Monday, June 30, 2003

Why are we still here? - Posted: June 30, 2003 - 1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2003 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Patrick Buchannan

"What are we getting into here?" asked the sergeant from the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division, stationed north of Baghdad. "The war is supposed to be over, but every day we hear of another soldier getting killed. Is it worth it? Saddam isn't in power anymore. The locals want us to leave. Why are we still here?"

The questions that sergeant put to a Washington Post reporter are ones our commander in chief had better begin to address.

For less than three months after the fall of Baghdad, we have lost almost as many men in Iraq as we did in three weeks of war. One U.S. soldier is now dying there every day.

"Mission Accomplished," read the banner behind President Bush as he spoke from the carrier deck of the Lincoln. But if the original mission – to oust Saddam and end the mortal threat of his weapons of mass destruction – is "accomplished," why are we still there?

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Watchin rabid conservatives eat their own is mildly entertaining. At least Bushannan has been consistent all the way down the line on this one.

Ten Appalling Lies We Were Told About Iraq

By Christopher Scheer, AlterNet - June 27, 2003

"The Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons."
– George Bush, Oct. 7, 2002, in a speech in Cincinnati.

There is a small somber box that appears in the New York Times every day. Titled simply "Killed in Iraq," it lists the names and military affiliations of those who most recently died on tour of duty. Wednesday's edition listed just one name: Orenthal J. Smith, age 21, of Allendale, South Carolina.

The young, late O.J. Smith was almost certainly named after the legendary running back, Orenthal J. Simpson, before that dashing American hero was charged for a double-murder. Now his namesake has died in far-off Mesopotamia in a noble mission to, as our president put it on March 19, "disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger."

Today, more than three months after Bush's stirring declaration of war and nearly two months since he declared victory, no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons have been found, nor any documentation of their existence, nor any sign they were deployed in the field.

The mainstream press, after an astonishing two years of cowardice, is belatedly drawing attention to the unconscionable level of administrative deception. They seem surprised to find that when it comes to Iraq, the Bush administration isn't prone to the occasional lie of expediency but, in fact, almost never told the truth.

What follows are just the most outrageous and significant of the dozens of outright lies uttered by Bush and his top officials over the past year in what amounts to a systematic campaign to scare the bejeezus out of everybody:

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Read all 10!


Ministers knew war papers were forged, says diplomat

US official who identified documents incriminating Iraq as fakes says Britain must have been aware of findings

By Andrew Buncombe in Washington and Raymond Whitaker in London - 29 June 2003 (

A high-ranking American official who investigated claims for the CIA that Iraq was seeking uranium to restart its nuclear programme last night accused Britain and the US of deliberately ignoring his findings to make the case for war against Saddam Hussein.

The retired US ambassador said it was all but impossible that British intelligence had not received his report - drawn up by the CIA - which revealed that documents, purporting to show a deal between Iraq and the west African state of Niger, were forgeries. When he saw similar claims in Britain's dossier on Iraq last September, he even went as far as telling CIA officials that they needed to alert their British counterparts to his investigation.

The allegation will add to the suspicions of opponents to the war that last week's row between the BBC and Tony Blair's director of communications Alastair Campbell was a sideshow to draw attention away from more serious questions about the justification for the war.

The comments of the former US diplomat appear to be at odds with those of the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw. Appearing before a parliamentary committee last week, Mr Straw said the British intelligence community had not known of the forged documents' existence "at the time when [the September dossier] was put together".

But in his first interview on the issue, the former US diplomat told The Independent on Sunday: "It is hard for me to fathom, that as close as we are and [while] preparing for a war based on [claims about] weapons of mass destruction, that we did not share intelligence of this nature."

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Optimism on Iraq Slips in New Poll

WASHINGTON - Most Americans still say things are going at least fairly well in Iraq (news - web sites), but the number who think things are going badly has tripled since early May, a new poll says.

Just over half, 56 percent, say things are going well, according to a CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll, and 42 percent say badly.

The number who said things are going well has dipped from 86 percent in early May to 56 percent, and the number that say badly has grown from 13 percent to 42 percent.

More than 60 U.S. troops have died in Iraq, more than a third of them in hostile action, since President Bush declared May 1 that major combat had ended.

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I am still wondering what the acceptable pain threshold level is for the media and the American Sheeple.


Toward One-Party Rule


In principle, Mexico's 1917 Constitution established a democratic political system. In practice, until very recently Mexico was a one-party state. While the ruling party employed intimidation and electoral fraud when necessary, mainly it kept control through patronage, cronyism and corruption. All powerful interest groups, including the media, were effectively part of the party's political machine.

Such systems aren't unknown here — think of Richard J. Daley's Chicago. But can it happen to the United States as a whole? A forthcoming article in The Washington Monthly shows that the foundations for one-party rule are being laid right now.

In "Welcome to the Machine," Nicholas Confessore draws together stories usually reported in isolation — from the drive to privatize Medicare, to the pro-tax-cut fliers General Motors and Verizon recently included with the dividend checks mailed to shareholders, to the pro-war rallies organized by Clear Channel radio stations. As he points out, these are symptoms of the emergence of an unprecedented national political machine, one that is well on track to establishing one-party rule in America.

Mr. Confessore starts by describing the weekly meetings in which Senator Rick Santorum vets the hiring decisions of major lobbyists. These meetings are the culmination of Grover Norquist's "K Street Project," which places Republican activists in high-level corporate and industry lobbyist jobs — and excludes Democrats. According to yesterday's Washington Post, a Republican National Committee official recently boasted that "33 of 36 top-level Washington positions he is monitoring went to Republicans."

Of course, interest groups want to curry favor with the party that controls Congress and the White House; but as The Washington Post explains, Mr. Santorum's colleagues have also used "intimidation and private threats" to bully lobbyists who try to maintain good relations with both parties. "If you want to play in our revolution," Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, once declared, "you have to live by our rules."

Lobbying jobs are a major source of patronage — a reward for the loyal. More important, however, many lobbyists now owe their primary loyalty to the party, rather than to the industries they represent. So corporate cash, once split more or less evenly between the parties, increasingly flows in only one direction.

And corporations themselves are also increasingly part of the party machine. They are rewarded with policies that increase their profits: deregulation, privatization of government services, elimination of environmental rules. In return, like G.M. and Verizon, they use their influence to support the ruling party's agenda.

As a result, campaign finance is only the tip of the iceberg. Next year, George W. Bush will spend two or three times as much money as his opponent; but he will also benefit hugely from the indirect support that corporate interests — very much including media companies — will provide for his political message.

Naturally, Republican politicians deny the existence of their burgeoning machine. "It never ceases to amaze me that people are so cynical they want to tie money to issues, money to bills, money to amendments," says Mr. DeLay. And Ari Fleischer says that "I think that the amount of money that candidates raise in our democracy is a reflection of the amount of support they have around the country." Enough said.

Mr. Confessore suggests that we may be heading for a replay of the McKinley era, in which the nation was governed by and for big business. I think he's actually understating his case: like Mr. DeLay, Republican leaders often talk of "revolution," and we should take them at their word.

Why isn't the ongoing transformation of U.S. politics — which may well put an end to serious two-party competition — getting more attention? Most pundits, to the extent they acknowledge that anything is happening, downplay its importance. For example, last year an article in Business Week titled "The GOP's Wacky War on Dem Lobbyists" dismissed the K Street Project as "silly — and downright futile." In fact, the project is well on the way to achieving its goals.

Whatever the reason, there's a strange disconnect between most political commentary and the reality of the 2004 election. As in 2000, pundits focus mainly on images — John Kerry's furrowed brow, Mr. Bush in a flight suit — or on supposed personality traits. But it's the nexus of money and patronage that may well make the election a foregone conclusion.

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Scandal lurks in shadow of Iraq evidence

By Diane Carman - Denver Post Columnist

Sunday, June 29, 2003 - It's getting harder to ignore. More and more evidence is emerging to suggest that U.S. intelligence was manipulated to justify going to war with Iraq.

Among the allegations:

U.S. officials cited documents provided by foreign ambassadors - documents that they knew to be forgeries - as proof of the existence of an Iraqi nuclear weapons program.

