Archive for the ‘War in Iraq’ Category

George W. Bush Tries to Avoid the Death Penalty

September 22, 2007

Bush is trying to pardon himself of horrible war crimes –a desperate attempt to escape the death penalty for which he is subject under US Criminal Codes.

Bush is trying to ram through Congress legislation that will pardon him and his criminal gang of thugs for the felonies that they have already committed —torture and murder! His action to pardon himself is proof of his guilt.

� 2441. War crimes

(a) Offense.� Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.

It is not only the civilian dead –well over a million in Iraq alone –for which Bush may be held to account. It is also the campaign of torture carried out in a gulag Archipelago from Iraq to Eastern Europe. There is no evidence that these heinous acts by the US have resulted in any reliable information about a war of terrorism in which most of the terror is perpetrated by Bush.

The US “President” is a pervert, whose administration has made terrorism worse as did the horrific administration of Ronald Reagan. [See: Terrorism is Always Worse Under GOP Regimes]

The American people simply must face a horrible reality. George W. Bush rules by decree and eschews the very rule of law. Bush has undermined every democratic principle. He has waged a campaign of war crimes, state sponsored murder, and torture not seen since the Third Reich. The lessons of history are found in the transcripts of the Nuremberg Trials. Justice Robert Jackson, depicted above, had hoped that the Nuremberg would make future war crimes impossible within the framework of international law. He could not have imagined that his own country would one day be among the worst offenders.

If the rule of law means anything in the US, then this legislation must not be allowed to pass. But given Congress’ cowardly denunciation of for practicing nothing more than Constitutionally guaranteed free speech, I am not optimistic. Rather, Congress, Democrats including, will kiss Bush sorry ass and it, in a cowardly act of betrayal, it will tell the American people that Bush is above the law while everyone else is expected to pay him obeisance.

This legislation will consign “the rule of law” to oblivion. Bush will have consolidated his dictatorial power. He will never be held to account for some of the most heinous crimes ever committed on this planet. He will have joined a rogue’s gallery of war criminals in the hall of infamy. America R.I.P.

History Will Not Absolve Us: Leaked Red Cross report sets up Bush team for international war-crimes trial

Nat Hentoff

Global Research, September 20, 2007
Village Voice – 2007-08-28

If and when there’s the equivalent of an international Nuremberg trial for the American perpetrators of crimes against humanity in Guant�namo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the CIA’s secret prisons, there will be mounds of evidence available from documented international reports by human-rights organizations, including an arm of the European parliament-as well as such deeply footnoted books as Stephen Grey’s Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program (St. Martin’s Press) and Charlie Savage’s just-published Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy (Little, Brown).

While the Democratic Congress has yet to begin a serious investigation into what many European legislators already know about American war crimes, a particularly telling report by the International Committee of the Red Cross has been leaked that would surely figure prominently in such a potential Nuremberg trial. The Red Cross itself is bound to public silence concerning the results of its human-rights probes of prisons around the world-or else governments wouldn’t let them in. …

I urge the creation of a broad based coalition consisting of the American Civil Liberties Union,, the 911 truth movement and other groups independent of both major political parties. It’s goal should be nothing less than bringing to justice George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the other architects of Bush’s war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I am beginning to feel guilty for having tipped Bush off. As I recall, I wrote about his culpability for capital crimes shortly after the “Shock and Awe” campaign in which some 30,000 civilians died. Bush’s order thus makes his culpable for the civilian deaths resulting.

Try Bush for war crimes, urges US combat veteran

Mark Dodd | September 05, 2007

GEORGE W. Bush should be tried as a war criminal for his role in launching the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the Howard Government is culpable for supporting him, a US anti-war activist claims.

The US President and John Howard were committed to a failing war that was being waged for oil and economic motives, former US marine and two-time combat tour veteran Matt Howard said in Sydney yesterday.

The anti-war movement was growing in the US, and veterans had a responsibility to tell the truth about what was happening in Iraq, Mr Howard, 26, told a news conference at the Alternative APEC Centre in Sydney’s Trades Hall.

The Prime Minister’s support for the war provided “political cover” to Mr Bush’s “dangerous political agenda”, said Matt Howard.

His message on behalf of the Iraq Veterans Against the War was timed to coincide with the arrival in Sydney of Mr Bush for the APEC summit.

Tactically, Australia’s 900-strong military contribution in Iraq was so small it made no difference compared with the 160,000 US troops there, but politically it was indispensable for the Bush White House, Matt Howard said.

“We’ve destroyed Iraq and it’s been done in our name, and the Australian Government is involved,” he said.

“In 2003, I illegally invaded Iraq. We left a swath of destruction all the way from Basra to Baghdad.”

Mr Bush should be tried for crimes against humanity over the killing of the tens of thousands of Iraqi men, women and children who were victims of the war, Mr Howard said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the Government was “entirely comfortable” with Britain’s decision to withdraw its troops from their base in the southern city of Basra and redeploy them in the nearby airport.

We might also recall Bush’s callous reaction to the impending execution of Karla Faye Tucker.

In pondering the relationship between governors and the prisoners over whom they have power of life and death, I find myself remembering the single worst thing I ever heard about President Bush. It was something Bush, then governor of Texas, said to a reporter during his first presidential campaign. The reporter in question was Tucker Carlson�hardly a hostile figure�and Carlson reported it in Talk magazine in 1999. It was about Karla Faye Tucker, a convicted murderer whose execution Bush, as governor, had refused to stay. Here is what Carlson wrote (as quoted in National Review, another source hardly known to be hostile toward Republicans):

In the week before [Karla Faye Tucker’s] execution, Bush says, Bianca Jagger and a number of other protesters came to Austin to demand clemency for Tucker. “Did you meet with any of them?” I ask.

Bush whips around and stares at me. “No, I didn’t meet with any of them,” he snaps, as though I’ve just asked the dumbest, most offensive question ever posed. “I didn’t meet with Larry King either when he came down for it. I watched his interview with [Tucker], though. He asked her real difficult questions, like ‘What would you say to Governor Bush?’ ”

“What was her answer?” I wonder.

