Saturday, June 03, 2006

An Emerging Pattern of U.S. War Crimes and Atrocities in Iraq Suggests a Heinous Policy

The "few bad applies" defense falls apart in the face of "...countless My Lai massacres" in Iraq and new revelations. A pattern of war crimes emerges. News of other incidents supports the proposition that the Bush administration has deliberately waged a war on the civilian population of Iraq. The new allegations first.

BBC video footage shows bodies of Iraqis

By Julian E. Barnes
Originally published June 3, 2006

Senior Defense officials pushed back yesterday against the latest accusations of wrongdoing, denying accounts that U.S. soldiers deliberately killed civilians in a March raid but acknowledging that more civilians might have died than the military first reported.

Iraqi police and other witnesses had claimed that U.S. forces had killed as many as 13 civilians in the small hamlet of Ishaqi, near the Iraqi city of Balad, tying up some and shooting them in the head. Video obtained by the British Broadcasting Corp. and the Associated Press showed bodies of victims, including several children, who apparently had been killed by gunshot wounds or shrapnel.

The U.S. military initially reported that there were four people, one insurgent and three civilians, killed in the Ishaqi raid. But yesterday, they acknowledged that eight other noncombatants had been killed, calling the additional casualties "collateral deaths." ...

From another source today:
BAGHDAD, IRAQ -- In the wake of an alleged massacre of unarmed civilians in Haditha by U.S. Marines, new video has emerged with fresh allegations of U.S. troops killing Iraqi civilians in an attack on the village of Ishaqi. ...

Global National Online

Various British media have released video footage that depicts a bloody aftermath of a U.S. attack in March that resulted in the murders of 11 Iraqis —including at least five children.

Overshadowed by the events at Haditha is an earlier account of a U.S. attack near Baghdad:

Other eyewitness reports state that American military forces surrounded the Al Mustafa mosque in northeast Baghdad, while helicopters buzzed overhead and a fleet of heavily armed Humvees sealed off the exits. The mosque's 80-year-old imam, and many other civilians, were killed in the attack.

Videotape showed a pile of bodies with gunshot wounds on the floor of the Imam's living quarters in the mosque. There were also 5.56mm shell casings on the floor, which is the type of ammunition used by U.S. soldiers.

Another massacre of Iraqis occurred on November 19, when marines shot dead at least 15 Iraqi civilians, including seven women and three children. The shooting took place in the village of Haditha, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad in the western province of Anbar.

U. S. Massacres in Iraq, Anti-Imperialist News Service

The lid is at last off this story. And it just doesn't end:

Countless My Lai Massacres in Iraq

The media feeding frenzy around what has been referred to as "Iraq's My Lai" has become frenetic. Focus on US Marines slaughtering at least 20 civilians in Haditha last November is reminiscent of the media spasm around the "scandal" of Abu Ghraib during April and May 2004.

Yet just like Abu Ghraib, while the media spotlight shines squarely on the Haditha massacre, countless atrocities continue daily, conveniently out of the awareness of the general public. Torture did not stop simply because the media finally decided, albeit in horribly belated fashion, to cover the story, and the daily slaughter of Iraqi civilians by US forces and US-backed Iraqi "security" forces has not stopped either. ...

The war itself is illegal under the Principles of Nuremberg. The subsequent murders of civilians and the cover-ups throughout the chain of command are most certainly prosecutable at the Hague. When it is learned that there is probable cause that Bush himself conspired with Donald Rumsfeld to "...export death and destruction to the four corners of the earth", then the people of the United States must rise up and demand that Bush step down and surrender for arrest and war crimes trials.

Let's have a real investigation for a change. I would put forward this testable proposition: that there is more probable cause that Bush is culpable for these crimes under 18 § 2441 and the Nuremberg Principles than there is reason to believe that any one of the millions of Americans whose rights to Due Process of Law have been denied by Bush's widespread domestic surveillance program have been engaged in any way at any time with "terrorism". Let's make public the probable cause that Bush himself is responsible for the policies that have been executed in Iraq.

