Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bush administration violates the separation of powers, issues fiat robbing court of judicial power

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Bush seems to be scrambling to consolidate dictatorial powers before his administration comes crashing down around him. According to the Washington Post, Bush has moved to implement the recent bill that abrogates habeas corpus, authorizing military trials of so-called "enemy combatants". The US District Court in Washington has been summarily notified that it no longer has jurisdiction in such cases and may no longer consider "... hundreds of habeas corpus petitions filed by inmates at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba."
Habeas corpus, a Latin term meaning "you have the body," is one of the oldest principles of English and American law. It requires the government to show a legal basis for holding a prisoner. A series of unresolved federal court cases brought against the administration over the last several years by lawyers representing the detainees had left the question in limbo.

Court Told It Lacks Power in Detainee Cases, Washington Post

Bush's move may put the US in unchartered waters. Clearly —the bill demanded by Bush and duly passed by the obeisant Congress is unconstitutional on its face. Even the stodgy Wall Street Journal said that the law was "... a stinging rebuke to the Supreme Court", stripping the courts of all jurisdiction to hear habeas corpus claims filed by so-called "enemy combatants" anywhere in the world.

Why is this issue still on the table? Two years ago, Rasul v. Bush decided in favor of the Guantanamo detainees, giving them the right to challenge their detentions. More recently, Hamdan v Rumsfeld ruled decisively in favor of the detainees. The decision was blunt and precise, unequivocal. Clearly —Bush's position is un-American yet the issue persists with congress giving Bush an unconstitutional authority to try detainees before military commission while denying courts all judicial review of habeas corpus claims.



The question is raised amid rumors of intervention: will the Supreme Court strike down the law?

The terror legislation set to be signed into law Tuesday by President Bush sits atop an ideological fault line that sharply divides the US Supreme Court and highlights the emerging power of Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The new law rejects at least five key holdings by the liberal wing of the court and sets the stage for what many analysts believe will be yet another historic showdown between the courts, the president, and Congress.

Mr. Bush's authorization of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 will trigger a barrage of challenges asking judges to strike down the law as illegal, unconstitutional, or both. And it has sparked a heated debate among legal scholars and lawmakers.

Will the Supreme Court shackle new tribunal law?

It would appear that despite Bush's order, the case will go to the Supreme Court where a decision to strike down the bill may be a 5-4 decision with Justice Kennedy the swing vote against Bush's bill.

According to the Post, Vincent Warren of the Center for Constitutional Rights representing many of the detainees has promised to challenge the bill and filing a motion for dismissal of all of the cases that are at the heart of Bush's order to the court.

"We and other habeas counsel are going to vigorously oppose dismissal of these cases," Warren said. "We are going to challenge that law as violating the Constitution on several grounds." Whichever side loses in the upcoming court battles, he said, will then appeal to the Supreme Court.

Court Told It Lacks Power in Detainee Cases, Washington Post

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bush loses the "Battle of Baghdad, the Battle for Iraq"

The GOP opposition to Bush is growing on two fronts. First —the Iraq Study Group (ISG), co-chaired by former secretary of state, James Baker, billing itself a "bipartisan commission". The best headlines associated with the commission were Baker's comments that Iraq was a "helluva mess".

Secondly —some Republican senators have signalled that they might side with a new Democratic majority unless Bush changes course. The group wants a "decisive rethink" on Iraq. That Democrats may capture both houses is the impetus to this group which might find itself in a position to support cutting war funding if the administration continues to ignore the growing chorus of war critics.

So far, however, the Iraq Study Group fails to impress. Washington Post's Dana Millbank says the group has nothing to report:

If President Bush and the Iraqi government are hoping for some solutions from the congressionally commissioned Iraq Study Group, they might want to start thinking about a Plan B.

Former secretary of state James Baker and former congressman Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), the study group's co-chairmen, called a briefing yesterday to give a "progress report" on their activities. A dozen television cameras and scores of reporters filled the hall -- only to discover that Baker and Hamilton had revived Jerry Seinfeld's "show about nothing" format.

—Dana Milbank, This Just In: The Iraq Study Group Has Nothing to Report

Millbank has a point. "Helluva mess" tells us as much about Iraq as "stay the course". "Helluva mess" is, of course, the result of having no course to stay.

Indeed it would appear that the Iraq Study Group has already made Bush's biggest mistake: it cannot define success. That may be because the purpose of the group was never designed to make of Iraq a success but, rather, to come up with a way to save George W. Bush's ass —if not his face. Bush cannot save face, however, when nothing will ever change the fact that his war was lost when he began it upon a pack of malicious lies.

Already the ISG has ruled out victory which Bush had clearly hoped to avoid having to define. Bush calls "victory" his objective; he talks about the "enemy". What he has utterly failed to understand is that the enemy in Iraq is the people themselves for whom the US presence is an abominable violation of their nation's sovereignty and the personhood of each citizen of Iraq. What, therefore, is victory when the people themselves oppose the occupation. Does victory consist of the brutal murder of every last Iraqi who dares to oppose the illegal aggression waged against him and his nation? Bush might have gotten away with an endless string of lies and platitudes had not the lack of victory been so spectacular that it will neutralize any "October Surprise" that Karl Rove might have wanted to stage.

The Study Group is, therefore, a cynical, disingenuous exercise that might as well have GOP stamped all over it.

Instead, the commission is headed toward presenting President Bush with two clear policy choices that contradict his rhetoric of establishing democracy in Iraq. The more palatable of the two choices for the White House, "Stability First," argues that the military should focus on stabilizing Baghdad while the American Embassy should work toward political accommodation with insurgents. The goal of nurturing a democracy in Iraq is dropped.

Baker's Panel Rules Out Iraq Victory

It must be pointed out, however, that achieving "stability" in Iraq can never be touted by Bush supporting GOPPERS as a "victory". Iraq, after all, was "stable" before Bush destabilized it. At best, "stabilization" achieves a tenuous status quo ante but with a tragic loss of innocent civilian lives. Among the various options, none are good. Bush lost the battle of Iraq.

Bush vows America won't back down in Iraq

WASHINGTON: US President George W Bush vowed on Saturday not to give in to Iraqi insurgents, but promised to adjust his administration's tactics in the country to changing circumstances.

In his weekly radio address, Bush acknowledged that Ramadan has been "rough" for both US troops and Iraqis.

But he attributed the growing violence to more active operations by US troops as well as "a sophisticated propaganda strategy" pursued by insurgents.

"There is one thing we will not do: We will not pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete," Bush said.

But what IS the mission? Bush has no clue. Bush has proven himself incapable of articulating a mission; he issues only empty, meaningless, shallow platitudes, slogans like "stay the course" as opposed to "cut and run". This is kool-aid cooked up and/or concocted by GOP focus groups, chosen for its ability to stir up primal fears and instincts. Fact is: there is no mission, there is no glorious victory. Only utterly meaningless death, human tragedy and a sinister vision of apocalypse —the price humankind pays for vainglorious visions of imperial dictatorship and world domination.

Selected emails from out the nation:

I have been opposed to the war in Iraq from the beginning. Unfortunately, it has been a tragedy for all concerned. We must change course. Continuing to do the same thing while expecting a different result is simply not acceptable. It is time to admit our error and to begin to move forward in a new direction. [emphasis mine, lh]
Barbara Dunaway, Santa Barbara, California

I, like many Americans, gave the Bush administration the benefit of the doubt prior to the start of the war. Since then, with no weapons of mass destruction to be found, the tribal warfare which has historically existed in Iraq preventing progress in the move toward democracy, the thousands of military personnel who have died, and the billions of US dollars that are being spent on this effort instead of important domestic problems, I am appalled and disgusted that we are now stuck in what appears to be a no-win situation.
Diana Ananda, Bellevue, Kentucky

In February 2003, I thought a war with Iraq was unnecessary, unwise, and unlawful... Three years later, more than 2,700 U.S. troops killed, 20,000 plus injured, 650,000 or so Iraqis dead, and no end it sight. My opinion has not changed. Hey, what do I know? I learned all this from various news sources; too bad the Bush administration was not listening to their own experts.
John Marsh, East Lansing, Michigan

The Existentialist Cowboy

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bush accuses "terrorists" of exploiting the truth

Bush himself is forced to make the analogy with the "tet offensive" in Viet Nam. The US has lost the "Battle of Baghdad. But, of course, it's not his fault says his press secretary. It's the fault of the "terrorists" for daring to show the truth in pictures:
"The president was making a point that he's made before, which is that terrorists try to exploit pictures and try to use the media as conduits for influencing public opinion in the United States," the White House press secretary, Tony Snow, told reporters yesterday.