Aluminum tubes and gas centrifuges that President Bush said were used to "enrich uranium for nuclear weapons" had already been determined by the CIA to be ordinary rocket materials too flimsy to handle nuclear material.

Claims by the administration that Iraq had unmanned aerial vehicles capable of delivering deadly biological agents around the world to the U.S. were known to be false; analysts estimated they didn't have the range even to reach Tel Aviv.

Vice President Dick Cheney had visited CIA headquarters several times in the months before the war to pressure analysts to find evidence that would justify an attack on Iraq.

And evidence that there was no connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda was deliberately withheld from Congress and the public in an attempt to mislead everyone about the danger Iraq posed.

Several members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, including Democrats Bob Graham, D-Fla., and Richard Durbin, D-Ill., told The New Republic that they knew that evidence contradicting the Bush administration's claims had been concealed, but they were unable to reveal it because it was classified.

Still, Congress, which spent $80 million to prove that, yes, Bill Clinton did have sexual relations with that woman, has yet to order an investigation.

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Real Journalism imho.


A Catholic Nun Tells It Like It is. "It Matters!"

Prepare for a soul soaring, Divinely inspired message from the heart.

It matters

This is what I don't understand: All of a sudden nothing seems to matter. First, they said they wanted Bin Laden "dead or alive." But they didn't get him. So now they tell us that it doesn't matter. Our mission is greater than one man.

Then they said they wanted Saddam Hussein, "dead or alive." He's apparently alive but we haven't got him yet, either. However, President Bush told reporters recently, "It doesn't matter. Our mission is greater than one man."

Finally, they told us that we were invading Iraq to destroy their weapons of mass destruction. Now they say those weapons probably don't exist. Maybe never existed. Apparently that doesn't matter either.

Except that it does matter. I know we're not supposed to say that. I know it's called "unpatriotic." But it's also called honesty. And dishonesty matters.

It matters that the infrastructure of a foreign nation that couldn't defend itself against us has been destroyed on the grounds that it was a military threat to the world. It matters that it was destroyed by us under a new doctrine of "pre-emptive war" when there was apparently nothing worth pre-empting.

It surely matters to the families here whose sons went to war to make the world safe from weapons of mass destruction and will never come home. It matters to families in the United States whose life support programs were ended, whose medical insurance ran out, whose food stamps were cut off, whose day care programs were eliminated so we could spend the money on sending an army to do what did not need to be done.

It matters to the Iraqi girl whose face was burned by a lamp that toppled over as a result of a U.S. bombing run. It matters to Ali, the Iraqi boy who lost his family and both his arms in a U.S. air attack.

It matters to the people in Baghdad whose water supply is now fetid, whose electricity is gone, whose streets are unsafe, whose 158 government ministries' buildings and all their records have been destroyed, whose cultural heritage and social system has been looted and whose cities teem with anti-American protests.

It matters that the people we say we "liberated" do not feel liberated in the midst of the lawlessness, destruction and wholesale social suffering that so-called liberation created.

It matters to the United Nations whose integrity was impugned, whose authority was denied, whose inspection teams are even now still being overlooked in the process of technical evaluation and disarmament. It matters to the reputation of the United States in the eyes of the world, both now and for decades to come, perhaps.

And surely it matters to the integrity of this nation whether or not its intelligence gathering agencies have any real intelligence or not before we launch a military armada on its say-so. And it should matter whether or not our government is either incompetent and didn't know what they were doing or were dishonest and refused to say.

The unspoken truth is that either as a people we were misled, or we were lied to, about the real reason for this war. Either we made a huge and unforgivable mistake, an arrogant or ignorant mistake, or we are swaggering around the world like a blind giant, flailing in all directions while the rest of the world watches in horror or in ridicule.

If Bill Clinton's definition of "is" matters, surely this matters. If a president's sex life matters, surely a president's use of global force against some of the weakest people in the world matters. If a president's word in a court of law about a private indiscretion matters, surely a president's word to the community of nations and the security of millions of people matters. And if not, why not?

If not, surely there is something as wrong with us as citizens, as thinkers, as Christians as there must be with some facet of our government. If wars that the public says are wrong yesterday, as over 70% of U.S. citizens did before the attack on Iraq, suddenly become "right" the minute the first bombs drop, what kind of national morality is that?

Wreaking rubble on a nation in pretense of good requires very little of either character or intelligence.

Of what are we really capable as a nation if the considered judgment of politicians and people around the world means nothing to us as a people? What is the depth of the American soul if we can allow destruction to be done in our name and the name of "liberation" and never even demand an accounting of its costs, both personal and public, when it is over?

What may count most, however, is that we may well be the ones Proverbs warns when it reminds us: "Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value the one who speaks the truth." The point is clear: If the people speak and the king doesn't listen, there is something wrong with the king. If the king acts precipitously and the people say nothing, something is wrong with the people.

It may be time for us to realize that in a country that prides itself on being democratic, we are our government. And the rest of the world is figuring that out very quickly. From where I stand, that matters.

Sister Joan Chittister,OSB
Sister Joan Chittister,OSB is a best-selling author and well-known international lecturer. She is founder and executive director of Benetvision: A Resource and Research Center for Contemporary Spirituality, and past president of the Conference of American Benedictine Prioresses and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Sister Joan has been recognized by universities and national organizations for her work for justice, peace and equality for women in the Church and society. She is an active member of the International Peace Council.

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Enough said.


Are U.S. journalists truly spineless?
By DAVID HUNDTER - June 30, 2003 -

Justin Webb, a Washington correspondent for the British Broadcasting Corporation, recently posed this question to his audience: "Are American journalists simply spineless? Do they toe the line because they love the President? Or because their employers do?"

Webb raised the question after hearing Vice President Dick Cheney deliver the following statement in reference to the war in Iraq: "You did well - you have my thanks." This praise was not directed to our troops or members of the president's Cabinet; it was lavished upon members of the American Radio and Television Correspondents Association at their annual dinner.

Most of us whose bylines appear in the American media should be embarrassed to look our readers, viewers and listeners in the eye. We are being held up for ridicule by real journalists, such as Webb, from nations that once looked upon us as the epitome of truth and integrity. The ridicule is richly deserved.

Members of the American news media should be asking the question that Webb has presented. Are American journalists spineless? Or have the people who once wielded the editorial sword with such class and power caved in to the bean counters who run the media conglomerates? Either way, we have failed, and it's only going to get worse unless individual journalists begin to stand up and reclaim our place as the guardians of liberty.

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Not just spineless, souless too.


Sunday, June 29, 2003

Time Magazine: Who Lost the WMD?

Meeting last month at a sweltering U.S. base outside Doha, Qatar, with his top Iraq commanders, President Bush skipped quickly past the niceties and went straight to his chief political obsession: Where are the weapons of mass destruction? Turning to his Baghdad proconsul, Paul Bremer, Bush asked, "Are you in charge of finding WMD?" Bremer said no, he was not. Bush then put the same question to his military commander, General Tommy Franks. But Franks said it wasn't his job either. A little exasperated, Bush asked, So who is in charge of finding WMD? After aides conferred for a moment, someone volunteered the name of Stephen Cambone, a little-known deputy to Donald Rumsfeld, back in Washington. Pause. "Who?" Bush asked.

It seems as if just about everyone has questions these days about the missing WMD. Did U.S. intelligence officials—or their civilian bosses—overstate the evidence of weapons before the war? And if some intelligence officials expressed skepticism about WMD, who ignored them? For the past several weeks, the usually lockstep Bush Administration has done its best to maintain a unified front in the face of these queries. Whenever asked, Administration officials have replied that the weapons will turn up eventually. But as the search drags on through its third largely futile month, the blame game in Washington has gone into high gear. And as Bush's allies and enemies alike on Capitol Hill begin to pick apart some 19 volumes of prewar intelligence and examine them one document at a time, the cohesive Bush team is starting to come apart. "This is a cloud hanging over their credibility, their word," Republican Senate Intelligence Committee member Chuck Hagel told abc News. Here are key questions Congress wants answered:

What Was Cheney's Role?
Lawmakers who once saluted every Bush claim and command are beginning to express doubts. Two congressional panels are opening new rounds of investigations into the Administration's prewar claims about WMD. One of their immediate inquiries, sources tell Time, involves Vice President Dick Cheney's role in reviewing the intelligence before the bombing started. Cheney made repeated visits to the CIA in the prelude to the war, going over intelligence assessments with the analysts who produced them. Some Democrats say Cheney's visits may have amounted to pressure on the normally cautious agency.