It's time that the real "bad applies" be brought to book!

Robert Fisk: On the shocking truth about the American occupation of Iraq

Could Haditha be just the tip of the mass grave? The corpses we have glimpsed, the grainy footage of the cadavers and the dead children; could these be just a few of many? Does the handiwork of America's army of the slums go further?

I remember clearly the first suspicions I had that murder most foul might be taking place in our name in Iraq. I was in the Baghdad mortuary, counting corpses, when one of the city's senior medical officials - an old friend - told me of his fears. "Everyone brings bodies here," he said. "But when the Americans bring bodies in, we are instructed that under no circumstances are we ever to do post-mortems. We were given to understand that this had already been done. Sometimes we'd get a piece of paper like this one with a body." And here the man handed me an American military document showing the hand-drawn outline of a man's body and the words "trauma wounds".

What kind of trauma? Indeed, what kind of trauma is now being experienced in Iraq? Who is doing the mass killing? Who is dumping so many bodies on garbage heaps? After Haditha, we are going to reshape our suspicions. ...

Press Accounts Suggest Military 'Cover-up' in Ishagi Killings

By Greg MitchellPublished: June 03, 2006 1:40 PM ET

NEW YORK The U.S military said Saturday it had found no wrongdoing in the March 15 raid on a home in Ishaqi that left nine Iraqi civilians dead. But, as with the apparent massacre in Haditha, will a military "coverup" in this case come undone? E&P coverage from back in March, and other evidence, suggest that the official story may soon unravel.

The Iraqi police charge that American forces executed the civilians, including a 75-year-old woman and a 6-month-old baby. The BBC has been airing video of the dead civilians, mainly children, who appeared to be shot, possibly at close range. Photographs taken just after the raid for the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse, and reports at the time by Reuters and Knight Ridder, also appear to back up the charge of an atrocity. ...

The Existentialist Cowboy

Dante Lee: Short Memories

Adolf Hitler once said to one of his advisers worrying about how History might look on the Fuhrer’s plan for the Jews: “Who remembers about the Armenian genocide?” The monster unfortunately nailed it right on the head.

History of wars and genocides can be compared to labor pain. It is absolutely excruciating but instantly forgotten at the very first cry of the child. And humans, just like the mothers who infant them, have an incredibly short memory when it comes to History.

Even the names of the men and women who have contributed to shape the world history, who have died for the sake of its progress, often get the hardest time to be remembered in our classrooms: who, for instance, remembers Hypatia, the last scholar of Alexandria; woman mathematician, neo-Platonian philosopher, astronomer and charismatic orator, who was the very first scientist martyr into being forcibly undressed, lynched, skinned by rough sea shells and tiles, and finally dismembered by an angry Christian mob in the streets of Alexandria in 415 AD?

Who remembers Margaret Sanger, the inventor of Family planning? She was lynched seven times -often closed to death – by angry men for her passion to help early 19th century women whose husbands only regarded them as mere baby factories. I can go on and on and write a huge list of reformers, an encyclopedia out of those forgotten heroes. But my point is, why are hard earned progress and reforms endangered once again —and so soon? And why do the battles have to be re-fought anew?

When it comes to genocides, massacres, abuses and atrocities, our memory skills get even more pathetic. If it is already challenging to feel personally the pain inflicted to an individual other than oneself, it is just impossible to funnel the pain of an entire community into one’s brain. How can we feel all these different pains at the same time?

In movies depicting such events like the Holocaust in WWII, directors show the need to focus their cameras on scenes involving a sole victim, in order to illustrate the crime committed on a group. When screening the Spielberg’s movie, “Schindler’s list”, one can witness how murderous acts committed on one individual result often in a buzzing of tear jerking throughout the theater, while the emotionally charged shot of a mountain of human corpses is invariably taken with a solemn silence from the crowd.

