Sunday, June 18, 2006

Democrats took the bait, stuck with Bush's tar baby

The so-called congressional debate about Iraq was a Karl Rove dream come true. It was not a debate. It was, rather, a GOP stunt designed to make the GOP look united in defense of evil while Democrats looked divided in defense of what's right. At the end of the day, the Democrats were just as stuck to the Bush tar baby as Bush. When will the Democrats learn? Spreading guilt around is what goppers do best.

United evil always beats equivocation! It's what evil feeds on. A quote that is often incorrectly attributed to Edmund Burke is nevertheless correct: all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Burke might not have said that; but he should have.

Good men have done nothing. For all the good they've done, the Democrats might as well bend over —or go home.

Democrats must unite in opposition to the war —else they become a part of the quagmire itself. The question is: will the Democrats be a part of the solution or will they continue to "enable" the very worst, most evil and incompetent "president" in American history? Democrats had better answer that question —and quick! They've blown a chance. When Bush was on the ropes, they let him off. But because Bush is hostage to his own failed strategy, Democrats may get a second chance but only if they storm the moral high ground and hold it.

Bush can lose on every other issue, but if he is seen to be winning the war —however immoral it may be —the GOP will retain control of both houses of Congress and thus enable the Bush power grab and dictatorship. Iraq will bring down Bush's Presidency but only if the Democrats are seen to be a viable alternative on this issue. As Buzzflash put it in their recent editorial:

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid just released a Democratic Party agenda for America. Most of its social and economic goals were commendable.

But they won't win either branch of Congess on these issues.

Bush is stuck with Iraq but he will lose on Iraq only if the Democrats get unstuck. If the war is seen to be either unwinnable or lost, Bush is finished —but only if the Democrats are seen to be an alternative. Clearly, the Democrats have not done this.


The GOP can win by not losing. Democrats don't have that luxury. Bush succeeded in spreading the guilt around, sticking Democrats with the Iraq tar baby. Hillary Clinton, for example, is stuck. If she fails to get her party's nomination — or if she fails to win after getting it —it will be because her position seems to be Bushco-lite.

Despite all the GOP tricks (and they are now reaching down into the bottom of their dirty tricks bag), the overriding facts are these:

  • The war itself is wrong, immoral, and has already bankrupted the US
  • "Saying the course" is just another way of saying: "If we can just kill a few more then we can stop killing —eventually!" ...or "Let's keep on doing whatever it is that's making us sick!"

Rep. John Murtha gave it a shot [See: Crooks and Liars: "Murtha to Rove: He's sitting in his air-conditioned office on his big- fat backside- saying stay the course!"] —but Democrats must be as ruthless in defense of what's right as GOPPERS are ruthless in the perpetration of evil. Iraq will take Bush down but Democrats will not benefit unless they position themselves in opposition to a failed and morally bankrupt administration.

I am posting the following article —excerpted in blockquotes —with my refutations:

Half a President With Half a Vision

Written by Robert Klein Engler, Sunday, June 18, 2006

President Bush's recent trip to Baghdad established that the Iraq war will be the defining foreign policy decision of his administration.

In the vernacular, Bush, having lost every other big issue, is rolling the dice with Iraq. What are the odds he will win? Bush can't win straight up; he's betting the Democrats will shoot themselves in the foot.
As a result of that war, a new constitution and a new government is in place in Iraq.
Was it worth the American Constitution? I don't think so. Polls of Iraqis clearly want us out! Now! What are we doing in Iraq if not securing the oil fields for Halliburton?
The Iraqi people are now able to take charge of their own country.
Then we can withdraw our troops immediately, right? See: Mayhem in Baghdad puts lie to Bush's claims of increasing Iraqi security
The United States still must have a presence in Iraq, but no one, except for some disenchanted Democrats yearning for political power, will say that the removal of Saddam Hussein was a bad thing.
The Iraqi people are worse off under Bush than Saddam. Bush had boasted that under the US occupation...
"Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers."