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A lot of people read TIME. This will get a lot of people thinking.


Saturday, June 28, 2003

Impeachment: "Be prepared" is good advice for the Bush White House

By Paul M. Weyrich web posted June 23, 2003 -

The late John Connally, former Governor of Texas, and Secretary of the Treasury in the Nixon Administration, told me a story back in 1975 when I was a guest at his ranch. The governor had been indicted and, although later vindicated, he was fixated on the question of who was responsible for his indictment.

He related to me an episode that he was convinced lay at the heart of his indictment. He said that one day he had been asked to testify before a House Committee. He was confused about the location. He opened a door and there off in a corner was then-Defense Secretary Mel Laird and with him was Father Robert Drinan, the extreme leftist Congressman and a half-dozen other leftists. Since he had not been seen, he thought he'd listen to what Laird was discussing with those left-wingers. Connally found to his utter shock and amazement, Laird was discussing the impeachment of President Nixon. This was early on, when Drinan and the other leftists had just introduced impeachment articles in the House. Most everyone thought this was a frivolous joke on Drinan's part. Supposedly impeachment had no chance.

Anyway, to hear Connally tell it, Laird suddenly looked up and saw Connally there. The governor said Laird was obviously embarrassed and Connally excused himself, saying he was in the wrong place. He didn't give it much thought at the time, he told me, although the sight of Laird together with those left-wingers really troubled him. Then, when the governor was indicted, he began to think of who would want him out of the way and he recalled the meeting. The governor went to his grave convinced that fellow cabinet Secretary Mel Laird was responsible for his indictment so he would not be credible if he fingered Laird as being in on a plot to get President Nixon.

Now I have known Mel Laird for many years and while I am no fan of his, I find the notion that he would be plotting against President Nixon a bit hard to believe. But I mention the story for this reason.

When Father Drinan said that Nixon should be impeached, the president was at the height of his popularity. Drinan was regarded even by most of his Democratic colleagues as a far-out crazy. Drinan was not taken seriously.

Well, there is a little weasel tripping around now, insisting that there might well be grounds to impeach President George W. Bush. I have heard three different interviews with him on the subject. He sounds plausible. His name is John Dean. He once was White House counsel under President Nixon. He blew the whistle on Nixon and for weeks was a matinee idol when Senator Sam Ervin's hearings into Watergate were televised.

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Too much to hope for?



CHERI DELBROCCO (she's a cutie too)


Have you heard about the newest political party? You probably saw them, and mistook them for someone else. They are called The Invertebrates. Their symbol is the jellyfish. Dozens of Democrats, especially the leadership, have defected to the Invertebrate Party. Their “I sorta kinda disagree with W” squishiness has made possible the triumph of the fanatical. Their opposition to the agressive rightwing is so spineless, so timid, and so lacking in confidence, it can only be described as cowardly.

Why is the leadership of the Democratic Party so lacking in - well, leadership? Why are they so paralyzed when it comes to mounting any kind of credible challenge to the Bush agenda of war without end and decimation of the economy? Does anyone in the Democratic Party have a single idea which does not mimic the Republican Party? It appears that, collectively, the Democratic Party is struggling hard to straddle the right of center line the Republican Party is straddling, so it makes it impossible to recognize them as anything but Bush-lites.

The Democratic Party may have had all the “moderate” it can stand. There’s nothing “moderate” about George W. Bush and the Republican Party. As a matter of fact, a larger agenda of fundamentally changing the role of government is taking place in Washington, and no one is doing anything to stop it.

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Nice editorial. This woman really lays it out there.


Thursday, June 26, 2003

Targeting Lobbyists Pays Off For GOP - Party Earns More Funds, Influence

By Jim VandeHei and Juliet Eilperin - Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, June 26, 2003; Page A01

Nearly a decade after Republicans launched a campaign to oust Democrats from top lobbying jobs in Washington, sometimes through intimidation and private threats, they are seizing a significant number of the most influential positions at trade associations and corporate government affairs offices -- and reaping big financial rewards.

Partly because of the "K Street Project" -- and partly because of GOP control of Congress and the presidency -- virtually every major company or trade association looking for new top-level representation is hiring or seeking to hire a prominent Republican politician or staffer, according to Republicans and Democrats tracking the situation.

This year, General Electric, Comcast, Citigroup and many other Fortune 500 companies have hired Bush administration officials and former GOP congressional advisers for top lobbying posts. A Republican National Committee official recently told a group of GOP lobbyists that 33 of 36 top-level Washington positions he is monitoring went to Republicans, according to someone who attended the meeting.

The trend could deeply influence Washington politics, policy and fundraising for years. Already in control of the White House and Congress, Republicans are tightening their grip on the largely unseen but vital world of big-time lobbying. Lobbyists for major trade groups not only represent clients' interests but also play key roles in political fundraising and often help shape legislation.
The K Street project -- named for the Washington corridor thick with lobbying firms -- also is planting a new crop of Republican lobbyists rich enough to give back to the party in the years ahead.

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If this kind of strategy was mine, I'd also have a strategy to infiltrate the enemy camp and render their offensive and defensive capabilities ineffective. This is why I feel the Democratic party has been taken over and rendered mute.


Tuesday, June 24, 2003

"The Road to Coverup Is the Road to Ruin"

Remarks by U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd

June 24, 2003

Mr. President, last fall, the White House released a national security strategy that called for an end to the doctrines of deterrence and containment that have been a hallmark of American foreign policy for more than half a century.

This new national security strategy is based upon pre-emptive war against those who might threaten our security.

Such a strategy of striking first against possible dangers is heavily reliant upon interpretation of accurate and timely intelligence. If we are going to hit first, based on perceived dangers, the perceptions had better be accurate. If our intelligence is faulty, we may launch pre-emptive wars against countries that do not pose a real threat against us. Or we may overlook countries that do pose real threats to our security, allowing us no chance to pursue diplomatic solutions to stop a crisis before it escalates to war. In either case lives could be needlessly lost. In other words, we had better be certain that we can discern the imminent threats from the false alarms.

Ninety-six days ago [as of June 24], President Bush announced that he had initiated a war to "disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger." The President told the world: "Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly -- yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder." [Address to the Nation, 3/19/03]

The President has since announced that major combat operations concluded on May 1. He said: "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." Since then, the United States has been recognized by the international community as the occupying power in Iraq. And yet, we have not found any evidence that would confirm the officially stated reason that our country was sent to war; namely, that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction constituted a grave threat to the United States.

We have heard a lot about revisionist history from the White House of late in answer to those who question whether there was a real threat from Iraq. But, it is the President who appears to me to be intent on revising history. There is an abundance of clear and unmistakable evidence that the Administration sought to portray Iraq as a direct and deadly threat to the American people. But there is a great difference between the hand-picked intelligence that was presented by the Administration to Congress and the American people when compared against what we have actually discovered in Iraq. This Congress and the people who sent us here are entitled to an explanation from the Administration.

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Please read this!


Colombian rebels ambush military convoy, killing 12 marines


BOGOTA, Colombia, June 24 — Rebels ambushed a military vehicle escorting a truck convoy along a northern Colombian highway Tuesday, killing 12 marines and injuring eight others, the navy said.

The rebels hurled grenades and opened fire on the marines' vehicle, but left the trucks unharmed, Navy Col. German Ussa said. The troops fought back, killing five rebels and capturing another before the insurgents fled back into the surrounding hills.

Authorities blamed Colombia's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, for the attack. The leftist FARC is waging a 39-year civil war against the Colombian government and right-wing paramilitary groups.

The convoy was driving along a highway that winds its way from the nation's Caribbean Coast to the center of the country. The attack took place in the northern state of Bolivar, where rebels are battling security forces for control.

The military has been protecting trucks transporting cattle and food in the region for about two months, Ussa said.

Also on Tuesday, the army said it had killed one illegal paramilitary fighter and captured 34 others during 10 days of a military offensive in central Colombia. Army troops also discovered a helicopter with Colombian Air Force logos on it in a paramilitary camp in the region.