—Guardian Unlimited, We've lost battle for Baghdad, US admits

Now that Bush as rescinded the right of habeas corpus, it a quantum leap to Bush merely ordering the arrest of anyone daring to exploit the truth, using pictures that don't lie, and in other ways "exploiting" the reality of an utter failed, stupid, cruel and abominable war crime.

More about how the web of lies, spin, and deception endanger all us from Keith Olbermann:

The Existentialist Cowboy

Monday, October 16, 2006

Remembering the past but making the same old blunders

As the GOP once again descends into scandal, depravity, and treason, it must be pointed out that the more things change the more they stay the same. I wrote the following article shortly after the election of Bill Clinton when it was hoped that a new broom would sweep clean. It is a look back at the Reagan/Bush years —an era that I had hoped was gone forever. While Bill Clinton did not promise to undo every horror perpetrated by the back-to-back debacles of Reagan/Bush, he was a breath of fresh air sweeping across a fetid bog, a GOP cesspool. Would that it had lasted but a bit longer!

The last presidential election turned out to be a referendum on "values" after all —though the outcome was not what Dan Quayle had in mind when he attacked Murphy Brown. The real values of the GOP were not family values at all. They were, rather, elitist values, a charade unveiled by a failing Reagan/Bush economy. With the ascension of Bill Clinton, it was apparent that it was "...the economy, stupid!", that the GOP White House had for twelve years gone through the motions in a bubble. It was a White House isolated from real problems, real issues, a real world. It was a White House [like that of Bush today] of delusions, spin, and demagogic sloganeering. It was Bush [Senior], himself, who said in his second debate: "I'm not sure I get it". That was one of only two things Bush Sr. was ever right about. The second was "voodoo economics".

But the Reagan/Bush dynasty did not fail. It succeeded in "getting government off the backs" of country club cronies, oil barons, the upper one percent of the nation. Reagan/Bush would be more fondly remembered had it failed. Sadly, twelve years of GOP success either created or rewarded a privileged aristocracy still clamoring for privilege and special treatment by the tax man. This is success that the country would do better without.

The rest of us pegged the family values talk for what it was: old fashion elitism, intolerance, bigotry. What historian Henry Steele Commager said of Warren Harding and the era of normalcy which followed his corrupt, scandal ridden administration can be said of the Reagan/Bush years:

Never before had the government of the United States been more unashamedly the instrument of privileged groups; never before had statesmanship given way so unreservedly to politics.

—Henry Steel Commager

The pundits blame the President's lack of "...the vision thing". However, vision belongs to those who see a need for change and make constructive proposal in good faith. George Bush [Sr] may have been sincere when he said things weren't so bad. They weren't! For him and his rich cronies. Hadn't Marie Antoinette said something similar? Let them eat cake! Had not Herbert Hoover, likewise, opined that the poor might do well to sell apples and oranges from a push cart?

Pat Buchanan's "hate speech" at the GOP National Convention proved to have been a throw back to bad ol' days, specifically, the administrations of Harding, Hoover, and Coolidge when American society was materialistic, intolerant, an era when membership in the Ku Klux Klan rose to millions.

Much of the problem is the character of the American rich —the GOP's core constituency. They are overly impressed with themselves. They imagine that they are the "upper class". They delude themselves by thinking themselves intelligent and citing their wealth in evidence. The nouveau riche are the most egregious offenders, more likely to think their wealth deserved.

The English aristocracy —by contrast —are educated at Cambridge and Oxford. An American Rhodes scholar was impressed with English university life and summed it up this way:

Three thousand young men, every one of whom would rather lose a game than play it unfairly.
Those are most certainly not the values that can be associated with the party that gave this nation a slogan: Greed is good. Those are not the values of a party knee deep in the Savings and Loan scandal. Those are not the values of the Boeskys, the Helmsleys, Iran/Contra, Watergate, and Iraq-gate.

As mentioned this essay was written in the twilight of Bush Sr's regime as Bill Clinton waited in the wings to take the oath of office. If Bush Junior had merely picked up where Iran/Contra and the Savings and Loan scandal left off, it would have been bad enough. Alas, Junior was not merely crooked, he has attacked the very foundations of our republic. He sold out to his "base" —a venal cabal of the super, super rich, the defense establishment, and the oil industry. He has placed two nations into the hand of this Axis of Privilege and ruthlessness —the United States and Iraq.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bush loses control of policy, Iraq, and America's soul

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

That Bush now wants to send more troops to Iraq means that he has lost control of policy and lost control of Iraq. Never mind that the war is already lost; at least three Civil Wars already rage; the "insurgents" are not "insurgents" but a guerrilla war against the illegal US occupation of Iraq. But we were told that we would be greeted as liberators. Not so!

Former Secretary of State Jim Baker says pulling out now will create more chaos! There is chaos now! Repeating the failed strategy, staying the course that is no course will but create more chaos at greater cost in both American and Iraqi lives. Iraq, meanwhile, has bankrupted America —yet Bush continues to spend like a drunken sailor. Baker doesn't talk about that. Baker's offensive is nothing new; it's just the tired GOP strategy: repeat the lie often and loud and it will be believed. Cicero warned long ago that the "...mere act of believing that some wrongful course of action constitutes an advantage is pernicious."

One is reminded of Winston Churchill who wrote that the statesman "...who yields to war no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events." At last, what does "staying the course" and "getting the job done" mean? There is, in fact, no course to stay but mere "war fever" itself. Bush, moreover, has never defined what is meant by winning. Some 650,000 Iraqis are now dead as a result of the US invasion and the wave of civil war that spewed up in its wake. I believe that figure to be even higher than US civil war dead! Now Bush wants to send more troops to Iraq to achieve a "goal" that he cannot even articulate. Bush wants to aggravate an utterly failed strategy by repeating it. Bush wants to raise the stakes on a losing bet —and dares to call himself a "Texan"! Bush has made of us all mere slaves to uncontrollable events.

An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot.

—Thomas Paine

What good, then, more troops when Bush has already abandoned all our Democratic principles and eschewed habeas corpus? Indeed, so-called "terrorists" could not conquer America from without nor have they the need to do so. Bush has accomplished from within what they could not from without.

What price have we paid for this appalling record of utter failure and ignominious defeat amid unapologetic idiocy and hubris? We have paid the highest price that a free nation can pay. We have paid with our freedom! We have indulged Bush's delusions with our very Constitution. We have suffered his hubris at the expense of Democratic ideals. We have sold our souls.

Even as we were told that the war was fought to preserve our American freedoms, Bush was at work destroying those freedoms more effectively than any terrorist could possibly have done.

"One bit of trivia that caught our eye was the elimination of habeas corpus, which apparently use to be the right of anyone who's tossed in prison to appear in court and say 'Hey, why am in prison?'"

—Keith Olbermann, quoted by the Washington Post

Americans are Waking Up to the Reality That Bush's "War on Terrorism" Isn't Aimed at Making Us More Secure. Its Only Aim is to Keep Him in Power.

Bush also wants to steal Iraqi oil with impunity.

Bush has denounced charges that Iraqis were actually better off under Saddam. Denounce all you want, Bush, but the fact of the matter is this: the average Iraqi had a better chance of surviving Saddam than he has of surviving you and your criminal occupation of his country!

Saddam's regime seems benign compared to the Bush occupation now characterized by heinous torture (another war crime), the deaths of some 650,000 civilians, and a level of violence which Bob Woodward described in his new book and on CBS:

Getting to the point now where there are eight, 900 attacks a week. That’s more than 100 a day—that is four an hour. Attacking our forces.

—Bob Woodward, CBS 60 Minutes

Saddam, we are told, murdered Iraqi people. So has the US.

Saddam, we were told, tortured people. So has the US.

Saddam, we are told, was a "bad man". Well —what makes Bush a good one, when, in fact, Bush has done everything and with more force and brutality than did Saddam.

Saddam, we are told, enslaved the people of Iraq. And Bush has not? And for oil? Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote that one who believes himself the master of others —as Bush presumes to master Iraq —" a greater slave than they." If I were an Iraqi citizen, what difference would it make to me whether I am murdered or tortured by Saddam or by Bush? Bush and the mindless GOP cultists who follow him blindly seem to think that murder committed by "good" people is good but murder committed by "bad" people is bad. The cult of Bush believes that if done in the name of Democracy, America may enslave the world. In fact, murder is murder and people are defined by what they do. One who murders in cold blood is a cold blooded murderer. One who would enslave others is a tyrant. Bush does not get a pass. Bush must be held to account on both counts.

