"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt
If convicted, Saddam Hussein could be executed after his first trial for his alleged role in the 1982 Shiite massacre...
The first trial, which involves the deposed Iraqi ruler's alleged role in the 1982 massacre of an estimated 150 Shiites in Dujail, north of Baghdad, is expected to begin by fall, the official said, briefing reporters on condition his name not be used for reasons of security.
Washington's support for Iraq became more open after Iran succeeded in driving Iraqi forces from its territory in May 1982; in June, Iran went on the offensive against Iraq. The U.S. scrambled to stem Iraq's military setbacks. Washington and its conservative Arab allies suddenly feared Iran might even defeat Iraq, or at least cause the collapse of Hussein's regime. [...] Using its allies in the Middle East, Washington funneled huge supplies of arms to Iraq. Classified State Department cables uncovered by Frantz and Waas described covert transfers of howitzers, helicopters, bombs and other weapons to Baghdad in 1982-83 from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait.
For the second time since the Iraq war began, the Pentagon is struggling to replace body armor that is failing to protect American troops from the most lethal attacks by insurgents. [...] The ceramic plates in vests worn by most personnel cannot withstand certain munitions the insurgents use. But more than a year after military officials initiated an effort to replace the armor with thicker, more resistant plates, tens of thousands of soldiers are still without the stronger protection because of a string of delays in the Pentagon's procurement system.
Not enough armor, not enough troops, another war on its way, and our president decides to take a 5-week vacation... Shameful.
Apparently when Clinton was in the White House, the GOP and Friends felt differently about war...
"You can support the troops, but not the president." - Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)
"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years." - Joe Scarborough (R-FL)
"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?" - Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99
"The President is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy." - Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)
"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy." - Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)
"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy." - Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of George W Bush
"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning. . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area." - Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)
"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today." - Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)
And for the grand finale...
"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)
The good old days... Funny how times have changed, eh?
"Our great country is in a terrible downward spiral. We're losing jobs, losing benefits, and losing lives. We need to focus on what's important, paying attention to our children, our environment, our future. We need to think about improving our underbudget educational system, making better use of our resources, and helping to build a stable, safe, and tolerant global society. It's time to be smart about our politics. It's time to get America back on track."
With plummeting polls, grieving mothers protesting, growing chaos in Iraq, and one failed policy after another... The Bush Administration attempts to rekindle a heightened sense of Nationalism by toying with our emotions. It appears, The Press has recieved the order to remind us of 9-11's horrors. Well listen up, we in the Reality-Based Community don't need a reminder. Team Bush's failure is as vivid as ever...
The Bush administration has sent seemingly conflicting signals in recent days over the duration of the U.S. deployment to Iraq, openly discussing contingency plans to withdraw as many as 30,000 of 138,000 troops by spring, then cautioning against expectations of any early pullout. Finally yesterday, President Bush dismissed talk of a drawdown as just "speculation and rumors" and warned against "withdrawing before the mission is complete."
If the public was left confused, it may be no more unsure than the administration itself, as some government officials involved in Iraq policy privately acknowledge. The shifting scenarios reflect the uncertain nature of the mission and the ambiguity of what would constitute its successful completion. For all the clarity of Bush's vow to stay not one day longer than needed, the muddled reality is that no one can say exactly when that will be.
Is Team Bush as incompetent as they are greedy? Day after day, it is appearing more and more to be the case...
Iraqi investigators have uncovered more than $1 billion of fraud and waste in weapons deals arranged by middlemen. [...] The report, quoting a confidential report and interviews with U.S. and Iraqi officials, said middlemen who arranged the deals reneged or took huge kickbacks on the contracts to arm Iraq's fledgling military. The report said an Iraqi audit suggested that senior U.S. appointed Iraqi Defense Ministry officials used three intermediary companies to hide the kickbacks. It said the contracts involved unnecessary, overpriced or outdated equipment.
More chaos, more stealing... Rinse, wash, and repeat.
James Tobin, the president's 2004 campaign chairman for New England, is charged in New Hampshire federal court with four felonies accusing him of conspiring with a state GOP official and a GOP consultant in Virginia to jam Democratic and labor union get-out-the-vote phone banks in November 2002. [...] The Republican National Committee already has spent more than $722,000 to provide Tobin, who has pleaded innocent, a team of lawyers from the high-powered Washington law firm of Williams & Connolly.
Sure... Innocent until proven guilty, but that's one hell of a bill for an Innocent.
Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald questioned Bush a year ago and the prosecutor's office has questioned Rove repeatedly, so presumably investigators know the answer to what, if anything, Rove told Bush. [...] "What we really don't know factually is whether Rove lied to the president or whether the president knew something about Rove's role and dissembled," said Rozell.
It's about time. Let's just hope Fitzgerald keeps pulling on that thread.
"We see the need for an autonomous zone in the centre and south of Iraq," Hakim told reporters in the central Shiite holy city of Najaf, adding that discussions were continuing on whether there should be one or more autonomous regions for the Shiites, who are estimated to make up 60 percent or more of Iraq's 27-million population. [...] Some Shiite politicians have previously called for autonomy in the south and centre, notably the leader of the secular Iraqi National Congress, Ahmed Chalabi, a onetime Pentagon darling now accused by Washington of passing on state secrets to arch-foe Iran.
Imagine that, Mr. Oil himself right at the center of it all. As usual, if you want to know the real motives... Follow the money.
Friday, July 29, 2005 - A provision tucked into the 1,724-page energy bill that Congress is poised to enact today would ease export restrictions on bomb-grade uranium, a lucrative victory for a Canadian medical manufacturer and its well-wired Washington lobbyists.
The Burr Amendment, named for its sponsor, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., would reverse a 13-year-old U.S. policy banning exports of weapons-grade uranium unless the recipients agreed to start converting their reactors to use less-dangerous uranium. The Senate rejected the measure last month after critics in both parties warned that it would accelerate the worldwide proliferation of nuclear materials, but a House-Senate conference committee agreed this week to include it in the final version of the bill.
Once again, our strong on national defense Republican controlled Congress is trumping national security with profit.
"I understand the anguish that some feel about the death that takes place."
In an effort to sympathize with the loss of our young men and women, George states "anguish that some feel"... Did those words actually come out of his mouth? What was he thinking? With the usage of the word "some" in this context, he is clearly indicating that he as well as some others, do not partake in the anguish. If he had felt remorse for the soldiers who have given their lives, wouldn't the statement have been something more like:
I share your anguish regarding the death that takes place...
I understand the anguish that some feel about the death that takes place...
The first statement implies a sharing of grief, while the second implies a dissociation of emotional attachment to the sense of loss. It is well understood that a cunning linguist, George is not, but these are simple words, in simple context. Was it a Freudian slip, hinting of a psyche that is so detached from the consequences of his actions, that he indeed feels no remorse for the 1800-plus sons and daughters who have given their lives for his failed war? It appears to be a distinct possibility.
The promise, not the troops. As usual, we are being a served up a steady diet of mixed messages...
U.S. military officials in Iraq said last month that it might be possible to withdraw 20,000 to 30,000 of the 138,000 American troops by next spring if Iraqi civilian leaders managed to meet deadlines for drafting a new constitution and holding elections. [..] On Wednesday, the military official said a significant spring withdrawal was "still possible." But while primary military responsibility for some parts of Iraq could likely be handed over even before the elections, the official said, U.S. forces would have to play a lead role in fighting the insurgency for at least a year.
How about something different, like an order of Truth with a side of Candor?
A U.S. service member was killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan, the military said Wednesday, raising to five the number of Americans killed in less than a week as violence escalates ahead of next month's parliamentary elections. [...] Sporadic attacks across the country have deepened concerns over security ahead of key legislative elections set for Sept. 18. The vote represents the country's next step toward democracy after two decades of war and civil strife. More than 900 people have been killed since March after a wintertime lull in violence. Much of the violence has been concentrated in the southern and eastern provinces bordering Pakistan, where Taliban and al-Qaida militants are active.
It is political taboo to make the Hitler reference, but George has one similarity to the fascist dictator that is undeniable: They have both made the mistake of fighting a war on two fronts... But tragically, it is our soldiers who are paying the ultimate price for his ignorance of history's many lessons.
Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son? The torrential rains of a mother's weeping will never be done They call him a hero, you should be glad that he's one, but Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?
Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his cries? He must be brave because his boy died for another man's lies The only grief he allows himself are long, deep sighs Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his cries?
Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother's grave? They say that he died so that the flag will continue to wave But I believe he died because they had oil to save Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother's grave?