© 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. (so fucking sue me assholes)

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Wake up people!!!

It was no doubt an Oil transport convoy.

They took the oil and will either use, sell or ransome it back to the Occidental Petroleum folks.

Don't you people remember Bush got Congress to approve $108 million to protect Occidental's profits???? To keep the rebels from blowing up Occidental 's pipeline?

Make the connnection: our blood, our money to protect Bush's friend's oil profits.

That is why the damn story is so short and short on details.

I wanna cry.


Denial and Deception

Politics is full of ironies. On the White House Web site, George W. Bush's speech from Oct. 7, 2002 — in which he made the case for war with Iraq — bears the headline "Denial and Deception." Indeed.

There is no longer any serious doubt that Bush administration officials deceived us into war. The key question now is why so many influential people are in denial, unwilling to admit the obvious.

About the deception: Leaks from professional intelligence analysts, who are furious over the way their work was abused, have given us a far more complete picture of how America went to war. Thanks to reporting by my colleague Nicholas Kristof, other reports in The New York Times and The Washington Post, and a magisterial article by John Judis and Spencer Ackerman in The New Republic, we now know that top officials, including Mr. Bush, sought to convey an impression about the Iraqi threat that was not supported by actual intelligence reports.

In particular, there was never any evidence linking Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda; yet administration officials repeatedly suggested the existence of a link. Supposed evidence of an active Iraqi nuclear program was thoroughly debunked by the administration's own experts; yet administration officials continued to cite that evidence and warn of Iraq's nuclear threat.

And yet the political and media establishment is in denial, finding excuses for the administration's efforts to mislead both Congress and the public.

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Monday, June 23, 2003

Poll: Majority Backs Use of Force in Iran

By Richard Morin and Claudia Deane
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, June 24, 2003; Page A01

Most Americans would support the United States taking military action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons despite growing public concern about the mounting number of U.S. military casualties in the aftermath of the war with Iraq, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

President Bush last week said the rest of the world should join the United States in declaring that it “will not tolerate” nuclear weapons in Iran—a vow that most Americans appear willing to back with force. By 56 percent to 38 percent, the public endorsed the use of the military to block Iran from developing nuclear arms.

Support for a military solution in Iran came despite rising concern about the growing number casualties among U.S. military personnel in neighboring Iraq. About half said the current level of U.S. dead and wounded is “acceptable”—down from two-thirds in early April.

The survey also found that support for the war with Iraq as well as for the way Bush is handling the situation in that country remains strong, but may be slowly ebbing.

Two in three—67 percent—of those interviewed said they approve of the way Bush is dealing with Iraq. That’s still a strong majority but down from 75 percent in late April, at the end of the conflict. Nearly as many—64 percent—said the benefits of the war outweighed its cost, a drop from 70 percent in the late April survey.

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Can't we at least have a war in our own time zone? For crying out loud. Someplace we could turn into a vacation destination at a minimum.


Dem Influence on 2004 GOP Convention Worries Conservatives

By Marc Morano - Senior Staff Writer - June 23, 2003

( - Some Republican activists in New York City say they are becoming increasingly concerned about the influence being exercised by "liberal Democrats" on the 2004 GOP National Convention in New York.

The activists are also angry about the prominent role of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the fundraising and planning of the convention. Bloomberg was a life-long Democratic Party fund-raiser and activist until he switched to the Republican Party to win the mayoral nomination and eventually the election in 2001.

Organizers of the Republican National Convention recently said that contrary to previous years, the convention had nearly reached all of its fundraising goals 15 months before the event. Even more notable was the fact that the New York City Host Committee for the convention had managed to secure donations from New York Democrats. The convention is scheduled be held from August 28 to September 2, 2004.

"There is an old saying, 'If you sip soup with the devil, you better use a very long spoon,' The GOP needs to watch its back," said Niger Innis of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), a conservative African American civil rights group based in New York City.

Innis warned that the GOP had better not allow Democratic money and the "liberal Democrat" Bloomberg to influence the convention.

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Sweet justice and priceless irony could be ours my friends....

It would be so wonderful if the GOP machine's decision to have the convention in NY and so close to the 9/11 anniversary, in order to exploit 9/11 and War hysteria, instead starts a tsunami of questions from the American people.
Imagine if the Sheeple started to ask who was responsible within our government for the breakdowns, and why no Osama, no fireings or demotions for the FBI, CIA, NSA, NORAD, SAC, FAA....none.

What if they asked what did the President know and when did he know it on the morning of 9/11? Was the president notified (as is mandated by federal law) of the hijackings. And if he was why did he sit there and talk to kids? OR if he was not notified, why not? Who is responsible for the breakdown? Who kept that information from the President of the United States?

I'm getting carried away.


Sunday, June 22, 2003

Bush backtracks on Iraq's banned weapons
By David Rennie in Washington (Filed: 23/06/2003)

President George W Bush has retreated from predictions that banned Iraqi weapons would be found, promising only to discover the "true extent" of Saddam Hussein's weapons programmes.

In his weekly radio address, Mr Bush stressed Saddam's record of building and concealing weapons and said "all who know the dictator's history agree" that he had previously possessed and used banned weapons.

"The intelligence services of many nations concluded that he had illegal weapons and the regime refused to provide evidence they had been destroyed. We are determined to discover the true extent of Saddam Hussein's weapons programmes, no matter how long it takes," he said.

His comments contrast with earlier declarations. In March he said: "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."

- continued -

What a lying weasel we have for a President. It's so blatant and obvious.

We are moving into uncharted territory here. When will the bow break?



America Betrayed by Cowardly Citizens
Ted Rall - 6/22/2003

PITTSBURGH--Today's version of the heroic Nathan Hale would fall to his knees, beg for mercy, and swear fealty to the British crown. A 21st century Patrick Henry would no doubt argue that homeland security trumps personal liberty. Benedict Arnold would make the rounds of the TV talk shows, lauded as an "heroic pragmatist." In a land of wimps, the dimwit is king--such is the dismal state of post-9/11 America.

As George W. Bush's aristocorporate junta runs roughshod over hard-earned freedoms, as his lunatic-right Administration loots $10 trillion from the national treasury, as his armies invade sovereign nations without cause, as he threatens war against imagined enemies while allowing real ones to build nuclear weapons, those charged with standing against these perversions of American values remain appallingly, inexplicably silent.

We have become a nation of cowards, and I am ashamed.

- continued -

A must read by Ted Rall. Speaking plainly and forcefully.

Ted hits another one out of the park.


Democrats urged to challenge Bush's credibility
Failure to find weapons in Iraq may be election issue

By Jeff Zeleny - Special To The Sun - Originally published June 22, 2003

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Democratic leaders are urging the party's presidential candidates to aggressively take the Bush administration to task for failing to find chemical or biological weapons in the seven weeks since the president declared an end to major combat in Iraq.
Although the issue should not become overtly politicized, the party leaders said, the lingering uncertainty over the justification for war in Iraq poses legitimate and larger questions about the credibility of the Bush administration.

Taking into consideration concerns about the economy and an uneasiness about eroding civil liberties, several party officials say they are more optimistic now that President Bush can be defeated than they were at any other point during his first 29 months in the White House.

"If the president had an Achilles' heel, up until a week ago it was the economy," said Mike Erlandson, the chairman of Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. "But what potentially is a bigger Achilles' heel than the economy and the loss of jobs, and a surplus that's turned into a deficit, is the issue of weapons of mass destruction."

- continued -

I see a real problem here. Limiting this discussion to Democratic candidates plays into the hands of the GOP & the Rove Media machine. They will attack the candidates for politicing things just to boost their ratings as a Democratic hopeful. While never addressing the issue they will shout down each and every one of these presidential hopefuls.


US war reporter under fire

June 22 2003 By Christopher Reed - Los Angeles

A reporter for The New York Times, Judith Miller, is the target of claims that she and her newspaper have been the vehicle for White House and Pentagon "propaganda" over Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction.

Miller, a Pulitzer Prize winner and co-author of a best-seller on biological warfare, is a hawk in the United States media coverage of Iraq's alleged weapons possession.

Miller's star status, frequent TV appearances and her newspaper's position as the daily US news agenda-setter, made her reports crucial to the war debate.