It was only recently that Bush tried —in bad faith —to link his "war on terrorism" with his abysmal quagmire in Iraq. At the time, Bush polled well only on the "terrorism" issue. Bush had hoped that linkage would pull his fat out of the Iraq fire. That strategy was undermined when some 16 US intelligence agencies linked the two issues in a more honest, straightforward and meaningful manner. They found that the continued US presence in Iraq inspires more terrorism, makes terrorism worse, and inflames the middles east.

If Bush's real goals are merely the theft of Iraqi oil for the benefit of his corporate base, then the war must not be won. But, in fact, the US war of naked aggression against the people of Iraq is already lost. Moreover, it is a heinous war crime that absolutely MUST be prosecuted at the Hague if the ideals of international justice are to be anything but the empty rhetoric and meaningless platitudes that Bush would have you believe that they already are.

Not merely the US but the world must make an existential choice. Our choice will determine the nature of human civilization over the next century; it may even decide if we will have one. Choose Bush and revert to a dark age of technological, fascist totalitarianism that would have made Hitler blush. Reject Bush and the horse he rode in on and we may yet survive to nurture the true ideals upon which our own nation was founded.

Some updates. Keith Olbermann strikes again. His topic is about how George W. Bush murdered the Bill of Rights and HabeasCorpus —an established principle that goes back to Magna Carta:

Olbermann on Bush - It is Unacceptable to Think?

Keith Olbermann on MSNBC comments on Bush's reaction on Friday to Colin Powell's letter of last week. He suggests that the President owes the nation an apology. Olbermann repeats both the question to the President at the Rose Garden press conference and Bush's response:

Mr. President, former Secretary of State Colin Powell says the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism. If a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former secretary of state feels this way, don’t you think that Americans and the rest of the world are beginning to wonder whether you’re following a flawed strategy? BUSH: If there’s any comparison between the compassion and decency of the American people and the terrorist tactics of extremists, it’s flawed logic. It’s just — I simply can’t accept that. It’s unacceptable to think that there’s any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective.

And then, without missing a beat, Olbermann says:

Of course it’s acceptable to think that there’s "any kind of comparison."

And in this particular debate, it is not only acceptable, it is obviously necessary.

Some will think that our actions at Abu Ghraib, or in Guantanamo, or in secret prisons in Eastern Europe, are all too comparable to the actions of the extremists.

Some will think that there is no similarity, or, if there is one, it is to the slightest and most unavoidable of degrees.

What all of us will agree on, is that we have the right — we have the duty — to think about the comparison.

And, most importantly, that the other guy, whose opinion about this we cannot fathom, has exactly the same right as we do: to think — and say — what his mind and his heart and his conscience tell him, is right.

All of us agree about that.

Except, it seems, this President.

With increasing rage, he and his administration have begun to tell us, we are not permitted to disagree with them, that we cannot be right. That Colin Powell cannot be right.

Thank you, Mr. Olbermann, for continuing to point out out what is so clearly true.

Hat Tip to Jane at Firedoglake

And also to Evergreen Politics and the heads up from Sadbuttrue.

Brent Budowsky -- Men And Women Of Faith: Google "Abramoff, Marianas, Rove, Republicans, Forced Abortion"

by Brent Budowsky

To men and women of faith, in my title I suggested a Google because I do not ask you to believe me, or anyone else, in this politically supercharged election. In this case the truth is more repugnant and immoral than any political comment could fully describe and I suggest you research this yourself and talk about the results with fellow believers.

Jack Abramoff made a fortune of money, then donated a fortune to Republicans, lobbying for the Marianas. These Islands in the Pacific are an American territory not subject to all US laws and on these islands, horrific, disgusting and sinful acts are committed especially against women and children.

This is no different than Mark Foley raising huge political money, then giving a hundred thousand to the Chairman for the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, and be protected by Republican Leaders for so long. Congressman Reynolds may partially apologize, but when it mattered, Congressman Foley's money talked, because in Washington, if the abusers give more money than the young page, the abusers are protected and pages are endangered.

Same with Jack Abramoff, his money, the support it bought on the Marianas, the damage it did to abused children and women with forced abortions.

Please, do not believe me, check the facts independently and carefully yourself. Key words that will bring up volumes of objective stories include: Abramoff, Marianas, Rove, Republicans, forced abortion, and forced prostitution.

Rove’s October Surprise Is Still Out There

Posted by Jon Ponder | Oct. 12, 2006, 7:36 am

When will the other shoe drop?

This election is far from over, and Pres. Bush and his team are desperate. Their entire agenda — not to mention their freedom from investigation and perhaps indictment and even impeachment — rests on a Republican victory on Nov. 7.

On Sept. 21, Raw Story reported that Karl Rove was telling conservative groups that he had a surprise scheduled for the last two weeks of October that would turn the midterms in the Republicans’ favor.

Now, as mid-October approaches, we have to assume that Rove’s other shoe will drop within a week or so.

We have already seen how suddenly the narrative can change in an election. Eight days after the Raw Story report, Rove found the shoe on the other foot for once when an unnamed Republican operative outed GOP Rep. Mark Foley as chickenhawk who had been stalking Capitol Hill page boys for years. And worse, GOP leaders, including Speaker Dennis Hastert, Majority Leader John Boehner and others, have known about Foley’s predatory ways for months and years, and have been covering it up to keep Foley’s seat in GOP hands. The scandal has had Republicans on the defensive and off-message for two weeks. ...

The Existentialist Cowboy

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Dispatch from the State of Delusion: exposing the myth of the American "mission" in Iraq

Bush will not only preside over a military defeat in Iraq, he has already ushered in a new era —the end of the "American Century", the end of American ascension, the end of American empire. The new era is already characterized by increased nuclear proliferation and defiance, the decline of Democratic ideals and outright opposition to US interests all over the world. Much was made of the "de-stabilization" of Iraq. More should have been made of the consequences of our failure. More attention should have been paid to the good will that Bush has now pissed away —perhaps forever.

Bush's only argument in favor of staying in Iraq is itself the most damning indictment of his utterly failed and catastrophic administration. That argument was put forward by former Secretary of State Jim Baker to George Stephanopoulus on ABC: pulling out now will plunge the middle east into chaos and Iraq into civil war. But Baker failed to state the obvious conclusion: staying in Iraq will accomplish the same thing but at greater cost.

Iraq is already engaged in a civil war, a war made worse by the continued US presence. The Middle East is already inflamed. Our allies have already turned against us. The war on terrorism is already failed. The recent report of some 16 US intelligence agencies support that conclusion: the war on Iraq has made "terrorism" worse. When it became abundantly clear that an occupation — intended to last 90 days —began to unravel, Bush and Bushies came up with a seemingly endless string of absurd ex post facto rationales for the war in Iraq. Nevertheless, none were true; none addressed the issue! All were spin born of an article of GOP faith that the only thing that really matters is what you can trick or convince people into believing —even if it's a lie.

In fact, Bush never articulated an American mission in Iraq and declared its accomplishment prematurely. Rather, Bush took this nation to war without a mission. Bush took this nation to war upon lies, meaningless slogans, and various hoaxes —not clearly defined objectives! The occupation, we were told, was to last 90 days. Instead, after Bush declared "Mission Accomplished" and some four years of bloody occupation and now civil war, more headless bodies, most of them civilians, turn up every day. It is also increasingly clear that "terrorists" have little if anything to do with it. The violence is sectarian in nature, most certainly a civil war waged amid a growing guerrilla war against the illegal US occupation. This war was lost before it began.

Only in fairy tales is straw spun into gold —but the situation in Iraq has turned into an epithet much less attractive than mere straw. If Bush withdraws from Iraq, there is no lie, no spin, no re-framing technique that will make gold of the stinking mess that Bush has created and will leave dumped and unburied in Iraq.

Arguably —no country has been more widely emulated, if not admired, than the US. Though we often did not live up to them, the values we ostensibly advocated —individual liberty, due process of law, the rule of law, and the ideal of equality of opportunity —made of us a beacon of hope at a time when Adolph Hitler ground millions beneath his Nazi boot and Stalin ruled the Soviet Union with an iron fist. Our prosperity was at once envied and resented. But we were forgiven because of our ability to change and face our problems however painful the result: the labor movement, the struggle for racial equality; the still unrealized dreams of equal opportunity regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or religion.

Until the recent wave of ugly, jingoistic, GOP posturing, we were open to debate and ideas. That is not to say that we never made horrific mistakes. Vietnam, for example, is a lasting shame and tragedy that need not have happened but for a fatal American flaw: hubris!

