and expensive weaponry in the world, although our troops are the best trained, our military is lousy at fighting today’s wars.

Osama bin Laden and his crew run free in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Security and order was never established in Iraq, now the country is in total chaos. Forces with little money and crude weapons outsmart our military leaders, fighting wars our military cannot fight, wars our arrogant, bloated, corporate-led military leaders refuse to fight. And when defeat is confirmed, when our troops return home in defeat, our generals will again, like after Vietnam, blame those “traitorous antiwar demonstrators,” our “liberal media,” those “back-stabbing politicians,” but never their outsmarted selves.

Of course the U.S. military has tinkered with its war strategy. For a while now the hot buzz words have been “special operations,” but for those who seek to challenge the U.S. on the battlefield, all war is special operations. While we talk they act. The Pentagon has made changes in troop training, but nothing to alter its cherished “way of war.” Yet our conventional war is successfully circumvented by our opponents -- well, Saddam Hussein didn’t in the Gulf War, but the world watched that slaughter and learned the lesson not to fight that kind of war against the U.S. military. There is new equipment, but more sophisticated and expensive -- great for defense corporations’ profits, but lousy for fighting the unconventional wars of today.

We have quarter-billion dollar B-1 bombers sitting in Kansas, yet our soldiers in Iraq do not have simple armor for their vehicles. The Army’s 10th Mountain Division was ill prepared to fight in the mountains of Afghanistan, sluggish and disorganized. Some Marines are already on their third tour in Iraq, which will exhaust and degrade our elite corps. Soldiers speak of not understanding how to win a war where there are no boundaries and the enemy is unclear, their officers say push on. And Americans ask, why are our soldiers dying? Answers from Washington have stopped coming.

When the U.S. finally leaves Iraq -- after massacring thousands and thousands of innocent Iraqis, after insuring the country degenerates into a vicious civil war, after earning the disrespect of nearly the entire world -- Americans will then evade these awful facts as it evaded the awful facts of Vietnam and the media will rush to a new disaster in the world which makes the avoidance relatively easy. And the U.S. military will return to training the best soldiers in the world and equipping them with the most expensive hardware imaginable, while the generals return to planning a new invasion of some Normandy. And in history, everyone will read about the terrible mistake Germany made, and how the Germans learned from their terrible mistake.

Perhaps all of us, elected representatives, military generals, regular citizens, need to take a trip to Germany and learn not what Germany did but what it is doing. What it is doing is not doing the awful that it once did. When will superpower Americans learn that?

Note: Stewart Nusbaumer is editor of Intervention Magazine. You can email Stewart at

** This essay was republished here with the kind permission of its author. You will find a link to Stewart Nusbaumer's Intervention Magazine on this page under LINKS. His magazine contains many poignant, penetrating, insightful, compelling, wonderfully-written articles, essays, commentary, photos and links to interesting books. Definitely well worth the read!

Iraq is Not Vietnam. Norman Solomon

By Norman Solomon
From: t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Monday 24 October 2005

Many politicians and pundits have told us that "Iraq is not Vietnam." Certainly, any competent geographer would agree.

Substantively, the histories of Iraq and Vietnam are very different. And the dynamics of US military intervention in the two countries - while more similar than the American news media generally acknowledge - are far from identical.

Iraq is not Vietnam. But the United States is the United States.

War after war, decade after decade, the US news media have continued to serve those in Washington who strive to set the national agenda for war and lay down flagstones on the path to military intervention.

From the US media's fraudulent reporting about Gulf of Tonkin events in early August 1964 to the fraudulent reporting about supposed Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in the first years of the 21st century, the US news media have been fundamental to making war possible for the United States.

We need to confront the roles of the corporate media in helping to drag the United States into one war after another. In a country with significant elements of democracy, it matters what people think. The propaganda functions of media are crucial for the war makers.

There are exceptional news reports. By definition, they're exceptions. What matters most is the routine coverage that bounces around the national echo chamber. Repetition is the essence of propaganda. And the messages of the warfare state are incessant.