“Please,” Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, “don’t kill me.”

The ugliness of a sitting governor mocking a prisoner’s plea to spare her life horrified Carlson, especially after he looked up the transcript of Karla Faye Tucker’s appearance on Larry King Live and discovered that nowhere did it show the prisoner asking Bush to stay the execution. It horrified a lot of other conservative journalists, too, including George Will, Richard Brookhiser, and the editorial page of the Manchester Union Leader in New Hampshire.

Slate, Bush’s Tookie

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Bush Loses War on Terrorism; Begins War on Iran

August 30, 2007

Gen. Wesley Clark: Bush Plans to "Take out seven countries in five years!"

August 29, 2007

Iran is next on the hit list. In a speech in Reno, NV, Bush issued Iran an ultimatum amid charges by British Scholars that Bush will launch a “massive, surprise” attack on Iran. In his speech, Bush warned Iran to stop supporting the militants fighting against the US in Iraq. [See: BBC] In rhetoric reminiscent of his run up to the war of naked aggression against Iraq, Bush charged that Tehran provides training and weapons, excuse enough for Bush who will not require proof. Bush, a known liar, claims Iran’s weapons are used by “extremists”, a word Bush uses to describe anyone who opposes his own extremist, radical, imperial agenda and policies.

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark

Bush claims that Iran’s actions “threaten the security of nations everywhere.” That’s not fair. I said the same of Bush first! Bush is a clear and present danger to Western Civilization, the greatest such danger since Adolf Hitler. Face up to it. Truly civilized folk must surely desire an end to the absurdities of both radical Islam and radical Christianity. A plague o’ both their houses.

I am sick and tired of hearing Democrats debate Bush’s “conduct” of what is, in fact, a war crime, a crime against humanity. Democrats, get a clue! You cannot debate the “conduct” of an immoral war. You are either for Bush’s campaign of world conquest or you are for freedom and civilization. You cannot be both.

Especially worrisome are exclusive reports from Raw Story: Bush may launch surprise attack on Iran.

The paper, “Considering a war with Iran: A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East” � written by well-respected British scholar and arms expert Dr. Dan Plesch, Director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, and Martin Butcher, a former Director of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) and former adviser to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament � was exclusively provided to Raw Story late Friday under embargo.

The study concludes that the US has made military preparations to destroy Iran�s WMD, nuclear energy, regime, armed forces, state apparatus and economic infrastructure within days if not hours of President George W. Bush giving the order. The US is not publicizing the scale of these preparations to deter Iran, tending to make confrontation more likely. The US retains the option of avoiding war, but using its forces as part of an overall strategy of shaping Iran�s actions.

  • Any attack is likely to be on a massive multi-front scale but avoiding a ground invasion. Attacks focused on WMD facilities would leave Iran too many retaliatory options, leave President Bush open to the charge of using too little force and leave the regime intact.
  • US bombers and long range missiles are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours.
  • US ground, air and marine forces already in the Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan can devastate Iranian forces, the regime and the state at short notice.
  • Some form of low level US and possibly UK military action as well as armed popular resistance appear underway inside the Iranian provinces or ethnic areas of the Azeri, Balujistan, Kurdistan and Khuzestan. Iran was unable to prevent sabotage of its offshore-to-shore crude oil pipelines in 2005.
  • Nuclear weapons are ready, but most unlikely, to be used by the US, the UK and Israel. The human, political and environmental effects would be devastating, while their military value is limited.
  • Israel is determined to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons yet has the conventional military capability only to wound Iran�s WMD programmes.
  • The attitude of the UK is uncertain, with the Brown government and public opinion opposed psychologically to more war, yet, were Brown to support an attack he would probably carry a vote in Parliament. The UK is adamant that Iran must not acquire the bomb.
  • The US is not publicizing the scale of these preparations to deter Iran, tending to make confrontation more likely. The US retains the option of avoiding war, but using its forces as part of an overall strategy of shaping Iran�s actions.

When asked why the paper seems to indicate a certainty of Iranian WMD, Plesch made clear that “our paper is not, repeat not, about what Iran actually has or not.”

–Raw Story, Study: US preparing ‘massive’ military attack against Iran

Bush is insane, unaccountable and out of control. A rogue. Unless he is impeached, charged, tried and sentenced for the capital crimes that should be charged him now, Bush will, indeed, wage war on Iran. Bush needs desperately to pump new life into his moribund, failed “war on terror”, now bogged down in quagmire in Iraq. Bush plans are simple and simple minded. He hopes to provoke Iran to retaliate against both Israel and the US, nothing less than a neocon pre text for a wider oil war to encompass the entire Middle East. There will be a term for this: World War III.

The timing of Bush’s latest bellicose campaign comes at a time his numbers are at their lowest. It was in May that Bush fell into the twenties poll-wise.

President Bush�s job-approval rating has fallen to its lowest mark of his presidency, according to a new Harris Interactive poll. Of 1,003 US adults surveyed in a telephone poll, 29% think Mr. Bush is doing an �excellent or pretty good� job as president, down from 35% in April and significantly lower than 43% in January. Approval ratings for Congress overall also sank, and now stand at 18%.

Wall Street Journal

Bush is motivated to stir up the middle east. If what Bush says about Iran is a lie, then Bush will have simply committed another act of naked aggression, another count in the growing indictment against him.

If what Bush says is true, then Bush will have provided Iran the motivation it needs to arm. Bush will have done it with years of bellicose rhetoric, reckless allegations intended to incite, bullying that has, in fact, had the effect of making terrorism worse and tarnishing America’s deteriorating reputation. If what is said about Iran is true, Iran will strike back, giving Bush the pretext he seeks to wage a wider war, a world war, throughout the Middle East.

Two things are at stake: the world’s richest oil fields and Bush’s position of power. Why does a “lame duck” consider committing this nation to a wider, longer war that may last indefinitely? What are Bush’s plans? Habeas Corpus has been shelved already. What is left but such a declaration of national emergency? Bush will simply declare his dictatorship and call off the elections.