But her work has been attacked in The Washington Post, the New York Observer, The Nation magazine, the influential Washington newsletter CounterPunch, and independent weapons think tanks in Washington, such as the Arms Control Association.

Its executive director, Daryl Kimball, said: "The Times and Miller accepted shaky information from official sources that they should have known was questionable. In fact, it was propaganda."

Miller was unavailable for comment.

- end -

To think that someone in the U.S. media would intentionally parrot questionable information from the administration to the American people. Information that was intended to suppport the administration's case for war and further said adgenda.

I'm shocked, Shocked I tell you!


Hagel: WMD Question Clouds White House Back 6/22/2003

The question of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction has left a cloud over the Bush administration's credibility that won't be removed until Americans know whether the administration was straightforward with them, a Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Sunday.

At the same time, the committee's chairman and its senior Democrat said it is too early to say whether prewar weapons intelligence was manipulated or hyped before the U.S.-led invasion in March, as some Democrats have suggested.

The committee began last week an inquiry into the administration's use of intelligence to justify the invasion, specifically assertions that President Saddam Hussein had thriving programs to develop chemical and biological weapons and had tried to obtain material for nuclear arms.

Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., said the administration is cooperating with the committee hearings, and he expects the cooperation to continue.

"This is a cloud hanging over their credibility, their word," said Hagel. "They need to get that dealt with, taken care of, removed."

Hagel, who spoke on ABC's "This Week" program, said: "The world _ certainly Americans _ must have confidence in this administration. ... And to resolve this issue is certainly in the interests of this administration."


Well I guess I'd have to say to Senator Hagel...DUH!

Wonder where it will lead to from here.

You really have to read the closing paragraph:

Until recently, Bush and his aides had maintained prohibited weapons would be found. In his radio address Saturday, Bush made no such promise and said instead that documents and suspected weapons sites were looted and burned "in the regime's final days."

Evidence then should indeed be very easy to secure.


Soldier speaks against war posted Sunday, June 22, 2003
By Jeremy Craig | Staff Writer

As a soldier, Staff Sgt. Bradley E. Owens followed the orders of the commander-in-chief, fighting in the war in Iraq.

But out of uniform at a Saturday morning Richmond County Democratic Party breakfast, he spoke against the policies of the president.

"Some say that it's unpatriotic to question the administration," Staff Sgt. Owens said. "I say it's unpatriotic not to question the administration."

Involved with the Richmond County Democratic Party since before his Army Reserve military intelligence battalion was first activated during the war in Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Owens said he opposed the Iraq war.

"I supported the war against al-Qaida, and operations in Afghanistan," he said. "I was glad to go and happy to go - those people had brought war to us."

Staff Sgt. Owens said even though he personally didn't agree with the decision to go to war in Iraq, he said he was proud of how the military performed its job.

"Support the troops - it's not our fault," Staff Sgt. Owens said. "I didn't support the policies, but I did it because it was my job, and I'm proud of who did it."

He said military intelligence, which was responsible for making some of the targeting decisions during Operation Iraqi Freedom, did all that was possible to avoid civilian casualties.

He also said he believes Senate hearings about intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons programs will be fruitful.

"A lot of soldiers have returned from this war with the idea that this war was unnecessary," he said.

- end -

Enough said.


Sex, lies and American presidents


Anyone observing U.S. politics in recent years could easily conclude that lying about having sex is a serious offence worthy of impeachment, while lying about taking the country to war is hardly worth mentioning.

How else to explain the wildly different treatment accorded to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush?

Now, of course, there are plenty of differences between the two cases. Former president Clinton lied under oath about his under-the-desk encounter with Monica Lewinsky.

Bush's apparent lie — that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction even though his own intelligence agency could find no such evidence and his own army can find no such weapons — was made repeatedly to the American people, but not under oath.

So, does that explain it? Lying to the American people is okay, as long as it's not done under oath?

Of course, Bush did swear an oath upon taking office, vowing to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." Are we to conclude that, even after taking this oath to uphold the fundamental principles of American democracy, it's okay for a president to lie to the American people, as long as he hasn't taken an oath pledging not to lie in this particular case?

Some insist that Bush didn't really lie; he just exaggerated. But his allegations about Iraq's weapons were more than exaggerations.

A crucial document — cited by Bush in his State of the Union address — purported to show that Iraq tried to purchase uranium for nuclear weapons. U.N. weapons inspectors quickly determined the document was a forgery. Did U.S. officials forge the document? If not, why is there so little interest in uncovering who did?

How did the president come to cite a clumsily forged document to Congress? These questions seem at least as crucial as whether Lewinsky had her dress dry-cleaned.


Another possibility is that he lied to conceal the real motives for invading Iraq.

If so, his lying is more deeply worrisome.

Under this scenario, he essentially fabricated the notion that Iraq posed a threat to the U.S. (it didn't, as we saw), in order to disguise motives that Americans might not have considered valid grounds for going to war — like ensuring U.S. companies get control of Iraqi oil, extending U.S. military control in the Middle East, having a war victory under his belt for the next election, proving to his dad that he isn't a wimp after all.


The hypocricy from the right and even the media is sickening.


A Fate Sealed Under Secrecy

Jimmy Breslin June 22, 2003

On Friday, I rode across the Brooklyn Bridge, whose gray netting went with the sky, and as long as there was tension about the bridge, I was remembering Richard Seaberg, a big cop from Emergency One, who climbed to the top of the bridge so many times and pulled somebody down before he jumped. Seaberg protected the Brooklyn Bridge.

Now there is a charge by the government that terrorists intended to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge, or pull it down. Simultaneously, while protecting the bridge, the government was doing frightening damage to the life of the country.

Because of it, I am thinking that it could be time for me to begin thinking about leaving this news business. It is not mine anymore. Let me tell you why.

Friday, the newspapers and television reported the following matter with no anger or effort to do anything other than serve as stenographers for the government:

On March 1, give or take a day, in Columbus, Ohio, the FBI arrested an American citizen they say is Iyman Faris. There wasn't a word uttered. He vanished. No lawyer was notified. He made no phone calls and wrote no postcards or letters.

He was a United States citizen who disappeared without a trace into a secret metal world.


We should be afraid, very afr4aid. BUt this shows how important a free and engaged media is in a democracy.


Saturday, June 21, 2003

Bush Speech Overstated Iraq Report
Hussein-Al Qaeda Link Wasn't Definite

Sunday, June 22, 2003; Page A01

In a nationally televised address last October in which he sought to rally congressional support for a resolution authorizing war against Iraq, President Bush declared that the government of Saddam Hussein posed an immediate threat to the United States by outlining what he said was evidence pointing to its ongoing ties with al Qaeda.

A still-classified national intelligence report circulating within the Bush administration at the time, however, portrayed a far less clear picture about the link between Iraq and al Qaeda than the one presented by the president, according to U.S. intelligence analysts and congressional sources who have read the report.

The National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, which represented the consensus of the U.S. intelligence community, contained cautionary language about Iraq's connections with al Qaeda and warnings about the reliability of conflicting reports by Iraqi defectors and captured al Qaeda members about the ties, the sources said.

"There has always been an internal argument within the intelligence community about the connections between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda," said a senior intelligence official, who like others interviewed for this article spoke on condition of anonymity. "The NIE had alternative views."


Bush, in his speech in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, made his case that Iraq had ties with al Qaeda, by mentioning several items such as high-level contacts that "go back a decade." He said "we've learned" that Iraq trained al Qaeda members "in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases." Although the president offered essentially circumstantial evidence, his remarks contained none of the caveats about the reliability of this information as contained in the national intelligence document, sources said.


The WP no less. hhhmmm...

'Down on our knees: An American tale'

Walt Brasch: Date: Friday, June 20 @ 10:18:01 EDT

Topic: Commander-In-Thief

Standing before more than 1,400 loyalists and lobbyists who threw him more than $3.5 million, President Bush claimed he "got the economy going again . . . laid the foundation for greater prosperity" and defended the country against terrorism. Assuming he was neither drunk or stoned, he may have believed what he was spinning.

But, let's look at the record. First up, the economy.

--More than 2.7 million jobs have been lost during the past two years. More than 10 million are unemployed, the highest unemployment rate since the Bush I era.