Several decades ago, Dwight Eisenhower warned about a "military-industrial complex." He was the last president to acknowledge its existence. The more the military-industrial complex has gained strength, the less it has been acknowledged in media and politics.

Last year, while doing research for my book War Made Easy, I read the annual reports of many military contractors for the Pentagon - small, medium and large corporations. Those annual reports were clear: War is very profitable for our company. We expect more war, and that will mean a cornucopia of profits. On the other hand, a fall-off of war would severely damage our profits. But not to worry.

In the midst of what Martin Luther King Jr. called "the madness of militarism," today we must demand real journalism - and confront the manipulations of news media.

The lifeblood of democracy is the free flow of information for the body politic. Corporate media and inordinate government power are responsible for deadly blockages.

Those blockages are causes and consequences of a political culture that's oriented toward death. The priorities reflected in a routine US military budget of half a trillion dollars per year are lethal. Pentagon firepower kills. So does economic injustice.

With repeated use of violence more massive than any other entity on the planet can dream of mustering, Uncle Sam is the globe's dominant serial killer. This reality, so obvious to most of the world, is hidden in plain sight across the US corporate media spectrum.

The United States is the United States. And that's the ultimate continuity between the Vietnam War and the US war effort in Iraq today.


** This article is adapted from Norman Solomon's keynote speech at the annual awards ceremony of Project Censored on Oct. 22, 2005, at Sonoma State University in California. Solomon is the author of the new book War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. For information, go to:

Monday, October 24, 2005

ACTION: Oppose War Criminal Sharon's Visit To Toronto


From: "Abigail Bakan"
To: "Solidarity"
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 7:42 PM
Subject: [NC4P] New Coalition Formed to Oppose Ariel Sharon's Visit to
Toronto -Israel's War Criminals Not Welcome


New Coalition Formed to Oppose Sharon's Visit to Toronto, says "Israel's War Criminals Not Welcome"

TORONTO (October 20) - Responding to news that current Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been invited to Toronto to address the United Jewish Communities (UJC) General Assembly on November 14th, a broad grouping of concerned individuals and organizations has come together to form the Coalition Against Israel's War Crimes (CAIWC).

The coalition includes members of Palestine House, Sumoud - Political Prisoner Solidarity Group, Arab Students Collective (ASC), Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), Al-Awda Right of Return Coalition, the Canadian Peace Alliance (CPA), the Toronto District Council of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Jewish Women's Committee to
End the Occupation (JWCEO), Muslim Unity Group, Niagara Palestinian Association, Niagara Coalition for Peace, and a number of other individuals and organizations.

Rafeef Ziadah, spokesperson for the Coalition, explains: "It is
unacceptable that a war criminal like Ariel Sharon be allowed to address any conference, much less set foot in Toronto unless it is to face trial for the crimes he has committed. His record speaks for itself and he must be held to account."

Volunteers and members from SPHR National have prepared an indictment of Sharon under Canada's Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act (2000, c. 24). The letter is currently being reviewed by legal experts from the group Lawyers Against the War (LAW) before being submitted to the current Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Liberal MP Irwin Cotler and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Liberal MP Pierre Pettigrew.

A legal advisor to the Coalition explains, "Canada's War Crimes legislation has often been abused in the past to unfairly target immigrants and refugees. Here's an opportunity to do something about an actual war-criminal responsible for flagrant-violations of humanitarian law under the IVth Geneva Convention. Let's hope the Canadian legal system doesn't let Sharon literally get away with murder for the mere sake of political expediency. This is an opportunity to use the legislation as it was initially intended."

Jonathan Hodge, of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, was adamant that Arab, Palestinian, and Jewish community groups along with their supporters are mobilized to protest any planned visit by Ariel Sharon to Canada. "We must stand up and state clearly that Sharon is not welcomed in Toronto. This is a man implicated in violations of humanitarian law stretching back to the 1948 war, including massacres at Qibya (1953), Sabra and Shatilla (1982), and in places like Jenin, Gaza and Nablus during this Intifada."

