Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Abizaid's Ouster

As part of his pre-surge deck-chairs-shifting, George W. Bush is replacing Gen. John Abizaid, the head of the Central Command, which oversees US forces in Iraq, with Adm. Richard Fallon, the chief of Pacific Command. As Michael Klare noted at The Nation's website, this was a surprising move, in part because "Fallon is a Navy man, with experience in carrier operations, while most of Centcom's day-to-day work is on the ground, in the struggle against insurgents and warlords in Iraq and Afghanistan." But Fallon apparently is on board with Bush's so-called surge (A.K.A. escalation) in Iraq; he was one of the senior officers who participated in the Pentagon's recent Iraq strategy review. So Abizaid, who had expressed doubts about boosting the US troop presence in Iraq, has been booted in favor of a Navy man who presumably is with the new policy. Klare also points out that given Fallon's experience as a Navy combat flyer and a commander of carrier groups, "he is primed to oversee an air, missile and naval attack on Iran, should the President give the green light for such an assault."

Perhaps. I'd like to think Bush has his hands full with Iraq. But the Abizaid ousting reminded me of a story a retired Army colonel told me last spring. This source still spends much time with Army commanders, occasionally as a consultant and as a participant in strategic discussions held at the Army's various institutions. He noted that he had recently been talking to Army commanders at a military war college. His colleagues said that Abizaid routinely visited their institution and would "walk the halls" complaining that he had no options in Iraq, that he did not know where to aim his guns, where to dispatch his troops. He was wringing his hands. This description made it seem that Abizaid had concluded that Bush's war was probably lost and that Abizaid was (justifiably) depressed. Which would mean that he was living in a reality-based hell. No wonder he had to go.

Posted by David Corn at January 9, 2007 03:53 AM


capt said...

Escalation: It's Not His Decision

If you care about changing direction in Iraq, now is the moment to act.

George Bush will speak to the nation tomorrow, and early reports say that he will announce an escalation of the war in Iraq. He wants to spend more of our money and lose more of our loved ones in pursuit of his dangerous fantasies.

But escalation is not President Bush's decision to make. He must have the people's consent.

Senator Ted Kennedy is announcing legislation that will prevent any further escalation in Iraq until two important things happen: the president presents a plan for success and Congress approves it.

I've already added my name to the list of Americans who demand a voice in the debate over escalation. Will you join me?


As Speaker Pelosi said on Sunday, "If the president wants to add to this mission, he is going to have to justify it."

Thank you!


*****end of clip*****

If you agree - join in. It might not help but it couldn't hurt.


kathleen said...

The majority of Generals, American people, American soldiers and Iraqi people say NO NO NO NO NO to an esclation. Yet the sociopaths that dominate in the Bush administration, Israel and the very ill psychopathic neo-cons who do not care how many Iraqi, Lebanese, Iranians or Americans are killed, mutilated, turned into refugees are marching forward with their insane regime change agenda.




kathleen said...






capt said...

Colbert Has an Epiphany

Download (WMV)

Download (MOV)

Stephen, feeling depressed after the Democratic takeover of Congress, has an epiphany while taking down his life-size Christmas decorations and vows to see things in a different way this year.


*****end of clip*****

Colbert ROCKS!


O'Reilly said...

Twenty thousand more troops in Iraq won’t secure Iraq, and probably not even Baghdad. The numbers are so simple; I can’t believe that politicians are even willing to risk their careers for a security mission that can’t be accomplished.

When I served in Kosovo, we protected a Serbian church for six months. We had 40,000 troops to protect 200,000 Serbs that needed our protection. That is a ratio of 1 soldier for every 5 civilians. In Iraq, escalating the war from 130,000 troops to 150,000 troops will do little to secure a country of 26 million.

The idea that going to door to door in Baghdad will make a difference is even more ridiculous. Not only was a Stryker Brigade extended in Baghdad several months to unsuccessfully secure the city, but we have gone door to door in other cities such as Fallujah, only to return later because we couldn’t seize and hold terrain. Securing Iraq would require 500,000 troops for 7 to 10 years. So why are we going to send more troops to Iraq for a mission that can’t be accomplished without diplomacy? link

Yet, there is still one sliver of hope. Congress can assert itself by strongly supporting bill (link to article) that Senator Ted Kennedy will introduce today, that will require new authorization from Congress before the President can escalate the war and prepare for a strike against Iran. It's likely that the bill will be vetoed by the President, so this bill will need widespread support.

There are very few second chances in life, but the Kennedy bill will give one to those who voted to give the President a blank check in 2002. This is their last chance to reclaim their oversight power, do right by the Troops, and represent the will of the people. Will they do so? Call your Senator and Congressman and ask them. The Capitol Switchboard is 202-224-3121.

corky said...

wassup! I support Teds efforts although I kinda doubt he could get anything through the Senate with good ole Joe Liebermann there.

capt said...

Help Mobilize for Jan. 27-29! Plus, Latest Details on the Demo

Momentum is beginning to build for the politically urgent mobilization on Saturday, Jan. 27th. There are already more than 500 endorsements for the demonstration and we are hearing from groups around the country that they are organizing to get people to Washington, DC. In order to send the strongest, clearest message to the new Congress we are working hard to have the largest turnout possible.

And we have set another important goal for this mobilization: We want to have at least one person from each of the 435 Congressional districts marching on Jan. 27th to help represent the truly nationwide peace majority.

We are inviting you to sign up to be a local coordinator for people coming from your area to Washington, DC.
Being a local coordinator means doing the things we hope you are already doing -- spreading the word and encouraging people to come to DC, helping to arrange buses, car caravans or rideshares, hosting a sign-making party -- but it also will mean following up with people in your area who will find you through the coordinator's listing on our website.

Many of you are already working on some or all of these activities -- and more! Now we've set up this system to help people in your area connect with your efforts. By signing up as a local coordinator, you will be putting your congressional district on our map that will show that folks are coming from all around the country to stand up for peace!

Sign up and/or find out more information about being a local coordinator

Ideas and resources for local coordinators

Once you sign up, your location and info will show up on this map and people will be able to "RSVP" for whatever you are organizing (car caravan, sign-making party, etc.). You will then be able to log in and change or update your listing as needed, and also contact the people who have RSVP'd for your listing. This is a great way to reach new people in your area, to build your group's membership if you have one, or even to start a new one.

If you want to know more about the role of the coordinators before signing up, please get in touch with either Susan Chenelle (susan at unitedforpeace.org) or Leslie Kauffman (lak at unitedforpeace.org); both can be reached by phone at 212-868-5545.

If you have other creative ideas for organizing people to come to DC that we haven't listed here or in our materials on the website, please let Susan or Leslie know and we'll share them in future bulletins to member groups.


Many of the details of the January mobilization are still being worked out, so please keep checking the UFPJ website for updates. Here is the information so far:

We have applied for permits to assemble on the east end of the National Mall, the end closest to the Capitol, and for a march route that will allow us to literally march around the Capitol.

Tentative times: assemble - 11am to 1pm; march step-off - 1pm; end of march - 4pm

Lobby Day: On Monday, January 29th, we will meet with members of Congress and/or their aides; a training for the lobby day will be held on Sunday, Jan. 28th.

If you are organizing buses or can offer any kind of transportation to DC, please post the details on our ride board ASAP. (Click here for tips on organizing buses.)

We also have a housing board and info on affordable lodging in the DC area.

And, of course, we hope everyone will make whatever financial contribution you can to help make this an historic mobilization.

Visit www.unitedforpeace.org for further resources and updates on the January 27-29 mobilization. Together we can end this war!


*****end of clip*****

Here is the whole thing.


capt said...


It might be like giving chicken soup to a dead man - it couldn't hurt!



capt said...


I read somewhere that the troops were needed to RETAKE Baghdad?

If we have lost Baghdad we have lost the war AND the occupation.

(Good link BTW)


capt said...


(Petition at Moveon.org)

David B. Benson said...

capt --- I like your new Emm, Peach! logo...

capt said...

Iran smog 'kills 3,600 in month'

Air pollution is estimated to have killed nearly 10,000 people in Tehran over a one-year period, including 3,600 in a month, Iranian officials say.

Most of the deaths were caused by heart attacks and respiratory illnesses brought on by smog, they said.

The scale of the problem led one senior official to say living in the Iranian capital was like "collective suicide".

Cheap fuel encourages car use in Iran, correspondents say, and many vehicles do not meet global emissions standards.

"It is a very serious and lethal crisis, a collective suicide," the director of Tehran's clean air committee, Mohammad Hadi Heydarzadeh, told an Iranian newspaper.

"A real revolution is needed to resolve this problem."


*****end of clip*****

I guess I can take my "they have oil so they don't need nuclear power" argument off the proverbial table.

I kind of understand their need for civilian nuclear power a little better. Losing 3,600 in a month is not that different from potential losses from sanctions or outright war.


capt said...


The picture is tanks to ImpeachBush.org.

It has their name on it but can only be read in full size: HERE



Gerald said...

I have signed the no escalation petition as I have signed many others.

Signing these petitions are important but with a screwball in the WH these petitions are as useless as nipples on a bull.

Gerald said...

Here is the answer to end the Iraq war

kathleen said...

Saladin/All look another attack on Carter for speaking the truth!

Jennifer has it all wrong. It is Israel that is practicing "reverse racism"!

In his bid for personal redemption,
Carter is practicing reverse racism
By Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
January 8, 2007
WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 (JTA) ?One of America뭩 great healers was driven past me Tuesday on the way to his final resting place: President Ford, his body in a casket surrounded by police motorcades. The elegant hearse was preceded by the current president riding in a black limousine. Hundreds of mourners and onlookers lined the streets, bidding their final farewell to a former president.
Op-Ed: Carter’s book is loving criticism
Op-Ed: Carter isn’t helping
Op-Ed: Carter book part of a pattern
So it was for Ronald Reagan.

Before long, another president will go ?Jimmy Carter. Now 82, Carter, a deeply religious man, is facing his own mortality and trying to clear his accounts before God. He is a former president, yet he is profoundly human. I had long admired Carter, beginning when I campaigned for him during my high school mock election and when I was one of his students at Emory University.

He now seems to be realizing that there is also a limit to his days on Earth and wants to set the record straight by championing a message that he believes to be egalitarian. In fact, it is just another form of racism.

On New Year뭩 Eve, a time when many search their inner hearts, a column Carter wrote was published in the religion section of The Washington Post. It was called 밊aith, Commitments and Mideast Peace.?What he wrote, perhaps inadvertently, shone a laser beam onto his own soul and may have revealed a new injustice ?reverse racism ?that has led him to anti-Israel sentiments. He may mistakenly believe his new mission to be a part of his personal redemption.