A mass of people dying is too much of a fuzzy thought for the common news readers. For instance, is there a newspaper out there that has ever published anything more than a few reader’s comments about the 36 millions Africans left to die since the day when Dick Cheney went to Davos, Switzerland, in order to defend the un-defendable: the “right” of American pharmaceutical industries to hold on to their patents on the AIDS drug cocktail and prevent the third world countries to be able to produce them cheaply? Or the billions confiscated by the Bush administration from the UN war chest for the war against AIDS, because this administration can not tolerate that the world’s NGOs preaching condoms instead of abstinence.

Genocides have become a bore. A journalist from Time magazine on the ground in Darfour, complained last week on National Public Radio for the fact that world news agencies pick up and relate a massacre only if it contains sexual contents such as rapes and sexual tortures.

Networks have understood this long ago. The near half-million dead from the Christmas 2004 Tsunami, the sinking of a ferry-boat, the last big earthquake in Iran, Katrina; these are just “sensationalist” events. Meanwhile, the genocide in Darfour, in Rwanda, or the major human and economic disaster that is unfolding inside the republic of Congo, are treated in the news as mere natural disasters. We tend to have accepted that, for Western networks and media, blacks killing blacks, even by the millions, is just a natural thing, in the same level as a category 3 Hurricane or a bad monsoon.

When it comes to wars waged by our country, if you think that abuses and cruelties perpetrated by American soldiers are committed in a different state of mind than, say, My Lai or during the gruesome Spanish-American war - most particularly in Philippines - ask yourself this question: What is the difference between the infamous 1904 letter, sent by a Marine fighting in Philippines to her mother, describing “the nigger paradise” in which Marines were free to go into a bonanza of “nigger killing”, and a cellular phone video shot inside Abu-Ghraïb?

Another important reason for our short memory and for our tendency to continuously perpetrate these evil acts upon other nations or people is greed.

If a serious poll were conducted to determine the percentage of Americans who would prefer paying 50 bucks more for their sneakers, if consumers were guaranteed that those shoes were to be made by a company that works their employees within the full range of human rights, I’m sure that the reflection in the mirror would be painful to watch for most of us.

And it’s not just the greed for money. It’s deeper than that. It’s a genuine greed of gene. The Jewish community, for instance, quite vocally denounces the atrocities committed against them; and not only by the Nazis. With their high pitch lamentation and great skills as portraying themselves – justly - as victims, westerners still have a good memory of the Spanish massacres on their Jewish community during the 15 and 16th century.

But the Jewish community rarely talks about the mass of Gypsies, Poles, Russians, gays, and common resistance to Nazi occupations who died alongside their folk. Where are they when it comes to Darfour? Where were they during the genocide in Rwanda? Have you ever heard Israel lobbying for Turkey to apologize for the Armenian genocide?

And where are the Armenians for Darfour? Where are the American Indians talking for Aborigines?

The greed of gene affects all of us —but affects Americans in a somewhat a different tone. It is best exemplified thus:
"I eat more than you. I grow taller than you. I have more freedom than you. I have a bigger car, a bigger house. I piss on public schools because I want to show the world that I have paid more for the education of my children than you have. My oil is cheaper than you so I can go faster than you while my car is bigger than yours. My church is bigger than yours and will soon eat up all the followers from your church too. My country is bigger than yours, or if it’s not it’ll be soon. My country has more goodies hidden inside its underground than your country. And if it’s not the case, heck, you don’t have the money nor the industry to get what's under your own soil anyway: You’ll soon need us to dig and pump your stuff and you’ll be praising us for leaving you a few crumb!… at night, We go to bed praying out loud for the return of a Christ who, I’m sure, has blessed MY COUNTRY. When we dream, however, We see another JC for America: a Julius Caesar! ... or a Napoleon. What kind of Duke of Wellington any nation will oppose against the superpowers God had bestowed on us?”
You see, Imperialism is the oldest ideal of a human government. It is here to endure as it shows up time and time again when you expect it the least. Ask Beethoven how he felt when Bonaparte was declared Emperor! Imperialism has always been considered the ultimate award a civilization can obtain, once it has reached the top the world’s peaking order.