The Coalition is planning to hold a public forum on November 10th at which the BBC documentary 'The Accused' will be screened, in addition to a series of smaller educational events in the lead up to Sharon's proposed visit. The Coalition is also planning on holding a public rally on November 14th to register its opposition to the presence of war criminals in Toronto.

For more information on the Coalition, its demands or to obtain copies of the legal brief against Sharon, please contact the following media liaisons:

CAIWC Spokespeople

Rafeef Ziadeh - (416) 616-4796,
Jonathan Hodge - sphr_toronto&

CAIWC Legal Committee

A Summary of
Sharon's Crimes

. On October 14th, 1953 Sharon led a battalion-sized unit of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) into the village of Qibiya. According to Israeli historian Avi Shlaim "Sharon's order was to penetrate Qibya, blow up houses and inflict heavy casualties on its inhabitants. His success in carrying out the order surpassed all expectations. The full and macabre story of what happened at Qibya was revealed only during the morning after the attack. The village had been reduced to rubble: forty-five houses had been blown up, and sixty-nine civilians, two-thirds of them women and children, had been killed." The US Department of State issued a statement on 18 October 1953 expressing its "deepest sympathy for the families of those who lost their lives" in the Qibya attack as well as the conviction that those responsible "should be brought to account and that effective measures should be taken to prevent such incidents in the future".
(Department of State Bulletin, 26 October 1953, page 552)

. While a commander in the IDF, his units committed numerous atrocities, including the killing of over 270 Egyptian prisoners of war in the Sinai campaign of 1956 (16 Aug 1995, Daily Telegraph, "Israelis Admit Massacre")

. While Defense Minister during the invasion of Lebanon, he allowed Phalangist militias into the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps near Beirut, where they massacred between 700 to 3000 Palestinians while the IDF looked on from observation towers. An official Israeli commission of inquiry (chaired by Yitzhak Kahan, president of Israel's Supreme Court) investigated the massacre, and found Ariel Sharon 'indirectly responsible', recommending he be dismissed from office. There are war crimes charges against him currently pending in Belgium relating to this incident.

. During the 1980s, also as Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon was personally involved in the organization, training and equipping of "commando" units in African countries like Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, where the South African Apartheid regime was involved. ('Israeli Foreign Policy' by Jane Hunter, South End Press, 1987)

. Throughout the 1990's, as Minister of Construction and Housing, and as Minister of National Infrastructure, he was responsible for the building of dozens of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories, in contravention of international law and multiple U.N. resolutions (notably Security Council resolution 446, March 22, 1979).

As Prime Minister, he has been responsible for building a massive wall through the West Bank, which annexes hundreds of acres of Palestinian land and encloses Palestinian villages. It has been denounced by the International Court of Justice (July 9th, 2004). In addition to such illegal construction, Sharon has also overseen the bulldozing of thousands of Palestinian homes and the killing of over 3500 Palestinians, including nearly 650 children during the current Intifada.

"Anyone with knowledge of illegal activity and an opportunity to do something is a potential criminal under international law, unless the person takes affirmative measures to prevent the commission of the crimes." - Declaration of War Crimes Tribunals following World War ll

*** I strongly urge ALL CANADIANS of conscience, to contact the above organizations to find out how you can help oppose this travesty. Those of you in the Greater Toronto Area, please attend the November 10th Public Forum, and the series of smaller educational events leading up to Sharon's visit. We must let it be known, that WAR CRIMINALS ARE NOT WELCOME IN CANADA! Our voices must be heard! --- Annamarie