Today, that flaw is epitomized by George W. Bush, the ruler of the states of denial and delusion. The Mark Foley scandal —as repugnant as it is —is more so because it's the last straw. When millions have already said enough is enough, Foley pulls the rug from beneath the well-oiled GOP propaganda machine. Now —even George Will quips that Republicans must awaken each day with but one thought: "What can we do to offend the base?" Even Tony Blankley has been heard muttering that maybe the GOP ought to lose. Don't lose sleep over it, Tony. Just give us a free and fair election and count the votes. The people will speak.

Indeed, the Foley scandal —more properly, the cover up and handling of it by the GOP leadership —has proven for all time that the GOP mission since the ascension of Ronald Reagan, since the Contract with America, has all been an abominable fraud.

An update:

Bush and Republicans are sinking under the weight of the Iraq war and the Capitol Hill sex scandal

... according to a flurry of polls, endangering their control of Congress in the November 7 elections.

Democrats hold a growing advantage heading into the final four weeks of the campaign, with analysts moving more Republican-held seats into the high-risk category and improving the odds of Democrats seizing control of at least the House of Representatives.

The polls, all taken after the sex scandal surfaced, show Democratic candidates with huge leads over Republicans amid broad public unhappiness about the Iraq war, Bush's leadership and the Republican-led Congress.

"These polls seem to suggest the public has decided to just 'throw the bums out,"' said Karlyn Bowman, a public opinion analyst at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

"These are huge, huge, numbers and they are very bad for Republicans," she said. "There is not a shred of good news in these polls for Republicans."
Meanwhile, Keith Olbermann's strongest commentary to date, calling Bush out, telling the "President" that he is a liar:

TIME declares end of the Republican One-Party Reign of Error

The End of a Revolution

Sex, lies and power games are just the latest symptoms of a Republican Party that has strayed from its ideals


Every revolution begins with the power of an idea and ends when clinging to power is the only idea left. The epitaph for the movement that started when Newt Gingrich and his forces rose from the back bench of the House chamber in 1994 may well have been written last week in the same medium that incubated it: talk radio. On conservative commentator Laura Ingraham's show, the longest-serving Republican House Speaker in history explained why he would not resign despite a sex scandal that has produced a hail of questions about his leadership and the failure to stop one of his members from cyberstalking teenage congressional pages. "If I fold up my tent and leave," Dennis Hastert told her, "then where does that leave us? If the Democrats sweep, then we'd have no ability to fight back and get our message out."

That quiet admission may have been the most damning one yet in the unfolding scandal surrounding Florida Congressman Mark Foley: holding on to power has become not just the means but also the end for the onetime reformers who in 1994 unseated a calcified and corrupted Democratic majority. Washington scandals, it seems, have been following a Moore's law of their own, coming at a faster clip every time there is a shift in control. It took 40 years for the House Democrats to exhaust their goodwill. It may take only 12 years for the Republicans to get there. ...

There is a temptation to relax as Bush and his endemically crooked party seem headed for political oblivion. Unfortunately, that's not the case. The cornered sewer rat is dangerous:

Torture, Murder, Bush, Kissinger and The Mothers of the Disappeared in Argentina: America on the Brink of Horror


October 9, 2006

Dateline -- Buenos Aires, Argentina

For some 30 years, the Argentine women known as the Madres (Mothers) de La Plaza de Mayo have marched every Thursday in front of the Presidential Palace of Argentina. They gather in memory of their children and grandchildren, who were among the estimated 30,000 people who disappeared during "Operation Condor." Another 50,000 people were murdered.

"Operation Condor" reached its peak in the 1970s. With assistance from the United States, and the support and knowledge of Henry Kissinger, five of the southern cone South American nations conducted a campaign of unspeakable torture and killing against their own citizens.

When you look at the photos carried by many of the Madres de La Plaza de Mayo, you see middle class men in suits and ties and nicely dressed women. You see young children with smiling faces.

What happened during Operation Condor is so horrific – all done in the name of the safety and security of "the nation" – that it is barely speakable. The torture included one of the Bush Administration’s favorite techniques – waterboarding – and many other methods. Families were forced to watch or listen to their love ones being mutilated. Friends were required to conduct torture on those that they knew. Pregnant women were allowed to stay alive until their babies were born, then they were murdered. Their children were given to military families who adopted them.

In a New Yorker article a few years back, a former member of the Argentinian military recalled flights over the Atlantic where drugged and bound Argentinians, whose interrogation was finished, were thrown alive into the ocean. Bodies of the already killed were dumped into the Rio de la Plata, which divides Argentina and Uruguay.

Many Americans will say that this horror cannot happen in the United States, but they are wrong. Legally, as a result of the legislation passed in September, it is now quite possible.

As was the case in Argentina, America now allows the President or his designate to declare a person an "enemy combatant" (or enemy of the state) without any judicial process. In short, a person becomes an "enemy of America" on the mere basis that Bush or his designate says so.

The fundamental problem with such power is that it allows tyrannical authority to detain anyone, without the right of habeas corpus, on the mere whim or suspicion of the executive branch of government. No one will be informed of the detention, no court will review it, no recourse will be allowed the relatives or friends of the detained.

They will become the new "disappeared," as many foreigners have already become in the CIA gulag of secret prisons, and the not-so-secret jails in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The new law is vague enough that the Bush Administration, which drives a Mack truck through loopholes or openly disregards congressional laws, can justify arresting American citizens it simply declares are providing support to those it declares are enemies of America.

It is "Operation Condor" all over again.

What one must remember about "Operation Condor" and Gitmo, for example, is that they were basically horrifying fishing expeditions. One did not need to be guilty of anything. One was adjudged guilty merely because a state authorized agent declared one so. In "Operation Condor" – as at Gitmo – the vast majority of people were detained and tortured merely on the suspicion that they might have some knowledge of value. And if they didn’t, it was their bad luck – and their detention would be a sacrifice paid for the "security of the nation."

It is not a large leap – however much Americans would like to think otherwise – from the summary arrest, torture and occasional murder of foreigners to applying the same process to residents of the United States. Suspicion or politically-motivated accusations of the government become equivalent to a sentence of guilt. Bush has already declared persons who disagree with his Iraq policies "tools of the terorrists."

To those who say that the recently passed legislation may allow Bush to authorize torture as he deems fit, but that it prohibits murder, we have two words: Abu Ghraib. How quickly we have forgotten that a number of detainees at Abu Ghraib were tortured to death, with no one in the Bush Administration held accountable.

One cannot fully control torture as if it were a thermostat. When you start down the road of torture, people are going to die accidentally. And then when the culture of torture becomes ingrained in the military, people will start to be murdered. It is hard to contain torture; it is impossible to just torture the "guilty." Soon, it becomes – as it did in "Operation Condor" – a nightmare combination of "trolling" and "cleansing" the political opposition.

In such an environment, torture is the first step on a descent into state-authorized murder to achieve political goals, not necessarily "national security."

The mothers of the disappeared, clutching photos now more than three decades old, know this truth.

It is said, in Bob Woodward’s book "State of Denial," that Henry Kissinger is now privately advising Bush and Cheney on the Iraq War.

It was Henry Kissinger who brought us a prolonged war in Vietnam, the bombing that led to the Khmer Rouge massacre in Cambodia, the death squads in Central America, the East Timor slaughter, and Operation Condor -- among other potential war crimes.

It is not a coincidence that he has allegedly returned as an advisor to Bush and Cheney on the debacle in Iraq – and perhaps on other matters. Kissinger believed and believes that murder in the name of some vague notion of "American supremacy" is justified (although he won’t publicly acknowledge it). More than 80,000 victims of Operation Condor are murdered testaments to his worldview. (Kissinger will not travel to several nations, including France, because he would face judicial questioning in these countries about his role in Operation Condor.)

He now has the ear of a man who has been given Operation Condor-like authority. Yes, it is true that murder per se is not sanctioned in the new Congressional legislation; but how would we know if someone has been murdered if we are not told why or by whom they have been detained?

That is how the children and grandchildren of the Madres de La Plaza de Mayo came to be "los desaparecidos."

The mothers and fathers who march in Plaza de Mayo each Thursday are now senior citizens. Their losses are three decades behind them, but still they demand accountability for the nightmare of abduction, torture and death that gripped their nation and the surrounding countries of Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile and Bolivia.

When the mothers first began marching, Operation Condor was still in place. So it followed that some of them, including the founder, "disappeared" because they demanded the right of habeas corpus for their loved ones.

It is early October and the beginning of spring in the Southern Hemisphere. "Operation Condor" appears a distant memory amidst the bustling city of Buenos Aires. Trees and flowers are blossoming. Lovers openly embrace and kiss in the many parks. It is the annual time of seasonal renewal in Argentina.