It is amusing how people get only shocked and disturbed by the atrocities perpetrated by other Empires, while coming up with the most stunning excuses for tolerating the same abuses done by their own empire.

American Protestants, who stunningly chose to call themselves Christians, believe staunchly that the persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire is comparable to the Jewish Holocaust. What they don’t want to know - or even hear - is that the Roman Empire had actually been, in the beginning, quite tolerant toward the strange new Jewish sect; following the Roman spirit of inclusiveness of other religion and cultures. As long as Arabs, Jews, Greeks or others accept to pledge allegiance to Rome, despite of whatever they want to pray or believe, Rome accepted them as full citizen of her Empire. Racism did not exist under Rome, from Augustus to Constantine.

Christians under Rome, however, started, early, to aggressively proselytize their religion based on the axiom of civil disobedience, “Give Caesar what belong to Caesar and to God what belongs to Him.” The Empire justly saw this as a threat but opted for the wrong solution: scaring them. Therefore Rome started the gruesome episodes of sending the Christians to the lions, for the joy and entertainment of the mass.

Today’s America evinces the same attitude toward Muslims. Because of a few bad apples The United States feels threatened by the entire muslim community. True —we don’t send them to the lions; instead, we lock them up in Guantanamo Bay for indefinite lengths of time. But wait, we do send them to the lions: In Syria, Turkey, Azerbaijan, or anywhere where the CIA can operate torture chambers in perfect secrecy, or, if they cannot, outsource the torturing job.

The greed of gene, folks: The thing that makes us all forgetting the past, the heroes, the martyrs, the victims. The thing that made me understand why Colleges and High schools all have history books that always come into a new edition every year, despite the fact that the information they contain does not change overtime.

Because History is just like that: For every generation the same stories, framed into spanking new editions.

—Dante Lee, Guest Columnist.

Friday, June 02, 2006

You know you're living in a dictatorship when public opinion becomes irrelevant

The liberal celebration of the collapse of Bush's popularity seems misplaced amid Bush's continued offensive against the American people, the Constitution, and the Rule of Law. If poll numbers meant anything —or if the United States could still maintain even a pretense of accountability —Bush would have already been impeached, resigned, or investigated. Instead, Bush has consolidated his power on several fronts and he has done so in the face of vehement, widespread opposition and revulsion. He has done so despite the fact that most people think he's a liar if not an outright fraud.

Much of the opposition to Bush still seems naive, locked into the GOP/Democrat paradigm. In fact, this is not Democrats vs GOP; it's freedom vs slavery, democracy vs totalitarianism. We will be no better off, nothing will have been gained if Democrats should win but fail to rescind Bush's power gains.

Bush holds several trump cards, not the least of which is how he dictates the agenda through the mainstream media. Big media means big corporations. They will pay lip service to equal time even when equal times means balancing truth with more lies. Big corporations spend billions to outshout the independent voice. The assault on "net neutrality" is just one example, but, perhaps, the most pernicious and catastrophic in the longer term. A successful attack on "net neutrality" will most probably bring to an end the existence of blogs like "The Existentialist Cowboy" or, at the very least, it will marginalize them.

Though FOX pretends to be "fair and balanced", it will never tell you the truth. Though FOX jingoism would have embarrassed even Randolph Hearst, it is not only Fox but CBS, ABC, NBC, and CNN that will be forever silent on the following propositions:
  • The Bush administration has installed a fascist regime and has deliberately sought to consolidate for Bush dictatorial powers that violate the separation of powers, the rule of law, the Bill of Rights, and equal protection under the law.
  • The Bush administration had planned to invade Iraq even before the election of 2000 and began planning a campaign of deliberate lies and frauds that might be cited as pretexts for the illegal attack and invasion of Iraq.
  • The Bush administration deliberately quashed and obstructed in various ways all investigations into the events of 911 even to the extent of destroying physical evidence and sealing records in other instances.
  • The recent revelations of murder at Haditha et al are but a part of an emerging pattern of war crimes, atrocities and abuse from Afghanistan to Iraq —in fact, wherever there are U.S. troops under the command of Donald Rumsfeld and his commander-in-chief.
Media silence on these issues is not merely that the media will never utter those propositions as "truth". They will never even be debated! The debate about the investigations of 911, for example, take place on the embattled and endangered internet —not the evening network news programs, PBS, or NPR.

