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". ...


Pam said...

Another incredible essay, Len!

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I do believe Keith Olbermann may be the sexiest man alive ;-).

daveawayfromhome said...

Why do you never hear (from the MSM, that is), that both George Bush and terrorists use fear to achieve their agenda? Is it a Forest For The Trees thing?

I'm stealing your Brecht quote, by the way.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Pam...and I'll pass it on to Keith. (just kidding)

Drive, please steal Brecht. It's too good not to. Just credit Brecht.

Peacechick Mary said...

Bush is a crook. Len, that is so perfect - short and will make a great protest sign. I'm stealing it too and will definitely credit you and Brecht.

Unknown said...

Peacechick, I am reminded of one of my fave stories. James Abbott MacNeil Whistler and Oscar Wilde were attending a posh Belgravia dinner party. Wilde was known to appropriate a good line from time to time. When Whistler —known as much for his witty barbs as his revolutionary paintings —got a good laugh, Wilde responded: "I wish I had said that, Jimmy!" Whistler shot back good naturedly: "You will, Oscar. You will!"

I love Victorian/Edwardian humor.

Brecht's line will, indeed, make a great protest sign. He would have approved.

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. God. Keith Olbermann restores my faith in this country.

Anonymous said...

Keith rocks! And so do you, Len. You are the meds for our Simpsons-induced brains. Thanks.

SadButTrue said...

"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.
America is now divided into two camps in terms of perception of the Bush administration. On one hand you have those who still believe that Bush wages war on the Constitution and American values in general in order to wage war on 'tur'. The rest of us realize that Bush pretends to wage war on 'tur' so that he may wage war on the Constitution and American values.

I agree heartily with others about the Brecht quote. Very appropriate.

'Cornered rat' is still the best description for the Bush administration, but we must remember that a cornered rat is quite likely to bite, and that can give you a nasty infection. How sad that Olbermann is the only one dispensing liberal doses of truth (should that be 'doses of liberal truth?) in the American mainstream media. It is the only effective medication for what ails America.

"To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, is like administering medicine to the dead." -- Thomas Paine

Not my best segué I'll admit, but not quite non sequitur either, and an always-appropriate quote where this administration is concerned. Perhaps you or one of the other blogging commenters here can use it in a future essay. Paine, like Brecht, gives good quote.

Jennie said...

I must add my praises of Olbermann. Thank you, Len, for adding his video to your blog posts! It seems I am now usually scrolling for the Olbermann video before reading your blog, and then read your blog afterwards, which puts your words into a much deeper and more profound perspective.

I give Olbermann much respect to his presentation of perspective and opinion, maybe because he looks a lot like my late father-in-law, but moreso for his courage and his marked visual determination to "nail" the truth for what it really is.

Unknown said...

Fuzzflash: The Imbecile still commands the military

The question is raised: will the military fire on its own citizens when the crunch comes. Well, it always had. Washington federalized the militias to quell the Whiskey Rebellion; Hoover sent in MacArthur and Patton to deny aging WWI veterans their bonuses; and, at Kent State, the National Guard open fire, killing un-armed students. Then there's Waco —NOT Bill Clinton's finest hour. The good news is: the military seems to be in open revolt against Rumsfeld and Bush. The bad news is this is just the kind of that thing ends in a military coup. More bad news: the brass commands the army. The people are always powerless.

sadbuttre: 'Cornered rat' is still the best description for the Bush administration, but we must remember that a cornered rat is quite likely to bite

And sewer rats are especially dangerous when cornered. I have seen them sit up and box like a mini kangeroo. Don't ask what I was doing observing the behavior of sewer rats!

Jen: Thank you, Len, for adding his video to your blog posts!

Olbermann has been a breath of fresh air. Let's all write MSNBC and support him. He may be in trouble —but don't quote me yet.

daveawayfromhome said...