Carter뭩 New Year뭩 Eve piece sums up his political views through the lens of his childhood.

밢ur life뭩 priorities are affected by our personal experiences,?he wrote. 밒 grew up as a farm boy in the segregated South, and all my early playmates and friends were black. Of the five adults who shaped my life, other than my parents, only two of them were white. My future political commitments were shaped by my aversion to the official discrimination that I condoned in my youth.?

To Carter, everything now may be about purging himself before his God from the racist sins of his youth. But in so doing, he may have unwittingly embraced a new racism in which he views every challenge as a struggle between dark- and light-skinned people, automatically assuming that those with darker skin are the oppressed and those with lighter skin are the oppressors.

Carter pretended to be objective while serving as an elections observer in a messy scandal that helped bring the dark-skinned Hugo Chavez to power in Venezuela in an election fraught with irregularities. I was in Venezuela during those elections and met with Carter again. I was struck by how captivated he was by Chavez뭩 campaign to bring the darker-skinned 뱑eal Venezuelans?to power over the 밽ringo?oligarchs.

Chavez is now rightfully seen as a thorn in America뭩 side and a danger to stability worldwide. But with Carter뭩 help and blessings, he defeated a better-qualified and more experienced light-skinned, blue-eyed candidate, Gov. Henrique Salas Romer. Carter seemed to feel that somehow, solely by virtue of skin color, the people of Venezuela had been liberated.

Carter recently published a book about the conflict in the Middle East in which he uses the word 밶partheid?in the title and casts the Palestinians as the wronged blacks of his own youth.

True, many Palestinians are suffering mightily and deserve a better life. But their main oppressors are not the Israelis whom Carter classifies as white racists. Carter뭩 portrayal of the 밒sraeli oppressors?vs. 밣alestinian oppressed?fails to consider the other side. Israelis also are oppressed, every day of their lives, by the threat of terrorism, by a nuclear Iran vowing to annihilate them, by the murder of innocent Israeli citizens by groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, and by a historic animosity to Israel뭩 very existence by regional dictatorships that have the capacity to mobilize armies much larger than the entire population of Israel.

The challenges faced by the typically darker-skinned Palestinians have nothing to do with race or the segregation of Carter뭩 Georgia childhood. They are largely due to the failures of Palestinian and other Arab leaders to accept a two-state solution in which Israelis and Palestinians live side by side in peace. From the theft of millions of dollars of aid to the Palestinian people by Yasser Arafat, to the second intifada that has only harmed their own cause, the real oppression of the Palestinian people stems not from Israeli racism, but from a Palestinian leadership that has failed its people.

If there is a heaven, I am sure God has a place for Jimmy Carter, who on balance has worked to make the world a better place. However, as Carter faces his final years and eventually his own judgment day, he can clean his accounts for having condoned racism against blacks in his youth. But in so doing, he needs to ensure that he is not espousing discrimination against new groups, whether they are in Latin America or the Middle East.

(Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi is founder and president of The Israel Project.)

Gerald said...

For anyone interested in writing a book here is a title, NAZI STATES OF AMERICA, ENGLAND, AND ISRAEL SET OUT TO GENOCIDE THE WORLD!!!

kathleen said...


The following is the full text of the Nuremberg Declaration delivered to the head of the Documentation Center for the Crimes of the Nazi Party, the group responsible for maintaining Room 600 in the Nuremberg Courthouse where Nazi leaders were tried and convicted of war crimes in 1945 and 1946. The declaration calls on the United States to reverse the decision of the Bush administration and re-sign and ratify the International Criminal Court treaty (Rome statute).


on International Criminal Court

The Nuremberg War Trials marked the birth date of a new age in international law -- the creation of an International Tribunal to try war criminals. Mr. Robert Jackson, the Allied Forces' Chief Prosecutor, stated on various occasions in 1945 that, "the U.S. itself will be bound in the future by the rules they are imposing on the German war criminals in Nuremberg today.

Fifty seven years elapsed between the Nuremberg War Trials and the commissioning of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on July 1, 2002. However, the United States, under the presidency of George W. Bush, did not participate in the foundation of the ICC. Instead, the Bush administration threatened the use of military forces in the event that an American national was ever tried before the ICC.

The continued refusal of the United States government to become a party to the ICC is an ongoing violation of the promises made at Nuremberg in 1945. The conduct exhibited by the United States over 61 years constitutes a breach of good faith proclaimed in 1945. A breach of faith that contravenes the moral basis for the Nuremberg War Trials of 1945 and is a lasting obstacle to the efforts of all peaceful nations that believe in the rule of law. Americans are urged to encourage their government to fulfill the promises made by Robert Jackson at Nuremberg in 1945 and become a party to the ICC as soon as practicable.

Declared on the Documentation Center former Nazi Party parade grounds, Nuremberg, Germany, Dec. 7, 2006.

There were six original signers of the declaration and it may be available for signatures by visitors to the Nuremberg Courthouse. We are also soliciting signatures for the Nuremberg Declaration by professionals from various sectors, including current and/or past affiliations. The following sectors are included:

1. Current and former members of legislatures -- national, state/provincial/territorial, local/municipal.

2. Current and former executive government officials -- national, state/provincial, local/municipal, tribal and territorial. (e.g., governors, mayors, county executives).

3. Current and former jurists -- national, state/provincial/territorial, local/municipal.

4. Members of the Fourth Estate, the press/media, publishers, editors, journalists.

5. Officials and faculty of educational institutions.

6. Legal professionals.

7. Members of the clergy/lay leadership.

8. Current and former members of the diplomatic corps.

9. Current and former non-governmental organization (NGO) officials

10. Current and former members of the military.

11. Current and former trade union officials.

12. Current and former business community officials.

13. Current and former intelligence agency and law enforcement officers.

14. Members of the film, art, literature, sports, and entertainment communities.

15. Political party officials.

Signatures can be sent to: wmreditor@waynemadsenreport.com


The current plans are to collect signatures from Nuremberg and from e-mail and present them, along with the Nuremberg Declaration, to the relevant congressional committees with a view to persuade them to initiate the proper legislation to ensure that the United States becomes a full party to the International Criminal Court and agree to hand over for prosecution those American officials who violated the Paris Peace Pact of 1928, the UN Charter, and the Geneva Conventions. The ICC treaty has been ratified by 104 nations, including Afghanistan, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Serbia, South Africa, United Kingdom, and Venezuela. Iraq's Transitional National Government was set to ratify the treaty but reversed course after pressure was exerted by the United States. The following nations are in the process of ratifying the ICC treaty: Chile, Czech Republic, Guatemala, Japan, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Yemen. Israel "de-signed" the ICC treaty at the same time the Bush administration withdrew its signature.

kathleen said...

Who knows the date for the Aipac espionage trial? When you google it very little comes up!

Saladin said...

OK, looks like things are up and running again, thanks Capt for your help.


Saladin said...

Kathleen, it's full speed ahead to ramp up for the Iran attack. If you don't agree you are an anti-semite, plain and simple. They do not have truth as a foundation to stand upon, so they will always resort to lies and personal attacks against any and all who interfere with their goal of retrieving the old biblical borders. Slaughter and annilation, the keystone of the old testament. Apparently they have forgotten the punishments they suffered for being a "hard-hearted" people. Thay are still the same today.

Saladin said...


Monday, January 08, 2007

Indeed there is Apartheid in Israel
A new order issued by the GOC Central command bans the conveyance of Palestinians in Israeli vehicles. Such a blatant violation of the right to travel joins the long list of humans rights violations carried out by Israel in the [Occupied] Territories.

By Shulamit Aloni

01/05/06 "Ynet " --- - Jewish self-righteousness is taken for granted among ourselves to such an extent that we fail to see what’s right in front of our eyes. It’s simply inconceivable that the ultimate victims, the Jews, can carry out evil deeds. Nevertheless, the state of Israel practises its own, quite violent, form of Apartheid with the native Palestinian population.

The US Jewish Establishment’s onslaught on former President Jimmy Carter is based on him daring to tell the truth which is known to all: through its army, the government of Israel practises a brutal form of Apartheid in the territory it occupies. Its army has turned every Palestinian village and town into a fenced-in, or blocked-in, detention camp. All this is done in order to keep an eye on the population’s movements and to make its life difficult. Israel even imposes a total curfew whenever the settlers, who have illegally usurped the Palestinians’ land, celebrate their holidays or conduct their parades.

If that were not enough, the generals commanding the region frequently issue further orders, regulations, instructions and rules (let us not forget: they are the lords of the land). By now they have requisitioned further lands for the purpose of constructing “Jewish only” roads. Wonderful roads, wide roads, well-paved roads, brightly lit at night – all that on stolen land. When a Palestinian drives on such a road, his vehicle is confiscated and he is sent on his way.

On one occasion I witnessed such an encounter between a driver and a soldier who was taking down the details before confiscating the vehicle and sending its owner away. “Why?” I asked the soldier. “It’s an order – this is a Jews-only road”, he replied. I inquired as to where was the sign indicating this fact and instructing [other] drivers not to use it. His answer was nothing short of amazing. “It is his responsibility to know it, and besides, what do you want us to do, put up a sign here and let some antisemitic reporter or journalist take a photo so he that can show the world that Apartheid exists here?”

Indeed Apartheid does exist here. And our army is not “the most moral army in the world” as we are told by its commanders. Sufficient to mention that every town and every village has turned into a detention centre and that every entry and every exit has been closed, cutting it off from arterial traffic. If it were not enough that Palestinians are not allowed to travel on the roads paved ‘for Jews only’, on their land, the current GOC found it necessary to land an additional blow on the natives in their own land with an “ingenious proposal”.

Humanitarian activists cannot transport Palestinians either

Major-General Naveh, renowned for his superior patriotism, has issued a new order. Coming into affect on 19 January, it prohibits the conveyance of Palestinians without a permit. The order determines that Israelis are not allowed to transport Palestinians in an Israeli vehicle (one registered in Israel regardless of what kind of numberplate it carries) unless they have received explicit permission to do so. The permit relates to both the driver and the Palestinian passenger. Of course none of this applies to those whose labour serves the settlers. They and their employers will naturally receive the required permits so they can continue to serve the lords of the land, the settlers.

Did man of peace President Carter truly err in concluding that Israel is creating Apartheid? Did he exaggerate? Don’t the US Jewish community leaders recognise the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination of 7 March 1966, to which Israel is a signatory? Are the US Jews who launched the loud and abusive campaign against Carter for supposedly maligning Israel’s character and its democratic and humanist nature unfamiliar with the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid of 30 November 1973? Apartheid is defined therein as an international crime that among other things includes using different legal instruments to rule over different racial groups, thus depriving people of their human rights. Isn’t freedom of travel one of these rights?