The Cost of War at Walter Reed

I was merely going to write a bit about this story and provide links to the rest. However, after reading it, I am compelled to post it in its entirety. It is the utterly tragic, shocking story of those American soldiers who have returned from Iraq horribly maimed, psychologically destroyed. Their ordeal is untold by the mainstream media, their wrecked lives go unnoticed by the public whose 'freedoms' they ostensibly went to Iraq to 'defend'. They deserve so much more -- these brave young people -- who were sent as pawns to fight in an unjustified, immoral war at the behest of blustering 'chicken-hawks' who've never seen battle themselves. We know that the troop casualty toll in Iraq has reached 2,000. That is a tragedy. But what of the numbers of the wounded, who return home to spend interminable lengths of time in hospitals like Walter Reed, suffering in agony, their lives forever shattered? How many thousands of these young people in the prime of their lives were sacrificed to satisfy the hegemonic greed of those who've adroitly avoided the battle-fields themselves? And how many more will be forced to face the same fate? When will the people finally say "enough"? How much longer, for this horror to end? What about the uncounted tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians -- many of them women and children who have never harmed anyone -- whose lives were lost or destroyed? How can the world allow this carnage to go on? As Stewart Nusbaumer, a Vietnam Veteran, so passionately asks,..."for what?" --- Annamarie

By Stewart Nusbaumer
From: Intervention Magazine
Thursday 20 October 2005

Inside Walter Reed Army Hospital is the horrible reality of the Iraq War, a reality that few Americans see, and fewer want to see.

Washington, DC - In the dining hall is a family of three. The mother's shirt says "Thank a Soldier," the father's hat says "Vietnam Veteran," and the son's T-shirt says "Seattle Sonics." A normal family, except the son has no legs.

The tough talking lions of the Bush Administration proclaimed "shock and awe" would destroy the Iraqi will to fight and then it would be a simple "cakewalk." So the cocky civilians unleashed the "mother" of all air assaults on Baghdad and then our strutting commander in chief - decked out in a fine flight suit - proclaimed, "Mission Accomplished."

But the flight-suit President dodged the Vietnam War, hiding in the Air National Guard's "Champagne Unit," strongly supporting the war from Texas. The Vice-President "had other options," although he insisted other Americans had no option but to fight the war. The Secretary of Defense enrolled in Princeton University instead of the Korean War; after the war he enrolled in the Navy. All the hawkish Neocons were too busy arguing for the Vietnam War to actually fight in that war. Shame, they missed their "noble" causes. So when it came to Iraq, none of these men had a clue about the will to fight.

I see in the halls of Walter Reed hospital soldiers with leg braces and neck supports, soldiers with faces slashed by bombs and stitched up by doctors. Soldiers with legs terribly mangled, soldiers with no legs - amputees with short stumps, with long stumps, without any stumps since entire limbs are missing. A man walks by without an arm. I suddenly travel back in time to another war, to another hospital when I was one of those young men without a limb. But the human carnage and waste in Walter Reed is too overwhelming to escape for more than a flash of time.

At the Army's flagship medical facility, where thousands of wounded soldiers pass through, there is no political spin, no media filter, no presidential lies, and no patriotism without cost as there is in America. There are only the wounded and mangled from Iraq. There is the ground zero for ugly war reality. For these men and women there was no safe "Champagne Unit," no other options, no Ivy League hiding, no just talking while others did the fighting. At Walter Reed there are no Chickenhawks.

Dining Made Difficult

In the large dining room, mothers prepare their son's food, applying ketchup to hamburgers, cutting pork chops, raising tables for their wheelchairs to clear. Fathers mostly sit with slight smiles on their faces. The conversations are mundane, and sedate. Talk about family, talk about the weather, talk about the future. Recuperating from serious wounds is slow so it's best not to go too far into the future.

In a wheelchair, a young man who barely looks 17 years old rolls by with a pair of ugly "road kill" legs - the spaghetti I'm eating rumbles in my stomach - followed by a soldier on crutches, doing a Frankenstein walk with stiff legs thrown outward. Several tables away, a slightly older soldier, in his early 30s, with a nasty looking scarred leg propped up on a chair, rubs his fingers over the smooth surface of his Purple Heart Medal. This is the medal given for combat wounds, to everyone wounded by enemy fire. This is the medal that delegates at the Republican Party mocked.... I need some fresh air.