Bush may envision sicking around past the date of his enforced retirement to supervise a new and perpetual, never-ending war in hopes that it spread beyond the borders the Middle East. Anyone who has bothered to read the Project for the New American Century will understand the mindset, the modus operandi of what are more properly called neo-Nazis.

I am not disappointed in Bush, the GOP, or the rabid neocons. I had no better expectations of them. It is, rather, the Democrats who have become a source of never ending disappointment and despair. Certainly, the Anthrax attacks on Daschle and Leahy had the desired effects. Opposition to Bush is anemic, almost apologetic, gutless. Alas, there are no white knights, no Jim Dandys, no firm-jawed heroes waiting in the wings. We are fucked!


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Bush Losing Conservative Support, Faces "historical obliteration"

August 20, 2007

The Free Republic advertises itself as a forum for a “grassroots” conservative movement. As such, it has been the source for much odious GOP, conservative ideology and propaganda. These are folk who still believe Saddam planned 911, even though Bush himself blamed al Qaeda. But when contributors to Free Republic start using words like “historical obliteration”, Bush’s hard core should pay attention.

TheHill | July 11, 2007 | Dick Morris

Are they traitors or prophets, these Republicans who have jumped ship and called for Bush to begin pulling out of Iraq

Sens. George Voinovich (Ohio), Richard Lugar (Ind.), John Warner (Va.), and Pete Domenici (N.M.)? More likely the latter. A look at the political map and the electoral calendar tells us that GOP Sens. Arlen Specter (Pa.), Norm Coleman (Minn.), Olympia Snowe (Maine), Susan Collins (Maine), Chuck Hagel (Neb.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Gordon Smith (Ore.) are probably not far behind them………….”

If you haven�t been counting, that comes to 11 Republican defections �enough to force a vote even if the Dems lose Joe Lieberman (Conn.). A veto override? Add in the likes of marginal-state GOP senators like John Thune (S.D.), Kit Bond (Mo.), John Ensign (Nev.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and a handful of others and it�s possible. Retiring Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) might just do his party a favor on his way out.

The Republican senators are coming to realize that Bush needs to begin to pull out to save his party, even if it puts Iraq at risk. With the president�s favorability down to 29 percent in the USA Today poll, and 26 percent in Newsweek, the party leaders are coming to realize that they are not planning to join Bush in retirement � at least not yet � and that unless he begins the pullout, the GOP cannot hold on to the White House.

Bush will have to pull out of Iraq, or face historical obliteration

And here –a soupcon of conservative disillusionment.

Bush is the biggest problem of all. He doesn�t look or sound like he�s in charge. The American people can sense a vacuum of leadership. I stuck up for Bush for many years on this, but my gut tells me there will be some juicy books written about this period that reveal how much influence Cheney had over this process.

The tide has turned-big time. Ask the troops on the ground. There are marine units whose biggest problem now is boredom!…

Testy, are we?

I’m also worried about the next generation.

Yeah right. That’s why you wanna hightail it out of the very place that Al Qaeda has identified as the central front in their war against us.

And the following I post with my refutations:

The long term ramifications for the World�s major powers are too great to just shove the Middle East aside. Oil is the life line of ours and their economies.

Therefore, we must suppose, it’s OK to commit mass murder and steal the oil. More evidence in support of my thesis: “conservatism” is a mental illness. In theological terms: it is evil.

The War was never about winning but about prevention.

Indeed, it was. The “prevention” of peace.

Even if the Dems win they will have problems withdrawing from the Middle East.

Conservatives will then blame Democrats for Bush’s war. Democrats, meanwhile, would be better off supporting the worldwide movement to bring Bush and his conservative co-conspirators to justice for war crimes.

The issue that you should look at is how the war is being fought. Up until now the war and the politics were handled very poorly. It appears that some real progress is being made.

Indeed, there has been “progress”. The civilian “kill count” is over one million and counting. Conservatives call this “progress”.

Bush has not really explained what is going on and how it affects our true interests( or a very poor job of it).

There is a rational explanation. The man who read “three Shakespeares”in one weekend cannot put two words together meaningfully.

Islam is a religion of the sword that could easily dominate the whole region- they have done it before so they believe they can do it again.

Nevermind that it is their region. If Islam is the religion of the sword, then Christianity must surely be the religion of the nuke. Is there a difference? Perhaps, the body count.

It sounds so cool to cut and run.

A contradiction in terms. Nothing said by a “conservative” sounds cool. Still –cutting and running is preferable to staying, stealing and murdering.

If America fails who will be there to pick up the pieces( China, Russia, India)?

America is falling and the pieces are being picked up as we write. Thanks to the conservative idiots who were suckered by Bush.

Here’s a gem:

Our politicians pulled out of Viet Nam and Cambodia and didn�t have to answer for it because the horror was not in your face 24 hours a day.

When we pull out of Iraq, it will be.

The horror of it is in our faces 24 hours a day now! But, I suppose that not having horror in your face makes it OK but only if you are of the “conservative” persuasion. The bottom line: even when conservatives are ocassionally correct, it is for wrong and immoral reasons.

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May the enemies of Democracy tremble

August 8, 2007

Over the last several weeks, I have been honored to have been “tagged” for the Thinking Blogger Award by blogs Liberality, Hot Potato Mash, and Bluebloggin. The recognition of peers freely given is, in the words of Churchill, “no small thing” And, it is in that spirit, that the rules require that I pass on the honor. I am required to tag five “thinking blogger”. Having been tagged thrice, I suppose I can pass the award on to 15 outstanding blogs. To be honest, that has made the job a bit easier. Who could select only five from the following list? And I worry about the one’s I’ve omitted from the following.

According to the rules, I now must display the rules.

  1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think. [Having been tagged three times, I will tag five for each or a total of 15 blogs.]
  2. Link to this post so that people can find the exact origin of the meme.
  3. Optional: Proudly display the Thinking Blogger Award on your site with a link to the post that you wrote.