In the past, the US Jewish community leaders were quite familiar with the meaning of those conventions. For some reason, however, they are convinced that Israel is allowed to contravene them. It’s OK to kill civilians, women and children, old people and parents with their children, deliberately or otherwise without accepting any responsibility. It’s permissible to rob people of their lands, destroy their crops, and cage them up like animals in the zoo. From now on, Israelis and International humanitarian organisations’ volunteers are prohibited from assisting a woman in labour by taking her to the hospital. [Israeli human rights group] Yesh Din volunteers cannot take a robbed and beaten-up Palestinian to the police station to lodge a complaint. (Police stations are located at the heart of the settlements.) Is there anyone who believes that this is not Apartheid?

Jimmy Carter does not need me to defend his reputation that has been sullied by Israelophile community officials. The trouble is that their love of Israel distorts their judgment and blinds them from seeing what’s in front of them. Israel is an occupying power that for 40 years has been oppressing an indigenous people, which is entitled to a sovereign and independent existence while living in peace with us. We should remember that we too used very violent terror against foreign rule because we wanted our own state. And the list of victims of terror is quite long and extensive.

We do limit ourselves to denying the [Palestinian] people human rights. We not only rob of them of their freedom, land and water. We apply collective punishment to millions of people and even, in revenge-driven frenzy, destroy the electricity supply for one and half million civilians. Let them “sit in the darkness” and “starve”.

Employees cannot be paid their wages because Israel is holding 500 million shekels that belong to the Palestinians. And after all that we remain “pure as the driven snow”. There are no moral blemishes on our actions. There is no racial separation. There is no Apartheid. It’s an invention of the enemies of Israel. Hooray for our brothers and sisters in the US! Your devotion is very much appreciated. You have truly removed a nasty stain from us. Now there can be an extra spring in our step as we confidently abuse the Palestinian population, using the “most moral army in the world”.

Shulamit Aloni, the Israeli Prize laureate who once served as Minister of Education under Yitzhak Rabin, is from Yediot Acharonot, Israel’s largest circulating newspaper, which appeared in the Hebrew Ynet but not in the English-language Ynetnews.

Tranlated by Sol Salbe, an Australian editor, whose comments are in square brackets.

Hebrew original: http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3346283,00.html Yediot Acharonot, Israel’s largest circulating newspaper.
Nope, no racism or apartheid here, move along now, this isn't a one sided issue ya know!

Saladin said...


Senate to debate resolution opposing Iraq war.

The Democratic-controlled Senate will begin considering a non-binding resolution next week opposing President Bush's new Iraq policy, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, announced Tuesday.
The resolution trumps an effort by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, to require President Bush to seek specific authorization before increasing troops in Iraq.
UM, NON-binding? More smoke and mirrors boys and girls.

kathleen said...

Kristol and Kagan should be sent to the gallows for the blood they have on their hands. They are up to their necks in Iraqi, Palestinian and Lebanese blood.

They do not get it, they need to get out more AMERICANS ARE PISSED!If the Democrats and the Republicans do not hold those responsible for the pre-war intelligence and the who how and why we invaded Iraq, Time could be up for both parties in 2008!

Weekly Standard has "Save a Libby" pop ups all over their site!

Kagan was on c-span selling his lies this morning.

Playing Offense
Congressional hearings? Go on the offensive.
by Robert Kagan & William Kristol
01/15/2007, Volume 012, Issue 17

YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED from this week's festivities that the Democrats now control both houses of Congress. Bush administration officials certainly have. Their minds have been concentrated by the prospect of congressional Democrats holding hearings on just about everything--but especially on Iraq, and beginning right away.

Administration officials are undoubtedly dreading the prospect of testifying, if only because time spent preparing and hours consumed by testimony will make it harder for them to do their jobs. But these hearings could have a real benefit. If the administration handles them properly, they can clarify for the American public the stark choice we face in Iraq: between a policy of withdrawal and defeat, and a policy aimed at success and victory.

True, congressional critics will want to spend much time looking back at failures in the administration's Iraq policy. That is legitimate, and administration officials should frankly acknowledge the errors committed since the beginning of the occupation. Not least of those errors was the decision to commit far too few troops to bring stability and security to Iraq after Saddam was toppled.

But the real policy question--what matters now--is how to correct those errors and move forward. This week the president will set forth his proposal. We hope and expect it will include a clear articulation of a new strategy for Iraq--a real effort, based on classic counterinsurgency doctrine, to secure the Iraqi population, first in Baghdad, and then in Anbar, along with substantial aid for economic development and jobs for Iraqis. This will be supported
by a rapid increase in the size of the force in Iraq by around 30,000 troops, and will signal a sharp departure from the failed Rumsfeld-Abizaid-Casey minimalist approach.

Once the president has set forth his strategy, administration officials will go to Capitol Hill, where they will need to explain and defend it. They will need to be prepared for the many hostile questions that will be posed by congressional critics, including by those hoping to use these hearings to catapult themselves toward the presidency in 2008.

But the administration witnesses need to do more than defend the president's proposal. These hearings are also an opportunity to go on offense: to point out that the choice in Iraq is not between the president's proposal and some other, more perfect plan. As the Baker commission amply demonstrated, there are no other brilliant ideas out there about how to achieve an acceptable outcome in Iraq. The only real alternative to what the administration is proposing is some form of withdrawal--and defeat.

The task in these hearings, then, is not just to explain and defend the president's plan, but to make the point that it is better than any plausible alternative, especially withdrawal. Committee members should not be allowed to get away with simply criticizing the president's plan. They must also explain what they would propose instead.

And if what they propose is withdrawal, then they must be asked to explain how that would work. And they should be asked to answer a few basic questions about how they would deal with the consequences of withdrawal. How would they respond to the eruption of full-blown civil war in Iraq and the massive ethnic cleansing it would produce? How would they respond to the intervention of Iraq's neighbors, including Iran, Syria, and Turkey? And most important, what would they propose to do if, as a result of our withdrawal and the collapse of Iraq, al Qaeda and other terrorist groups managed to establish a safe haven from which to launch attacks against the United States and its allies? Would they favor another invasion of Iraq to root out these terrorist bases? Or would they tolerate the establishment of another terror base, bigger and better funded than the one that developed in Afghanistan?

Although congressional committees prefer asking questions to answering them, these hearings should not be the usual one-sided affair, where senators read prepared questions and administration officials politely read prepared responses. Administration officials can't let themselves simply play defense. They need to frame the alternatives--and insist on an open and searching dialogue about what to do next, about what can work and what can't, and about the consequences of whatever course we take. The result of such a dialogue will be to present the American people with a real discussion of the risks and the possibilities of all the options--exactly what the Baker commission with its closed-door meetings and artificial consensus did not provide.

We are confident that when the choices are clearly and honestly posed, and the arguments coherently and forcefully made, the majority of Americans will reject withdrawal and defeat and support the president's efforts to achieve success and victory in Iraq.

--Robert Kagan and William Kristol

Saladin said...

Major loophole in Democrats' ethics bill will benefit controversial lobbying groups

Brian Beutler
Published: Tuesday January 9, 2007
Print This Email This Print page sponsored by Velvet Revolution.

Democrats’ own Rules Commmittee chair criticizes exemption, bill architecture

WASHINGTON -- A major loophole in the Democrats' recently unveiled ethics package will allow non-profit arms of controversial lobbying organizations to fund travel excursions for members of Congress, RAW STORY has discovered.

Though tasked with authoring the legislation, Rules Committee Chair Louise Slaughter (D-NY) said she disagreed with the exemption in an exclusive interview.

"I would've done it straight out," Slaughter said, noting that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Aspen Institute are exempt from many of its harshest restrictions.

Slaughter didn’t say who, if anyone, had pushed for the exemption. As chair, the New York Democrat was responsible for pulling together the ethics reform package, which was hammered out between members of the Democratic caucus.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declined to comment.

Washington ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – a nonprofit that has loudly decried Republican ethics scandals and enforcement – also declined to comment.

The Aspen Institute, which does not technically employ lobbyists, describes itself as an organization that runs "seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives" intended "to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values." The group concentrates on a wide range of public policies, but its foreign policy and weapons control arm — known as the "Aspen Strategy Group" — have included high-profile and arguably partisan fellows including Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, former Vice President Al Gore Clinton Secretary of State Madeline Albright, and former New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

However, the group does pay for members to attend what spokesman Jim Spiegelman described as, “intensive, multi-day informational discussions on mostly foreign policy issues, wherein the institute takes “members of congress together on a trip and focuses on a given subject whether it’s the international environment, or non-proliferation or another [foreign policy] topic.”

AIPAC, on the other hand, is widely believed to be the most powerful lobbying organization in Washington, and it has used its might, some say, to help end the political careers of several members of congress who had been critical of Israel including Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) and Earl Hilliard (D-AL). It was recently implicated in an espionage scandal involving Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin who was suspected of passing sensitive legislation to Israel through contacts in AIPAC. It has also mobilized millions of dollars to fund non-violent defense technologies and has attempted to disrupt activities of militant groups like Hezbollah and Hamas.

AIPAC declined to comment on being singled out by Slaughter, but spokesman Josh Block described the educational trips to Israel as “substantive, educational, and valuable.” He also pointed out that AIPAC had testified before congress last year on the issue of privately funded travel.
Israel lobby? What Israel lobby? That same legislation will cause severe hardships on all grassroots campaigns, but AIPAC is exempt. Way to go dems.

capt said...

GOOD Stuff - keep 'em coming!

I'd jump in but am busy with some non-blog stuff.

Glad you are back-up and running Saladin!


kathleen said...

The Libby Legal Defense Fund advisory committee is very telling!

Carey said...


Haven't had time to read anyone today including David Corn himself.

There are several petitions circulating today opposing the escalation in Iraq. Ah, I can see that Capt linked Kennedy's petition in the very first post. Please check and sign all the petitions here, at Dancing with Fools (Den's blog at dancingwithfools.blogspot.com) and in your email boxes. We've got to get this show on the road!


Thank you.

kathleen said...

The "war without end" psychopath Micheal Ledeen needs to be put somewhere he cannot continue to hurt people.

When will they lock him up?

The Surge and its Critics
Getting Syrious.

By Michael Ledeen

We’ve renewed the great debate on Iraq, and as usual the central issue — the regional nature of the war — is not addressed. Still, one is grateful to Eliot Cohen and Bing West for some long-needed suggestions in their excellent article in the Wall Street Journal. Above all, they raise the question of “Iraqi justice,” one of the central requirements if the Iraqi people are going to have any confidence in the future.