Bush holds still other cards. The Bush administration, for example, eats its own. Bushies are expected to fall on the sword for the naked emperor. Bush has claimed total control over government secrets and, in doing so, fended off Congress and media. As Nat Parry points out, Bush stymied even the investigators in his own administration. It was with Bush's blessing that the NSA killed the investigation into widespread NSA surveillance; it simply refused to grant security clearances to lawyers from the independent Office of Professional Responsibility.

So —yet gain, the Bush administration manages not only to hide the truth about itself but quash the very investigation that might have ferreted it out. Under Bush, no one speaks for the people; no one represents their interests; no one represents them to those who make the plans that violate their rights, their sovereignty, their freedoms. For Bush, the state is absolute and the people exist for the state.

Of the more worrisome trends is an idea sponsored, encouraged and actively promoted by the Bush administration and its supporters in Congress: that the United States is somehow exempt from principles of international law —even those insisted upon by the United States itself. I refer specifically to the Geneva Conventions and the Principles of Nuremberg. I had this debate with an aid to my congressman who tried to tell me that Geneva and Nuremberg infringe upon U.S. sovereignty. That's utter nonsense, of course.
A May 3 Amnesty International report says torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees by U.S. forces is widespread. The AI report states there is clear evidence that much of the physical and psychological abuse stems directly from officially sanctioned procedures and policies including interrogation techniques approved by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for use in Guantanamo and later exported to Iraq. A now declassified document with Rumsfeld’s signature calls for various forms of harsh interrogation including sleep deprivation, extreme environments (hot or cold), holding prisoners naked and keeping them in painful positions such as squatting with feet and hands shackled to the floor.

The evidence shows that these are not the “aberrant acts of irresponsible or immature individuals but a consistent pattern of abuse that reflects government policy,” said Joshua Rubenstein, Amnesty International USA northeast regional director.

UN panel condemns U.S. torture

The U.N. panel that recently called for the closure of GITMO is aware of the Bush administration attempt to rewrite law and history, expressing skepticism about U.S. pledges that it would, in effect, stop torturing people illegally. The panel, therefore, called on the U.S. to "cease" the process of "rendition" i.e., the transfer of "suspects" to countries where "...they face the real risk of torture."

I am quite sure that the members of the panel phrased their remarks diplomatically. They are most certainly aware that increasing "...the real risk of torture" is the very purpose of "rendition". But, again, you will not find this issue debated in the MSM.

But the panel is to be commended for bluntly challenging the U.S. position that "...some elements of the anti-torture convention are not applicable in times of war." Challenging the very premises of the Bush regime, the panel wrote that United States should ensure that the principles of the Geneva Convention "...appl[y] at all times, whether in peace, war or armed conflict." This is nothing less than a sweeping, stinging rebuke. It asserts the authority of Geneva not only abroad but over the questionable administration of prisons inside this country. Such an investigation should begin in Texas, Bush's shameful legacy.

In the meantime, however, we have little choice but to slug it out in the trenches, behind the barricades. There is little hope of reward or even eventual victory. I am always buoyed by stories of courage. True courage is often overlooked, unsung, little chronicled. The most profound instances of courage often fail to make the pages of a scholarly history. Fortunately, however, some of them survive to be told again to later generations.

One such story is about Voltaire, who was roused by Catholic atrocities in Toulouse. He literally papered Europe with his pre-internet polemics. Voltaire always spoke truth to power and often paid dearly for having done so. He was the first existentialist. He was once accosted by a gang of young aristocrats envious of the attentions Voltaire received at a fashionable soiree. "Who do you think you are?" they demanded of him. He answered calmly: "I have no name but the name that I have made for myself!" For his wit and for the courage to stand up for what he believed, Voltaire was beaten, condemned and thrown into the Bastille.