Not only will the military fire, at least for a while (and that's all it may take), but it's a military that's been in training for urban warfare for the last three years.
On the other hand, we have an entire generation of people who have been electronically training in urban warfare for half their lives. And the most common weapon in say, Doom (showing my age, I know), was the shotgun, an easily available weapon that can be loaded with homemade ammo.

Should Bush be foolish enough to try a coup, we may find ourselves living in very interesting times, indeed.

Unknown said...

...but it's a military that's been in training for urban warfare for the last three years.

But a fat lot of good its done them in Baghdad. Clearly —Baghdad is lost. Someone, quick, name one guerrilla war that the US has won! The sooner the nations of the world —especially the US —learn that guerilla wars cannot be won militarily the better off the world will be. The lesson was repeated not long ago. Recently Hezbollah won militarily to be sure; but the lasting victory came because Hezbollah had won the support of a population hostile to the Isreali invasion. If Hezbollah had invaded Isreal, the shoe would have been on the other foot. Dick Cheney was delusional when he said the US would be welcomed as liberators. We were hated and mistrusted from the git go. It's only gotten worse.

Should Bush be foolish enough to try a coup, we may find ourselves living in very interesting times, indeed.

You're right about that, of course. But I had in mind a "coup" in which the US military deposes Bush. That's a different kettle of fish. Bushies thought they had already effected a violent coup in Florida. And, in a sense, they had. Even Republicans boasted that they had pulled off a coup d'etat; Bush himself most surely thought himself a dictator. But now that the military seems to be in "...open revolt" against Bush, it is interesting to consider which outcome would be preferable when both are repugnant: a) a military coup that deposes Bush and replaces it with military rule; or b) a consolidation of Bush's power following an executive purge of the generals.

Tragically, the US "occupation" of our own country may turn out to be the only guerrilla war the US military is capapble of winning but that's only because the US suburban population is even less prepared to wage one than is our military. Soccar moms and dads would be hopeless if they were expected to fight a guerilla war against tanks in the streets.

daveawayfromhome said...

As far as a purge of the military goes, David Brin has been talking about this subject for a while, specifically, the favoring of evangelicals for promotion and placement. I havent seen any hard evidence to back this up, but between the "strict father" mentality of most evengelicals, and Dubya's seeming apocolyptophilia, it's still a disturbing thought.

SadButTrue said...

Please Len, if you could find the time to check out my post at Les Enragés re: the detainee bill. I think it's a keeper.

Anonymous said...

len, I was just over on AMERICAblog and a lot of people were going crazy with fear over this torture bill thing, and I provided a link to you and your excellent piece "Congress is powerless to absolve Bush of capital crimes and torture charges." Many, many of them calmed down after reading it and thanked me for the link, so you may have gained a lot of new fans. No need to thank me. It was my duty to point them to you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Len,

I just discovered you today. Great stuff.

I can't find an email address for you. Please contact me.

John Forde
Host/Executive Producer
Mental Engineering

Unknown said...

Indeed, Sad, your brilliant essay is a keeper. Here's just a sample for those of you who haven't read it yet:

Move aside Gaius Caligula, Ivan the Terrible, Vlad the Impaler, Josef Stalin and Adolph Hitler. Give George Bush some room on history's stage of infamy. Take your hats off Marquis de Sade, Augusto Pinochet, Pol Pot; you are mere pikers compared to this monstrous tinpot despot.
None of the above took a country with a two-centuries-old tradition of freedom, a nation defined by that freedom, "a nation of laws not men" and redefined it in the worst possible terms. For that's what this bill does.

You'll find a link to Les Enrages on the blogroll.

hillcountrygal, thanks for being patient with me. I am remiss is not getting a link to your blog. I have some incredible days ahead. Give me the weekend.

Fuzzflash: Yours in Paine and Murrow,

Thanks for mentioning Paine. As Thom Hartmann points out recently, Paine is not often given the credit he is due. Paine is as much the architect of American Democracy as is Jefferson and Madison. Too bad that Bush —a radical reactionary —will undo the work of all our founding fathers.