President Bush, remarks to 2003 Republican National Committee Presidential Gala, Oct. 8, 2003"
That turned out to have been another lie. Saddam tortured his political enemies at Abu Ghraib and so did Bush. If I were an Iraqi, what difference does it make to me if I am tortured by Saddam or by Bush? Lately, the US military is revealed to have been involved in mass murder. If I were an Iraqi, what difference does it make to me whether I am murdered by Saddam or by Bush?

Just for good measure, here is another absurd lie told by a Bushy:

"The Iraqi people are now free. And they do not have to worry about the secret police coming after them in the middle of the night, and they don't have to worry about their husbands and brothers being taken off and shot, or their wives being taken to rape rooms. Those days are over."

Paul Bremer, Administrator, [Iraq] Coalition Provisional Authority, Sept. 2, 2003
Bremer was lying. There's proof: Salon published an extensive archive of photos of US perpetrated torture at Abu Ghraib on March 14, 2006. That archive is available here.

There is, therefore, no moral difference between Saddam and Bush. Bush's body count approaches or may have surpassed Saddam's by now and America has probably tortured and/or murdered as many civilians has did Saddam.

The idea that the Iraqi people are better off because the United States bombed them, killed tens of thousands of civilians, and later, attacked and invaded them is just patently absurd and intellectually dishonest. The average Iraqi is clearly worse off under Bush.
If the president's plan continues to work in Iraq, then historians will no doubt record this as a major foreign policy achievement.
The "President's" plan has never worked in Iraq. More accurately, it is doubtful that Bush ever had a plan beyond bomb and invade and hope that everything works out. That plan —if plan it is —has already failed. History will judge Bush as it has judged every other aggressor despot.
Having a successful foreign policy is a boost for the president, but it is only half of his responsibility to protect the American people. The president's vision for Iraq and victory in the so-called war on terror is only half a vision. The other half is to have a successful domestic policy and vision as well.
When has Bush ever had a successful foreign policy? A foreign policy based upon an ongoing war crime is not a recipe for restoring America's lost moral authority. Subverting democracy and the rule of law at law is not a method by which those principles are credibly extolled to the world. By what perverted standard is anything done by Bush called "successful"? An even better standard by which to measure Bush foreign policy is the timeline of attrition in the so-called "coalition of the willing". The people of the United States, however, are, because of Bush's incompetence in this area, left holding the bag and the bill.
Many believe that the most dangerous threat at the moment to the United States abroad is Al-Qaeda. We seem to be doing well in defeating that threat.
Al Qaeda was a creation of the CIA operating in Afghanistan during the Soviet Union's equally illegal, equally disastrous invasion of that country in the 1970's. I would like to know at what point in time Al Qaeda stopped acting on behalf of the CIA. Moreover, no one —not even the Bush administration —has said that Al Qaeda operated openly inside Iraq under Saddam's regime. If Al Qaeda is operating in Iraq now, it is Bush's failure —not Saddam's! At last —if Bush had been interested in attacking Al Qaeda, he would have not have attacked Iraq where Al Qaeada most certainly wasn't. Al Qaeda is smoke and mirrors, a distraction which masks Bush's real agenda, his real motive.

In short, Engler's article misses the point, misstates facts, ignores others, and, in general, paraphrases a tired and failed strategy: stay the course! Staying the course is the GOP way: keep on doing whatever it is that's making you sick; beat your head against the wall until it stops hurting; keep on killing until you don't have to kill anymore. Sadly, that day never comes.

At last someone in the MSM gets it. Andy Rooney dares to ask the question that spooks many Democrats and the corporate MSM and that question is best phrased in the title of a song from the early '70's: War! What is it good for?

Ike Was Right About War Machine

October 5, 2005

Andy Rooney / Sixty Minutes, CBS

Commentary: The US is spending $5.6 billion a month fighting this war in Iraq that we never should have gotten into. Dwight D. Eisenhower warned: "We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

CBS News

NEW YORK (October 2, 2005) — I'm not really clear how much a billion dollars is but the United States — our United States — is spending $5.6 billion a month fighting this war in Iraq that we never should have gotten into.

We still have 139,000 soldiers in Iraq today.

Almost 2,000 Americans have died there. For what?