No one said this would be easy.

The Existentialist Cowboy

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Bush's Lawless Administration Must End

Bush's stolen elections of 2000 and again in 2004 make his regime an illegitimate one. That is reason enough to impeach. But his crimes are compounded by Bushco's ongoing war against the rule of law and the American Constitution.

The Bush regime —among the most unpopular in American history —has simply become intolerable. Bush has made of the Presidency a rogue dictatorship exploited for the commission of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"When the forces of oppression come to maintain themselves in power against established law; peace is considered already broken."

— Ernesto "Che" Guevara, General Principles of Guerrilla Warfare
That precisely describes the situation. The time has come to organize for the purpose of bringing his lawless administration to an end.

Thomas Jefferson, I believe, wrote something very similar about that other King George and, according to Jefferson, it justified an armed insurrection against the illegal regime.
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness"

—Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence
Just how unpopular is Bush?

The results of a nationwide Harris Poll of 2,085 U.S. adults

...surveyed online by Harris Interactive® between May 9 and 16, 2006.

Specifically, this poll finds:
  • President Bush's rating on his handling of events in Iraq is currently 68 percent negative, 29 percent positive. This is virtually identical to March's ratings when, by 68 to 30 percent, U.S. adults gave the President negative marks. This remains the lowest measure for the president.
  • In this new poll, 43 percent of U.S. adults think that the situation for U.S. troops is getting worse, down three percentage points from the 46 percent who felt this way in March. Only 20 percent now think things are getting better, a slight improvement from 17 percent in March.
  • Six in 10 (61%) U.S. adults are not confident "that U.S. policies in Iraq will be successful." This has remained the same from March. Only 22 percent are confident about U.S. policies in Iraq; a slight improvement from March's 20 percent.
  • By 47 to 38 percent, a plurality of U.S. adults believes that "taking military action against Iraq" was the wrong thing to do. In March, a nearly identical 48 to 37 percent plurality also felt this way.
The Washington Post has this snapshot from Bush's quagmire and ongoing war crime in Iraq:

Iraq Is the Republic of Fear

Every morning the streets of Baghdad are littered with dozens of bodies, bruised, torn, mutilated, executed only because they are Sunni or because they are Shiite. Power drills are an especially popular torture device.[]

At first, the dominant presence of the U.S. military -- with its towering vehicles rumbling through Baghdad's streets and its soldiers like giants with their vests and helmets and weapons -- seemed overwhelming. The Occupation could be felt at all times. Now in Baghdad, you can go days without seeing American soldiers. Instead, it feels as if Iraqis are occupying Iraq, their masked militiamen blasting through traffic in anonymous security vehicles, shooting into the air, angrily shouting orders on loudspeakers, pointing their Kalashnikovs at passersby.

Today, the Americans are just one more militia lost in the anarchy. []

One is tempted to believe that Bush's strongest defense is the unimaginable scope of his crimes against man and nature. For quite a long time, the truth about Bush was not believed because it was beyond imagining. Now Bush has the converse working for him. His crimes exceed the ability of mere words to describe. Or as the Emperor Augustus said: words fail me.

I cannot write a complete history Bush's failures in Iraq, but, in the weeks to come, I will certainly try to outline them and provide referencing links. For those still supporting one of the most evil regimes in world history, I can only say: "The truth? You can't handle the truth!"

More developing news about ongoing U.S. atrocities against civilians in Iraq:

Pregnant woman shot dead by US soldiers in Iraq


05/31/06 ""-- -- US soldiers have shot and killed a pregnant Iraqi womanand her cousin while they were driving to a maternity hospital north of Baghdad.

Iraqi police said the two women were travelling to hospital in Samarra when their vehicle came under fire from the Americans.

The US military issued a statement today saying the shots were fired "to disable the vehicle" after it entered a clearly marked prohibited zone near a US observation post.

It said the car failed to stop despite repeated "visual and auditory signals" and the loss of life was "regrettable"...

The Existentialist Cowboy

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Haditha Massacre: a product of a phony, failed, and immoral war!