John, welcome to the "Cowboy" and thanks for the URL. Am checkin' it out.

SadButTrue said...

I would dearly love your email address too, Len. Mine's in my blogger profile. Thank you so much for the shout-out on my essay, I really put my heart and soul into that one. I was also lucky to have gotten a bump in visitor's from my nascent guest blogger program, with Jurassic Pork of Welcome to Pottersville posting his own essay almost simultaneously with mine, and really promoting me vigorously. If you are at all interested in something like that, I would be overwhelmingly honoured. It's not as prominent as the offer I think John has for you, but we have a very nice green room. It's a front porch actually.

Anonymous said...

Some great observations, nothing to add other than make your voice known to Keith's employers, they need to know that as a lone voice in the wildnerness his words hit home and ring true with real Americans, not imbeciles who believe it's "there or here" and that sacrificing the Constitution on the mantle of a "secure" nation is not a bargain informed, thinking Americans will allow our dipshit President to make.

If it comes down to the government revoking/ignoring Posse Comitatus in the event of a "Reichstag fire" repeated by the Bushies, then be sure to remember that the criminals who have hijacked our country by using 9/11 as their "free pass" aint gonna get away with it, and finally, something Americans have long taken for granted might just be recognized for its place in our history, and seen for the first time as being worth fighting for at home. I dont believe the Bush Admin. has any power/support at the grass roots level by anyone in the know outside the prvileged band of plotters who borught us all Iraq, and that includes many Republicans. We know how obedient the Repugs. are with a war "over there" but when the war comes home (and it most assuredly will, in some way, shape or form) I believe the Bush junta would finally be swept out in its entirety.

However, they still hold the fear card and will continue to play it to their eventual demise.

I'm keeping my powder dry.

SadButTrue said...

With the passing of the Detainees act, aka the torture bill, which I refer to as the War Criminals Protection Act, we must invoke the words of John Locke (1632-1704);
"Where Law Ends, Tyranny Begins."
Clearly the law is at an end. Certainly tyranny has gained more than a foothold.

On Locke, this from Wikipedia;
Locke has often been classified as a British Empiricist, along with David Hume and George Berkeley. He is equally important as a social contract theorist, as he developed an alternative to the Hobbesian state of nature and argued a government could only be legitimate if it received the consent of the governed through a social contract and protected the natural rights of life, liberty, and estate. If such consent was not given, argued Locke, citizens had a right of rebellion.

It looks like torches and pitchforks time to me. Fly the biggest flag you can find, upside-down. If this is not the time for a distress signal, when would be?

Anonymous said...

There's some excellent articles (1, 2) over at PrisonPlanet on the Military Commissions Act of 2006. Amongst other features of the legislation that have failed to penetrate public consciousness we have:

* Any non-allegiance to Bush meets the definition of terrorism.

* US courts to have no legal standing in any claims brought against the legislation: "No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any claim or cause of action whatsoever"

* A broad range of social behaviour can be interpreted as terrorist actions (eg protests on designated property).

* US citizens may be deemed as enemy combatants: Subsection 4(b) (26) of section 950v. of HR 6166 - Crimes triable by military commissions - includes the following definition: "Any person subject to this chapter who, in breach of an allegiance or duty to the United States, knowingly and intentionally aids an enemy of the United States, or one of the co-belligerents of the enemy, shall be punished as a military commission under this chapter may direct."

As Paul Watson and Alex Jones point out, "for an individual to hold an allegiance or duty to the United States they need to be a citizen of the United States. Why would a foreign terrorist have any allegiance to the United States to breach in the first place?"

*There is also a reminder (if one were ever needed) of the reports by Seymour Hersh and others on the torture of Iraqi children and how this is now legal under the new legislation. How could any US Congress member put their names to such disgraceful legislation?