Have you ever heard the sound of a nation being rocked to sleep? The leaders want to keep you numb so the pain won't be so deep But if we the people let them continue another mother will weep
GE Capital International Services, or Gecis, the back-office operations of General Electric Co. (GE) will hire 500 more people at its Jaipur center, taking the total staff strength at the northern Indian city to 1,500 by early next year. The company will also invest INR750 million to set up a new facility in Jaipur, said Pramod Bhasin, President and Chief Executive, Gecis Global in a statement.
The Jaipur center provides services in areas such as accounting, accounts receivables, customer service and technical support to both GE and non-GE customers in the U.S., U.K. and various other European countries, said Bhasin. It caters to industries such as commercial banking, consumer banking, corporate financial services and computer manufacturing, he added.
The Army sets an example of their moral standards, by relieving a four-star general of his command for allegedly having an affair...
Having an extramarital affair can be deemed adultery and a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. But such cases rarely go to court-martial and usually end in administrative punishment such as a letter of reprimand, according to military lawyers. Relieving a general of his command amid such allegations is extremely unusual, especially given that he was about to retire.
While admitting their lack of discipline for their leaders who condoned torture...
The Army has been hurt over the past year by detainee-abuse cases and has been accused of not going after top officers allegedly involved in such abuse. Army officials said relieving Byrnes was meant to show the public that the service takes issues of integrity seriously.
And continue to contradict themselves once more...
"We all swear to serve by the highest ideals, and no matter what rank, when you violate them, you are dealt with appropriately," said one Army officer familiar with the case.
Speaking of abuse... Could this logic be any more tortured?
If Bob Woodward is right, it will be The Old Man and the She in the 2008 showdown for the White House. Speaking in Colorado last night, the Washington Post journalist predicted that Vice President Dick Cheney and former First Lady Hillary Clinton would face off in the next election for president. [...] "He would be 67 if he ran and was elected," Woodward said, according to a Denver Post account. "Reagan was 69. Republicans always like the old warhorse, both parties like to nominate vice presidents... Cheney would do it, and I think it's highly likely, so stay tuned."
The Pentagon would hold a massive march and country music concert to mark the fourth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, US defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an announcement tucked into an Iraq war briefing today.
"This year the Department of Defense will initiate an America Supports Your Freedom Walk," Rumsfeld said, adding that the march would remind people of "the sacrifices of this generation and of each previous generation".
The march will start at the Pentagon, where nearly 200 people died on September 11, 2001, and end at the National Mall with a show by country star Clint Black.
Can the Pentagon not see the shame in their ghoulish march of propaganda? Does the Bush Administation actually think, the public will not see through their attempts of resparking the mythical Iraq 9-11 connection, or the heightened sense of nationalism? Never forget, but let it rest. A failure of national security, that resulted in the loss of over 3,000 lives is not a cause for celebration.
Spot on, as usual, Maureen Dowd gives her take on Cindy Sheehan's plight. Here's a hightlight:
The Bush team tried to discredit "Mom" by pointing reporters to an old article in which she sounded kinder to W. If only her husband were an undercover C.I.A. operative, the Bushies could out him. But even if they send out a squad of Swift Boat Moms for Truth, there will be a countering Falluja Moms for Truth.
It's amazing that the White House does not have the elementary shrewdness to have Mr. Bush simply walk down the driveway and hear the woman out, or invite her in for a cup of tea. But W., who has spent nearly 20 percent of his presidency at his ranch, is burrowed into his five-week vacation and two-hour daily workouts. He may be in great shape, but Iraq sure isn't.
This time, Donald kicks it off, in response to the trafficking of advanced weaponry through the Iranian border to Iraq:
"It is true that weapons clearly, unambiguously from Iran have been found in Iraq. That's a big border and it's notably unhelpful for the Iranians to be allowing weapons of those types to cross the border. It's a problem for the Iraqi government. It's a problem for the coalition forces. It's a problem for the international community. And ultimately it's a problem for Iran."
With a follow up from George, regarding Iran's nuclear intentions:
"We'll work with our friends on steps forward, on ways to deal with the Iranians if they so choose to ignore the demands of the world. We're very deeply suspicious of their desires and call upon our friends in Europe... to lead the diplomatic effort to convince the Iranians to give up their nuclear ambitions."
And don't forget, Dick already gave the order to prepare for war...
The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons.
Interesting that the means popped up before the motive... Don't you think?