--The Republican-controlled Congress failed to pass any significant legislation to raise the minimum wage or to provide health coverage for 60 million Americans--although the Administration says it wants to extend universal health coverage to all Iraqis.

--President Bush declared that leading economists said if the $350 million tax cut was approved, the economy would grow by 3.3 percent. As Gordon Livingston, writing in the Baltimore Sun, correctly noted, "no such report exists."

--What does exist is a welfare package for the rich. The top one percent, many of whom live on dividends and stock sales, benefit far more than most Americans who are paid hourly. Among their benefits are reduced income taxes, dividend exclusions and capital gains benefits, and a special deduction of up to $100,000 for any vehicle over three tons. About 50 million lower- and middle-class families get nothing; about 20 million get less than $100. In his original proposal, eventually modified by Congress, President Bush allocated nothing for military pay increases, nor any provisions to cover military families.

--The package includes a "child tax credit." Those with incomes below $26,625 a year get nothing. In killing the credit for low-income families, House Majority Leader Tom Delay coldly set the Republican priority. "There are other things that are more important," he told more than 12 million families.


good read


When Will House Republicans Call for Bush's Impeachment?
by Steve Pittelli
Published on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 by

It has now become clear that President Bush lied to the American people in order to promote a war. That war continues and has already led to the death of thousands of Iraqi civilians, hundreds of U.S. soldiers and countless Iraqi soldiers. In truth, Bush’s lies are more than just lies. They are high crimes and the President should now be subject to impeachment.

There are those who say that the President’s current popularity or the Republican majority in the House and Senate preclude the possibility of his impeachment. Perhaps they are underestimating the moral integrity of our Republican congressmen. In fact, some of them have already publicly stated their opinions on this subject. They did so in February of 1999 when they served as Impeachment Trial Managers for the Senate Impeachment Trial of former President Clinton. Let’s look at what they had to say then:

Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Illinois),

“There is a visibility factor in the president's public acts, and those which betray a trust or reveal contempt for the law are hard to sweep under the rug...They reverberate, they ricochet all over the land and provide the worst possible example for our young people.”

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin)

“The truth is still the truth, and a lie is still a lie, and the rule of law should apply to everyone, no matter what excuses are made by the president's defenders…We have done so because of our devotion to the rule of law and our fear that if the president does not suffer the legal and constitutional consequences of his actions, the impact of allowing the president to stand above the law will be felt for generations to come…laws not enforced are open invitations for more serious and more criminal behavior.”

Steve Chabot (R-Ohio)

“It would be wrong for you to tell America's children that some lies are all right. It would be wrong to show the rest of the world that some of our laws don't really matter.”

Steve Buyer (R- Indiana)

“I have also heard some senators from both sides of the aisle state publicly: I think these offenses rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. Now, to state publicly that you believe that high crimes and misdemeanors have occurred but for some reason you have this desire not to remove the president -- that desire, though, does not square with the law, the Constitution, and the Senate's precedents for removing federal judges for similar offenses.”

Rep. Lindsey Graham (R - South Carolina, Now Senator)

“The president of the United States sets atop of the legal pyramid. If there's reasonable doubt about his ability to faithfully execute the laws of the land, our future would be better off if that individual is removed. And let me tell you where it all comes down to me. If you can go back and explain to your children and your constituents how you can be truthful and misleading at the same time, good luck.”

These, of course, are just a few examples. It is likely that most of those who voted to impeach Clinton are on record as to the high ethical standards they were following. Certainly, they must follow these same standards when considering Bush’s egregious lies and the consequences of those lies. It is time to draft the Articles of Impeachment and let those who oppose them state why this case deserves more leniency than was given to former President Clinton.

Steve Pitelli is a physician and peace activist living on the Central Coast of California. He can be reached at

- end -

Don't hold your breath.


Friday, June 20, 2003

The great Iraqi gold rush
Molly Ivins - Creators Syndicate

06.19.03 - AUSTIN, Texas -- My, my, my, the great Iraqi Gold Rush is on, and who should be there at the front of the line, right along with Halliburton and Bechtel, but our old friends at WorldCom, perpetrator of the largest accounting fraud in American history.

WorldCom, shortly to become MCI, has been given a contract worth $45 million in the short term to build a wireless phone network in Iraq. I learned via The Associated Press that Washington Technology, a trade newspaper that follows computing-related sales to the U.S. government, "found WorldCom jumped to eighth among all federal technology contractors in 2002, with $772 million in government sales." And that is only counting the deals in which WorldCom is the primary contractor. It is actually getting much more as a subcontractor.

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently reached a settlement with WorldCom, fining the company $500 million for its $11 billion defrauding of investors. The company did not have to admit any guilt. "The $500 million is in a sense laundered by the taxpayers," Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, told AP.

WorldCom got the Iraq contract without competitive bidding, to the anger of rival companies AT&T, Sprint, etc., which actually have experience in building wireless networks, according to the AP. A WorldCom spokesman "also stressed the company's deep, overall relationship with the U.S. military and government."

Among those continuing to make a good thing out of the Iraqi war is Richard Perle of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board. According to the Los Angeles Times, last February Perle and the board received a classified briefing on the potential for conflict in Iraq and North Korea, including information on new communications networks. "Three weeks later, the then-chairman of the board, Richard N. Perle, offered a briefing of his own at an investment seminar on ways to profit from possible conflicts with both countries," wrote reporters Ken Silverstein and Chuck Neubauer.

It's a subject on which Perle is fully qualified. He was forced to resign as the Policy Board's chairman (though he did not resign from the board itself) in late March after it was learned he had been employed as a consultant by Global Crossing Ltd., then trying to get Pentagon clearance to sell itself to an Asian concern. Perle also serves on the board of several defense contractors and is co-founder of Trireme Partners, a venture capital firm that invests in the defense and homeland security industries.

Also according to Silverstein and Neubauer, Perle's partner at Trireme, Gerald Hillman, has been put on the Defense Advisory Board, despite having no background in national security or defense.

One has to scramble to keep up with the Gold Rush and its players. Tim Shorrock has an excellent article in the June 23 issue of The Nation detailing the state of play: Hundreds of major corporations are interested in getting a piece of this pie. Meanwhile, the invaluable Rep. Henry Waxman of California is keeping an eye on Halliburton. He is raising questions about the company's ties to countries that sponsor terrorism, specifically Iraq, Iran and Libya.

As President Bush begins his two-week, $20 million "shock and awe" campaign fund-raising sprint, we will naturally keep an eye on the connections between the campaign contributions and government contracts. And if you think that's too cynical, boy, have you not been paying attention.

One of the many horrors Shorrock found was a statement by Martin Hoffman, former secretary of the Army and close adviser to Donald Rumsfeld, on the privatization of Iraq. He told Shorrock his strategy is like that of the strategic hamlets program in Vietnam. "That was basic economic development," Hoffman said.

Ooops. The only problem is that the strategic hamlet program was a colossal failure, producing untold damage, chaos and hatred. It was a key reason we lost that war.

Another player with business interests in all this is Paul Bremer, the American viceroy in Iraq. Bremer's company is Crisis Consulting Practice, set up after 9-11 to advise multinationals on how to handle terrorism. Naomi Klein concludes in The Nation: "Many have pointed out that Bremer is no expert on Iraqi politics. But that was never the point. He is an expert at profiting from the war on terror and at helping U.S. multinationals make money in far-off places where they are unpopular and unwelcome. In other words, he's the perfect man for the job."

Other efforts to abruptly introduce a capitalist economy into a state-run system have had awful results. The "shock therapy" applied to Russia after the Soviet Union broke up almost destroyed the country, and it still hasn't recovered. Argentina went through a similar process.

So where's a president like Franklin D. Roosevelt when we need him? "I don't want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of this world disaster," he said during World War II.