The envelope please! Here is my list of 15 blogs in no particular order:

  1. The Peace Tree – a veritable oasis of reason amid an irrational din. A recent excerpt:

    i think that it is mind boggling that in a country with less want than possibly any other country on the planet- that we should covet anything that anyone else has. much less blow up their families to get it. think about that for a moment

  2. 70 reasons to doubt -where Damien has compiled almost everything known about 911. This work of one man equals that of most think tanks. His knowledge is encyclopedic. A must visit.
  3. Intelligentaindigena Novajoservo – explores the plight of indigenous peoples all over the world. A recent post: Ward Churchill: An Indigenist activist willing to stand up for what is right.
  4. Bad Attitudes, by Jerome Doolittle, Chuck Dupree et al., epitomizes a blog of “thinking bloggers”. They bring to blogging some serious credentials and don’t need to be told who Richard Hofstadter is. Check them out for informed opinion.
  5. is the work of professional, award-winning journalist Marc McDonald. A recent post, The Real Reason The Wingnuts Hate YearlyKos, exposes the hypocrisy of right wing propagandists like Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.
  6. cannablog which recently made the point beside a reproduction of Guernica that Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole, but Colin Powell ….[read the post]
  7. Daveawayfromhome who writes eloquently of a loss felt by many:”For over two decades I’ve watched as America has slowly given itself over to the powers of Authority. America, the rebel nation, the home of rock-and-roll, somehow seems to have given up the urge to make it’s own choices.”
  8. Les Enrages. From this excerpt, a reminder “The heart is what counts here, for that�s where Liberty lives.” Until we get the bullet proof indictment that puts the Bush gang in a dank cell, that will do!
  9. News Sophisticate, lately, exposes Blackwater recruitment of its hired guns in Latin America. This is, of course, symptomatic of the fascist society that the US has become.
  10. Department of Homeland Conspiracy is new to my blogroll but putting issues even more bluntly: The United States of America is Dead
  11. Any blog that could write of George Tenet that he is “alleged to have assisted our nation” deserves recognition. A tag, therefore for Firedoglake.
  12. Freedom and Democracy are Dying, is the work of a “thinking blogger” from Canada who asks his neighbor: Why Does Saudi Arabia Need Military Aid? Indeed!
  13. Pensito Review is a mainstay, an essential resource that reduces global issues to their effects on you. An example: Global Warming Sucks!
  14. Vagabond Scholar –the work of a dedicated blogger who takes the time to tighten his prose while sharing videos of the Clancy Brothers. Don’t miss “Will You Go, Lassie, Go.”

If you are on the list, consider yourself “tagged”. So –those are the blogs I have tagged for the “Thinking Blogger Award”. Taken individually, each is treasure. Taken together –a force for freedom and good. May the enemies of Democracy tremble at their approach.

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Bush Deliberately Creates "Constructive Chaos" in Iraq

August 5, 2007

The War Racket: How Americans Pay for Bush’s War Crimes at the Bank, the Pump, the Shop & the Graveside

July 28, 2007

Bush had hoped to pull off a quick victory cheap. But nothing worked out as hoped or planned. The American people are stuck with the tab, paying for the war with high hidden taxes, higher prices and American lives. The cost of Bush’s war crime has tripled since Bush declared the end of major combat operations. The American people are not safer for having sacrificed the lives of loved ones. The war on terrorism is either a criminal fraud or a miserable failure and I challenge my critics at the Heritage Foundation to debate me on that issue.

War is a racket fought by the masses for privileged elites, big corporations, and venal politicians like Bush. Bush’s quagmire is fought for the benefit of no-bid contractors like Halliburton and Blackwater and financed by America’s working poor and middle classes who pay for the war �with their lives abroad and with their jobs, their retirement prospects, and their access to health care at home. Bush’s base �the nation’s elite, his corporate sponsors, and the so-called defense industry �have paid nothing, risked nothing! Rather �they feed at the trough. The upper one percent of the population has gotten several tax cuts while the big oil companies report record profits rising concurrently with higher prices at the pump.

Just two days after 9/11, I learned from Congressional staffers that Republicans on Capitol Hill were already exploiting the atrocity, trying to use it to push through tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. … We now know that from the very beginning, the Bush administration and its allies in Congress saw the terrorist threat not as a problem to be solved, but as a political opportunity to be exploited. The story of the latest terror plot makes the administration�s fecklessness and cynicism on terrorism clearer than ever.

Hoping for Fear, by Paul Krugman, Using Fear Commentary, NY Times

There are big profits in the death business. Go to Texas and ask the CEO at DynCorp.

The war in Iraq has boosted DynCorp’s revenues, responsible for about $400 million of the company’s nearly $2 billion in sales. And while the company didn’t specify how much the effort has added to profits, there has certainly been an upside, Lagana said, although he added that profit margins are lower than in other private industry — often below 10 percent.

For government contractors and other US-based businesses that are doing work in Iraq, the war there has continued to provide opportunity and benefits, although experts and companies alike say they are difficult to quantify. To be sure, security businesses, oil producers and defense contractors are among the biggest winners. Those who manufacture key products, from bulletproof vests to bullets themselves, and, more recently, those involved in reconstruction, have reaped the benefits, too.

Businesses find benefits, costs in war work

Over the longer term, however, the effects of Bush’s war against the people of Iraq war are only temporary, benefiting the entire economy only for a short period of time, the period of time in which the pump is primed. On the whole, the effect is minimal. Average Americans have not benefited from mass murder, torture, and other atrocities perpetrated by the “state”. As Economic Policy Institute economist Jared Bernstein noted, whatever economic stimulus war might have provided becomes increasingly less significant over time. Defense spending had a big effect on job growth in 2004, but its effect since that time is relatively small. Wealth, however ill-gotten does not trickle down.