For some nations, their long nightmare of people being declared "enemies of the state" by faceless men, then tortured and killed is over.

For the U.S., the long nightmare of the disappeared is just beginning to take shape.

And, if that were not scary enough, CNN reports on Donald Rumsfeld's role in North Korea getting nuclear weapons. What was the extent of Donald Rumsfeld's involvement in a US sale of nuclear reactors to North Korea?

Rummy's North Korea Connection What did Donald Rumsfeld know about ABB's deal to build nuclear reactors there? And why won't he talk about it?

By Richard Behar Research Associate Brenda Cherry

May 12, 2003

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld rarely keeps his opinions to himself. He tends not to compromise with his enemies. And he clearly disdains the communist regime in North Korea. So it's surprising that there is no clear public record of his views on the controversial 1994 deal in which the U.S. agreed to provide North Korea with two light-water nuclear reactors in exchange for Pyongyang ending its nuclear weapons program. What's even more surprising about Rumsfeld's silence is that he sat on the board of the company that won a $200 million contract to provide the design and key components for the reactors.

The company is Zurich-based engineering giant ABB, which signed the contract in early 2000, well before Rumsfeld gave up his board seat and joined the Bush administration. Rumsfeld, the only American director on the ABB board from 1990 to early 2001, has never acknowledged that he knew the company was competing for the nuclear contract. Nor could FORTUNE find any public reference to what he thought about the project. In response to questions about his role in the reactor deal, the Defense Secretary's spokeswoman Victoria Clarke told Newsweek in February that "there was no vote on this" and that her boss "does not recall it being brought before the board at any time."

Rumsfeld declined requests by FORTUNE to elaborate on his role. But ABB spokesman Bjorn Edlund has told FORTUNE that "board members were informed about this project." And other ABB officials say there is no way such a large and high-stakes project, involving complex questions of liability, would not have come to the attention of the board. "A written summary would probably have gone to the board before the deal was signed," says Robert Newman, a former president of ABB's U.S. nuclear division who spearheaded the project. "I'm sure they were aware."

FORTUNE contacted 15 ABB board members who served at the time the company was bidding for the Pyongyang contract, and all but one declined to comment. That director, who asked not to be identified, says he's convinced that ABB's chairman at the time, Percy Barnevik, told the board about the reactor project in the mid-1990s. "This was a major thing for ABB," the former director says, "and extensive political lobbying was done."

The director recalls being told that Rumsfeld was asked "to lobby in Washington" on ABB's behalf in the mid-1990s because a rival American company had complained about a foreign-owned firm getting the work. Although he couldn't provide details, Goran Lundberg, who ran ABB's power-generation business until 1995, says he's "pretty sure that at some point Don was involved," since it was not unusual to seek help from board members "when we needed contacts with the U.S. government." Other former top executives don't recall Rumsfeld's involvement.

Today Rumsfeld, riding high after the Iraq war, is reportedly discussing a plan for "regime change" in North Korea. But his silence about the nuclear reactors raises questions about what he did--or didn't do--as an ABB director. There is no evidence that Rumsfeld, who took a keen interest in the company's nuclear business and attended most board meetings, made his views about the project known to other ABB officials. He certainly never made them public, even though the deal was criticized by many people close to Rumsfeld, who said weapons-grade nuclear material could be extracted from light-water reactors. Paul Wolfowitz, James Lilley, and Richard Armitage, all Rumsfeld allies, are on record opposing the deal. So is former presidential candidate Bob Dole, for whom Rumsfeld served as campaign manager and chief defense advisor. And Henry Sokolski, whose think tank received funding from a foundation on whose board Rumsfeld sat, has been one of the most vocal opponents of the 1994 agreement.

One clue to Rumsfeld's views: a Heritage Foundation speech in March 1998. Although he did not mention the light-water reactors, Rumsfeld said the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea "does not end its nuclear menace; it merely postpones the reckoning, with no assurance that we will know how much bomb-capable material North Korea has." A search of numerous databases found no press references at the time, or throughout the 1990s, noting Rumsfeld was a director of the company building the reactors. And Rumsfeld didn't bring it up either. ...

The Existentialist Cowboy

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Week in Review from Republican Occupied America

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

In the week of Bush's greatest triumph so far, Bob Woodward focused the entire "mainstream media" on the lies Bush told about Iraq. Bush had very nearly consolidated dictatorial powers with the "Military Commission Act of 2006" —but had little time to savor his vainglory. Bush would get his way —stamping his feet and throwing a hissy fit! Sadly, however, the nation would still be without a grown up to run the country.

Before Bush could bask in the glow of absolute power, an old Watergate warrior —Bob Woodward —let loose a fusillade —the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune:

Woodward spent more than two years, interviewed more than 200 people including most of the top officials in the administration and came to a damning conclusion. He tells Mike Wallace that for the last three years the White house has not been honest with the American public. ...Woodward says, "I think probably the prominent, most prominent example is the level of violence."

Not just the growing sectarian violence — Sunnis against Shias that gets reported every day — but attacks on U.S., Iraqi and allied forces. Woodward says that’s the most important measure of violence in Iraq, and he unearthed a graph, classified secret, that shows those attacks have increased dramatically over the last three years.

"Getting to the point now where there are eight, 900 attacks a week," he says. "That’s more than 100 a day—that is four an hour. Attacking our forces."

CBS News

Meanwhile, the Bush "administration" is the only administration in some fifty years that's had a problem understanding what is meant by the language of the Geneva Convention, specifically, outrages to "human dignity". That Bush doesn't know what that phrase means says more about Bush than it says about billions who haven't had a problem with it. Indeed, the "Military Commission Act of 2006" is an outrage to standards of military conduct universally agreed upon by civilized peoples all over the world. Obviously —Bush's willful ignorance and his inability to experience empathy sets him apart from the rest of humankind.

The US attempt to re-interpret Geneva is, of course, unconstitutional under Article VI of the US Constitution which makes of our treaty obligations "supreme law" on the same level as the Constitution itself. Bush's fraudulent bill denies habeas corpus and it will most certainly be cited by Bush when he tries to absolve himself of crimes ex post facto. It also establishes a dangerous precedent! How many other tin horn, would be dictators are now encouraged to rewrite or even abrogate their own responsibilities. One of them will most certainly and conveniently fail to understand the meaning of the word "torture"; another may not be able to get his brain around the word "humane". Certainly —Bush's feeble mentality has failed us all. But the American electorate has no one to blame but itself. We knew from the git go that Bush did not do "nuance".

The good news is this: Geneva remains valid whatever Bush and the Congress have done. It must also be reiterated that all governments should be held to account; all governments must govern within the law if they should ever hope to impose the law. Bush does not get special treatment; Bush has no privilege but the privilege he merely imagines in his psychosis. Contrary to Bush's stated belief: God does not talk to mass murderers and torturers. As far as I am concerned, Geneva is still the law of the land:

The third Geneva Convention ("Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War") covers members of the armed forces who fall into enemy hands. They are in the power of the enemy State, not of the individuals or troops who have captured them

Prisoners of war MUST be:

  • Treated humanely with respect for their persons and their honour.
  • Enabled to inform their next of kin and the Central Prisoners of War Agency (ICRC, the International Red Cross) of their capture.
  • Allowed to correspond regularly with relatives and to receive relief parcels.
  • Allowed to keep their clothes, feeding utensils and personal effects.
  • Supplied with adequate food and clothing.
  • Provided with quarters not inferior to those of their captor's troops.
  • Given the medical care their state of health demands.
  • Paid for any work they do.
  • Repatriated if certified seriously ill or wounded, (but they must not resume active military duties afterwards) .
  • Quickly released and repatriated when hostilities cease.
Prisoners of war must NOT be:
  • Compelled to give any information other than their name, age, rank and service number.
  • Deprived of money or valuables without a receipt (and these must be returned at the time of release).
  • Given individual privileges other than for reasons of health, sex, age, military rank or professional qualifications.
  • Held in close confinement except for breaches of the law, although their liberty can be restricted for security reasons.
  • Compelled to do military work, nor work which is dangerous, unhealthy or degrading . The fourth Geneva Convention ("Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War") covers all individuals "who do not belong to the armed forces, take no part in the hostilities and find themselves in the hands of the Enemy or an Occupying Power".
Protected civilians MUST be:
  • Treated humanely at all times and protected against acts or threats of violence, insults and public curiosity.
  • Entitled to respect for their honour, family rights, religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs.
  • Specially protected, for example in safety zones, if wounded, sick, old, children under 15, expectant mothers or mothers of children under 7.
  • Enabled to exchange family news of a personal kind.
  • Helped to secure news of family members dispersed by the conflict
  • Allowed to practise their religion with ministers of their own faith. Civilians who are interned have the same rights as prisoners of war. They may also ask to have their children interned with them, and wherever possible families should be housed together and provided with the facilities to continue normal family life. Wounded or sick civilians, civilian hospitals and staff, and hospital transport by land, sea or air must be specially respected and may be placed under protection of the red cross/crescent emblem. Protected civilians must NOT be:
  • Discriminated against because of race, religion or political opinion.
  • Forced to give information.
  • Used to shield military operations or make an area immune from military operations.
  • Punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed.
  • Women must not be indecently assaulted, raped, or forced into prostitution.
The entire world should ignore Bush's unlawful decree and the US Congress' complicity in it. In time, billions all over the world and millions inside Republican occupied America will render this unlawful and illegitimate administration moot by ignoring its every decree, it's every unfair law, it's every outrage to humanity.