A suicide car bomber struck a U.S. convoy waiting at an intersection Tuesday in Baghdad, killing seven people, including one American soldier, and wounding more than 90. More than a dozen others died in scattered attacks across the capital. Also, a U.S. Marine assigned to the 2nd Marine Division was killed Monday by small-arms fire in Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. The deaths brought the number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq this month to at least 32.
Last throes, losing steam, wash, rinse, and repeat... How about the truth for once? The rate of attacks is rising, not falling; 32 soldiers have given their lives this month alone. We are losing.
Public executions, forced abortions and death by starvation, are common abuses of human rights in North Korea. This was revealed by South Korea's National Human Rights Commission following data collection and interviews with around 150 North Korean exiles who escaped to the south. The report was drawn up by a group from Dongguk University, led by Prof. Koh Yu-hwan. [...] The report presents a grim picture. At least 75 of those interviewed said they had witnessed public executions. Death sentences are handed down for crimes ranging from theft of a cow to the sale of pornographic material.
Why aren't we liberating the North Koreans from their brutal dictator? Oh, that's right... They have no oil.
U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Fitzgerald has his full support. "I wanted to meet with his team and express my gratitude and appreciation for all the good work that this office is doing," he said. "As attorney general, I have great confidence in Pat Fitzgerald." [...] During an editorial board meeting Monday afternoon at the Chicago Tribune, Gonzales said he did not think there had been any conversations at the White House about replacing Fitzgerald, whose term ends in October. President Bush will decide whether to let him continue in the job or to appoint someone else.
Gonzales has great confidence in Fitzgerald's investigation... Not what I wanted to hear from the man, who is more than likely, responsible for giving the heads up to shred.
From the frontlines of truth and justice in Crawford, Texas, Cindy Sheehan reports:
Another big story that was going on today was about my first meeting with Bush in June of 2004. For you all I would like to clarify a few things. First of all, I did meet with George, and that is not a secret. I have written about it and been interviewed about it. I will stand by my recounting of the meeting. His behavior was rude and inappropriate. My behavior in June of 2004 and is irrelevant to what is going on in 2005. I was in deep shock and deep grief. The grief is still there, but the shock has worn off and the deep anger has set in. And to remind everybody, a few things have happened since June of 2004: The 9/11 commission report; the Senate Intelligence report; the Duelfer WMD report; and most damaging and criminal: the Downing Street Memos. The VERY LAST THING I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS IS: Why do the right wing media so assiduously scrutinize the words of a grief filled mother and ignore the words of a lying president?
Winning hearts and minds in New Zealand; via Raw Story:
A decision is due to be made today whether a billboard labelling President Bush an "evil bastard" is appropriate, NZ City of New Zealand reports Monday. The publication provides a few details: The Hell Pizza billboards have been erected around Auckland and Wellington. Half of the poster is taken up with a photo of the president and the other half has the phrase "Hell: Too Good For Some Evil Bastards."
Wow. Rejected by hell... Embraced by Red State America.
Conspicuous by its absence in the sweeping energy bill that President Bush has championed and will sign Monday is his top energy priority: opening an Alaska wildlife refuge to oil drilling. But the fight over the future of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will flare anew in Congress next month, with drilling advocates saying they have their best chance in more than two decades of making it happen. [...] Tapping what is believed to be at least 10 billion barrels of oil within the refuge's 1.5 million-acre coastal plain has been the centerpiece of Bush's energy agenda dating back to his first presidential campaign in 2000. Bush has repeatedly said the oil is important to the nation's national and economic security.
George can take time out of his busy schedule in Crawford, to sign an energy bill that, by omission, encourages the raping of a pristine wildlife refuge... But he cannot take the time to visit any of the grieving parents in Cleveland, Ohio or Cindy Sheehan, who is just outside his door. Stunning. Compassionate conservatism? More like cowardly corporatism.
On July 18, the parties filed a joint status report. On July 20, Begleiter received from the Department of Defense a CD containing more than two dozen images that had been censored in the April 2005 release of 721 images, as well as five photographs that were not previously released. On July 22, he received the Pentagon's written assurance that it would continue to process further FOIA requests for images and video of honor guard ceremonies taken in the period since the lawsuit was filed. On July 28, the parties filed with U.S. District Judge Emmett Sullivan their joint agreement to dismiss the case, and this week received the court's assent to the dismissal.
While this is a clear win for the freedom of information, there are no victors here... Only loss, grief, and despair.