The number of US troops in Iraq, put at 145,000, does not include more than 126,000 private contractors. Author Jeremy Schahill calls it �the world�s most powerful mercenary army.� But that is polite. They are, in fact, hired hit men financed, enabled and paid by the people of the United States whether they want to or not. Under Bush, the US taxpayer no longer has a say in how his/her money is spent.

Scahill and filmmaker Robert Greenwald have told the House Appropriations defense subcommittee that these so-called “contract workers”, these hired killers murder with impunity and undermine the better efforts of US command and control.

…contract workers have been involved in � but not punished for � numerous scandals during the Iraq war, the pair claimed. These contractors were among the interrogators and translators who tortured prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, Greenwald said.

In one short period, senior military personnel documented 12 instances in which contract workers shot at Iraqi civilians, killing six, Scahill said, but no contractors were charged with crimes.

Contract employees were granted immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law by Paul Bremmer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority that ruled Iraq in 2003 and 2004, Scahill said. And they were not subject to US military law.

Truck drivers working for Halliburton routinely drove empty trucks across Iraq because the company is paid by the number of trips, not by the amount of cargo a truck carries, Greenwald said.

US House Panel Puts Iraq Contractor Abuse Claims �On the Record�

One of the more insidious falsehoods about Iraq has turned out to have been Bushco estimates of its cost. In 2002, George W. Bush himself predicted the war would cost between $100 billion and $200 billion �tops! To be expected �Bush was dead wrong. A report by the Democratic staff of the House Budget Committee now estimates that Bush’s war of aggression in Iraq could cost the US $646 billion by 2015 �depending on the scope and duration of operations. Nobel prize winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University, estimates the cost of the war from one trillion to two trillion dollars!

Ongoing operations in Iraq were estimated at $5.6 billion per month in 2005. And costs have surely risen since then as the intensity of fighing increases accompanied by significant losses of materiel and maintenance.

The Bill So Far: Congress has already approved four spending bills for Iraq with funds totaling $204.4 billion and is in the process of approving a �bridge fund� for $45.3 billion to cover operations until another supplemental spending package can be passed, most likely slated for Spring 2006. Broken down per person in the United States, the cost so far is $727, making the Iraq War the most expensive military effort in the last 60 years.

Long-term Impact on US Economy: In August 2005, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the cost of continuing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at current levels would nearly double the projected federal budget deficit over the next ten years. According to current estimates, during that time the cost of the Iraq War could exceed $700 billion.

Economic Impact on Military Families: Since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 210,000 of the National Guard�s 330,000 soldiers have been called up, with an average mobilization of 460 days. Government studies show that about half of all reservists and Guard members report a loss of income when they go on active duty�typically more than $4,000 a year. About 30,000 small business owners alone have been called to service and are especially likely to fall victim to the adverse economic effects of military deployment.

The Iraq Quagmire: The Mounting Costs of War and the Case for Bringing Home the Troops, Institute for Policy Studies

The Bush administration has been able to keep the precise cost of the war a matter of guess work and estimates. But however much is wasted killing civilians in Iraq that is money that is not being spent educating Americans, providing for health care, fixing Social Security, rebuilding a deteriorating infrastructure, or addressing real threats to our environment.

However much has blown up in Iraq, it is lost forever to the victims of Bush’s incompetence in the face of Katrina. It is lost forever to those millions losing retirements to corporate mismanagement and greed. It is lost forever to those unable to pay the high costs of health care, education, transportation, housing, and getting enough to eat each day.

US Budget and Social Programs: The Administration�s FY 2006 budget, which does not include any funding for the Iraq War, takes a hard line with domestic spending� slashing or eliminating more than 150 federal programs. The $204.4 billion appropriated thus far for the war in Iraq could have purchased any of the following desperately needed services in our country: 46,458,805 uninsured people receiving health care or 3,545,016 elementary school teachers or 27,093,473 Head Start places for children or 1,841,833 affordable housing units or 24,072 new elementary schools or 39,665,748 scholarships for university students or 3,204,265 port container inspectors.

Social Costs to the Military/Troop Morale: As of May 2005, stop-loss orders are affecting 14,082 soldiers�almost 10 percent of the entire forces serving in Iraq with no end date set for the use of these orders. Long deployments and high levels of soldier�s stress extend to family life. In 2004, 3,325 Army officer�s marriages ended in divorce�up 78 percent from 2003, the year of the Iraq invasion and more than 3.5 times the number in 2000.

Costs to Veteran Health Care: The Veterans Affairs department projected that 23,553 veterans would return from Iraq and Afghanistan in 2005 and seek medical care. But in June 2005, the VA Secretary, Jim Nicholson, revised this number to 103,000. The miscalculation has led to a shortfall of $273 million in the VA budget for 2005 and may result in a loss of $2.6 billion in 2006.

Mental Health Costs: In July 2005 the Army�s surgeon general reported that 30 percent of US troops have developed stress-related mental health problems three to four months after coming home from the Iraq War. Because about 1 million American troops have served so far in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan some experts predict that the number eventually requiring mental health treatment could exceed 100,000.

The Iraq Quagmire: The Mounting Costs of War and the Case for Bringing Home the Troops, Institute for Policy Studies

Many delusions were promoted in order to commit this nation to aggressive war. In the short months after 9/11, Bush erected a strawman upon which to direct American frustration, anger, and vengeance �an �axis of evil� consisting of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. His intentions were made clear at the time. This “Axis of Evil” was responsible for world terrorism in general and our nation would wage war against it. Bush’s speech was most notable, however, for what he did not say. Bush did not tell the American people that he had no intention of paying for the war. He would leave the deficit to future administrations and generations. Rather than expect his privileged base to pony up, he would reward their loyalty with several tax cuts. Nor are sons of daughters of that base required to serve their nation militarily. Bush’s base gets a free ride as the rest of the nation bears the cost of war �in both lives and dollars.