The massacre at Haditha is a product of Bush's policy of aggressive war, U.S. sponsored war crimes, and outsourced torture. The massacre at Haditha is but a single tile in a bigger Bush mosaic that includes Fallujah, Abu Ghraib and the gulags of Eastern Europe.

I would put money on this proposition: nations that are losing wars commit atrocities. Logically, the situation can only be worse in wars that are themselves crimes. Like My Lai, an atrocity from the earlier failed war in Viet Nam, the massacre at Haditha has already become the symbol of American imperialism —a disease born of hubris, frustration, and, in this case, the black hearted, evil lies told by Bush to justify and sell the war. Those lies all but guaranteed its failure at the outset.

Not surprisingly, Bush is not worried about the moral implications. Rather, his administration is reported to be anxious about the fallout, the PR, the "damage control". It is the mindset of an utterly failed administration that believes that truth doesn't matter —only perception. Perception, a la principles acted upon by Joseph Goebbels, can be controlled, designed, manipulated by the spin masters, the dispensers of Bush kool-aid.

It won't work.

A de-hypnotized people, inured to Bush rhetoric about "liberating Iraq", are already convinced that Bush's war of aggression in Iraq was and continues to be a disaster, a debacle from which there is no strategy for winning.

Bushco, predictably, has already resorted to the "bad apple" defense. Clue: this only works once, maybe twice. Given the fact that we still don't know the extent of the Abu Ghraib atrocities and war crimes and given the fact that details of "rendition" throughout Eastern Europe is still covered up, it's reasonable to conclude that the atrocities of Bush's so-called "war on terrorism" cannot be dismissed so easily. It would appear that war crimes, murder, and torture are endemic. There is evidence in Bush's State of the Union address, that atrocities are, in fact, Bush policy:
We will export death and destruction to the four corners of the earth ...

—George W. Bush

And, on the occasion of his 2003 State of the Union address, Bush cackled and chuckled:
All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. Many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way -- they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies. (Applause.)

—George W. Bush, 2003 State of the Union Address

Clearly, this is a reference to summary executions —or, if the victim was unlucky —death at the end of a long period of torture. Bush put forward no proof, no evidence whatsoever that any of those persons summarily executed by American armed forces were ever involved in terrorism. Most certainly, none of the people murdered by U.S. Marines were ever, in any way, involved in terrorism against the United States. Certainly, even Bush concedes that Iraq, itself, as a nation, had nothing whatsoever to do with the events of 911.

Then why are we killing people —innocent people —who had nothing to do with 911? There might be more universal outrage if the American media had not made it necessary for bloggers to find the real story in the European media.
The downplaying of U.S. torture as an institutional rather than an exceptional strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan was successful, at least in the public’s mind. The evidence suggests otherwise. It does so as well when it comes to wanton killings, whether it’s the trigger-happy soldiering at Iraqi checkpoints or the killing of civilians in allegedly collateral circumstances. Yet you can see the Haditha massacre’s dowplaying game already in full swing. The Times has the story over two columns above the fold, but to the left of a four-column spread about the Enron verdict. Enron is news. It isn’t bigger news than the massacre of twenty-four Iraqis at the hands of U.S. marines. Not by any stretch of journalistic calibration.

—Pierre Tristam, Mathaba News Network

And then there is this report from Stan Goff writing about Haditha specifically:
These Marines have already been — collectively — slaughtering civilians at an alarming rate, often in ones and twos, but in Fallujah they did so by the bushels, often as they lay abed or cowered in corners trying to hide.

So someone will have to explain to me why, after this mechanical ambush killed one Marine, there was something out of the ordinary enough to be categorized as “rogue” when these de-empathized, militaristic boys from an imperial society, freshly trained to holler “Kill, kill, kill!” leapt out and shot down 24 “hajjis,” male and female, all ages.