Now we have the hurricanes to pay for. One way our government pays for a lot of things is by borrowing from countries like China.

Another way the government is planning to pay for the war and the hurricane damage is by cutting spending for things like Medicare prescriptions, highway construction, farm payments, AMTRAK, National Public Radio and loans to graduate students.

Do these sound like the things you'd like to cut back on to pay for Iraq?

I'll tell you where we ought to start saving: on our bloated military establishment.

We're paying for weapons we'll never use.

No other Country spends the kind of money we spend on our military. Last year Japan spent $42 billion. Italy spent $28 billion, Russia spent only $19 billion. The United States spent $455 billion.

We have 8,000 tanks for example. One Abrams tank costs 150 times as much as a Ford station wagon.

We have more than 10,000 nuclear weapons — enough to destroy all of mankind.

We're spending $200 million a year on bullets alone. That's a lot of target practice.

We have 1,155,000 enlisted men and women and 225,000 officers. One officer to tell every five enlisted soldier what to do.

We have 40,000 colonels alone and 870 generals.

We had a great commander in WWII, Dwight Eisenhower. He became President and on leaving the White House in 1961, he said this:

"We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. …"

Well, Ike was right. That's just what's happened.

More graphic support for Andy Rooney's thesis:

U.S. Federal Funds Budget

Income tax money goes only into the Federal Funds part of the budget.

The percentages are federal funds, which do not include trust funds such as Social Security that are raised and spent separately from income taxes. What you pay (or don’t pay) with your income tax return by April 15 goes only to the federal funds portion of the budget. “Current military” spending ($643 billion for FY 2006 including estimates for the Iraq/Afghanistan supplemental spending that was not included in the President’s budget request) adds together money allocated for the Dept. of Defense plus the military portion from other parts of the budget (e.g., Dept. of Energy maintains nuclear weapons). “Past military” ($384 billion for FY 2006) represents veterans’ benefits plus much of the interest on the debt (largely created by past wars and enormous military budgets).

This chart shows the amount of your tax dollar actually devoted to the military:

(For the latest budget breakdowns, see “Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes”)

And Rob Kall gets it:

Trusting in Blind Stupidity

by Rob KallThat's the Rove/Republican game plan. They trust that the remaining members of their base will automatically, stupidly, continue to produce the knee jerk reactions to phrases like hold the course, cut and run, and suggestions that to fail to go the distance with the war is an act of cowardice.

And there are millions of "stupid white men" as Michael Moore so aptly described them in his book, who will embrace these right wing echo chamber spins. These are the men who use talk of war and talk of superiority over anti war democrats as a kind of Viagra that makes them feel more manly, tougher.

I call them the dumbest, dupes in the world. Since this is a kind of sexual thing, with the war talk as Viagra, that sort of makes them cuckolds-- men who are made fools of by other men.

The fact is, the Republicans are trying to justify staying in a war that should never nave been started. They're trying to legitimize keeping on engaging in what amounts to a horrible crime. Bush lied to get us into this war. He knowingly used false information. His fraudulent claims were used to justify starting a war. It's hard to think of a worse crime. He and his cronies deserve to go to jail. And what do you call some one who aids and abets criminals? I call them accomplices. That's what the Republicans in congress are. They are attempting to keep the like going. This is a war that should be stopped dead in its tracks. ...
An essential resource:

Rape Rooms: A Chronology

In the meantime, Bush will serve up delusions because spin won't make reality go away. From David Usborne in New York:

Mayhem in Baghdad puts lie to Bush's claims of increasing Iraqi security

Baghdad blasts mock US claims of Iraqi progress
    Following death of Zarqawi and visit by Bush, leaders fail to bring end to cycle of violence
A series of explosions ripped through Baghdad yesterday, killing at least 23 people and dealing a shattering blow to the new Iraqi government's attempts to impose a security blanket on the capital.

The seven separate blasts at locations across the city are likely similarly to frustrate the efforts of the White House to demonstrate a degree of progress in Iraq since the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi earlier this month, and the surprise visit to Baghdad last Monday by President George Bush.