*And there's this quote from law professor Marty Lederman: "this [subsection (ii) of the definition of 'unlawful enemy combatant'] means that if the Pentagon says you're an unlawful enemy combatant -- using whatever criteria they wish -- then as far as Congress, and U.S. law, is concerned, you are one, whether or not you have had any connection to 'hostilities' at all."

This US clearly has a way to go before it rids itself of this leadership from hell.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, links are here (1, 2)

Unknown said...

Thanks, damien ...from one of your links:

Torture Bill States Non-Allegiance To Bush Is Terrorism

They can't arrest all of us! Just say no to Bush and his bullshit.

In the meantime, non-violent resistance to this dictatorship is called for.

DON'T FEED THE BEAST. The Danes waged a very effective non-violent resistance against the Nazi occupation of their country. The Chileans brought down a Bush buddy: Pinochet. Buy your gasoline from CITGO. Boycott Fox and all their sponsors. In the weeks ahead, I am going to try to list as many things as I can research that could be effective against the emerging right wing/GOP tyranny.

Sebastien Parmentier said...

Hearing Keith Olbermann feels just like a cold beer after having spent the day patrolling the streets of Fallujah under a searing 120F...

Sebastien Parmentier said...

24 hours after the Senators gave Bush the right to build more Bastilles, the same imbeciles just gave him the green light to build a Berlin wall.

When it comes to dirty politic, these repugs make the Radicals (the republican bunch who impeached Andrew Johnson) look like a bunch of sweet girlscouts...

Unknown said...

That wall is one is one of the most pernicious things to come out the GOP dictatorship. Immigration is a phony issue raised by a party that exploits fear, division, hate and prejudice. Indiana, for example, is suddenly alarmed that "illegal aliens", namely hispanic people, are going to steal their jobs. Hispanics makes up about one percent of the population in Indiana. "Illegals" are NOT taking jobs in Indiana. What a farce! There is a name for a political party that exploits fear and prejudice by way of scapegoating and that word is Nazi!

Anonymous said...

Newt Gingrich has a say about the Supreme Court:

"What I reject, out of hand, is the idea that by five to four, judges can rewrite the Constitution, but it takes two-thirds of the House, two-thirds of the Senate and three-fourths of the states to equal five judges.....the other two branches have an absolute obligation to render independent judgment" in cases that are "at variance with the national will."

Tristero responds:

Now, for those of you clinging on to the delusion that what is happening isn't what actually is happening, let me spell it out. Gingrich is floating out there the very real possibility that Bush will not abide by any Supreme Court judgment he doesn't like. Suddenly the idea that the Supremes aren't the final arbiter on constitutionality is something that "merits discussion" and if you don't think this notion is going to dominate the discourse if the Supremes strike down the torture bill, well, I hate to be so blunt about it, but you are completely, totally wrong.

Rogue presidency. Fascism.

Unknown said...

Gingrich's comments do not surprise me. An attack on the court is consistent with a decades long attack on "activist judges" — GOPspeak for any judge who dares to rule against the radical Republican party. The GOP has gone beyond loyal opposition; they seek nothing less than the dismantling of the Democracy created by the founders, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison et al. They seek the creation of something beyond even Hitlerian fascism, otherwise known as Nazism. The GOP seeks the creation of a Corporate Fuedualism in which individual sovereignty and conscience is melded into the corporate state. Under the GOP "beast", the completely individual and the individual conscience will simply cease to exist. They have very nearly succeeded. Even Democrats don't get it.

Anonymous said...

"at variance with the national will" is such an inspiring phrase - a bit like "Triumph of the Will". Put me down for a dozen.

benmerc said...

Yeah...could not have been better timing. I remember Foley associated with the various "Family Value" slogans of the day, looks like “crow” time to me. Guess he left one out: Closeted Republican pedophile etc. And to top it off I believe he was on some committee of sorts concerned with internet protection for children. One would think that seat is now in the bag for Democrats, but we are talking about Fla, anything goes here. It will be interesting if they actually try to push a legit candidate into the opening, I put nothing past the republican party of Florida.