If wars are not paid for upfront, they are paid for in the form of higher interest rates, prices, and lives. Wealth does not trickle down. But the effects of a falling dollar is felt by everyone. The exponential rise of wage and income inequality began with a vengeance in the Reagan 80’s, most closely associated with the Reagan tax cut of 1982. Only the top 20 percent of the population benefited. Wage/income disparities have increased since then with only a short respite during Clinton’s second term. The current trend began before a great wave of technical change and a computer revolution �none of which has benefited working Americans. Indeed, if you work for a living you have paid and continue to pay for Bush’s war of aggression while Bush’s base gets preferential treatment!

It is no coincidence that as prices increase, so, too, the national deficit. American credit abroad is dodgy. As the dollar continues to slide on world exchanges, not only gasoline prices increase but also prices of imported goods. Bush had said that he favors a strong dollar but, in fact, his administration has let the dollar slide, a cynical ploy designed to finance the Iraq folly upon the backs of working Americans. That it provides a moderate relief to US exporters is a bad trade off. What �other than death, torture and destruction �do we export these days?

Like Bush’s mythical “Axis of Evil” the idea that a nation can wage a free war is an evil GOP fairy tale. Wars are always paid for, if not now, later, and in ways you won’t like.

An update:

A pipeline shuts down in Alaska. Equipment failures disrupt air travel in Los Angeles. Electricity runs short at a spy agency in Maryland.

None of these recent events resulted from a natural disaster or terrorist attack, but they may as well have, some homeland security experts say. They worry that too little attention is paid to how fast the country’s basic operating systems are deteriorating.

“When I see events like these, I become concerned that we’ve lost focus on the core operational functionality of the nation’s infrastructure and are becoming a fragile nation, which is just as bad � if not worse � as being an insecure nation,” said Christian Beckner, a Washington analyst who runs the respected Web site Homeland Security Watch (

The American Society of Civil Engineers last year graded the nation “D” for its overall infrastructure conditions, estimating that it would take $1.6 trillion over five years to fix the problem.

“I thought [Hurricane] Katrina was a hell of a wake-up call, but people are missing the alarm,” said Casey Dinges, the society’s managing director of external affairs.

British oil company BP announced this month that severe corrosion would close its Alaska pipelines for extensive repairs. Analysts say this may sideline some 200,000 barrels a day of production for several months.

Then an instrument landing system that guides arriving planes onto a runway at Los Angeles International Airport failed for the second time in a week, delaying flights.

Those incidents followed reports that the National Security Agency (NSA), the intelligence world’s electronic eavesdropping arm, is consuming so much electricity at its headquarters outside Washington that it is in danger of exceeding its power supply.

“If a terrorist group were able to knock the NSA offline, or disrupt one of the nation’s busiest airports, or shut down the most important oil pipeline in the nation, the impact would be perceived as devastating,” Beckner said. “And yet we’ve essentially let these things happen � or almost happen � to ourselves.”

The Commission on Public Infrastructure at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, said in a recent report that facilities are deteriorating “at an alarming rate.” …

Chuck McCutcheon, Newhouse News Service, Experts warn US is coming apart at the seams; becoming third world

Bush Plans Dictatorship

    “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.”

    George W. Bush

Bush uttered those very unfunny words on December 18, 2000. On that day the president-elect went to capitol hill to meet with Congressional leaders and emerged from the meeting flipping them and the American people this rhetorical bird.

The president is making good on those words and there hasn’t been a peep out of Congress or the press. In a document released on May 9, 2007 entitled “National Continuity Policy,” Bush makes good on his sick fantasy. In case of �any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the US population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function� Bush will control the entire US government, not just the federal branch.

It isn’t really surprising. Bush decides who is an enemy combatant, a person without legal rights, and who should be spied upon.

If ever there was a moment for conspiracy theories, this is it. Will there be a phony terror attack, or a declaration of war against Iran? We don’t know what the trigger will be but it is time to be afraid.

Actually it is time for impeachment. Bush’s unpopularity makes him particularly dangerous. So does the acquiescence of the media and the silence of the Democrats. State legislatures have the right to begin the impeachment process but they have been smacked down by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

We are screwed. The phrase may be inelegant, but it says it all. Maybe we will all end up in Guantanamo. Who knows? The National Continuity Policy contains “classified continuity annexes.” WTF!? As I said, we are screwed.

Indeed, Bush has arrogated unto himself the power to interpret the Constitution. I suppose he can now just dismiss the Supreme Court. Already he claims the authority to re-write laws passed by Congress and denies Congress the authority to subpoena witnesses

It defines a �catastrophic emergency� as �any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the US population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function.�

Bush Anoints Himself as the Insurer of Constitutional Government in Emergency

And this just in from Bluebloggin’.

US Department of Interior Investigates Bush

Posted by nytexan on July 27th, 2007

How many investigations can one administration have? I suppose if you�re Bush and Cheney and you completely ignore laws, you could technically be investigated every month. Well this time it�s the US Department of Interior going after them for the Endangered Species Act.

Mother Jones

  • Two government entities are investigating the Bush administration over the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Christian Science Monitor reports the US Interior Department is reviewing the scientific integrity of decisions made by a political appointee, Julie MacDonald, who recently resigned under fire. Fish and Wildlife Service employees complained that MacDonald bullied, insulted, and harassed the professional staff to alter their biological reporting. The inspector noted that although she has no formal educational background in biology, she nevertheless labored long and hard editing, commenting on, and reshaping the endangered species program�s scientific reports from the field. Last week Fish and Wildlife announced that eight decisions MacDonald made under the ESA would be examined for scientific and legal discrepancies.

Legal discrepancies seem to be the standard operating procedure for the Bush administration.

Bush has a habit of putting incompetent people to oversee and bully scientist. This is exactly what Bush did with the national weather scientist so global warming would be watered down.