In the meantime, a new Pentagon investigation revealed details of abusive treatment of detainees in Iraq early in 2004 by members of US special forces. The report said the soldiers were continuing to use interrogation techniques that had been ruled unacceptable several months earlier by the Pentagon because they were too harsh, including feeding one inmate on bread and water only for 17 days. ...

Iraq dead overwhelm US tombmakers

[links to a page with a built-in video player]

The Existentialist Cowboy


damien said...

Bush intends to run a war campaign, that's for sure. Larissa Alexandrovna is convinced that an attack on Iran is in the works. She points out that one aircraft carrier is in the Middle East and two more are on the way for Valiant Shield - the largest US naval exercise since Vietnam! These are expensive toys and you don't drag them out unless you expect to use them. The Democrats need to wake up and call this administration flat out for what it is: illegitimate, corrupt, war-mongering.

damien said...

C'mon you guys. Post dammit, post! I'm sitting here with twenty responses to Len's political barbs and I can't sneak 'em in and look casual until you guys get going. I want to see 20 posts by the end of the day, or so help me I'll post all over Len's nice clean comments page. With links and everything. Now get to it!

In the meantime, here's my post elsewhere about Catherine Austin Fitts who turned down an offer to be a Governor of the US Reserve Bank and who says we are in for a 1929 style financial collapse.

Len Hart said...

Go ahead and post away, Damien. I am sure that a lot of people will want to respond to what you say.

You wrote:

The Democrats need to wake up and call this administration flat out for what it is: illegitimate, corrupt, war-mongering.

This is not the Demoratic party I remember. The Democrats, basically, have got to STOP running away from perfectly good words like "liberal" which means "free". The Democrats have got to stop kissing up to war hawks who are, in fact, chickenhawks.

Whatever happened to "Give 'em hell, Harry!"

The Fat Lady Sings said...

'Harry' was never really there, Len. He was a mirage created by our desperate need for leadership - a comfit designed to sidetrack our outrage – however briefly. We wanted Harry Reid to stand up and give 'em what for; so we fashioned his chutzpah in our minds. Everything you wrote, every incident you cited - any single item should have been enough to smack this president down - but no matter how egregious the event - nothing ever happens to sufficiently decry or capitalize upon it. The Democratic leadership piddles around, desperately trying to protect their individual jobs, inured against any suffering Bush’s policies may have caused rank and file Americans. And even when it looks like the American people may finally get up off of their asses and try to infuse some new blood into an increasingly moribund Congress – that self-same Democratic leadership threatens to ignore the election. You heard what Chuck Schumer had to say about Lieberman’s possible ouster from November’s Democratic ticket? He said he would support Lieberman irregardless of his affiliation. Right. Way to go Chuck. Next time try looking for your balls on the floor of Congress during a vote.

Anonymous said...

Speculation about a pardon for Libby heats up. These abuses have to stop. The Fuehrer gang is permitting everything. They must be denied. The Dems can either be for Bush, or for America. There's no third way.

Len Hart said...

Fat Lady, great observations. I am, in fact, more angry at Democrats than I am goppers. By the middle '70, I had, at last, figured the gop out. They were every snot nose whining school yard bully/snith collectively morphed into a political party. Nixon just played out the script. I was never dissapointed in Nixon because I never expected anything more nor less from a man whose very raison d'etre is crookedness. Nothing good could be expected from the GOP.

The democrats, on the other hand, often held dear a different vision. And they were scrappy. The best of them were eager to take on the powers of a corrupt establishment.

Lately, they have been tamed and cowed!

anonymous, a pardon for libby will be unambiguous message: Bush just hates the rule of law. But —what's to be done? A resistance must be organized. The Bush government is illegitimate, anti-American, endemically criminal, and has pulled off —in full view of the world —the biggest heist in History and they've done it for the sorriest social class History has ever produced: the American ultra rich!

Jen said...

It seems collective common sense in the United States was tossed out the window after 911. When Clinton was impeached for oral sex with an intern, it was dismissed by people with common sense. We all know that being an unfaithful husband doesn't make a bad politician.

