Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bush's Careless Road to World War III

In the good ol' days--that is, before the age of the Internet, daily blogging and 24-second-long news cycles--you could chew on a news event for a few days and then comment upon it. Such punditing no longer seems to be in fashion. Still, I've been pondering since last Thursday a remark George W. Bush made at a press conference that morning:

So I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.

The remark got some attention--mostly for Bush's reference to World War III. Appearing on NPR's The Diane Rehm Show the following day, Tony Blankley, the conservative columnist who until recently ran the editorial page of The Washington Times , noted that it was inadvisable for a president ever to refer to a possible Third World War.

But what struck me was how Bush appeared to lower the bar for an attack on Iran. He asserted that Iran had to be prevented from obtaining the knowledge needed to build nuclear weapons--not the capacity to produce such weapons. Yet that knowledge is already freely available and presumably already in the hands of scientists and engineers in Iran--as well as in most countries of the world. Remember that in 1979, The Progressive magazine published the design for a hydrogen bomb. So if Bush wants to make knowledge the standard for blasting Iran, Iran is toast.

Of course, Bush probably did not mean what he said, and he has no intention of attacking Iran if he can prove that a yellowing copy of The Progressive is in a government filing cabinet somewhere. But, in a way, this makes his statement worse. It shows how sloppy Bush can be. And if he wants to convince the world he is a serious and somber-minded leader--particularly when it comes to matters of war--this is not the way to do so.

Careless rhetoric can be read as an indicator of careless thinking or careless policy. Bush has already persuaded much of the globe that he is not to be trusted, that he prefers war to diplomacy, that he does not understand (or care about) the complexities of the world. Saying that he is willing to attack Iran if it has the "knowledge" to build nuclear weapons (and he said it twice at the press conference) was an act of profound neglect. It showed the U.S. commander in chief is willing to rattle a saber without paying mindful attention to the facts. Bush is lucky the U.S. media quickly moved on. Imagine if a remark such as this one was truly allowed to sink in.

Posted by David Corn at October 24, 2007 11:35 AM


Gerald said...

Bring it on -WW III!!!!!

Hitler Bush is a maniac; he is insane; and he is a psycho!!!

The voices from the screwballs can be heard, "Give me death and only death!"

Hitler Bush lusts for the slaughter of human beings.

He has a grave indifference toward human life.

The glory of Hitler Bush is man fully and totally dead.

Gerald said...

From Doug Thompson's article, "America's lost soul!"

America, a once-great nation founded on a notion of freedom, has lost its way.

America is a country without a soul, controlled by leaders without conscience, fueled by political agendas without honesty and dominated by issues without purpose.

Gerald said...

Soul Murder

Gerald said...

Looked at one way we rescued Europe twice from the fascists, but now the fascists are HERE and there's no one to rescue us -- except our bleeding souls.

Gerald said...

Nazi Americans have a mental disorder

Gerald said...

Diagnostic Criteria for 1776.0 Americanistic Personality Disorder:

A pervasive pattern of greed, selfishness, and lack of empathy, beginning the moment he or she begins to intellectualize and presented in nearly all contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

1. lacks empathy due to an excessive degree of self-absorption
2. believes that he or she is exceptional and morally superior
3. frequently engages in exploitative behaviors
4. requires frequent acquisition of goods he or she doesn’t need
5. usually resorts to some form of overt or covert violence, coercion, or extortion to resolve conflicts
6. perceives others as obstacles to his or her “success”
7. disregards laws and rules except as a means to achieve his or her agenda
8. demonstrates deep hypocrisy by projecting a righteous, benevolent image while committing reprehensible acts
9. refuses to accept the consequences of his or her actions

Gerald said...

Assessing the President

There are generals and church people who say that George W. Bush was chosen to be president by God. I cannot prove or disprove what people are saying. So, I offer you my assessment with some trepidation.

George W. Bush and his regime have been an experiment in mendacity with the American people. His disciples claim that he is the messianic messenger but his message has obfuscated the American people. His character lacks the probity to be a leader and his actions are more reflective of a nefarious person. George W. Bush expects Americans and the media to obsequious to what he says because he says it.

Before I accept the hyperbole that George W. Bush was chosen by God to be president and that God speaks to him, he must possess the virtues of my God which are humility, love, mercy, and patience. Personally, Mr. Bush does not possess any of these virtues. I see him more as a controlling, punitive, and vengeful person, totally lacking in compassion.