In view of Woodward's revelations this weekend in his new book, the following excerpt from an email that I received this weekend takes on added significance. It was asked:


Why have we put up with him? Some theories: we lack the courage of the Danes who resisted the Nazi occupation of their country. We don't have the courage to wage a non-violent revolution as did Chileans who rid themselves of Bush's buddy —Pinochet! We no longer have a labor movement and probably never had a labor movement of the calibre of Lech Walesa's Solidarnosc. I've always thought it interesting that the only effective anti-communist movement in the 20th Century came from the left —labor. But, since Ronald Reagan, we are left without a labor movement and no middle class to speak of.

Our Democratic party is just as compromised as is the GOP; triangulation was all that was left the Democrats, a party reduced to technical debates and political maneuvers from within a single political wing: the right. So subversive was Ronald Reagan's bone-headed "revolution" that no one had yet figured out that the GOP had been allowed to get away with shifting the paradigm entirely.

The Democrats get their campaign monies from the same corporate well as the GOP —but they get less of it. Democrats may be less crooked but they are discounted. I will vote Democratic, of course. Anything is better than the GOP —which lacks even the Nazis' snappy logo. All their platitudes and rhetoric, however, are just as meaningless.

I am sick to death of tedious debates about the conduct of the war against the people of Iraq. The "conduct" of the war is not the issue. We should never have "conducted" the war in the first place. But having begun a bloody catastrophe, a war crime, an outrage that will ultimately cost more than World War II, there is no graceful, face saving turn around; there is no winning strategy; there is no graceful exit. The human tragedy will go on and on whether we stay or withdraw. Terrorism will have been made much, much worse now whether we stay or leave. For every victim of Bush's crime of mass murder and/or torture, there may be as many as 1,000 new terrorists. And all of his many victims have families with memories. The entire Middle East has been estranged by the cruelest, the most stupid, the most bone-headed decision ever made by an American "President". We may live it down —in a thousand years or so.

Support what looks like an emerging mass movement to impeach George Bush:

Washington Post: Thousands Nationwide Protest Bush


The Associated Press

Thursday, October 5, 2006; 11:00 PM

WASHINGTON -- Hundreds of people called the Bush administration's policies a crime and held up yellow police tape along a three-block stretch in front of the White House on Thursday as part of a nationwide day of protest against the president.

The 500 demonstrators were among many who gathered for similar events in more than 200 cities to protest Bush on issues ranging from global warming to the war in Iraq.

"We are turning the corner in bringing forward a mass movement of resistance to drive out the Bush regime," said organizer Travis Morales with the activist group World Can't Wait.

Some dressed in costume, including a hooded prisoner in an orange jumpsuit, a devilish rendition of President Bush and two grim reapers. One man wore a red cheerleader outfit with "Radical" emblazoned on the jersey.

Thousands of protesters clogged New York City's streets as they marched from the United Nations headquarters. Some people lay down in the middle of the street, while others carried signs saying "Expose 9/11" and "This war should be over." They also handed out fliers reading, "Drive out the Bush regime."

Lydia Sugarman, 82, of Manhattan, said she believed in the power of demonstrating.

"That's how we got our civil rights," she said. "If we didn't protest we wouldn't be Americans."

White House spokeswoman Nicole Guillemard defended the administration's Iraq policy.

"Our constitution guarantees the right to peacefully express one's views. The men and women in our military are fighting to bring the people of Iraq these same rights and freedoms," she said. "The president believes it is important to stay on the offense in Iraq."

In Seattle, a person carrying a rifle wrapped in a blanket was among five people arrested. The charges against the other people ranged from resisting arrest to assault.

"They're still investigating to determine what that person was doing with the rifle," said Seattle Police spokeswoman Debra Brown.

The march through Seattle's streets was peaceful as protesters chanted, waved signs and wore costumes mocking administration officials. One woman dressed as a pageant queen with a sash that read, "I Miss America."

It was one helluva week in GOP occupied America:

The Republicans' perfect storm?

One wonders at what point a political edifice starts irredeemably to crumble.

First this.

Then this.

Followed by this.

While Bush administration defenders say critics are drawing the wrong conclusions from the leaked parts of the NIE report, that Bob Woodward's book is full of "myths" (Condoleeza Rice "vehemently denied" Woodward's assertions that she ignored warnings of an impending attack on the U.S.) and that the Mark Foley affair is no worse than various Democratic congressional and presidential indiscretions, it is hard to see how things won't get worse before they get better (assuming they do) for Republicans, with mid-term elections just four weeks out.

Apart from the fallout from what some will construe as a GOP leadership coverup in the Mark Foley affair -- one Republican has already said House Speaker Dennis Hastert "lied" about what he knew and Connecticut Republican Chris Shays has said anyone in a leadership comes position who knew about it should step down -- along comes a new book about Colin Powell's experiences in the Bush administration which will only add to the "state of denial" flames.

Also lurking out there, in what appears to be an increasingly leak-happy atmosphere is another "damning" Iraq intelligence report, which, California Rep. Jane Harman, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, wants released.

The Washington Post's excerpts of Bob Woodward's book can be found here.

Bob Woodward interviewed on "60 Minutes" .

The Post's Sunday magazine article on Colin Powell can be found here.

Emails reportedly between Rep. Mark Foley and a congressional page can be found here.

IMs (warning: explicit) reportedly between Rep. Foley and the congressional page can be found here.

Earlier reader comments on the Woodward book and the Foley affair can be found under the two previous Ross Report posts.

Bush et al. have committed war crimes

The recent debate over rules for coercive interrogation is being blatantly misrepresented by the Bush administration, and few media outlets are calling it on the most important issue. The president and his men have already violated the War Crimes Act of 1996; they are indictable right now.

There is no doubt that, at the very least, they've subjected detainees to outrages on personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment. Can there be any doubt that much greater crimes will be revealed years down the road, as has so often been the case in history?

The president wants to arrange things so that, when the full truth comes out, when the full extent of the violations of international law and common decency is in the open, he and his crew will be safe from prosecution.

Foley Built Career as Protector of Children

He Gained Attention by Fighting Sex Crimes

By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 1, 2006; Page A04

The Republican congressman who resigned Friday following the discovery of sexually explicit Internet messages he sent to teenage boys was a gregarious and charismatic lawmaker who built his political career in large measure on legislative proposals meant to halt the sexual predation of children and others.

Beginning with his 1993 sponsorship of a measure in the Florida state legislature to seize the cars of men who solicited prostitutes, former restaurant owner and real estate agent Mark Foley repeatedly attracted a flattering political spotlight by inveighing against those involved in sexual crimes and presenting himself as a protector of exploited children.

A well-liked member of the class of conservatives elected to Congress in 1994, Foley was until two days ago a deputy whip for the House Republicans and a co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus. A Web site for the bipartisan group states that it was formed to "create a voice within Congress" on that issue and to operate a hotline for tips about "online child sexual exploitation" that could be passed to law enforcement agencies. ...

Resist U.S. War Crimes

by Jeremy Brecher

Most Americans hold these truths to be self-evident: Torture is wrong; attacking another country that hasn't attacked you is wrong; occupying another country with your army and imposing your will on its people is wrong. These policies are not only immoral. They are illegal.

Most Americans believe that even the highest government officials are bound by law. They reject Attorney General-designate Alberto Gonzales' view that the law is whatever the President says it is - that if the President says something isn't torture, then it's O.K. to order it.

Most Americans don't agree that their president can unilaterally annul treaties like the Geneva conventions. They don't accept, as Gonzales put it in a 2002 legal memo, that if the President simply declares there's a "new paradigm" he can thereby "render obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners."

Aggression, military occupation, and torture were the war crimes, crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity for which the Axis leaders were prosecuted at the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials after World War II. The U.S. has supported similar charges against Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein.