In front of the hospital a man in his mid-20s sits down on the bench next to me. His right leg is bloated to at least double its normal size. Most of the top layer of skin had been removed, it's raw reddish. Puss glistens in the sun light, or maybe it's some kind of ointment.

"Looks like you had a bad day," I wisecrack gently.

"Yeah," he snickers.

"An IED?" (Improvised Explosive Device, roadside bomb or land mine.)

"Nope, bullet, it splattered bone."

The sergeant has been back from Iraq since January, nine months in Walter Reed, and his leg remains ugly looking. It will probably always be ugly looking. But in Walter Reed looks mean nothing, what matters is walking. I remember my obsession to walk, an obsession that overcame the pain and the blood, anything to be able to walk again. And the sergeant is walking, with crutches. But I doubt this sergeant will do much walking in his lifetime.

Sometimes it's best to just cut the leg off, but doctors can not always do what is best. The sergeant stands up, struggles to walk five feet, stops for a rest. He looks over his shoulder and says, "I'll make it, I have to make it."

"Yes you will," I say, knowing clearly that as the years pass his walking will become even more difficult, until there is no walking. All this sergeant from North Carolina ever wanted was a normal life, with a normal family, a boy and a girl. A smile broke his straight face when he said, "a boy, and a girl." But his normal life is gone and all he has is the dream of returning home to North Carolina, and hopefully that boy and girl.

The Rules of War

In America's shock and horror at Walter Reed there are rules. I will give you the four that I believe are most important.

Rule 1: talk to the person and not to the wound. This can be difficult in the beginning since ugly wounds tend to overwhelm. But the bearer of ugly wounds remains much more than a wounded person, and this you need to respect. You can ask about the wound, but you cannot talk to only the wound.

Rule 2: allow wounded soldiers to do what they can do themselves. Give them the space and the opportunity to have control over their lives, even when severely dependent upon other people.

When I was in Bethesda Naval hospital in the late 1960s, leg amputated and bed ridden, frustrated with my constant dependence on others, a visitor asked me for a cigarette - in those days you could smoke right in the hospital - and I was ecstatic to hand him one. It felt great to do something on my own, in this case hand another human being an simple item.

Rule 3: forget your moral questions about the war. Morality is for those who support the war and for those who oppose the war, not for those in the war. Those seriously wounded are still fighting the war so clam up about the immorality of this stupid war.

A corollary to this rule is never protest against a war in front of a military facility, especially a military hospital. That is a no-brainer. You demonstrate against those who made the policy to go to war, not against those who are sworn to carry out the order to go to war.

Rule 4: don't assume this is a sad time for these recuperating men. For most their physical pain is receding or is being managed by drugs, and the true mental anguish has yet to sink in. They are focused on their future which after a close call with death looks darn rosy.

"Hey, man how you doing?" a soldier greets another stepping into the elevator.

"Great," he replies. I notice out of the corner of my eye he is missing a chunk of his cheek, it's ugly.

"Guess what, man? Smithy's coming up!"


"Yeah, he's driving up this weekend."

"That's great, man."

This is the spirit that America sees when it sees anything of these wounded soldiers. It makes Americans feel good, proud of their country, confident about their military. But it is only part of the truth. There is a hidden truth. It is ugly.

The "For What" Questions

With spirits high - hey, they just "cheated" death - surrounded by fellow soldiers day and night, with family and friends visiting and attentive, life is not bad. But this is the easy middle, coming after the initial shock of being seriously wounded and before the tortuous work of transforming one's identity to accept the new reality. The easy middle is relatively easy.

When discharged from the hospital, their tight support network disappears and the strong optimism in the wake of a close call begins to wane. There is now time and space to think, and to ask questions. Sitting alone in an apartment, probably a spartanly furnished apartment, maybe in a dingy bar with their back against the wall, the questions start. They always do, for those severely wounded. Those "for what" questions: for what do I have to put on an artificial limb every morning? For what must I live with this horrible pain every day? For what did my buddy die? For what was all the horror for?