West and Cohen say that 80 percent of all arrested people are released without a sentence, and they point out that many of those people were originally arrested by American forces. If you want to understand the frustration of our troops, this is probably the best place to start. Americans are killed, we investigate, find the people we believe are guilty, and arrest them. We then turn them over to local authorities for processing. But the “justice system” is totally centralized in Baghdad; there are no local judges to pronounce sentences, and all cases go to Baghdad. Baghdadi courts are not a model of efficiency, thus alleged killers walk. Not just once, but many times. They kill again, are arrested again, and walk again. That’s the sort of thing that sometimes drives some soldiers to go on vigilante rampages when they see men walking around who are believed to have killed GIs or Marines.

There must be local courts, otherwise the increase in the prison population for which West and Cohen call will be politicized, ethnicized, or tribalized, depending on what’s happening in Baghdad.

Their other excellent recommendation is to dramatically increase the number of embedded Coalition soldiers. And while we’re at it, somebody should compel the sleepy defense ministry in Baghdad to pay the Iraqi troops. The discretionary funds in the hands of our field commanders can make up some of the slack, but that is totally improper. Maliki et. al. say they want sovereign authority. Fine. Let them act like a government and pay their employees.

Note that an increase in embeds doesn’t necessarily require an increase in overall troop strength. We’ve got lots of soldiers sitting on megabases all over Iraq. They should be out and about, some of them embedded, others just moving around, tracking the terrorists, hunting them down. I don’t know how many guys and gals are sitting in air-conditioned quarters and drinking designer coffee, but it’s a substantial number. Enough of that.

I do not agree with their suggestion we should threaten withdrawal. That’s already happened; Pelosi, Reid, and Murtha do it every day. I have no doubt the Iraqis and everyone else in the region expect us to leave sooner rather than later. What else could they think? Saying it one more time weakens our influence even further, whereas demonstrating a will to win this war is the best, indeed the only way to gain prestige and strength in the eyes of the people and their leaders.

And the only way to demonstrate a will to win is to go after the Iranians and the Syrians, as well as the terrorists already inside Iraq. God knows the evidence of Syrian involvement is overwhelming, and the latest information reportedly shows they are on both sides of the Sunni/Shiite divide. If we continue to blither ineffectually about how “unhelpful” the mullahs and the Assads are, everyone in those parts will understand that we do not yet have the will to win this war.

If we do not tackle Syria, we will simply provide the terrorists with more targets. If we do go after them, we may yet win this thing. As luck would have it, this is the ideal moment to go after the Iranians, since their supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, is either dead or dying, and a vicious internal power struggle is under way in Tehran. We should propose a better solution to the Iranian people: revolution, leading to their freedom. That would require the president and the secretary of State to call for regime change in Iran and Syria, something from which they have always retreated in the past.

But if we want to win, that’s the first step. Anybody ready?

Robert S. said...

Yesterday, I was watching C-Span and they were broadcasting an event from CSIS in which 4 Congresscritters, 2 dems and 2 gophers, all on the House Armed Services Committee spoke about the "surge" or escalation, as it were.

As part of its Decision 2008 series, CSIS brought together members of the prestigious House Armed Services Committee (HASC) to discuss their agenda for Iraq in the 110th Congress. Participants were:

* Representative Ike Skelton (D-MO), chair, HASC
* Representative Jim Marshall (D-GA), HASC
* Representative Jim Saxton (R-NJ), HASC
* Representative "Mac" Thornberry (R-TX), HASC

Dr. John Hamre, president and CEO of CSIS, introduced the participants. Ray DuBois, a senior adviser at CSIS, moderated the event.

AUDIO (mp3, 1:26:02) | TRANSCRIPT (pdf)

Now, I've previously mentioned the less than honorable Ike Skelton's thoughts on counter-insurgency, and he has an endowed chair in his name on the subject at one of our military academies and he talks about our succesful use of counter- insurgency in places like South America and the Phillipines; the propping up of such dictaters as Marcos, Samosa, Pinochet, etc.

But, yesterday, Congresscritter Jim Marshall (D-GA) took the cake, (well, I didn't take too much notice of what the GOPhers said anyway...) when he was talking about how the Congress shouldn't get too wrapped up in the minutia over Iraq and Afghanistan, because, he allowed, (paraphrased) "the United States has 5% of the world's population and controls 25-40% of the world's wealth," and as such we should be prepared to defend this militarily.

As you might expect, I called his office...

I asked the nice staff member if he thought that was a morally defensible position, even while I acknowledged the underlying logic.

The silence was golden.

The event wasn't yet over and the Congresscritter was to add the other foot into his already ped-stuffed mouth.

You see, he couldn't help but relate this story about how the Lt. Col. he visited with in Ramadi had told him that that the locals were tiring of the Al-Qaida amongst them and that all that they needed to do was to buy 100 Silverado pick-up trucks and 1000 rifles and ammo and distribute the same to some youths that the local sheiks would provide and that they would clear their area of the al-qaida insurgents. In other words, he was describing the formation of yet one more local, sectarian militia...

Robert S. said...

The event ended on an interesting note, as an audience member asked the panel if "they would impeach Cheney before he attacked Iran?"

The Congresscritters giggled nervously and said, "Of course not."

And on that note:

Bush's Rush to Armageddon
By Robert Parry
Consortium News
Monday 08 January 2007

George W. Bush has purged senior military and intelligence officials who were obstacles to a wider war in the Middle East, broadening his options for both escalating the conflict inside Iraq and expanding the fighting to Iran and Syria with Israel's help.

On Jan. 4, Bush ousted the top two commanders in the Middle East, Generals John Abizaid and George Casey, who had opposed a military escalation in Iraq, and removed Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, who had stood by intelligence estimates downplaying the near-term threat from Iran's nuclear program.

Most Washington observers have treated Bush's shake-up as either routine or part of his desire for a new team to handle his planned "surge" of U.S. troops in Iraq. But intelligence sources say the personnel changes also fit with a scenario for attacking Iran's nuclear facilities and seeking violent regime change in Syria.

Bush appointed Admiral William Fallon as the new chief of Central Command for the Middle East despite the fact that Fallon, a former Navy fighter pilot and currently head of the Pacific Command, will oversee two ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The choice of Fallon makes more sense if Bush foresees a bigger role for two aircraft carrier groups now poised off Iran's coastline, such as support for possible Israeli air strikes against Iran's nuclear targets or as a deterrent against any overt Iranian retaliation.

Though not considered a Middle East expert, Fallon has moved in neoconservative circles, for instance, attending a 2001 awards ceremony at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, a think tank dedicated to explaining "the link between American defense policy and the security of Israel."

Bush's personnel changes also come as Israel is reported stepping up preparations for air strikes, possibly including tactical nuclear bombs, to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, such as the reactor at Anton, south of Tehran, where enriched uranium is produced.

The Sunday Times of London reported on Jan. 7 that two Israeli air squadrons are training for the mission and "if things go according to plan, a pilot will first launch a conventional laser-guided bomb to blow a shaft down through the layers of hardened concrete [at Natanz]. Other pilots will then be ready to drop low-yield one kiloton nuclear weapons into the hole."

The Sunday Times wrote that Israel also would hit two other facilities - at Isfahan and Arak - with conventional bombs. But the possible use of a nuclear bomb at Natanz would represent the first nuclear attack since the United States destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan at the end of World War II six decades ago.

While some observers believe Israel may be leaking details of its plans as a way to frighten Iran into accepting international controls on its nuclear program, other sources indicate that Israel and the Bush administration are seriously preparing for this wider Middle Eastern war.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has called the possibility of an Iranian nuclear bomb an "existential threat" to Israel.

After the Sunday Times article appeared, an Israeli government spokesman denied that Israel has drawn up secret plans to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities. For its part, Iran claims it only wants a nuclear program for producing energy.

Negroponte's Heresy

Whatever Iran's intent, Negroponte has said U.S. intelligence does not believe Iran could produce a nuclear weapon until next decade.

Negroponte's assessment in April 2006 infuriated neoconservative hardliners who wanted a worst-case scenario on Iran's nuclear capabilities, much as they pressed for an alarmist view on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction before the U.S. invasion in 2003.

Unlike former CIA Director George Tenet, who bent to Bush's political needs on Iraq, Negroponte stood behind the position of intelligence analysts who cited Iran's limited progress in refining uranium.

"Our assessment is that the prospects of an Iranian weapon are still a number of years off, and probably into the next decade," Negroponte said in an interview with NBC News. Expressing a similarly tempered view in a speech at the National Press Club, Negroponte said, "I think it's important that this issue be kept in perspective."

Some neocons complained that Negroponte was betraying the President.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr., a leading figure in the neoconservative Project for the New American Century, called for Negroponte's firing because of the Iran assessment and his "abysmal personnel decisions" in hiring senior intelligence analysts who were skeptics about Bush's Iraqi WMD claims.

In an article for Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Washington Times, Gaffney attacked Negroponte for giving top analytical jobs to Thomas Fingar, who had served as assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research, and Kenneth Brill, who was U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which debunked some of the U.S. and British claims about Iraq seeking uranium ore from Africa.

Fingar's Office of Intelligence and Research had led the dissent against the Iraq WMD case, especially over what turned out to be Bush's false claims that Iraq was developing a nuclear bomb.

"Given this background, is it any wonder that Messrs. Negroponte, Fingar and Brill ... gave us the spectacle of absurdly declaring the Iranian regime to be years away from having nuclear weapons?" wrote Gaffney, who was a senior Pentagon official during the Reagan administration.

Gaffney also accused Negroponte of giving promotions to "government officials in sensitive positions who actively subvert the President's policies," an apparent reference to Fingar and Brill. The neocons have long resented U.S. intelligence assessments that conflict with their policy prescriptions. [See Robert Parry's Secrecy & Privilege.]

In his personnel shakeup, Bush shifted Negroponte from his Cabinet-level position as DNI to a sub-Cabinet post as deputy to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. To replace Negroponte, Bush nominated Navy retired Vice Admiral John McConnell, who is viewed by intelligence professionals as a low-profile technocrat, not a strong independent figure.

A Freer Hand

Negroponte's departure should give Bush a freer hand if he decides to support attacks on Iran's nuclear facilities. Bush's neocon advisers fear that if Bush doesn't act decisively in his remaining two years in office, his successor may lack the political will to launch a preemptive strike against Iran.

Bush reportedly has been weighing his military options for bombing Iran's nuclear facilities since early 2006. But he has encountered resistance from the top U.S. military brass, much as he has with his plans to escalate U.S. troop levels in Iraq.