© 2003 Creators Syndicate

- end -

Carpe Diem
June 20, 2003 - By Thomas Lesh

In the last weeks we Democrats were treated to two appalling examples of why we lost the 2002 elections and are likely to lose in 2004 if we do not begin to assert core Democratic values and wrest control of the party's agenda from its current weak-kneed legislative spokespersons. I refer in particular to Tom Daschle's apologetic questioning of the failure to discover weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and his rather pathetic and craven retraction of those assertions in the face of the usual fury of the Republican attack machine. And to Joe Biden's equally spineless response to the noises being made about maybe attacking Iran sometime soon, where Mr. Biden opined that he really did not have any quarrel with the administration's aims in Iran, only their timing. Just this week, I have read there is considerable debate and misgiving within the party about taking on President Bush over the WMD issue. What if they find some? Didn't people like the war? Didn't the American public find it rather gratifying to vicariously kill lots of defenseless foreigners?

These activities, and one might catalogue so many more, only further demonstrate that there still exists a substantial party cadre who believe that it is possible to wage the 2004 campaign on the same basis as that of 2002. Namely, that people trust the Democrats on economic issues, they will vote economic issues exclusively, and that if only we can get these sluggard's minds off this terrorist stuff for five minutes, they will be consumed with a burning desire to learn everything there is to learn about prescription drug subsidies, realize that our Democratic program is tops, and return us to Congress and the White House with staggering majorities.

I want to assert the obvious counter proposition, that in order to win in 2004, we need to put foreign policy into play. I want to further assert that, at least since 9/11, and probably for a considerable time before that, there is no bipartisan consensus on foreign policy issues in this nation. The Republicans have boldly published a blueprint for world hegemony, a massive defense buildup, and a decade of pre-emptive wars with all their unpredictable consequences. There are some in this party, the Democratic Party, who believe we can agree to this agenda, or overlook it to concentrate on domestic issues, or even portray ourselves as more belligerent and irrational than our opponents.


Read this entire peice please. The bookmark the site and visit the Forums frequently.


Ballooning deficit just ignored - Tax cuts chosen over fiscal responsibility

Nobody is paying any attention to the budget deficit. Last month the House Budget Committee's Democrats forecast a deficit of nearly $500 billion. Last week the Congressional Budget Office reported that the deficit would balloon to a record $400 billion-plus.

But when Mitch Daniels left as director of the Office of Management and Budget two weeks ago to run for governor of Indiana, he said the government is "fiscally in fine shape." Good grief! During his 29-month tenure, he (and the Bush administration) turned a $5.6 trillion, 10-year budget surplus into a $4 trillion deficit. If this is good fiscal policy, thank heavens Daniels is gone.

Bush and Daniels used to talk about how they would repay the nation's debt more quickly than any administration in history. Before 9/11, the president bragged that his budget reserved $1 trillion for unforeseen circumstances. The war on terrorism, Afghanistan and Iraq had an impact, but the real culprit, according to the nonpartisan Concord Coalition, is that this president has cut $3.12 trillion in revenue since taking office. These are the largest tax cuts in history, yet the administration claims they have no relationship to the record deficits. Amazingly, he asks for more.

The London-based Financial Times recently reported the Treasury Department projection that at the present rate, fixing the deficit would require "the equivalent of an immediate and permanent 66 percent across-the-board income tax increase."


THIS is Bush's America, welcome to it.


Missile misses target, officials call it a success

Thursday, June 19, 2003 Posted: 4:16 AM EDT (0816 GMT)

(CNN) -- The Missile Defense Agency conducted a missile defense test over Hawaii Wednesday, and while the warhead did not strike the target, officials said they still considered the exercise a success.

"I wouldn't call it a failed test, because the intercept was not the primary objective," said Chris Taylor, a spokesman for the MDA. "It's still considered a success in that we gained great engineering data. We just don't know why it didn't hit."

At 1:15 p.m. (7:15 p.m. ET), a target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, Taylor said. About two minutes later, a standard missile-3 (SM-3), the developmental missile for the Aegis program, was launched from the USS Lake Erie, about 160 nautical miles off the coast of Kauai, he said.

"All of the stages separated and the kinetic warhead tracked the target, but did not intercept the target," Taylor said.


ONLY the Bush administration would try to pawn this shit off as a success. They are fucking us so hard on this bullshit "feed the rich" program it makes my blood boil.


(GOP) Congressman chides Bush on Iraq contracts, leadership
June 20, 2003 - BY LYNN SWEET Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief

WASHINGTON--Rep. Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.), who travels to Jordan and possibly Baghdad this weekend, said the Bush administration must figure out an "exit strategy" on Iraq, quickly install Iraqis in key positions and end non-emergency, no-bid reconstruction contracts.

"I am impatient about seeing an Iraqi face on this government," Kirk said Thursday.

"We need to see Iraqis running Iraq," Kirk said. "When do I see a national police chief? When do I see a minister of health? When do we expect to see an interim government?

"I am very frustrated that on television so far, we are only seeing Americans, and we want to see Iraqis," he said.

His impatience and criticism of the Bush administration are telling, coming from one of the lawmakers the White House deputized to help sell the war authorization vote to Congress.

Kirk, who represents a North Shore district, also said he was concerned about the number of one-source contracts the United States is signing through the Agency for International Development that are not urgent and required no bidding.

"Now that the emergency phase is over for Iraq," Kirk said, "I want to as much as possible go back to regular order, competition in contracting and acknowledge that the lowest price, highest performing bidder won."


Nice to see someone on the GOP side speak out and say the obvious.


Thursday, June 19, 2003

Kerry says Bush misled Americans on war

By Ron Fournier, Associated Press, 6/18/2003 21:04 -

LEBANON, N.H. (AP) Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said Wednesday that President Bush broke his promise to build an international coalition against Iraq's Saddam Hussein and then waged a war based on questionable intelligence.

''He misled every one of us,'' Kerry said. ''That's one reason why I'm running to be president of the United States.''

Kerry said Bush made his case for war based on at least two pieces of U.S. intelligence that now appear to be wrong that Iraq sought nuclear material from Africa and that Saddam's regime had aerial weapons capable of attacking the United States with biological material.

Still, Kerry said it is too early to conclude whether or not war with Iraq was justified. There needs to be a congressional investigation into U.S. intelligence on Iraq, he said.

''I will not let him off the hook throughout this campaign with respect to America's credibility and credibility to me because if he lied he lied to me personally,'' he said.


Yo John, they f'ng Lied!


Ex-CIA director says administration stretched facts on Iraq

By John Diamond, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Former CIA director Stansfield Turner accused the Bush administration Tuesday of "overstretching the facts" about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in making its case for invading that country.

Turner's broadside adds the retired admiral's name to a list of former intelligence professionals concerned that the CIA and its intelligence reports were manipulated to justify the war. Since Baghdad fell April 9, U.S. forces have been unable to find chemical and biological weapons the White House said were in Iraq.

Turner, who headed the CIA under President Carter, paused for a long moment when asked by reporters whether current CIA Director George Tenet should resign. "That's a tough one," Turner said. The problem did not appear to lie with the CIA, he said, but Tenet should consider resigning if he lost the confidence of President Bush or the American people. A CIA spokesman declined to comment.

Turner suggested Tenet should tread cautiously because CIA directors "can be made the fall guy" by administrations when policy judgments based on intelligence go wrong.

Turner said, "There is no question in my mind (policymakers) distorted the situation, either because they had bad intelligence or because they misinterpreted it."


What's the word I am looking for....oh yeah LIED! They f'ng Lied!


U.S. troops may be in Iraq for 10 years Defense officials reportedly seek up to $54 billion a year
By Tom Squitieri USA TODAY

WASHINGTON -- Two top U.S. defense officials signaled Congress on Wednesday that U.S. forces might remain in Iraq for as long as a decade and that permanent facilities need to be built to house them there.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz (again with this guy) and Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave no explicit estimates for the time U.S. forces would stay in Iraq, but they did not dispute members of Congress who said the deployment could last a decade or more. The comments were among the most explicit acknowledgements yet from the Bush administration that the U.S. presence in Iraq will be long, arduous, costly and a strain on the military.

Wolfowitz told the House Armed Services Committee that the Bush administration will eventually come to Congress to seek more money for the military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wolfowitz said the size of the supplemental funding request will be determined in the fall. But he did not dispute an estimate by Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C., that the military would need an annual budget of $54 billion -- $1.5 billion a month for Afghanistan, $3 billion a month for Iraq.


$3 billion a month for Iraq is $36 billion annual for 10 years or $360 billion of our money to protect their oil profits.