George W. Bush displays a depraved indifference toward the killing of living human beings.

Gerald said...

Bush will not leave office willingly

by Robert R. Regl Page 1 of 1 page(s)

In seven years George W. Bush has arrogated previously unthinkable dictatorial powers to himself.

Aided and abetted by right-wing Republicans and spineless Democrats in Congress he has rendered the Constitution utterly useless as an instrument for protecting the people from his authoritarian excesses. He has offered his profane opinion of the Constitution thus, "... it's just a God-damned piece of paper'' - cited by Doug Thompson in Capitol Hill Blue, Dec 5, 2005.

We all know of Bush's lies and crimes and they need not be recounted here (a Google search of - Bush lies and crimes - produces over 2 million hits). What I want to discuss here are the consequences in store for America unless steps are taken immediately to stop Bush from dismantling our democracy and replacing it with a tyrannical plutocracy.

The first steps toward this wretched future have already been taken. He has lied us into two never ending wars and has ambitions to add a third. He has instituted programs to abduct, imprison and torture anyone that he decides is an enemy (remember - he's the "decider"). He has amassed a private mercenary army willing, for a price, to mobilize against American citizens at his order (as in New Orleans).

I believe that Bush is a self-absorbed psychopath ready to concoct a false-flag event, declare martial law and indefinitely "postpone" the 2008 elections. He would then appoint himself as "temporary" supreme commander during the "emergency", which of course would never end!

The non-violent way to prevent this calamity is to impeach both Bush and Cheney and remove them from office.

Bob is a retired engineer and lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Gerald said...

Two paragraphs on General BETRAYUS from the article, "Sycophant Savior," in The American Conservative magazine!

A great political general doesn’t tell his masters what they want to hear. He tells them what they need to hear, thereby nudging them to make decisions that must be made if the nation’s interests are to be served. In this instance, Petraeus provided cover for them to evade their responsibilities.

Politically, it qualifies as a brilliant maneuver. The general’s relationships with official Washington remain intact. Yet he has broken faith with the soldiers he commands and the Army to which he has devoted his life. He has failed his country. History will not judge him kindly.

capt said...

To Be a Journalist in Iraq

Sahar Issa delivered a powerful message about Iraqi women who risk their lives covering the news at an award ceremony for women in the media.

The International Women's Media Foundation awarded its "courage in journalism awards" yesterday to women who risk their lives covering the news. One award was given to six Iraqi women who work in the McClatchy Newspapers bureau in Baghdad, a job so dangerous that they cannot take the chance of being photographed, not even in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue.

Speaking for the six, Sahar Issa had a powerful message that we wanted to share with our readers:

"To be a journalist in violence-ridden Iraq today, ladies and gentlemen, is not a matter lightly undertaken. Every path is strewn with danger, every checkpoint, every question a direct threat.

"Every interview we conduct may be our last. So much is happening in Iraq. So much that is questionable. So much that we, as journalists, try to fathom and portray to the people who care to know.

"In every society there is good and bad. Laws regulate the conduct of the society. My country is now lawless. Innocent blood is shed every day, seemingly without purpose. Hundreds of thousands have been killed for seemingly no reason. It is our responsibility to do our utmost to acquire the answers, to dig them up with our bare hands if we must.


capt said...

GOP scores big win with Southwick confirmation

Senate Republicans scored a key victory Wednesday with the confirmation of Leslie Southwick to the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

A united GOP conference convinced enough Democrats to cross party lines to first clear a procedural hurdle and then succeed in the confirmation vote. Southwick has been arguably the most contentious judicial nominee of the 110th Congress up to this point, amid strong opposition from Democratic leaders and liberal groups. Senators had invoked cloture in a 62-35 vote and, minutes later, confirmed Southwick on a 59-38 vote.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), in anticipation of a close tally, had halted his presidential campaign and canceled events in New Hampshire to be present for the vote.

He blasted Democrats for “delaying tactics” and a “smear campaign” against Southwick.

“Liberals, including the Democratic presidential candidates, are opposing Judge Southwick because they know he will strictly interpret the law rather than make it from the bench,” McCain said.

Ahead of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) noted that there have been a slew of racially charged incidents this year, reaching from Jena, La., to the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. Reid said the country has seen “the reoccurrence of racial issues that we had perhaps assumed, and certainly all hoped, were behind us.”