As investigative reporter Seymour Hersh wrote in The New Yorker, a number of senior U.S. military officers were troubled by administration war planners who believed "bunker-busting" tactical nuclear weapons, known as B61-11s, were the only way to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities buried deep underground.

A former senior intelligence official told Hersh that the White House refused to remove the nuclear option from the plans despite objections from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "Whenever anybody tries to get it out, they're shouted down," the ex-official said. [New Yorker, April 17, 2006]

By late April 2006, however, the Joint Chiefs finally got the White House to agree that using nuclear weapons to destroy Iran's uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz, less than 200 miles south of Tehran, was politically unacceptable, Hersh reported.

"Bush and [Vice President Dick] Cheney were dead serious about the nuclear planning," one former senior intelligence official said. [New Yorker, July 10, 2006]

But one way to get around the opposition of the Joint Chiefs would be to delegate the bombing operation to the Israelis. Given Israel's powerful lobbying operation in Washington and its strong ties to leading Democrats, an Israeli-led attack might be more politically palatable with the Congress.

Attacks on Iran and Syria also would fit with Bush's desire to counter the growing Shiite influence across the Middle East, which was given an unintended boost by Bush's ouster of the Sunni-dominated government of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

The original neocon plan for the Iraq invasion was to use Iraq as a base to force regime change in Syria and Iran, thus dealing strong blows to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories.

This regional transformation supposedly would have protected Israel's northern border and strengthened Israel's hand in dictating final peace terms to the Palestinians. But the U.S. invasion of Iraq backfired, descending into a sectarian civil war with Iraq's pro-Iranian Shiite majority gaining the upper hand.

In effect, by ousting Saddam Hussein, Bush had eliminated the principal buffer who had been holding the line against the radical Shiites in Iran since 1979. By tipping the strategic balance to the Shiites, Bush also unnerved the Sunni monarchy of Saudi Arabia.

A Nightmare

By 2006, the dream of a U.S.-orchestrated transformation of the Middle East had turned into a nightmare of rising Shiite radicalism. To address this unanticipated development, Bush began pondering how best to throttle Shiite expansionism.

In summer 2006, Washington Post foreign policy analyst Robin Wright wrote that U.S. officials told her that "for the United States, the broader goal is to strangle the axis of Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria and Iran, which the Bush administration believes is pooling resources to change the strategic playing field in the Middle East." [Washington Post, July 16, 2006]

Bush's advisers also blamed the governments of Syria and Iran for supporting anti-U.S. fighters in Iraq.

Yet lacking the military and political capacity to expand the conflict beyond Iraq, the Bush administration turned to Israel and its new Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. By summer 2006, Israeli sources were describing Bush's interest in finding a pretext to take Syria and Iran down a notch.

That opening came when border tensions with Hamas in Gaza and with Hezbollah in Lebanon led to the capture of three Israeli soldiers and a rapid Israeli escalation of the conflict into an air-and-ground campaign against Lebanon.

Bush and his neoconservative advisers saw the Israeli-Lebanese conflict as an opening to expand the fighting into Syria and achieve the long-sought "regime change" in Damascus, Israeli sources said.

One Israeli source told me that Bush's interest in spreading the war to Syria was considered "nuts" by some senior Israeli officials, although Prime Minister Olmert generally shared Bush's hard-line strategy against Islamic militants. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Bush Wants Wider War."]

In an article on July 30, 2006 the Jerusalem Post also hinted at Bush's suggestion of a wider war into Syria. "Defense officials told the Post ... that they were receiving indications from the US that America would be interested in seeing Israel attack Syria," the newspaper reported.

In August 2006, the Inter-Press Service added more details, reporting that the message was passed to Israel by Bush's deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams, who had been a central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s.

"In a meeting with a very senior Israeli official, Abrams indicated that Washington would have no objection if Israel chose to extend the war beyond to its other northern neighbor, leaving the interlocutor in no doubt that the intended target was Syria," a source told the Inter-Press Service.

In December 2006, Meyray Wurmser, a leading U.S. neoconservative whose spouse is a Middle East adviser to Vice President Cheney, confirmed that neocons inside and outside the Bush administration had hoped Israel would attack Syria as a means of undermining the insurgents in Iraq.

"If Syria had been defeated, the rebellion in Iraq would have ended," Wurmser said in an interview with Yitzhak Benhorin of the Ynet Web site. "A great part of it was the thought that Israel should fight against the real enemy, the one backing Hezbollah.... If Israel had hit Syria, it would have been such a harsh blow for Iran that it would have weakened it and (changed) the strategic map in the Middle East."

But the Israeli summer offensives in Gaza and Lebanon fell short of Olmert's objectives, instead generating international condemnation of Tel Aviv for the large numbers of civilian casualties from Israel's bombing raids.

Wounded Leaders

Now, as two politically wounded leaders, Bush and Olmert share an interest in trying to salvage some success out of their military setbacks. So, they are looking at possible moves that are much more dramatic than minor adjustments to the status quo.

Democrats and some Republicans are questioning why Bush wants to send 20,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq and offer Iraqis some jobs programs, when similar tactics have been tried unsuccessfully in the past.

Indeed, one source familiar with high-level thinking in Washington and Tel Aviv said an unstated reason for Bush's troop "surge" is to bolster the defenses of Baghdad's Green Zone if a possible Israeli attack on Iran prompts an uprising among Iraqi Shiites.

The two U.S. aircraft carrier strike forces off Iran's coast could provide further deterrence against Iranian retaliation. But the conflict would almost certainly spread anyway.

Likely Hezbollah missile strikes against Israel would offer another pretext for Israel to invade Syria and finally oust Hezbollah's allies in Damascus, as the U.S. neocons had hope would happen in summer 2006, the source said.

In the neoconservative vision, this wider war would offer perhaps a last chance at achieving the regional transformation that has been at the heart of Bush's strategy of "democratizing" the Middle East through violence if necessary.

However, few Middle East experts believe that Bush really would want the results of truly democratic elections in the region because Islamic militants would almost surely win resoundingly amid the anti-Americanism that has grown even more intense since the hanging of Saddam Hussein in late December.

An Israeli assault on Iran could put the region's remaining pro-American dictators in jeopardy, too. In Pakistan, for instance, Islamic militants with ties to al-Qaeda have been gaining strength and might try to overthrow Gen. Pervez Musharraf, conceivably giving Islamic terrorists control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

For some U.S. foreign policy experts, this potential for disaster from a U.S.-backed Israeli air strike on Iran is so terrifying that they ultimately don't believe Bush and Olmert would dare implement such the plan.

But Bush's actions in the past two months - reaffirming his determination to achieve "victory" in Iraq - suggest that he wants nothing of the "graceful exit" that might come from a de-escalation of the war.

Losing Faith

Bush has dug in his heels even as some senior administration officials have lost faith in his strategy.

On Nov. 6, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sent Bush a memo suggesting a "major adjustment" in Iraq War policy that would include "an accelerated drawdown of U.S. bases" from 55 to five by July 2007 with remaining U.S. forces only committed to Iraqi areas that request them.

"Unless they [the local Iraqi governments] cooperate fully, U.S. forces would leave their province," Rumsfeld wrote.

Proposing an option similar to a plan enunciated by Democratic Rep. John Murtha, Rumsfeld suggested that the commanders "withdraw U.S. forces from vulnerable positions - cities, patrolling, etc. - and move U.S. forces to a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) status, operating from within Iraq and Kuwait, to be available when Iraqi security forces need assistance."

And in what could be read as an implicit criticism of Bush's lofty rhetoric about transforming Iraq and the Middle East, Rumsfeld said the administration should "recast the U.S. military mission and the U.S. goals (how we talk about them) - go minimalist." [NYT, Dec. 3, 2006]

On Nov. 8, two days after the memo and one day after American voters elected Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, Bush fired Rumsfeld. The firing was widely interpreted as a sign that Bush was ready to moderate his position on Iraq, but the evidence now suggests that Bush got rid of Rumsfeld for going wobbly on the war.

On Dec. 6, when longtime Bush family counselor James Baker issued a report by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group urging a drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq, Bush wasted little time in slapping it down.

Instead, Bush talked about waging a long war against Islamic "radicals and extremists," an escalation from his original post-9/11 goal of defeating "terrorists with global reach."

At his news conference on Dec. 20, Bush cast this wider struggle against Islamists as a test of American manhood and perseverance by demonstrating to the enemy that "they can't run us out of the Middle East, that they can't intimidate America."

Bush suggested, too, that painful decisions lay ahead in the New Year.

"I'm not going to make predictions about what 2007 will look like in Iraq, except that it's going to require difficult choices and additional sacrifices, because the enemy is merciless and violent," Bush said.

Rather than scale back his neoconservative dream of transforming the Middle East, Bush argued for an expanded U.S. military to wage this long war.

"We must make sure that our military has the capability to stay in the fight for a long period of time," Bush said. "I'm not predicting any particular theater, but I am predicting that it's going to take a while for the ideology of liberty to finally triumph over the ideology of hate....

"We're in the beginning of a conflict between competing ideologies - a conflict that will determine whether or not your children can live in a peace. A failure in the Middle East, for example, or failure in Iraq, or isolationism, will condemn a generation of young Americans to permanent threat from overseas."


Since then, Bush has floated the idea of a troop "surge" and replaced commanders who disagreed with him. Bush also removed U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, a Sunni Muslim generally considered a voice for moderation in U.S. policy who privately objected to Bush's decision to press ahead with the hanging of Saddam Hussein.

There are even indications of tension between Bush and Cheney, who like his old friend Rumsfeld, appears to have grown disillusioned with the war.

In a little-noticed comment on Jan. 4, Sen. Joseph Biden, the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Cheney and Rumsfeld "are really smart guys who made a very, very, very, very bad bet, and it blew up in their faces. Now, what do they do with it? I think they have concluded they can't fix it, so how do you keep it stitched together without it completely unraveling?" [Washington Post, Jan. 5, 2007]

But Bush does not appear to share that goal of limiting the damage. Instead, he is looking for ways to "double-down" his gamble in Iraq by joining with Olmert - and possibly outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair - in expanding the conflict.

Since the Nov. 7 congressional elections, the three leaders have conducted a round-robin of meetings that on the surface seem to have little purpose. Olmert met privately with Bush on Nov. 13; Blair visited the White House on Dec. 7; and Blair conferred with Olmert in Israel on Dec. 18.

Sources say the three leaders are frantically seeking options for turning around their political fortunes as they face harsh judgments from history for their bloody and risky adventures in the Middle East.

But there is also a clock ticking. Blair, who now stands to go down in the annals of British history as "Bush's poodle," is nearing the end of his tenure, having agreed under pressure from his Labour Party to step down in spring 2007.