  • Meanwhile Congress is investigating evidence that Vice President Dick Cheney interfered with decisions involving water in California and Oregon resulting in a mass kill of Klamath River salmon, including threatened species. As the CSM reports, both episodes illustrate the Bush administration�s resistance to the law. Earlier, the Washington Post ran the story of Cheney�s personal interference in the water decision that killed the salmon in 2002:
  • In Oregon, a battleground state that the Bush-Cheney ticket had lost by less than half of 1 percent, drought-stricken farmers and ranchers were about to be cut off from the irrigation water that kept their cropland and pastures green. Federal biologists said the Endangered Species Act left the government no choice: The survival of two imperiled species of fish was at stake. Law and science seemed to be on the side of the fish. Then the vice president stepped in. First Cheney looked for a way around the law, aides said. Next he set in motion a process to challenge the science protecting the fish, according to a former Oregon congressman who lobbied for the farmers.

An update on Bush’s transparent attempts to undermine US obligations with regard to the Geneva Convention.

To date in the war on terrorism, including the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and all U.S. military personnel killed in action in Afghanistan and Iraq, America’s losses total about 2 percent of the forces we lost in World War II and less than 7 percent of those killed in Vietnam. Yet we did not find it necessary to compromise our honor or abandon our commitment to the rule of law to defeat Nazi Germany or imperial Japan, or to resist communist aggression in Indochina. On the contrary, in Vietnam — where we both proudly served twice — America voluntarily extended the protections of the full Geneva Convention on prisoners of war to Viet Cong guerrillas who, like al-Qaeda, did not even arguably qualify for such protections.

The Geneva Conventions provide important protections to our own military forces when we send them into harm’s way. Our troops deserve those protections, and we betray their interests when we gratuitously “interpret” key provisions of the conventions in a manner likely to undermine their effectiveness. Policymakers should also keep in mind that violations of Common Article 3 are “war crimes” for which everyone involved — potentially up to and including the president of the United States — may be tried in any of the other 193 countries that are parties to the conventions.

–P.X. Kelley and Robert F. Turner, War Crimes and the White House

Tipped off by Fuzzflash, I post the following video experience. Just as it is impossible to make meaningful statements about a syntax from within a syntax, we may find it impossible to make statements about our own culture. Perhaps the Ancient Mayans have shown us a non-verbal truth from outside our paradigm. The “text” is by William Borroughs but the video was produced and added by one who uses the label, Karma, who writes”

This is a tribute to both William Burroughs and Hiroshima. Its a video I have been wanting to put together for some time now and release on the day of concern.

61 Years ago to day Hiroshima felt the atom split in anger. Today lets remember both Hiroshima Nagasaki which followed on the 9th August 1945. Lets hope the lion never rages again.

Ah Pook The Destroyer

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Oil Junkies for Jesus vs the Oil Crisis

July 24, 2007

US involvement in Iraq is complicated by weird theology. Fundamentalist Christians insist upon an unconditional pro-Israeli policy no matter what! Israel is God’s chosen nation. To oppose Israel, they say, is to damn our nation to hell. Another complication is our nation’s symbiotic relationship with oil producing “infidels”. GOP faithful believe that middle east oil is ours to plunder. Oil Junkies for Jesus openly boast of stealing Iraqi oil. For them, waging war for oil is not a war crime, it’s a crusade, it’s not an atrocity its a commandment. SUV’s are not abominable energy hogs, they are God’s own chariot. While we fear the mother of all energy crunches, Hubbert’s Peak, oil junkies for Jesus look forward to just flying away from it all.

In 1956, geophysicist, M. King Hubbert, working at the Shell research lab in Houston, TX predicted that US oil production would peak in the early 1970s. Others predicted a peak occurring right about now. For his efforts, Hubbert was pilloried by oil experts and economists. Nevertheless, the 70’s are remembered less for Disco Duck than for the long lines at service stations. The Arab Oil Embargo had driven home a point that the US had become an oil junkie nation. The US partnership with Arab oil producers was always a strange marriage of fundamentalist Christians from Texas and equally fundamentalist Muslims from the far flung deserts of the Middle East, primarily Saudi Arabia.

Amid long lines, hot tempers and high prices, the era of cheap energy was over by the end of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, the so-called Yom Kippur War. The situation is complicated by what is conveniently and politically called “world terrorism” and the suspicion that the Bush administration turned a blind eye to the flow of “petro-dollars” finding their way into Saudi coffers and eventually into the hands of terrorists, perhaps, bin Laden. In the early days of the Iraq war, the moral implications of this were easily assuaged: just stick a flaq on your SUV, wave a yellow ribbon from your pick-up truck if that makes you feel good about voting for waste, lies and incompetence!

Americans are just barely aware that they pay about one-third the price Europeans pay for gasoline! But you have to credit the GOP with resourcefulness. The Bush administration delivered a message to the faithful: war in Iraq will result in lower prices at the pump even as the official line denied that the US attack and invasion of Iraq had anything at all to do with oil. That is revisionist history. The record of US Ambassador April Glaspie’s interview with Saddam Hussein on the eve of his attack of Kuwait proves conclusively that Hussein’s “problems” with the Bush family began when he tried to lower the price of oil.

Apparently the nation bought the GOP line. Alternative fuels, green energy and efficient cars were no longer “in”. It was not always so. The famous Offshore Technology Conference held in Houston during the oil embargo was dominated by talk of Solar Energy, Offshore Thermal Energy Conversion, and Wind Energy. The brightest minds from MIT, Harvard, and Cambridge were there –modeling the economics of it all.

It’s easy to find in the 1970’s the growing antipathy between big oil and the Democratic party. President Carter got caught in the cross hairs as perhaps JFK had about ten years earlier when he promised to put an end to a Texas oil industry sacred cow –the Oil Depletion Allowance. But only a conspiracy theorist would connect that fact with his murder in Dallas, TX. Carter’s advisors, however, favored lifting price caps but his political advisors nixed the idea. Clearly, American consumers were fed up with higher prices but absurdly long lines were the only alternative. Even now consumers may not have it both ways.