Seriously, if they had made this clear when they went before the American people, would they have gained the support they needed to launch this illegal and immoral war?

You should be very angry by now....I know I sure as hell am.


Wolfowitz spins a New line

One measure of how deeply the issue is felt on Capitol Hill came at a House Armed Services Committee hearing, where Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz was appearing on a different matter. Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) said that he voted to support the war only after speaking to Wolfowitz, but that now he needed to know whether the intelligence was wrong.

"A person is only as good as his word," Taylor said. "This nation is only as good as its word. And if that's the reason why we did it — and I voted for it — then we need some clarifications."

Wolfowitz replied, "If there's a problem with intelligence it doesn't mean that anybody misled anybody. It means that intelligence is an art and not a science."


The Bush administration has made an art form of lying to the American people and have artfully changed the meaning of words to support their messages.


Open Iraq Hearings Crucial

President Bush dismisses questions as to whether his administration misrepresented intelligence about Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction, calling such accusations the product of "revisionist historians." But who's revising what with this daily name-calling campaign over recent history? The only way the administration can put to rest questions about its actions is to give up its resistance to a thorough congressional investigation of the intelligence concerning Iraq.

This is not just a matter for the record or for partisan jousting, although a congressional investigation would serve both purposes. It goes to the crux of the conduct of American foreign policy, this country's global credibility and the constitutional duties of the commander in chief. Polls indicate that most Americans are indifferent as to whether Iraq really had weapons of mass destruction. But the British are outraged over the testimony Tuesday of two former Cabinet ministers in a parliamentary hearing on Iraq that they believe Prime Minister Tony Blair twisted intelligence to exaggerate the danger posed by Saddam Hussein.


more and more calls for an investigation.


Monday, June 16, 2003

Iraq may be Bush's Watergate

Tom Brazaitis (Cleveland Plain Dealer): 06/15/03

On March 21, 1973, at a meeting in the Oval Office, John Dean warned President Richard M. Nixon, "We have a cancer close to the presidency that's growing."

Dean's warning went unheeded and Nixon's presidency was consumed in scandal. For his own role in the Watergate cover-up, Dean, Nixon's White House counsel, spent four months in prison. Three decades later, Dean says Americans are witnessing "the first poten tial scandal that could make Watergate pale by comparison."

Writing for the Internet publication FindLaw, Dean says President George W. Bush must answer for launching a war against Iraq on the basis of numerous unequivocal statements that Saddam Hussein harbored weapons of mass destruction when, in fact, no such weapons have been found.

"If Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked," Dean says. "Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be a high crime' under the Constitution's impeach ment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any man ner or for any purpose.' "


Almost a review of John Dean's article but worth the read for the writer's own inferences and insights.


Sunday, June 15, 2003

Answers needed on Iraq decision
By Bob Ray Sanders - Star-Telegram Staff Writer - Posted on Sun, Jun. 15, 2003

They keep coming.

The flag-draped coffins keep coming.

Weeks after the war -- excuse me, the "battle" of Iraq -- is over, the bodies of American soldiers don't stop coming.

Their ceremonial tribute is a solemn service in a small-town graveyard or a national cemetery. Their fanfare is the sound of a lone bugler playing taps.

And they are still coming ... home.

Home to a place where a pledge of allegiance is recited with honor, where flags are waved with a reverence usually reserved for God and where men and women proudly proclaim them heroes.

And as long as they keep coming, we must keep asking, "Why?"

What was the real reason they died?

There is a growing debate in this country as to whether Americans were told the truth about the "imminent threat" that Iraq posed to this country and the rest of the world with its reported stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction.

The American people have a right to know if they have been bamboozled.


This is from W's own back yard.


Ted Rall - 6/10/2003

Bush Must Step Down

NEW YORK--George W. Bush told us that Iraq and Al Qaeda were working together. They weren't. He repeatedly implied that Iraq had had something to do with 9/11. It hadn't. He claimed to have proof that Saddam Hussein possessed banned weapons of mass destruction. He didn't. As our allies watched in horror and disgust, Bush conned us into a one-sided war of aggression that killed and maimed thousands of innocent people, destroyed billions of dollars in Iraqi infrastructure, cost tens of billions of dollars, cost the lives of American soldiers, and transformed our international image as the world's shining beacon of freedom into that of a marauding police state. Presidents Nixon and Clinton rightly faced impeachment for comparatively trivial offenses; if we hope to restore our nation's honor, George W. Bush too must face a president's gravest political sanction.


A ferocious power struggle is taking place between Langley and the White House. "It's hard to tell if there was a breakdown in intelligence or a breakdown in the way intelligence was used," says Michele Flournoy of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. No it's not. Career analysts at the Central and Defense Intelligence Agencies, furious at Bush for sticking them with the blame for the weapons scandal, are leaking prewar memoranda that indicate that the Administration covered up the spooks' assessments, making the case for war with a pile of lies constructed on a bedrock of oil-fueled greed.


Ted Rall Rocks!


Unanswered questions -- Find the truth
The Topeka Capital Journal

A full investigation of whether we went to war on false pretenses should begin now

By The Capital-Journal editorial board

The United States went to war with Iraq, spent billions of dollars, lost nearly 200 American lives so far and killed thousands of Iraqi citizens, all because the Bush administration had convinced the public that America -- indeed the world -- was under imminent threat of being attacked by weapons of mass destruction and that Saddam Hussein was linked to al-Qaida.

So far, no weapons of mass destruction have been found, despite exhaustive searches by U.S. military. Neither has any evidence surfaced to substantiate Saddam's ties to al-Qaida. In fact, two captured top al-Qaida leaders said in separate interviews more than a year ago that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida had shunned any connection.

When Colin Powell made the case for war before the United Nations, he may have unknowingly used some fabricated evidence provided by the Defense Department. Now Condoleeza Rice has admitted that President Bush cited a forged document in his State of the Union speech to show that Iraq was a nuclear threat.


This is what some folks out in the hinterlands are reading today. Will they want to see the truth come out?


U.S. Won't Probe Secret Iraqi Documents
Tue Jun 3, 4:28 PM ET
By DAFNA LINZER, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - More than a decade of suspicions about Iraq (news - web sites)'s missile industry and its capabilities for delivering weapons of mass destruction could be investigated quickly now that American forces control the country.

But no U.S. weapons hunters or intelligence officials have visited the heart of Iraq's missile programs — the state-owned al-Fatah (news - web sites) company in Baghdad, which designed all the rockets Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s troops fired in 1991 and again this year. Not only that, it's not even on their agenda.

"We have the most sensitive documents here," said Marouf al-Chalabi, director-general of al-Fatah. "We were sure the Americans would target us but they haven't even dropped by."


Makes you wonder what it is that they don't want to find.


Iraqi mobile labs nothing to do with germ warfare, report finds
Peter Beaumont, Antony Barnett and Gaby Hinsliff
Sunday June 15, 2003 The Observer

An official British investigation into two trailers found in northern Iraq has concluded they are not mobile germ warfare labs, as was claimed by Tony Blair and President George Bush, but were for the production of hydrogen to fill artillery balloons, as the Iraqis have continued to insist.

The conclusion by biological weapons experts working for the British Government is an embarrassment for the Prime Minister, who has claimed that the discovery of the labs proved that Iraq retained weapons of mass destruction and justified the case for going to war against Saddam Hussein.

Instead, a British scientist and biological weapons expert, who has examined the trailers in Iraq, told The Observer last week: 'They are not mobile germ warfare laboratories. You could not use them for making biological weapons. They do not even look like them. They are exactly what the Iraqis said they were - facilities for the production of hydrogen gas to fill balloons.'

The conclusion of the investigation ordered by the British Government - and revealed by The Observer last week - is hugely embarrassing for Blair, who had used the discovery of the alleged mobile labs as part of his efforts to silence criticism over the failure of Britain and the US to find any weapons of mass destruction since the invasion of Iraq.


But on this side of the pond Chimpy seems to be getting a free ride.

"Just Two Weeks Ago, Bush Claimed to the World that the Skeletal Trailers were WMDs, But They Weren't. When Will the Democrats Build the Drumbeat for Investigation and Impeachment? Send the Liar Back to Crawford or to Jail. Toss Ashcroft Into Solitary."