Reid added that the nomination must be viewed in the “the context of race and civil rights.”

“For many African-Americans, the federal courts have historically represented the first, last and often the only form of redress against racism and civil injustice,” Reid said before pointing to the opposition of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and other groups to the Southwick nomination as one of the reasons why he voted no.

The CBC and the NAACP, in addition to other liberal groups, have charged that Southwick had a hostile record toward minorities while serving on the Mississippi Court of Appeals from 1995 to 2006.

Especially contentious is Southwick’s vote in a 1998 case, in which he joined a ruling that upheld the reinstatement of a state employee who was fired for using a racial slur against a black co-worker. Opponents of Southwick have also targeted a 2001 decision, in which he supported giving custody of an 8-year-old girl to a father, saying the mother was living with another woman in a “lesbian home.”

Southwick’s supporters, including his home-state senators, Trent Lott (R) and Thad Cochran (R), argued that his critics have distorted the record of a well-qualified nominee by cherry-picking two opinions that he joined but did not author.

Southwick has told Judiciary Committee senators that he rejects the use of such slurs and would have a fair and open mind if confirmed to the 5th Circuit court.


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

WTF? The dumbocrats are still acting like they have no power. What are they thinking?


capt said...

World War III and the Moment of Truth for Democrats (Brent Budowsky)

@ 2:13 pm
As the president speaks of World War III and potential war with Iran with fevered rhetoric in a near-hysterical atmosphere, the world stands at a moment of great danger.

For Democrats as a leadership party and the Congress as a co-equal branch of government, it is a moment of truth, and recent history does not augur well.

World War III?

For the president to speak in terms of World War III is extreme, irrational and distempered, and for a Democratic Senate to pass an Iran resolution in this atmosphere of fear and frenzy makes 2007 and Iran look ominously similar to 2002 and Iraq.

It has not been widely noted, but the original version of the Iran resolution included a section calling on the United States to use all economic and diplomatic means to address the problems surrounding Iran.

This section, amazingly, was dropped from the final version that passed. Which senators did not support including diplomatic and economic means of achieving American goals in a resolution that passed at such a dangerous moment?

Senators had forgotten, again, that the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was distorted into an effective declaration of war in Vietnam.

Senators had forgotten, again, that the Iraq resolution in 2002 was twisted into an effective declaration of war in Iraq.

It is ominous to note the eerie parallels between the debate about Iraq in 2002 and the debate about Iran in 2007.

The president who used fear of mushroom clouds to frighten the country to war in Iraq now escalates his promotion of fear to World War III, quoting from neoconservative voices who have been disastrously and deadly wrong on national security.

A Democratic Senate has passed the Iran resolution and the Democratic front-runner, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), claimed she voted for that resolution because it promoted diplomacy when obviously, in fact, it did exactly the opposite.

Sound familiar?

Today the Iraq war appears interminable. The Afghanistan war is locked in bloody stalemate. The war against terrorism lags as al Qaeda has come back strongly. Pakistan faces a dangerous crisis. Turkey moves troops near the Iraq border. Putin monopolizes power. Cold War rhetoric returns.

Yet the president speaks of World War III, and what was also underreported is the standard he set for the third World War he speaks of.

The president did not say the threat is triggered when Iran achieves nuclear weaponry, or when Iran crosses a technical point of no return. No, what the president said was that his standard would be when Iran acquires the knowledge even without the action — a standard so low it comes dangerously close to guaranteeing yet another unwise war, and in the dangerously near future.

It is time for Democrats to step up in a manner they have not since the vote on the Iraq resolution in 2002. It is time for Democrats to stop surrendering to the politics of fear by becoming so fearful themselves their voice is silenced, as the gathering storm of another war comes closer by the hour.

Sen. Clinton in particular should speak out forcefully and clearly and end her uncertain trumpet on the matter of war with Iran.

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate should wave the banner that our country does not need another unwise war, and that talk of World War III is irrational, distempered and and extremist.

This is a fight Democrats will win, if waged, but the kind of fight that has not been waged at any time during the dark years of the Bush wars.

We should win the one war that matters, and focus all our efforts on killing Osama bin Laden, and challenge aggressively the failures of our president and vice president to defeat and kill the perpetrators of Sept. 11, 2001.