Energy Secretary James R. Schlesinger favored lifting Federal price caps and doing away with what he called the “government’s Byzantine allocation system”. His proposal, he said, would go a long way toward spurring conservation while allocating scarce fuel more efficiently. Schlesinger said it would eliminate the long lines at the gas pump. It would mean the end of dirt cheap gasoline. When Carter over ruled Schlesinger the press reported that the President had refused to eliminate Federal Price Caps against the advice of his own energy secretary. [See: Merrill Sheils, “The Energy Plan,” Newsweek, July 23, 1979] In Houston, MIT energy economist Morris Adelman would tell us reporters: ‘All in all, it was a very weak, pallid performance. The failure to decontrol will cost us a good deal.’

The future may be seen in our own past. It is simplistic to say merely that all the world’s oil supplies will simply run dry, though oil supplies are finite to be sure. It is, rather, a matter of economics. Pennsylvania, for example, was America’s first oil producing state –but Pennsylvania hasn’t figured prominently in the oil industry in over a century. Oil seemed limitless; after all, it took some 60 years to consume the first 10% –a curve that has continually gotten steeper. Later –the Spindletop gushers in Texas startled the world only to be exploited and abandoned in a period of some twenty years or less.

Then the pattern repeated itself in West Texas. On the ranches just outside of Odessa/Midland, there is evidence that the robber barons of big oil simply walked away, abandoning wells to despoil the environment when it became no longer economically viable to operate them.

It ceased to be easy. That may explain why George W. Bush had to settle for stealing an election. In its first stages, petroleum exploration is a straight-forward technical procedure and, indeed, it was so easy wildcatters used to call it “land speculation with cash flow”. Just shoot a modern seismic “net” across a basin and let the soundings delineate the significant prospects. The largest oil and gas fields are also the biggest and easiest targets; it was so easy in its early days that even an idiot could have made money. The fact that George W. Bush’s ventures went belly-up twice is significant. Every other idiot made money.

Shrub failed to find oil amid plenty but he did find “the Lord” in a hell hole –Odessa/Midland. By that time getting rich had become complicated. The cost of producing oil outstripped oil’s value. What happened in Pennsylvania, Beaumont (Spindletop), Odessa/Midland will one day happen to Saudi Arabia, The Persian Gulf, and Russia. The Arabs –inventors of Algebra —know this even if the blythe SUV-driving American idiot does not.

The demand for oil will increase from about eighty million barrels per day to about 125 million barrels per day by 2030; in the meantime, OPEC oil production will level off in 2014, if not sooner. A steep decline will begin in 2016 from which oil production will never recover. A big crunch is very nearly here if the shortfall isn’t made up.

In the meantime, Halliburton, Unocal, Chevron rush to enrich themselves with Republican assistance, even complicity. The War in Iraq is just a part of the grand chessboard albeit a key one. Should Bush abandon Iraq, the American oil industry faces a crisis. It is a last desperate, ruthless gasp that has plunged the world into a “war on terror”. Too many Americans have been asked to die for Halliburton –not America! The world is now poised on the precipice of World War II for the ambitions of a hand full of evil, venal right wing crooks.

Who is the genius behind the preduction that bears his name? In 1969, Hubbert skipped Woodstock to do math. Hubbert suspected that a graph of world oil production would follow a standard statistical norm and his findings are not unlike those of Malthus who said essentially the same thing of arithmetic food production in populations increasing geometrically. Students of elementary statistics will know it as a “bell curve”. Hubbert was not appreciated in 1969 –the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Nonetheless, he plotted a graph which predicted a peak of oil production followed by a precipitous decline. The future is now:

Hubbert is now said by experts to have made the “…only truly valid scientific projection of future oil production.” A report by the Novum Corporation bluntly states that Hubbert was correct when he forecast oil production peaking in 1969. Since that time, domestic oil production has declined to within 5% of Hubbert’s 1956 predictions.

The world oil map is not what it was in the 70’s. Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf producers still make up a quarter of the world’s oil supply to be sure but new supplies are now found in Russia where production fell by one-half after the break-up of the Soviet Union. But foreign supplies are likewise finite and cannot be depended upon to bail out the US –especially given the increasingly murky role of Saudi Arabia and volatile political situations throughout the middle east. The war on terrorism cannot be counted on to bring stability to the region or to oil prices.

Dick Cheney’s Halliburton, Enron, Unocal, and Chevron, for example, have long proposed a “consortium” to build a pipeline across Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea –a pipeline supported by Pakistan but opposed by the Taliban. Only the insentient would not wonder if Dick Cheney’s “pipeline” figured prominently in BBC reports that the United States had promised Pakistan a “little war” with Afghanistan –a promise made months before the events of 9/11.

Some conclusions: America’s addiction to oil is not just a matter of taste, lifestyle, or provincialism. It is a matter of national security. Alarms bells should have gone off when Bush promised to end world terrorism at a time when his own family is in business with the people who finance them –Saudi Arabia. Afghanistan, for example, got carpet bombed; Saudi Arabia had merely to endure some bad press. Is that because the Saudis are well-connected with Bush et al?

Until fuel cell cars are made, scooters, economy vehicles, and public transportation –already popular everywhere, it seems, but in America –will become necessary in the US. The alternative is walking. More generally, there are glimpses of the future to be seen in various out-of-the-way places across the U.S: little communities where residents live “harmoniously” with the earth in super-insulated, comfortable houses coated with hardened clay. They do organic farming and telecommute. Just a bunch of hippies, tree-huggers, and liberals no doubt –but tell me that when your heating bill outstrips the value of your latter day manor house.

In the meantime, Hubbert’s Peak is not a Soap Opera. But it does explain why Bush and Dick Cheney (Halliburton) may have –as has been published and reported now in an increasing number of sources —threatened Afghanistan with “carpet bombs” before 9-11. It also explains Bush’s one time love of Putin. Bush didn’t see Putin’s soul; he saw his oil! It also explains why they have since fallen out. The US was “negotiating” pipeline rights with the Taliban; dying for God and country is one thing –but for Halliburton?

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The Pure Pork Gravy Train: How the Government Robs the Social Security Trust Fund and Gives it to the Military/Industrial Complex

July 22, 2007

A "Bellyful" of Right Wing Oil Frauds, War Crimes and High Treason

July 21, 2007