—Stan Goff, Massacre at Haditha: Return of the Bad Apple Defense

The Bushco/Rumsfeld Pentagon tried to cover it all up. Representative John Murtha says the cover up may go all the way up the chain of command. We wouldn't have known about Haditha unless, as Goff points out, someone got the pictures. Because of a fluke —the truth about Bush's lies is known. And because the truth is known, Bush is engaged in damage control —not reform.

Murder charges will be filed against the Marines involved. I submit to you that if war crimes charges are not likewise filed against Bush and the gang who ordered this war, then justice will not have been served. Who will organize a world wide movement to bring Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld to trial for waging an illegal war, for violating the Principles of Nuremberg, for authorizing the commission of atrocities to include murder, mass murder and torture?

Enough is enough.

From ITV News:

Iraqi Girl Tells of U.S. Attack in Haditha

"A young Iraqi girl has given a shocking first hand account of what witnesses claim amounts to mass murder by US troops in the war-torn country.

Ten-year-old Iman Walid lost seven members of her family in an attack by American marines last November.

If her story is true - and it has been disputed by the US military - human rights workers say it is the worst massacre of civilians by US troops in the country.

Iman tells of screaming soldiers entering her house in the Iraqi town of Haditha spraying bullets in every direction.

Fifteen people in all were killed, including her parents and grandparents. Her account has been corroborated by other eyewitnesses who say it was a revenge attack after a roadside bomb killed a marine....

Initially, the US marines issued a statement saying that a roadside bomb had killed 15 civilians, while eight insurgents had been killed in a later gunbattle.

US military officials have since confirmed the 15 civilians were actually shot dead."

Buzzflash often sums up an entire story in a single "second coming" headline. They've done it again. Kudos to Buzzflash:

Al Gore has made his sharpest attack yet on the George Bush presidency, describing the current US administration as "a renegade band of rightwing extremists". As a BuzzFlash Reader Noted, "I don't care if Gore doesn't run, just as long as he keeps talking!"

An update and additional reference:

High court limits whistleblower lawsuits

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it harder for government employees to claim they were retaliated against for going public with allegations of official misconduct.

By a 5-4 vote, justices said the nation's 20 million public employees do not have carte blanche free speech rights to disclose government's inner-workings. New Justice Samuel Alito cast the tie-breaking vote.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the court's majority, said the First Amendment does not protect "every statement a public employee makes in the course of doing his or her job."

The decision came after the case was argued twice this term, once before Justice

Sandra Day O'Connor retired in January, and again after her successor, Alito, joined the bench. []

Paul Craig Roberts: 'The evil is in our government'

Posted on Monday, May 29 @ 10:25:02 EDT

Is the Bush Regime a state sponsor of terrorism?

A powerful case can be made that it is.

In the past three years, the Bush Regime has murdered tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and an unknown number of Afghan ones.

U.S. Marines, our finest and proudest military force, are under criminal investigation for breaking into Iraqi homes and murdering entire families. In an unprecedented event, Gen. Michael Hagee, the Marine Corps commandant, has found it necessary to fly to Iraq to tell our best-trained troops to stop murdering civilians.

Gen. Hagee found it necessary to tell the U.S. Marines: "We do not employ force just for the sake of employing force. We use lethal force only when justified, proportional, and most importantly, lawful."

The war criminals in the Bush Regime have dismissed the murders as "collateral damage," but they are in fact murders. Otherwise, there would be no criminal investigations, and the Marine commandant would not be burdened with the embarrassment of having to fly to Iraq to lecture U.S. Marines on the lawful use of force.

The criminal Bush Regime has now murdered more Iraqis than Saddam Hussein. The Bush Regime is also responsible for 20,000 U.S. casualties (dead, maimed for life, and wounded).

Bush damns the "axis of evil." But who has the "axis of evil" attacked? Iran has attacked no one. North Korea has attacked no country for more than a half century. Iraq attacked Kuwait a decade and a half ago, apparently after securing permission from the U.S. ambassador.

Isn't the real axis of evil Bush-Blair-Olmert? Bush and Blair have attacked two countries, slaughtering their citizens. Olmert is urging them on to attack a third country – Iran. ...

'Toons by Dante Lee; use only with permission