On the contrary, that is what politics is all about, isn't it? It is about how you can screw people without them ever knowing about it. At least Clinton was screwing with his intern, not the entire country (at least not that I know of).

Now, it seems that unless you have lots of $$$, have interest in big oil, or the military machine (I said the machine, not the men who risk their lives on the front), you are being screwed.

Yes, it is all about sex and power. Power breeds testosterone, and that powerful hormone usually leads to sex, of some sort. And for national bullies, political sex is even more alluring and enjoyable than the real deal. Don't you think those gropers (er, goppers)love it when they can still screw us over, even though their approval rating is still way low?! Oh, they love it. They're bad, bad boys, indeed, and the more they can get us to come back to them after all they've done, the more satisfied they are.

Len Hart said...

When Clinton was impeached for oral sex with an intern, it was dismissed by people with common sense.

That Clinton was not impeached for whatever role he played in the government's assault on the Branch Davidians is a lasting testament to GOP stupidity. No! The GOP tried to impeach him for something that was not even a crime and then Kenneth Starr began his "investigation" of so-called "perjury" three days before Clinton could possibly have committed it.

Now, it seems that unless you have lots of $$$, have interest in big oil, or the military machine (I said the machine, not the men who risk their lives on the front), you are being screwed.

We are victims of a slow motion coup d'etat! When Hitler invaded Poland, the U.S. was still deep in the throes of depression. Some people learned the wrong lessons from WWII. Specifically, the new defense industry learned that there were fortunes to be made making and exporting the instruments of death and destruction. A fascist partnership of big government and the defense industry has since ruled our nation. It's called the Military/Industrial complex. It is a blood sucking leach upon you and me.

Democracy is but the cover story, the facade paid lip service to in order to keep us proletariat hypnotized and compliant. We are all drugged up, bent over, and taken by force. We may one day thank GWB for having done it to us so crudely that we have —at last —awakened to the fact that we've been gagged and raped.

Yes, it is all about sex and power.

Indeed! But GWB has, in fact, rescinded the Bill of Rights and the single phrase —"probable cause"—that stood between us and tyranny. GWB, therefore, is operating outside the law of land even as he indulges a pernicious delusion: he IS the state. [L'etat c'est moi!]

The American colonies had less reason to wage a revolution against the crown that we against GWB. As Che put it:

When the forces of oppression come to maintain themselves in power against established law; peace is considered
already broken.

Bush has, therefore, broken the peace and is, in fact, at war with the American people. Che was only paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government...

"These rights" are nothing if not the rights specifically outlined by James Madison in the Bill of Rights —all now abrogated by Bush who may merely define you as "terrorist". Wake up, America! We no longer have "rights."

I would say 'let the revolution begin!'

But it's already begun.

Fuzzflash said...

damien, you're such a stern taskmaster. I agree 100% that a '29 crash is imminent. Then Cash will be King. My family now rent from choice and have divested ourselves of all real estate holdings and stocks. One doesn't require the sagacity of J.K.Galbraith to figure that a nation can't run trillion dollar deficits and expect "Daddy" to bail you out when the markers get called in. And as Alan Kohler might say,"When Uncle Sammy sneezes, we get Bald Eagle flu". When economies have the corrections economies have to have, our mob'll move into a place with lots of solar(like benmerc built), jumbo underground water tanks and a permaculture vege patch and fruit grove. Water,food shelter,kin, books,music et bien entendu,l'amour. Life's bare essentials. All else is a bonus. May it become a happy retreat for family,blood and extended, and not a last redout against full blown fascism.

Len, The technique of quote/response...quote /response that you employ in the section "Half a Pres. with half a vision" works very effectively. Hangs the liars with their own words. Your general drift over the last six months has been decidedly more "Bolshie" and rightly so. America is about to wake up with a monster hangover on a park bench,clasping a quarter in its claw and with a very sore ass.