But what about the U.S. attack on Iraq, which Kofi Annan has bluntly called "illegal"? What about the leveling of Fallujah and the targeting of hospitals and urban neighborhoods? What about torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo? If a single standard is applied, these too are crimes of war. And as the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal stated, "Anyone with knowledge of illegal activity and an opportunity to do something is a potential criminal under international law unless the person takes affirmative measures to prevent the commission of the crimes." How many Americans can honestly claim to know nothing about this "illegal activity"? It's reported in detail in the daily newspapers and shown in full color on the nightly news, from the phony reports of Iraq's "yellowcake" uranium to the shooting of ambulances to the horrors of Abu Ghraib.

In 1967, faced with evidence of the napalming of villages and massacring of civilians in Vietnam, a distinguished group of Americans signed a "Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority." They declared the Vietnam War illegal under U.S. and international law and pledged to support young people who were resisting the draft.

When the Johnson administration charged world famous pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock, Yale Chaplain William Sloan Coffin, and others with conspiracy to "aid, counsel, and abet" resistance to the draft, it identified the "Call" as their first overt act.

There's no draft yet, but there's plenty of resistance. The Pentagon acknowledges 5,500 desertions since the Iraq war began. Army Reserve and National Guard recruitment is plummeting. Many in the military are deciding not to reenlist. ...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Of Schadenfreude, Götterdämmerung and Bush's gestalt of failure, war crimes, and treason!

I suppose I should indulge a bit of Schadenfreude.

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

For years, from obscurity, I have been yelling that the policies of George W. Bush have made terrorism worse, alienated friends, confirmed potential enemies, and, in short, made Americans less safe, despised, reviled around the world. Bush's polices were bone-headed —misunderstanding and misstating the nature of terrorism and, worse, failing to address it. There was some hope even among liberals that Bush's invasion of Afghanistan might bring an acknowledged terrorist to justice —hopes dashed when Bush, himself, made of our nation a rogue state with a pattern of ineffective, ham fisted, policies. Under Bush, we became a rogue state, little better —if at all —from terrorists themselves. Bush's body count in Iraq alone far surpasses those of either Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein —whom Bush calls terrorist and dictator.

Among Bush's policy blunders, he arrogantly dismisses the principles of Geneva, Nuremberg and the other treaties to which the US is not merely obliged —we helped write many of them. Bush has thus abjured the very principles which had —until Bush —distinguished America from the dictatorial regimes of Hussein, Pinochet, Pol Pot et al. We have —under Bush —become the world's number one terrorist threat.

Bush's own intel team has now made the assessment that puts the sewer rats of the GOP in the corner that they have made for themselves. Bush's war of aggression against the civilian population of Iraq has NOT made Americans safer. It has, they say with one voice, made us less so. Ranking members and experts in 16 of US intelligence agencies now confirm what many of us in the opposition had already known: the war in Iraq has increased the spread of terrorism.

Now, when the tide had turned, the GOP and George W. Bush, like the cornered sewer rats they are, lash out against our nation's intelligence agencies simply because they are in a better position to know the truth about Bush's entirely fraudulent regime and dare to speak it!

Much is now made of former President Bill Clinton's confrontation with an effeminate quisling: Chris Wallace, a simp kiss up of the Fox ilk. Whatever you may think about Bill Clinton, this much is fact: Clinton, at least, addressed the issue of terrorism realistically. He did not exploit it with a perpetual Orwellian war with which Bush hopes to rescind the Constitution and assume dictatorial powers. To sum up: Bush has made Americans less safe from real terrorism; there is probable cause that he has done this deliberately in order to exploit the threat, to rescind due process of law guaranteed us in the Constitution and to install himself as dictator, or, as he calls it, decider. There is a word for this gestalt of lies, this web of deceit, but none dare say it: high treason!

It's time for another dose of truth:

I remember having referred to Jacob Bronouski who wrote in his Science and Human Values the only moral dictum I know that makes sense: behave in such a way that what is true can be verified to be so. I added: nothing good comes of a lie or, indeed, believing and repeating known lies. I have been correctly admonished for quoting Bertolt Brecht too often. But, there are times when no other words will do.

A man who does not know the truth is just an idiot but a man who knows the truth and calls it a lie is a crook.

—Bertolt Brecht

George W. Bush is a crook who has very nearly destroyed this nation. His administration is destined to end like the radical, right wing regime that it is —in a flaming götterdämmerung.

Of the biggest updates this week: Bob Woodward charges that Bush ignored warnings about Iraq. Also —the real reason gasoline prices are going down:

White House ‘ignored’ Iraq warning

By Caroline Daniel in Washington

Published: September 29 2006 23:38 | Last updated: September 30 2006 01:09

The Bush administration was shaken on Friday by revelations from a new book by Bob Woodward, the veteran investigative reporter, which said Andrew Card, the former White House chief of staff, had twice tried to force the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld, defence secretary, over his handling of the Iraq war.

State of Denial by the Washington Post reporter who uncovered the Watergate scandal, paints a picture of an administration riven by personal rivalries, with Mr Rumsfeld at one point refusing to take calls from Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser. It claims that even Laura Bush, President George W. Bush’s wife, had misgivings about the defence secretary.

It also suggests Ms Rice “brushed off” a July 2001 briefing from the CIA director and former head of counterterrorism, about an imminent terrorist threat. That contrasts with claims from Ms Rice that the administration had in its first eight months been “at least as aggressive” as the Clinton administration.

Critics could use the account to question the White House’s credibility on its handling of the Iraq war and the “war on terror”. It comes at a time when Mr Bush has forcefully made the case that his actions since 9/11 have made the US safer....

The New York Times was the first to report on the book, an embarrassment to the Washington Post, which is due to publish extracts on Sunday. It is the second blow to the newspaper, which was also scooped on the outing of Deep Throat, Mr Woodward’s source during Watergate.

In a claim that could fuel conspiracy theories about the recent oil price decline – in an interview to be broadcast on CBS on Sunday – Mr Woodward described a conversation between Prince Bandar bin Sultan and Mr Bush in which the former Saudi ambassador said he could ease oil prices ahead of the elections.

“They could go down very quickly. That’s the Saudi pledge. Certainly over the summer, or as we get closer to the election, they could increase production several million barrels a day,” Mr Woodward said.

And from the Washington Post:

Is Woodward Calling Bush a Liar?

...CBS News reports: "Veteran Washington reporter Bob Woodward tells Mike Wallace that the Bush administration has not told the truth regarding the level of violence, especially against U.S. troops, in Iraq. He also reveals key intelligence that predicts the insurgency will grow worse next year. . . .

"According to Woodward, insurgent attacks against coalition troops occur, on average, every 15 minutes, a shocking fact the administration has kept secret...

"The situation is getting much worse, says Woodward, despite what the White House and the Pentagon are saying in public. 'The truth is that the assessment by intelligence experts is that next year, 2007, is going to get worse and, in public, you have the president and you have the Pentagon [saying], 'Oh, no, things are going to get better,' he tells Wallace. 'Now there's public, and then there's private. But what did they do with the private? They stamp it secret. No one is supposed to know,' says Woodward."

Woodward also tells Wallace that aged Republican war-horse Henry Kissinger is closely advising Bush, telling him there is no exit strategy other than victory.

"Woodward adds. 'This is so fascinating. Kissinger's fighting the Vietnam War again because, in his view, the problem in Vietnam was we lost our will.' . . .

On the heels of a report by 16 US intelligence agencies, a report from the UK which tends to confirm the overall finding that Bush's war of aggression against the people of Iraq has made "terrorism" worse by inflaming the entire middle east:

Iraq war 'increased terror threat'

Failure to find WMD has reduced coalition's 'credibility'

Britons are more - not less - likely to be the target of terrorist attacks as a result of the war in Iraq, an influential group of MPs claims.

The Foreign Affairs Committee says British interests are under threat in the short term because of the conflict.

It also claims a failure to find weapons of mass destruction has "damaged the credibility" of the US and UK's war against terrorism.

There was a "crisis of confidence" in the security services, one MP said.

The MPs also outlined their concern that "that the war in Iraq has possibly made terrorist attacks against British nationals and British interests more likely in the short term". ...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Bush lost the war on terrorism because he dare not win it

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Bush lost the war on terrorism by waging and losing the war against the people of Iraq. The people of Baghdad have suffered most. It is doubtful that Bush has ever killed, captured, or brought to justice a single bona fide terrorist. It is enough for Bush to produce a body and term it a "terrorist" after the fact. Bush, of course, has assumed for himself the power to define terrorist; therefore, a terrorist now may not have been a terrorist earlier and vice versa. You just have to take Bush's word for it from day to day.