We should oppose with every breath this march towards endless war, this talk of World War III, this push for a new war with Iran, and the hysteria being pushed by the voices of unreason that have brought enough chaos and carnage for a lifetime.

This time, Democrats must have the spine to make a stand.


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

This time, Democrats must have the spine to make a stand.

Experience says - Don’t hold your breath.


Gerald said...

I would vote for a third party candidate in 2008. I am beginning to be more aware that there is no difference between the two parties.

I doubt if we will be voting in 2008 for any candidate.

capt said...

"If they do it, it's terrorism, if we do it, it's fighting for freedom." - Anthony Quainton, U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua, 1984: Anthony Quainton - Source: Off the record response of the Ambassador to a group of concerned U.S. citizens when asked to explain the difference between U.S. government actions in Nicaragua and the violence it condemns as terrorism elsewhere in the world.

It is in the nature of imperialism that citizens of the imperial power are always among the last to know--or care--about circumstances in the colonies: Bertrand Russell

The president has adopted a policy of 'anticipatory self-defense' that is alarmingly similar to the policy that imperial Japan employed at Pearl Harbor, on a date which, as an earlier American president said it would, lives in infamy. Franklin D. Roosevelt was right, but today it is we Americans who live in infamy: Arthur Schlesinger.

The aim of military training is not just to prepare men for battle, but to make them long for it: Louis Simpson

I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. Some of these young men think that war is all glory but let me say war is all hell: William Tecumseh Sherman.


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Ill-Equipped Soldiers Opt for "Search and Avoid"
Inter Press Service
By Dahr Jamail

WATERTOWN, New York, Oct 24 (IPS) - Iraq war veterans now stationed at a base here say that morale among U.S. soldiers in the country is so poor, many are simply parking their Humvees and pretending to be on patrol, a practice dubbed "search and avoid" missions.

Phil Aliff is an active duty soldier with the 10th Mountain Division stationed at Fort Drum in upstate New York. He served nearly one year in Iraq from August 2005 to July 2006, in the areas of Abu Ghraib and Fallujah, both west of Baghdad.

"Morale was incredibly low," said Aliff, adding that he joined the military because he was raised in a poor family by a single mother and had few other prospects. "Most men in my platoon in Iraq were just in from combat tours in Afghanistan."

According to Aliff, their mission was to help the Iraqi Army "stand up" in the Abu Ghraib area of western Baghdad, but in fact his platoon was doing all the fighting without support from the Iraqis they were supposedly preparing to take control of the security situation.

"I never heard of an Iraqi unit that was able to operate on their own," said Aliff, who is now a member of the group Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). "The only reason we were replaced by an Iraqi Army unit was for publicity."

Aliff said he participated in roughly 300 patrols. "We were hit by so many roadside bombs we became incredibly demoralised, so we decided the only way we wouldn't be blown up was to avoid driving around all the time."

"So we would go find an open field and park, and call our base every hour to tell them we were searching for weapons caches in the fields and doing weapons patrols and everything was going fine," he said, adding, "All our enlisted people became very disenchanted with our chain of command."

Aliff, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), refused to return to Iraq with his unit, which arrived in Kirkuk two weeks ago. "They've already lost a guy, and they are now fostering the sectarian violence by arming the Sunnis while supporting the Shia politically ... classic divide and conquer."

Aliff told IPS he is set to be discharged by the military next month because they claim his PTSD "is untreatable by their doctors".

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the number of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans seeking treatment for PTSD increased nearly 70 percent in the 12 months ending on Jun. 30.

The nearly 50,000 VA-documented PTSD cases greatly exceed the 30,000 military personnel that the Pentagon officially classifies as wounded in both occupations.

VA records show that mental health has become the second-largest area of illness for which veterans of the ongoing occupations are seeking treatment at VA hospitals and clinics. The total number of mental health cases among war veterans increased by 58 percent; from 63,767 on Jun. 30, 2006, to 100,580 on Jun. 30, 2007, according to the VA.

Other active duty Iraq veterans tell similar stories of disobeying orders so as not to be attacked so frequently.

"We'd go to the end of our patrol route and set up on top of a bridge and use it as an over-watch position," Eli Wright, also an active duty soldier with the 10th Mountain Division, told IPS. "We would just sit with our binoculars and observe rather than sweep. We'd call in radio checks every hour and say we were doing sweeps."