One event that may jerk the Democrat's chain and catalysise some consensus for a "Cutting Losses Ain't Cutting and Running" position would be Ted Lamont getting the numbers on Rape Gurney Joe come July 8, thereby forcing the grasping little schnorer to stand as an Indie. Lieberman's still favorite but the roots are zinging and Teddy Boy's not the roughest of chances. Even some msm op-eds have deigned to comment. Witnessing Murtha's recent rage at War-Room Warrior Rove, as a snivelling coward in the White House who lies about why young Americans are needlessly killed and maimed in Iraq, was inspirational.
Meantime, the nationally pervasive pall of Diebold is asphyxiating Democracy as surely as global warming is melting away the habitat of the great white bears.

Any takers on where the first late October "Reichstag Fire"'s gonna be Stateside?

benmerc, in a few days the USA will contest a spot in the sudden death play-offs, the last 16. A war-torn, seriously third world African nation stands in the way. Johnny Too Bad lives in their corner fair bursting with hopes and dreams. There will be a moment of truth as the drama unfolds before two to three billion terrestrials who'll drink it in with their eyes and thirsty souls. Unless I'm a very bad judge, this match is beyond the shennanigans of contemporary Abe Rothstein's and posturings of military might. I can't recall Josef Conrad writing about football, or if he ever happened upon a match while strolling the English countryside, in exile early last century, when the game was embryonic, though his metaphors for hegemony and colonization were anything but.

From the heart of darkness expect a dazzling display of light. Ghana by 2.

Len Hart said...

One doesn't require the sagacity of J.K.Galbraith to figure that a nation can't run trillion dollar deficits and expect "Daddy" to bail you out when the markers get called in.

That the highest deficits in American history have been run up by GOPPERS (Reagan and now, Bush) illustrates the hypocrisy that is literally shot through the Republican party. That the GOP has now taken "deficit financing" to harmful extremes never dreamt of by either Keynes or Galbraith is nevertheless a vindication for both economists. Indeed, the old view of conservatives as " small government, fiscal conservatives" was murdered off by Ronald Reagan who doubled the size of the Federal Bureaucracy and tripled the national deficit. The final numbers are not in for Bush who has already outstripped Reagan. In the end, Bush will have at least quadrupled the deficit, if he has not done so already.

Neither Keynes nor Galbraith are to blame for Bush/Reagan stupidity. But one thing is perfectly clear: "conservativism" as an economic movemement is dead. That it would be killed off by two idiots calling themselves "conservatives" could not have been foreseen.

Hangs the liars with their own words. Your general drift over the last six months has been decidedly more "Bolshie" and rightly so. America is about to wake up with a monster hangover on a park bench,clasping a quarter in its claw and with a very sore ass.

Fuzzflash, you are a poet.

Witnessing Murtha's recent rage at War-Room Warrior Rove, as a snivelling coward in the White House who lies about why young Americans are needlessly killed and maimed in Iraq, was inspirational.

Murtha is, of course, right! And the future of the Democratic party is tied to having the "right" policy on Iraq. Bush is clearly wrong, but Democrats cannot win by default. That Bush kiss ass, Thom Friedman, recently asked "What does being right have to do with it?" A question that only someone who is wrong would ask!

More to the point, however, "being right" has something, everything to do with whether or not the United States survives Bush. There is no longer a margin for error, and being just a "little bit wrong" is not close enough for government work.

Len Hart said...

Fuzzflash's mention of John Kenneth Galbraith, who died April 26, 2006, triggered memories of his having advised JFK and Clinton. Here's a bit from the Washington Post obit:

One of the most influential was "The Affluent Society" (1958), which argued that overproduction of consumer goods was harming the public sector and depriving Americans of such benefits as clean air, clean streets, good schools and support for the arts.

In the book, he painted a picture of epic opulence: "The family which takes its mauve and cerise, air-conditioned, power-steered, and power-braked automobile out for a tour passes through cities that are badly paved, made hideous by litter, blighted buildings, billboards, and posts for wires that should long since have been put underground."

—Washington Post

glenda said...

You are an awesome writer. You tie it all together beautifully. Thanks.

Len Hart said...

My humble thanks, glenda. But —I must admit: good writing is probably the hardest thing I've ever tried to do.

BTW —I am at work on new piece. Stay tuned.

BTW —your comments are always welcome, even if they should happen not to be so complimentary.