Some will attempt to evade these questions, but that's not possible. They paid too high a price. Some will turn to stock replies, such as, "It was for God, country, and family." To the degree this works is the degree that they cut themselves off from reality. Vietnam was not for God, America, and family, and neither is Iraq. Most of the wounded will learn this, and then they will demand a real answer to, "For what?"

The only satisfactory answer is for defense of country. Nothing else justifies the sacrifices, sacrifices Americans quickly forget but endure a lifetime for these men and women. The other answers, to rebuild another country, to stay the course so others won't perceive America as weak, to fulfill a president's fantasy of a great legacy, to fill our vehicles' gas tanks, to save the world from the latest new evil, they cannot withstand the ugly questions that come from horror and suffering. "For what?" is too strong for weak answers.

Barbara Porchia, whose son Jonathan was killed in Iraq, said if he had died in Afghanistan that would have probably been easier to accept - still horribly difficult, of course, but easier than Jonathan dying in the worthless Iraq War. In defense of country is the only justification for our dead and wounded soldiers and marines, nothing else is acceptable in the long run. Nothing else is ever acceptable.

I am walking through Ward 57, the amputee ward, walking on the 5th floor. There are grisly sights here. Sights that the dinning room and outside benches do not want to see, that I do not want to see. Bodies wrapped in blood soaked bandages. Eyes covered in agony. Nurses' huddled over broken bodies. The air is thick on the 5th floor, hard to breath. The flag of patriotism is less intensely displayed here. The pain of war is stronger. I feel a deep anger at America rising in me. Then I see - I walk quickly, I need some fresh air.

But at Walther Reed, ground zero for ugly war, there is no break from horror. A young man sits down on the bench next to me - "blew the lower part of my leg off ... an IED ... getting my first leg next week ... going to college when I get out ... girl friend visits...."

Whether the "For what?" is answered with a closed mind, or with an honest answer, many seriously disabled veterans will in time turn bitter and cynical. But others will swallow hard, refusing to let the injustice crush them, and move on in life. But all will be deeply scarred. If their sacrifices were truly for the defense of our country, that helps a lot. That cause can justify the sacrifices, but an unworthy cause justifies nothing.

A veteran with Iraq Veterans Against the War recently commented that after the guys return home and realize that on the home front Americans barely cared about the war, that here patriotism is an empty gesture because no one sacrifices anything, they will become angry.

To this day, some 38 years later, when I hear someone on the radio discuss the World Series in 1967, or some similar remark about 1967, I cringe. That was the year I was fighting in Vietnam. That was the year thousands of young Americans were dying and losing limbs and their minds for, supposedly, their country. But our country was excited about the World Series, and.... If a war is important enough for soldiers to be maimed and to die for, it is important enough for all Americans to sacrifice something. Something!

The World Series of baseball should have been cancelled in 1967, as it should be cancelled today, because America has young men fighting in a war.

But Americans are barely paying attention and would refuse to give substance to their patriotism, a clear indication this is not a war for the defense of America. We have an administration that won't fully fund veterans' health care, while it does not properly equip our troops in war. And we are a people not insisting our veterans have adequate health care and our soldiers have proper equipment. This is wrong, America. Wrong to those with "road kill" legs, wrong to those with partial faces, wrong to those with missing limbs.

I stand up from the bench, it's hard for me to sit for too long, and it's hard for me to walk for very far. Instead of returning to the 5th floor, I return to my car. Driving through the gate of Walter Reed and onto Connecticut Avenue - a cab whizzes by, a speeding van honks, a couple on the sidewalk hugs - my head shoots back as pain rips through my stump, just as fast it leaves. But I know the pain will be back. This is for a lifetime. What's inside Walter Reed is also for a lifetime.

Stewart Nusbaumer is editor of Intervention Magazine. You can email Stewart at

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