Wright added, "It was a common tactic, a lot of people did that. We'd just hang out, listen to music, smoke cigarettes, and pretend."

The 26-year-old medic complained that his unit did not have any armoured Humvees during his time in Iraq, where he was stationed in Ramadi, capital of the volatile Al Anbar province.

"We put sandbags on the floors of our vehicles, which had canvas doors," said Wright, who was in Iraq from September 2003 until September 2004. "By the end of our tour, we were bolting any metal we could find to our Humvees. Everyone was doing this, and we didn't get armoured Humvees in country until after we left."

Other veterans, like 25-year-old Nathan Lewis, who was in Iraq for the invasion of March 2003 until June of that year while serving in the 214th field artillery brigade, complained of lack of training for what they were ordered to do, in addition to not having armoured Humvees for their travels.

"We never got training for a lot of the work we did," he explained. "We had a white phosphorous mortar round that cooked off in the back of one of our trucks, because we loaded that with some other ammo, and we weren't trained how to do it the right way." The "search and avoid" missions appear to have been commonplace around much of Iraq for years now.

Geoff Millard served nine years in the New York Army National Guard, and was in Iraq from October 2004 until October 2005 working for a general at a Tactical Operation Centre.

Millard, also a member of IVAW, said that part of his duties included reporting "significant actions", or SIGACTS, which is how the U.S. military describes an attack on their forces.

"We had units that never called in SIGACTS," Millard, who monitored highly volatile areas like Baquba, Tikrit and Samarra, told IPS. "When I was there two years ago, there were at least five companies that never had SIGACTS. I think 'search and avoids' have been going on there for a long time."

Millard told IPS "search and avoid" missions continue today across Iraq.

"One of my buddies is in Baghdad right now and we email all the time," he explained, "He just told me that nearly each day they pull into a parking lot, drink soda, and shoot at the cans. They pay Iraqi kids to bring them things and spread the word that they are not doing anything and to please just leave them alone."


Sounds just like the last few YEARS in Vietnam.


capt said...

Top Democrats condemn controversial judge's confirmation

Democratic presidential candidates criticized Wednesday's confirmation of Judge Leslie Southwick, whose positions on civil rights and labor issues many liberal activists say are unacceptable.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, stood by civil rights organizations who opposed Southwick's nomination to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

"The American people deserve federal judges – regardless of who nominates them – who are dedicated to an evenhanded and just application of our laws," Clinton said in a press release. "In case after case, Judge Southwick has demonstrated a lack of respect and understanding for the civil rights of all Americans, and particular indifference towards the real and enduring evils of discrimination against African Americans and gay and lesbian Americans."

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards struck a more populist tone, saying the former Mississippi appeals court judge would hurt middle class workers.

“His record suggests that he will be responsible for a raft of decisions against the interests of workers, consumers and the civil rights of all Americans," Edwards said in a release. "Federal judges should understand and enforce the full range of Americans’ constitutional protections, but Judge Southwick fails that standard."

Republicans and moderate Democrats supported Southwick, who was approved on a 59-38 vote Wednesday.

"I think it is a very significant sign for the American people who are sick and tired of the bickering and the partisanship," Sen. Arlen Specter, the moderate ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said during a post-confirmation press conference. "This is a big step on a new page."

Sen. Barack Obama, another Democratic presidential contender, said Southwick's time in Mississippi demonstrated he was unfit for the 5th Circuit, which is based in New Orleans.

“As a Mississippi state court judge, Southwick has shown hostility toward civil rights and a disregard for equal rights for minorities, women, gays and lesbians," Obama said in a release. "During his hearing before the Senate, Southwick could not find one case – in his 7,000 opinions – in which he sided with a civil rights plaintiff in a non-unanimous verdict."

People for the American Way, a liberal organization that emerged as a leading Southwick critic, chided the Democrats for failing to stop the nomination, despite their gaining control of Congress last year.

“That’s not what Americans voted for when they gave Democrats a majority in the Senate," said a statement from Legal Director Judith E. Schaeffer. "Senate Democrats must hold the President to his 2006 pledge of bipartisanship and cooperation by rejecting nominees who fail to interpret the law fairly for all Americans.”


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

Democratic presidential candidates criticized Wednesday's confirmation

What a load - these politicians want to lead the country but they obviously cannot even put their leadership[sic] to work in their party.

Another stunning disappointment.


capt said...

New Thread