So, if the Bush-Blair-Olmert triumvirate has any hope of accomplishing the neoconservative remaking of the Middle East, time is running out. Something dramatic must happen soon.

That something looks like it may include a rush to Armageddon.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty From Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at Amazon.com, as is his 1999 book, Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth.'

Carey said...

Thought y'all should see this little item. Not good news for peace-lovers. Out of the WAR ROOM in Salon:

Oppose the "surge"? Act fast

As we noted a short while ago, Virginia Sen. John Warner said this afternoon that Democrats and Republicans should take a "timeout" before responding to the president's plan for a new "way forward" in Iraq. "Let's just give it a little time," Warner said as he pushed for a period of "concentrated" congressional "study" of the president's plan.

Tony Snow uttered similar words at the White House this afternoon, insisting that the president's speech Wednesday night "is not the end of the debate" but rather "the beginning of an important consideration of how we move forward in Iraq . . . ."

All of which sounds perfectly reasonable, at least until you get to this: A senior defense official tells MSNBC that, under the president's plan -- the plan that has taken the president the better part of four months to create -- the first wave of additional U.S. troops will head for Iraq within the next three weeks.

-- Tim Grieve

Robert S. said...

I'm about to head out to a candlelight vigil against the surge at Pershing Square Park in L.A.

Similar events are happening all over America, please participate.

Robert S. said...

The picture is from here.

Carey said...

Ay, I've had to change to a slower dial up because netzero raised their rates. Can't stand it!

Another petition on Iraq troops: A Mandate for Peace. Please disregard if you've already received this from me in your email.


Carey said...

Well crap. This just out from the AP: It's official. Please don't stop signing those petitions and making a big scene though.

New Wave of Troops Set For Iraq

Saladin said...

Carey and Robert, they are going to do what they want. We the people don't have the bucks to stop them. Time to get serious. And I mean it.
Carey, I want to comment on your post at DEN's regarding the constitution preventing the dems from withholding funds from a standing army. That's funny, they weren't very concerned about the constitution when they were all signing off on the patriot act without even reading it. Or any other constitutional violation for that matter. Will they quote the constitution when bush pushes the NWO version of the European Union, coming soon to a state near you? Free SS for all, a 1/4 mile wide international freeway thru the heart of the country, a swith to a non-mandated new currency, foreigners making up a large part of our military, and basically a fond farewell to the sovereignty of the US? Where will they be then? I don't think the people have a clue what is coming. Buy warm clothing and silver while you can, you're going to need it. Consider it a savings account, not for a rainy day, but for a Noah sized flood.

Saladin said...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - FreeMarketNews.com

On the eve of a major speech by President Bush, in which he is expected to announce an escalation of reportedly 20,000 to 30,000 troops to be sent to Iraq, a new poll finds that a majority of the US are against the so-called "surge." According to the USA Today/Gallup poll, the American public opposes Bush's expected plan by 61 percent to 31 percent, with the president's support primarily within his GOP base. -Raw Story
Are those crickets I hear? Come on people, watcha gonna do about it?

Saladin said...

Visible Origami
Reflections in a Petri Dish
Smoking Mirrors

by BlogRolling
Monday, January 8th
Big Lies, Small Lies and False Flags Waving

It never fails to amaze me, this daily stream of lies and half-truths- this couching of suggestive and subliminal acupressure upon the human mind. From the shit-shillers to the acrobatic word whores, everywhere you look someone is being paid to lie about something. Invariably these lies have something to do with putting money in the liar’s pockets. Sometimes it’s just to encourage you to buy their car over that car, unless you are smart enough to buy Japanese... or this beer over that beer. Getting you to buy one product over another, encouraging brand loyalty is the daily doing of the liars in the market place.

There are many levels of lying and lying ability. Some of them must be indirect because they are patently evil. Such as lying a nation into war in order to sell munitions, war paraphernalia and to steal another countries resources and profit from the needs of soldiers in the field. Or it could be in order to control the price and flow of oil. There are some among us who are disposed to believe that their government wants to stabilize the availability of the oil for the benefit of its citizens. That is an obvious lie given the degree to which they manipulate both the availability and the price for their own benefit. The theft of billions from California through the machinations of Bush oil buddies is a textbook example.

There are those who fabricate non-existent enemies in order to invade a country. There are those who plan and carry out attacks on their own nation in order to blame these events on fabricated enemies in order to invade another country. There are those who manufacture memos based on fabrications and who manufacture intelligence from sources that cannot be named in order to engineer the invasion of another country. There are those who misquote world leaders in order to drum up international sympathy for an attack on another country. One example is quoting Ahmanedijad as saying that Israel should be destroyed when he clearly said, “the Zionist Regime”. Another is to present Iran’s peaceful nuclear energy program as a cover for the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

There is another way of lying which is to omit significant facts that would render a lie just what it is; for instance, to suggest that Iran is operating in a rogue fashion when in fact they are abiding by the dictates of the Nuclear Energy Commission. It is altogether possible that Iran might one day seek to possess nuclear weapons given the overt hostility displayed toward them by the Middle East’s chief trouble maker, Israel. Were Israel the fine democratic nation they pretend to be they wouldn’t be involved in genocide against the Palestinians.

Another kind of lie is to label a militant faction in a particular country as terrorists. Hamas and Hezbollah are examples of this. Neither of these groups are terrorists. Even a casual inquiry would reveal the origin of these groups and cast an entirely different light upon their principles and intentions. It is safe to say that if Palestinians were no longer being arbitrarily slaughtered and Lebanon were to be allowed to live in peace there would be no need for either group.

Some lies have been around so long that they are automatically assumed to be true. One such lie is that the Palestinians refuse to accept Israel’s right to exist. That’s a lie. The truth is that it is the other way around. When Israel was created the Israelis drove hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes, employing murderous acts to facilitate this. Israel has refused Palestinians the right to exist from the beginning. Today they bulldoze their homes in the ghettos where they have imprisoned them, destroy their olive orchards and crops and increasingly encroach upon their properties with violent settlers who can do what they want with any stray Palestinian they might encounter and with no fear of reprisal.

Much is made of rockets fired into Israel by individuals claimed to be Palestinian radicals. How much of this is actually the case is very much in doubt. However, as long as Palestinians are denied their own country, which they had before Israel started jumping up and down on their heads. As long as Palestinian land is stolen and apartheid is in place and as long as Palestinians can be rounded up and imprisoned, tortured, their women and children used for target practice, just so long they have a perfect right to retaliate. It’s clear that they do not possess much of a means to do much damage. They also have a perfect right to use suicide bombers because it is the ONLY weapon they possess. A people must be severely oppressed before they resort to that kind of activity. Life has to have gotten to the point where it isn’t worth living.

One huge lie is how endangered Israel is. Israel has the fourth most powerful military in the world. The Palestinians have just about nothing. Israel could solve their professed Palestinian problem in a heartsbeat but they will not and they will do everything possible, including false flag ops and the like to keep the tension high… because Zionism wants the land.

There are other lies as well that thread through the history of that region. There are some very big lies about the cause of the Six Days war and who started it and why. There are other lies about the other conflicts that are just taken as true when they are not. A little research would shed much light on all of them.

There is a big lie of victim perception on the part of the Israelis who are in fact the chief victimizers in the area. They could change the entire face of the mid-east conflict and stabilize the region if they wished. They do not wish to.

Now there is the big lie that Israel is trumpeting that Iran is an ‘international problem’. The neo-con Zionist Israelis who fabricated the lies upon which the Iraq conflict is based are now doing the same thing with Iran and they are leaning hard, very hard on America to fight this war for them too.

There is an enormous representation of Zionists at a variety of levels concerning the 9/11 attacks. The same Israeli security firm was in charge of security at all the 9/11 airports. They were also in charge of security in the London tube for that attack AND at the Madrid train station. That’s an awful lot of coincidence. Then there are the five dancing Israelis http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/fiveisraelis.html which is a very curious story and then there is the whole tale of Larry Silverstein/WTC and there is much, much more. If there is fire where there is smoke then we have a lot of smoke and fire.

No one is allowed to look into these things for some reason. The AIPAC lobby, which says that it isn’t extremely powerful sure seems to shut down any mention of anything they don’t like. Personally, I’m not on anyone’s side. I just think the truth should be known. Why should we mind knowing the truth? If there’s nothing there then there’s nothing there.

One curious thing that remains among all the lies is; what was Mohammed Atta doing on Jack Abramoff’s gambling boat mere days before the 9/11 attacks? I would surely like to know the answer to this. The FBI photographed it and reported on it but…. just another mystery I guess. It’s too bad that reasonable folk in power can’t be bothered to investigate what really happened. Something or someone doesn’t want that to happen.
Not important anymore I guess.

Saladin said...

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., January 8, 2007: “On this Wednesday, Bush is supposed to address the nation about the Iraq mess. I can tell you that he won’t budge an inch.

There is growing anger and frustration here inside the Beltway over this business. He has basically insulted Congress, daring it to deny him what he wants.

What does he want? He wants to prove to everyone that he, George W. Bush, is a man who is never wrong. He is firing any general that dares to contradict him, filled his list of advisors with wacko yes men like Kissinger and is absolutely determined never to retreat an inch, regardless of the wishes of most sane Americans.

All his life, as a child and as an adult, George W. Bush has been a self-perceived failure. His family and their friends have bailed him out of one mess after another and have certainly tried to do so again.

Once Bush saw himself as a great man but knows he is insignificant; wishes to be happy but knows he is miserable; wants to be perfect but knows he is filled with imperfections; wants to be the object of love and respect but sees that his faults merit only their aversion and contempt. This has forced him into a state of mind where he has conceived a terrible hatred against that truth which blames him and convinces him of his faults.

Believe me, this pathetic creature who was placed in the White House, not by the people but by the Supreme Court after a thoroughly rigged and dishonest election, does not belong anywhere near the seat of power and if he does not resign his high office, he should either be impeached or removed from the levers of power before he wreaks terrible damage against all those whom he sees now as his enemies who would deprive him of his perceived manhood.

The sooner the better for all of us, believe me!

My next posting will deal with a massive investigation into gross fraud and criminal misappropriation of funds by the so-called hedge funds and their controllers. If you think that Halliburton swindled the American taxpayers out of many millions, wait until you see how many billions the hedge fund CEOs’ have ripped off from their investors. You will not believe this! Does the word ‘ Ponzi scheme’ mean anything? In spades!”
Does bush REALLY think he's in charge?

Saladin said...

And, my friends, one more, I'm on a roll!

Quagmire of the Vanities

January 8, 2007

by Paul Krugman

New York Times

The only real question about the planned “surge” in Iraq — which is better described as a Vietnam-style escalation — is whether its proponents are cynical or delusional.