Cindy Sheehan phoned me from Texas a few minutes ago to say that she's been informed that beginning Thursday, she and her companions will be considered a threat to national security and will be arrested. Coincidentally, Thursday is the day that Rice and Rumsfeld visit the ranch, and Friday is a fundraiser event for the haves and the have mores. Cindy said that she and others plan to be arrested.
A threat to National Security? Apparently, George does not have the courage to face the mother of a fallen soldier... Pathetic.
Talabani suggested there was no problem with the issue of federalism in the north, where his fellow Kurds have enjoyed a de facto state under U.S. military protection since 1991. But he said calls for federalism in the Shi'ite south, home to the country's biggest oil reserves, were a matter for dispute. Religious Shi'ites dominating the government oppose the idea. But some prominent secular Shi'ites, including Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi, a powerful figure in the oil sector, are pushing for it. Shi'ite rivalries in the south are growing as Iraq heads for new elections in December.
Same as it ever was... He who controls the spice, controls the universe.
After the initial action of trying to walk up to the ranch, we all went down to a shady place to set up our camp. We were trying to think of a name for our temporary home, when one of the men in IVAW suggested Camp Casey. So in honor of our fallen heroes, we dedicated the camp to the brave men and women who have had their lives ripped away from them by the greedy and power hungry people who rule our country.
The dozens of people who came out to support GSFP and the dozen or so who spent the night with me last night would like to tell America a few things:
We are not giving up until George talks to us.
We are humbled and grateful for the support and love we are getting from all over the world.
The beginning of the end of the occupation of Iraq was on August 6, 2005, and in of all places, Crawford, Texas.
Thank you Cindy, for you continued sacrifice. You are a true hero, whose strength and determination is an inspiration to us all.
With Attorney General Alberto Gonzales recused, department officials say they are still trying to resolve whom Fitzgerald will now report to. Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum is "likely" to be named as acting deputy A.G., a DOJ official who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter tells Newsweek. But McCallum may be seen as having his own conflicts: he is an old friend of President Bush's and a member of his Skull and Bones class at Yale.
Loyalty oath or not, if he's a friend of George, well... There goes any chance of a thorough investigation.
The White House has failed to turn over any of the information requested by the 10 members of the disbanded Sept. 11 commission in their renewed, unofficial investigation into whether the government is doing enough to prevent terrorist attacks on American soil, commission members said. [...] Thomas Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey who led the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission, said he was surprised and disappointed that the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA, the FBI and several other executive-branch agencies had failed to respond to requests made two months ago for updated information on anti-terrorism programs.
What are they hiding? Why else wouldn't they cooperate?
Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban.
CIA field commander for the agency's Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora, Gary Berntsen, says he and other U.S. commanders did know that bin Laden was among the hundreds of fleeing Qaeda and Taliban members. Berntsen says he had definitive intelligence that bin Laden was holed up at Tora Bora—intelligence operatives had tracked him—and could have been caught. "He was there," Berntsen tells Newsweek.
Once again, the so-called Liberal Media fails to ask the operative question... Why?
In a classified briefing to senior Pentagon officials last month, the top American commander in the Middle East outlined a plan that would gradually reduce American forces in Iraq by perhaps 20,000 to 30,000 troops by next spring if conditions on the ground permitted, three senior military officers and Defense Department officials said this week.
Halliburton never lets an ethical dilemma get in the way of a good profit...
Scandal-plagued Halliburton, the oil services company once headed by Vice President Cheney, sold an Iranian oil development company key components for a nuclear reactor, say Halliburton sources with intimate knowledge into both companies' business dealings. [...] Halliburton was secretly working at the time with one of Iran's top nuclear program officials on natural gas related projects and sold the components in April to the official's oil development company, the sources said.
Equal opportunity war profiteering... Hey Dick, not a bad gig, I suppose. First you create the war; then you make billions from both sides of the conflict. Brilliant.
Did Tony Blair ignore a warning, just like George? The Guardian reports that Saudi Arabia officially warned Britain of an imminent terrorist attack on London just weeks ahead of the July bombings:
The Saudi official said: "It was clear to us that there was a terror group planning an attack in the UK. We passed all this information on to both MI5 and MI6 at the time. We are now investigating whether these calls were directly to the London bombers. It is our conclusion that either these were linked or that a completely different terror network is still at large in Britain." [...] British security sources last night categorically denied they received any warnings of a specific attack on London that could have averted the July tragedy in the capital. The source said they "did not recognise" the details of the Saudi claims.