Bush's Orwellian use of the word "insurgent" clouds the issue; it deceives the American people and the world. What Bush calls an "insurgency" is most often a "guerrilla" resistance to the US occupation. It was Dick Cheney who claimed -perhaps falsely -that Zarqawi was in Baghdad after we took Afghanistan and before we went into Iraq." Sadly, Tim Russert did not press Cheney on this point despite the fact that there is good reason to doubt Cheney who also told us that we would be greeted as liberators.

Casting doubt on Cheney's assertion is the fact that the relationship between Saddam Hussein and Zagawai was a hostile one. At last, Bush has never made a convincing case that either Iraq or Zarqawi had anything at all to do with the events of 911 which he cites as the catch rationale for an endless war. Clearly -this is absurd and especially so when you consider the fact that 911 was never properly or thoroughly investigated.

It was Colin Powell who blamed Al Qaeda for 911. Has anyone seen any convincing evidence that Al Qaeda ever operated out of Iraq? The Washington Post reported that Iraq's ties to Al Qaeda had been disputed even before the US attack and invasion.

Iraq's Alleged Al-Qaeda Ties Were Disputed Before War

Links Were Cited to Justify U.S. Invasion, Report Says

By Jonathan Weisman

Washington Post Staff Writer, September 9, 2006; Page A01

A declassified report released yesterday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence revealed that U.S. intelligence analysts were strongly disputing the alleged links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda while senior Bush administration officials were publicly asserting those links to justify invading Iraq.

Far from aligning himself with al-Qaeda and Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Hussein repeatedly rebuffed al-Qaeda's overtures and tried to capture Zarqawi, the report said. Tariq Aziz, the detained former deputy prime minister, has told the FBI that Hussein "only expressed negative sentiments about [Osama] bin Laden." ...

The fact of the matter is bluntly this: we don't know who planned or executed 911. Various "official conspiracy theories" are full of holes. And we have George W. Bush to thank for forever for obscuring the truth of it.

The war between Shi'ite and Sunni is something else altogether and the US should never have gotten in the cross fire, though we are definitely the catalyst.

Even George W. Bush recently admitted that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 911 but not before he allowed a terminally gullible American public and a sycophantic corporate media to indulge the delusion and spread the lie for years. In normal times, that would have gotten a President impeached. These are not normal times.

These are times that demonstrate a second very important reason Bush has lost the war on terrorism. These are Orwellian times and terrorism is a perpetual war. Bush has lost this war because he dare not win it and cannot afford to win it. It's the only issue he polls well on; without it, he's finished. It is tragically ironic that the future of humankind may very well depend upon the infamously short American attention span inuring a jaded public to a demagogue who is rapidly approaching the limit to which he can ratchet up a rhetoric that millions have already tuned out.

Bush lost the war on terrorism in many others ways. Prominently, Bush never had an enemy, and, most certainly failed to identify one. Terrorism is not a philosophy or an ideology. Terrorism is a tactic that may be exploited by numerous enemies of US imperialism. Terrorism may be employed against US imperialism from a number of opponents at every end of the political spectrum. How does one wage war against a tactic? Enemies of US imperialism are found everywhere in the world. Are we to invade every country and kill every critic? Absurd!

In this case, a war of arms, tanks, and solders is impotent and absurd. The catastrophe in Iraq proves that. Consider the case of World War II, often cited nostalgically by militarists who find in that chapter redemption for our short but bloody history. Americans cling to the myth that we defeated Nazism -but we did not. What we and our allies defeated was the German army. We did not defeat Nazism itself.

Even the Nuremberg Trials -which US prosecutor Justice Robert Jackson hoped would set a precedent for world justice -did not defeat the Nazi ideology which is still alive and well and less underground than is comfortable. That Bush repudiates the Nuremberg Principles, and, in fact, may be in violation of those principles himself, is evidence enough that Nazism is not dead.

Bush's failure demonstrates a basic, common sense principle apparently lost on American liberals who were initially fooled by Bush. That principle is simply: terrorism cannot be defeated with terrorism; a tactic cannot be defeated by employing that tactic. We are what we do. If we employ terrorism, we are terrorists.

If 911 was an act of terrorism because it targeted the civilian population, then the US attack and invasion of Iraq is, likewise, an act of bloody terrorism. The civilian population of Iraq has suffered from American terrorism, blood lust and vengeance.

There is NO evidence that anyone having had anything to do with 911 was, in any way, and at any time since 911, harmed in any way by the bloody, disproportionate and barbaric Blitzkrieg on Baghdad, a Blitzkrieg, lately called "Shock and Awe", that most certainly murdered some 140,000 civilians in the bombing campaign alone.

This is one of a multitude of compelling reasons Bush must not renounce the Geneva convention. It is absurd that he be allowed to try "detainees" and possibly convict them upon "evidence" kept secret from defendants as well as the American public. Bush -a known and practiced liar -simply cannot be trusted. Such an unprecedented overturn of every principle established by Geneva and Nuremberg would guarantee the executions of a limitless number of innocent civilians. There is no justice without accountability. The alternative is tyranny.

The US is not killing terrorists in Iraq; rather, a guerrilla resistance to the illegal US occupation of that nation are killing Americans. If you think the US is killing bona fide terrorists in Iraq, show me one and prove it. Some very astute writers have charged that George w. Bush took the bait. If terrorists there are in Iraq, they were not there before the US attacked and invaded. Terrorists would not have been tolerated by Saddam Hussein. Hussein is credibly reported to have loathed Bin Laden who is at once Bush's whipping boy but absolutely essential to Bush's perpetual, unwinnable war.

The Bush administration never foresaw nor planned for the eruption of three civil wars now raging in Iraq. The separate wars are waged by Kurds in the Northwest, Sunnis and Shi'ites against one another as well as against the so-called "government" in Baghdad. Confusing the issue for a man who cannot no nuance and most certainly lied about reading "...three Shakespeare's" and a Albert Camus, is the fact that the army that he placed in harm's way is in the cross hairs. More importantly, Soldiers are sent into war zones to shoot people. Who is the enemy? Is the enemy Sunni? Shi'ite? Kurd? Who do we shoot? If none of those groups turn out to be the mortal enemy of the US, then what the hell are we doing in Iraq? [See: Terrorist Network Disconnect, Gareth Porter, September 13, 2006]

Americans have begun to see through transparent lies. Bush, therefore, has found it necessary to obscure truth with yet another: we are war with Islamo-fascism. This is not an enemy! Islamo-fascism is a GOP invention, a phony word made up by the right wing blogosphere and GOP consultants desperate for yet another boogie man. Moreover, Islamo-fascism is racist, on a level with rag head, camel jockey, and sand nigger. Bush might as well have said: we are at war with sand niggers. His policies most certainly wage war on everyone but wasps back home.

Bush plays the race card, knowing full well that his base is mostly bigots and extremists for whom any one of any color is the object of condescension or disgust. These are people who would have taken picnic baskets to lynchings. These are people who call Mexican-Americans spicks and pepper bellies. These are people who called the citizens of Viet Nam -whom we were supposed to be defending against the Viet Cong -gooks! Is anyone surprised that Texas Governor Rick Perry would try to link terrorism with immigration from Mexico -never mind that the suggestion is ludicrous on its face. Perry, nevertheless, appears in a Marlboro man jacket with the Rio Grande behind him and tells the people of Texas that to be secure against terrorism, we must secure our borders against immigrants from Mexico. Last time, I checked none of the 911 terrorists came from Mexico. Perry, like Bush, before him exploits fear, suspicion and bigotry. But Kinky Friedman would not be outdone. He recently called New Orleans evacuees "crackheads and thugs". Earlier, he said that " ...sexual predators should be imprisoned and forced to 'listen to a Negro talking to himself."'

Why should we be surprised that millions more now hate America than at any other time in our history? Is every country in the world, then, peopled with potential enemies of the United States? If so, we have only ourselves to blame; our only enemies are the enemies of our creation, the monster from our collective id; they are the blowback of our stupid bigotry, racism, and ruthless yankee imperialism.

Bush dare not win his war on terrorism because it just might turn out to be as fraudulent as everything else about his failed and miserable administration.

Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terror Threat

Published: September 24, 2006

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.

The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe. ...

Previous drafts described actions by the United States government that were determined to have stoked the jihad movement, like the indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, and some policy makers argued that the intelligence estimate should be more focused on specific steps to mitigate the terror threat. It is unclear whether the final draft of the intelligence estimate criticizes individual policies of the United States, but intelligence officials involved in preparing the document said its conclusions were not softened or massaged for political purposes...