Senator Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, thinks they’re cynical. He recently told the Washington Post that administration officials are simply running out the clock, so that the next president will be “the guy landing helicopters inside the Green Zone, taking people off the roof.”

Daniel Kahneman, who won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science for his research on irrationality in decision-making, thinks they’re delusional. Mr. Khneman and Jonathan Renshon recently argued in Foreign Policy magazine that the administration’s unwillingness to face reality in Iraq reflects a basic human aversion to cutting one’ own losses, - the same instince that makes gamblers stay at the table, hoping to break even.

Of course, such gambling is easier when the lives at stake are those of other people’s children. Well, we don’t have to settle the question. Either way, what’s clear is the enormous price our nation is paying for President Bush’s character flaws.

I began writing about the Bush administration’s infallibility complex, the president’s Captain Queeg-like inability to own up to mistakes, almost a year before the invasion of Iraq. When you put a man like that in a position of power—the kind of position where he can punish people who tell him what he doesn’t want to hear, and base policy decisions on the advice of people who play to his wanity—it’s a recipe for disaster.

Consider, on the one side, the case of the C.I.A.’s Baghdad station chief during 2004, who provided accurate assessments of the deteriorating situation in Iraq. “What is he, some kind of a defeatist?” asked the president – and according to The Washington Post, at the end of his tour, the station chief “was punished with a poor assignment.”

On the other side, consider the men Mr. Bush has turned to since the midterm election. They constitute a remarkable coalition of the unwilling- men who have been wrong about Iraq every step of the way, but aren’t willing to admit it.

The principal proponents of the “surge” are William Kristol of The Weekly Standard and Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute. Now, even if the Joint Chiefs of Staff hadn’t given the surge a thumbs down, Mr. Krisitol’s track record should have been reason enough to ignore his advice. For example, early in the war, Mr. Kristol dismissed as “pop sociology” warnings that there would be conflict between Sunni and Shiites and that the Shiites might try to create an Islamic fundamentalist state. He assured National Public Radio listeners that “Iraq always has been very secular.”

But Mr. Kristol and Mr. Kagan appealed to Mr. Bush’s ego, suggesting that he might yet be able to rescue his signature war. And am I the only person to notice that after all the Oedipal innuendo surrounding the Iraq Study Group – Daddy’s men coming in to fix Junior’s mess, etc/ - Mr. Bush turned for advice to two other some of famous men and more successful fathers?

Not that Mr. Bush rejects all advice from elder statesmen. We now know that he has been talking to Henry Kissinger. But Mr. Kissinger is a kindred spirit. In remarks published after his death, Gerald Ford said of his secretary of state, “Henry in his mind never made a mistake, so whatever policies there were that he implemented, in retrospect he would defend.”

Oh, and Senator John McCain, the first major political figure to advocate a surge, is another man who can’t admit mistakes. Mr. McCain now says that he always knew that the conflict was “probably going to be long and hard and tough” – but back in 2002, before the Senate voted on the resolution authorizing the use of force, he declared that a war with Iraq would be “fairly easy.”

Mr. Bush is expected to announce his plan for the escalation in the next few days. According to the BBC, the theme of his speech will be “sacrifice.” But sacrifice for what? Not for the national interest, which would be best served by withdrawing before the strain of the war breaks our ground forces. No, Iraq has become a quagmire of the vanities – a place where America is spending blood and treasure to protect the egos of men who won’t admit they were wrong.
Well, let's NOT forget about all that fabulous oil!

capt said...

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is." : Texas Governor George W. Bush, April 9, 1999, on the US intervention in Kosovo

Conquered states that have been accustomed to liberty and the government of their own laws can be held by the conqueror in three different ways. The first is to ruin them; the second, for the conqueror to go and reside there in person; and the third is to allow them to continue to live under their own laws, subject to a regular tribute, and to create in them a government of a few, who will keep the country friendly to the conqueror: Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

"It is indeed probable that more harm and misery have been caused by men determined to use coercion to stamp out a moral evil than by men intent on doing evil.": Fredrich August von Hayek - (1899-1992), Nobel Laureate of Economic Sciences 1974 - Source: The Constitution of Liberty (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972), p. 146.


Read this newsletter online http://tinyurl.com/dy6yy

Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...


You are on a roll!

Keep the hits coming!

I love it!


kathleen said...

Robert the more people on the streets the better. We should all be calling media outlets before the Jan 27th march in D.C. and demand that they cover this march in a fair and balanced way.

Instead of what the mainstream did before the invasion. Show the same footage of the 20 people at the march with black hoods over their heads hundreds of times.


Middle East analyst Flynt Leverett, who served under President Bush on the National Security Council and is now a fellow at the New America Foundation, revealed today that the White House has been blocking the publication of an op-ed he wrote for the New York Times. The column is critical of the administration’s refusal to engage Iran.

Leverett’s op-ed has already been cleared by the CIA, where he was a senior analyst. Leverett explained, “I’ve been doing this for three and a half years since leaving government, and I’ve never had to go to the White House to get clearance for something that I was publishing as long as the CIA said, ‘Yeah, you’re not putting classified information.’”

According to Leverett the op-ed was “all based on stuff that Secretary Powell, Secretary Rice, Deputy Secretary Armitage have talked about publicly. It’s been extensively reported in the media.” Leverett says the incident shows “just how low people like Elliot Abrams at the NSC [National Security Council] will stoop to try and limit the dissemination of arguments critical of the administration’s policy.”

Listen to Leverett’s remarks at a panel today at the Center for American Progress:


Thanks. I think I was able to put out some of my basic ideas on how we need to be engaging Iran diplomatically. They’re, you know, expounded on in greater length on paper. I wanted to say something briefly about the administration, and where it is.

I have been extremely pessimistic that this administration is inclined or capable of genuinely rethinking its approach to Iran in the way that we need it to at this point, and I’ve had an unfortunate experience this week that has only confirmed that for me. As I do with all of my publications, the Century Foundation paper, I showed to the CIA, for whom I used to work, to verify that I was not revealing classified information. They did so, as they have with 30 other things that I’ve published since leaving government. Didn’t ask to change a word.

I prepared an op-ed for the New York Times off of this paper, which is ready to go, ready for publication. The CIA says that as far as they’re concerned, there’s not any classified information in it. But the White House has intervened, claiming that there is classified information in the op-ed, even though it’s already been cleared. It’s all published. It’s all based on stuff that Secretary Powell, Secretary Rice, Deputy Secretary Armitage have talked about publicly. It’s been extensively reported in the media. But the White House is saying I can’t publish an op-ed in the New York Times that lays out the argument. I’ve been doing this for three and a half years since leaving government, and I’ve never had to go to the White House to get clearance for something that I was publishing as long as the CIA said, ‘Yeah, you’re not putting classified information.’

Why this week — after the Baker study group, when pressure is on them to rethink their position on Iran — why do they not want this op-ed, based on my experiences in government, my experience dealing with Iran, with Iranian officials, after I left government? Why do they not want this op-ed going in the New York Times this week? I think it says something, and I think it says something about just how low people like Elliot Abrams at the NSC [National Security Council] will stoop to try and limit the dissemination of arguments critical of the administration’s policy.

UPDATE: For more on Leverett’s perspective on Iran, read a paper he wrote for The Century Foundation earlier this month.


kathleen said...

Jimmy Carter on Democracy Now on Monday Jan 8th.

kathleen said...

The debate between Gil Troy and Norman Finklestein debate on Democracy Now.

Norman Finklestein rockss!!!!!

kathleen said...

Saladin/Capt I think you would really enjoy the debate between Gil Troy and Norman Finkelstein at Democracy Now on Jan. 8. Really worth listening to.

Pat said...

Hi Capt. and all. I signed the petition on the first post above.

Last week after viewing An Inconvenient Truth in a large showing, a woman who used to work for Bob Dole suggested this: If you want a Congress critter's attention, write your own letter. Those get opened while mass mailings are often ignored.

Saladin said...

Kathleen, I will try to catch it, Finklestein is a great person. I hope you saw my post from Milfuegos regarding Carter, it is a very good article. Thank God for the brave people in the world.
Pat, it is so good to see you post!

Saladin said...

The Kennedy legislation calls for a plan to succeed, how does he define success? Winning I assume, but how can we possibly win an occupation that no one wants? This war was illegal from the get go, yet they are still trying to figure out how to succeed? Thinking people know this war is about two things, the oil and securing Israel's hegemony in the middle east so it can continue it's land and resource grab, is that the goal for success? I say success is impeaching, removing from office and charges against all who went along with this ASAP. Congress approval and non-binding resolutions are just more arm waving and manipulation. Every day that goes by is more death, but now the blood is firmly on the hands of the dems. No more talk, no more procrastinating, no more laws giving the Iraqi's oil to the corporate monsters. There is no way bush can ever justify this crime against humanity, and if pelosi thinks he can she needs a check-up from the neck up!

Saladin said...

The Headless Horseman of the Apocalypse
by Norman Solomon

President Bush may be a headless horseman. But the biggest problem is what he rode in on.

Martin Luther King Jr. had a good name for it 40 years ago. "The madness of militarism."

We can blame Bush all we want – and he does hold the reins right now – but his main enablers these days are the fastidious public servants in Congress. They keep preparing the hay, freshening the water, oiling the saddle, even while criticizing the inappropriately jocular rider. And when the band plays "Hail to the Jockey," most of the grown-up stable boys and girls can't help saluting.

The people who actually live in Iraq have their own opinions, of course. UPI reported at the end of December that a new poll, conducted by the Iraq Center for Research and Strategic Studies, found that "about 90 percent of Iraqis feel the situation in the country was better before the U.S.-led invasion than it is today." Meanwhile, according to a CNN poll last month, 11 percent of Americans support sending more U.S. troops to Iraq.

Buried in a New York Times news article on Tuesday (Jan. 9) was this statement of fact: "By law, Congress can limit the nature of troop deployments, cap the size of military deployments and cut financing for existing or prospective deployments."

Some Democrats in Congress want to hand the president his head and some don't. But, as a practical matter, the distinction is moot. He's in the thrall of what you might call a repetition compulsion disorder that manifests as digging in his heels.

Obviously the president likes the wind in his ears. And he shows no sign of slowing down. Bush can keep riding the madness of militarism at a gallop unless people on Capitol Hill stop nourishing it with appropriations. And they won't do that unless we find effective ways to insist that they cut off funding for the war.

The key problem right now isn't the headless jockey. It's the stable hands who keep feeding the horse he rode in on.
That sums it up pretty well.

Saladin said...

Distracting Congress from the Real War Plan: Iran

by Paul Craig Roberts
Is the surge an orchestrated distraction from the real war plan?

A good case can be made that it is. The US Congress and media are focused on President Bush’s proposal for an increase of 20,000 US troops in Iraq, while Israel and its American neoconservative allies prepare an assault on Iran.

Commentators have expressed puzzlement over President Bush’s appointment of a US Navy admiral as commander in charge of the ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The appointment makes sense only if the administration’s attention has shifted from the insurgencies to an attack on Iran.

The Bush administration has recently doubled its aircraft carrier forces and air power in the Persian Gulf. According to credible news reports, the Israeli air force has been making practice runs in preparation for an attack on Iran.

Recently, Israeli military and political leaders have described Israeli machinations to manipulate the American public and their representatives into supporting or joining an Israeli assault on Iran.

Two US carrier task forces or strike groups will certainly congest the Persian Gulf. On January 9, a US nuclear sub collided with a Japanese tanker in the Persian Gulf. Two carrier groups will have scant room for maneuver. Their purpose is either to provide the means for a hard hit on Iran or to serve as sitting ducks for a new Pearl Harbor that would rally Americans behind the new war.

Whether our ships are hit by Iran in retaliation to an attack from Israel or suffer an orchestrated attack by Israel that is blamed on the Iranians, there are certainly far more US naval forces in the Persian Gulf than prudence demands.

Bush’s proposed surge appears to have no real military purpose. The US military opposes it as militarily pointless and as damaging to the US Army and Marine Corps. The surge can only be accomplished by keeping troops deployed after the arrival of their replacements. Moreover, the increase in numbers that can be achieved in this way are far short of the numbers required to put down the insurgency and civil war.

The only purpose of the surge is to distract Congress while plans are implemented to widen the war.

Part of the Israeli/neoconservative plan has already been achieved with the destruction of civilian infrastructure and spread of sectarian strife in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon. If Iran can be taken out with a powerful air attack that might involve nuclear weapons, Syria would be isolated and Hezbollah would be cut off from Iranian supplies.

Israel has two years remaining to use its American resources to achieve its aims in the Middle East. How influential will Israel and the neoconservatives be with the next president in the wake of a US defeat in Iraq and Israeli defeat in Lebanon? If the US withdraws its troops from Iraq, as the US military and foreign policy community recommend and as polls show the American public wants, the only effect of Bush’s Iraq invasion will have been to radicalize Muslims against Israel, the US, and US puppet governments in the Middle East. Extremist elements will tout their victory over the US, and the pressures on Israel to accept a realistic accommodation with Palestinians will be overpowering.

Now is the chance – the only chance – for Israel and the neoconservatives to achieve their goal of bringing Muslims to heel, a goal that they have been writing about and working to achieve for a decade.

This goal requires the war to be widened by whatever deceit and treachery necessary to bring the American public along.

The US Congress must immediately refocus its attention from the surge to Iran, the real target of Bush administration aggression.
Distraction of the American public is more like it. Israel has used this tactic before when they attacked the USS Liberty, I would put nothing beyond these neocon lunatics.

capt said...


Nobody can "win" an occupation.

When the occupiers leave the resistence can always declare victory because all they ever call for is to have the occupiers leave.


capt said...


"a check-up from the neck up!" (tee hee!)

But I heard she was tore-up from the floor up and torn down from the neck down?

Maybe one of the lobbyists can help her, she is in a world of trouble.



Saladin said...

Harring Report: The National Young Men’s Meat Grinder

When our research is complete, and watertight, we will publish the results along with the sources In addition to the evident falsification of the death rolls, at least 5,500 American military personnel have deserted, most in Ireland but more have escaped to Canada and other European countries, none of whom are inclined to cooperate with vengeful American authorities. (See TBR News of 18 February for full coverage on the mass desertions) This means that of the 158,000 U.S. military shipped to Iraq, 30,000 deserted, were killed or seriously wounded. The DoD lists currently being very quietly circulated indicate over 12,000 dead, over 25,000 seriously wounded and a large number of suicides, forced hospitalization for ongoing drug usage and sales, murder of Iraqi civilians and fellow soldiers, rapes, courts martial and so on –
If the people knew the real numbers, would it matter?

Saladin said...

Capt, I think AIPAC is pissed at pelosi, they didn't give her any money this year. Now she'll have to make it right. steny hoyer was a step in the right direction. An Israel firster extraodinaire!

Saladin said...

Democrats Beef Police State With 9/11 Commission Bill
Political "opposition" also helping Bush gain traction for Iran military strike

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

House Democrats have passed a piece of legislation that was crafted on the back of recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission in their 2004 final report. The bill is a tonic for big government, increased federalization of America, and mandates expansion of no fly lists, terror watch lists and further government surveillance of American citizens.

While the HR 1 bill contains some welcome provisions, including a redress of grievance process for passengers unfairly delayed or refused boarding for flights and a re-commitment to the Geneva conventions, it's largely a nightmare for opponents of big government in that it vastly increases funding and scope for Homeland Security, FEMA and further federalizes law enforcement.

The legislation takes its cue directly from the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission report, which has been widely debunked by researchers and whistleblowers as a self-appointed whitewash that was harnessed to bury important questions about the impossibility of the official story behind 9/11. Hyping the threat of terror beyond its reasonable capacity, ignoring the reality that peanut allergies and lightning strikes kill more Americans than terrorists, Commission leaders Kean and Hamilton encouraged a broad range of measures that only accelerate the authoritarian surge towards a police state in America. They include;

- Homeland Security identity checkpoints on American roads and highways;

- Mandated biometric iris and finger scanning systems for all Americans at airports;

- Creation of a biometric national ID card for all American citizens;

- Expansion of "no-fly" and "watch lists" to prevent more Americans from traveling (even though such lists have been ridiculed time and time again for flagging completely innocent people including Senators and children);

- Increased special screening of all passengers at airports (greasing the skids for invasive body scanners that capture a naked image of the passenger to be implemented as standard);

- Federal takeover of publicly owned communication systems such as radio;

- Increased government surveillance of Americans' financial records and activities;

- Domesticating the CIA to watch American citizens;

- Government wide sharing of information and centralization of databases containing information about American citizens.

All of these recommendations were embraced by the 9/11 Commission and many of them are contained within the bill introduced by the Democrats that has already passed the House.

While Americans are placated by promises that Democrats will "symbolically" oppose President Bush's insane troop surge for Iraq, while they actively fund the entire venture through the power of the Congressional purse, the roadmap to Iran is being dutifully upheld by those who came to power vowing change yet are showing all the signs of reverting to type and lining up to salute the continued frog march towards world war three, while ensuring the further downfall of America into a police state at home.
Call me a cynic or the Queen of negativity, but I don't trust any of them as far as I could pick up their limos and throw them.

capt said...

Fake Pundits

Who Really Is "Out of Sync With the American Public?"

You make the call:

"The activist left is out of sync with the American public." - DLC leader Will Marshall on progressive efforts to prevent a military escalation in Iraq, 1/10/07


"The American public in general opposes the concept of an increase in troops in Iraq. A number of polls have shown that when given a choice between a set of alternative ways of handling the troop situation in Iraq, only about 10% of Americans opt for the alternative of increasing troops. The rest opt for withdrawal of troops."
- Gallup Polling Company, 1/9/07

Someone please tell me why the media continues to quote people like Will Marshall as a credible voice with a credible perspective. I mean, honestly - what point, what level of sheer, unadulterated dishonesty disqualifies you from being quoted in major newspapers? And perhaps evenmore importantly, if a major agenda-setting newspaper like the LA Times insists on quoting someone with no credibility, how can they do so without even as much as a mention of the actual public opinion data refuting his insanity?

UPDATE: Last I checked, Tom Vilsack is the DLC's chairman. And last I checked, AP reported today that "Tom Vilsack called Tuesday for Congress to block funding for additional troops in Iraq." So what gives? Is the DLC's staff now not even listening to its own political leadership? And hey, here's an idea: maybe Tom Vilsack might want to make a call over to his friends at the DLC and tell them to stop attacking progressives and the vast majority of Americans? Just a thought...


capt said...

The DLC sucks!

Carey said...

Someone may have posted this already, I haven't had the time to check.

Act Now is hosting events tomorrow to protest the escalation. Find an event in your area. There's also a petition at this site to sign to say NO to more troops.

I assure you that all petitions I post links to are from organizations I know and support. NO SPAM


Gerald said...

Watching the WACKO speak: A diagnostic guide

Gerald said...

The Real War Plan Is Iran

Gerald said...

The only purpose of the surge is to distract Congress while plans are implemented to widen the war.

Weapons inspectors have failed to find a nuclear weapons program in Iran. Most experts say it would be years before Iran could make a weapon even if the Iranian government is actively working on a weapons program. Since the danger, if any, is years away, why is Israel so determined to attack Iran now?

The answer might be that Israel has the chance now. The Bush administration is in its pocket. The White House is working with neoconservatives, not with the American foreign policy community represented by the Iraq Study Group. Neoconservative propagandists are in influential positions in the media. The US Congress is intimidated by AIPAC. The correlation of forces are heavily in Israel’s favor.

Part of the Israeli/neoconservative plan has already been achieved with the destruction of civilian infrastructure and spread of sectarian strife in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon. If Iran can be taken out with a powerful air attack that might involve nuclear weapons, Syria would be isolated and Hezbollah would be cut off from Iranian supplies.

Israel has two years remaining to use its American resources to achieve its aims in the Middle East. How influential will Israel and the neoconservatives be with the next president in the wake of a US defeat in Iraq and Israeli defeat in Lebanon? If the US withdraws its troops from Iraq, as the US military and foreign policy community recommend and as polls show the American public wants, the only effect of Bush’s Iraq invasion will have been to radicalize Muslims against Israel, the US, and US puppet governments in the Middle East. Extremist elements will tout their victory over the US, and the pressures on Israel to accept a realistic accommodation with Palestinians will be overpowering.

Now is the chance – the only chance – for Israel and the neoconservatives to achieve their goal of bringing Muslims to heel, a goal that they have been writing about and working to achieve for a decade.

This goal requires the war to be widened by whatever deceit and treachery necessary to bring the American public along.

The US Congress must immediately refocus its attention from the surge to Iran, the real target of Bush administration aggression.

Gerald said...

What did Cuckoo ride on

Gerald said...

The purging of Christians

Gerald said...

Israelis like Amiry's heart attack victim may believe that Palestinian Christians are not really a threat to their or their state's existence, but be sure that Israel has every reason to continue persecuting and excluding Palestinian Christians as much, if not more, than it does Palestinian Muslims.

capt said...

A new thread for all to enjoy!